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Love is Complicated (And Other Boring Ideas)

I used to think that love was something God wrapped in a pretty little box, and left on your doorstep. That when you know you know, and that when it’s right, everything just seems to magically “fall into place.” And while the idea is beautiful, and romantic, and even comforting, I know that this is not my story my “fairytale.”

From the start, I have always had a strange affinity for the “friends with benefits” movie trope. In fact, I was rather obsessed with the idea that love didn’t have to be linear, that it didn’t have to start with an uncomfortable first date,  that love could grow in the most unconventionally beautiful of circumstances.  While many scoffed at the idea that two people could actually find “real” love in the context of two people sleeping together platonically, I trusted that if two people were really compatible, messy, unusual beginnings wouldn’t stop their love story.

While a lot of us would love to believe that real love, good love, true love follows a specific timeline, I find this to be hopelessly optimistic. Of course we’d all love to believe that love is predictable, that we can always see the next step, and that our relationships will never deviate from the path of first date, first I love you, moving in, marriage, kids, and so on and so forth. But these expectations are, at best, unrealistic.

Real love is messy. People split up. People lose interest. People take breaks. People fall in love with people that aren’t their boyfriends or their girlfriends. Some couples will never get married. Some couples will spend years together before saying “I love you.” Others will never define their relationship, and somehow find themselves ten years later stumbling into a marriage.

And what I want everyone to realize is that people who love each other deeply still breakup. A couple in love can still get divorced. And even when you follow all the steps, and hit all the milestones, it does not make your relationship any healthier than those who start their “fairytale” with a casual hookup. The thing about love is, it doesn’t have to surrender to a checklist, or a timeline, or a list of “must-haves.” The moments where I’ve been the most in love have been with people I wasn’t dating. Because that’s the thing about “true” love, is that it doesn’t need a title, it doesn’t disappear after a breakup, it’s just love. Pure and simple.

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Editor-in-chief of Her Campus Utah - Double major in English and Gender Studies - Lover of Oxford comma, hater of patriarchy. 
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