Mike Kueber's Blog

May 10, 2012

Soulmate as a cliché

Filed under: Relationships — Mike Kueber @ 10:38 pm
Tags: , ,

In the world of romance, a soulmate is the gold standard.  Indeed, the term has become some ubiquitous that many jaded souls think it has become hackneyed drivel.  Before reaching that conclusion, however, I think it might be useful to have an understanding of what a soulmate is.

Wikipedia defines a soulmate as the person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, sex, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility.  In current usage, it usually refers to a romantic partner, with the implication of an exclusive life-long bond.

The Urban Dictionary provides a more extravagant definition:

  • A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet — a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior. Your soulmate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around them. And when you are not around them, you are all that much more aware of the harshness of life, and how bonding with another person in this way is the most significant and satisfying thing you will experience in your lifetime. You are also all that much aware of the beauty in life, because you have been given a great gift and will always be thankful.

eHarmony recognizes that individuals have different conceptions of soulmate.  In fact, one of the possible first-round questions submitted to a potential eHarmony match asks the person whether (a) there is no such thing as a soulmate, (b) each person has only one soulmate, whether they find them or not, (c) a person has several soulmates during a lifetime, or (d) through work, any person you truly love can become your soulmate.  eHarmony apparently thinks that having a shared conception of a soulmate enhances the compatibility of a couple. 

Through the years, I have conformed to the modern trend – i.e., initially I was attracted to the concept and thought it provided a meaningful way to think about relationships; later I thought it became trite or corny.  Recently, however, I watched a pair of movies titled Before Sunrise and Before Sunset that showed as only a movie can a remarkable meeting of soulmates.

After watching the movies, I was drawn to the question of why two people are able to make this magical connection.  Is it a matter of timing – i.e., two people meeting each other at the right time?  Or is it a matter of personality – two people who are emotionally available?  Or, as eHarmony suggests, is it simply a matter of compatibility?

I don’t believe these questions adequately get at the essence of a soulmate.  I think of a soulmate as someone with whom you can fully share all of your brain’s output without fear of judgment or recrimination, even when you totally disagree.  Furthermore, you and your soulmate will have the same level of brainpower on subjects of importance so that one doesn’t have to talk down to the other.  Without the ability to completely engage with the other person, you will not be able to thrive.

My criteria for a soulmate focus on the mental connection, and some people even argue that a soulmate can be platonic.  I disagree.  (My friend Mike Callen might qualify as a platonic soulmate if there were such a thing.)  Although the connection might start in the brain, it doesn’t fully flourish until it spreads to the body and spirit. 

That is something I wish for everyone.



  1. […] recently posted in my blog about soulmates.  In the posting, I suggested that finding a soulmate goes beyond compatibility and emotional […]

    Pingback by eHarmony guide to recognizing a “keeper.” « Mike Kueber's Blog — May 16, 2012 @ 3:24 am | Reply

  2. Very nice article. I especially like the discussion about definitions of “soul mate” because what’s vital for one person might not fit for another. I advocate that we all define what a soulmate would be for each of us.

    Comment by Annette Vaillancourt, Ph.D. — May 19, 2012 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  3. annette i agree with you about the definition.

    Comment by Q — May 20, 2012 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  4. i have 3 people i’d call soul mate: bill jones, tim handren, jeff novak. nothing romantic about it, purely intellectual. we can go months or longer with no interaction then pick up right where we left off. been that way since i met them – day one – all friendships over 25 years old.

    my wife and i still talk like we did while dating (not topics, volume of engagement). in fact, a divorced friend had a date at a nearby cafe recently and her date asked “how long have those 2 been dating?”. she said “they’ve been married a long time.” her date said “oh, i’ve never seen a married couple talk to each a whole dinner…”. So, maybe beth and i are soul mates too.

    Comment by Q — May 20, 2012 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

    • Q, very interesting comments. As I was posting my initial entry, I realized that my description of a soulmate was basically “begging the question” because it didn’t really get at the heart of the matter – i.e., why is it that you and Bill/Tim/Jeff can engage whole-heartedly in a wide-ranging intellectual conversation with great respect and without fear of judgment or recrimination? You confirm the general understanding that these connections are felt instantaneously.

      Comment by Mike Kueber — May 20, 2012 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  5. The Energetic Matchmaker – Helping Woman on a Spiritual Path find their Partner.soul mate

    Comment by soulmate — May 30, 2012 @ 6:41 am | Reply

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