What Age Are You Most Likely To Meet Your Soulmate?

I like the word soul and I like the word mate, as Mr. Big from Sex and the City once told Carrie Bradshaw, his love interest in the television series. But do you believe in soulmates?

If the answer is yes, you're not alone. According to a YouGov poll of 15,000 adults in the U.S. published in February 2021, 60 percent of Americans believe in soulmates.

The study found that women (64 percent) are more likely than men (55 percent) to say they believe in this notion of an ideal romantic match.

However, romance is where we may be getting it all wrong, Alexandra Solomon, a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute of Northwestern University who is also the host of The Reimagining Love podcast, told Newsweek.

Solomon said the word soulmate "tends to be used to describe a romantic partner but I think that's one of the things we get wrong about soulmates. We get ourselves into trouble when we romanticize the definition of soulmate."

Many apply that term soulmates only to romantic partners and "we tend to say that our soulmate is the one with whom we will have the perfect relationship."

The psychologist said, however, research has shown that when people define soulmates as their perfect match, "they end up—no surprise—experiencing more conflict in their relationship and have a greater chance of breaking up."

Couple embracing in Turkey's Cappadocia region.
A couple embracing in Turkey's Cappadocia region against a backdrop of hot air balloons seen at Goreme Historical National Park in August 2022. Omar Haj Kadour/AFP via Getty Images

According to a September 2014 study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, "Love can be metaphorically framed as perfect unity between two halves made for each other or as a journey with ups and downs. Given their differential interpretations of romantic relationships, these frames have the power to change the evaluative impact of relational conflicts."

The study found that "thinking about conflicts with one's partner hurts more with the unity (vs. journey) frame in mind..."

What Exactly Is a Soulmate?

According to Solomon, a soulmate is "a relationship in which you get to keep learning, and growing and the relationship becomes this classroom for your evolution together."

The psychologist said that those who define a soulmate as a person they can grow with, such as a fellow traveler, or a person with whom you evolve and change, "these people tend to have relationships that are just a bit sturdier, more resilient."

Can You Have More Than One Soulmate?

Solomon said "there is a sense of liberation" in that we can indeed have more than one soulmate. It takes "the pressure off of our [romantic] partners to be our end all and be all."

She said: "I think about my best friend as my soulmate for sure. My soul grows in my relationship with her." Their relationship is different from the one she has with her husband, who's known the 49-year-old psychologist since she was a freshman in college.

"I come away from interactions in such relationships feeling like my soul has grown and feeling like the most 'me' version of me, and I am in touch with what matters to me as a person," the psychologist said.

At What Age Are You Most Likely To Meet Your Soulmate?

During the aforementioned episode of Sex and the City, Carrie said: "It really hit me that I'm 35 and alone...it felt really sad, not to have a man who cares about me...no godamn soulmate."

Like Carrie, some may feel sad or frustrated, while others may simply be curious about when (or if) they'll meet their soulmate. While there's no way to predict this, the age at which you may meet your soulmate will depend on your "inner world" rather than external factors.

Solomon said: "We get to cultivate soulmate relationships when we become curious about our own inner world. Introspection and intimacy are profoundly connected.

"So we can't possibly build that kind of relationship until and unless we're willing to get curious about what makes us tick as individuals. And this happens to some of us at 17 and to others at 77 years of age," she said.

Couple just married, walking out of cathedral.
A couple who just got married walking out of a cathedral in Prizren, Kosovo in September 2022, as crowds throw flower petals at them. Pierre Crom/Getty Images

Meeting Your Soulmate as a Child

Solomon acknowledged that "perhaps the depth of connection is limited by our own development" in our childhood. "But there's no need for us to diminish that kind of connection."

Our early relationships, childhood friendships and teenage romances—these are all "stepping stones, building blocks" and "all types of relationships can prepare us for what comes next."

Naturally as we grow older, we experience more relationships and "pain can harden us" and it becomes harder to "open up and cultivate a soulmate dynamic."

However, there is also "objectively something about the modern dating landscape that holds the potential to [make you] feel cynicism," she said. "That consumer mentality that people bring to dating apps—the high volume, low accountability dating behaviors that we often see—also fuels cynicism."

Finding Your Soulmate and Destiny

This can entail looking at our "own internal readiness" and maximizing our "potential for connection," as well as embracing the mysteries of life, according to Solomon.

"I think there's a huge place for whatever we consider a higher power, consciousness, destiny, fate...I'm open to all the mysteries," she said, explaining you might meet someone you "had every reason not to like," but just felt drawn to them.

"All these stories where people name the things that don't make sense, those things become part of a couple's story."

A couple kissing on beach in California.
A couple taking a selfie while kissing on a beach in Santa Monica, California in January 2015. Bob Berg via Getty Images

Can You Build a Soulmate Connection With Anyone?

A Solomon said: "I think we co-create" soulmate connections. When you go on a first date, we can prepare our mind, body and heart to arrive with an energy that "maximizes the potential for connection...get in a place in which you feel grounded in your own body and open to the person sitting across from you."

However, we are "only in charge of one-half of the dance." It's entirely possible to be as grounded and as open-hearted as possible yet unable to build a connection with a person because they're closed or your worldviews are too different.

"So, I do not believe you can put any two people together" and build a soulmate bond, but "all we can be responsible for is how we show up" to these opportunities for connection.

Does Everyone Have a Soulmate?

Solomon said we all have "the potential to cultivate soulmate connections" with others because "we are deeply and inherently relational creatures. The self is so profoundly relational...we are primed to connect with people."

Romantic connections are an important "crucible for healing," as they are "really confronting—it confronts a lot of our old fears, wounds and traumas. We play out old dramas from our past with our romantic partners."

Romantic relationships can motivate a person to work on healing old pains because they want to love and be loved and build a romantic connection with somebody. Solomon said: "We have the capacity to build a soulmate connection when we are willing to take a look at, honor and work with all the stuff that comes up inside of us when we build a relationship with somebody."

Equally, it's important to note that we also have "a cultural bias towards the idea that you should want long-term [romantic] relationships," the psychologist said. "Most of us are capable of having long-term relationships but we don't have to all want it and it's certainly not the marker of a successful life."

Do you have a relationship dilemma? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Couple walking along beach sunset in Spain.
A couple walking along a beach at sunset in the coastal city of Denia in eastern Spain in August 2014. Loic Lagarde via Getty Images