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Posted February 3, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. I met my wife, Lori, at an Irish pub in Philadelphia in I was standing between the bar and the wall minding my own business and this beautiful woman with sparkling eyes and a dynamite smile politely told me that I was in her way. We struck up a conversation and, before we knew it, it was closing time. The two of us have been inseparable ever since. What are the odds of meeting the love of your life one random night at a nondescript bar? Is it fate? Is Lori my soul mate? According to a Marist Pollnearly 75 percent of Americans believe in soul mates: the notion that someone unique has been custom-built to be your perfect match, destined to be your loving companion until the end of time.
It happens to people all the time in movies, TV shows, and books. Why not you? Because math. There are more than 7. In his book What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical QuestionsRandall Munroe crunched the s and calculated that we would need to live 10, lifetimes to find our soul mate. In other words, if there is only one person right for you in the world, your chance of finding that individual is about the same as finding a working paper towel dispenser in an airport bathroom.
What if we relax the exclusivity component?
Better, but the odds of bumping into one of those soul mates next time you visit the Big Apple, which is home to more than 8. To put that in perspective, imagine you were a master at speed dating and could size-up a potential mate in just one minute. Assuming you can also do without sleep, that means you could survey 1, people in 24 hours. It would still take you about 16 years to conduct 8. Science is teaching us that belief in a soul mate turns out to be detrimental to our relationships.
People banking on a soul mate invest too much time second-guessing their choice instead of working on said relationship. A study performed by psychologists Spike W. Lee of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Southern California shows that couples who believe in soul mates struggle with conflict more than those who view their time together as a journey with opportunity for growth.
The belief in a soul mate instills an expectation of perfection in our partner—and, if that is not achieved, believers in soul mates give up too hastily, thinking they must not have found Mr. What all the studies seem to say is that belief in a soul mate is unrealistic, counterproductive, and kind of lazy.
The movies make us feel entitled to perfection delivered to our doorstep by fate, but this is not how things work in the real world. If you want to cultivate a satisfying Portland Maine seeking soul mate, you need to be a constant gardener. The good news is that there are many people out there with whom you can make it work, not just one. And it is good work if you can get it.
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger at Harvard Medical School conducted a study showing that one of the most powerful predictors of good health and happiness is being in a satisfying relationship. Back to the night when I met Lori—the story le you to believe that we must be soul mates that fate magically drew together.
Like any relationship, ours is not all roses and rainbows, but we acknowledge and expect that. We try to find the humor in it. A key ingredient to our success is that we both put forth the effort to nurture our constantly evolving relationship. Bill Sullivan, Ph. Bill Sullivan Ph. Pleased to Meet Me. About the Author. Read Next. Back Psychology Today.
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