Do I feel there can be only one “true” love or one “real” soulmate?
Let me clarify. This idea goes all sorts of ways for me, none very good.
Like most American kids, especially AFAB kids, I grew up with the fairy tale, happily ever after, one true love idea, fed to me by Disney. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and get married. End of story.
But a few things in my life have thoroughly disabused me of this possibility, at least for myself.
The first one I can remember was when I was volunteering at a summer Girl Scout day camp, probably about the second or third year I did it (so I was about 12 or 13). The volunteer structure was sort of a mentor thing – they had adults and older teens supervising and mentoring the younger volunteers. We all had a space away from the campers where we could sit and relax for breaks and meals. During one of those break periods there were a few of us hanging out there and one of the older teens said something that has stuck in my head for the years since: “There is no such thing as one true love or a fairy tale ending”. That shattered my brain, clicked a switch that I didn’t know existed. One of the weirdest things about this experience is really how it has panned out now: I got back in touch with her, when she moved back to Seattle, oddly enough through a poly speed dating event. And I am casually dating (one of) her partner(s) now. It seems to have all come around in an odd sort of circle.
The second was my introduction to the idea of polyamory and multiple relationships shortly after I started college at 18. It was paradigm changing to learn about this idea and read about the long term relationships and the people who made it all work out.
The third has been more of a span of time, rather than a fixed point. Through the last three of four years I have been through a mess of things and only started to really socially stabilize this last year or so. But through that period I found love a handful of times – none lesser or smaller than the love I already had with Trydaen. And my love for people has changed and grown over those years – not just romantic love, but familial, platonic, sexual, and companionate. Knowing about the breadth of love has made it impossible to ever be satisfied with just one love, forever and forever. Even if I end up with only one partner, I know that there’s a lot of love out there and that love will never be alone, ever again.