Reader Question: Did My Intuition Make Me Break up with a Soulmate?

I was already preparing my last article when I received this question from Jenny.  She broke up an engagement because of an inexplicable feeling that something wasn’t right.

I was engaged to a man a few months back and broke it off shortly before the wedding. It was a decision which I finally came to after about a period of 4-6 weeks of increasing intensity of doubts.

The confusion was further compounded by a large number of those around me who gave me advice trying to encourage and convince me to go ahead. However, no matter what people told me, whether that I was crazy or dominated by fear, I would still wake up every day with the same feelings and doubts that plagued me.

The process would go as follows: I would feel doubtful, discuss the problem with someone whom I trusted and valued their opinion. Then, they, together with me would intellectually convince me to go ahead and of the absurdity of pulling out. I would then feel ok for a day or two or an evening and the same feelings would return, only this time stronger and more intense.

The last two weeks I actually had physical symptoms, such as tension in the gut, inability to sleep, concentrate, pray, relax, carry out normal tasks, etc…Then at my lowest point, when I felt I could go on no more, I sat down with my parents and decided that a decision had to be made. It had to end.

My doubts were a feeling of incompatibility on the intellectual/spiritual/reflective/thinking/depth plane. A subtlety that could not be understood by those who did not possess it. I can illustrate the point as follows – its as if I felt that I was the only person bringing up spiritual, deeper issues in the conversation. I was always the initiator. If I did bring up something, he would listen to it, but his eyes would not light up like mine and he would often get distracted, almost as if he felt it was his duty to listen, like a kid in a classroom. I felt that he was agreeing with me because he liked everything else about me and was simply “going along” with what I had to offer.

But a person like me craves for intellectual and spiritual depth in a soul mate. I felt I couldn’t settle, knowing that this aspect of the relationship would be absent. Its also, tell me if you agree, something that cannot be developed. It is something that is intrinsic to a personality type. Do they read, introspect, think, get moved and motivated by spiritual ideals and lead their lives according to those ideals? Or is it simply done by rote, because there is an intellectual appreciation of what should be done and said and thought?

If it was an ‘objective’ doubt such as a physical or mental illness that I had discovered in the other person, this would be much easier to have walked away from. Precisely, because it was so subtle, and objectively non-discernable, I almost felt silly expressing it to others and justifying my decision to end it. A combination of very different upbringing and approaches to spirituality meant I felt a fundamental incompatibility existed. I tried to push away this seemingly subtle feeling but it kept coming back, and as mentioned before, stronger and stronger.

After breaking it off, I felt relief for a short while and then regret, as the stimulus for the feelings had disappeared and the emotional weight of the memories weighed heavily down on me. I made an attempt to go back, which was rejected by the other side. However, just before I received my answer, again those same feelings returned – I actually prayed inwardly that they would say no during the waiting period for the decision!

Over the last few months, the challenge has been to try and maintain the sense of mental clarity about the situation.

Some of the questions that I have been grappling with are: Was it fear or intuition? Do I have a commitment phobia? (I come from a very stable home, with parents who have a true soul mate relationship. I am a very commited, reliable, high-achieving person in nearly all areas of my life and have many successful friendships)

Is it reasonable to look at the situation as “just an intuition” and you have to go along with it, or that the intuition revealed the true reasons which have only been properly understood after the event? In other words, if one were to say the reasons were unreasonable to break off an engagement, then is Intuition alone enough of a reason to call it off?

It would be helpful if you could enlighten me on the above for my own understanding, and also to help me make better decisions about who I get engaged to in the future.

I would also like to mention that my first impression of the man was almost exactly the same as the conclusion that led me to end it. Its almost as if I was trying to cover up and justify him as my soul mate for the several month period that we were together.

Jenny, if you read my last article, I think it addresses many points that were discussed in your story.  It’s a strong real-life example of how intuition manifests itself.  And yes, I think you were acting according to your intuition here — the scores and all the little things you mention all add up.

First of all, I’d like to affirm you for making this courageous decision to end this relationship.  It must have been very difficult to do this, particularly when you didn’t have support or agreements from people you know and trust.

