If you’re single, the question “When will I find my soulmate?” is a natural one. Everybody wants love. We want it when we’re young, and we want it when we get older — even if that means getting married later in life or discovering we have been living with our soulmates all along. And while some people seem to grow pickier as they age, the desire for love doesn’t ever go away.
The real question isn’t “When will I find my soulmate?” but “How can I be ready when he (or she) comes along?” In this article, we’ll look at three things you can do to determine if and when the love of your life has arrived.
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Thing #1 — Look to the Past
The first thing you can do is look at your past for clues about where your future might be. A couple of years ago, I went on a major search for my soulmate’s face. When I read romance novels, who are the characters, and how much of them am I? Are they me with a different name? Is there someone even now in my life who would make a perfect hero? Asking questions like these made me think carefully about my past relationships — good and bad. It was incredibly illuminating.
To get started, study yourself as you were when you were young — maybe around thirteen or fourteen years old — and see if your early crushes match up with any of the ones you have now. For me, that exercise was enlightening.
As I looked back on my early crushes from junior high school and high school and compared them with what I’m looking for today, it was clear they didn’t match up completely. That’s because what we’re looking for in a soulmate changes over time. When I was young, I wanted a boyfriend who could protect me from “the bad guys.” Nowadays, that desire has been replaced by one for an equal partner — someone who brings her fair share to our relationship so we can achieve things together.
Don’t forget to study your friends’ romantic relationships as well when doing this kind of self-reflection. Perhaps there are some faces in your past that you overlooked then but would love to spend time with now.
Another way to look at your history is by thinking about who you admire or respect in your life. Who are the role models? If someone were to write a book about your best friend, which character would she be based on? I have a friend who is beautiful beyond words and single; when we get together for lunch, men can’t stop staring — and there’s one reason why: She is incredibly kind and generous, as well as gorgeous. There aren’t many women like her.
Focus on people such as this when doing the “soulmate face” exercise and think of how much more you could accomplish if they had come into your life not just as a great friend but as a romantic partner.
Thing #2 — Look to Your Dreams and Desires
The second thing you can do is look at your dreams and desires for clues about what is yet to come. This works because our desires are often based on what we want, even if we don’t know it or have never heard of that particular desire before. For example, when I ask women in relationship workshops why they want to get married someday, they talk about things like the social status of marriage or being eye candy on their husband’s arm at parties. These responses usually make me think not so much, “Wow!” as “Huh?” Even though these women are saying the right words (i.e., “I want to get married because I want a husband who loves me and kids who call me Mom”), their natural desires have nothing to do with these things at all: They just can’t put into words what they want.
During the workshop, we eventually find that being part of an interdependent couple and family unit keeps pushing them to talk about getting married again — even if they aren’t able to express this desire in the beginning. In other words, the natural desire is there, but it isn’t conscious yet…and that’s okay! You don’t have to know what you want until you encounter someone (or something) that sparks that interest. For example, when my friends started talking about having kids again and I started feeling the pangs of jealousy, I knew that was what I wanted too.
In addition to helping you figure out what you want, paying attention to your dreams and desires can help you find your soulmate because they are often based on who he or she is — even if only in part. For example, maybe you want a certain kind of relationship with someone athletic or artistic…someone who likes being outside or hates organized sports… perhaps someone who loves animals or wants to travel around the world; all of these qualities have nothing to do with love but can indicate qualities about someone that will make her perfect for you down the road. In essence: You might realize that your dream partner isn’t necessarily who you think she is, but someone entirely different and unexpected.
Thing #3 — Do Some In-Depth Self-Reflection
The most obvious strategy is: Ask yourself, “What do I want in a partner?” and pay attention to what comes up. This can help you realize that you might need more from a relationship than you have been getting thus far — for example, if all you’ve ever dated are commitment-phobic guys, maybe it’s time to look beyond that and find someone ready for an interdependent partnership.
Thing #4 — Get to Know Yourself
The final thing you can do is figure out the who, what, where, and why behind your relationships. What are your deal-breakers? When does a man become a husband in your eyes? How long have most of these relationships lasted, and why did they end? What types of men do you tend to be attracted to (e.g., introverts or extroverts; mission-oriented or party-oriented)…and how does that affect the way you interact with each other after a first date or two?
For example: In my thirties, I started noticing that all my short-term relationships (less than six months) tended to come from online dating sites like Match.com or eHarmony. Logically, that made sense: These were the only places I was meeting guys at the time. But when I looked at my long-term relationships (over six months), they were with men who had come about in entirely different ways — mostly from chance meetings in social situations. Once I saw this pattern, it prompted me to ask myself why the short-term relationships didn’t last long and what else I might overlook in creating a satisfying relationship. It also gave me an idea of where to look for my soulmate next—in entirely new venues!
After your fourth date with someone you like, take a minute to think about how their life is different from yours…and whether or not that’s a good thing. Maybe you have different goals, taste in music, or interest in parenting children…or perhaps your lives complement each other — for example if he wants to travel after work six days a week, but you love staying home and cooking on the weekend. Without knowing what you want from someone else—beyond just wanting him to be “soulmate material”—you might automatically think that your differences are deal-breakers instead of opportunities for growth and self-discovery.
Finding your soulmate doesn’t necessarily depend on pure chance or fate. Paying attention to what you’re attracted to can help you realize that the qualities and desires of the perfect man (or woman) might not be who you thought he would be; maybe he’s not someone so different from you after all, but may have been standing right in front of your eyes the entire time.
Soulmates are worth the wait, and once you find him, you’ll know. You can eliminate the “he’s not my soulmate” scenario altogether by knowing what you want in a partner — both in terms of an attractive personality and more practical qualities such as similar plans for a living—and dating with these qualities in mind. Only then will you be able to find your soulmate (and vice versa) and maybe even make a true friend for life in the process.
Quote: “There is someone out there that was meant only for me, but I’ll probably never meet them because I’m too busy looking at everyone else.”