Often when I am talking to someone in a toxic relationship they will justify their partner’s behavior by claiming that they are their “soulmate” even when they are enduring emotional and at times, physical abuse.
It is a claim that I can easily relate to. When I was younger I justified an abusive partner’s behavior under the guise that they were my soulmate. It took them screaming at me that they were never going to change their behavior to open my eyes to the fact that I had been fooled by their words and promises and we were “meant to be.”
Whether you want to call it love-bombing or the soul-mate effect, this is far too often a term used by manipulative partners to keep their relationship going long past its expiration date.
I fear that a soulmate has become an idea we have been sold on, instead of really digging into what it should mean and the standards we should hold to a soulmate.
If you have met someone and believe they are your “soulmate” then you should ask yourself if they embody the following qualities.
There are moments when they don’t want to be honest with their significant other because they fear that it could make them mad. They constantly walk on eggshells and worry that one misstep could cause the ruin of the entire relationship.
When I hear these stories it makes my heart ache because I remember when I was in relationships where I couldn’t be honest and transparent with my partner.
An ideal partner will create a space where you can be honest and transparent with them, and you won’t need to hide any part of yourself.
I had gone through numerous traumatic experiences both in my childhood and early adulthood and was very lost in regards to what I wanted to do as my purpose in life.
That is no excuse, but I believe it is the core reason as to why I wasn’t living up to my potential. During that time I was selfish, I was reckless, and I didn’t want to care about anything or anyone because I had already known so much hurt.
All of that changed when I met my partner. I immediately knew that I would have to change some of my self-destructive behaviors and sought out therapy and began working through my trauma. My partner never asked me to change by any means, I simply realized that I wanted to present the best version of myself to him because that is the person he deserved.
Often it felt like the person I was dating had one foot out the door, and I was constantly questioning whether or not they wanted to actually be together.
My current partner has never caused me the smallest doubt of whether or not he is faithful and wants to commit to our life together.
There are constant communication and trust that is unlike anything else that I had ever experienced and to be honest, it felt like it was too good to be true at the beginning. Yet as the years have passed, the commitment and trust between us remain strong. I have never been so secure and happy in a relationship as I am with him.
Now it’s an entirely different scenario. Although I absolutely love (and need) the time with my friends, I am always ready to come home to my partner. There is a feeling of relief and happiness that washes over me every time that I walk through the door.
Every relationship is different. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for a true commitment such as I have now, but there is a security and contentment in the knowledge that when I am home with him there is no other place I would rather be.
For months I spoke about my dreams and all the reasons why they couldn’t happen. It makes me cringe to think of all the energy and time I spent coming up with excuses that I could have actually directed towards my goals and ambitions.
My partner listened to my reasons why I couldn’t follow my passion and dreams and began telling me the reasons why I could make them happen. His encouragement gave me confidence and slowly but surely I began to work towards my goals. I have a lifetime of working towards them, but had he not pushed me, I may have never taken that first baby step that led to where I am now.
The reality is that a true soulmate is not someone who puts you down, abuses you, or causes you to doubt how they feel.A true soulmate will support and encourage you in everything that you do. Throughout the ups and downs, even when you are at your lowest they will be your number one fan.
We often seem to forget that a relationship isn’t meant to be a burden or something that causes constant grief and stress.
A relationship with the right person, soulmate or not, should enhance your life and bring contentment and happiness. Life is too short to settle for anything less.
❦ Writer & Relationship Consultant on narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love.
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