The concept of soulmates is one that is defined differently from one person to the next. For some, the word “soulmate” radiates around the idea that we all have a “one and only” out there who was made for us and us for them. For others, a soulmate is a broader term that could be applied to anyone that you have a strong connection with, someone that makes you feel safe, understood, and at peace (whether romantically or platonically).
I, being ever the hopeless romantic, tend to subscribe to the view that a “soulmate” is someone that fits like a glove, a home, a constant sense of security and love. While there have been many times in my life where I’ve thought, “This person is my soulmate. This person is the one”, I currently find myself in a relationship where, for the very first time, I truly think it’s the real thing.
If ever there were a soulmate for me out there, someone who was meant to find their way into my life, my current girlfriend is that. Where all of my other relationships have failed due to jealousy, miscommunication, or pure incompatibility, things are easy with my girlfriend. I’ve never distrusted her, I’ve never second-guessed my love for her, I’ve never imagined my future with anyone but her by my side.
As you might imagine, living a life where I feel confident to have “found my soulmate” is one full of bliss and an overwhelming sense of relief. That being said, one thing that I consistently think about with a sense of anxiety is how easily I could have never found the person meant for me.
Today, as I have many times before, I sit and think about my love for my girlfriend, grateful to have the type of relationship now that I’ve always been looking for, only to think “what if we’d never found each other?”.
Now, I’m well aware that there are probably many of you out there who are thinking, “what’s the point in worrying about that? You did find each other”. To that, I say that it’s only in my anxious, worrying nature to think about these types of things frequently. On the other hand, maybe you’re the type of person who is prone to wondering the same thing about that special person in your life. Maybe you understand what it feels like to lie awake in bed at night and think, “my life could be so different if not for that chance encounter”.
Do You Believe in Fate?
Whether you call it pure coincidence, fate, or destiny, one fact remains: in one moment, lives can collide and change forever. As my mother told me many times after a bad breakup from my girlfriend of seven years, “love finds you when you least expect it”. As it turned out, she was exactly right.
After what was a life-shattering loss for me, my breakup from my ex-girlfriend shifted my worldview. My heart was broken. I felt lost. I felt that as easily as I had found my “soulmate”, I had lost her for reasons I still couldn’t wrap my head around. Although I was only 22 years old and had my whole life ahead of me, I quickly made up my mind that I’d never truly be in love again. While my relationship had once seemed perfect, a confusing chain of events led to its destruction in what felt like the blink of an eye.
An Open Relationship Doesn’t Have to Be for You
The story of my failed Open Relationship and the lessons I learned
Although I had made up my mind that I had experienced true love once in my life and would likely never find it again, I still craved companionship. See, my breakup also resulted in a loss of every close friend I had at the time. When my girlfriend left me, so did our mutual friends. Siding with her, they abandoned me. I was truly and completely alone for the first time in my life.
Craving companionship so badly, I did what many people do right after an especially bad breakup: I tried to rebound. Now, I didn’t set out to find a relationship. I want to make that abundantly clear. At the same time, I don’t think I was looking for meaningless hookups. While to this day I’m unsure exactly what I was looking for, I know one thing for a fact: I needed someone. I needed someone to talk to, someone to listen to, someone to enter my life at a time where I needed them most. I didn’t, however, expect to fall in love.
Two months after my official breakup with my ex-girlfriend, I did something completely out of my nature: I set up a Tinder profile. This was something that was outrageously far out of my comfort zone. I’ve never felt that I’m an especially attractive girl, despite having many relationships up to that point in my life, and was wary of putting myself out there only to be rejected. Still, my desperation to find someone, anyone drove me forward. Soon, I find myself going out with several girls on occasion.
As much as I wanted to fill the hole in my chest, I quickly found that nothing I was doing did the trick. These meetings with girls would simply temporarily satisfy my need for companionship, give me a few short hours to feel like my old self. While it helped, I still found myself walking around in a haze. Something was missing from my life and I couldn’t put my finger on what. The days grew longer, the nights were miserable, and I spent every day feeling like I had lost something that would never return to me.
I still remember the first time I saw my girlfriend’s face. Scrolling through Tinder, swiping left and right, I came across her profile. While I found her beautiful from the moment I saw her, there was no “spark” like you sometimes hear people talking about in movies. I didn’t see her face and experience an explosion of fireworks in my head. I simply looked at her profile, noticed that she was likely in college, and almost swiped left. I remember thinking “someone in their freshman year of college is too young”. Still, I swiped right. I didn’t think anything else about it.
