Wednesday 2 July 2008

Book clubs and soul mates

Yesterday, I joined the book exchange website, hoping to swap some items that were cluttering up my shelves for books I could review on A Bad Witch's Blog.

The way the site works is that you list a load of books you want to get rid of, with the title, author and condition. You then make a wish list of books you would like. You can either search for books you want and contact people who are offering them, or wait for people to contact you.

Within a few hours of signing up, two people had contacted me saying they would like books on my list. I was very impressed with the ease of the service and the speed of response.

All I had to do then was browse the books they were offering to see if I fancied any and, if I did, reply saying which one I wanted in exchange. I was looking for books on folklore, spirituality, psychology, the unexplained or self-help - I was spoilt for choice.

One of the titles interested me purely because I disagreed with the subject matter intensely. It was a book on how to find your soul mate. The concept behind it appeared to be that everyone has one ideal partner somewhere in the world and that to find true happiness in love you need to find them.

What rubbish!

Now, I am a fan of love and romance. I believe it is possible to find a partner who ticks all the boxes and that love can last a lifetime if you are well suited enough.

But soul mates are simply the stuff of fiction, such as H Rider Haggard's wonderful novel She. Real life is different.

When you have just fallen in love, it is natural to feel as though it is the perfect match. You want nothing more than to spend all your time with your loved one, you can't imagine not seeing eye-to-eye about everything. They are days of wine and roses - or sex and toast. You imagine they will never end. But they do. You slowly learn each other's annoying little habits. You have your first row, then another. But it is natural. I doubt there is any couple in the world who have been together for a year or so and haven't had a row. The trick is to learn to resolve your differences and talk over problems.

Sometimes, that once-perfect relationship comes to an end. If you had convinced yourself your love was your soul mate, then you are left thinking anything else is second best. That is simply not true. It is quite possible to get over a broken heart and find love anew with a different partner. People do it all the time.

So, I am more inclined to believe in life on Mars than that we only have one chance of true love or that if we fail to find our single soul mate then we are doomed to unhappiness. I also think books that promote the concept of soul mates are misleading and potentially dangerous.

So, I didn't pick that book from the list offered me. Instead, I chose something about assertiveness, which is much more useful for handling the man in your life, in my opinion.



Anonymous said...

The voice of common sense! Thanks for the link on books.

Anonymous said...

It's so frustrating to hear some people talk about "their one true love" or their "soul mate." I too believe in love and romance, but nothing I've experienced says there's only ONE person out there whom you can love and who will love you back. It's a fantasy, and I think it's one reason many relationships don't last.