Call me a stick in the mud, but part of my skepticism disagrees with the concept of True Love/Soul Mates. It is all a fantasy, a wish. I hope this discussion will either help me feel better about feeling this way, or change my mind. Go for it.
Divorce might cause you to revise your assessment of true love Annie... it brings out the worst in many people. It certainly 'took away' even the faintest trace of romantic love I might have harbored in the past. Is it possible for people to remain close (overall) throughout a long-term relationship? Quite possibly. Do I know many people that do? Certainly not.
The "truest" love I know is that which I have for my children. There is a genetic imperative, of course, but I'll define it as love.
What we call love is simply a chemical addiction in the brain. Little triggers (sights, sounds, scents) from people we meet can trigger that production of chemicals. If it was strong enough, we then enter into a self-sustaining "love" mechanism. Simple thoughts of the person will trigger more chemical production. It explains why a woman could love a man that beats her, or how long-distance relationships can thrive.
Soul mates, OTOH, are probably inconsistent with a godless universe. You would need to believe that a higher power arranged the pairing of you and another person. It's also inconsistent with my understanding of love, because it's mostly self-fulfilled and can happen with almost anyone.
After submit my reply, I came across this article in my Facebook feed:
It touches on some of the work scientists are performing to get a better understanding of how love relates to brain functionality. This supports my own theories that love is more or less a dopamine addiction. It's also fascinating information for anyone on anti-depressants, as I am.
i also don't get this "partner in life" stuff. it seems too similar to life after death in that people live their lives under the impression that this life is not the right one, there's a better and more worthwhile life waiting for them, in this case one in some vague sense merged with another person, and in this case one they have to work to seek, wasting the life they've got in the process.
your life is your own. no matter how close you are to someone else, your life is your own. you don't have an obligation to someone else unless you want to, except for your children, who you have an obligation to whether you like it or not.
My wife and I have a favorite love song that really sums up my feelings on the subject. here it is: