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Love by the Numbers

Bjarne Holmes, Ph.D. is Associate
Professor and Program Director for
Psychology at Champlain College in
Vermont. more...

The latest in relationship research.
by Bjarne Holmes, Ph.D.

Why You Should Stop Searching for Your Soul Mate
There's a better path to real happiness.
Published on February 13, 2012 by Bjarne Holmes, Ph.D. in Love by the Numbers

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There are seven billion people in the world and one soul mate out there somewhere for you to find,
Maybe, but maybe not.
Research has quite clearly shown that a strong belief in destiny can actually be harmful to you and the
success of your relationships. Here's why: Having the mentality of believing that you've found your soul
mate is related to all kinds of unhealthy thinking about your love life.

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Let's illustrate: You fall in love and start a relationship. And all relationships have processes and phases
that they tend to follow. Infatuated love—when most of your time is spent thinking about that special
person—will most likely only last a number of months(1). What really matters is what happens next. In
other words: How will you react when your soul mate starts looking a bit less perfect?
People who hold strong beliefs in destiny are prone to lose interest in their partner much faster than
others and are likely to give up much more easily when the relationship looks a bit less rosy (2). Look
at it this way: If you believe that "we're either meant to be together or we're not" then you're more likely
to see negative things in your relationship as an indicator that perhaps that "special one" actually isn't
your true soul mate after all. Perhaps you were simply mistaken: if you were meant for one another,
then why should you have to work so hard at the relationship?
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The Work-Through-It Mentality
Are you the type of person who naturally faces hardships with a "work
through it" mentality? In other words, do you see good things and bad
things as equal part of the process of life? All relationships will go through
hardship—it's how you respond to that hardship that matters. That's why
the best predictor of whether your relationship will succeed in the long term
is how you resolve disagreements(3). Research shows that people in
relationships who have a "work through it" mentality will cope much better
when the inevitable trials come—and that their relationships will stand a
better chance of long-term survival(4).
My advice?

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Love by the Numbers

Ask yourself what kind of general view you have: Do you believe
that things are either meant to happen or not; or do you believe that
things happen as a consequence of how much effort and hard work
you put into them? Try to realize what you can control and what you
can't. Understand that to get really good at anything (including

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Humor in relationships: The good,
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3. Ph. The seven principles of making marriage work. C. J. (2004). Dr. Current Issue Reinvent Yourself Subscribe to Psychology Today now and get a free issue! Focus on your future self. or that sex in a relationship will always be good—evidence actually shows that sex will change as a relationship changes and that a "good" sex life needs to be nourished through continuous practice.. Ph. you can certainly experience the feeling of a specific person being your soul mate. Gottman. 2 Female Orgasms: Getting Off or Getting On? by Robert D.. 5 7 Myths About Mindfulness by Toni Bernhard.J. C. MORE FROM THIS ISSUE 3 Reader comments join the discussion here! ISSUE ARCHIVES SUBSCRIBE Follow Psychology Today: Twitter FaceBook Online PhD Degrees waldenuniversity. Sternberg. Self-determination as growth motivation in romantic relationships. Nanayakkara. R. Vietor. compromising. Knee. C. New Work: Basic Books. Psychology PhD waldenuniversity.. health. Vietor.City or Zip Find Local: Acupuncturists Chiropractors Massage Therapists Dentists and more! City or Zip relationships). The triangle of love. That said. Patrick. Knee."Relationship Matters" (download the podcasts for free here). Holmes is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and he produces the journal's podcast series. H. Request for Information! For further reading 1.D. take this quiz. expert commentary. & Silver. People who believe in fate are likely also to also believe that a partner can read his or her mind without any specific communication of needs—If he's my soul mate. That feeling comes from working on the relationship. Holmes is available for media interviews.. or consulting. & Neighbors. Martin. he'll understand what I need. 617-628. R. R. over time. relationship attitudes and Online PhD In Social Psychology 100% Online. Start looking at "working on your relationship" as romantic: There may be no predetermined soul mate waiting to be found. thousands of hours of practice are needed. you'll be surprised at what you can achieve.. 2. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Dr. A. Ph.D. Earn Your Psychology PhD Online. (1999). Patrick. Beware the soul mate fallacy.D.. 28(5). (1988). H. Bjarne Holmes is Associate Professor and the Program Director for Psychology at Champlain College in beautiful To find out how much you believe in the idea of predestined soul mates. 4 11 Ways to Tell if Your Lover Loves You by Susan Krauss Whitbourne. Implicit theories of relationships: Moderators of the link between conflict and commitment. 3 10 Ways To Guide Children Without Punishment by Laura Markham. N. N. J. A. and the role of media influence on social identity in young adults. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. that men and women are extremely different in their relationship needs—an assumption not consistent with relationship science.. C (2002). New York: Random House. & Neighbors. 30(5). and learning to understand your partner very well. well-being. He's also a regular contributor to the web page Science of Relationships (read his articles here). N. 609-619.. Dr. His research focuses on attachment. Vermont (come study with us!!). 4. 100% Supported! Google+ . A.D.

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