When we were children, making friends was a big deal. For some of us it was easy to do so. We were likable, outgoing, and friendly. For those of us who looked different, were reserved, or were unsure of ourselves, forming bonds of friendship was a challenging task. But for all of us rejection was hard to deal with. All it took were the words "I don't want to be your friend" to bring forth a stream of tears, and send us dashing to the comforting arms of a grownup. The parent or teacher would tell us that the other child didn't mean it, or that there were lots of other kids to make friends with. That latter truth may have done little to comfort us as we doted on this lost friend, but we proved it true as we inevitably made more friends and lost others.
As adults, we like to call our friendships 'relationships' and best friends are dubbed the 'significant other'. However, in our quest for a soul mate, we are no different than we were as children. In fact we are worse. We fear rejection, and that often cripples our desire to approach others. When we do find someone, we treat the object of our affections as the only person in the world for us. The truth is that there are many people in the world that we are compatible with. Granted we may never meet half of them, and we may even mess up our relationships with some that we do meet. But like that child who was rejected by a playmate, we take it to heart and feel like it's the end of the world.
Children have short memories, but adults harbour grudges. As a child we quickly forgot the pain of being spurned by a play mate. But as adults we vacillate between depression and anger, pensiveness and frustration. Instead of returning to the playground and finding a new companion, we sulk, mourne and singlehandedly double the profits on alcohol, chocolate, and ice cream at the corner shop.
Maybe losing a soul mate rips us off balance, and triggers a regression to a childlike state. Or perhaps we grow up, but our affections don't.