I'm Not Talking About Love At First SightI'm talking about a soul-mate: someone who essentially--pardon my putting it this way--completes me. A soul-mate isn't just a love at first sight thing; a soul-mate goes waaaay beyond that into the realm of similarity and difference and rocking chemistry, all at once.
I'm no expert, but from what I've read from the "experts," what we think of as a soul-mate is a very precise balance of the three things I mentioned above. Someone who is exactly like us will leave us bored and unfulfilled; someone who is completely different will drive us batty--we won't be capable of appreciating them, and they won't be capable of appreciating us; so we need someone who is similar in some ways, different in others. We need chemistry because that's the campfire to tell stories around for the many years you'll share together.
Similarities bring you together, differences mean that you'll have years of exploration to do of one another. Too much of either and you assume you know everything about them and don't explore at all (which is boring), or everything about them is so radically outside your area of interest and concern that you don't even begin exploring; who really wants to know about legal procedure anyway? (if, say, they're a lawyer). You MIGHT be interested in their battles with legal procedure if you share a similar interest, but if you find the very idea revolting, you'll probably have a hard time talking to them.
Most of us settle for one good match, typically in the chemistry area. I know I did. My first marriage had some pluses, but a LOT of minuses.
I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think a soul-mate is a mystical, magical, mythical thing. Soul-mates are out there (yes, plural), all I need to do is stay picky. It's too easy to settle for something less as we feel the years slip by, as we get lonely, as we meet people we think just *might* be good enough. Good enough isn't good enough though. Good enough results in marriage, or, even if the marriage survives, miserable marriages. And what's the point in being in a miserable marriage? If you've got kids, that's a good reason. But, otherwise, why not be patient for as long as it takes until we find someone who we feel a lot of chemistry with (and NOT because they appeal to the unhealthy side of our psyche), who we are interested in, who we appreciate, who indefinitely makes us better just by being there, and who we fulfill in the same ways? Maybe it means more loneliness, but the payoff is immense. Rather than a few years of loneliness, and 10-30 years of miserable marriage, we might face ten years of loneliness, but 30+ years of happiness in marriage.
Man, I really hope it won't take ten years to find one of my soul-mates.