He doesn’t believe in soulmates.
I do. I believe in soulmates, and reincarnation, and past lives, and twin flames. I don’t think E and I have met in a past life, though—our love feels new. Shy, and awkward, and surface-level at times; with intense moments of deep, swirling, I-love-you-so-much-my-chest-might-explode passion.
We were in love before we actually knew each other. If that’s not a soulmate, what is?
When E and I met, we glossed over the big questions—What do you believe in? Do you want kids? What are your hopes and dreams and fears?—and dove right in. I don’t know if I naively thought the details didn’t matter as long as we had “true love” on our side, or if I just didn’t think I needed to ask questions because, well... I manifested him.
Let me back up: About a year or so earlier, I hit a personal low point. My job was shit and my salary was shittier, my rent checks were bouncing, and I needed a new place to live. My mom mailed me a book of Louise Hay mantras to pull me out of my funk, and that’s how I discovered the Law of Attraction, meditation, and manifestation.
The Law of Attraction dictates that what you focus on, you create, so I visualized my dream apartment for 20 minutes a day: A studio, no roommates, with huge windows, beautiful natural light, and a parking spot, all within my minimum wage budget (which, let me tell you, in Los Angeles, is pretty much unheard of). The second I walked into third space I viewed, I knew I’d found the one. Its floor-to-ceiling windows and flowing white curtains were exactly what I’d pictured in my mind; friends would ask me in the year to come how I managed to find such an anomaly of an apartment. Easy—I manifested it.
AND THEN ONE NIGHT, WHILE SITTING IN MY DREAM APARTMENT AFTER A LONG DAY AT MY DREAM JOB, I DECIDED TO MANIFEST MY NEXT DREAM: LOVE.
I spent a few months settling into my new space before I set out to “Law of Attraction” a new job—one where I felt recognized, appreciated, and important. Within months I landed a gig as a ghostwriter for a major celebrity (whose last name rhymes with Karshmashian). And then one night, while sitting in my dream apartment after a long day at my dream job, I decided to manifest my next dream: love.
Instead of concentrating on the specifics, I created a mantra to call love into my life: I am love, I give love, and I receive love.
Three weeks and six awful first dates later with my mantra playing in my head on loop at almost all times, E came into my life. It was a Wednesday night when we met at a bar and a Saturday night when we fell in love. It happened fast; there was no time to stop and ask questions.
Early in, E called me at 2am, a little tipsy. I answered half-asleep and he talked, his lips heavy with one too many Bulleit Bourbon and sodas. He’d had a realization: We were created for each other, with each other, molded from the same block of clay. Up until now, he said, the clay around us had been melting, dripping, obscuring everything in our sight until finally, the excess cleared and left the just two of standing, together, hand in hand. Created for each other.
I listened with my eyes closed, drifting in and out of a dream-like state that made his thick, sweet words seem impossibly romantic and magical and without a doubt, spiritual. But that was just the whiskey talking.
As deep as my connection with E was getting, I began developing an even deeper connection with something else: the Universe. Our meeting had opened me up to the power of the unknown and sent me spinning down a path toward enlightenment (whatever that means). I couldn’t get enough: I tried yoga and energy healing, had my tarot cards read and my chakras cleansed, went to psychics and meditation classes, performed moon rituals, and carried crystals in my bra. Breathwork helped me discover the origin points of my pain, and healers helped me realize that speaking up, speaking out, using my voice would be my medicine.
E had cracked open my heart, but manifesting him had cracked open my soul.
It wasn’t the same for him. In fact, it was as if E was trying to maintain some sort of spiritual equilibrium between us—as my third eye opened, his squeezed firmly shut.
We slid into stereotypical, predetermined roles of the feminine and the masculine, playing our parts to perfection: Me, open and intuitive and full of feeling and trust in a higher power; him, stoic and stubborn and immoveable in his stances.
At first, that was fine—it was almost fun to play off of each other, to share with him the chanting incantation from my women’s moon circle and giggle as he rolled his eyes. He had a way of sighing after my stories that seemed to say, “How am I marrying a woman who believes in this shit?” It was funny... until it wasn’t. It was funny until it hurt. It was funny until I stopped telling my story.
E and I moved into together. Suddenly, the sacred space I had created for myself—my divinely appointed apartment, cleansed weekly with sage and covered with candles and mine, all mine—was gone. E and I weren’t just sharing our space, we were also sharing—pardon the expression—our vibes. And his logic-loving, judgmental nature was harshing mine.
My shutdown happened gradually—each roll of the eyes (“Another self-help book?”), exasperated sigh (“You don’t need a holistic healer, you need an actual doctor”), chuckle, and snort pushed me deeper into myself; hesitant to share the things I was learning and feeling, ashamed of revealing too much.
I STOPPED USING MY VOICE. E’S FAITH IN NOTHING WAS SO STRONG THAT IT OVERPOWERED MY FAITH IN MYSELF.
My habits didn’t necessarily change, but my daily practices weren’t giving me the sense of lightness, of ease, that I’d become addicted to. They weren’t freeing anymore—they were isolating. With each yoga class and Breathwork session, I was stirring shit up; but in keeping it all to myself, I stopped clearing it out. I stopped using my voice. E’s faith in nothing was so strong that it overpowered my faith in myself.
Quiet and brooding was not a good look on me. I picked fights about nothing and sharpened my tone and pulled back my affection, waiting for E to open his mind and see my side of things (you know, that bullshit technique we’ve all used to get what we want without actually having to ask for what we want). And surprise, surprise... it didn’t work. Months of passive aggression and bottled up emotion later, we exploded. (That inner peace I was cultivating through mediation? Yeah, no idea where that went.)
At the peak of it all, I unleashed a hurricane of sobs and shouted accusations at E; through hiccuping tears I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t respect my faith, or allow me to open up, or share in my discoveries and learnings and lessons. I couldn’t be with someone who kept me quiet and small. I was ready to walk.
E’s response was unexpected, to say the least. He didn’t like how withdrawn I’d become, either, how uncommunicative I’d been. He missed hearing about my metaphysical adventures—he actually wanted to hear about them—after all, he fell in love with me precisely because I was loud and open and a little woo-woo. He needed that balance in his life.
True, E didn’t believe in “energy exchange” or the Law of Attraction or even in a higher power at all; and yes, he could take his jokes too far from time to time. But his intention was never to shut me down, he said. It was to have fun with the irony of our completely opposing ideals, to revel in our differences and laugh at how we’d found love in the most unexpected partners.
My relationship with E is both a gift and a challenge from the Universe, perfectly plotted on my path to self and soul-discovery. Calling him into my life taught me to trust in the power of my intentions. Being challenged by him taught me the consequence of not using my voice, and the importance of acceptance. Choosing to be vulnerable with him everyday teaches me true intimacy—which, as it turns out, has less to do with believing in the same things and more to do with believing in each other. With being raw and real and open, without shame and without judgement.
CHOOSING TO BE VULNERABLE WITH HIM EVERYDAY TEACHES ME TRUE INTIMACY—WHICH, AS IT TURNS OUT, HAS LESS TO DO WITH BELIEVING IN THE SAME THINGS AND MORE TO DO WITH BELIEVING IN EACH OTHER.
We are total opposites. He gets his sense of power from the physical; I get mine from the metaphysical. He believes in nothing; I believe in everything. He doesn’t believe in soulmates. I do. But we both believe in us.