You’re never going to meet your better half, because that’s not actually a person. Your better half is just whatever side of you photographs best. None of us is "made for" a specific partner.
That sounds bleak, but brighten up -- you don’t have to believe in soul mates to believe in love. It just means there are plenty of possible relationship options to be surprised by, and that’s even more awesome than obsessively seeking a (nonexistent) perfect fit. Consider yourself liberated from the search, and here’s why...
1. You can't forecast the future
According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, couples that believe in "romantic destiny" are more likely to end relationships than couples who believe in "romantic growth." The former avoid dealing with "relationship stressors," because they refuse to admit anything's wrong until it's too late to save the relationship. Romantic goals are long-term, so be a grower, not a shower -- emotionally speaking
2. You don't complete each other
Two people becoming one should terrify you -- it's the start of a human centipede! A recent study from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago shows that married people increasingly suffer from emotional "suffocation" by not seeking self-fulfillment apart from their relationships. Being a whole person will make your relationship stronger; codependency will make it weaker.
3. Mammals aren't (typically) monogamous
Monogamy is seen in 90% of bird species, but only in 3% of mammals. You are likely part of the 97%, not a lovebird.
4. When mammals are monogamous, it's to protect their young
A recent study of primates found that fidelity is mostly about keeping offspring safe. So basically, the phrase "soul mate" is interchangeable with "pregnancy scare."
5. Arguments are inevitable
New research from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that framing love as a "perfect unity" makes your relationship worse during conflicts -- because fights threaten your ideal definition of the relationship itself, rather than defining a simple, resolvable issue. And then you'll break up instead of just having makeup sex.
6. Real relationships take time
Falling in love only takes about one fifth of a second, according to Syracuse University researchers. When have you ever made a good decision that quickly? Meanwhile, a study in the 2008 Journal of Political Economy found that for every year you put off marriage, you face a lower risk of eventually getting divorced, so take your time.
7. Intensity can be dangerous
The first suspect in a murder is always the victim's significant other. The American Psychological Association reports that partner violence is rampant. If the person you fall for is also the most likely to murder you, there's got to be a better way.
8. Everyone has flaws
Soul mate seekers often lay out specific criteria for potential partners, but -- as University of Sheffield researchers discovered -- they're usually unrealistic: "[W]hat we prefer and what we get, differs quite significantly. This is because our ideals are usually rare or unavailable..."
Love isn't about inventing a person in your head and then desperately trying to find him or her -- that totally weirds real people out. Don't be so thirsty. Keep an open mind.
9. You always have other options
Believing that there are many potential partners makes it easier to cope with disappointment when a relationship doesn't work out, according to the University of Houston researchers. There are plenty of fish in the sea and none of them are your soul mate (fish don't have souls). There's no such thing as "the one that got away." There are just more reasons to download Tinder.