A response to “24 Signs You’ve Found Your Soul Mate”

A list of 24 Signs You’ve Found Your Soul Mate was recently posted on Pop Sugar. And it’s full of romantic assertions. Like that there are people with whom you connect on such a deep level for “no reason you can explain.” Or that soul mates, as represented in fiction and fairy tales, are a real-life phenomenon. Or that you only get one true love. Or that only a partner can fulfill you. Or that anyone outside of yourself can fulfill you. I guess I’m not so romantic, because the list doesn’t sit quite right with me. Here’s the list that was presented. And my snarky commentary to each “sign” interspersed.

1. You can convey what you’re thinking by just looking at each other.

Seriously? I’m not a mind reader. And I don’t expect my husband to be a mind reader, either. Can I typically guess how he’s going to react to something? Sure. Do I typically know what he’ll find funny or annoying? Yes. Can I tell when something’s bothering him? Yes, but I can’t tell if it’s the dishes piling up in the sink (which I can do something about) or a work issue (which I can’t do anything about). Can I tell whether he wants frozen yogurt or frozen custard for dessert? Nope.

2. You can’t even remember what it was like to be without them — and you don’t want to!

I can remember what it’s like to be without Scott – the good and the bad. Sleeping diagonal across my bed, something I’ve done with no soul mate, is amazing. Knowing I’m just cleaning up after me in the bathroom is comforting. I remember when I had both those things.

3. They challenge you every single day.

Scott, thank you for not challenging me every single day. I have enough challenges in my head and at work – and I’m thankful that you can accept me on the days when I just can’t be challenged anymore. And thank you, too, for still loving me when I don’t live up to all the goals I’ve set for myself.

4. They know exactly what to do to calm you down when you’re mad, to help relieve your stress, or to cheer you up.

Well, since ice cream typically works for all three of these situations, I hesitate to say that Scott’s super-amazing for figuring out a simple pattern.

5. They also know exactly what to do to get under your skin . . . and they at least attempt to not do those things.

Scott and I both hate cold hands touching us. Does that stop either of us from trying to scrounge up some extra heat from the other person? No.

6. Even after years of being together, you still have great chemistry.

O.K. This one is true. (Insert heart emoji here.)

7. You are completely comfortable in their presence.

O.K. Sure. He picks his nose in front of me. And maybe vice versa. But we don’t leave the door open to the bathroom. And sometimes one of us just needs alone time, so we wouldn’t be comfortable in anyone’s presence in those moments.

8. After spending a few days apart, you both talk a mile a minute to catch each other up on everything you both missed.

I totally write down things to tell Scott when we’re away from each other for a bit. But, when I get home from a work event, like a conference, I just want to sleep. Later, when I’ve caught up on some shut-eye, we can talk. And Scott needs a lot of alone time when he’s been around other people or working hard – so he’ll need alone time after a work trips before we talk too much.

9. It feels like you’ve known each other your whole lives.

I don’t even know what this means. But, I’m glad Scott doesn’t feel like a brother, whom I would have actually known for most of my life.

1o. You disagree on some things, but are always on the same page when it really matters.

How can your partner challenge you if you basically are “on the same page when it really matters”? Do we share similar values? Yes. Do we understand each other’s decisions? Mostly. Do we agree all the time about where to go on vacation or how much time to spend with our respective parents or how much money to spend on things (like artisanal cheeses)? No.

11. You have a bond that people around you don’t understand.

This is pretty condescending. Who hasn’t had a bond with someone, anyone that is deep? Maybe your mom and you are super-tight. Or maybe your best friend is your anchor. This bond you have can be with a person who isn’t your significant other. And I think they’d understand a connection that is in every rom-com I’ve ever seen.

12. Their family feels like your own family.

First of all if you’re married, their family is, legally, pretty much your family. Second of all, if you don’t like their family – the people that helped make your partner who they are – you probably don’t actually like your partner very much.

13. You don’t feel the need to keep searching for more because you are so at peace with what you have.

I never felt a deep need to be searching for more outside of myself to feel complete to begin with. Did I want a partner? Yes. Was I totally unhappy and unfulfilled before I found a partner? No. Partners are great, but if you’re searching for something more, try looking to yourself to fill that hole first.

14. You hurt when they hurt; you smile when they smile.

Totes true that his emotions affect my emotions. He can bring me down from a high with his grumpiness. And he can improve my mood with his happiness. But that’s been true of other roommates, too.

15. They are part of almost every story you tell.

Anyone you spend most of your free time with will be a part of almost every story you tell… because you’re never not with that person. Also, if that’s true, know that you’ll sound a little annoying to people not in relationships.

16. They think the weird, quirky things you do are adorable, and you feel the same way about them, too.

Well, I don’t do any weird, quirky things. OK, OK, Scott gave me a long list of weird, quirky things I do. One quirk I have is leaving used tea bags in my mug. And Scott totally does not think that’s adorable. He thinks it’s gross. And a weird thing Scott does is leave every cupboard door open. It’s not adorable. It’s dangerous.

17. You are a better person with them than without them.

Does this go back to number 3 and being challenged? How is this different? I mean, I eat more fiber now. So I’m better with Scott. I think Scott eats more chocolate now, though… so he’s not better with me.

18. They support you and your dreams — even if they don’t entirely understand them.

Supporting dreams can be difficult, because different dreams take different resources that you may or may not have as a couple. We each had the dream of getting jobs in our fields after our PhDs. And we supported each other enough to live apart for two years. That decision wouldn’t be right for everyone. And that’s OK.

19. You are a dynamic duo, a perfect pair, a true team.

Yeah, we’d make it past the first elimination round on The Amazing Race… but I’m not sure that makes us “perfect.”

20. You feel protected by them and secure in your relationship.

Scott can’t protect me. And I can’t protect him. We know it. We feel secure in our relationship – but we don’t expect that nothing bad will happen to us.

21. For the first time in your life, you realize that home is not a place, but a person.

Yes, Scott is my home more than a place. That said, it is hard to live in a place where there is nothing for you besides that person. If you are looking to that one person for all your happiness, all your identity, you are a burden and not supporting your spouse (see 18 above). If you know you hate cities, not even being with the love of your life will make you like the city he lives in. Can you still live in the city with him? Sure. But you have to be responsible for your own happiness there.

22. In some ways, you have become pretty much the same person.

Yikes! This is a little true. We totes wore Brewer’s hats and brown fleece jackets on a trip and didn’t even realize it until we looked at all the pictures. But, we each have our own hobbies. I’m sitting here writing this post while Scott plays retro video games. I read books while Scott birds. It’s OK that we don’t do everything together because we don’t magically like the same exact things.

23. You are your best and worst self around them, and they love you for both.

When I am acting like a brat, I am not Scott’s favorite person. When I can’t parallel park the car, I think Scott’s frustration level is a bit higher than his love level – which, is reasonable since there’s really no excuse for my terrible parallel parking skills. He loves me despite my terrible parking skills… not because of my terrible parking skills.

24. You know, in your gut, that this is it for you

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Was I confident I wanted to take a chance on us long-term? Yes. Does that mean everything will always be sunshine and roses? No.

Bottom line: Don’t be with someone who makes you feel crappy. But also don’t throw away something that is otherwise good just because it doesn’t fit into this idealized list of what perfect looks like. And… maybe avoid click-bait lists like this in the first place since they might get you riled up enough to spend an hour or so crafting a counter-response.

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