7 Hard Lessons To Learn Before You Meet Your Soulmate

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Dating can be frustrating and disappointing. Sometimes, searching for your soulmate can seem like a never ending quest. But there may be a good reason for it. According to experts, there are some hard lessons you need to learn before you're actually ready to meet your soulmate.

"Research indicates that 94 percent of people in their 20s agreed with the statement 'when you marry, the most important thing is that your partner is your soulmate,'" Dr. Marianne Dainton, relationship expert, author, and professor of communication at La Salle University, tells Bustle. "But the problem is in the very notion of what people think a soulmate is."

The idea of a soulmate is rooted in the belief that you and another person are meant to be. Because it's "predetermined," your relationship should be effortless. But according to Dr. Dainton, there are two major problems with these beliefs. "First, this puts the benchmark so high you will probably never find someone who can live up to it," she says. "Second, if you do find someone who can live up to it, they can’t live up to it forever."

But people aren't perfect. "Relationships are messy, and there is a reason why people say that relationships involve work," Dr. Dainton says. So according to her, you need to have a healthy definition of what a "soulmate" actually is before you can meet yours. But that's not all. If you haven't learned the following hard lessons, experts say you may not be quite ready for your soulmate just yet.

1. Keep Your Expectations In Check

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One super important lesson you need to have learned before you meet "The One" is to have realistic expectations when it comes to every stage of love. When you're in a relationship, set realistic expectations for what your partner can and can't really offer you. "Think about it this way: if you expect a good meal, and it turns out to be a fantastic meal, you probably will be deliriously happy," Dr. Dainton says. "But if you expect a great meal and it’s just a’ight, you'll be pretty disappointed." It's important to get what you want in a relationship, but make sure your wants aren't getting in the way of having a good relationship.

2. Opposites May Attract, But They Don't Always Last

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"The single biggest predictor of long-term relationship success is similarity," Dr. Dainton says. Similarity in values and beliefs are most important. But having similar backgrounds, similar approaches to money and kids, similar feelings about socializing, and even similar tastes in music and food can help "smooth away the rough edges in a relationship," she says.

3. Only You Can Complete You

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The idea of finding someone who "completes" you gets romanticized a lot. But if you're aiming to have a healthy long-term relationship, you need to recognize that nobody can complete you but you. A good relationshhip will add a little extra something special to your already amazing life, not fill a void. According to Dr. Dainton, it's important to understand what you want out of your life and then find someone who wants the same thing and is willing to help you achieve it.

4. Your Past Relationship Didn't Work Out For A Good Reason

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"No matter how big of a jerk your partner may have been (or not), the wilingness to look at your role in the demise of any relationship is a true mark of relational maturity," Stephanie D. McKenzie, CPC, CRC, CSSC, lead coach for The Relationship Firm, tells Bustle. Maybe you didn't listen to your partner enough, or maybe you had trouble opening up and being vulnerable. Regardless of what it is, having the ability to put your ego aside and think of ways you can improve shows that you're ready for your soulmate.

5. Compliance Is Not A "Love Language"

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There's nothing wrong with wanting your needs to be met in a relationship. But balance is key. According to McKenzie, it's not necessary for the people in your life to cater to you, even if they love you. "Every relationship has three agendas at work: yours, theirs, and ours," she says. "Learning to compromise means that 'our' agenda doesn't get the short end of the stick, and that the relationship has a true chance to thrive."

6. Conflict Is Inevitable

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Even the happiest couples fight every now and then. So it's important to know how to fight with your partner in a productive way. According to McKenzie, "Learning to communicate effectively and calmly in the face of conflict is a skill that will serve you well in all of your relationships."

7. Vulnerability Is Not Weakness

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Asking for help and opening up to your partner may not come easy for some. But if you want a deep connection with someone, it's important to allow yourself to be vulnerable. "Not only is asking for help a key part of maturing emotionally, but it also shows that you accept and embrace the limits of your humanity," McKenzie says. "It's not a demonstration of weakness, but of strength."

These lessons may not be the easiest to learn since they do require a lot of inner work. But once you do, you'll be ready to meet your soulmate and have that relationship with someone who's deserving of you.