The Buddhists say: “If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your soulmate you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.”
You grow up hearing the term “soulmate” being used interchangeably with “life partner,” the person you marry and want to spend the rest of your life with. When you’re taught about your soulmate, you’re taught how to find love, not compatibility. That’s why so many people end up either destroyed over losing someone they were never right for in the first place, or hold onto relationships that they’re unhappy in: they think that their soulmate connections are their forever loves.
Soulmates have two purposes: they are either here to support us as soul family, or they are people we have such strong emotional reactions to, they show us to ourselves, and help us grow. Soulmates are reflections of ourselves: what we love in our soulmates, we love in ourselves. What we cannot stand in our soulmates, we cannot yet see in ourselves. Soulmates have the divine purpose of waking us up, and a lot of romantic soulmates do just this: they are intense, fleeting, temporary love assignments that help you radically grow. They are not meant to be your forever loves, they are the people who compare you to your forever love.
Your forever love is one of your soulmates, but what sets your forever love apart from them is that your forever love is the person who doesn’t hurt you. You know how people say that if you really love something, you should let it go, and if it comes back, it was always yours? Your forever love really shouldn’t do that in the first place. Your forever love shouldn’t doubt that they want to be with you, or make a game out of “are they or aren’t they” meant for you.
Your forever love shouldn’t hurt beyond a few growing pains here and there. Sure, you’ll argue, and yes, your forever love should inspire you to reach for your potential, but that’s just it: they should inspire you to be better, not break your heart to do it.
Your forever love should be the person that you vent to, not the person you have to vent about. They should be the person that makes you feel like you can 100% be yourself, not the person who makes you feel like you have to change yourself. They should be your best friend as much as they are your partner, someone you are comfortable enough around to spend every day around.
And more importantly than anything: you should be able to spend every day with them. You should want to spend every day with them. Your forever love is the person you will take every vacation with, spend every holiday with, celebrate every birthday with; they are the person who will help you to the bathroom when you are in the hospital. If you honestly can’t spend a lot of time with them before you are upset, agitated or need a break, you’re not with the right one.
We need to stop glorifying pain like this. We need to stop telling people that the person who hurts you most is the person who will love you best. Don’t spend forever with someone who wasn’t sure about you in the first place. Don’t spend forever with someone who makes you feel anything other than whole and happy. Real love – the kind you could only dream of – actually does exist, but it’s not coming to you in the form of the person who never loved you completely in the first place.