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Concept of Soul-mate- disastrous?
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 00:00

I was reading an article on psychology today. The author started with the alarming news: “Marriage is dead! [Alarming because if you are the average folk, you would think that marriage should be certain in a sea- life- of uncertainty. Certainty helps keep you sane.]

Briefly, the author wrote that the concept of having a soul mate has raisen our expectations of our partners, and thus aggravated divorce rates. The author compared this to the traditional model of “father who brings home the bacon” and “mother who bears and raises the kids”. In other words, people in the past marry for practical reasons; people of today marry for the impossible concept of perfect love. The article seemed to ring a whiny tone, lamenting the low divorce rates of the not-too-distant-past. Obviously advocating for something our government would like- the agenda is glaring in my face.

The article continued to write of the benefits of being hitched and segregated these benefits according to gender: Marriage gives financially stability to women particularly; married men live longer and both genders are satisfied with sex (simply because there ain’t anyone else you can compare with when you are in a monogamous relationship).

And then the author wrote this… that in our quest of the perfect one, we tend to be not as committed as we should be. One foot in and one foot at the door “just in case Ms Right is not the one i am with.” And hence, you get broken marriages and broken homes. Ta-da: the concept of soul mate is thus disastrous!

There’s only one major problem i see with this:
A soul mate does not equate the perfect one.

The author described the soul mate as:
“… the man or woman who will counter our weaknesses, amplify our strengths and provide the unflagging support and respect that is the essence of a contemporary relationship.”

My question is- what’s so wrong with that?

Benchmarks exist whether you hit them or not. Just because we cannot have a litter-free Singapore doesn’t mean we don’t encourage people to be clean and responsible with their trash. Being clean and green is an ideal that not even one country can be completely so to the T.

If you want respect, you give respect. [This is not even for discussion okay?!]
Respecting one another helps make a common platform, a relationship in equilibrium. It’s a pre-requisite.

And you support one another in a relationship. [You mean we have to discuss this too!?]
Imagine if you come home to your partner all beaming because of a promotion and she threw a wet blanket over you. And she’s persistently the shower with a faulty water-heater… If voicing your bruised feelings tactfully and openly does nothing to improve her way, perhaps it’s time you get yourself out of hell-hole. Face it- she doesn’t even love you.

Encouraging one another (in times of weakness), giving compliments where compliments are due (compliments have a (in)direct effect of making you do better), constructive criticism (for improvement or an objective third party view)- these basic features of a healthy communication pattern in relationships are attributes that soulmates got to possess. [It struck me that the author gave this example: that men live longer probably because their wives encourage them to eat their greens (live a healthier lifestyle that is). Gee.. isn't this "countering weaknesses" in a way?]

And we are all capable of the above- most times anyway.

I think what’s important is recognizing that your partner is HUMAN. That means- subject to the occasional mistake.

But you can’t pass on all mistakes.
If your partner has been cheating on you umpteen times, drop her. Or you are stupid/a sucker/a loser. Period. [Okay, maybe you have issues...]

Another problem, albeit a minor one:
Women of today ain’t women of yesterday. Trust me, as women get increasingly educated and employed in various sectors, that financial advantage you see in calculations of yester-years will vanish… like fluff in the wind.

So… what did you say is wrong with seeking a soul-mate again?

 

COMMENTS_LIST_HEADER   

 
# rrabbit06 2010-02-02 20:52
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rabbit06 said,

April 5, 2007 at 10:48 pm

I would think that the definition of a soul mate that was given in that article merely described some of the aspects of a relationship. Deep down, when one seeks love, what one is really trying to find is someone who not only complements, but also understands and ultimately, accepts them for the person that they really are.

That said, there is no fault in seeking a soul mate, just as there isn’t anything wrong with not being able to find someone who totally lives up to your expectations.
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# AnJJ 2010-02-02 20:52
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AnJ said,

April 6, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Yes. Only some aspects! There are more.
Thus the author is saying that our expectations for partners are too high to be attainable.

The author makes this link:

Partner falls short of expectations- disappointment- we seek elsewhere- unstable relationships- high divorce rate.
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# rrabbit06 2010-02-02 20:52
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rabbit06 said,

April 6, 2007 at 9:44 pm

My reference to the author’s definition was more of the fact that it didn’t really put across the point as I believed was intended.

The viewpoint of an increased sense of idealism isn’t exactly invalid. Very often, the modern media’s portrayal of relationships is a beautiful but distorted version of this reality. The media is very apt at constantly evoking human desires and this can indirectly make people feel less and less fulfilled. While there is no denying that the media’s powerful influence has contributed much to our heightened expectations, it is not the sole factor leading to a higher divorce rate.
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# AnJJ 2010-02-02 20:53
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AnJ said,

April 6, 2007 at 10:19 pm

The point of my article is probably not very clear- But i never state that idealism is not harmful as you seemed to have interpreted.

Far from it, i wrote that we need to see that people are human- thus short of perfection/the ideal.

The point of my article is as written in the title and repeated over the article that follows: why is the concept of a soul mate necessary disastrous? Why attack the concept of a soulmate when that is not a major cause? Unless your definition of a soulmate entails a perfect someone.
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# QY 2010-02-02 20:53
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QY said,

April 6, 2007 at 11:30 pm

The concept of soulmate might be due to equality and�think it is a�sign of development�in society. Women and men are educated and on-par, bringing�similar things to the relationship. Soulmates happen only when there is no superior/sub-ordinate sort of relationship.
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# rrabbit06 2010-02-02 20:53
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rabbit06 said,

April 7, 2007 at 9:16 am

Actually, that wasn’t really my point. Save for the author’s concept of soul mate (which I’ve disagree with), I thought that the viewpoint of higher expectations is not an unsubstantiated one.

The author probably used the idea of a soul mate to back her statements on increased idealism and not really intending to fault it in a direct manner. Anyway, I wouldn’t really want to use something which definitions may broadly vary to support generic statements.
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# AnJJ 2010-02-02 20:53
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AnJ said,

April 7, 2007 at 10:30 am

Ah. then we are talking about different things.

I am not talking about the real intent of the author. That, we probably never know for sure until we ask.

I am talking about the way it is presented.

There are other questions i am curious in, things that run deeper beneath her article:

1. Is a higher divorce rate such a terrible thing that anything (e.g. concept of soulmate) that seems remotely correlated with it or that seemingly resemble a factor ought to be found fault with? What do(es) higher divorce rates reflect?

2. And what’s wrong with higher expectations? Is it necessary a vice? What do higher expectations reflect?

The author and you talk about increased idealism. But this is definate and not at all a surprise- no one would disagree on this one.

What i want to ask is: what’s so wrong with that?
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# rrabbit06 2010-02-02 20:53
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rabbit06 said,

April 7, 2007 at 3:15 pm

The issue of whether or not increased idealism is ideal or not (pun not intended), is rather paradoxical one.

And Anj, at this rate that we’re going, I’m afraid that we might have to make this discussion private or let it end here.
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# AnJJ 2010-02-02 20:54
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AnJ said,

April 7, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Questions asked in the last post were not directed at you only. =)

In fact, we weren’t discussing anything particularly. It was clarification.
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# Dr. Carowinds Maltea 2010-02-02 20:54
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Dr. Carowinds Maltease said,

May 1, 2007 at 12:23 am

The author has many valid points. However, the soul is more than just a wave of emotions or feelings. Love is more than wedding bands and sharing houses, it is a commitment regardless of circurmstances.
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