Is there such a thing as a soulmate?

-- Question for John --

What is a soulmate? Is there such a thing as a soulmate? My boyfriend doesn’t agree with the concept. He says people are in our lives to teach us a lesson, so once we’ve learned whatever it is that person needs to teach us, the relationship will end. So basically what’s the point of getting involved with someone because it’s just going to end!!??

-- Answer from John --

Our definition of soulmate is based on our real life experience of being soulmates. It actually incorporates a bit of your ideal and a bit of his statement. Our definition includes both: (1) the point IS longterm success in a committed relationship, and (2) relationship IS our teacher and teaches what we need to learn next in our personal growth.

Both points are important. You cannot just meet a soulmate and that will automatically guarantee a longterm relationship. When you get those soulmate feelings, this signals that there is a strong and deep connection upon which you can build a longterm relationship. But you still have to build it. There is no automatic success in relationship without the requisite work to keep it alive, happy, joyful, passionate, and moving through whatever challenges come up. Hence, just because you meet someone special doesn’t guarantee longterm success. You have only met a potential soulmate there, in our definition.

You still must turn that potential into a lasting reality. This will require you to overcome whatever challenges come up. The road to “Happily Ever After” has some bumps in it. You meet each challenge and learn the lesson that challenge has to teach you. This results in your own personal growth — and hopefully your partner keeps pace with you in their personal growth. When two people keep growing together like this, they are partners who are doing their soulwork. If one partner gives up growing, then the relationship will stagnate and go progressively downhill and possibly end.

It takes TWO people to build a strong and lasting relationship. It only takes ONE person to end it. Our definition of soulmates are two people who are continuing to do their soulwork together, which enriches their ongoing longterm commitment.

Apparently your friend thinks that a relationship has only one lesson to teach. This means he is pretty young and possibly shallow in his experience. It also may indicate that he has a problem with commitment and his “philosophy” is just a rationalization.

Relationships keep teaching us, for as long as we are willing to stick around and learn. There is no end to that learning, and, in fact, you have to keep learning and growing if you want to have a longterm relationship. Longterm success in a committed relationship — such as you say you yearn for — requires each partner to do the work of ongoing personal growth.