But what happens when you think you have found the perfect person for you? That normally leads to a 21st Century version of ‘Happy Ever After’, with a long-term relationship, cohabitation or marriage possibly on the cards. However, it has been found by research done by Professor Spike Lee of the University of Toronto that the idea of the “soul mate” can actually detract from the positivity of long-term relationships. In his study on long-term relationship success, he asked people in long-term relationships to take a quiz, where he split the participants into two different attitudes; those who see partnership as a “journey” and those that believe their relationships can be described as “perfect unity”. He found that those who attached perfection to their relationships were more likely to be dissatisfied when recalling past conflicts, but the individuals who took their lives more day-to-day were comparatively less dissatisfied.
If we are to take this at face value, it seems obvious not to focus on acquiring perfection. It may work well for couples in romantic comedies and novels but, unlike in fiction, the story doesn’t end when you tie the knot. Instead of searching for your soul mate, it’s much more beneficial to take each day (or date!) as it comes and savour the journey. It will have a positive effect on your relationship even after you ride off into the sunset.