I had no intention of contacting her. After swiping right, I forgot about her altogether. That was until she messaged me one rainy April night. I was actually out on a “date” with another girl when the notification popped up on my phone. I almost didn’t open it. After all, I figured it would kind of make me an asshole to respond to Tinder messages while I was with someone. But I did. I opened her message. To this day, I’m so thankful that I did.
That night, I sat in a bar with a girl I had no future with and talked to my future girlfriend about the weather. The bar was busy, practically overflowing with patrons, and I was sitting by a window, watching the rain pour down outside. As much as I wish I could say that our first conversation was really something special, something that drew me in immediately, that would be a lie. While I found her nice enough, I still thought, “Don’t get involved with a college girl. Best to find someone your own age.”
When I’ve asked my girlfriend about our first conversation in the years since she’s told me that she knew there was something special about me immediately. Although we awkwardly talked about the rain and I was at a bar with a girl I would later drunkenly kiss that night, my girlfriend said she felt immediately drawn to me. She went to bed that night hoping I’d message her again in the morning. Something told her that she shouldn’t lose this sad girl who lived miles upon miles away. I’m glad she didn’t let me go so easily.
When I think about the chance encounter that led me to my girlfriend, I’m overcome with how easily we could have never even spoken. So many things had to line up perfectly that night to lead us to each other. She had just gotten out of a bad relationship and ended up on Tinder for much the same reason as me, just days before. I, against my nature, set up a Tinder profile and decided “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot”.
Simultaneously, we had to take certain steps, at certain times, all while many miles away from each other, to even learn that the other existed. If I had gone with my gut (something I usually do out of fear of getting hurt) and swiped left on her that night when I came across her profile, we would’ve never ended up talking about the rain that fateful night when she messaged me.
I get chills when I think about all of the factors, all of the ways, that we could have so easily never even known each other. Someone who is now my best friend, my home, the love of my life, could have easily never found me. Everything had to line up perfectly to lead me to her.
Life is a Flip of a Coin
If you’re currently in a happy, fulfilling relationship, I’m willing to bet that you’ve thought about the chance encounter that led you to your significant other at least once or twice. How easy would it have been for you to never meet?
When I think about this, I tend to think about my mom and her fiance as well. My mother, after her divorce from my father, felt much the same way that I did after my breakup. I remember one particularly bad night when I was in high school when I tried to comfort my mother as she cried. “It’s too late in life for me to ever find anyone at this point,” she sobbed. As I put my hand on her shoulder and told her that wasn’t true, I was well aware that I didn’t know whether or not I was being honest. I didn’t know how to comfort her. She was so sure that she’d never have another chance at love.
Then she met her current fiance by chance in a Walmart parking lot. Not paying attention, her mind likely on something else, my mother backed out of a parking space and cut off the car coming up behind her. The man, initially angry at this, looked to see who had cut him off. Then he saw my mother. As he has told the story many times, he knew he “had to talk to her immediately”. He got out of his car, walked up to my mother who was reluctant to roll down her window and speak to him, and asked if he could give her his number.
When my mom came home that particular day, she had a spring in her step. My mother had never tried to actively date. She never tried to find men. She was a bit too reserved for that. Instead, someone had found her. All because she cut him off in a parking lot.
Life is a flip of a coin. What leads us to the person that may easily turn into someone we could never imagine life without is a series of actions, thoughts, and steps that we make completely unconsciously. Some of the greatest love stories I’ve ever heard in my life happened when both parties were the least suspecting. For me, there is a great deal of comfort in that. Sure, I could have easily never found my girlfriend. At the end of the day, though, I did. We found each other. We hit it off. We fell in love quickly and wildly. That’s just the way it was supposed to go.
Life has a way of giving us what we need when we don’t know that we need it. People enter our lives at a time when we need them the most. I firmly believe that people enter and even exit our lives at the time they’re supposed to. At the same time, I believe there are those that are never meant to leave. There are those that are meant to accompany us through every day, good and bad, until we close our eyes for good. Those are the truly special ones.
Although I find myself worrying from time to time that I could’ve easily never found my soulmate, I typically get over this fact pretty quickly. I did find her and she’s still here. Further, I believe that we have a long, beautiful future awaiting us. Now that she’s in my life, I know I’ll never truly be the same person ever again. She’s changed me for the better. Even if I were to lose her one day, I think I’d still say she was my soulmate. She has done more for my sense of self than anyone ever has. She came into my life right when she was due and I came into hers right when I needed to.
Life may be a flip of a coin but I tend to believe that the coin always falls the way it’s meant to.