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Love Lab

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Soul Mates or Perfect Timing?

All my life I’ve been skeptical about love. Not for any reason other than my logical brain just seems to argue with it. I could put it down to the fact my mother and father divorced when I was 4 but perhaps that’s the easy excuse. My family, obscure as they are, were never short of love. We’d fight like alley cats, but there was really raw compassion and love for each other, which I think went a long way to shaping me into the empathetic and loving person I am today. I’m always looking for ways I can improve anyone’s life, on a small scale such as making sure they’re comfortable or on a large scale by improving their quality of life.

Despite my loving and loyal family, I never really experienced romantic love – my mum did eventually remarry to a man whom I consider to be more of a father than my biological one, but they were never soppy and outrgaeously in love as some seemed to be. The absence of romance between my parents was often dissmissed as ‘we’ve got four kids, what do you expect?’ – because, let’s be honest, four kids, a mortgage, car payments, school applications and making sure none of them became (complete) delinquents is a handful and an inevitable drain on ‘love’. With all of this, I was skeptical of the concept of soul mates and didn’t believe that they truly existed and it was rather the impact of timing and contentment that fostered ‘true love’. I mean, yes, I’ve watched a plethora of romantic comedies that like to settle on ‘love at first sight’ as a sort of be-all-and-end-all of love but from a mathematical perspective WHAT are the chances of that even happening? And how is that even still a thing when online dating is concerned? Should it be ‘love at first click?’.

A brief google brings me pages from websites such as Cosmopolitan telling me about how to best spot my ‘soul mate’ (thanks but no thanks) or people asking the same question to Yahoo Answers (Is that still still a serious platform?). Even moving over to Google Scholar – a engine that usually has the answer I want to see – there’s nothing. So are soulmates real or is love simply the production of the right circumstances? When I think about this question, I can’t help but think about my boyfriend. We have been in a relationship for two years and I am about 101% certain that he is the person I want to marry, have dogs and eventually children with but there was no ‘love at first sight’ involved. We met in our first year of university, and we were both otherwise involved and we became acquaintances – we weren’t incredibly close nor were we strangers but then time did its thing and we both broke up with our significant others at the same time and the rest is history. So this time, love was the production of timing.

But when I look at it two years on, was it all about the timing? As the relationship progressed,we realised we had more and more in common. The same morals, same ideas about what dogs are cute, similar goals etc etc so perhaps we are ‘soul mates’, perhaps we are two pieces of a two piece puzzle that slot together. I think a lot of people would like to deny that soul mates exist because how depressing is it if there really is just one person for everyone? I remember in an episode of Sex and the City, the girls discuss the concept of soul mates and Miranda says – in her ever cynical wisdom –

“…there’s one perfect person out there to complete you. And what? if you don’t find them – You’re imcomplete? It’s so dangerous…”

And it is. The notion of soul mates is so incredibly dangerous. It can go one of two ways – the first way could mean you’re constantly examining the person you’re interested in to determine if they are the ‘one’ and as soon as you think they’re not, you move on as not to waste time. The second way is that you dive into every relationship with your heart on your sleeve thinking that they could be your soulmate and all you end up doing is demolishing the relationship from the inside out with your over zealous attitude.

There really is no winning, you can be over enthusiatic or overly cynical and you still might end up alone when you don’t want to be. So perhaps the key is to stop thinking about love that way. Think about love in the unconditional sense – the love you have for your parents, siblings or friends should be something you actively seek out and find that same love for yourself. If you can do all those things then maybe, just maybe, you’ll find someone to ‘love’.

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