Dating is mostly failure. We are all experimental adventurers in the beginning, searching for what – or rather, who – we think will best keep us company on our voyage. And like all explorers, we’ll take wrong turns, make bad assumptions and get lost, perhaps all in one night.

In fact, I’d say the sooner we get comfortable with the wind in our face, the better. You simply are not likely to meet good matches regularly. Although the idea of a “soulmate” is popular, it doesn’t stand close examination. There is likely to be a large number of people with whom you could form a union. The trick is that there is a much, much larger number with whom you could not. You might have dated many of them.

Winnowing out the duds from the champions is actually what dating is. Unfortunately for us, we’re sold on it being glitter and bowties, as egregious a misrepresentation as anything in life. Finding the right people is panning for gold, with methods that really haven’t changed since, well, the first goldrush.

Accepting that we shall choose the wrong people occasionally is the first step to keeping mentally balanced. Breakups are inevitable. And it turns out that there is some research to show that breaking up is already accommodated in our brain.

This might make you feel better just reading it.