A new study shows that people in relationships with their soulmates experience a higher frequency of positive emotions than those without. But what does it mean to be “in love”?
It’s common knowledge that the best relationships are those where you feel like you’re “meant to be” together. And while we all have our unique idea about what that means, there is one thing we can agree upon: When you find your true soul mate, you’ll know.
According to a recent study by Stanford University researchers, couples in relationships with their soul mates experience a higher frequency of positive emotions than those without.
In this study, researchers measured how often participants experienced positive and negative emotions over 18 months. They then looked at how often these same participants’ partners were present in their lives throughout the same time frame. Here’s how they did it: Participants were asked to record how many times they experienced each emotion (e.g., happy, sad) themselves over two weeks.
They also had to report how often they felt certain emotions around their partner. This included happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, etc.
Finally, they reported how much time they spent alone during the two weeks before the start of the study.
Researchers also recorded how many days per week the participant was with their partner during the time frame.
After analyzing the data, researchers found that people in a relationship with their soul mate experienced more positive emotions than those who weren’t, even after controlling for how much time they spent alone.
“Our findings suggest that having a romantic relationship may be associated with a higher level of positivity,” says lead author Daniel Weissman, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. “These results support the idea that it feels good when you meet someone special.”
Weissman and his team used the term “romantic relationship” to capture the full range of feelings that go along with dating — from infatuation to commitment. However, some might argue that a few positive emotions could come from simply being in a healthy relationship.
What Does It Mean To Be “In Love”?
You might wonder if this study has anything to do with the notion of “being in love.” After all, isn’t the whole point of finding your true soul mate to experience the highest happiness possible?
While we don’t want to turn this into a debate about whether or not you should define yourself as “in love” or “not in love,” we think it’s important to understand the difference between the two terms.
When you say you’re “in love,” you’re describing a temporary state of euphoria. You might feel butterflies or have an overwhelming urge to kiss your partner. These are all signs of infatuation, which is typically short-lived.
On the other hand, when you refer to being “in love,” you’re talking about something more profound. You’re referring to an emotional connection beyond just attraction to your partner. Instead of seeing your partner as a potential lover, you see them as your soul mate.
When you truly fall in love, you no longer need to check in with your partner to ensure they’re still interested in you. You’re so connected that you don’t have to speak to them to know they care.
We recommend using the phrase “true soul mate” instead of “true love” when describing your ideal relationship. While both terms are technically accurate, “true soul mate” implies a more profound connection that lasts a lifetime.
How Can We Know If Our Partner Is A True Soul Mate?
If you’ve already fallen in love with your partner, does that mean you know they’re your soul mate? Not necessarily.
Most experts agree that being in a “real” relationship doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up with your soul mate. For example, you might get married to someone but never really spend time with them. Or you might date someone for years before realizing they’re not suitable for you.
However, a few things tend to happen when you’re in a real relationship with your soul mate.
1. You Feel Like You Have Intimate Connections With Them
If you’re in a long-term relationship with someone who you think is your soul mate, you probably feel like you have intimate connections with them. That’s because you do!
As humans, we naturally crave intimacy with others. So when you feel close to someone, you tend to act accordingly. You communicate better, laugh more, and find things to talk about that spark interest.
A loving relationship doesn’t always mean you’ll automatically feel closer to your partner. Sometimes you feel distant from your partner, even in a relationship with them.
2. You Experience Higher Levels Of Happiness
The happiest people tend to have deep interpersonal bonds. This includes friendships, family members, and partners. And when you experience closeness with another person, you’re more likely to feel positive emotions.
That’s why you hear stories about people who met their soul mates online. Many are single and tend to feel happier after meeting someone offline.
3. You Have More Positive Emotions Than Negative Ones
Even though most people experience positive and negative emotions, it’s easier to feel positive emotions than negative ones. That’s because when experiencing positive emotions, you usually do something enjoyable or meaningful. And when you’re experiencing negative emotions, you typically do something unpleasant or harmful.
Because positive emotions are generally easier to feel, you’re more likely to experience them more frequently.
Relationship Expert Dr. Phil McGraw on Finding The One
Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the Dr. Phil show and former marriage counselor, believes finding your soul mate is problematic. He has said that it takes a lot of work to create a lasting relationship, and he’s witnessed countless couples who didn’t realize they were meant for each other until it was too late.
“I believe that the majority of people looking for a partner are looking for someone who is going to complete them,” he told CBS News. “And I think that’s part of what makes us human beings. We seek someone who can take our best parts and bring the best in us. But that’s very hard to do.”
“The truth is, we don’t change enough in life to allow ourselves to connect with somebody else. Because we have been hurt so many times, we’re afraid to let anyone in. I think that’s why so many people divorce after 20 years of marriage.”
McGraw also emphasized that it’s essential to recognize that you’re not in a relationship with your soul mate when you first meet them. Instead, you’re only in a relationship with them after you’ve become familiar with each other.
“We need to learn to trust again,” he added. “We must let down our defenses and allow ourselves to get vulnerable. And once we do that, we open ourselves up to the possibility of connecting with somebody else.”
Are We All In Relationships With Our Souls?
There’s no doubt that finding your soulmate is a challenge. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll eventually discover your perfect match.
While many people use the word “soulmate” to describe their partner, it’s pretty vague. The term “soul mate” could refer to any number of connections, including spiritual ones.
For example, soul mates don’t have to be of the same gender. Nor do they have to share the same religion or nationality.