Why the man I married isn’t my soulmate, but the man who nearly destroyed me is.

Soulmate; it sounds just so perfect doesn’t it? This ideal mirror of us. They just see you and, as if by some magical instinct brought from some other realm, they know you, understand you and get everything about you. The chemistry is hot and powerful. They shake you up, make you think about the world in ways you’d never thought of before. Your soulmate reaches down to the very core of who you are, and brings you into lessons you needed to learn and, will often, drag us out of the storm clouds and into the other side of the rainbow.

I’ve felt that once in my life. He was someone who I thought was my happily ever after. People would tell us all the time that we were just made for each other, that our chemistry was perfect and we just made each other. And for a while; it really was all of that and more. That was until real life smacked us square in the face. Where you have to come up for oxygen and start being a little more reactive to the world that still existed outside of our little nest.

For a while I was able to convince myself that the flattery and the attention, the packed lunches with sweet little notes and the orgasms were enough to see me through. That all he was doing was protecting me from the world and making everything okay again.

What happened between us, the facts, they’re not important. It’s the story around the what that matters when we’re talking about soulmates.

Because the connection and the chemistry they weren’t enough. And when we needed more, when we need to find the real enough to get through life, the facade fell apart. Fast. Almost as fast as the chemistry and the connection jumped up did it all jump off.

And both the jumping up and the jumping off happened in ways that, even now more than a decade later, I still can’t explain.

But my husband, this imperfect, sometimes infuriating man, I can tell you every detail about us. From the first words in his first email. I can describe the literal “foot pop” the first time he kissed me. And I can tell you the exact moment I knew that I’d fallen in love with this man. I can explain exactly how I came to choose him as the man I wanted to spend my happily ever after with.

There was never a moment like with my soulmate. Never anything more than that chemistry filled love that swept me away from life into a turbulent and overwhelming existence.

What I have, and what I think is the difference between a soulmate and a partner, is safety. Not just a physical or sexual safety ( I had that with the soulmate too) but a deeper, dare I say it a more spiritual safety. I have this vulnerability; coming from within the both of us, that brings out the best of us. We can be two very flawed individuals, but the relationship we have, I don’t know? It’s like it nurtures and holds the both of us, so that we can come together in the way that we do.

I was never d/s with my soulmate; I can’t say that I even knew what any of this was! But I’m starting to learn; and this is obviously quite contrary from the dominant narrative of d/s, that it’s not the d/s that fosters this intensity of partnership we’ve created. Rather what we have, in terms of our dynamic, comes alongside the partnership we build. Whereas my soulmate was gorgeous chaos and licentious lust; It really was so superficial! I’m grateful that I had him as my soulmate. He and our relationship really broke me as a woman, and so it is, in part (I’ve had some beautiful therapeutic spaces created in which I was able to challenge, craft and comfort myself into who I am today) something which I’ve learned through. A means to an end.

But my partnership, my dynamic, my marriage; it’s not a means to an end. More the means and the end.

It’s the means of cultivation and reflection. Of learning and being, and it’s the end. The reason for choosing him. He is my safety.

And maybe that’s the thing with our soulmates. I’m not saying that our partners cannot be our soulmates, but maybe our soulmates; that person, in my case, or those people who are lucky enough to find multiple soulmates in life, are here for us to use as a step into the person we’re needing to be and needing to be with.

I think of my soulmate often. Wondering where he is in his life. Who he is now compared to the man I walked away from. We have a mutual friend and I often find myself hovering over a Facebook message wanting to casually mention his name. He is a part of me, for better or worse. He is my history and has a place within me. But that’s all he is, and I think that is all he ever was meant to be. Something which, when I got through my brokenness, just sits in some small corner of my psyche reminding me of what was and how amazing, needed and safe what is really is for me.

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