May 8, 2007
I don’t believe in soulmates, at least not in the way that many people seem to. I think that for every person on this planet, there is more than one person to live with, happily, long-term. I think that it’s also true that for every person on this planet, most people could not fill that position. So we’ve got more than one, but a heck of a lot less than every member of the opposite (in my case) gender.
I think this makes it harder. For those who do believe in the notion of a soulmate, they’re disappointed when they realize that nobody fits 100% from the beginning, that you are going to have to do a fair amount work no matter what. Maybe they cling to the notion that someone will be 100%, and they’ll spend too much time focusing on what’s wrong, instead of what’s right. And that’s no fun for anyone.
For those who have the other view, that one looks for someone who’s close enough to 100% to make the work worthwhile, and mostly fun, someone who’s worth risking an “all-in” bet, the danger lies in the other direction – not settling, exactly, but in taking too much of a risk – in thinking that the person will become more of what he or she wants, or that they’ll want what the other doesn’t have, less. The awareness that it’s not going to be perfect can have the unfortunate effect of lowering expectations a little too far.
If anything, the latter has probably been my biggest problem. I’ve been in a couple of serious, long-term relationships where we were both convinced that the little differences wouldn’t really matter so much. I’ve been the one wanting to try just a little harder, for just a little longer, to meet halfway, and I’ve been the one smacked in the face with the realization that I can’t spend the rest of my life with someone who will always want me to be a little bit different – and the one who had to convey that realization to someone I still cared about very much.
The great thing about the 98%, whether it works in the long run or not, is that it helps you learn more about yourself and what you really want, than anything else can – putting you both in a much better place to get that much closer to 100 next time.