As a new Shadowhunter convert, I had over ten years of catching up to do on all the amazing books Cassandra Clare has given us. So when I finally got to Lady Midnight, I really sympathized with Emma’s struggle to keep her romantic feelings at bay for her parabatai, Julian. But there were a few reasons not to pursue a romance with her sworn lifelong partner and protector, one being that it’s forbidden by Shadowhunter law. Emma tries to protect Julian by keeping her true feelings a secret, but Julian “knows” they’re soulmates.
While I understand the strength of Julian’s feelings, I’m here to tell you: the entire concept of soulmates is, for lack of a better word, super wack.
Don’t start booing yet! I do believe love is the truest, most universal feeling we all experience. But the idea of soulmates can be very limiting. Here’s my take on it:
We can be happy with many different people throughout our lives. If you don’t believe me, ask the hottest wizard this side of the East River, Magnus Bane! It took him over 400 years to find Alec. Magnus still thinks fondly on some of his past romances, and those relationships were important in shaping him into the person he is today.
“Happily ever after” is the beginning, not the end, of the love story. The idea that there is only one person you’re destined to be with doesn’t account for the rough parts of a relationship. Knee-melting stares and fireworks-inducing kisses are all well and good, but most days all you and your partner do is decide who’s cooking dinner and who’s doing the dishes.
Soulmates are literally for the birds. 90 percent of birds are monogamous creatures, while only three percent of mammals mate for life! That’s probably because a lot of mammals don’t choose the right partner the first few times around. If soulmates were a thing, I think finding them would be a lot easier.
The idea of a soulmate is restrictive. As people, we have all the possibilities in the world. The type of couple you and your partner become is a direct reflection of who you two are. So if I decided I wanted to be the most successful farmer on the planet, it would be a little difficult if my predetermined soulmate decided he wanted to be an ice fisher. And I know you’re probably thinking “well obviously then he wouldn’t be your soulmate,” but then you’re getting into the territory of everything being predetermined. Shouldn’t I get to choose what my life would be? Shouldn’t I get to choose to be a farmer or a candlestick maker or a chef, independently of who my significant other is?
In conclusion, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and none of them are your soulmate. Fish don’t have souls anyway. There’s no such thing as “the one who got away,” only past mistakes in relationships that will inevitably lead to being happy with someone else! Love is a wonderful thing to find, and couples that want to go the distance should be ready to work on it.