Is there any difference between Soulmate and Life Partner ?
The answer is not clearly black and white or objective. First, this is a case of false equivalence. False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which an equivalence is drawn between two subjects based on flawed or false reasoning. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency. Colloquially, a false equivalence is often called “comparing apples and oranges.”
Secondly, one of the terms i.e. soulmate expounds on the experiential feeling once feels when in presence of another person, while the second term i.e. life partner, defines a relationship dyad with a real person who we call by different names i.e. better half, spouse, perfect partner, wife, husband, partner etc.
Partner is a living human being who is bonded with us while soulmate is an attribute /metaphor we assign to a partner. Esoterically, Soulmate is perceived as a person, with whose soul we had a lot of past lives in significant roles. We also feel strong feelings of connection, bonding and unconditional love which usually comes with deja vu as if we have known this person for lifetimes or longer than the time we have spent with them. I call this feeling or experience of a strong, magical bond with our significant other as soulmate-ness.
A Partner may or may not inspire that feeling of soulmate-ness. As a corollary, people with whom we feel instinctive feelings of soulmate-ness may not become our partners. If they end up becoming our partner, we may not be able to sustain the original feeling of soulmate-ness. The feeling of soulmate-ness is not a single encounter, consistent and stable feeling. Soulmate-ness emerges out of spending a longitudinal journey with somewhere and the resultant/emergent experience should seems and feel like a strong bond.
Let me clarify some more key points about soulmates and life partners :
a) We can feel the feeling of soulmate-ness with friends, family, close relatives, colleagues and intimate partners. The feeling of soulmate-ness can get transposed across different types of relationships.
b) People with whom we experience soulmate-ness or those who are our life partners, both teach us lessons. As a matter of fact, every interaction atleast has the potential of teaching us lessons, if are open to and ready to learn. Every one helps us grow irrespective of whether we we feel strong bonds with them or not.
c) Soulmate-ness is a different feeling than the conventional feeling of attachment. It is an enhanced, amplified feeling of sexual, emotional, intellectual and spiritual experience (in case of partners).
On the above basis, an assumption that when we find our soulmate, we will experience soulmate-ness is a flawed assumption. We can experience soulmate-ness with any partner who is atleast a standard fit with us i.e. many similarities exist. To experience soulmate-ness, a lot of work is required, but the results can be magical for those who are up for the challenge and journey.
How to Experience Soulmate-ness ?
John Mordecai Gottman (born April 26, 1942) is an American psychological researcher and clinician who did extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability. In 1992, Dr. John Gottman conducted a study of couples in which he was able to predict which ones would eventually divorce with 93.6% accuracy. Since that time, Dr. Gottman has continued his research into which factors play the biggest role in leading a couple to divorce.
It seems that many of the variables that improve marital or relationship stability are the same variables that increase the probability of experiencing soulmate-ness. Not surprisingly, these variables are clustered around good and honest communication, conflict resolution and the ability of partner (s) to de-escalate and downregulate each other’s disturbing emotional states.
All great relationships are build on difficult journeys where partners activate each other’s schemas (emotional imprints from early life or previous relationships) and the key is to deactivate, reframe and transform those schemas. The best way to experience soulmate-ness in relationships is as below :
- a) Learn Formation Flying – Two people are working together, doing things together while maintaining their individuality. It is inevitable that their path may collide at some time. It takes practice to fly together while not being on a collision path. Collision pathways can emerge due to conflict in communication style, values, beliefs, emotional trigger points. The easiest way is to walk away when we intersect on collision pathways. The difficult way is to work on the system and over time soulmate-ness will emerge as an emergent property of good formation flying.
- b) Follow your Intuitive Hunches or Feelings (if they are well trained) – Intuition has a property of carrying out scenario based time series calculations in the future and seeing if things will be fine or will fall apart. Classical decision making with average weighting framework is short lived and does not take distal variables (future variables) in decision making consideration. If you have verified positive intuitive hunches, follow them. It often happens that unverified intuitions make us reject or accept potential life partners leading to remorse later. Analyzing your relationships from a baseline of your past relationships is usually not the right way as past is many times not the accurate indicator of future success/failure. I have discussed elsewhere how we intuitively using old programs get drawn to our perfect partners.
- c) Be Ready to Change – This is the hardest part. We find change hard to come by. We also find we are usually blind to our flaws. But we can all change and we change people by our interactions incrementally every day. We can change how we perceive things, how we analyze situations or events, we can change we feel and how we respond to situations. We can change for sure. Good relationships will empirically and experientially change people in a good way and in a positive direction. Resisting that change will lead to disaster. Accepting that change is inevitable will eventually lead to the feeling of harmony, connection, care, candor, respect, sexual, emotional and intellectual bonding. Forgiveness and kindness is the icing on the cake. Over time, soulmate-ness feeling will emerge.