Psychology Finally Reveals The Answer To Finding Your Soulmate

finding your soulmate

Love doesn’t make the world go round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

~Shannon L. Alder

We all as social creatures, have a deep and underlying desire to find that one perfect person to spend the rest of our days with. That one person when we meet, you feel an uncontrollable desire and an illogical sense of familiarity with. As if you’ve known that person for a lifetime, or perhaps lifetimes. Whatever you want to call it, films and TV series alike have romanticized the phenomenon known as the soulmate. But what do we really know about the perfect mate or the ideal partner? Psychology is finally shedding light on the mystery that encapsulates so many hearts and minds around the world in an effort to understand what truly makes two people compatible for a relationship.

The Issue With Compatibility

Dating sites like OkCupid.com or chemistry.com boast about their in-depth personality tests and about finding someone with similar answers to the questions you answer on their tests, can result in finding the perfect mate.

Now this sounds very appealing for many different reasons. First, naturally you want to be with someone who shares the same values as you and perhaps even someone who enjoys similar activities like rock climbing. Secondly, it only seems logical to search for another person that also wants to raise children and begin a family someday. Lastly, we have such a yearning for love as social creatures, that we will convince ourselves of just about anything in order to fill the empty spots in our hearts.

All of these reasons, create quite the compelling case for compatibility sites but how well and how long do the relationships that have similar interests and quirks truly last?

Dr. Ted Hudson of the University of Texas, ran a longitudinal study of couples that had been married for years and in his research he found out something quite surprising. Dr. Ted Hudsons explains,

My research shows that there is no difference in the objective compatibility between those couples who are unhappy and those who are happy.

Dr. Ted Hudson went on to say that couples that are feeling content and warmth in their relationships said that compatibility wasn’t an issue for them. In fact, they were perfectly ok saying that it was them who made the relationship work, not the compatibility of their personalities. But when the unhappy couples were asked what they thought about compatibility, they all answered by saying that compatibility is extremely important to a marriage. And sadly, that they didn’t think they were compatible with their significant other. Which Dr. Ted Hudson explained that when the unhappy couples said, “We’re incompatible” they were truly meaning, “We don’t get along very well”.

That’s where the issue arises with compatibility, everyone who is unhappy naturally blames it on the facade of compatibility. They fail to realize and comprehend that a successful relationship does not hinge its posterity on how alike you are instead it hangs on by the sheer will power and want to stay in a relationship.

As observed in arranged marriages, where they tend to last longer and tend to be happier in their relationships, according to international happiness surveys. Do these arranged marriages last longer because they don’t have the option of divorce like we do in the United States? Of course not, it’s because they choose to stay committed and aren’t looking for “the next best thing” or someone that’s more suitable in their eyes. 

Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, Michael J. Rosenfeld explains that arranged marriages aren’t that different from the love relationships we have in the Western world. The greatest difference is in culture, Americans value autonomy more than anything, they want the freedom to choose who they want to be with. More often than not, however we get stuck in the perpetual loop of consciously and unconsciously considering someone else when things aren’t going perfectly in your own relationship. And this is where the illusion of compatibility comes into play.

Finding A Mate To Spend A Lifetime With

So we know that building a relationship with another person is dependent on you and the other person. It has more or less nothing to do with compatibility. But if you can’t depend on compatibility exams or some standard form of testing to find your ideal mate, then how do we do it?

John Gottman, the founder and director of the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle said that measures of personality are incapable of truly predicting the length or success of a relationship. John Gottmans Relationship Research Institute discovered that couples who focus their energy on building something meaningful together in their life (e.g., starting a business together like a magazine,) tend to last the longest. How a couple interacts is the single most fundamental aspect to creating a successful relationship. Meaning, its not who you are or what you do that will prolong or help you find the perfect mate. Its how you speak to each other, how well you get along, how much dreams you can envision together.

John Gottman went on to say, if your relationship or interest supports your life dreams. Your ideal partner will look up to you, admire you and view you through rose-colored lenses. Now this sounds ideal, but when you truly reflect on how you’ve always wanted to be treated —having someone who genuinely believes in your greatness, is paramount.