I’ll let the previous article explain why I think you were acting according to your intuition, but let me respond to the specific questions  at the end.  No, it really doesn’t sound like you have a commitment phobia — you may have, but what you told me so far doesn’t give me any indication so far.  (see if you have other histories of breaking up committed relationships)  Even if you have a phobia, it’s not right for you to commit to a relationship without overcoming it first.  But really, in this case, I think the easier and less scary decision was to go with the marriage.  Phobia is a fear of something — and I don’t sense that you acted because you were afraid of the relationship more so than the consequence of breaking up.  The fact that you had some second thoughts after breaking up indicates that indeed this was a very scary thing to do.

I think this is a case where your intuition knew all along that this was not the right relationship for you.  The fact that you had that sense immediately is a clear sign of that.  All the reasons why you rationalized — the one about compatibility — is an attempt to put reason behind your intuition, to explain and justify it.  It makes sense, but I would caution you against putting too much weight on it.  It’s possible that the next person you meet still doesn’t possess the depth you’re seeking, but somehow everything else all adds up (perhaps he’ll look at you more in a “righter” way 😉 ) to make you feel “right” about your relationship!  It’s unlikely, though possible enough for you to be open to. I do think that the chances are, you are right that your intuition led you down the path of deeper reflection and examination that revealed what you truly were looking for in a soulmate. In the other words, pursuing this relationship served an important function in your life, even though it would have been easier if you had confirmed your conclusion and ended it before it got to the point that it did.   Armed with this knowledge, now you are more equipped than ever to find/be able to identify the right person.

Just as it told you when it wasn’t right, intuition will also tell you when it is right.  It may be immediate or it may not be, but something will spark in your mind, and then turns into a persistent whisper you just can’t ignore.  Sometimes you find it right where you’re looking, other times it occurs in a most unexpected way that you end up resisting it for a while.  Intuition is a difficult thing to accept and go along with in the present, logic-based climate.  But that resistance can also act as a flag, one that’ll reveal your intuition to you when it happens.

I noticed my wife when I first saw her, though it took a while before I became aware that I was attracted to her.  She, on the other hand, wasn’t attracted to me in the least initially — it was our late-night deep conversations that lit the spark in her head.  Another good friend of mine, happily married, also knew each other while before the light went off.  Sometimes the light goes off to prompt you to explore that direction, only to have you discover another thing about what you’re not looking for.  Remember that intuition is not necessarily a prediction of outcome — but you should always pursue it, until it tells you not to do so.  And one of these days, you’ll end up going all the way.  😉

Jenny, I think you are a thoughtful, conscientious and mature person.  As long as you keep building your confidence and maintain your intention to find a soulmate, I’m certain that you’ll find one.

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  1. Another great post! This one really hits home. I was in a relationship for six years…and kept rationalizing it, defending it–trying to keep me to stay with him. “My parents really like him. He’s responsible.” Worse, a close friend was telling me that I shouldn’t break up with him because “I should feel sorry for him and his circumstances.” I would never want to pity my significant other and have that be a reason to stay.

    Bravo to Jenny for sharing her story. =)

    Maricor´s last blog post..I’m changing, and I like it.

    1. Hi Maricor,

      Six years — that’s a long time to be in a relationship! A lot of times people settle in wrong relationships because of external reasons like you mentioned, when all along they have a voice whispering in their head going “this isn’t right… this isn’t right…”


  2. Hi Ari

    I find your article very interesting, possibly because I can relate to the occasional challenge of trying to decipher whether I’m being nudged by my intuition or fear or influences of family, friends and society.

    All I can offer to Jenny is to back up what you told her and verify her decision. I too had doubts about a man I was to marry, only I didn’t end the relationship. As much as I loved him, we really were not on the “same wave” link as the saying goes. The marriage caused me a lot of stress (probably him as well), unhappiness and eventually ended in divorce.

    If something doesn’t feel right, despite rational thoughts or desires to the contrary, then the feeling is soul level and needs to be given attention. That has been my experience.

    I would also like to tell you Ari, that I tagged you and you can get the information on my site.

    Have a great weekend!

    Lea´s last blog post..Passionate Blogger Tag

    1. Hi Lea!

      Thanks for the comment! Sorry to hear your marriage ended in divorce. I, too, have made many decisions where I talked myself into it knowing that I’m really not at peace with it. My big error ended up in us abandoning a house we were building mid-project, and selling the whole property. Cost us tens of thousands of dollars. But that’s a tale for another day.


