Finding Your SoulmateWritten by Kenneth A. Sprang and Carol Sprang, MA, RNC, LCPC
Loves mysteries in soules does grow. --John Donne I have been thinking about soulmates a lot lately. Recently a fellow relationship coach told me story of Heather, a woman in her early 40’s. She has never married, though she has had several lengthy relationships over years. Then late last year she met Andrew. There was something different about Andrew. The conversations were richer, walks in park more romantic, time together more comfortable and more vibrant. Heather is pretty intuitive, and this relationship felt different than any other she had experienced. She knew she had fallen in love and found someone with whom she could make a life commitment. Andrew, however, was resistant. He acknowledged that their time together was special, that he loved Heather and that he really felt energized being with her. But, he said to Heather, “I don’t think you are my soulmate.” Andrew recalled a past relationship in which he and his partner would often find themselves simultaneously thinking same thing. He also said that he envisioned a “soulmate” as being very much like himself, thinking that such similarity would help assure success of relationship. Andrew also pointed to differences between them. He was from South, while Heather was from Boston. Heather’s parents had graduate degrees and were upper middle class, while Andrew’s parents were working class folks. In addition, he noted, his company required him to relocate periodically and to travel a lot. He feared Heather would resent those moves, though she insisted she would not. Despite Heather’s pleas to reconsider and her attempt to persuade Andrew that his resistance was contradictory to his description of their relationship, Andrew insisted that they end their relationship, though insisting he wanted to remain “friends.” Heather was heartbroken and puzzled. Did Andrew have it right—were they not really soulmates? But if that were true, why did her time with Andrew feel so right. What does it really mean to “find your soulmate?” Thomas Moore, author of Soulmates, suggests that a soulmate is “someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though communicating and communing . . . between us were not product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace.” My wife and I have often referred to ourselves as “soulmates.” Thinking about Heather and Andrew has caused me to reflect more on what that really means. It certainly does not mean that we always agree—we don’t. Nor does it mean that we are exactly alike. We’re not. What then does this elusive term “soulmate” mean?
The Quest for Intimacy and Passion: Challenges for the ACDWritten by Kenneth A. Sprang and Carol Sprang, MA, RNC, LCPC
As you may know, divorce rate continues to hover around fifty percent, where it has been now for some time. If half of marriages end in divorce today, it is likely that many of you—like me—are ACD’s—Adult Children of Divorce. How has our parents’ divorce affected us and our own quest for love and happiness? My parents were divorced when I was three. From childhood I vowed not to be one of fifty percent—I was going to succeed where they had “failed.” Yet, I too, became a statistic when my first marriage of 25 years came to an end, despite valiant attempts by my first wife and me to save it. So now my adult children, too, have joined ranks of ACD’s. Much has been written about effect of divorce on children. However, very little research has been done on impact of divorce on adults and challenges of ACD’s in general. A recent study at University of New Orleans sheds some of long awaited light. Among findings of study, is that for ACD’s intimacy, trust, commitment, loyalty and passion are more complex issues than for children of intact families. For example, many of us crave intimacy, yet female ACD’s tend to experience more relationship conflict and to have an increased number of sexual partners than those from intact families, though same is not true for men. There is some suggestion that in our quest for intimacy we may confuse casual sexual relationships with emotional intimacy. We also have a tendency to get into relationships or marriage at a young age or to seek to fulfill our emotional needs in relationships that are not healthy. ACD’s also demonstrate an overall lack of trust with regard to intimate relationships and marriage. Sadly, many of us expect our marriages to fail, at least unconsciously, and we may even sabotage our intimate relationships because of a fear of rejection and lack of trust. Ironically, while we long for affection, seeking affection which we did not see or experience at home, we may withdraw emotionally from our partners, repeating a coping mechanism learned in childhood.