The dangerous soulmate myth
The dangerous soulmate myth has existed for thousands of years and has been the basis for countless stories. They all have a similar plot. Man has an incomplete psyche or ego. The symptoms of this psychological disorder are loneliness and lack of purpose in his life. Then one day he meets a woman who completes his psyche. His mental disorder is fixed and they live happily ever after.
The myth is dangerous because is makes the incorrect assumption that loneliness and lack of self purpose are caused by external factors as opposed to internal factors. It encourages a person to waste their time looking for a soulmate when they could be leading a fulfilling life by themselves. Eventually they might find a person who they believe is their soulmate. To their dismay after the euphoria has worn off after a few years they find out that the loneliness is still there. Surveys show that 40% of people in marriages report they are lonely.
What exactly causes the feeling of loneliness are debatable. The psychological definition is, the feeling of social disconnectedness where a person wishes they had better social relationships. Feeling are not reality but they are indications that something is internally wrong. Unfortunately since they come from the subconscious they do not tell us exactly what is wrong.
Instinct tells us that to solve the problem of loneliness the person should have more social relationships or higher quality social relationships. Evidence indicates that in this case our instincts are wrong. People who have have numerous social interactions can often feel extreme loveliness. Many famous people committed suicide because they felt extreme loneliness. On the other hand, there are many people who have few social interactions yet they do not feel lonely. This indicates that loneliness comes from internal or psychological issues as opposed to external circumstances.
The soulmate myth is often coupled with the fear of growing old alone myth. This results in many people entering because of fear. We see many elderly people spending a lot of time alone, we then make the incorrect assumption that they must be lonely. Studies show that people actually experience less loneliness as they grow older.
Like the soulmate myth, it deflects from the issue that the feeling of loneliness is caused by an false perception of the world as opposed to external conditions. My theory is that older people experience loneliness less because they grow more comfortable with themselves.
Disappointment is caused by unrealistic expectations. The expectation that someone else will fix your psychological problem of loneliness will lead to disappointment. This is particularly true when it comes to the expectations men and women have from each other. This is caused because men and women perceive the world differently.
Ester Villar shows in her controversial book The Manipulated Man that men and women differ in their motivations for acquiring new knowledge. Men will acquire knowledge just for the sake of acquiring knowledge. Women will only acquire knowledge if they see an immediate benefit from it. An example of this is automobiles. To operate an automobile, limited knowledge is required. Put gasoline into the automobile regularly, know how to operate the gas pedal and brake. Know how to steer the car. This is the knowledge most women have of automobiles. A man on the other hand, will have a detailed knowledge of all sorts of information that has no practical applications for him. He will know how many horsepower the engine can produce. What is the displacement of the engine. Most men are not mechanics or automobile designers this information is useless. Ester Villar’s book was criticized because it was argued these things are caused by the social constructs. Modern science is indicating that the differences between male and female perception of the world is caused by biology as opposed to social constructs.
The neurophysiologist Louann Brizendine MD in her book The Female Brain describes the structural differences between male and female brains. She phrased Ester Villar’s ideas differently. Women are more concerned about social connections while men are more concerned about facts. The female brain is wired to preserve social connections under all costs. Later under feminist pressure, Louann Brizende backtracked slightly with the statement “Males and females are more alike than there are differences. After all, we are the same species”. A tadpole and a frog are from the same species, obviously the brain structure and behaviour of a tadpole differs greatly from a frog.
Since men and women are wired to have different expectations this can cause problems.
As Ester Villar in her book The Manipulated Man shows, men and women have different goals when it comes to acquiring new hobbies or interests. Men are usually drawn to hobbies because their are interested in the hobby itself. This is why men can spend large amounts of time doing a solitary activity like model building or stamp collecting. Women are drawn to the hobby or interest because of the social aspect. These are forces due to the different brain structure and occur on a subconscious level.
When a woman is attracted to a man she will want to connect with him on a social level. Subconsciously she will be motivated to start reading articles about his interests, possibly start pursuing one of his hobbies. If the man doesn’t know what is happening, he will get incorrect idea the women is being manipulative or deceptive. The man when he starts socializing with the woman will think that they have the same interests, something which binds them together. This falls inline with the soulmate myth. Since the woman is acting subconsciously, she doesn’t realize what is happening. She also will become a victim of the soulmate myth. What happens if the woman loses attraction to the man ?
This is a common complaint by many people in long term relationships. How did this happen ? A false assumption would be that the man and woman had nothing in common in the first place. What actually is happening, the woman is no longer attracted to the man. Since women are socially motivated, she now lacks the motivation to be interested in his hobbies and interests. This indicates that the problem is the woman is no longer attracted to the man. Evidence indicates this, the majority of the time women initiate divorces. That means the man no longer has the attributes which attracted the woman in the first place. The soulmate myth in my opinion contributes to this.
For both men and women they need to be comfortable with themselves. For men they need to stop looking for external solutions to their feeling of incompleteness and loneliness. This is why the soulmate myth coupled with the fear of growing old alone is extremely dangerous. Tragically it harms both men and women who buy into it.
My next post is on developing social skills to combat the problem of loneliness. Once a person starts interacting with other people, they start to get realistic expectations of social interactions.
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