They say there's a soulmate out there for everyone. After all, there's nothing in the world quite like falling in love, especially when it's with the right person. Suddenly colors seem a little bit brighter, the air smells a little bit sweeter, and everything feels pregnant with optimism and exciting new possibilities. And, of course, the person you're in love with is the most beautiful person on earth, and they're totally into you. It's nothing short of magical.
But just the act of falling in love with a person doesn't necessarily mean you've met your soulmate. That's why couples break up all the time, often leaving one of the partners heartbroken, wondering what happened and why it all went wrong. Unfortunately, that's just the way things go sometimes.
However, if you're lucky and the fates are on your side, you just might know the joy of falling in love with your soulmate. How do you know, then, if you've found the person who's truly meant for you? Read on to find out how you will know for sure that you've met the one.
There's no doubt that meeting your soulmate is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to you. After all, not everyone gets the chance to find theirs, so, when you finally do, it's an incredible experience.
That said, finding your forever person can also be super intimidating, according to psychologist Dr. Mark Borg Jr. "What I find is the most common occurrence that happens — no matter how hard you've looked — when you finally meet your [soulmate] is: you freak out," he told The List. "Meaning that because it is so overwhelming psychologically and emotionally to get what we always believed we wanted, it tends to usher in an immense amount of anxiety and insecurity."
So if you find yourself doubting you've met the one because of all the nerves, don't panic. "It's just so scary to have our hearts so completely on the line that our mind sometimes (often) overprotects us through the ambivalent technique," Borg explained. "It is mustered because the person (our soulmate) is threatening to matter too much — not because they don't matter enough!" So fear not! That nervous feeling is totally normal, and it will pass.
Naturally, when you meet your soulmate and fall in love, you feel happy and giddy pretty much all of the time. When you're with your sweetie, you feel totally euphoric, and your face probably hurts from smiling all of the time. And when the two of you are apart, you constantly daydream about them, eagerly anticipating the next time you'll get to see them.
Obviously there's something that's happening in your body that's responsible for the nonstop bliss, which, according to Adina Mahalli, MSW, is caused by one special chemical. "The part of your brain that's associated with addiction lights up when you think about your soulmate. This is because falling in love releases dopamine which is the hormone responsible for reward and pleasure," she informed The List. "If you find yourself constantly thinking about this person, it might due to the fact that your brain is literally addicted to them." Love is one heck of a drug!
In addition to having all of that yummy dopamine lighting up your brain, your pain responses will be dulled, according to expert Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC. In turn, you'll only see the good things about your partner for a while, while any of the less-than-shiny stuff will take longer to become apparent.
Additionally, when you find your soulmate, it can have a dramatic impact on your sense of well-being. "You also feel a sense of oneness, like you have found your other half," he explained. "You may experience a sense of timelessness like you've known each other forever." That's despite the fact that everything also feels very new at first, and may for some time to come.
That's not all, either, as your soulmate has the potential to help you improve yourself in entirely new ways. "You may also experience a sense of confidence and ability to actualize parts of yourself that were previously laid dormant," he continued. "In short, you feel fully alive." And that is a beautiful thing.
When you finally meet your soulmate and fall in love, there are several stages that you go through, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. And given that the first is lust, it should come as no surprise that meeting your soulmate is definitely going to have an impact on your libido. That's not to say that you have to be with your soulmate when engaging in intimate activities, but certainly falling in love with the person you're destined for will increase your sexual desire, according to science. Of course, if you're asexual, your mileage may vary.
So what exactly goes on in your body that makes you super lusty all the time, constantly thinking of your new flame? "The stage of lust is driven by an evolutionary basis to reproduce," she shared with The List. "The hypothalamus of the brain (think of the hypothalamus as the 'control system' of the brain that we could not live without) stimulates the production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen — therefore increasing libido." And boom! Just like that, you're going to experience an increase over and above your normal baseline libido levels. Enjoy it!
Just as finding your soulmate increases your libido, so too does it activate the reward center in your brain, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. That's when you enter the second phase of falling in love, which is the attraction stage. "The stage of attraction invokes the brain pathways that allow to feel rewarded — resulting in that all-consuming, head-in-the-clouds feeling that comes along with the early attraction stages," she revealed. Once again, that's due to increased dopamine, in addition to increased norepinephrine levels and decreased serotonin levels. There sure is a lot going on!
As a result of those hormonal changes, you might notice a change in some of your daily physical habits, sometimes in drastic ways. "Our moods are lifted to euphoric levels, our appetites decrease, and we experience difficulties sleeping," she continued. "In other words, we feel so 'in love' that we can't sleep or eat!" That would explain why you're forgetting to eat breakfast and why you feel fantastic even though you're not sleeping as much as usual.
After you've gone through the initial stages of lust and attraction, New York City-based psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas says that you next move into the attachment phase, which is super important for relationship-building. "It encompasses the initial stages of lust and attraction and all the fun hormonal imbalances that come with [them]," she explained. Thus the wild ride keeps going, and your body keeps changing in all sorts of new ways.
During the attachment stage, your body starts ramping up production of oxytocin, which is also known as the "cuddle hormone," with good reason. "Think of it as a hormone rewarding you when you snuggle up or bond socially," she continued. "Oxytocin is necessary to forming attachments and facilitating human bonding. And attachment is the cornerstone of infant-parent bonding and necessary in establishing (and maintaining) social and non-romantic friendships." So that's why you always want to cuddle your soulmate and why it feels so darn good. Who knew hormones were so powerful?
Oxytocin isn't the only hormone at play during the attachment phase, as vasopressin levels also increase during this time, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. And of course, vasopressin has impacts and effects that are different from other hormones and chemicals in your body.
