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False Soulmate
"'Follow your heart.' Ha! – Sometimes the heart sends confusing messages. Contemplation, counseling, friends, and readings can help us sort our true convictions from the false ones, though we flat-out disagree with the advice sometimes. Yet even THAT may tell us a lot. We usually need help sorting it out. But there’s always a lesson!"
— Mary Rose, Beware the False Soulmate (California Psychics Blog)

A False Soulmate is a person who someone has a deep romantic Love Interest for, but the relationship is for some reason not meant to be, perhaps because of the Love Interest not sharing the same feelings, incompatibility, or misjudgment of character and/or the relationship ends up being a failure or catastrophe because the Love Interest's personality or behavior has changed in a negative way (e.g. the Love Interest may be unfaithful, a user, a criminal, mentally unstable, or a drug-addict). This may stem from Puppy Love or personality traits that the Love Interest either had or had more of when they were younger.

Examples

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Athrun Zala and Cagalli Yula Athha went down this path in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. In SEED, they ended as the Beta Couple to Kira and Lacus. In Destiny, they eventually grew apart due to Athrun getting involved with ZAFT again, Cagalli's position in the Orb government (and the stress involved), her Arranged Marriage to Yuna Roma Seiran, and differing views on Chairman Durrandal's real goals and motivations.
    • While there seemed to be a bit of hope for the two reconciling near the end of Destiny, Word of God has stated that they're "just friends now".

     Film — Animation 
  • Shrek: Played straight when Princess Fiona believes Shrek is her True Love because he rescued her. Cue hysterical laughter from Donkey and Shrek. Shrek solely rescued her for Lord Farquaad so he could get his swamp back. Subverted when Shrek really is her True Love, as evidenced when they kiss and she turns into an ogre.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Derek to Susan. He is a vain weatherman who is more interested in furthering his career than in his fiancée's needs, and after Susan spends the first half trying to win her freedom and return to him, he rejects her because he isn't interested in having a wife who overshadows him, in more ways than one.
  • In Frozen, Anna is convinced that Hans is her true love, but he turns out to be a scumbag who was just using her to gain the throne.

     Film — Live Action 
  • Sleeping with the Enemy: Martin is a wealthy investment counselor who's charmingly handsome on the outside, but his true colors don't show until after he and Laura are already married in the beginning.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire: Daniel and Miranda Hillard divorce and never get back together.
  • Forrest Gump: Jenny to Forrest.
  • Wolf: Charlotte Randall to Will Randall. He separates from her after he discovers she's been cheating on him, but before she gets killed by Stewart Swinton, whom she's been having the affairs with.
  • Stardust: Victoria to Tristan. She's a Spoiled Sweet and geniunely stuck-up brat who is sweet to Tristan more out of pity than any strong feelings toward him, even though he wants to propose and spend the rest of his life with her. He later falls for (the "star") Yvaine instead, who actually loves him in return, once he realizes this.
  • Enchanted: Towards the end, True Love's Kiss indicates that the couples Prince Edward/Giselle and Robert/Nancy aren't meant to be with each other, but that Prince Edward/Nancy and Robert/Giselle are.
  • Jasper for Iris in The Holiday.
  • Letters to Juliet has Victor and Sophie. Being a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, Victor unintentionally neglects Sophie throughout the whole movie. It wasn't that neither of them didn't love each other but both sides didn't see the other's presence as a necessity. Not to mention they have differences that didn't make their relationship work (Sophie didn't share Victor's passion for cooking and Victor didn't appreciate Sophie's passion for writing as much).

     Literature 
  • The Great Gatsby has one of the more famous examples. Gatsby pines after Daisy for years, and is sure that if he can build a fortune and win her love, they'll live happily ever after. The fact that she's married doesn't dissuade him, and he he never seems to notice how shallow, careless and self-involved she is. Things don't work out in the end.
  • Edenborn has Deuce, who invokes every trope in the book in his long-distance romance of Penny. He succeeds, but later realizes she's massively unstable and manipulative.
  • The Memory Wars has Laura. Nathan spends time in the first book trying to maintain and save their relationship, but it falls apart when she reveals that she is pregnant with his best friend's child.

     Live Action Television 
  • Surprisingly, the main character Ted was this to his fiance Stella in How I Met Your Mother. In Robin's own words, Ted was "disappearing into someone else's life". Stella would later apologize to Ted for leaving him on the day of their wedding and explained that while she did love and care for Ted because he helped her believe in romance again, she was always in love with Tony.
    • One of the major criticisms for the series finale is The Mother being this for Ted. It probably wasn't intentional but most fans took it that way.
      • Honestly, given how much the finale contradicts the rest of the series (given it was barely edited since the first draft was written during season 1), it's only fair to ignore it and insted regard Robin as Ted's false soulmate.

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