@1uncagedbird...it's funny you should say that. I've always viewed soulmates differently than most people and I believe many people have a misconception of what the term soulmate really entails. I solidified what I believed soulmates to be in early 2000 when I was studying meditation with the school of Brahma Kumaris via one of the books we used as guides. I realized my mind did have a 'method' to it. :P Personally, I believe there is no such thing as 'one' soulmate (because it's about soul connections) and I also believe that there is no such 'set' timeframe to realize someone is a soulmate. In all actuality, when someone truly is...the realization is much quicker because you 'feel' it moreso than see it or discover it logically. Another concept to consider is...soulmates are not all intimate love interest. For instance, I have a blood cousin who is my soulmate. She is the complement to my life's energy but I don't plan on bedding her or marrying her.
That's just my perception as a person with some intuitive, holistic energy running through me. I actually just read an article regarding this very subject which I have included a portion and the link below. Hope it helps...
"...you don’t have one great love — you have many potential great loves. According to New York Minister and Psycho-Spiritual Counselor, Susan Lemak, soul mates are profound soul connections in your life. When you’re with one, you stop looking, so you’re not aware of the other potential soul mates around you. While you’re thinking how hard it is to find The One, the reality is that it’s hard for you to choose. A soul mate is someone who reflects or matches your energy and your path in life. A soul mate is someone whose power and potential are complementary to your own."