  3. Intuition in relationships is something I have been grappling with lately. I have recently told a friend who insists he is love with me, that I am not “the one” for him. On the outside, I appear to be insane. He is good looking, funny, great with my kids, has a good job, and I connect with him in the spiritual way that your reader above was missing. But for whatever reason, I know I am not in love with him. He deserves to be with someone who loves him. I am sad, because I am losing a much-needed friend, but we need a clean break, mostly for his sake. My intuition tells me all this.

    At the same time, I am trying to write an essay about another man I dated a few years ago, a relationship where I convinced myself that he was something he was not. I ignored my intuition in lieu of my loneliness, and the whole thing ended badly. Two years later I am still recovering, but determined not to ignore my intuition again. It has lost me a friend (for now anyway), but it is not something I will compromise again.

    1. Hey Abby,

      It’s good to have you back! Well, you know that putting two good people will not make them a couple — relationship is one place where intuition has to lead the way, as rationality really can’t.

      That said, writing down a list/description of your ideal partner does help you visualize and assess your candidates — not to ignore intuition but to confirm what your intuition is probably already telling you. Or if someone surprises you by fitting you logic-based qualifications but not be accepted by your intuition, that means there are qualities that you didn’t realize were important to you.

      Best wishes on your search! I know it’s tricky.


  4. Hi

    Thanks for your comments, guys. It is encouraging to know that people have had similar experiences.

    Intuition in relationships can be something that is very hard to swallow. In my situation, we had several common interests, were very attracted physically to each other, got on well, had fun together, enjoyed spending time together. We also were both talented people, having a common creative side. We rarely argued, and had many wonderful outings and good times together, many phone calls, letters, romantic gestures, etc..To many onlookers, we probably looked the perfect couple, both of us tall and good-looking, etc.

    Rationally everything made so much sense! It seemed such a shame to break such a “perfect” relationship. Yet, for me, the painful dissonance of my external and internal worlds was too much to bear. As the wedding crept closer, the need for more and more powerful rationalisations increased, eventually resulting in the pure intuition coming out and overruling the justifications and rationalisations that had kept me on course for so long. However, this lack of feeling of deeper connection, this feeling of being on completely different wavelengths just was too much to bear. It’s almost as if everything was there in this person APART from the ability to be and express myself at my most fundamental level. However, this is a pretty big thing, and for a connected, deep, thinking person, this underpins everything.

    Part of the problem was that I didn’t realy have a true understanding of this missing element until after the break-up and by then it was too late to express it to the other side. More significantly, I feel that he would never understand why I ended it..because if he did, then that element would be present and there would never be a need to break up!

    That is sometimes the hardest part of intuition in a relationship context. How can you tell someone that you love that at a very deep, fundamental level, a level that is not fear-based, you do not feel right about marrying them? It is one of the hardest things to do – to do something to someone knowing that they may not understand why. Yet, as those who have commented have experienced, the consequences of ignoring these intuitions are painful and often, long-lasting. From the many stories, both here and those that I have come across elsewhere, it seems that intuition is a very powerful tool in telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. The trick is to recognise the intuition early on and then act on it, to avoid the pain of delaying and having to pull away later. In my situation, both at the first impression, several times during dating, and also just before engagement, I felt something telling me to go ahead. I dismissed it as fear, or an over-pickiness, but when one is faced with the prospect of things working out in such a nice way, rationalisations easily win out. This combined with the convenience in my life of getting engaged at that point, and subtle pressure from those around me to go ahead with the engagement, meant I was in an impossible situation that would have required almost “prophetic” foresight to get out of! I do not blame myself for what happened, I think I got out just in time, but it took extreme feelings of “this is not right” for me to ACT on the intuition. Again, the skill lies in hearing those quiet voices early on, rather than waitiong for a shout and physical symptoms later on.

    Thanks for those who have commented and looking forward to hearing more feedback..

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Thanks again for entrusting me with your story.

      You know, every relationship has an ideal distance or format. I’m sure you agree that not all friendships are meant to end up as a marriage. Sounds like with your ex-fiance here, you had a great relationship/friendship. But simply not the one that was meant to be your marriage.

      You know, we have such limited view of what is “perfect.” Sometimes we don’t recognize perfection until it falls on your lap, and it fits in a way you never thought possible.

