Can We Please Stop Talking About Soul Mates?
(Warning: not suitable for pregnant people)
“You’re not my soul mate!”
That was the line that stopped the party. My friend looked at her husband and smiled, while we all held our breath.
If he wasn’t her soul mate then who the feck was?
“I have many soul mates,” she said. “You’re my mating mate!”
We all breathed a sigh of relief but her husband wasn’t smiling. He looked a bit shattered.
Growing up, we all hear this fairytale notion that we have a ‘soul mate’ and we should spend our formative years trying to find them. The One.
But what if happiness depends on not finding one soul, but many?
It’s true that once you actually mate with someone it feels soulful because you made another human being. You both made something brand new, unseen, never existed before. So you can’t help feeling like you are wonderful and the person you did this with is equally wonderful. It is cosmically wonderful. It’s when you realize that what you do on this planet can have an impact and that as a human being, you matter. Your matter matters. Your matter is keeping other matter alive. Hell, your matter produced more matter. With THEIR matter. That matters. It totally matters. It’s the thing that matters above all other matters. And finally nothing else matters, as you’ve found your soul mate.
And then you bring the baby home.
This part is not so much soulful, but shitful. At 3am you get up, feed the baby on both sides because you want them to sleep until 6am, change their diaper and put them back in their little cot. Then, just as you lay your wary head down on the pillow, you hear it.
That awful pumpkin-poo-up-the-back sound.
So you drag you weary soul that feels like a wrung-out sponge back out of bed again. Only to repeat it the next night.
After the magic of mating, everything becomes very practical and feels so far away from spiritual it’s a joke. After all that divine, cosmic rutting you are reduced to shushing each other so you don’t wake the baby. You talk about poos way too much and the most efficient brand of breast pads to stop you leaking all over the bed.
It’s about survival. You feel so grateful you made it through the first five years, the first statistic, and your mating mate stuck it out with you. They’re still there right next to you, surviving too.
Once through the loaded diaper years it’s easier to sleep but you spend a lot of time figuring out how to raise what you’ve created. It’s still about survival and helping each other through life. It’s about trying to remember to be kind to each other and not getting pissed at the stupid little things that you thought you would never lower yourself to getting upset about, like who cleans the bathroom more.
Some days, all that matters is what are we having for dinner and did you clean the loo?
It’s not very soulful.
But if we expect much more it all falls apart. Our mating mates can’t nourish our souls all the time and we can’t nourish theirs. The Huff post backs me up here, make your mate your co-founder (of the family) not your best friend.
What keeps it all working, as my friend was trying to tell her husband, is the other souls we bring into our lives: the friends and siblings and cousins and neighbours and grandparents and besties.
The girlfriends who want to know every thought rummaging around in our heads and will listen to it all over a bottle of wine, so that when we go home to our mating mate, we’re full of love and enthusiasm for them, and life.
And the other couples we love to go camping with because it makes it much more entertaining, for the kids and adults. And we don’t argue about the bathroom for one second. Actually there is no bathroom and we still talk about what we’re having for dinner but somehow it’s way better.
And the neighbours we share experiences with and find out their children are also going through the same weird I was only borrowing it phase.
We grow with others souls, which keeps us interested, and interesting to the mate we live with. It’s how we stay together. And that’s what matters.
Enough with soul mates. How about amazing-sticking-it-out-with-me-mate.