Intimate love — 30 September 2012
Are soul mates found or created?

Finding not only a good partner but also a soul mate is an appealing romantic notion. Since this concept is so enticing, those who think that they have not been matched with their soul mate may feel deprived and disadvantaged in love. Should these pairs despair or could they still create the magic they seek?

A National Marriage Project researched at Rutgers University analyzed the responses of 1,003 people ages 20 to 29. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe found that 94 percent of the never-married singles agreed that finding a soul mate was the primary goal in mate selection. The subjects’ definitions of soul mate included: “Someone who completes you, who unconditionally accepts you, who loves you more than anyone else, who requires no major compromises, who is your best friend, who shares one mind and one heart with you and one who you quickly know is the one.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Neil Chethik, interviewed 60 American husbands who have been married for 50 years or longer. In “VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Wives, Their Marriages, Sex, Housework and Commitment”, he reports, “The collective wisdom of the men I surveyed could be put quite simply: You don’t find a soul mate. You create one.”

Chethik adds his subjects’ conclusion, “Soul mate status comes not just from sharing euphoric moments, but from enduring tragedy and disillusionment as well. Together, soul mates suffer money problems, and illnesses, and seasons without sex. Sometimes they even fall out of love for a while.”

Neil Chethik also interviewed David Popenoe, the co-director of the National Marriage Project (described above), who had been married for 44 years. Popenoe’s advice to those determined to have a soul mate was: “Spend less time trying to find the right mate, and more time trying to be the right mate.”

These two studies may highlight the difference between the youthful hopes for a passionate and intimate relationship as compared to the experiences of well-seasoned husbands. Though being paired with a “perfect” soul mate may have a great appeal and feel like a magical blessing, it is often only a temporary dream.

It also highlights that having a soul mate for life is not just a given blessing for the fortunate few but an achievement attained through personal efforts and dedication. Having a soul mate for life requires us to give that which we wish to receive.

To “find” your soul mate:

  • Know that the expectation of finding a soul mate when you are single is a magical wish that later requires your participation.
  • Understand that the thrilling early attraction to your mate is only sustainable through mutual efforts.
  • Create the magic of mutual soul mate connection by being the best soul mate you can be.
  • Learn more at under, “Happy Couples,” subheading, “Be Your Best.” You can create the soul mate relationship you seek.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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