The whole notion of a "soulmate" is great in theory. They're the person who makes you giddy, and who shares your exact taste in music. You know, that one person fate destined you to find. But how often do people actually end up with this so-called perfect partner? Well, not often. Most of us end up marrying someone who isn't our soulmate — and that's totally OK.
In fact, only about 10 percent of the population finds love "through a soulmate connection," says relationship coach Jeanne Patti, in an email to Bustle The rest of us find a lifelong partnership with a "work mate" or a "play mate" or a "mind mate." We mesh with these people in other — often more practical — terms. It may not sound as romantic, but it doesn't mean these relationships are any less loving.
That's precisely why the phrase "soulmate" should be reimagined to include more than head-over-heels love. As Jeremy Arnold, co-founder of the dating app Launch, says in an email to Bustle, "Butterflies and storybook feelings are great, but the best marriages tend to be built on simple qualities like flexibility, openness, shared values, mutual respect, and the ability to both fight and talk well."
In other words, a happy marriage can be created even if your partner doesn't feel like "the one." As long as there are other positive traits, you two can still make a good pair. Read on for a few of the most important (and loving, and adorable) qualities that could mean your SO it.
1. You Are Always, Always Their Priority
Yes, you both work. And yes, you have friends outside of the relationship. But no matter what comes up or how busy the week gets, your SO always puts you first. "You see in their actions and words that you are a priority and they care about your needs and feelings," says licensed clinical social worker Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, in an email to Bustle. Maybe they leave a get-together to buy soup when you're sick, or put down their book when you really need to talk. Whatever it is, you can rest assured they'll happily drop everything to help.
2. You Have Similar Thought Processes
How many times have you both come home with surprise pizza? Or called each other at the exact same time? Not only are coincidences like these kind of adorable, but they also show you two are on the same wavelength. And, as Milrad tells me, similar thinking is a good indicator of marriage material — as is someone who is willing to compromise when things don't match up.
3. You Like Each Other Even In Tough Times
The beginning of a relationship is all sorts of fun, but it can't go on like that forever. If you guys are thinking about marriage, then you'll have to navigate life's boring/sad/dreadful moments — bills, deaths, sickness, fights, etc. So it's a good sign if you "feel like you partner likes you even when there is conflict," says licensed clinical professional counselor Julienne Derichs, LCPC. And vice versa, of course.
4. You Have A Solid Friend Group
You don't have to like all of your SO's friends, or be involved with them. But it's always a good sign if you two feel comfortable in the same social circles. This applies to getting along with each other's families as well, relationship expert April Masini tells me. If there exists some sort of friend/family bond, consider yourselves off to a good start.
5. You Make Up Easily After Fights
Arguing is a normal (and healthy) part of relationships. So don't worry if you bicker with your partner. If you two can make up easily afterward, then you're on the right track. This is especially true if you can stay civil during the argument. As Milrad says, "Even when upset, you are respectful to and communicative with one another." This is a super important quality if you plan to navigate through life together.
6. You Can Agree To Disagree
Like I said, you don't have to agree on everything. There aren't two people on the planet who can do that. But do take note if your partner can agree to disagree. "It’s a very purposeful way of living filled with respect for each other," says Patti. It means setting down your pride, listening, and picking your battles — all markers of a healthy relationship.
7. Your Convos Have A Spark
Do you two have passionate conversations, even when things aren't necessarily "happy"? If yes, "then you have found a good match — regardless of whether or not they are a 'soulmate,'" says licensed clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., in an email to Bustle. The moment one of you no longer gives AF is the moment the relationship is no longer worth it.
8. They Don't Let You Get Too Comfy
Yes, your partner likes you just as you are. And yet they definitely don't let you sit back on your proverbial laurels. Instead, they always push you to be your best, Milrad tells me. Maybe it's by encouraging you to write that book, or to go back to school. Even if it means seeing you less often, they still want what's best for you.
9. You Don't Need Any Plans
When you're with the right person, you'll be able to hang out together without a fully booked itinerary, Klapow tells me. You'll both enjoy sitting quietly at home, or being in different rooms. Not only does this show you're both secure in the relationship, but that you still enjoy being together even without 24/7 fun.
10. They're Able To Express Their Feelings
You could be with the coolest person in the world, but it won't mean a thing if they can't express their feelings, licensed marriage and family therapist Lana Banegas tells me. You want a partner who is emotionally available, so put a ring on it if he or she knows how to show the love.
11. You Don't "Complete" Each Other
I know this doesn't sound like a bad thing. But you should never be with someone because they complete you. You should be drawn to someone who enhances you — not someone who fills a gap or tries to save you, Klapow tells me. Since healthy partnerships are made up of two unique and separate people, it's not a good thing if you feel like you need your SO. If you do, it could be a sign that you aren't in it for the right reasons.
But if you are, go ahead and tie that knot. A healthy marriage can be made even with someone who doesn't feel like the one. As long as there is trust, support, and commitment, you can consider them your soulmate after all.
Images: Pexels (12)