Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not because I don't like butterflies and fireworks

So I was over at Dawn's reading her most recent post about "soul mates." Or, more accurately, belief in them (or not). I started typing and after I'd spit out a good four paragraphs, I decided it was worth it's own post. Also, Dawn doesn't need my dissertation on her blog. Well, at least not ANOTHER one. (I have no good reason for all those others, Dawn. Oops?)

Dawn said she's "never been a big 'soul mate' person" but wondered what others think. I, of course, had an opinion.

This may come as a surprise but I'm not a huge soul mate person, either. Additionally, I think choosing to initiate a committed relationship is more due to effort on the man's part than the woman's*. Okay, that might not have come out right but go with it for a minute. I think, because we are very different in the ways of commitment, that it really is about timing, especially for men.

You know that guy, the one who'd date everyone? He was nice but he'd never commit. He'd have the perfect girl and somehow, some where down the line, he'd find a reason to break up with her. Then, after all that, he'd begin dating a girl and be married within six months? I think it's largely because HE was ready. My friends and I used to call this the "next girl wins" phenomenon. It wasn't necessarily because she was his "soul mate," it was because a) he was ready and b) they were compatible. That's it.

Now, even typing this, I am a little weary. It all seems very mechanical and not at all romantic. But I think that's why it's so much more attributed to men (in general). It's about logic, not butterflies and fireworks. I know the dudes like the butterflies and fireworks, but I think they see that as more of a given, or a "bonus" if you will. They'd rather know they're ready and that they're with someone who they can stand.

So part of me thinks this is encouraging, because what it all comes down to, for me anyway, is that I want to be with someone who wants to be with me. Someone who's ready and is aware they're at that point in their life. Call me crazy, but I like the idea that two people can decide to be together and then decide to put in the work it takes to make (and maintain) a good relationship.

Now, as Dawn asked, what do you think? Agree? Disagree?
___________
*This is assuming, of course, you're addressing a male-female relationship, which we both were.

22 comments:

Sizzle said...

i'm overly romantic and would like to think there are soul mates. at the same time, i operate more like a man when it comes to dating so...i think both are true. two people can decide to be together and put the work into it...and they can also decide to leave.

soul mates to me implies forever without any logic or reason but i still like to have that fantasy.

Airam said...

I can understand your point and you're absolutely right that it has to do with the guy being ready and willing to commit. What I can't understand is why wasn't he ready months prior with his previous girlfriend? It has to be about the girl too. It just has to because it makes no sense that within a few months of breaking up with someone a guy has fallen in love and proposed marriage. If you ask me it's just a cruel joke that the universe plays. This hasn't happened to me but it has happened to a friend of mine and I just felt so horrible for her. I used to think I believed in soul mates and all that crap but now I just feel like technicalities plays a much bigger role than I once believed.

Josh said...

Interesting post and very philosophical. Makes ya' think.

As a dude I can say that 9 times out of 10 your right. Its all in the timing.

OC said...

I agree with you 100%. I have witnessed the "next girl wins" phenomenon many times. Actually, I'm usually the "last girl that loses." But to see a guy move on, meet someone and then Mr. Commitmentphobe now has a ring... timing. My parents (who have been married nearly 30 years) met when "the timing was just right" they've said. He was ready, she knew what she wanted and it worked.
No soul mates necessary.

dawn said...

Maybe if more folks weren't looking for butterflies and fireworks, then there'd be less divorce.

Seems that marriage and staying married is a choice...you've got to decide to do it and commit to the decision as much as the person.

brookem said...

you made me think of soul mates in a whole new way, so first i want to say thank you for that. my opinion? i dont know, i think i sorta kinda believe in soul mates? (convincing, i know). but i dont believe there is just "one" person out there for everyone. i think a lot of it has to do with timing, but on both the guy and the girl's part. i agree with airam too- if the guy wasn't ready 5 months ago, what all of a sudden happened? i guess it's timing. and then like you said, it's the next girl phenomenon. hmm. i dont know for sure what my complete thoughts are on it all. i feel like this a confused mess of a paragraph.

Backofpack said...

I think that if you decide some one is your soul mate, then he is. I mostly think the whole soul mate thing is the result of movies - they've given us a warped view of love - the idea that it's all fireworks and butterflies. Most relationships probably start out there, but then they settle into a rhythm - ups and downs, just like life in general. The thing is, if you love someone, you put work into it. It's true whether it is your parents, your children or your lover. You may love unconditionally, but if you don't put the effort in, it won't hold together. (The only time you can love unconditionally, put no effort in, and have it hold is with dogs.) Instead of fireworks, think of a campfire - all crackling hot when you start the night, then settling into red-hot coals. The coals can last forever, but with a little energy, can flare back into flame. That's what a marriage is like - and if you decide that your husband is your soulmate, then you put the energy in, and you get the flames.

Sister Buckle said...

Ooooh, I do agree, but I'm also a soulmate person as well...

