Having trouble finding your soul mate? Let’s talk about some of the problems with the concept of soul mates and why we should abandon it.

Cheesy romance novels, movies and songs will paint a pretty picture of two people who find each other and live happily ever after for the rest of their lives until they both die in each other’s arms. Many people consume these stories and expect the same thing to happen to them. This can cause a significant amount of disappointment when life becomes more unpredictable than anticipated, and does not conform to the plot formatting structure of a movie screenplay.

Romance is alive and well in the world and many people can find a loving partner in a relationship as equally wonderful as the couples in these stories have. However it would be best to abandon the idea of finding a “soul mate” as this quest can lead to unrealistic expectations of relationships, as well as how the world works. Fixating on this idea can lead a person to also abandon relationships they could have been very happy in, but that they thought were “bad” based on this superstitious and unrealistic idea.

In this article we’ll talk about some of the problems with the concept of soul mates and why we should abandon it in favor of a more realistic definition of what makes a good life partner. 

First let’s discuss some of the more popular stereotypical ideas about soul mates and define soulmate as a concept.

What is a Soul Mate? Popular Ideas About Soul Mates

It can be challenging to define a soulmate as there are many different opinions about the topic. Typically most people define a soulmate as someone who is your one true love in life, the only person you are meant to spend your life with. The soul mate is often believed to be walking on this earth anywhere and so they can be difficult to find, and therefore you need to follow some guides for how to identify your soulmate– usually by turning to fortune tellers or reading bad relationship advice blogs that promote ideas about soul mates and how to notice signs you’ve met your soul mate.

These fortune tellers and blogs can be popular because they reinforce ideas people already believe, telling them what they want to hear instead of doing the more responsible and helpful thing by telling them what they need to hear.

Here are a couple of the most popular theories for how to identify your soulmate.

Red String of Fate

The ‘Red String of Fate’ is an old Chinese fable that involves a string around the fingers or ankles of two people destined to meet. It is also called the ‘Red Thread of Marriage’ story. This string is placed by the god of matchmaking. The string will bring the two lovers together through circumstances without the lovers ever needing to do anything specific to find one another. The red string of fate is a popular definition of soulmates still used in many Asian cultures today. With this soul mate concept there is only one person attached to each other person and so these individuals are destined to marry. 

The Red String of Fate is a very popular idea about soul mates that has spread worldwide, though it origins from a Chinese fairy tale developed back in the days when the Chinese also believed eating pills made from mercury could grant immortality

Twin Flame Theory

The twin flame theory defines soulmates as two souls that originally started as one consciousness and then separated to experience life with the idea to combine forces later as a larger, more powerful entity. If you believe in the twin flame theory then you may create a definition of a good life partner that is someone who is very like-minded as yourself. and imagine it to be the type of relationship where you can finish each other’s- sentences. You may also feel that you are seeing signs from the universe that someone is thinking of you or the “right one” for you that are irrelevant. 

How to Supposedly Tell if Someone is Your Soul Mate

Many people will struggle with how to identify their soulmate using these definitions of soul mates, as they are rather vague and can apply to almost anyone, often leading a person to believe they have found their soulmate only for that relationship to end in heart break. Then they find a “new soul mate”, and the concept changes to where they think maybe they have “multiple soul mates”. None of this is very helpful for figuring out how to have a happy, life-long romantic relationship.

Fortune tellers and bad relationship advice blogs usually claim there are a number of signs people should watch for that supposedly mean they have met their soul mates. Generally speaking, you are advised to be able to know if someone is your soul mate by just trusting your instincts and ‘feeling’ in your gut that they are your soul mates; which in reality is just your normal instinctual attraction to people.

If you read these blogs about soul mates, you are told that in order to find a soulmate you have to know exactly how you feel and are supposed to feel deep attraction. Other supposed signs you’ve met your soul mate include having a difficulty free relationship without any stresses or conflicts with your partner. Even more definitions of soulmates involve looking for a list of so-called “compatibility signs” that involve how well that person matches what you want out of life. 

There are even fraudsters who pose as fortune tellers, claiming they can detect signs from the universe that someone is thinking of you and that this person is your soul mate; charging their clients huge fees for telling them lies engineered using techniques such as hot and cold reading which anyone can learn.

Why “Soul Mate” is a Problematic Concept and What to Look For Instead 

The problem with these superstitious ideas about soul mates is that they are so vague that they can apply to just about anyone you are attracted to, while also suggesting the only valid relationships are ones where you never have any problems or difficulties — which is very unrealistic and gives people the wrong standards by which to judge relationships. It gives them unreasonable expectations of what a normal healthy relationship is. Good relationships are not absent of personality conflicts or shared hardships; good relationships mean both partners can work through these issues together and come out of the experiences better for having done so, with a stronger bond.

These ideas and definitions about soul mates lead people to become overly fixated and obsessed with individuals who may not actually be a good match for them but whom the person considers a potential life partner because they believe in superstitions like soul mates. Being in a relationship with this person then becomes less about realistic things and more about a spiritual belief; it becomes a kind of religious idea that suspends rational thinking and leads to poor decision making in a relationship.

