Your (Incorrect) Concept Of 'Soulmate' Is Keeping You Single

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silhouette of man and soulmate at sunset

Everyone desires that special someone to share their life with that certain someone who "fits" as if he or she was meant to be there. This exquisite person is your one true love, the person designed as your match: your soulmate.

For many people, the idea that they have only one "ideal mate" is a concept they struggle with. When potential loves enter their lives during the dating stage, they are left wondering if there’s someone "better" out there.

The endless search for perfection often leaves these singles alone; more married to the search than they are to an actual relationship. Those who find healthy relationships discover the secret, that our soul mate isn’t actually perfect, but rather that person is "perfect" for us, flaws and all.

Taking a look at your life you may realize that you’ve been single longer than you desire, and you embark on the search for the perfect mate. Unfortunately, the very concept of a "perfect" match sets you up for failure because all humans are inherently flawed.

No one is perfect, and while we are not advocating for settling for less than you desire, the notion of "perfection" is a self-sabotaging principle. Looking for a soulmate may be keeping you from finding true love.

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Reset your concept of a soulmate 

Are you stuck being single?

If you have been looking for lasting love and struggling to find it, perhaps you’re stuck in "singlehood" because you’re walking around with a mistaken belief that there is one, and only one, true soulmate out there for you.

The truth is, there isn’t just one match for you, there are hundreds of them.

These are people who meet your criteria for emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual connection and are looking for the same things from life and love as you. Shifting your idea of what a soulmate is and isn’t will open your eyes and your mind to them.

To do this, let’s take a look at what a "soulmate" really is.

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What is a soulmate?

A soulmate has been described as a person who is perfectly suited for you as a mate, a life partner. Soulmates partner up to inspire one another to live at their highest and best selves. They grow together rather than apart.

Sometimes the terms "twin flame" or "twin soul" are used to describe the ultimate soulmate. The problem with this is that it implies that if your search for the perfect mate fails, then you’re doomed to live a life missing half of your soul.

A soulmate helps you to experience "your authentic self." Some even think of their soulmate as literally the other half of their soul.

The problem with that last idea is that it implies that if your search for the perfect mate fails, then you’re doomed to live a life missing half of your soul.

The truth is that you come to a relationship — all relationships — as a full and complete person.

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What a soulmate really does for you

Instead of completing missing parts of yourself, what soulmate relationships do is give you an opportunity to grow in partnership. This is the highest level of personal growth you can experience.

There’s personal growth you can do on your own, but the Ph.D. level, where you reach your highest potential is done in partnership. Both people must be invested in this journey to make the relationship a true soul partnership.

This is one of the many reasons you’re so tied to the search for a soulmate. You’re hungry to grow together with someone who inspires you to be your best self.

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What is a soul contract?

You can have a soul contract with anybody: your parents, friends, bosses, co-workers, your children, etc.

Soul contracts differ greatly from soulmates. These experiences give you the reason that someone has come into your life — to help you grow. Many of these relationships are not intimate partnerships they’re designed for you to gain learning and growth and then move on.

Love is not necessarily part of the equation of a soul contract, although some of the people you have soul contracts with are intimate partners that did not last.

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The dark side of a soul contract

Some soul contracts are played out in light, they are conscious in helping you grow — like good friends or mentors who help you bloom and mature.

Other soul contracts are played out in the dark — they’re unconscious of the agreement between you. Realizing that all of your experiences are happening for you and not to you, will give insight into soul contracts that are played out in the dark.

These agreements are opportunities to work with your shadow self (the hidden or repressed parts of yourself). These experiences can be painful and also encourage you to create changes that benefit you for the rest of your life.

Sometimes soul contracts prepare you to be the person you must be in order to bring in a soulmate relationship. Remember all your lessons matter; those that bring joy and those that create pain. The phrase “growing pains” is acutely appropriate for these events.

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How you’re showing up is everything when it comes to soulmates

If you’re moving through the dating process hoping to find someone to fill a void inside you, it’s likely you’ll end up in an unhealthy or toxic relationship.

Soulmate relationships are interdependent over time, but they start out as two people who want to be with each other, not two people who need each other.

A true soul partnership will require that you embrace your humanness and release unrealistic expectations. Perfection is not required, simply the desire to become a better person through the journey.

Conflict is a part of all relationships, even with your soulmate.

Learning to navigate through conflict to create a deeper connection is a learned skill. Soulmate relationships last not because everything goes smoothly, but rather because each person owns their emotional experience and takes responsibility for their triggers.

Here’s the equation for bringing in a soulmate:

Emotional Mastery + Self-Love = Soulmate Relationship

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Keep the faith and stay the course

Staying optimistic is your way of telling your soul you trust that the right things are going to happen and that you believe love is coming your way.

If you desire a soulmate relationship then you must keep your eye on the prize.

Growing in love is a lot like being a marathon runner. Every experience in love is like a mile marker bringing you closer and closer to reaching your destination. The same is true of relationships that don't work out, there’s insight and lessons that continue moving you towards your true heart’s desire.

Ultimately, finding your soulmate is all about being purposeful in love. You don’t magically fall in love with your soulmate when you meet the mythical “right” person.

Implement S-L-O-W love through the dating process so you can discover if you both value the same things. Ultimately, setting realistic expectations for your soulmate relationship is the key to selecting an ideal person to share your life with.

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Dr. John Gray is a leading relationship expert whose books, including "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus," have sold over 50 million copies in 50 languages in 150 countries. He helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships.

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. They're the authors of 7 Steps To Soulmating.