The Pros and Cons of Believing in Romantic Destiny

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I found this interesting article just for another perspective to consider on soul mates and soul connections.  I neither agree nor disagree with this article, but offer this for another perspective. Enjoy, Brooke

Why You Shouldn’t Believe in Soul Mates: The pros and cons of believing in romantic destiny.

Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor

Do you believe in soul mates? Do you hold the idea that there is one person (or just a few), who is uniquely compatible with you? Do you feel that the right relationship should “just work out”, with both of you loving each other easily as you are?

If so, you are definitely not alone. In fact, according to a January 2011 Marist poll, 73% of Americans believe that they are destined to find their one, true, soul mate. The percentage is a bit higher for men (74%) than women (71%). The notion is also higher among younger individuals, with 79% of those under 45 believing in soul mates (as opposed to 69% of those over 45).

Clearly, the belief in soul mates is pervasive. The majority of people hold tight to the idea of romantic destiny. The question remains, however, whether the belief ends up working out. Do people who look for a soul mate find them? Do soul mates live “happily ever after” more often?

Fortunately, research has the answer…

Research on Soul Mates and Belief in Romantic Destiny

Research by Knee (1998) evaluated the impact of a belief in “romantic destiny” (i.e. soul mates) on the quality of actual relationships. More particularly, he compared relationships of people who believed in soul-mates (e.g. a belief that people are meant for each other or not), with those of people who believed in “relationship growth” (e.g. a belief that relationships are developed with work over time). Results of his evaluation indicated that:

People who believe in romantic destiny (soul mates) primarily look for positive emotional reactions and initial compatibility with a partner. They believe people either “click” and are meant to be, or they don’t and should move on. As a result, those beliefs tend drive soul mate searchers to be intensely passionate and satisfied with partners at first, particularly while things are compatible. However, when problems inevitably arise, believers in soul mates often don’t cope well and leave the relationship instead. In other words, a belief that soul mates should be ideally compatible motivates individuals to just give up when a relationship isn’t perfect. They simply look elsewhere for their “true” match. As a result, their relationships tend to be intense but short, often with a higher number of quick romances and one-night stands.

People who believe in romantic growth (cultivation) primarily look for someone who will work and grow with them, resolving conflicts as they arise. They believe that relationships can evolve with hard work and compromise, even in difficult situations. As a result, they tend to be less passionate and satisfied with partners at first. A romantic growth individual doesn’t have the same intense, euphoric response to partner connections. However, when problems arise, they are motivated to solve them and stay committed to their partner. As a result, their relationships tend to be longer and more satisfying over time. Rather than rejecting a partner for minor disagreements, they work together, evolve, and grow a satisfying relationship.

Subsequent research supports these differences. Particularly, those who believe in soul mates tend to be less committed to a partner, particularly when there are relationship difficulties (Knee, Patrick, Vietor, & Neighbors, 2004). Also, soul mate believers are often more anxious in relationships and less likely to forgive romantic partners (Finkel, Burnette, & Scissors,2007). Overall, when the going gets tough with a partner, or requires work, soul mates tend to quit and look for the next “perfect” match.

Soul Mates and Love Life Experiences

Given the research, if an individual wants intensely-passionate, short-term flings, then belief in soul mates will serve them well. Finding those initial commonalities and connections will feel like magic. It will be an excellent emotional high, at least while the illusion of perfection lasts.

In all relationships, however, disagreement, conflict, and incompatibility will arise. Ultimately, no one is perfect – or a perfect fit for a partner. It takes work, growth, and change to keep a relationship going and satisfying over time. When that happens, soul mate believers often become upset, disillusioned, and uncommitted.

Therefore, if an individual finds they are repeatedly falling in love with the “perfect” partner, only to be disappointed and dumping them soon after, their belief in soul mates may be to blame. It may cause them to give up when things are not perfect (but may be still good or great). It may motivate them to not compromise, work, or change, when others don’t love them completely for being exactly as they are. Ultimately, it may continually drive them to believe that life would be more satisfying with someone else and endlessly look for a more compatible partner, rather than working to fit with, and be satisfied by, a very good one.

In the end, it is a bit of a cruel joke. A belief in soul mates may prevent individuals from finding the very relationships they think they are destined to have!

Conclusion

Overall, the message is clear, looking for perfect compatibility and a soul mate kills motivation to work at successful relationships with good partners. In the long run, adopting a belief in romantic growth and cultivation is much more rewarding, especially for those interested in long-term relationships. However, compared to soul mates, a belief in growth does take more work, effort, and a desire to change. So, to truly have a satisfying relationship, an individual must not only give up the search for a “perfect” partner, but also be willing to admit they are not always “perfect just as they are” as well. Only then can two people work together, grow, evolve, and meet each other’s needs in the long run.

Go to www.AttractionDoctor.com for more dating and relationship advice (in helpful categories)!

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Until next time…happy dating and relating!

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
The Attraction Doctor

References

  • Knee, C. R. (1998). Implicit theories of relationships: Assessment and prediction of romantic relationship initiation, coping, and longevity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 360–370.
  • Knee, C. R., Patrick, H., Vietor, N. A., & Neighbors, C. (2004). Implicit theories of relationships: Moderators of the link between conflict and commitment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 617-628.
  • Finkel, E. J., Burnette, J. L., & Scissors, L. E. (2007). Vengefully ever after: Destiny beliefs, state attachment anxiety, and forgiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 871–886.
  • Marist Poll. (2011). Retrieved from http://maristpoll.marist.edu/210-its-destiny-most-americans-belie…

© 2012 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Author: Journey of Awakening

Hi, I'm Brooke who will be taking you on a journey of spiritual awakening. I experienced a spiritual awakening in March 2011 when my consciousness was awakened, inspired, and transformed forever. I will serve as your guide on this journey, and hope you will join me!

10 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Believing in Romantic Destiny”

  1. Thanks for sharing this with all on this post .. I never understood that illusion.. Married to my best friend.. With all his imperfect ways.. Being who I wanted to be ..working out anything that comes up for us ..heart to heart Robyn

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    1. Hi Robyn, I am glad you found this post interesting as I ran across this while reading articles online, and wanted to share the studies that have been conducted within on this subject. Blessings of love to you and your husband, Brooke

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      1. It seems there have been so many younger people including myself that have this feeling that if it becomes difficult that it is “not for us”..It seems we are always healing ourselves…sometimes only through the heartaches of self love..after seeing in another those parts we are healing…So I would say BE the person you want to meet and hel thyself through forgiveness of self…Just through my experience of course..I am divorced as well and we could not see through the darkness to the light.. Best of friends now though… Thank you Brooke for having this be thought provoking! Heart to heart Robyn

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      2. Hi Robyn, thanks for your insightful thoughts and words that is so true and poignant! Your comments show you have thought about this subject, and come to terms with your marriage. Love and light, Brooke

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  2. Yep now married to my best friend for ten years with a man that is a mirror for my light within…I am a wayseer and a gatekeeper of the light…being gifted so much darkness to heal up…which has me bear the torch of light..for others to see such a healthy relationship…which is possible when we heal within…heart to heart Robyn

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  3. Hey, very interesting and challenging. Thanks for sharing! I think people fall in love with the idea of finding a soul mate but neglect the spiritual aspect of it and even misunderstand love. They become like butterflies. There’s a gross misunderstanding of what soul mates are and it’s propagated by novels, movies, and so on. And soul mates are often talked about without considering the actual soul and without asking the heavy questions.
    Namaste.

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