Are there soulmates? Expert opinions on soulmates

According to a survey, more than 60 percent of people want to find their soul mate. But what do psychologists say about the concept of a soul mate?

Soulmates feel what their partner needs at all times, which makes them totally sense and blindly understand them, almost telepathic, right? This is true – at least if you trust certain media on the Internet. However, according to some psychologists, faith in the companionship of the soul can harm the relationship. But what exactly are soulmates? How many people believe in soulmates? Read the answers here.

What does soul mate mean?

According to Dowden, there is a “soul mate” when two people have “a great similarity in the way they feel.” However, in partnership, soulmates are given more importance. According to some lists on the topic, soulmates should work without compromise, and partners should understand each other without words – a dangerous approach, according to psychologists.

Are there soulmates?

Christian Thiel, the book’s author and relationship counselor, says in an interview, “Soulmates don’t exist. It’s the esoteric variant of Plato’s spherical people. Our entire culture is imbued with these romantic love myths. I think this is very dangerous.” the time. In Plato’s “Symposium” there is talk of spherical people. It had four arms, legs, and a two-faced head, but was cut off by Zeus and thus incomplete. As a human being, he is doomed to find his other half forever in order to achieve perfection – according to legend.

Hans-Werner Bierhoff, who is a professor of social psychology at the Ruhr University in Bochum, describes the concept of soulmates as “illusion.” Objective similarities are strengthened and categorized by subjective perception. There is a sense of teamwork. This effect was examined at the University of Bochum with test subjects and a working group led by Professor Bierhoff. It has been found that the perceived similarity between partners is often more apparent than the actual similarities, i.e. objective reality. However, the social psychologist says, “An imagined soul mate helps you feel good because you feel understood and validated.”

Behavioral scientist Vanessa Van Edwards, who wrote the book The Psychology of Attraction, describes two ways people categorize their relationships. There are “Destiny Believers” and “Destiny Believers”. The first has the position that their partner is predetermined by fate and that there is “the right person”, the perfect partner.

According to Van Edwards, “growth believers” are convinced that relationships require a lot of work and a willingness to compromise and that one finds the other in a relationship through shared experiences. Van Edwards is based on research conducted by University of Houston psychology professor C Raymond Knee. He regularly publishes his research results in specialized journals such as Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Is faith accompanied by the soul harm the relationship?

According to Van Edwards, there is a so-called “soul trap”. People who believe in soulmate tend to have short, intense relationships because they get frustrated when things go wrong and they are more likely to find a new partner.

Additionally, according to psychologist and sex therapist David Shenark, emotionally engaged couples can also experience what’s called “pressure to belong together,” which can ultimately have a negative impact on sexual activity in the partnership.

However, according to Richard Gehrig, a professor of psychology at State University of New York, believing in a soul mate doesn’t necessarily have to harm the relationship. People who see their partner strongly as part of themselves are more likely to commit to a long-term relationship. So it’s about being willing to compromise. According to Hans-Werner Bierhoff, faith in soul mates can enrich a relationship. However, once a partner becomes too perfect and there is a discrepancy between expectations and reality, this can have a negative impact on the relationship.

Since soulmates are a mental construct, you will likely have a choice about whether the situation can have a positive or negative effect on the relationship.

How many people believe in soulmates?

According to a survey by Marist Poll, an opinion polling agency in the United States, 73% of respondents believe in the company of the soul. Only about 1,018 adults participated in the survey. The percentage continues to decline with age: While 80 percent of people ages 18 to 29 still believe in soulmates, the number is only 65 percent among respondents age 60 or older.

Statista also conducted a survey on love and partnership in Germany in 2018, where some statements can be agreed upon. 5,737 people participated and a total of 61.1 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “I want to find a soul mate in my partner.” She ended up in first place, and there was a huge difference between men and women: 55.3 percent of men wanted soulmates in a partnership. Among the respondents, 66.4 percent agreed with this statement.

In second place was the phrase: “I need a partner who suits me everything, otherwise I will not be involved in the relationship.” A total of 53.9 percent of respondents agreed with this statement. So it can be read that people need to see their relationship as something special – soulmates.

Soulmates: How do we fall in love?

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to finding a partner. These are not only based on the values ​​we were taught as children, but also on our genetic make-up. According to scientific studies, in addition to appearance and personality, one thing above all else plays a role: smell. The body uses scent to determine if a partner is capable of conceiving. This doesn’t seem particularly romantic at first, but it may support the idea of ​​soul mates, if an individual’s DNA really determines which partners they can smell and which ones they can’t.

As Richard Gehrig says, research indicates that similarity leads to affection. “People like you can give you a sense of personal authentication,” Gerrig wrote in his book Psychology. So it’s no surprise that feeling a strong similarity can lead to strong feelings that categorize as soulmates.

Love or infatuation with the soul: it happens in the brain

When we find someone we’re attracted to, infatuation can happen quickly. Although the heart is a symbol of love, everything is in the brain – an increased heartbeat is just a symptom of falling in love. When couples are shown pictures of their partners, the brain’s limbic reward system is activated. This is also activated by friends or family, but when it comes to infatuation, MRI shows that the limbic reward system does much more than that. The interesting thing is that while the limbic reward system kicks in when you’re in love, activity in other areas of the brain decreases, such as the prefrontal cortex responsible for rational thinking.

According to Quarks, the happy hormone dopamine floods the brain when it’s in love. Feel the joy. According to the researchers, similar behavior can also be observed in addicts. Falling in love can be similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder when the thoughts are only about one person. Scientists note, however, that activities in the brain cannot be used directly to draw conclusions about psychological processes. So love and falling in love are fundamentally different.

When falling in love, a mixture of hormones is formed in the brain that reminds us of the state of intoxication. Thought patterns are suppressed in the brain and occur through the neural pathways. In a long-term relationship, intoxication becomes normal and euphoria decreases. According to Quarks, neural processing no longer passes through the pleasure center, but through an area of ​​the brain that processes emotions. Cuddling, kissing, and teamwork leads to the release of more and more vasopressin and oxytocin over time, which can also be detected in the body and brain and are hormonal signs of a more mature relationship.

Soulmates are often considered a passion and a cheerful state. According to Richard Gehrig, it is perfectly normal for “passionate love” to turn into “friendly love.” This is a “natural change” and not a sign of “falling in love.”

Whether you believe in soulmates or not is entirely up to you. But one thing is clear without the opinions of psychologists: Hollywood love is certainly not a realistic standard. So forget the “ten signs of a soul mate” and don’t pressure yourself to find the perfect partner.

Comedian Bo Burnham wrote a satirical song about it. Among other things, she says, “We want perfect children, a perfect life, a perfect husband or a perfect wife. But we know deep down, we don’t deserve it.” (We want perfect children, a perfect life, a perfect man or woman. But we secretly know we might not deserve it.) But in the end, we all deserve to be loved. Soulmate or not.

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