I don’t believe in soulmates.
In fanfiction there’s this concept called the “Soulmate AU.” Now, each person has their own interpretation, and there are some differences between general categories (for example, there’s a variation called the “soulmark” where a person is born with [or develops] a tattoo of some kind, a mark, or the name of, their soulmate somewhere on their body.) Now, I don’t like soulmate AUs. I think that, if there was something like that in real life, they’d be a recipe for misery rather than love.
I don’t believe in soulmates. That sounds cynical, but I do believe in love. I think soulmates invalidate the idea of love. Invalidate isn’t quite the right word, “cheapen,” maybe?
My point is that I think the idea of soulmates takes the choice out of love, and it takes the work out of love. Loving someone is a choice. You may be infatuated with them, in lust with them, et cetera, but when it comes to truly loving someone, it’s a choice, it’s not just a chemical reaction in the brain. Loving someone takes work. It requires putting in care and dedication, and again, choice. Making the choice to be with them (in sickness and in health, et cetera, et cetera) and not just giving up when things get tough.
The idea of soulmates, in my mind at least, is the idea that you don’t need to work for love, that there’s someone out there for you no matter what, and you don’t need to work on the relationship. When you see this person, you’ll just know, and while there may be troubles, everything will work out for happily ever after.
Furthermore, the idea of one-true-love soulmates or whatever absolutely invalidates other loves in your life. People are not only allowed to love more than one person, I think most people DO and SHOULD love more than one person. This includes platonic loves and familial loves, unconditional and questioning loves, friends, partners, agape and eros. But it also, to me, means you can fall in love, in the “traditional” romantic sense more than once.
Loving someone new after you’ve lost someone doesn’t negate the fact that you previously loved someone else. And this loss doesn’t even need to be a permanent separation. It could just be a break-up, a falling out, or a falling out of love.
Just because I loved my ex with all my heart, and he broke it, doesn’t mean I’m broken. It doesn’t mean I’ll never love again. It just means that I loved, and he loved, but now at least, he’s moved on to a new love. He told me when we were dating, even, that he had told two other girls that he had loved them before. That didn’t make his love for me any less strong, and it doesn’t make his love for his current girlfriend any weaker either. Just because he loved me once doesn’t mean he can’t love other people.
The same goes for me. I just haven’t found anybody new to love (romantically) yet, though I have made new friends who I love and value.
I’m getting kind of weepy as I write this, wondering why I can’t find anybody to love who loves me too. But that’s not the point.
The point is, I believe very strongly in love. I don’t think loving more than one person invalidates your love of anyone else, and I do believe that the obsession with soulmates and “true love” is toxic.
Love isn’t easy. But it’s important. And there’s no such thing as one-true-love. You will love many times in your life, some of those will be romantic, some of those won’t. But in any event, love comes and love goes. That does not make it less powerful or meaningful.
I think love is one of the most important things there is. But I do not believe in “true love.” I don’t believe in soulmates.
I do believe in people.