The idea of Soulmates is as old as time itself, and people's opinion on the concept is a pretty mixed bag. I doubt there will ever be a general consensus for a lot of reasons. Some people are very caught up in the romantic idea that there is one person tailor made for them out there somewhere in the world. They lavish in daydreams about how one day their eyes will meet in a crowded train station and boom, it will be the perfect relationship.
However, I think that even people who secretly yearn for a soulmate know at the end of the day that there is no such thing as the perfect relationship. There are millions of people in the world and to say that you only belong with one of them is really limiting yourself and your avenues to love. What if your soulmate lived in Africa, and you lived in Canada? You might never meet. The reality of the world is, every person is different so every relationship is different, and there are so many varieties of relationships that can be good. You shouldn't stifle your feelings because you don't believe that the guy you're currently crushing on is an ideal soulmate.
I am not necessarily saying it's bad or wrong to believe in "the one," but I am implying that it can be similar to walking through life with blinders on. If you get yourself totally wrapped up in the search for that perfect one then you're going to spend a lot of time alone, and you're going to miss out on a lot of good but not perfect people that you might come across. Every relationship that a person experiences in life is necessary, whether you stay together or not. People come in and out of your life for a reason, always teaching you something or helping you grow in some way.
These lessons can then help you to better understand yourself and in turn, better understand how you mesh with others (whether it be romantically or physically). Would you really want to enter into a relationship with the person you believe to be your forever and then have no idea how to be with someone else or what you even want in a relationship? I know some people expect it to all just fall into place once they're with that person, but unfortunately, people are complex and that is rarely the case.
Now, I'm sure some people might be wondering the obvious, what about the bad relationships? So many people don't want to waste their time in bad relationships while they wait for the right one, and a lot of people don't take a chance on anyone because they're afraid it will end up being disastrous. But, the truth is that sometimes, even a bad relationship can be necessary for your growth as a person. I am in no way endorsing staying in an abusive relationship!! I am saying that even the relationships that end up crashing and burning may have something valuable to be learned in them. Like, why did it fail? What happened that caused the turbulence and then ultimate demise of the relationship? You can learn what you're not willing to accept in a relationship. You may also become more aware of what can be considered a red flag in a potential partner, and that is always valuable information.
If I am being completely honest with myself, I am guilty of being one of the people I'm addressing in this article. I tend to avoid relationships with potential interests out of fear that they won't be my perfect match. I've spent a lot of time talking myself out of attractions and tamping down feelings for encounters because I needle every flaw they have. Not only that, but I tend to self-criticize until I'm sure I have no chance, and I abandon any pursuit. Like when I meet a cute guy at a party, and he pretty obviously flirts with me for the evening, throughout the encounter I will dissect every word he speaks and find the things I don't like, like "Oh, that comment sounded rude" or "he seems like a player. Or, the latter option, I will start to self-doubt and think things like "he isn't really flirting with me" or "he might like me now, but once he gets to know me he'll realize we have nothing in common."
The truth of the matter is, when I do these things in an attempt to save myself from a bad relationship or wasted time, I do end up alone. I tell myself right away that I know that this person isn't the one, they aren't my perfect match, and I tuck and roll out of the situation. But I am realizing that I can't do that. The only true waste of time is running away. I am wasting time I could be using to learn about myself and what I need a relationship by running away from any interested party with the idea cemented in my head that if they aren't THE one then they aren't ANYone. And that is one of the biggest reasons I am creating this cautionary tale. I can be an example of what happens when you limit yourself.
So, make yourself a promise, as I have. Don't run away from things anymore. When someone flirts with you, even if it goes nowhere at all, flirt back a little. Stop closing yourself off from anything short of perfection. And who knows? Maybe along your travels, you will find the one. And if works like so many believe, maybe you will know right away. Maybe you will even have to leave a current relationship to be with this person, but either way, put yourself out there. Whether you believe in soulmates, or you don't, I think this is good advice. Take a chance and see where it goes.