This isn't me trying to be depressing.
I genuinely don't believe in either of these concepts and find them to be harmful. I have chosen to reject all of these overly romanticized notions of what a relationship should be like in pursuit of something more authentic and real. I want to be with somebody that I work well with, not somebody who I am convinced is the other half of my soul. I don't want romance to be the foundation of my relationship.
Here is why I don't believe in the idea of "the one" and soulmates.
1. You might overlook people that could actually give you a great relationship
If you're committed to certain ideals about a person, you will be actively looking for a relationship with someone that possesses those qualities. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, an absolute "must" in a relationship for you could be that the person you're with loves dogs. If you're somebody who adores dogs and couldn't see yourself in a relationship with someone who doesn't, that's one thing and I personally believe there's nothing wrong with that.
However, if you picture your future soulmate being a specific way, for instance, a tall, dark, and handsome pediatric doctor, or another "image", you could overlook somebody that might be great for you and give you a very happy, peaceful, and fulfilling relationship.
I see a lot of girls doing this and refusing to date men that aren't taller than them. While I understand, you might be selling yourself short with this and missing out on some great people.
2. You are less motivated to be your best self
Working on yourself should be a lifelong process. You should always aiming to improve yourself and to work on things that keep you from reaching your full potential, or being the best human you can be. If you're committed to finding somebody that accepts you as you are unconditionally without putting any work in, you're not holding yourself accountable to working on your flaws as a person.
Yes, love should exist without judgment. But it's wrong to want somebody to accept your toxic traits, and I believe that the idea of finding a soulmate or "the one" wrongly encourages this idea that the love of your life will love everything about you. They don't deserve to deal with a liar, or somebody who is incapable of having mature communication.
3. Your "soulmate" may not actually be good for you.
Let's say you meet somebody who is everything you ever wanted in a relationship. You are excited to be with them and willing to work hard on your relationship because you see so much potential in them. But deep down, there is a fundamental incompatibility that makes it not work well between you, such as your partner's unwillingness to communicate with you. They might fit the image of what you want perfectly, but they might actually be a horrible match for you.
They may in your mind be, your soulmate. But this doesn't mean they are inherently good for you. This doesn't mean they will give you what you need.
And you deserve somebody who can give you what you need. Somebody else out there can and will.
4. The ideal of soulmates deeply undermines how difficult relationships can be at times
You will never find a perfect fit for you.
You and your partner will fight.
If you go into your "soulmate" relationship with the expectation that you're perfect for each other and your relationship is going to just be smooth sailing, you are going to doubt your relationship when you hit a snag.
People are not perfect. Your future significant other is not perfect. Even somebody who is great for you WILL hurt you. They WILL disappoint you. There will be moments of conflict and strife. There will be things that you will have to work very hard to forgive. And you will mess up and you will hurt them too. Relationships- even the best ones- are not always easy.
Expecting any differently will put harmful expectations on not only your partner, but yourself, too. It is okay to mess up, and both of you will. What matters is how you recover from that. Those critical moments define your relationship for better, or for worse.
5. You may be encouraged to stay longer than you should
If you find someone you believe is the one, you will be willing to fight for them. You will be willing to put up with flaws they are working on and be patient with them through their demons and insecurities. And your love will be relentless, and you will be encouraged to stay longer than you should for somebody, to the point where you are hurting yourself, because you see them in your future. You don't want to give up on that because of how long you've searched for them and how happy you are to have found them.
I'm speaking from personal experience on this one. I found a person who, deep down to my core, I wanted to marry. I was sure they were the one for me and I fought for them with everything that I had. Maybe in my case, my unwillingness to leave when I should've was caused by other things within me. But the idea that he was the one and I would never find anyone else that could measure up caused me to long overstay my welcome in that relationship.
I want me and the person that I'm with to acknowledge that we don't want to- but if we had to, we could find other people that also made us happy. But we choose to stay together and we want to be that person for each other. I hate the idea that one person is the end-all, be-all of your romantic life. No. Other people out there could also fulfill your needs and make you really happy. You chose this one for a reason, though, and you will stick by them as long as they are a positive force in your life.
The best advice I have ever received about relationships is that although it isn't romantic and sweet, there is no such thing as somebody that is perfect for you, and who is your soulmate. On the same token, there is no such thing as two people being "incompatible"- human beings are very complex and complicated and everybody is very incompatible with everyone else because of these differences.
Incompatibility, as we experience it, usually boils down to one person who is less willing to work on things than the other person. Maybe it's because of their own emotional baggage or because they are not as emotionally invested in the relationship.
Instead of finding somebody who you think is perfect and who matches you perfectly, you should focus on finding somebody that you have a connection with, who you can trust, who treats you well, wants the same things as you, and is willing to put in the same amount of work into your relationship as you. That is the formula for a successful union. Instead of looking for a romanticized image of a person, find somebody who matches up with all of the things you require in a relationship. Find someone good for your heart who you share values with and can communicate with.