Don’t think it’s all just how we view one another however, a lot of the connection you feel with another person is emotional. Therefore you must be capable of responding to each other when you need something. Or as John Gottman said,

Does your partner turn toward you with equal enthusiasm? You need to ask questions and constantly update your knowledge of one another.

Final Thoughts On The Soulmate

If you truly are looking for love and want to find that person that you can spend the rest of your life with —then remember, that it is YOU who creates compatibility. There is no magic formula or perfect algorithm for making a fruitful relationship with another human being. Yes, you need to find the other person attractive, look up to them and feel a strong sense of familiarity with, but those are but one small slice of the pie that constitutes a healthy and long relationship.

So next time, you spot someone who catches your attention and makes your pupils dilate with interest and enthusiasm, pay attention to whether or not they can see the dream you envisioned for your life. If they can share in your delight and can accept you for who you are today, not for who you can be tomorrow then you have found your soulmate.

To learn more about relationships (References):

  1. Journal of Family Therapy: https://www.gottman.com/wp-content/uploads/BabcockGottmanRyanGottman2013.pdf 
  2. The Journal of Marriage and Family: https://www.ncfr.org/jmf 
  3. American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/03/romance-relationships.aspx 
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Luis R. Valadez

Luis R. Valadez

As an American Author and Research Psychologist, the two aspects in life I value most are: humanity and self-improvement. I make it my goal and life's work to illuminate the secrets of the mind and our potential to every thirsty man and woman. For when given water to grow, we humans prosper. Aside from my love of moving the human spirit -- I also research and rejoice in the fields of neuroscience, historical arts, and quantum mechanics.
Luis R. Valadez

About Luis R. Valadez

As an American Author and Research Psychologist, the two aspects in life I value most are: humanity and self-improvement. I make it my goal and life's work to illuminate the secrets of the mind and our potential to every thirsty man and woman. For when given water to grow, we humans prosper. Aside from my love of moving the human spirit -- I also research and rejoice in the fields of neuroscience, historical arts, and quantum mechanics.
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17 Comments

  1. Nice article Luis.

    Let me check, so the truth is relationships are important and sometimes frustrating, painful, and generally splendid because they include self-examination, reflection, patience, hard work, diligence and a higher good than just mine?

    Ok, then where does one learn and integrate those attributes and other signs of emotional maturity? In case One has missed picking up some maturity traits, you know? Like my friend Vern.

  2. I enjoyed reading this. The references to Gottman and the contesting of compatibility are solid criteria for determining soul mate partnership. Well played. Thank you Luis. Cheers.

  3. I am quite confused. Technically, youre saying that anyone is perfect match if we bend our minds for him/her?? Isnt that a way to get into bad relationships too??

  4. Interesting article, and I can see how people who have not met their ‘soulmate’ would believe that it is the case. However, as someone who has spent the last 15 years with her soulmate, I have to respectfully disagree. I never believed in love at first sight, or soulmates, until I met him- instantly there was this bizarre connection and recognition that occurred. I knew then, as I still know today that he is ‘the one’. My wish for everyone is that they find their soulmate. They exist, don’t give up hope.

  5. Best pick-up line EVER!!! :P

  6. This is actually, really accurate. Great article!

  7. You’re welcome

  8. Ahmadu Shekwaga Khalifah

    I really appreciate your piece of work Luis, it truly will workout for those who believe it will. More of articles like this, please!

  9. Great article. However, I would think that you do need some compatibility in order to obtain shared dreams. Otherwise, asll it takes it paying attantion to the other person and caring enough to do so. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. There’s something not sounding quite right in the final thoughts.

    On one hand, it is YOU who create compatibility, on the other hand it is YOU again who must be accepted by the other person and it is the OTHER person who has to see in YOU whatever dreams and buties YOU have and the OTHER must be thrilled by this and fall at YOUR feet (so to speak). Which, actually, leaves YOU not having to do anything be served by the OTHER.