So, what exactly does vasopressin do that's unlike everything else? "Vasopressin is a vital hormone that promotes long-lasting relationships," she told The List. "It has been shown to regulate interpersonal functioning, create larger social networks, facilitate greater spousal support, inform better attachment security, and support less negative communication in partners." That's one hard-working chemical!
Vasopressin functions in a particular way when you meet your soulmate, too. "As a result, when we have found our soulmate we most likely are in the attachment stage, which brings an overall feeling of calmness, security, comfort, and desire to protect one another," Dr. Rojas added. No wonder soulmates feel so good around each other, even as time goes by.
One thing that should be abundantly clear when you finally meet your soulmate is that their actions speak just as loud, if not louder, than their words. Additionally, those actions should be in alignment with eight things you have a right to in a relationship, according to an article in Psychology Today.
Specifically, you are entitled to affection, compassion, respect, consideration, time, interest, intimacy, and generosity. And while those things may look different for different couples, you should never feel like you're being denied these things in a manner that's unfair, especially from your soulmate. For example, your partner should naturally demonstrate that they like you, whether it's physically or verbally, whatever your preferences are. Additionally, your soulmate should innately respect you and your interests, acknowledging them as valid and never violating your boundaries. Plus you and your soulmate shouldn't have issues expressing yourselves intimately to one another. Finally, your soulmate will always try to make time for you, even if they're super busy.
Finding your soulmate, as exhilarating and euphoric as it can feel, is — like anything else complex — only as healthy as you are. To that end, it's important to understand that there's a difference between falling in love and developing emotional dependency. And that in and of itself can be difficult to parse out, especially if you have traumatic experiences in your past.
In order to be ready to meet your soulmate, it's important to make sure you know the difference between love and dependence. That way, you can welcome the experience of healthy, lifelong love, according to Dr. Margaret Paul, when your soulmate comes knocking. "When you fall in love as a loving adult instead of as a wounded, needy child or adolescent, your need for the relationship is totally different," she wrote in an article in HuffPost, noting, "Your desire is to share love rather than to get love." That right there is an indicator that you've met the one, and are ready to accept their love.
Trust is important in any relationship, whether it's a romantic one or not. So when you meet your soulmate and fall in love, not only should they have full confidence that you're trustworthy, but you should also feel the exact same way that they do. To that end, there's no reason that you should read their private correspondences without their permission, or even feel the need to. That's a red flag that you aren't confident that they're telling you the truth — something true soulmates don't struggle with.
Why do people snoop on each other anyway, according to the experts? "Someone might snoop because their needs feel unmet by their partner, and they are trying to make sense of the disconnection or rejection they feel," clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Lamia penned in an article on Health.com. "Or they may snoop because they imagine they are inadequate, thereby becoming convinced that their partner is attracted to someone else." Fortunately, when you are with your forever person, the trust will naturally be solid.
Once you've finally found your forever person, it logically follows that you'll introduce them to your friends, family, and anyone else in your life who is important to you. In a perfect world everyone gets along with one another, and the integration of your partner into your life is seamless and easy.
But the reality is that we don't live in a perfect world, and often we'll have to navigate the more complicated relationships in our life along with our partner. Unfortunately, at times, this can sometimes result in situations where your soulmate has an issue with one or more of your friends or family members, and vice versa. But as Dr. Terri Apter penned in an article in Psychology Today, "When two people decide to marry, each makes a pledge that the other will be the most important person in their life." So you should be confident that your soulmate will have your back when it really matters, even when it's difficult.
Believe it or not, having conflicts with your partner is a sign of a healthy relationship, according to relationship expert Rhoda Mills Sommer. "If you never fight, then nobody's home," she wrote on her website. She explained, "It's just as problematic as fighting all the time because both lack respect for two people. Often couples arrive in my office surprised to be there 'because we never fight.' Never fighting means someone is feeling invisible." Who knew those pesky tiffs weren't so bad after all?
To that end, it's perfectly natural that you and your soulmate will have disagreements. After all, you are two different people, despite the fact that you feel super close to one another, and that will naturally give rise to conflict once in a while. So as long as you're having the occasional fight and you're fighting fair, you can be confident that you've found your forever person.
Every relationship takes work for both partners, at least to some extent. There's always compromises to be made, details to hash out, and boundaries to be created and respected.
But when you finally find your soulmate, you'll notice early on that things with them are easier and come more naturally than they did in previous romantic relationships. That's as it should be, according to psychotherapist Julia Colangelo, LCSW. "This does not mean easy," she clarified in an interview with Bustle. "It's simply easier and [more] drama free." Hey, less drama is always a good thing.
Additionally, you won't have the same doubts that you might have had with past partners, which can feel super refreshing. "This doesn't mean that you're naive about the relationship," Colangelo continued. "Instead there is an experience of hopefulness in the other person and what you're sharing with them as opposed to previous experiences." That's just one more sign that you've found your forever person.
Few things are more important in a romantic relationship than honesty. And when you meet your soulmate, you'll probably notice quite quickly that you can share anything with them and that you don't feel the need to have secrets. "If there's a sense of safety and a holding environment where you feel confident in the other person with any information or experiences you share, they could be it," psychotherapist Julia Colangelo, LCSW, explained in an interview with Bustle.
That's a good thing, too, because not being 100 percent real with your soulmate can damage the relationship. "Hiding our deepest secrets can lead to feelings of dishonesty and mistrust which don't tend to lead to the strongest relationship foundation," Colangelo continued. "We all experience and fear rejection. However, I encourage clients to share those pieces earlier rather than later — never the first date, but surely within the first six months of a relationship." That's some sagely advice. So if you've truly found the one, total transparency won't be too difficult to attain.