See there's been a couple of times when I've met wonderful wonderful guys but then I've realised that there was a certain vanity in me liking them mostly because they liked me so much. I was congratulating them. Rewarding them.

There's got to be another level that pushes you over the line otherwise you won't be able to give that attention back after the intense phase.

(Says the single extremely lady...)

Cravey said...

I'm with you...
as unromantic as it sounds.

TIMING really is everything.

The Exception said...

One of my guy friends once said that he got married because "it was time." I thought this was odd. I figured his wife would rather hear, "She was the one..." etc or something romantic over "it was time."

But I have seen the timing concept in action. Guy stays with a girl for years and years, breaks up with her and gets married within months to someone he just met. They have a great marriage.

Timing is everything I guess!

Amanda said...

In romantic terms, not sure I believe in the soulmate idea... but in life in general, I think there are people who you intrinsically (sp?!) connect with and it's really a great feeling. Since these connections aren't romantic, it seems timing is less of an issue and it just works out.

Now that being said, I do love the dreamy idea of soulmates.

e.b. said...

it has a whole helluva lot to do with timing. but i also think there are people out there who find this person who is just tied to their soul in a certain way. not to say that there aren't a whole host of people out there who can make you deliriously happy

brandy said...

Good topic lady- it's got me thinking. I'm not sure where I stand on soulmates. I like the idea, of one person for one person, but I don't know if I think that's what it is. I sort of believe that you have more than one, and taking in timing, fate, etc, you will end up with one of them. It's not nearly as romantic, but it works for me.

Backofpack said...

I think Amanda is on to something. I think you do connect on some deep level with certain people - of either gender. Those are the people who become life-long friends or life-long mates. But still, even those friendships take work to keep them going - nothing stays if the fireworks stage for ever.

sue said...

I like what backofpack said. I have a guy that I would like to think is my "soul mate"... but maybe he's just my campfire? We've been together 29 years and I would like to think he's "the one"...

justacoolcat said...

Do you believe in a love at first sight? Yes, I'm certain that happens all the time. ~ Beatles

runliarun said...

I think it depends on who you are. Some of us cannot conceive of a love without a soulmate, and that belief becomes destiny, no matter how it works out in the end. It is romantic of course, and it becomes a kind of resonant symbol - Tristan and Isolde, or just the girl next door who never had eyes for anyone but her high-school sweetheart.

But for most of us life is less absolute. I believe we can love more than one person, and I believe most our loves, at the beginning at least, are what I call "circumstantial," that is originating at a certain conjecture of time and place that favors someone who happens to be there, even if they are not "the soulmate."

I believe though for all of us there are fated encounters, soulmate or not.

Jen said...

I don't know about soul mates per se, but I do believe that trying to make it work with someone just by decision doesn't work. There has to be chemistry, there has to be a connection. Timing is very useful, in fact it's indispensable, but it's not enough. If timing was everything I would have married the wrong guy ages ago! Believe me, you need a little more than the right timing to make a relationship work.

Nicole said...

I think I might be a man than. Before Tom I was proposed to twice and said NO. I took off running because I was either scared or just not ready.
Yet, when I met Tom I was coming out of a relationship with my dream man that wasn't going anywhere, my crush from college popped back into my life and I had no clue what to do. Each of them I think could have worked out in the long run & I honestly think I could have married any of them right now but I had to chose. I love Tom, but I'll be honest sometimes I wonder if I chose the right path because I could have been happy in any of the situations. I think I chose the path with the least resistance and the one the involved the least change from my part.
So, with all that said I think it really is about timing and both sides. I think both man and woman have to be ready to make the commitment otherwise it will never work.
I guess that makes me a non soul mate person!

Danielle said...

I do think I believe in soulmates, but not in the same sense that they are talked about. I think that you can have more than one soulmate, and I think that you can have a soulmate that is not of the opposite sex (or not of the same sex if you are gay). Your philosophy is exactly as one of my friends says, a guy will marry cause he's ready, a woman cause it's the right guy. To me, I think that's a huge part true, but I also think that is not the hard and fast rule for all...But even if you aren't with a soulmate, I think you can have a passionate, loving, fantastic relationship with someone. And honestly, a relationship would probably be harder with a soulmate. No matter what, it is always work and I think those that think it's "destined" might not work as easily as those that think it's not, but want to put the work in to make it happen.

appletini said...

So not romantic, but OH SO TRUE. My cousin talks about this all the time... it's all about timing for men.
When they are ready, they are just ready.
Being in a relationship is a choice to commit. There will always be someone else out there, someone new, someone better looking, but you make a choice to stay and not stray.... because that is what you want :)

mysterygirl! said...

I made it over here through Brookem's site. An interesting conversation! I don't believe in soulmates at all, although I certainly believe that there are people who you feel connected to on a whole different level-- I just don't believe in the idea that you're fated to be with someone, which is what the term "soulmate" implies to me. I think there are a wide variety of people one can have a connection with, and I also believe that having a working relationship requires a decision by both parties. I love Backofpack's coals metaphor for a relationship, too.