    Did I miss anything?

  11. I have been living with my soulmate for the last 20 years and we both feel this will last forever. We don’t have to work hard at our relationship. We show each other respect and take care of each other, but that’s something we would do with anyone. With us though, it’s almost effortless. When I first met him, he was afraid that his feelings must be too good to be true and after 2 months went back to his 7 year invested relationship, I wanted to hate him for that but found I couldn’t even do that. I just sort of shrugged and said, oh well, i like him so much, that i will settle on friends. Anyone else I would have given the total boot! He and I see things in the same way and we crack each other up all the time. We also enjoy most of the same things. If I were to pick one thing. I would say it’s when you make each other genuinely laugh. Even when a situation is crumbling down around us, one or the other will always say something that cracks the other one up and it helps you from falling into despair. We have this deep down feeling that we were meant to be together, part of some design. Its weird, but oh so wonderful!!

  12. Luis R. Valadez
    Luis R. Valadez

    I want to personally thank each and every one of you, for taking the time to enjoy my article. This article is very personal to me and the wisdom I gained to express what I said, was because I lived it.

    I’ll share some personal information with you all, I wrote this article because I recently separated from a four-year relationship with my partner. The hole separation of our home and everything.

    Lo and behold, I thought this person was my other half and for many years he was. We rarely argued, had few financial issues, and had plans for marriage.

    Unfortunately, his sporadic conclusion for the ending of our years-long relationship was, “we weren’t compatible” and so I began my psychological research to see what this compatibility was all about.

    After conversing with several successful couples, going through a multitude of psychological journals — I came to the conclusion, that yes, there has to be some underlying connection with a person. But whether or not they are successful as a couple, lies mainly on the willingness to stay committed, regardless of the ups and downs and loss of romantic spark.

    Two people have to understand that there will be pain, you will not stay in the “puppy love” stage forever, and it is up to you to rekindle the flame when it goes out.

  13. Hi Luis,

    I enjoyed reading your article and your additional comment, (#9), even more. I think the reason I enjoyed the latter more was not because of the pain you suffered, but because of your willingness to share something personal and honest.

    I was married for 21 years. I have one awesome son, and someday I hope to marry again. I agree with you 100% that it takes work from both partners, a strong desire to work together towards a common goal – that of continually building the relationship up; especially after the “first few years of honeymoon” are over.

    I wish you well in your search and thank you for sharing.

  14. Great article. I think the person #11 totally missed the point of the article. ..But am happy you’re in a wonderful healthy relationship. Not one size fits all dear…..

  15. In my experience having a soulmate and relationship combined isnt always the best outcome.. I’ve been blessed with love at first sight, cursed with a man with matching ideals, plans for the future which mirrored mine but who evolved into an uncaring, abusive, controlling husband, and finally, am absolutely amazed to be with a loving, tender, calm, sweet, strong, thoughtful, intelligent, devoted man 13 years my junior who is my soulmate in part because he chooses to be.. Chooses to love me at my worst and delight in my best, chooses to be the kind of man I can learn to trust and to be my companion,my best friend, my attentive lover.. He inspires me to be the soulmate that he needs, when I thought I had nothing left to give to a partner. <3 you Jensen Killick-McKinnon, for all you are and and all the ways you lift me up, <3 Fiona Killick-McKinnon.

  16. Excellent article, based on experience and motivated by a strong desire to determine what REALLY makes a relationship work (past that “point” when you feel totally incompatible and only 1 of you is trying to compromise, search for answers, and not give in – this is my interpretation. If I am off on things, it is only because I base things on my experiences.)

    Thank you for sharing your research, your own life experience, and your sources for us to find more information. Good luck to you!

  17. Soul mates don’t exist. We fall in love with those who meet our unconscious list of traits that we are looking for in a potential partner. This means there are a lot of people who can fit that list. It only validates the well-known fact that we can fall in love with many people throughout our life. The rub is- choosing the person you can spend the rest of your life with.

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