Romantic love is an equally dreamy and tricky game to play. Most of us were raised to believe this human emotion is the source of ultimate happiness, so we venture into the rocky waters of dating with a burning desire to find a soulmate and get a taste of this bliss. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing like meeting someone you adore and knowing you’re destined for the entirety of life together.
But unfortunately, in this digital age, we’re surrounded by break-ups, love rats, and unhappy coupledoms that make it easy to lose faith in the idea of eternal love altogether. In an attempt to remind you that it does exist, our team at Bored Panda compiled a list of beautiful and heartwarming pictures that prove some lovers are destined for each other.
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From surprising similarities to incredible coincidences, these photos show that the universe works in mysterious ways and that two people can really be magically connected, even before they feel it themselves. Like finding yourself in your other half’s family picture 7 years before you met. Continue scrolling to see these wholesome examples, and upvote your favorite ones. Keep reading to also find our in-depth interview with relationship coach and narcissism hacker Dr. Nathalie Martinek. If you have any similar stories to tell, be sure to share them in the comments!
#1 Laura And I Met In Preschool. One Of My Very First Memories Is Of Being 3 Years Old And Standing Up In Front Of My Pre-School Class, Declaring That I Would Marry Her Someday
Image credits: thewaywemet
#2 My Wife’s Grandparents Are Suffering From Dementia, But Their Love Is So Strong That She’s Fixing His Shirt, Blowing Kisses At Him, And Hoping He’ll Be Her Boyfriend
They are 98 years old and married for nearly 80 years.
Image credits: dorky_dad77
The lure of “The One” stretches across many different cultures. Everyone wants to find the perfect match, and there are many reasons why people hope their ideal person is out there. At the same time, it’s easy to feel the pressure of acquiring that smooth-sailing love story where the relationship seems so flawless that it has to be written in the stars.
Recent research has shown that an astonishing number of people expect to meet their pre-destined partner. For example, according to a 2021 YouGov poll that surveyed nearly 15,000 adults, the US seems to be the land of romantics. It found that 60% of Americans believe in the idea of soulmates, with women (64%) being more likely than men (55%) to say they believe in this idea of a perfect romantic partner.
But how do we know this person out of the nearly 8 billion people on Earth is really “The One”? Aren’t we just submitting to the assumption that somewhere out there our delightfully compatible lover is just waiting to bring some long-awaited meaning into our lives?
#3 This Picture Of My Parents Never Actually Happened, But Two Separate Photos That Fit Perfectly Together
Image credits: flowerboy00
#4 Couple With Down Syndrome Told Not To Marry, Prove Critics Wrong 25 Years Later
Image credits: Scharoun family
To gain more insight on the topic, we reached out to Dr. Nathalie Martinek, a narcissism hacker and relationship coach based in Melbourne, Australia. “The term ‘soulmates’ describes a powerful bond between two people who both feel an immediate familiarity with each other, as if they’ve known each other their entire life or in a past lifetime,” she told Bored Panda.
Contrary to popular belief, soulmates are not necessarily bound by romantic relationships. They can be friends, family, business partners, or even strangers we barely know but immediately “click” with. But as Dr. Martinek pointed out, we usually use this term to describe affectionate connections.
“Since humans grow, develop, and mature, they will be drawn to different people at different phases of their life, or at different stages of emotional maturity. Rather than there only being one person perfect for us, there are people who match what we need for our maturation process at any given time, whether it’s one person during adulthood, such as a spouse, or many different ideal partners,” she said, adding there is no one way to be with a soulmate.
#5 Engaged Couple Thinks They Met In University, Mom Figures Out They Actually Met On A Family Vacation In 1997
Image credits: boredpanda.com
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#6 Woman Finds Out Blood Donor Who Saved Her Life 11 Years Ago Turned Out To Be Her Husband
Image credits: chinatimes.com
#7 Me In 1998 And My Wife In 2000
Image credits: camiam85
It’s nice to believe that meeting your soulmate means you’ll magically fall in love and stay this way forever. But there’s evidence that this belief may have been instilled into us by movies and TV shows. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan found that our romantic ideals often correlate with the media messages we were exposed to. They studied survey responses of 625 college students who indicated watching romantic movies, sitcoms, and marriage-themed reality shows.
The study revealed that higher exposure to romantic movies was associated with a stronger belief that “love finds a way.” Bigger exposure to marriage-themed reality shows was connected to faith in “love at first sight” and “true love”.
#8 When I Met My Wife, We Didn’t Know At The Time But It Turns Out That We Have Similar Looking Birthmarks On Our Thighs
Image credits: BettyChao
#9 Married Couple In China Discover They Appeared In Same Photograph As Teenagers
Image credits: ChannelNewsAsia
#10 A Picture Of Both Of My Grandpas, Who Were Friends Before My Parents Even Met
Image credits: baw2797
“True love is a concept that comes out of fairytales, stories, and myths that we read about in books that have been brought to life in films, love songs, and other media and don’t always reflect reality,” Dr. Martinek told us. “Unfortunately, these stories have influenced us to believe that we should strive for the fantasy of true love rather than strive for healthy and secure relationships.”
