Soulmates – how believing in them (or not) affects your relationships

Your beliefs about relationships – specifically your belief in soulmates – can impact your relationships. 

So, do you believe in soulmates?  If you are like most Americans, the answer is yes.  In a Marist Poll conducted in 2011 with a nationally representative sample, researchers found that 73% of Americans said “yes” when asked, “Do you believe in the idea of soulmates, that is two people who are destined to be together?”  This is up from 66% in 2010.  Southerners were the most idealistic, with 78% believing in soulmates, and Westerners were least idealistic with only 63% believing in soulmates.  Younger people, people with less education and income, and non-whites were also more likely to believe in soulmates. 

How does believing in soulmates affect your approach to relationships?

People have ideas about what relationships are and how they should be (also called implicit theories).   For example, some people believe in the idea of soulmates – that there is only one person (or a few people) that you are destined to be with, and that a good relationship will only come from a relationship with “the one” (or ones) (Franiuk, Cohen & Pomerantz, 2002).  Others, however, believe that good relationships are about commitment, rather than destiny.  You can be happy in a relationship as long as you put in the effort to grow and maintain it.

If you are a person who believes that good relationships are a matter of finding the right person, you might invest more time in that front.  One study found that people with these kinds of destiny beliefs placed a lot of weight on satisfaction at the beginning of the relationship and were quick to end a relationship that was not working out (Knee, 1998). In other words, if there is only one person I am meant to be with, then conflict at the beginning of the relationship may be a sign that the person I am with is not the one.

Keep reading to find out what this means for people with a more work-it-out approach, and what happens down the line in married and committed relationships.  More about SOULMATES HERE


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