A Jewish Matchmaker talks soulmates and lifemates and how to spot the difference…

Many years ago, I attended a lecture given by a “relationship rabbi” on the topic of a soulmates and his belief that many people meet their soulmate in the course of their lifetime, but are not able to sustain a relationship because of our own inability to face the less-than-perfect truth of who we are.

He went on to explain that a true soulmate is a mirror to ourselves – because our soulmate brings out all of our deepest insecurities and fears, and reflects back to us the characteristics in ourselves that we don’t like and don’t want to acknowledge.

We like to hold an image of ourselves as being “perfect” – or at least of being giving, loving, kind, and generous with our partner, yet often find fault in the amount of giving, love, kindness and generosity that we are receiving from our partner. A soulmate relationship will reveal the reality – that we aren’t nearly as giving, loving, kind, and generous as we like to think we are, and that many of the “negative” behaviors that we complain about or find lacking in our partner, are in truth, behaviors that we, ourselves, exhibit.

He concluded by saying that acknowledging our own imperfections is so painful, we end the relationship because it is too challenging and “hard”. Instead of facing the opportunity for growth and changing ourselves in order to make the relationship work, we tell ourselves that the other person needs to change and then leave the relationship when he/she doesn’t. Then we continue our soulmate search under the illusion that a soulmate means the perfect harmonic match to us instead of the person who will challenge us to grow and evolve.

You might know some couples who seem to have found a perfect harmonic match – even if they are few and far between. Are those couples “soulmates”? Maybe, maybe not. The more harmonic couples are often tagged as “lifemates” instead of soulmates. Lifemates are thought to be more compatible and less emotionally-challenging partners: someone with whom you have a deep, mutual feeling of trust, safety, understanding, and respect. With a lifemate, the relationship seems to run more smoothly, with less conflict, drama, and more compatibility. This is the person you would trust with your life, and on a very deep level are certain that he/she always has your best interests in mind. Yes, conflict will arise and yes, you can also learn from your relationship with this person, but the intense highs and lows that often accompany a soulmate connection do not tend to appear in a lifemate connection and rarely will the relationship challenge you on a deep enough level to trigger the same kind of meaningful personal evolution that a soulmate relationship triggers.

Soulmates will challenge every idea you have about yourself – your motivations, your desires, your fears, your insecurities, your prejudices – but they may not be the person with whom your are destined to spend a lifetime. Soulmates may come into your life to reflect some of the personal “shtick” that is buried within you that maybe only reveals itself when you’re in a romantic relationship. A soulmate can help bring this shtick to the forefront so that you can look at it head-on, accepting that this is the truth of who you are and becoming a catalyst in your personal transformation into a more consciously-aware human being, and ultimately, a better partner. This is the path to growth – seeing ourselves with no veils, with no illusions, and accepting all of what we see in love and understanding.

Have you experienced a soulmate relationship? A lifemate relationship? I invite you to share your story in the comments….