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 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 your soulmate or 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 L. Huston 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. Huston’s 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. Huston 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.

Dr. Huston 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 willpower and desire 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 as 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 our own relationship. And this is where the illusion of compatibility comes into play.

Finding Your Soulmate 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 Gottman’s 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 of creating a successful relationship.

Meaning, it’s not who you are or what you do that will prolong or help you find your soulmate or the perfect mate. It’s how you speak to each other, how well you get along, how many 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.

found your soulmate

To Learn More about Relationships (References):

  1. Psychology Today:
  2. Journal of Family Therapy:
  3. American Psychological Association:

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This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Otto Bhan

    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. Buihe Madu

    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. ivonne noles

    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??

    1. Vivian Berghoudian

      Depends on what you consider to be a “bad relationship”. Do you consider it a “bad relationship” as a relationship that requires of you to not only give constant attention and put in extra effort to truely understand the other persons perspective, needs, desires and emotions but also requires the conscious effort to make some compromises ourself in order to give the other person what they need. If you believe that you should always be true to yourself and not have to make some changes for someone else to be happy then I guarantee you will have a difficult time with maintaining a lasting and fulfilling relationship with others. This uncompromising type of perspective only benefits you and you may have better luck with a relationship if you were able to clone yourself and fall in love with yourself. Then you could have your perfect idealistic relationship. In my own personal experience, I feel like I have a really satisfying and great relationship with my significant other and I have no doubt he feels exactly the same way. However it was not always like this and we were not able to reach this level of understanding. We could not get here until we got over ourselves and over what we felt entitled to. We felt like we deserved more and that we should not have to change ourself for the other person. This was based on what society told we should have inorder to make a relationship good and lasting. After many years of feeling like there was something missing in the relationship and believing that it was the other person that needed to give us more then they were giving that began to doubt our relationship, as a result we broke up. Not because we stopped loving each other but because of what we were taught and thought about what is a “healthy” relationship so we presumptively concluded that we could not last together. After the break we began to realize that our perspective may have been skewed all along. The hardest part for me was letting go of my pride/ego, admitting to him that I could and should put more effort in our relationship to make things work. I had to lower my expeditions of him and expect more from myself. What we really needed was to accept the other person as they are and loose our selfish demands on each other. We started working harder to give each other a more happy and satisfying relationship with out expecting something in return. This worked for us because we both loved each other ad were willing to do what was necessary to make it work. We personally took it upon ourselves to give the other person more of what they want and by doing so they were so appreciative that they wanted to return the favor. In actuality we each received what we had originally wanted to begin with and got what were accusing each other for falling short of. So yeah, I believe that every non abusive relationship could and should work or be saved if both people want to save it.

      1. Rodney Haitana

        Spot on comment and totally agree

  4. AVA

    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. Tom Lowe

    Best pick-up line EVER!!! 😛

  6. Fernando

    This is actually, really accurate. Great article!

  7. Luis

    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. Lucy Yukhan

    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. iordake

    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. Starsa

    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

    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. Alison

    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. sharon

    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. Fiona

    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. Beth

    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. Hanan Parvez

    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.

    1. Jason


      You are the one with the only response I agree with. The only thing I would add is to have the GUTS to get rid of the ones you know are WRONG for you and not stay with them solely because they meet your subconscious needs and wants, and have the guts to choose the ONE who is actually RIGHT for you in addition to meeting your needs. It takes PATIENCE to wait for the right one. But you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT that it’s all subconscious (or unconscious). WAKE UP CALL PEOPLE! We don’t REALLY know what we want, because we use our CONSCIOUS mind to dictate what we only THINK we want, when in fact it’s all UNCONSCIOUS! The sooner we learn this and use it to our advantage, the happier we’ll be. That’s why most people are miserable; because they SETTLE.

      1. Vivian

        Sounds like classic narcissistic personality disorder. It’s all about you, you, you. Get over yourself. Why should anyone settle for someone that believes that they have settled for less. Those people are miserable because they are envious of what others have and are not content with they have. They have unrealistic expectations and it takes too much to make them happy and that’s why they are miserable. That is also why people cheat on their mate.

