Leaving aside for a moment the pressing question of whether or not a thing like the soul even exists in any scientifically tangible way…
How do I define soulmate? What kind of tired TV trope even is this ‘soulmate’ business?
Okay, so as far as my understanding goes, cultivated by abundant amounts of American movies, a soulmate is That One Person who just ‘Gets’ You (or anyway the person you end up with in act three of every romantic comedy after the Big Terrible Misunderstanding has been cleared up with minimal to zero effort). You know, that instant connection, something-meaningful-to-connect-two-people-for-the-rest-of-their-lives-and-no-one-else-can-ever-be-this-special kind of tired ass bullshit. It’s bullshit because every kind of media would have you believe that your soulmate absolutely has to also be your One True Love.
I like to call this the soulmate romance fallacy. Let’s try an example: Imagine you know this absolutely wonderful person, you’ve known each other for years, you just click, you can talk for hours, if you are apart for a while you fall right back into your old habits when you’re reunited, you have so many things in common, you’re a comfort to each other, you complement and complete each other, you stick to each other’s side in good times and bad alike. But you can’t be in a romantic relationship because you’re both women and heterosexual. Now what? Back to square one?
This obsessive tying of soulmateship and romance is what I see as the principle problem of the entire damn concept. Nothing about the suggestion that a soulmate is the person you like best and that you have the most in common with and that you get along with the best suggests an automatic romantic or sexual connection, yet this is probably the only kind ever to be portrayed in media. So, because I’m notoriously unromantic, I’ll give you some other possible scenarios:
1)Soulmate + Romance
a) You and your soulmate are in a romantic relationship. Everything’s fine, roll the credits.
b) You and your soulmate are in a romantic relationship, but it’s not going well. Despite your many similarities, your sleep schedules crash, you have different ideas what a commitment is due to your upbringing, and your levels of OCD when it comes to household cleanliness are not the same. So what do you do? Break it off like every other relationship that is not working out or stick with it because you feel obligated because after all, this is your soulmate and you’ve seen all the movies and know how it’s supposed to go? Are you still soulmates if you’re not together?
2) Soulmate + Unrequited Love
a) You found your soulmate. For whatever reason, however, you can’t be together. They’re in a relationship. You’re in a relationship. Maybe they’re gay. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you live half a planet away and only communicate online while both of you are happily coupled with someone else. Maybe you live next door but there just is no sexual attraction for any number of reasons. What do you do? Become romantically involved anyway, even though it will not work out?
b) You found your soulmate. You’re in love with your soulmate. They very much do not feel the same for you, even if you are their most important person, they just don’t feel that way about you. So now what? Do you remain friends? Do you get over it? Do you do the awkward fade out? Do you obsessively try to make them fall for you because after all, you’re soulmates? Maybe they are in a relationship with someone else, would you sabotage that so you can be together?
3) Soulmateship vs. The Infinite Irony of the Universe
a) You found your soulmate. But you are not this person’s soulmate. No one ever said soulmateship had to be a mutual thing.
b) Your soulmate was born in a different time than yours, either having died before you two could meet or they are yet to be born, probably when you’re dead.
c) What if your soulmate is not even a human being, but, say, a cat? One of the twenty five you own because you’re convinced you never met your soulmate and opted for the next best thing, namely dying a crazy cat lady/man death? Or maybe it’s a place, or an occupation, or a book, or a culture, or, dunno, horticulture?
d) Your soulmate was born in a different part of the planet, or even on a different planet, and you’ll never meet.
e) Your soulmate is a giant squiggly ten-eyed tentacled alien from planet Zoon but you’ll never find out because you two have absolutely no way of communicating with each other even if you do meet. Star-cross’d lovers indeed.
4) Soulmates and Numbers
a) Where is it set in stone that everyone gets only one soulmate? Who decided this? First door on the right, one soulmate each? I don’t think so. So you have one and then they die, then what? You can never have a soulmate again? You spend the rest of your live in sub-par relationships because, after all, they’re not your soulmates but merely props to fill the void in your sad trampled heeeeaaaarrrrrt, so they can’t possibly be as meaningful?
b) What if you have multiple soulmates at the same time? But not all of them are mutual? And not all of them are in your time or your planet? This is getting pretty confusing.
5) Extra Credit
You’re your own soulmate. Boom!
And that, in a nutshell, is why the entire idea of a soulmate is doomed from birth. Too many variables. Too damn complicated. Also, too damn clichéd, go back to watching The Notebook if that’s what you’re into. Your soulmate sure as hell isn’t.