On my first-ever 15-hour plane ride to Asia, I met my first soulmate. Like a slow motion scene in a movie, I turned around in my tiny seat and saw him, my heart beating fast. “Who is THAT?” I sputtered to my seat mate. It sounds crazy, but when I saw him it was like time stood still. I knew that I was meant to be with him. There was this spark with a man I had never met before. I’d only just found out his name 10 seconds after gazing upon his face. He was my soulmate.

At the time, I thought he was my one and only soulmate. We dated for two years before it came crashing down in true we-just-got-out-of-college-and-don’t-know-how-to-date-in-the-real-world fashion. But that first feeling was real.

Soulmate: a person with whom one has a strong affinity, shared values and tastes, and often a romantic bond. (

This same instantaneous connection crashed into me again in the summer of 2011. I was home for the summer in-between my years in HK and I had accepted some friends’ invitation to go to Wisconsin for the weekend. We picked up the girl’s cousin and bam! That same feeling. Sparkles in my eyes. That dizzy feeling hit me so hard that if I’d been standing when we first met, I probably would’ve buckled at the knees.

I moved back to Hong Kong a month later and the relationship burned up faster than either of us probably would’ve liked. But that first feeling was real.

Neither of these guys was gorgeous. This feeling didn’t come from lust or their babe-status, it came from our hearts. I’m not a religious person and I don’t actually know if people have souls, so I’m using that term “soulmates” for layman’s purposes because I have no idea what that feeling really was and this is the only explanation I can give.

Soulmate: a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity. This may involve similarity, love, romance, friendship, comfort, intimacy, sexuality, sexual activity, spirituality, or compatibility and trust. (

Last spring, I went to my first volunteer meeting for an organization I’d just joined. The second I walked into the room my eyes locked with a guy there; neither of us able to look away. Kapow! I nearly melted. It took me a few weeks and a few beers to find out that he was engaged. I was crushed that he wasn’t actually my soulmate. But after conversations with girlfriends, I was reminded that maybe he was my soulmate…one of many. If we’d met another day, another time, it could’ve been something. But that first feeling was real.

Then in the summer of 2015 I met another tall, dark and handsome man, this time in Mexico City. We locked eyes across the bar and the world stopped for both of us. Yes, he was a fine man, but that wasn’t it. We talked for a while that night before he got back on a plane. For the next few months, we chatted on whatsapp and then one day, he stopped texting. He had been stabbed and died a week later. I still feel the searing ache in my heart every time I think of him. That first feeling was real.

So while it turns out that soulmate is not synonymous with the one and only love, I really do believe that it is two souls or two auras or two whatever-you-call-its uniting, even if only briefly.

I went on a first date this past weekend and I didn’t get that first feeling. He was pretty funny, attractive, a seemingly nice guy. But there was no Bam! No Kapow! No sparkles. But does that mean he isn’t my soulmate? Does that mean we aren’t meant to be together, even if only a short while? Should I hold out to date a man who dazzles on the first meeting? Or maybe that “first feeling” will actually come later on with someone, as in it doesn’t have to come first, it can shine later on. So many questions and not enough answers. And there probably won’t be answers until I find my final soulmate. Because in the end, I think that final feeling will be real, not just the first one.

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