We are soulmates, but can we make it?

-- Question for John --

Five years ago I met my soulmate. We are soulmates, but can we make it? I love him so much, he is the greatest guy I have ever known and at times I feel like I cannot live without him. But when he gets stressed I get put on the back burner and he tells me he just needs time to himself. He later explains it by saying that he can’t take the stress of a relationship at the same time with the other stresses he is dealing with.

I understand that he is stressed and I know I make the situation worse because I put pressure on him to decide whether he wants to be together or not.

We end up breaking up, not talking for awhile. Eventually when things calm down a month or so later we talk and try to work things out. This has happened three times and this time we really don’t know what to do.

To add to it we really are different people. He likes to go out and party all the time and I do not. He truly is a people person and likes to go out for the crowd, so he does not understand my thinking at all.

Even through all this each time we fight we still say we feel like we really do want to be together and I know we do. But this has taken a major toll on our relationship (or what is left of it). We know we love each other so much but we realize love is not enough and don’t know how to fix things.

We try to talk but talking doesn’t fix our differences. When we get back together we do try really hard to communicate and work things out and we do a great job for a while, things are wonderful for about a month or so but before you know it we are back to our old ways fighting all the time.

He says I get mad at him about any little thing. I don’t mean to, I feel like he just has a real hard time understanding me and I am not good at communicating what I really want because I put myself aside so much.

If we have made it through almost six years, 2200 miles apart, two trips apart while he was stationed over seas, and through some major changes in our lives, we feel like we should be able to hang in there until things get better.

We love each other too much to waste a lifetime without each other. We want it to work forever, but we have not gotten married yet, although we’ve talked about it a lot, because we are terrified of divorce. We would much rather figure things out now than later in life like so many people we know.

We don’t know how or if we can make it. What are your insights on us? Can you help us please?

-- Answer from John --

Did you really meet your soulmate, or just a good candidate?

When a relationship begins with a bang, it’s tempting to think you’ve met your soulmate. But a breath-taking start must be followed by genuine staying power, or soulmates soon turn into cell mates, then ex-mates.

Meeting someone with major “wow” is only step one. Call such a person a soulmate candidate. But will they get elected? Will they become your lasting soulmate? This takes more than magic or fireworks.

No matter how great a honeymoon, all relationships encounter challenges. The road to happily ever after includes an occasional rock to trip over. Or boulder.

The difference between couples who enjoy lasting love, and those who fall by the wayside, is not the absence of problems. All couples meet obstacles on the path. The difference is in how they work with such challenges. Some couples face issues, embrace fears or discomfort, and operate from the best in themselves. They learn, grow personally, and are open to change. These couples prosper and become real-world soulmates with solid staying power.

What signs say you might be with a soulmate? A breath-taking start is a giant motivator to get involved, and a kind of emotional glue that may help you stick together through hard times. But ultimately, love alone is not enough.

A longterm relationship requires learning and growth, or it will stagnate and die. Specifically, both people need to do the learning, and both people need to grow as individuals.

Hence, the other thing to look at in a potential partner—and in yourself—is how someone responds to difficulties. Are they open to learn, grow and change? Or do they react by blaming others, getting defensive, or closing down? In the final analysis, this is what will determine the longevity of joy, passion and true love.

Once in a great while, life introduces you to a potential soulmate. The best of all worlds is where the two of you, seeing the rarity of such a meeting, commit not only to sharing ecstatic joy. You also commit to staying open when times get tough, learning and growing in the face of challenges. Then you can create a partnership between two souls who truly expand and blossom in each others’ presence.

Being open to learn and grow is how to succeed in a longterm relationship. Whether they initially call themselves soulmates or not—many couples fall in love, but split up later because they end up blowing it—and do not have the right tools to deal with problems—and they never open themselves up to learn what they need to know in order to overcome a problem.