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Do you believe there is a soul mate out there for you? Well, you're not alone. Studies from the University of Virginia have shown that over 90% of young adults believe in the concept. And 88% believe that destiny has determined that there is one and only one person who is your soul mate.
The concept of the soul mate is thousands of years old and probably was originated by the Greek philosopher Plato. Plato described a soul mate as the person's "other half" that has been split from him. The quest of life is to find your missing half. That theme has been explored in movies like "The Butcher's Wife," "The Time Traveler's Wife," and "City of Angels." Other views of soul mates include reincarnation: our soul mate is someone with whom we have shared other lives.
The soul mate concept also carries with it the belief that a perfect person exists for us, if only we could find him or her -- then love and life would be easy. This belief has created a lot of trouble for people, especially in the area of commitment. By insisting on finding a perfect partner, many people have walked away from really great potential partners. Why? Because something was missing. Maybe it was chemistry, or that he/she didn't match their ideal of The One. So they've ended up alone, still looking for that perfect soul mate. The renowned family psychiatrist Frank Pittman once said, "Nothing has produced more unhappiness than the concept of the soul mate."
Having been a psychologist for more than 25 years, and married to one guy for the same long stretch, I can tell you that there are no perfect partners out there. Not me. Not my husband. Not any of my many clients, friends, or family members. Lasting love is a hard-won battle of personal discipline, compromise, dedication, and commitment.
Scientists have found that scent plays a role in physical attraction and desire. Other research shows that those who are of similar educational levels are more compatible. While I don't believe in The One perfect person idea, I do believe that there are better matches for us. And if we are with one of these people, we are more likely to have the experience of being with the one who is a soul mate (which I have had personally and can tell you, is a marvelous thing!).
So chances are, there is more than one person out there who fits the bill for you. All of them are less than perfect. But if there are no perfect partners, how can you know whether to stay or go? Here are 10 relationship markers to help you know if he or she is The One:
Don't worry if you don't feel all 10 of these things when you're with your partner. That's where the imperfection comes in -- either in you or your partner. If you are experiencing six or more of these markers, chances are you are matched well. Over time you can work towards having all of these qualities. Couples who have lasting love find that their relationships get closer and better over time. And that process has been my privilege and good fortune to experience personally -- after a lot of hard work that continues to this day!
Bottom line: your chances of finding The One are better than you think. So go out there and start looking. Love almost always comes in a surprise package that opens up in marvelous and magical ways.