There are several more reasons why the term “soul mate” presents problems for modern romance. Here is a list of just some of those problems. 


A soul mate is supposedly the one person in the universe you are destined to be with for the rest of your life. However this means that your soul mate was selected for you by the universe before you were even born. Yet this idea of someone being predestined as your partner for the rest of your life can be used to justify taking away your free will. It’s important to remember that many of the ideas about soul mates come from cultures that practiced arranged marriages and came up with these ideas to convince couples to stay in bad relationships that had been arranged for financial reasons between families.

Sure, we may not be able to consciously choose who we fall in love with because this is often a very instinctual and primal thing, but ultimately we must make our own decisions in life. We are not fated to be this or that; the decisions we make in life are the things that actually lead us to meet the people we meet and fall in love with. Furthermore just because you feel attraction to someone does not mean you should necessarily be with that person. Your instincts and your conscious mind are two different things. Instincts can assist with making choices but we live in a very different world than our ancestors did, and it is our ancestors harsh cruel world that gave us our instincts. Success in life is no longer merely about mating with the fittest members of our tribes and we have to consider many other factors now which are not instinctual to us.

I mean, what part of your instincts helps you pay your taxes? Making all your decisions based on gut feelings is a pretty naïve way of navigating the modern world that will not lead to success in life. You have to use your head to make smart choices.


Ideas about soul mates do not factor in the idea that a good wife or husband might die long before the other does due to illness and accidents. Is this supposed to mean that the deceased spouse was not actually a good match for you and that your true soul mate is still out there? This is very disrespectful to the deceased party. Worse it can lead someone to believe that person was the only one truly for them, and now that they are dead there is no point in trying to find another life partner because their only match is gone.  

For an example, picture a young wife whose husband goes off to war and dies in battle. Was that young man her only soul mate? Is the young woman now forced to live her life without ever having another soul mate? The concept of a soul mate implies one person for the rest of your entire life but this just isn’t very realistic. Death can complicate things for a person’s heart, especially when that death happens so young and ideas about soul mates can greatly confuse people while going through these traumatic events, causing these people to deal with their grief in ways that are not healthy by refusing to move on to a new relationship for fear it will fail because their “true soul mate” is now dead. So with the example of a young girl who loses her husband early in life, the idea of one soul mate may guilt her into never loving or remarrying ever again. It is sad to make a young woman live life as a widow over the thought that we can only love one person in our entire lifetime.


The idea of a soul mate is immeasurable. The entire concept of a soul mate relies on a person first believing that humans have souls in the first place and there is no scientific evidence that we have them. While many people will say science just has yet to be able to detect souls, consider that at present we have scientific instruments capable of measuring energy from across the galaxy many millions of light years away from us. We can even measure types of energy that come into existence for fractions of a second, such as during experiments with dark matter. Yet there has never been any scientific proof for souls. This is likely because souls do not exist.

The truth about the idea of soul mates is that people often apply it inconsistently because it is impractical; many people believe they have found their soul mate only to find a new soul mate later after the relationship with the previous supposed soul mate did not work out. So a persons’ ideas on the topic of why soul mates must exist is not reliable as they are subjective and not consistent, based on gut instincts which as mentioned previously are not always reliable.

There is no way to measure soul mates or even test someone to ensure it is actually your soul mate.  We cannot even prove that souls exist in the first place which means they most likely do not and there is no evidence to suggest that they do.

How to Realistically Find a Positive Romantic Relationship

Just because a soul mate may not be a real thing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect to have meaningful and trusting relationships. A lover may not be your “one true soul mate”, but they can be your best friend and lover for the rest of your life.

Let’s provide a better, more obtainable definition of a life partner and discuss some ways to find a positive romantic relationship. 

Know what you want in a romantic relationship

Before you start looking for someone to date you should clarify exactly what you want. Instead of searching for a soul mate try looking for a life partner. A life partner is someone who is dependable and reliable. They are a rock for you and someone you can count on to offer love and stability. Likewise you’ll have to provide them the same thing in exchange; relationships are two way streets and you need to give back to someone as much as you take from them. Otherwise both people are not getting their needs met in the relationship.

Many people wonder how to know if you’re in love. Well, that person needs to fulfill your needs and wants in a partner. That’s basically what feeling in love is, and while that is also very vague like the concept of soul mates is, I am not suggesting that you only have one person in the entire world who can fulfil your needs and wants from a relationship. Many people are going to be able to do this so you have a much higher chance of finding a good spouse if you use my more realistic definition.

Look for the signs of mutual attraction.

Signs of mutual attraction are important when picking a mate. There are many ways to know if someone is your soulmate by the attraction you share. Of course, attraction goes both ways. You and your life partner both need to be attracted to each other. It can’t just be one way. You can tell if someone is attracted to you because they smile warmly when they talk to you. This person takes effort to talk to you, asks questions about you and wants to be involved in your life, often inviting you out to dates. They even try to find ways to touch you in a romantic way, as they desire you so much they instinctively want to feel you.

