Caroline Bingley : You are such a great man Mr Darcy. I admire you very much. Mr Darcy *annoyed* : Thanks. Caroline Bingley *trying to charm* : I wish there was something between us. Mr Darcy : Me too. Caroline Bingley*getting excited* : Really X) ! Like what ? Mr Darcy : A WALL.
look, i’m not saying i am a modern jane austen heroine in the part of her book when everything sucks and she’s getting by on anxiety and her brilliant internal monologue alone, right before her True Love gets their head out of their ass and starts making themselves known
Soulmates. How can one word pack in so much debate? It’s a pretty mighty concept for someone to tackle, but I’ll try my very best to represent both sides–I’m Switzerland. I don’t know if soulmates exist; I don’t know if they don’t exist, either.
Over the past week, I posted on my Instagram and Twitter asking all of you what you think of soulmates, whether it’s fact or fantasy. 56.7 percent of you claim soulmates do in fact exist; the remaining are of the negative. From this informal data collection, I cannot draw any conclusions–the data is not sufficiently statistically significant (oh, how happy my Stats professor would be if she could see me now) enough in one direction or the other. So, I’ve decided to tackle/clarify just what our society considers a soulmate to be.
Urban Dictionary defines “soulmate” as “a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet–a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before.”
In the comments, some of you shared the idea that soulmates are quite literally souls we’ve met in another lifetime–falling under the category of reincarnation, if I’m not mistaken? And thus posing the question that the souls we meet in this life are the same souls we met in previous lives, and now we have unfinished business to resolve.
Others were more skeptical, claiming that some people can be more compatible, but this does not indicate that soulmates are actually a thing. After all, what are the chances of finding that one perfect person in the millions and millions here on Earth? Which opens up the question of courageous people who remarry after being widowed–something I image to be an incredibly difficult decision, filled with great deal of soul-searching.
Let’s say a woman claims to have met her soulmate. They marry, have a few kids, and then he passes away suddenly and unexpectedly. His widow grieves, but after a few years, decides she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life alone–reasoning that her husband would want her to be happy. She remarries to a new man, who divorced a few years back; they instantly click. She still misses her late husband, but feels like she was also supposed to find this man, too. Is it possible to have multiple soulmates? This is a question I’m actually posing, because I wonder how a person moves on from losing a spouse. I can’t begin to imagine the process of moving on from something like that. I admire people who have the courage to love again; I hope to find the courage to love just once.
So we’ve kind of covered “soulmate” in the more traditional sense of the word. But someone else pointed out that your soulmate “may not be your lover, just your perfect friend.” I for one love this–very Sex and the City.
I love the idea of friends being each other’s soulmates. It’s comforting to know that in every breakup, you have friends for support. Friends are such an unique social construct, because they choose you. Your family is more or less forced to love/accept you. You could certainly be just friends with you significant other (maybe, maybe not), but you’re bound together by the stronger, physical aspects of a romantic relationship. Though some people use it casually, sex is a very strong connector. But your friends aren’t bound to you–they choose you. How reassuring a fact is that? There are actually other people in the world who could literally spend their time doing anything, and they decide to spend it with you.
For me, there’s another kind of soulmate: the false soulmate. I think a lot of people can agree that there’s that one person we can always come back to when things don’t work out with someone new–that nagging what if or what could have been. I’ve been experiencing that feeling a lot myself as of late. Maybe if I’d reached out sooner, I’d be the one he’s dating instead of this other girl. Maybe if I’d done this or that differently, things would be different, better.
This insatiable need to play out the relationship to answer what could have been does not mean he’s my soulmate. And if it doesn’t work out and he ends up with some other girl, then he’s not my soulmate, right? Because by definition, soulmates find each other.
A new friend also pointed out something very important, and very valid. I only want him because I can’t have him. And you know what? She’s absolutely right. I only went on four dates with this guy, yet I continue to pine after him, and think about what might have been if he wasn’t off dating some other girl. I can’t continue to measure new guys with his fictionalized standards. (You know how sometimes you only remember the good things about a person after the relationship ends? Like you want to cling to a decent memory that somehow becomes perfect when you turn it over and analyze it in the funhouse mirrors of your mind.)
And even when your mind plays tricks on you in your sleep, it doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate. You can have dreams about people you don’t consciously think about. Nighttime Halle is an entirely different person than Daytime Halle, as it turns out. Nighttime Halle dreams of a particular Wickham that she apparently still hopes (after 10+ years) will turn Darcy after his frat days are over. But he won’t–at least, not for Daytime Halle.
Daytime Halle is like…
But nighttime Halle is more…
So I’m left wondering, are we really capable of being able to call a person our soulmate? I want to believe there is someone out there that will be my perfect other half, but I question how realistic that is. I’m not even sure whether or not we can call Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth soulmates. By definition, a soulmate is someone you instantly connect with. And though this gaze is everything, they weren’t exactly fans of each other during the beginning of their acquaintance–and for Elizabeth, the love didn’t develop until much, much later.
But then I think about how good they are together in the end, after everything is said and done.
“He was exactly the man, who in disposition and talents, would most suit her. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.”
Maybe we can build up to soulmates? Or maybe they were destined to go from loathing to love?
Even though I’d love to draw a conclusive conclusion on soulmates, I don’t feel that I can; it’s subjective and personal. You can only definitively claim that soulmates exist if you yourself have experienced it; I unfortunately have not had this pleasure (yet). All I can say is that I hope soulmates do exist, and if you find a mid-20 something British guy with brown hair and green eyes, send him to Minnesota–his Elizabeth Bennet is waiting (not so) patiently for her Mr. Darcy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every Janeite needs a miniature book compiling the six main novels written by Jane Austen, to carry it with them all the time and read it in case of emergency 💖