Can't Find Your Soul Mate? This Is Why
It's easier for women to find their soul mate than it is for men. That is the surprising conclusion of a study by researchers at New York's Adelphi University, who blame the disparity on the "intimacy gap," reports Reuters.
So much for the ultimate connection of two soul mates thinking alike. Women consistently rate their perception and expectations of relationship intimacy higher than men, who tend to think the level of closeness is much lower. She thinks, "We're so close." But he thinks, "No, we're not." Closing this intimacy gap is critical to a happy relationship.
"Many women may desire to be in a marriage and may hope and expect to have greater levels of intimacy in their relationship than the men do," lead researcher Ashley Novak explained to Reuters. She presented her study findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society.
The study: Fifty couples, all of whom were young, well-educated, and engaged to be married, were surveyed online. Each person completed a survey--a standard psychological questionnaire that rated perceived and expected levels of intimacy in the relationship--separately from his or her significant other and in total confidence and anonymity.
The results: Across virtually all categories of intimacy "women reported their current relationships as more intimate than men," Novak told Reuters. The brides-to-be honestly believed they had reached high levels of intimacy--social and sexual--with their fiancés. They also had a high degree of optimism about intimacy during their marriage. But the men didn't share this. They not only rated their degree of closeness at a much lower level, but also did not share the optimism for the future.
Women overestimated the relationship, while men underestimated it.
So do soul mates really exist? Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo say YES! You can find your perfect soul mate. Here's the warning: It may only exist in your mind. Even if there is no such thing as a perfect soul mate, we can still believe we have found one. Both men and women are capable of developing a very real sense that our partners are mirror images of ourselves. That lets us see similarities that really don't exist. But if we think they exist, then presto! We have a soul mate.
Some cynics may say this type of self-centeredness would kill any healthy relationship, but the SUNY researchers beg to differ. They insist that soul mate fantasies can actually form the foundation of a "satisfying and stable romantic relationship." Lead author Sandra L. Murray writes in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: "Assimilating a partner to the self gives intimates the sense that they have found a kindred spirit, someone who is just like them and, thus, knows and understands them for who they really are." Even if it is all in our heads.
Hey, it's a complex and tough world out there. The authors say that this kind of "egocentrism" is actually beneficial because it instills a feeling that one's partner is indeed a "soul mate." So keep dreaming. Sometimes it makes life richer.