Alarmingly, these fantasies also encourage us to trauma bond with people who offer this dream or who idealize us as the fantasy. “These relationships start with one person being swept off their feet by the other (like the hero or savior of their fantasy), convinced they found their soulmate. They quickly form an emotional bond and trust toward each other only to become disappointed and hurt by each other when one person discovers that the other person can’t live up to the fantasy.”
#11 Apparently My Wife And I Were Always Meant To Be
Image credits: ChasingTurtles
#12 My Wife And I Got Each Other The Same Gift For Christmas By Accident
Image credits: NotGayRyan
#13 They Dated In Their Teens, Married Different People, And Got Back Together 65 Years Later. My Grandma And Her Boyfriend
Image credits: Burkenstockss
In relationships where trauma bonding is evident, the couple is locked into a cycle of extreme highs and lows, until one person has had enough and wants the relationship to end, Dr. Martinek added. “Some people stay in these turbulent relationships because the passion of conflict that leads to the passion of euphoria is addictive, and both people are hooked on the highs that come after experiencing the lows of conflict, believing they are making progress.”
“Unfortunately, as long as many see this as ‘true love’, they will have difficulty being able to identify safe people who can cultivate healthy loving relationships because the lack of drama will make a relationship seem boring or stagnant,” the expert warned.
#14 We Met In The Second Grade In 1997. Here We Are 21 Years Later
Image credits: AudsOrEvens
#15 Flower Girl And Ring Bearer From Wedding Get Married 20 Years Later
Image credits: dummy8843
#16 I Got Married Last Month. My Wife And I Thought We Met For The First Time In Our Twenties. A Few Years Later We Found Out Our Mothers Were Best Friends In High School
This photo was displayed at our wedding showing our actual first-time meeting.
Image credits: Drunkdrood
But as it turns out, the media isn’t the only outlet teaching us what ideas we should form about romantic relationships. “There are many things that influence our beliefs about love,” Dr. Martinek said. “Our ideas about love are mainly shaped by our experiences of love and nurturing by our parents/caregivers.”
Parents model behaviors that children learn are normal, even if the behaviors are anything but. “These expressions of love shape the child’s ideas of normal and continue to unknowingly seek out familiar experiences of love throughout their life. This is why some soulmates turn out to become toxic or abusive relationships because each person is automatically drawn to another who models familiar behaviors of giving love and are immediately comfortable with them.”
#17 Such A Wholesome Couple
Image credits: hochman
#18 Woman Starts Dating A Man She Married Before The Head Injury That Made Her Forget Everything Since The Age Of 17
This Canadian couple got married twice. After nine months of their marriage, a huge pole dropped on the lady’s head, causing her a head injury which further resulted in memory loss. She had no idea who he was and fell in love with him again. Two years later, they got married again.
Image credits: boredpanda.com
#19 Tomorrow Is My Parents’ 25th Anniversary And They Are Still As In Love Today As They Were When They Met 45 Years Ago. At Ages 2 And 4 They Were Next-Door Neighbors
Unfortunately, my dad’s family moved away to California but their moms (my grandmothers) wrote letters to each other to keep in touch. My dad went on to attend the Naval Academy and would often visit my mom’s family in Connecticut – always hoping my mom would be home from college in Philadelphia. Eventually, she caught on and their flame ignited. He proposed at the Army-Navy football game in 1990. My parents have shown tremendous strength throughout my dad’s entire military career with all the relocating and trips apart, all while raising four kids. They’re thoughtful and kind to one another but never lose their spirit or sense of adventure. They still climb mountains and attend rock concerts together. Their love is the best kind
Image credits: thewaywemet
But while the media is creating unrealistic fantasies about eternal love, technological advancement seems to also get in the way of real romance. Of course, the ubiquity of the Internet and mobile phones have made some aspects of relationship-building easier, but they’ve also made other elements more complicated.
For example, a 2019 survey revealed that seven-in-ten online daters believe it is common for others to lie and try to appear more desirable. Moreover, Americans who have used a dating site or app in the previous year said the experience left them feeling more frustrated (45%) than hopeful (28%).
“The rise of technology might make some cynical but hopefully has made many more see relationships and love more realistically because of the rise of information about narcissistic abuse, trauma bonding, and dysfunctional relationships,” Dr. Martinek explained.
#20 My Cousin Was In His Future Wife’s Family Picture (The Guy On The Left), On A Trip To Rio De Janeiro. 7 Years Before They Met. (1985, Pão De Açúcar, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil)
Image credits: pcsbor
#21 I Love True Love
Image credits: jake_tackett
#22 Childhood Photos Of Me In The United States, And My Wife In Korea, Wearing The Same Tank Top
Image credits: skimmilkskim
Since the widely accepted concept of true love sometimes signals more of a fantasy than reality, people should strive to create authentic relationships. “Redefining true love as relationships that are born out of mutual trust and mutual respect, shared expectations and values, the ability to value independence and each other’s company, conflict resolution, negotiation, and emotional regulation skills, supporting each other’s needs and desires for growth, is a more realistic, sustainable and healthier way of looking at ‘true love’.”
