“Your soulmate is not someone who completes you. No, a soulmate is someone who inspires you to complete yourself.” ~Bianca Sparacino
For years I was in what seemed like an endless search for my soulmate—someone who would understand me, love me unconditionally, and share my values and interests.
It felt like I needed someone in my life to feel happy, fulfilled, and whole.
I went on a handful of dates, but I got friend-zoned at times, rejected at others, and ended up with the wrong people the rest of the time.
What pained me the most was how I repeatedly ended up with people who were emotionally unavailable, uninterested in a committed relationship, or simply weren’t a good match for me. And I couldn’t understand why. At some point, I thought I was just unlucky in love.
In retrospect, however, it was in some ways my fault. I wasn’t unlucky in love; I sucked at dating and relationships because my life sucked.
What does that mean?
If I had focused less on finding a partner and more on becoming the kind of person I wanted to attract, my dating and love life would have been a lot easier.
After I worked more on myself and cultivated the positive qualities I wanted in a partner—such as kindness, compassion, authenticity, and self-love, as I worked on healing my past wounds and releasing the limiting beliefs that were holding me back—my love life changed for the better.
And now, I’m living the dream with the love of my life, Sandra, who I met in my senior year in college.
Focusing on who I was instead of what I wanted helped me attract a compatible partner, and I’ve become a better version of myself as I’ve continued growing over the years.
You Need to Take More Responsibility
People often say, “You’ll find love when you’re not looking,” but I’ve always believed that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
This is why I was so proactive in searching for a romantic partner for years.
But in the wake of countless disappointments, I completely gave up and adopted a more passive approach, telling myself that the universe would either deliver me a soulmate or not.
For months, I quit putting myself in situations where I was likely to meet like-minded people. I asked fewer love interests out, went on fewer dates, and tried to hold onto obviously wrong relationships (more on that later).
I got more and more disillusioned with dating and relationships. Sometimes I thought I just wasn’t ‘destined’ to find ‘the one’; other times I told myself I just had to wait until the universe handed me my ‘perfect mate.’
I left everything to God, fate, or destiny, which gave me something to blame for my disappointing love life, when I should have been taking responsibility for what I could control instead of focusing on what I couldn’t.
Life will probably not hand most of us our ‘perfect mates,’ which means unless we’re proactive, we’ll most likely miss out on opportunities to connect with others who could be good matches for us.
That’s why I believe we should put ourselves out there in the dating world. We can do this by using online dating apps (even though they can be frustrating), attending social events, joining clubs or groups focused on our interests, and being more open and approachable.
Cliche, I know, but better than living passively and waiting for some supernatural forces to bring the ‘perfect partners’ to us.
No, You Don’t Need to Reorder Your Life to Find Love
I used to be obsessed with finding a soulmate who would not only complete me, but also enjoy a fairytale romance with me.
I was so fixated on finding ‘the one’ that I had to reorder my life around my search.
I even resorted to changing my personality to fit what every one of my then-love interests would want in a partner.
I sacrificed a lot just to ensure I was in a relationship, and I didn’t realize how much of myself I was losing in the process.
Now, I no longer bend my life to make room for or be loved and accepted by someone else.
Because when I did this and eventually got into relationships with the people who I thought were the ‘best partners’ I could ever wish for, it often ended in pain and tears.
We weren’t even close to compatible. We either had different goals or our personalities clashed more often than not.
With each heartbreaking breakup, it was obvious (to everyone but me) that I had given up too much of myself and compromised too much to make things work.
It can’t be ‘true love’ if you have to sacrifice yourself in the process of finding and keeping it.
Don’t Force a Connection that Isn’t There
The inconvenient truth is that we can’t change reality just because we don’t want to accept it.
You might be putting a relationship on a pedestal and choosing to ignore obvious issues because you want to believe someone is perfect for you—maybe because you’re tired of looking, or because they seem like a good fit, and they just have to be ‘the one.’
But what if they’re not ‘the one’ because they don’t want to be?
When this happens, we might try hard to convince ourselves that someone is our soulmate even when they don’t reciprocate our feelings or treat us well, and generally act in ways that contradict their profession of love for us.
As a hopeless romantic to the core, I’ve met a few people who I strongly thought were the ones for me. But the one that had the most negative effects on me was the last girl I dated before I met Sandra.
She was smart and beautiful and had a way of making me feel like I was the only person in the world.
But as time went on, things started to seem different than I had expected them to.
It wasn’t because I had unrealistic expectations, unless it’s unrealistic to expect my partner to at least minimize canceling plans at the last minute or to care about my feelings.
Despite all of this, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that she was my soulmate and that we were meant to be together. I thought of her behaviors as a temporary phase and told myself things would get better if I just held on.
One big lesson I learned is that the people we’re so bent on convincing ourselves are our soulmates are actually the wrong people for us.
Because we all deserve someone who’ll appreciate us for who we really are.
To find that kind of love, we have to focus on being the kind of people we want to attract, take more responsibility for meeting new people (without sacrificing ourselves to hold onto them), and never settle for less than we deserve. When we do these things, we stand a better chance of finding that special love we’ve been hoping for.