Ever since we were little girls, my best friends and I have dreamed about love. The four of us would get together once a month at someone’s house for a sleepover.

We’d throw a pajama party and talk about what we wanted to be when we grow up. One of us wanted to be a lawyer, another a teacher, the next a doctor, and I wanted to be a writer.

Either way, all of us wanted to be happily in love. We dreamt of a Prince Charming galloping into our lives on his white horse and suddenly making everything perfect.

At the same time, we were obsessed with all the romantic movies. Our hearts would melt every time we saw a girl and boy falling in love at first sight.

I bet you know the drill: The two of them literally bump into each other. She drops her books, he helps her pick them up, and their eyes lock.

Time stops and in that exact moment, they just know that this is it. They realize they’ve been searching for each other throughout eternity.

Whatever happens from that moment on doesn’t really matter. Yes, they go through dozens of obstacles. They need time before they end up together. But eventually they do have their happily ever after.

Why? Because they are soulmates. They are meant to be together and everything else is completely irrelevant.

So, silly us wanted the same kind of love. In fact, we thought that anything different than that was settling for less.

man and woman kissing and hugging in water

We refused to agree to a romance without the fireworks. We wanted butterflies fluttering in our bellies and the entire rollercoaster of emotions.

More than twenty years laters, my best friends and I gathered again and remembered this. We recalled our desires and dreams.

Did any of them turn into reality? No. Did any of us find her soulmate? No. How sad, you must think.

Well, I beg to differ. And you know why? Because soulmates are overrated. In fact, I’m not even sure they exist.

Actually, as I’m getting older, I’m more and more convinced that it’s nothing but a Hollywood fabrication – that soulmates are made up by some producer or writer who ran out of ideas to make his work interesting.

So, let’s forget about fairytales, and let’s turn to real life. You know what counts here? Effort, dedication, connection, and compatibility. These are what every healthy relationship is based on.

Moreover: These are all the things you have to work on. They don’t appear out of nowhere or fall from the sky.

For a romance to succeed, it’s not enough for some random guy on the street to knock you off your feet. It’s not enough for you to feel butterflies throwing a party in your stomach.

I’ll be honest here: Chemistry is important. However, it’s not crucial and it’s definitely not enough to build a relationship.

man and woman holding hands while walking on green grass

True love needs fighting. But I don’t mean fighting against the evil forces that try to break you two apart.

I’m referring to everyday battles that seem completely unimportant and uninteresting, yet actually matter the most.

I’m talking about fighting against your differences, against the house chores, the finances, the in-laws, the kids who refuse to listen, and a host of other seemingly trivial things.

You see, there’s a lot of effort that goes into making any relationship work. And your romantic relationship is no exception.

It won’t magically be perfect just because you two are a match made in heaven.
And guess what? There is no happily ever after.

When the movie ends and the two protagonists kiss at the altar, you think that this is it – their battles are over and they’ll have the rest of their lives just to enjoy their love. Well, the truth is quite the opposite.

In fact, this is where the real struggle begins. A struggle to maintain their love, to keep their union firm, and to get back up stronger every time they fall.

A struggle that lasts a lifetime. Only when you win this war will you understand that what counts is finding your forever person – not your soulmate.