Soul Mate, or Life Partner?

“Love is the soul’s recognition of our one true counterpart.” Who would have thought “Wedding Crashers” provides such an in depth meaning of love. Oh Owen Wilson, you old softie you. But really, is that not what true love is? The person who provides the missing piece to our emotional puzzle?

I often contemplate what true love, well, truly is. Chances are we will all fall in love. A number of times. It is essential in discovering the person who will make all of the traumatic experiences worth it in the end. However, I believe there to be a fundamental difference between a “soul mate,” and “life partner.” Let me explain.

“Soul mate” is a term thrown around quite often. When we think of a soul mate, he/she tends to be the person we envision ourselves spending eternity with. That first interaction seems to be so fluid, and natural. Boundary lines are completely eliminated. The level of comfort is unnatural to the point where it seems as if we have known this person, forever. You laugh , cry, and explore mutual interests together. These people intuitively understand what makes us tick on a deeper level without any effort at all.

Basically, these people are our one true counterpart. The two share a natural affinity towards one another of which no words can explain. A soul mate combines trust, intimacy, friendship, comfort and love into one pack age deal incomparable to anything else. Soul mates are the Costco deal we all seek out. Regardless of where the relationship leads, whether it be friendship or true love, we develop a bond with these people that lasts a lifetime.

Then, there is the life partner. Life partner’s are those in which we create a bond with not immediately, but through shared experiences, trial and error. A life partner is a person with whom time is of the utmost importance. It is different from a soul mate in the sense that the immediate connection is lacking, but builds and builds until it is solidified. We do not feel an instantaneous, natural affinity towards the person. They grow on us and, eventually, become our whole world.

Life partner’s are ideal for those of us who wish to hold onto true love. Despite the time necessary to establish a deeper level of trust, comfort and intimacy with these people, they provide us with the opportunity to learn, and grow. The emotional roller coaster which we call life is much easier to smooth out with a life partner. There is no middle ground with a life partner: it is all or nothing. A worthwhile journey embarked on by two completely different individuals working in harmony to balance each other out, and push one another to be their best, day in and day out.

Chances are, we all have a soul mate, and a life partner. Our soul mate’s are those people in our lives whom connect with us, remain apart of us and occupy a spot in the back of our minds, forever. In a sense, they are the “what if” person we all eventually meet. “What if….the circumstances were different? What if…the timing was better? What if…we had taken the time to allow it to develop, instead of trying to rush it?” Those what if’s consume us, and ultimately lead to the downfall of creating lifelong love with our soul mates.

The issue with a soul mate is the simple fact that two people innately understand one another too deeply. Soul mate’s are two individuals who come together, offer emotional, and intellectual stimulation, but care too deeply about each other. We already know everything our soul mate brings to the table because, they are who we perceive to be our ideal self. They share the qualities of our closest friends, companions, read into our thoughts, and actions. Everything is fluid, transparent. There is little room for deep love because the connection occurs so suddenly, and in some regards, already present.

A life partner leads us to an entirely different line of thinking, “what can/will be?” These people do not have a firm grasp of who we are right off the bat, which leaves room for significant growth. “What will happen if…I give him/her a chance, and allow this relationship to grow naturally? What  will happen if…the two of us overcome life’s challenges together, and emerge even stronger? What will happen if…I open myself up completely, trust, and develop comfort over time?” What will happen is this: you will discover a person with whom all of life’s challenges become easier over time as the two of you build a lifelong relationship based on compromise, understanding and trust.

Life partner’s, over time, assume the role of your soul mate. Instead of two people whom understand one another deeply as if it is second nature, you take the necessary time to build up to it. Life partner’s are those we start, and end our lives with. A family, home, career. You create memories, weather every storm, compromise and establish emotional connection through trial and error. It is a challenge worth pursuing.

What will it be, then; a soul mate, or life partner? Soul mate’s are truly one of a kind. They are the people with whom no matter the situation, will remain in our lives, forever. Soul mate’s are two individuals with an intuitive understanding of one another, while maintaining their individual identities. Life partner’s become your whole world due to sacrifice, and a developed sense of compassion. It won’t be an instantaneous, “holy crap I’ve been waiting for you my whole life” kind of feeling. It will take time, precious, precious time. But it will last. For a lifetime.

I am convinced that I met somebody who possesses the qualities of a soul mate. We were not only lovers, but friends.  A life partner? No, but she will remain apart of my life for years to come. The “what if,” if you will. I always believed I was searching for my soul mate and that, when found, I’d ride off into the sunset on a chariot pulled by flying Unicorns. As if life were a fairytale. However, it was too easy. The very fact we connected so quickly left little room for growth. It was too much to handle as we both knew what we offered each other. Irony at its finest.

So that brings me to my final point: I believe in soul mate’s, but my foot is firmly entrenched within the life long partner side of the debate. I’d rather develop a bond that lasts a lifetime, than establish one immediately and hope for the best. It is the daily conquests and challenges overcome with a life partner that make true love possible. Which will it be for you, folks? That is for you to decide.




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