Is there an ideal mate for each of us? Is it just a matter of going on a journey to find him or her? Or is it our attitude and our openness to emotions that determine whether a person can become an ideal mate for us?
Some people believe each of us has a soul-mate somewhere out there and, if we search enough and consistently, we will eventually find him or her. Nobody else can do.
If this were the case, it would be quite challenging for each of us to search the world long and wide looking for this unique person. Plato, a Greek philosopher, created a myth in which each human used to be male and female. Then, one day, they offended the gods and, as punishment, they were split into two halves. Since then, each half is constantly looking for the other one in order to feel whole again.
Even though this theory is very appealing, I believe there are different ways in which we relate to people and develop intimate relationships. Each is different, yet not less valuable. One love can be intense, passionate, all consuming. Another can be gentle, calming and easy. People are attracted to one another because of their looks, their minds, their philosophies on life, their histories, common interests, and so on. One love relationship may start with a bang, and then fizzles out gradually. Another may start as a friendship, without fireworks, but grows gradually and incrementally, as the two individuals get to know each other more deeply. In one case, one or both partners know they are made for one another from the first moment they lay their eyes on one another; in another they don’t know but, as time goes by, they develop a deep attachment and love for one another that bind them together creating a strong bond.
I don’t think so, as long as the people in these relationships feel emotionally safe with one another; know that they can count on each other in case of need, feel they have each other’s best interests in mind and act accordingly. Emotional safety is the single most important element that contributes both to the quality and the longevity of intimate relationships. This feeling of emotional safety takes us back to a time in our childhood, whether real or imagined, when we felt safe if the person caring for us was present, physically or emotionally.
Feeling safe reduces anxieties and fears, both in children and adults, and allows all of us to focus on exploring the relationship we are in, the reality around us and our internal world. Intimate relationships, therefore, when healthy, foster growth, creativity and exploration in both partners. Healthy relationships give partners a feeling of being empowered, valued and important. In turn, this gives each of them the strength and confidence to try new things, to push themselves to achieve the best they can knowing that, behind them, their loved one is there to support, encourage, empathize and soothe.