We get it. Folks love soulmate romance. And with good reason. Many of us struggle with connection, intimacy, and feeling like we belong. So the idea that there is someone out there who is our perfect match, who will love us just as we are, who may have been literally made for us, is like water in the desert for our hurt and lonely hearts. (Bonus if they have enough money to solve all our problems with a wave of their checkbook.)
But This Is a Trope that NEEDS to Be Broken
Often, author’s use ‘soulmates’ as a way to force two characters together.
Jane wants nothing to do with John. He is overbearing, controlling, intimidating, and, ok, sexy as hell, but so are a lot of people. But Jane can’t leave John because there is a mystic bond between them that makes her love him and want to spend the rest of her life with him even though he has completely destroyed her life and dictates her every action.
Folks, this here isn’t romance, it’s Stockholm Syndrome.
(Okay, not really. But you get the point.)
Obviously, this is an extreme example—though if you are a paranormal romance reader we bet you can figure out where the example came from. It’s that damn popular.
But any version of “I can’t choose to not be with this person because soulmates” has serious over- and undertones of abuse and rape. If you can’t choose to walk away from a relationship than you can’t choose to be in a relationship.
Soulmates can be a fun trope, but if you are going to send us soulmate fiction, make sure it’s consensual. Characters bound together with a mystical tie should still be able to walk away if they want, should respect each other’s boundaries, and should end up together because they choose to, not because they are robbed of their agency.
Also, there is at least one tradition that says people can have up to 6 million soul mates. So if you want, you can totally have a non-monogamous soulmate romance, ’kay? Think outside that box.