It’s really not that complicated to understand when someone is attracted to you. You don’t need to look for signs the universe is supposedly telling you, like seeing names of objects or hearing songs on the radio that remind you of the person. None of this has anything to do with finding a good partner. The only signs you need that someone is attracted to you are the signs they are showing you with their actions and words.

Be open-minded

When many people start taking bad relationship advice and try to identify their so-called soulmate, they might write down a list of different characteristics that their future soul mate must have. These often involve details such as ethnicity, height, body size and may even include things like whether they play certain musical instruments, engage in certain sports or hobbies, and all kinds of other superficial details that have very little to do with whether a person will make a good spouse to you, and parent to your children.

The best life partner you can find might not match a list of superficial details. A person being 5’4 or 6’3 is not going to have any actual impact on whether that person lies to your face every day while cheating on you with others. Whether they have red hair or brown hair is not going to make them an understanding and kind person when you need a partner to support you through chemotherapy treatments. A person being able to play the guitar, or sing or even dance well is not going to have any bearing on whether they work hard to earn enough income to take you and the family on vacations and live in a nice home, pay the medical bills and be a good contributor to the household. Limiting yourself to finding a life partner who has certain superficial qualities will eliminate many possible mates who you might have had a happy marriage with as they can provide all of the real needs and wants that will make you happy on a daily basis. Anything extra these people can do is supposed to be icing on the cake, not the whole meal.

Many people, especially women, try to find people who match superficial qualities that are supposed to make other people jealous instead of just trying to find someone who will be faithful, loving and raise healthy, intelligent and well adjusted children with them.

You need to allow yourself to think outside of the box you may be forcing yourself into due to your erroneous ideas about what makes a good partner. Open your heart to new experiences and new ideas, and you may be surprised what you discover about a person you thought at first wouldn’t make a good partner because they weren’t a certain level of height, or didn’t have the ability to do some irrelevant thing, like play the piano.

Furthermore, a deep attraction is not always something that is instantaneous; sometimes you need to get to know a person better so you can recognize the qualities they have that you do find very attractive. If you spend more time with someone that is healthy for you then the bond will grow organically and eventually you’ll become more attached to them.

The reverse of this is also true; if you spend more time with someone who is unhealthy for you then you will still gain some affection for them. Gaining attraction for a person is not a magical process; it’s just instinctual tribal behavior inherent to all humans. Humans are inherently tribal, and that is why Stockholm syndrome is a thing that can happen to kidnapped victims where they can become sympathetic to and even “fall in love” with their kidnappers under the right set of conditions to elicit that response. Some people are more susceptible to this tribal behavior than others are; as an atheist I am more resistant to these things because I tend to be guided by rational thinking more than the emotional. Yet it is not that I do not feel emotions but rather that I will ignore emotional thinking that I believe may not be as helpful to me in the present moment. This is something anyone can learn with practice but first you must accept that you can become more attracted to a person based on how much time you spend with them, and this can be used negatively and positively.

To fall deeply in love with someone who has good qualities as a mate, simply spend more time with that person while avoiding spending time with other people who make bad partners. It’s that simple.

Accept that all relationships have rocky moments

A healthy relationship is one where both partners understand that efforts have to be made to make the relationship work. One person cannot carry the whole relationship. Both you and your lady must be able to balance your wants and desires together. You’re not going to find another person who matches you 100% in everything. People adjust and change as they live, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to divorce someone because you changed a lot. You were always a different person than the other, and gaining a new hobby or finding a new dream to chase doesn’t mean you need to abandon everything you have established with a current partner.

You should ignore bad relationship advice blogs that are written by unhappy divorcees trying to convince others their bad decision to leave a marriage because they had a midlife crisis were good ones. Instead accept that long term relationships will have rocky periods and it’s best to work through them instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water. It’s getting harder to find anyone that even wants to get married these days and the older you get, the more unlikely it is you’ll get re-married.

Accept that not every relationship is going to be a good one

Sometimes a person was always unhealthy for you, and you just never realized it until now. You must learn to say ‘No’ to people, even those you may deeply care for. If it becomes clear that you are very unhappy in a relationship and you dread just being around the person because you realize they haven’t made you happy in a long time, then it’s time to end the relationship so both people can move on and find a happier one.

Sometimes you have to be like Obi-Wan Kenobi when he had to make the hard decision to fight Anakin at the end of Star Wars: Episode Three,

I don’t mean you have to fight them in a lightsaber battle; I’m saying that sometimes you have to kill your feelings and end a truly bad relationship by saying goodbye, walking away to find a better life partner who will give you the love and respect you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Instead of looking for signs from the universe that someone is your soul mate, look for good qualities. You might read our article, “Date a Cinderella not a Tinderella” for some good advice on how to recognize those qualities.


Carey Martell is Editor in Chief for The Millennial Gentleman. A thirty something modern man who is politically independent, non-religious but a firm believer in ideals of chivalry and traditional family values. Carey lives his life as a vagabond digital nomad traveling and living life to the fullest while managing his businesses remotely with a laptop and internet hotspot connection.