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Friday
May062011

Do You Believe in Soulmates? Is Love Like a Garden? Take the Quiz

A while back I answered a reader’s question about beliefs in soulmates, based on studies of "implicit theories of relationships." With this post I want to follow-up by describing the measure that's used to assess implicit theories and give readers a chance to score themselves on those items. These items were developed by Dr. C. Raymond Knee of the University of Houston. The actual scale that is used by researchers is comprised of 22 items (11 each for destiny and growth); the eight items above were suggested by Dr. Knee as the most representative for a short version of the scale. 

Using the 1 to 7 scale, rate your agreement with the statements below. Try to be honest; you’ll only get a valid score if you answer as truthfully as you can. 

____ 1. Potential relationship partners are either compatible or they are not.

____ 2. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of finding a compatible partner right from the start.    

____ 3. Potential relationship partners are either destined to get along or they are not.

____ 4. Relationships that do not start off well inevitably fail. 

____ 5. The ideal relationship develops gradually over time.

____ 6. A successful relationship evolves through hard work and resolution of incompatibilities.

____ 7. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of learning to resolve conflicts with a partner.

____ 8. Challenges and obstacles in a relationship can make love even stronger.

Scoring instructions:

For destiny beliefs, add up your ratings for the first four items (1-4). This will be a number between 1 and 28.

For growth beliefs, add up your ratings for the last four items (5-8). This will also be a number between 1 and 28.

So, now you have numerical scores for destiny and growth, but what do they mean? How do you compare with others?*

For destiny:

  • A score between 1 and 15 = the lowest third of people (in other words, you are pretty skeptical about the existance of soulmates)
  • 16 to 19 = pretty average (middle third)
  • 20 and above = the highest third (you're a hopeless romantic).

For growth: 

  • A score between 1 and 21 = the lowest third (you don't think relationships can change much)
  • 22 to 25 = pretty average (middle third)
  • 26 and above = the highest third (you think that relationships can work through just about anything).

In our previous post we gave more information about the relationships of people who are high/low in growth and destiny. Do those findings match up with your scores?

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.

For more relationships quizzes, click here.

Click here for a Psychology Today article on the "Soulmate Fallacy" written by SofR's Dr. Bjarne Holmes.

Knee, C. R., Patrick, H., & Lonsbary, C. (2003). Implicit theories of relationships: Orientations toward evaluation and cultivation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 41-55.

*These groupings are based on data from over 260 people in romantic relationships collected by Prof. Benjamin Le in 2002 as part of his dissertation.

Dr. Benjamin Le - Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Le's research focuses on commitment, including the factors associated with commitment and its role in promoting maintenance. He has published on the topics of breakup, geographic separation, infidelity, social networks, cognition, and need fulfillment and emotions in relationships.

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Reader Comments (4)

Like many things, holding the belief that people are destined to be together sets us up for failure, be it via self-fulfilling prophecy or otherwise. When things begin to appear less than perfect (and they inevitably will), it seems that those holding this perspective will be more disappointed than their more rational counterparts. Additionally, I think it is fair to assume that many people who believe in soul mates hold an external locus of control, which can be problematic because they might blame their partner for stepping in the middle of their destined union, thus learning nothing from the situation. Obviously, most of this is speculation, but sometimes speculation is the start to a solution.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole A.

I think you're right on the mark with your thoughts about destiny beliefs; they've set themselves up to be disappointed if things don't go perfectly. The role of locus of control is really interesting. We should ask Dr. Knee; I'm sure he's thought about it. My sense is that you're partly right about the way they attribute events in their relationships; that they externalize things as being "meant to be" or not. But remember that destiny theorists also take responsibility for ending relationships-- "I'm not meant to be with this person, so I'm going to cut them loose now..." That looks more like an internal locus of control.

May 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterDr. Benjamin Le

This is the first somewhat real scientific approach to the subject of soul mates I have found. Why do people believe in this or that situations? We may meet people to learn something about us or the world. That does not mean though we have to cut them off. Every interaction we make leads to a learning experience. Instead of assuming we are destined to be with a particular soul maybe we are made to meet many soul partners.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

I scored 23 on first part (you're a hopeless romantic) and 28 on second part (you think that relationships can work through just about anything). What does that make me? I believe there is a spark/chemistry/destiny that brings 2 people together. Without those, I don't see why anyone would be together & why two random strangers will try to build a relationship for no reason. But once in a relationship, hardship will come and in that phase we need to swtich from "soulmate" to "work thur things". Those two can co-exist in my opinion

March 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKera

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