      You do sound like a person who relies heavily on logic and rationalization as justifications for your actions. I have been that way, too, for a long time — some cultures/families emphasize it quite heavily.

      But you know “not feeling it” is quite a legitimate reason for decisions. In fact, sometimes it’s a much better reason than some phony (I’m not saying yours is) reasons you force to explain your actions. My wife, for example, accepts me much better when I simply say “that’s how I feel about it” and not try to explain when the explanations are really not the real reasons behind the decisions.

      If you had listened to your intuition early on and had not let the expectations and relationship build up to the extent it did, you may have been able to turn the dating relationship into a satisfying close friendship. I myself have many close friends of opposite sex other than my wife. But in your case, you simply couldn’t have — you needed this experience to open your eyes to something you couldn’t see before. While I feel your pain, I encourage you to accept your lessons and move on. Now you know something very important about what you’re looking for in a marriage, that you didn’t know before. You’re one big step closer to finding that person!

      Best wishes to you.


  5. I think that if it had been her soulmate, there would be no intuition that something is wrong. Intuition is a strong part of our being if we listen to it though. Even down to the small things, like those nagging little urges to do something which seems silly or strange at the time, but will benefit you down the road.

    ~ Kristi

    Kikolani | Blogging, Poetry, Photography´s last blog post..The Return of Sleep Paralysis

  6. Wow, Until now I have felt completely alone in all my confusion. Sometimes I think I’m crazy but I know it’s intuition. But, yet I fight it. I am married to a man I shouldn’t be married to and I can’t explain why. It feels all wrong. He would never understand. When I try to touch ground on it he rants and raves until I supress everything. Then it comes to the surface again. I know now that it will never go away.

    We have had a very rocky relationship. We even seperated for 2 years and then one day he was back. I am honestly not sure how it all happened. Since then I have been a wreck. 1/12 years now. I think of how devistated he would be. I think of how horrible of a person I would be. But yet there is this screaming inside of me saying to follow this feeling of the unknown.

    I left for a drive, a long drive. My husband knew I’d be gone awhile. I stopped driving after 1,200 miles. I felt like I met myself. Spent 3 days wondering around this strange city, never felt scared, alone or trapped. Drove 1,200 miles back home and here I am again. Listening to the screaming all over again.

    I want to go back there where I am. Does it make sense to drive so far away to reach myself?

    Sometimes I think I’m Crazy!

  7. Over time the symptoms of depression got easier to handle as I developed an understanding of the disease, and tireless work on my self from a bunch of angles reaped enormous benefits. Would you agree with this approach?

  8. I’m so glad I found this! I have be grappling with breaking up with my boyfriend of 2 years. In many ways he is everything I thought I wanted: funny, smart, wealthy and so loving but from day one there was a nagging doubt that hasn’t gone away. We don’t ever really fight and there is nothing “wrong” with our relationship so my friends and family don’t really understand why I have doubts. So I just kept talking myself out of it but it just keeps coming back. I try to convince myself that I am mistaking my “intuition” for just being afraid of commitment or incapable of being pleased (I was dissatisfied in my last relationship too). I really want him to be the one for me so I don’t have to look around anymore. I want to have kids and a family and it would be so nice and easy if I could just settle for him. I’m afraid I won’t be able to find anyone who can please me. Reading this really helped me clarify what I need to do. I identified with so many of the things in your intuition post, especially 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9! Now I just need to gather the strength to do it. Thank you!

  9. I’ve been with this guy War. I’ve been dating him on/off for about a yr in a half. Lived with him for six months. Then by March we eventually got our own apt. . Thought things would get better for us but after a yr. in a half of him promising me he’d marry me and not follow through with it. Made me realize he really had no intentions of ever fulfilling this project that he had promised me since March 2010 of this year. He’s got commitment phobia.This Dec. will be 2 yrs. I’ve been with him. Living with him in our apt. It just feels like to me that I’m more committed to him in this relationship that he is committed to me .I’m not sure if it’s my intuition or fear setting in either. As much as I love War in a very deep/fundamental level.I don’t feel right in marrying him though he has proposed to me already.But not official as of yet.I really don’t know why I’m feeling this way? How can I decipher whether it is my intuition talking to me or its fear how can I know for sure which is which? I’m really confused.

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