There are many ways to define the word “soul mate,” but for me, it has always been about two people who share an undeniable connection and complement each other.
In my experience, this sense of oneness happens over time. At first, attraction can be instantaneous or slow to develop. The feeling might be romantic love, or it could just be the simple recognition that another person is a good fit.
Either way, at some point, you realize that what you have with your partner is more than physical chemistry; you feel like something special is shared between you. That moment of knowing is the beginning of real connection — the foundation of a lasting relationship.
What Makes A Relationship Compelling
While every relationship is different, I’ve found three things to be true for most of them:
1. Intimacy refers to the level of emotional intimacy and closeness you experience together. While the idea of intimacy in a long-term relationship may seem cliché, it’s not a bad thing to strive for. A solid base of emotional connection helps ensure you always feel supported and loved by your significant other.
2. Trust: When you trust your partner, you believe they will keep their word and treat you well. In my experience, this type of trust comes naturally from being close enough to see into their hearts. If you can open up your mind to the possibility of loving another person, you are already closer emotionally to that person than anyone else.
3. Passion: What keeps you coming back for more is passion. No matter how often you’ve tried to explain it, passion is inexplicable. It’s that feeling you get when you fall for someone completely. It’s the feeling of wanting to spend all of your time with them, even though you might be tired, stressed, or busy with work. And it’s the same feeling you get when you want to kiss someone after years of being friends.
It’s a powerful emotion that strengthens the bond between a couple. However, it’s also hard to come by. We might think we’re in a passionate relationship, but our feelings often don’t match reality. So how do you know if you have a relationship that feels like you’re in love?
When You Know It’s Over
I used to wait until I felt empty inside before I knew it was over. I would try to deny my emotions, but I couldn’t hide them forever. Eventually, I began to recognize the signs and symptoms of unrequited love.
These were the ways I knew I needed to end the relationship. You start to feel anxious and paranoid around your partner. You avoid spending time alone with them because you fear how much you will have to say or do, and you don’t want to risk accidentally hurting them.
Your partner starts to change without warning. They become distant and irritable. They stop listening to you and start speaking against your beliefs and opinions. You feel trapped in a toxic situation, and you start questioning whether or not you should stay.
You have little respect for yourself. You question why anyone would want to be with you, and you tell yourself that you must be crazy for having been interested in a person as flawed and selfish as they are.
You find yourself lying to others. As you grow apart, you lie about your partner behind their back. You justify these lies by saying you think it’ll hurt your partner too much if they knew the truth. But you find yourself doing it anyway.
The relationship becomes physically draining. Your partner stops wanting sex, and you start resenting that you must sleep next to them every night. You feel physically sick and drained whenever you’re near them.
You start looking elsewhere for validation. You start going on dates with other people because you can’t stand to be around your partner anymore. You don’t do this to get away from them; you want to fill that void with someone new.
You lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. As you grow apart, you are less happy and more cynical about everything. You start becoming more self-centered and don’t want to spend any time with your partner.
The Power Of Affirmation
To be clear, these aren’t rules you can follow perfectly to confirm your suspicions. Instead, they are simply indicators that you’re ready to move on if you choose to. Once you know you’re not in love anymore, you have to decide if you want to continue the journey.
If you do, you have to take responsibility for yourself and your happiness. Start by taking care of yourself and your own needs. Do things you enjoy. Take classes. Read books that you haven’t read in years. Go to museums, concerts, movies, festivals, and plays. Find something to look forward to so that you won’t feel lonely. Don’t let your partner drag you down, and don’t allow them to control you either.
However, even if you don’t feel anything for your partner anymore, it doesn’t mean you can’t still be happy. You might discover that you’ve connected with another person instead — maybe even someone who shares similar traits and values. Or you might realize that you no longer desire the same things you did dating your ex. Either way, you’ll be better off.