  18. northstar

    Likes versus dislikes: I want a woman who plays tennis and enjoys sailing, or not. But NO golfers!
    No religious nuts telling me they KNOW what god thinks. No woman who is looking for a guy with more wealth like relationships are some kind of a fashion statement, here today, gone tomorrow, grass is greener. Those are shallow people but hard to recognize initially.

    “Someone who thinks you are great??” Naaaa, just someone who is kind, is basically happy with her own life, vocation, etc., and treats me the way they want to be treated.

    Someone who enjoys sex and good foods and nature like the ocean and mountains, snow storms outside and a warm fire inside.

  19. Clarity

    Thanks for sharing this article, Luis. I think the issue is in defining what we mean when we say “soulmate”. Many people have the idea that your soulmate is The One person in the world with whom you have The Perfect Relationship, Forever. But a soulmate relationship is not perfect and without conflict and disagreement. A soulmate relationship isn’t necessarily a once in a lifetime ordeal, but it can be. Some people need only meet one soulmate before they realize what they have and settle in for the beautiful journey. For others, they will meet multiple soulmates-people integral to their life’s mission and their person’s growth, and they will need to move through these intense relationships.

    The truth is, a soulmate is someone who helps you to grow exponentially, and this growth is mutual. It doesn’t mean you will socially contract with each other under the law, an activity unrelated to “souls”. It doesn’t mean you’ll be together Forever. The relationship is not always consummated sexually.

    You’ll know you’ve met a soulmate when your life has changed as a result of your meeting/knowing someone. The meeting is serendipitous and will leave you in awe. These meetings always end painfully because someone always has to go, do they not? We will all either walk away or die, eventually. This is love. And this is life blessed with a soulmate.

    If we allow them to, soulmates teach us to love ourselves and others more deeply. They open us up to new possibilities and potentials-and sometimes new people. They do this when they are physically near as well as worlds away. You know you’ve found a soulmate when your love for them transcends time and space, when you can let them go and still grow in your love for them, when you want the best for them even if it isn’t with you(especially then), when your empathy for them is so potent that you can feel them even at far distances, when you allow them to move into the deepest parts of your being without much fear of being intentionally hurt by them. This is a soulmate.

    None of the above is to say that you ought marry any one of your soulmates though! Some soulmates are more suitable for the social contract of marriage than others. First, does your soulmate agree with you on the idea of marriage? Soulmate or not, marriage is not for everyone. Souls cannot be bound by earthly laws! Secondly, does your soulmate share your most important values? Soulmates don’t think exactly alike. Are your sexual rhythms in sync? Are you each healthy enough to maintain a relationship? Essentially, if you intend on marrying or living with a soulmate, then you must ensure that your soul connection is meant to endure the romantic social expectations here on earth in a way that works excellently for the both of you. This is rare, but the waiting is worth it! The soulmate who endeavors to live blissfully on earth as you do, to take that long journey, that is the soulmate you consider for marriage(this is where Gottman comes in). All other soulmates lead to this one if marriage is to be a part of your life’s great lesson.

    Imagine what kind of world we’d live in if people would 1) wait for the *right* soulmate to *marry* and 2) realize that all loves, past, current, and future are soulmates of the highest order. They are our teachers: to be forever loved, cherished, and honored-even in separation,divorce, death, and the furthest geographical distances.

    Your soulmate for marriage and life on earth is there, Luis. They will love you intensely and you them, your compatibility(the *ease* with which you execute Gottman’s rules) will point you to them and they you. Your breakup, although intensely painful, has only brought you closer to what you seek. Never give up on love. Never give up on divine order. All that you need will be given time.


    From reading this great article my intake is that when it comes to soulmate compatibility is not a major aspect at all, to make a relationship last a lifetime, two people have to be very dedicated to put their differences aside and work hard to overcome the obstacles. normally selfish folks who are looking for someone different and who wants to run through the hard times will indeed use “not compatible” phase to run from the relationship…

  21. Rodney Haitana

    Thank you, I enjoyed your article 🙂

  22. ymaont

    Quotes “measures of personality are incapable of truly predicting the length or success of a relationship” and “it is YOU who creates compatibility” and “can accept you for who you are today” remove the fog from oblivion knowledge. Thank you and thoroughly enriching.

  23. Guest

    Your soulmate is whomever life gives you an opportunity to interact with in that very moment. Nothing more, nothing less.

