Why You Shouldn’t Believe in Soulmates

Our brains can’t help but compare the imperfect human snoring beside us to the ideal hunk in our heads. But around the corner there isn’t someone better—only someone different.

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

Shaun Cassidy, teen singing idol and one of TV’s sexy Hardy Boys, was my soulmate. There I was clad in the kilt and knee socks of a private school girl, lusting over this blue-eyed heartthrob and completely convinced we would fall in love. He would meet my deepest desires (and based on the surprisingly explicit fantasies I penned starring him and me, those desires needed meeting). When he whisked me away to his Beverly Hills mansion I would know and be known. Mated at the soul level, I would never feel alone again.

Turns out Shaun was not my soulmate. I look back at the confused girl I was with a mixture of amusement and compassion. I was suffering. I thought my perfect mate existed. You did, too. Back then we all believed if we could only find that one special person he or she would make us happy, ever after.

The problem is that now I’m 51, not 13, and yet traces of that longing still invade my mind and bedevil my relationship. ‘Cause I love my sweetheart but he is definitely not my soulmate, either. He hasn’t yet swept me off to live in a Beverly Hills mansion,…