Do soulmates exist? This is a common question that single people asked themselves. During my book launch, I asked the audience if they believed in soulmates and I remember that half of the people in the public lifted their hands to signal a positive response, the rest was skeptical.

Women grow up with the idea of prince charming because they see him in cartoons slandering dragons and saving the princess. I liked the idea of meeting the man who would take me to the castle to live happily ever after, but I wasn’t the type of princess who would wait asleep.

In my adolescence and early 20s, I used to like the mysterious taciturn guy who was hard to get. In Italian, we call it the syndrome of the crocerossina (little red cross). In matters related to love, it means that you choose partners who have issues, maybe they are emotionally unavailable or have fear of commitment. Somehow, the women who like these type of people want to “save” them from their emotional block and make them fall in love.

As you can imagine, I didn’t have much luck. In fact, I was single for most of my life. My girlfriends used to think that I would never find the right person. While one after the other, they were getting engaged or married, I was still single—I felt like LOVE had forgotten about me and was looking in every other direction. I knew I was choosing the wrong partners, but could the Universe send me some signal to let me know how to move forward?

When I met my husband, in my late 20s, that signal arrived. I heard a voice that told me “you are going to marry this guy.” I still remember that—vividly. We have been married for four years. I always believed that I would find my soulmate, and he arrived. He wasn’t riding a white horse—things were hard, but everything worked out, and we found our happy ending.

This is what I learned about soul mates:

1. They do exist, but they can be anywhere.

I met my husband in London, and he is American. You can’t expect to find the right partner in your neighborhood, or in your city. It can happen, but don’t expect it. Stay open and receptive to meet him/her anytime and anywhere: at the airport in line for the check-in, or in Tokyo. Travel, and keep on believing that he/she is out there—you two will meet sooner or later.

2. They complete you.

They have important qualities that you don’t have. For example, he/she is a good strategist, and you are terrible at planning. You have passions in common and you share the same values, but you are also different. The skills he/she has fit perfectly in your life—like in a puzzle.

3. They put your happiness first.

Your soulmate can’t be happy if you are not. In the relationship with the right partner, selfishness gets overwhelmed by unconditional love.