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Soulmate or myth? Beware! the new wuthering heights movie could well Leave you seeking a soulmate. But ray o'neill wonders does 'the one' really exist?

THIS WEEKEND sees the release of another film version of Wuthering Heights, the novel that haunts our notions of love, obsession with that tall, dark, brooding stranger -- the soulmate; the One that "whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same".

Soulmates are a dangerous concept: they are all symbols and no substance, abbreviated rather than complete, and extraordinarily immature.

The idea of soulmates is like a siren call to destruction. Cathy and Heathcliff went the only way soulmates have gone since Romeo and Juliet, which is towards death; where love remains unconsummated and thus persists as an ideal.

So here are 10 things to bear in mind with soulmates:

1 Intense feelings are intense because they are fuelled by fantasy not reality. Take responsibility for your feelings by being aware that they come from within you and are not from anyone else.

2Although we like to say that looks aren't important, each of us is attracted to our own 'look' -- unless we have been brainwashed by society's dictates. Tall, dark, and handsome often translates as selfish, vain and emotionally stunted.

3There is something intrinsically narcissistic about looking for a soulmate; who is "more myself than I am", and points to a deep insecurity. Differences in relationships are good. It is only through differences that we develop.

4If you want a soulmate then be a mate to your own soul. Find out what you like, and pursue your own hobbies and interests.

5Everyone believes they have one soulmate -- until that relationship ends. Life is full of many people and many different kinds of love and lovers, there is no one way or person.

6 Soulmates hurt. Heathcliff destroyed the lives, loves and dreams of everyone around him, including Cathy. People who project into the soulmate are emotional masochists who enjoy the delicious pain of suffering. If your One is being mean, they aren't meant for you.

7 It is not a coincidence that Wuthering Heights is doled out to teenagers; only in youth and inexperience can we love so freely, blindly and naively. Enjoy first loves, learn from them, then move on. Relationships are more a decathlon than a single sprint.

8 Romance is magical, love is real. People tend to talk of soulmates as a way of avoiding reality. Notice soulmates' keenest disciples are often those who feel themselves toxically single, or those who are frustrated in relationships. The soulmate can act as a justification for any behaviour; it is a get out of emotional jail free card, except that it always comes with a price.

9 Concentrate a little more on the mate part of the relationship and a little less on the soul and you might discover a worthy companion through life. Affairs are founded on foolish passion; solid relationships are built on genuine friendship.

10 The One is solitary, a sole mate; keep on dreaming of them if you want to stay single and alone.

Wuthering Heights is in cinemas now


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