Is there really such a thing as a soulmate?

Philosopher and author Alain de Botton has a new book, and in it he tackles our deeply rooted assumptions about
A happy senior couple blow bubblegum bubbles in their backyard.

Philosopher and author Alain de Botton has a new book, and in it he tackles our deeply rooted assumptions about what love and relationships should be.

“One of the first things couples should do is rather than saying how perfect they are, they should say ‘I’m crazy like this, how are you crazy?'” de Botton writes, highlighting that if two people go into a relationship acknowledging they are “a little crazy” there would be a lot less self-righteousness when problems arise… and problems do arise.

When it comes to the idea of a ‘soulmate’ the author writes:

“There is a cult of romanticism. It started in the 18th century, and it basically told people that everybody has a soul mate, everybody has somebody who will cure them of all loneliness.”

He says while the idea that people should understand each other without have to speak is “touching”, it is impossible to have a good relationship if people do not spell out what they need.

“People cannot be mind readers,” de Botton writes.

De Botton says that feeling of having someone know exactly what you need when you need it can be traced back to childhood when your parents did a pretty good job at being able to tell what you needed even though you weren’t able to communicate it properly.

“In the early days of love sometimes, you will report an ecstatic feeling you have met someone who seems to understand you without needing to speak.

“That sets up a dangerous precedent whereby we equate true love with someone who doesn’t need to have things spelt out to them.

“So many problems of relationships [are] where we have things to say we haven’t said, and we blame people and get bitter that people haven’t understood what we never explained to them,” he writes.

Do you believe in the concept of a soulmate? What do you think about Alain de Botton’s response on the topic?

  1. I think a soulmate is someone who loves you unconditionally, has enough things in common with you to be able to do things together, and enough separate interests to bring something into the relationship. It’s someone with whom you can have mutual, and separate friends, and who can put up with and get on with your family! It’s someone who also has a matching intellect! Does such a person exist? I am married to one – how lucky can one get!??!

  2. After being married for the first time for 24 years and having two kids, we divorced. During my separation my kids set me up with my own computer and were showing me how to use it. We got to the Face Book site and I looked up an old flame from when we were 18 (1980)–We hit it off. Both having so much in common. We go everywhere together. Appreciate all things in life. I am so glad I found a friend (soul mate) to hold hands with as we grow old together.

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