Jess Downey

Jess Downey is a freelance writer, blogger, and online columnist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

I Don’t Believe In Soul Mates


I have a confession to make -- I don’t believe in soul mates. I know, I know. How cliché. A gal who writes about dating and who lives in New York who doesn’t believe in soul mates. How shocking.

But really, I don’t.

I think I once did when I was younger. But I also used to sport a flannel with an ESPRIT shirt under it. So clearly I’ve had some moments where I was wrong about stuff.

So let me explain my reasoning here.

What happens if this so-called soul mate dies soon after you meet them? Maybe that’s a little morbid, but let’s all take a moment to be realistic here. Sure we all believe we will live to be whatever age seems really old, but things happen. Buses. Diseases. Wrong place, wrong time.  So what happens when you meet Mr. Soulmate at the age of 25 and he dies 10 years later? It seems strange to me that you would go on living your life completely closed to the idea of meeting anyone because you already met your soul mate and he tragically left you too soon. Sure, you might not rush out to find someone new, but I think it’s weird to say you would never date ever again.

Also, don’t you think that creates a whole lot of pressure for this other person (and for you)? I mean, sure you probably aren’t going to tell them an hour after you’ve met them (unless you’ve got your crazy pants on). But even if you wait years, it’s still a lot of pressure to know that you think this other person is the one and only human being you’re destined to be with. It gives them a whole lot of something to live up to. And what happens if things go sour? What happens if you both don’t want the same things?

Finally, how and when do you figure out that kind of thing? Obviously I believe that you know when you love someone and when you want to spend your life with them. But some people say I love you and have many serious relationships before settling in with the person they marry. So how do you differentiate? Or do you just think each person is your soul mate until you meet your actual soul mate? I find it all very confusing.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are situations you’re supposed to experience and people who you’re supposed to meet. But I guess this whole idea that there is one person that we are predestined to be with is just a little too heavy for me (and a little too Nicholas Sparks).

I promise I’m not being cynical at all here – couldn’t be farther from the truth. Obviously I truly believe in love and romance. I also believe that you can (and) will find a person that you want to spend your life with. You’ll probably be crazy in love with them. But that’s a key thing here – I think you find the person you want to spend your life with and you make it work. It’s more of a conscious decision. Not something that was written in the stars before you were born.