We all want to believe in true love, and in happy endings. We all want to be believe that we will find a partner in this life, someone to constantly love, trust and build a life with. But is there such a thing as destiny, fate, “written in the stars,” meant to be? Probably not.
Whether or not you believe in destiny—truly believe in it—may be affecting your relationships and the way you approach the possibility of love. It may even affect your behavior toward your partner in a long-term relationship. What if our belief in destiny is actually preventing us from finding a partner?
People who believe in destiny think “everything happens for a reason” and that they are being guided by fate no matter what they do. They believe that despite their choices and behavior, they are destined to end up in the same place, with the same person. It’s fate. Written in the stars.
It’s a romantic notion that takes the onus off people. It makes you believe that our choices—bad and good—don’t have far-reaching consequences. It doesn’t matter what you do. This breakup/make-up/meeting has happened for a reason. We don’t have to do anything. In relationships, this kind of thinking can do way more harm than good.
Studies show there are two kinds of people in relationships: those who hold growth beliefs and those who hold destiny beliefs. People who hold the belief that a relationship grows and changes over time and that it requires constant work tend to be happier in relationships and have longer-lasting relationships.
On the other hand, people who hold strong beliefs in destiny and fate tend to cut and run when struggles happen in a relationship, because they take domestic difficulty as a sign that their match isn’t “meant to be.” They’re more likely to end it earlier. Destiny could actually prevent you from domestic bliss rather than guide you toward it.
Because here’s the thing: relationships require work. There are days when you won’t feel ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey toward your partner even if you still love them as much as you ever did. But on those days, it’s hard to look at them and think, “they are my destiny,” because that’s a romantic, sappy sentiment that burns so bright at the beginning of a relationship, but has the tendency to fade after the honeymoon period. And even if you’re happy, committed and in love, you may second-guess your relationship simply on the basis that you want that feeling of “destiny” back.
You think: what changed? Why don’t I feel like that anymore? Because it’s natural, not because some cosmic force is telling you that there’s another destined love waiting out there for you. So you sabotage a good thing, believe in something better, and lose what you had.
There’s no perfect relationship. Even if you do believe that “everything happens for a reason” and that the universe has a plan for you, once you find your “soul mate,” it won’t be all joy and laughter every day for the rest of your lives. After the fulfillment of what you call destiny comes the work to keep this person in your life, and destiny can’t do the legwork for you.
Even if you believe someone is perfect for you doesn’t mean they’re perfect, and it doesn’t mean you’ll always feel like they’re perfect for you. Perfection doesn’t exist, and it was some quote falsely attributed to Marilyn Monroe that went, “Imperfection is beauty.” Despite not having been spoken by Miss Monroe herself, there’s some wisdom in that.
Better to believe in beauty and choice than to believe in destiny. Better to believe in the fruits of your hard work and your love for another than in fate and soul mates.
A certain episode of Friends comes to mind, where Monica tells Chandler she doesn’t believe in soul mates. She believes that, and I quote, “What I do believe is that we fell in love and that we work hard for our relationship.” If you listen to no one else, listen to Monica and Chandler. They are the oracle. They carry all the knowledge.
I think it’s much more romantic, realistic and astounding to think of two people finding each other, falling in love and caring enough about what they have to work at it every day, than to think of an invisible force drawing two people together. I think choosing someone is more amazing than being destined to be with someone, and that being chosen is lovelier than a force picking you for someone else.
Trust yourself more than fate.