    If we pine away for something/someone that doesn’t exist in your present moment; then you’re not only living in an illusory state but you’re disrespecting your “soul mate”.

  24. Dr.Nausheen saba

    “Accept you for who you are today and not what you will be tomorrow”…….great words!!

    1. Rabbitnexus

      Women marry a man believing they can change him. Men marry a woman believing they will never change. Boith are doomed to dissapointment.,

  25. Rabbitnexus

    I’m married to a woman who is 29 years younger, from another country and culture and this is my third marriage. My wife and I met on facebook, and a relationshiop developed very quickly due to a shared level of intellect and a similar level and direction of spiritual energy. We eloped and married secretly after I converted to Islam and thus challenged the arreanged marriage culture of Pakistan. Thankfully the intial problems which came close to honour killing and if not for Sharia law which permits a girl to marry whom she chooses even secretly if certain condistions are met, we wouldn’t have made it since we did get caught at the airport. Now we are what is called (derogatively) a “love marriage”. Now having been accepted by her family and become very close with them I have been involved in the marriage of my sister in law and what I have learned about arranged marriages is indeed in agreement with this article. I do agree with the conclusions in this article. Compatibility is certainly important but it is a complicated thing and far from easy to define. Despite vast gulfs between our experience and cultures, our age and outlooks, I have to say that after three marriages this is the successful one. I am fairly clear over why it is and none of the traditional answers bears fruit. I am a baby boomer and she is from the “Selfie generation” for one thing. She is a conservative and very pious Muslima who didn’t even know how babies were made before we became engaged and I realised this, and exlained the facts if life to her before we went any further towards marriage. She is happy to spend most of her waking hours on social media talking to her sisters and friends and watching dramas whilst I am an outdoors sort who can’t even watch ten minutes of TV without getting restless. I smoke pot, she does not. I work hard, am something of a workaholic and she sleeps late and does the minimum anytime. Yet despite these differences which make for very little compatibility our relationship is simply amazing. We stopped fighting about anything within the first few months of marriage, things which remained unresolved after 20 years of endless fighting with my ex wife, were dealt with the first time in the first three months of our marriage and never returned again. Despite the fact my ex wife kept the house brilliantly, cooked beautifully and was the most discilined and effective wife a man could desire, and despite the fact she and I were from similar cultures and backgrounds, we never found common ground, we never resolved stupid issues around things as petty as the toothpaste tube or chores to be done. Yet my wife now couldn’t even come close to my ex wife’s abilities in the house, but she managed to give me what I needed which was resistance and a good fight over the issue. Suddenly in the midst of a dramatic argument with threats to kill oneself or each other and with tons of anger, pride and courage, one or the other of us recognises the bluff and starts laughing. The result is the end of tensions and the issue suddenlt vbecomes meaningless next to the gorgeousness of that person in our lives. She is completely unmoved by my most ferocious and scary Aries firestorms, recognising the bluff at the heart of it and I am as equally unimpressed by her Leonine displays of fury and hysteria. We’re a couple of fire signs who have found our match. We can’t hurt each other (what a relief) and we are immune to each others worst weapons. I was as suprised as anyone to discover I didn’t actually care that my home was spotless, tidy and orderly after all. I can see the pattern already. This relationship is based not upon compatibility in the normal sense, however atrologically speaking the answer is as clear as day and does indeed come down to compatibility. The compatibility is astrological. Not that an Aries and a Leo would normally be a good match. However the problems which might arise between two such potent fire signs are balanced by our difference in ages. Many of the things in her arrogant and presumptive Leo makeup would have infuriated me as a young man. However because my wife is much younger I see her in a less competitive light and more for who she is as a person. As such I am in love, happy and am aware that my outlook will change about many things but my regard for my wife will remain the solid foundation for it all. My philosphy is that people marry for one or a combination of three things. Wealth, beauty and shared faith. By shared faith I mean same direction. You can both be atheists, both be Budhhists, Muslims, Christians or whatever but the paths must converge. Of the three choices, the only one which stands the test of time, is the last one.

  26. janet

    This is so not true. There is more to compatibility than what this article describes. In our country people come from so many different back grounds and its very hard to get the underlying values and areas of compatibility right. In arranged marriages there is a common culture and a support system surrounding that culture that keeps marriages together. A lot of people marry the wrong person just as simple as that.

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