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There’s no such thing as a “soul mate,” love is a lie and your heart is going to get destroyed.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

That might sound like a grim prognosis, but it might actually save you from some heartache.

Let me explain. Romance movies and popular culture tend to paint two stark portraits of love: It’s either full of roses, exciting sexual positions and trendy couples traveling the world, or… it leaves you battered and dead inside.

“The Notebook” gives us hope of dying with our lifetime love, crammed together in a bed with hands clasped.

“The Titanic” teases us with thoughts of our beloved rolling off a floating door and drowning so we can live.

“Romeo and Juliet” portrays a love so strong that it leaves both of its participants obliterated.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” clues us into the world of exciting kinks and hot people and what they do in the shadows with their chiseled jaws and perky boobs.

Social media posts flaunt the picture-perfect moments of relationships—the bank-account busting trips to Europe, the across-the-table with heart eyes emojis on Snapchat of one’s significant other sipping a milkshake in a cutesy manner, the moments crafted solely to perpetuate the image of what a fulfilling and envy-worthy relationship should look like.

Is any of this reality? Are relationships either constantly fulfilling and Insta-worthy, or crushing and Romeo-poisoning-himself/Juliet-stabbing-herself like?

More likely than not, the truth is that neither is correct. There are likely no soul mates. Creating an arbitrary ideal in your head of an Ariana Grande clone or a suave Ali Houshmand resembling suitor to sweep you off your feet and transform your life might leave you waiting ’til death does your lonely ass part from this world.

This idealization of the “soul mate” becomes even more insidious with our modern Tinder/online dating world. If the person we’re currently with shows some flaws or begins to seem dull, why not say “thank you, next” and start swiping right? If I settle too soon, I’ll surely miss out on the one!

The truth is, we all suck sometimes. We all have morning breath, and we all have insecurities that bubble to the surface and make us seem like a crazy person to our significant other, or the wider world.

We can’t all live up to the sexual tension created in the world of Christian Grey, or the ridiculous standards set by PornHub. Sometimes we need to take a break to catch our breath, or maybe we get a cramp.

We all have annoying quirks, where we chew too loudly, or we command the aux cord to play music that makes our lover’s ears bleed.

But we all also have amazing, beautiful, unique qualities that are worthy of boundless love. Do you realize you’ve never seen yourself except in the mirror and in photos? You’ve never seen your eyes light up as you talk about your passions, or the majestic human beauty you exude in the mundane acts of daily living.

These things are available to those you love. Each of you acts as a mirror for the other, a set of eyes through which to see yourself and the world.

Yuck. Did I just write a Tumblr poem?

Cynicism aside, love is hard. It’s not a constantly feel-good blanket of hugs and hot chocolate.

It can bring you the greatest pain you’ll ever feel in your life. It can destroy your world.

It can also bring you the greatest joy, meaning and purpose in this otherwise random and capricious world.

But most of all, it’ll bring you the “eh.” It’ll be boring, and it’ll be repetitive. Day in and day out with the same person might make you feel slightly insane. There’s a fine line between love and insanity.

It’s about working through the dull days, healing through the heartbreaking nights and basking in the glow of the occasional perfect afternoon.

Don’t give up on the person you love when they bore you to tears.

No one is meant to be your “soul mate,” but you can craft the person you randomly ended up with into some semblance of whatever that term means.

Phew. Now that all of that yucky gooey stuff is out of the way, I think we can all agree on one thing: I’d be terrible at making a rom-com. But rom-coms are terrible at making real relationships. Let’s call it even.

For questions/comments about this story, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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