#23 In The Early 60’s, Living In Different Towns In Mississippi, Both Of My Parents Were Visited By A Door-To-Door Photographer With A Pony
When they met in college they realized they’d been photographed on the same pony.
Image credits: no1fatmom
#24 The First Moment My Mom And Dad Met 35 Years Ago, When They Collided While Playing Volleyball
Image credits: theshamwowguy
#25 Cydni And Her Very Amazing Husband. This Is True Love
Image credits: cydbeer
Instead of thinking there’s only one person out there for you, it’s healthier to focus on developing yourself, healing past relationship hurts, and avoiding looking for someone to be your savior or to be anyone else’s savior, the relationship expert argued. “Notice the relationships you already have in your life that are mutually beneficial, where you can be your full self without fear of judgment and that you both treat each other with trust and respect.”
“This relationship is a model for how healthy romantic relationships can be. Not buying into the fantasy is a first step to being able to see another person’s strengths, needs, and flaws realistically (and vice versa) so that love can emerge from there rather than be dependent on another person trying to live up to a fantasy,” Dr. Martinek concluded.
#26 I Heard We’re Having A “How Long Ago Did You Meet Your Wife” Competition. Me And My Wife At 4
Image credits: thesneakywalrus
#27 A Marriage 3 Decades Late: My Mother Lost In Touch With Her Then Boyfriend 30 Years Ago Due To Long Distance And No Internet. 2 Years Ago, They Reconnected Through Linkedin
After numerous facetime calls and flying back and forth, they finally got married.
Image credits: SuperChubbyKitty
#28 My Boyfriend And I Were Sitting Next To Each Other At A Family Dinner And Got The Same Fortune
Image credits: justhugeverycat
#29 Little Did I Know, I’d Marry Her Some Day
Image credits: dmau9600
#30 After Knowing Each Other Since Elementary School, My Wife And I Are Expecting Our First Child After 12 Years Together
Image credits: davidv_guitar
#31 Proposed To My Girlfriend And Realized There Is A Heart In Our Shadows
Image credits: Orion_91
#32 My Wife And I Both About Age 10 Took The Same Vacation Pic. We Didn’t Meet Until We Were 30. This Frame Was Displayed At Our Wedding
Image credits: okcumputer
#33 My Husband And I Have Been In Love Since Kindergarten
Image credits: smileeb
#34 Happy 4-Year Anniversary To When I Flew To Edinburgh To Surprise Finlay And He Flew To Paris To Surprise Me And This Is Why We Don’t Do Surprises Anymore
Image credits: salmasaade
#35 My Parents Reunited In The US, 1982. They Were Refugees Fleeing Civil War In El Salvador. My Mom Came First Then Two Years Later My Dad Came In Search Of The Love Of His Life
Image credits: arcoiris3
#36 Me And My Girlfriend Got Each Other The Exact Same Gift For Christmas
Image credits: martinvarleite
#37 My Girlfriend And I Both Took Pictures From The Same Angle At The Same Show… 3 Years Before We Met Each Other
Image credits: Slayer_Of_Anubis
#38 She’s In UK, He’s In Brazil
Image credits: Jota914
#39 At Age 4, I Whispered Sweet Nothings Into Her Ear. 24 Years Later, We’re Getting Married
Image credits: apete384
#40 The Kid Floating In My Family Photo Is Now My Fiance
Image credits: Veronavanity1
#41 My Wife’s Wedding Ring Fits Perfectly Inside Mine
Image credits: reddit.com
#42 15 Years Later, Walking Down The Aisle Again. But This Time, For Our Wedding
Image credits: jinnywendy
#43 My Now Husband And Me Circa 2004, A Year Or Two Before We Would Meet
Image credits: 1tarabyte
#44 My Wife And I Have Similar Features
Image credits: dtmagee
#45 My Husband And I. From Kindergarten Class Picture To Much Improved Attire
Image credits: nikatnite8250
#46 We Fell In Love, Dated For 3 Years Until The Distance Become Too Difficult. We Tried To Find Happiness With Other Partners, But Last Year, I Visited Him In Madrid, And Our Story Resumed
Image credits: Melissacent
#47 My Sister And Brother-In-Law When They Were Kids. Got Married And Just Had Their First Child
Image credits: pagalanxe
#48 My Boyfriend Was My Neighbor When We Were Babies, And We Only Knew Each Other For Real When We Were About 16 Years Old
Image credits: dra.luizabarreto
#49 I Sent My Mom This Adorable Picture Of My Wife At Halloween In The 90s. She Sent Back This Picture Of Me! It Was Meant To Be
Image credits: bdby1093
#50 My Wife And I Took The Same Senior Photo In High School, 2000 Miles Apart, Back In The Late 1980’s
We met 30 years after these were taken, and discovered we went to the same university and lived in the same dorm at the same time, and had several mutual friends.
Image credits: jtjer54