Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sushi and Soulmates

Out at dinner with three friends, we sat over edamame and talked. It all felt very "Sex and the City," and I wondered which of us was Samantha. (If it was me, we were all in trouble.) Issues came up. And one of them left me more than a little baffled: the concept of soulmates. This midrash states that what God has been doing since the process of creating the world was making matches...which is great, but why do some people seem to wait endlessly for their matches? Is it that they themselves, or their soulmates, aren't ready in some way to "receive" their counterparts? Or is it a question of merit? Is there only one soulmate for each person, which makes it next to impossible to believe that the two life paths will overlap enough and at the right time in order to achieve the actual meeting that leads to a lifetime commitment? Or are there several potential soulmates for each person, which can lead to confusion if you commit to one soulmate and at some future time meet another one? Is the word soulmate just code word for "person with whom you are sufficiently compatible and to whom you are ready to declare a commitment"? How does the 50 percent divorce rate inform one's understanding of the concept of soulmate? Can you fall out of soulmateship? The more questions I ask, the more questions I have... What do you think?

6 comments:

Scott Seltzer said...

I'm recently divorced. I apparently made a mistake and married a person who wasn't my soulmate.

Jennifer said...

I suspect some people have one, some people have more than one, and some people (for example, nuns and priests) have none. How else can you explain it, really?

I am definitely convinced that I don't have one, though.

It could be that you're not ready yet...or merit. (Definitely merit on my case.) Then again, I know some total arseholes who found their equally-arsehole soulmate, so what do you make of that?

Dan said...

Soulmate? Meh. I guess you have to believe in souls to begin with. I think that there are just people and people you get along with.

But then again, it probably is all just a product of pheromones

Anonymous said...

"Soulmate" is a bullshit fantasy that women like to indulge.

Marriage is first and foremost about fullfilling each others' physical needs (those physical needs may include practicing the same religion, liking or disliking certain foods, music, etc.).

Hopefully the two members of the pair should not drive each other totally meshuggeh, and both should be convinced that they've found close to the best bargain they're ever gonna get. No? Simcha

Needsabetterjob said...

I don't care for the term much either.

I would be interested in seeing a more detailed statistic of this alleged 50% divorce rate. How many of these divorced occur when there are children or not for example.

Many marriages could be salvaged through marriage counseling. Like any other type of relationship, open and constant communication is key.

Staying in one job for example for many years, while it provides benefits and security on the one hand, it can be difficult, if someone allows emotions to come into the picture too often.

The more important issue is to improve oneself all the time, this will mitigate the obsession to get divorced in many cases.

Andrea said...

I've had the same questions for years. When I was 19 I fell in love. We thought we were meant for each other. We planned to get married some day. A year and a half or so later we broke up, 4 months later he died in an accident. Our final conversation was days before, and was hostile. At the shiva people kept telling me that had he lived we'd have gotten back together.

There were times in the years following when I wondered, "Is that it? Do I get another chance?"

My current relationship might help me answer these questions. Maybe there are no answers.

I do know that there are people we meet with whom we instantly click. It feels like we've known them for a long time. It feels like these friendships/relationships are meant to be. Are they soul mates?

Plato believed in soulmates. I like the platonic theory of love, the ideas of two halves of one being searching for each other. I don't know if I believe it or not, but it's nice.