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If you are like me, this title is off-putting. I have never been one to listen to practicality when it comes to love. As a kid, I owned a 19th-Century edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Modern comic books have nothing over the violence in the original versions of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. However, as fierce and bloody as these tales were in my tattered book, they also didn’t spare on the sweeping romantic gestures and heroic challenges the protagonists were willing to make to win the hearts of their true loves.

In more recent tales, true love helped Wesley overcome every obstacle, even death, to win the hand of Buttercup in the Princess Bride. So, I never liked it when anyone told me that my one true love or my soul mate didn’t exist.

The frantic search

It turns out I haven’t been alone, since according to a survey from Rutgers University’s National Marriage Project, most Americans in their 20s seek for a soul mate that will share their innermost thoughts and feelings over someone who is financially stable and shares the same religion.

According to the survey, 88 percent believe that there is soul mate out there for them, waiting to be found and married. No wonder fairy tales are having such a resurgence. The problem with this line of reasoning is the belief that a soul mate, by some mistaken notion, is someone you should marry. This puts unrealistic expectations, not only on marriage but on soul mates as well.

Is a soul mate strictly for marriage?

I have had several soul-mates, and I didn’t marry any of them. Two of my soul mates were men and one was a woman. My other soul mates are my children. These individuals understand me and I understand them. We are vastly different, yet very much alike where it matters. We vary in age and even in temperament. However, when we get together we share a bond that only soul mates can exchange.

soulmates

My wife of 20-plus years and I unfortunately separated and later divorced. Am I now looking for my soul mate? That would be nice, I guess, but I have never had to divorce a soul mate. Soul mates may be separated by distance, time, or circumstances but they never divorce. They will come in and out of your life as needed, never feeling bound by anything as trivial as a written document. They are part of you and always will be.

Marrying your soul mate may seem like an ideal arrangement but it won’t make your marriage stronger. It could, however, have unfortunate effects on your relationship as soul mates——consequences that you didn’t expect or want.

Drawbacks and living in false hope

Experts point out that soul mates that marry demonstrate a higher degree of selfishness when children are involved. Soul mates often place their supernal relationship above the needs of the children, creating tension in the home—a more pronounced version of the “Us vs. Them” relationship parents have with their offspring.

Back to the unrealistic expectations of marrying your true love, a new study shows that 73 percent of married individuals claim they are just trying to get by in their relationship because their true love got away. What’s even more shocking is that 17 percent claim they met their true love when it was too late, while a full 46 percent said they would leave their spouse to be with their true love.

Love the one you’re with

The take away from these startling statistics should be that even though heady feelings of euphoria can and often come from meeting and romancing your one true love or soul mate, there is much more to marriage and family than this one emotion.

Ultimately, it is more important to marry someone you love deeply, who loves you as well, and with whom you share similar goals and values. The myth of The One in marriage may be just that, a myth. To wait around for The One may mean you are waiting around for no one.