It occurs to me that Life, in regards to Love, can be metaphorically represented as the World's Longest Egg-in-Spoon Race:
"What, the winding and narrow road that heads off into the horizon, seemingly into infinity?"
"But it's pockmarked with holes, cracks, and various pitfalls..."
"And it's teeming with people. All of whom are too absorbed with their own Hearts to notice that there's anyone else around them."
"Quite right you are. Oh, and I should mention, there are a few folks who will intentionally try to break your Heart. They're dash good at it too."
"But that's hardly fair!"
"Fair? Umm... lessee... nope, nothing against it in the rules. Unsportsmanly to be sure, but still fair."
"But how am I supposed to make it through all that with my Heart intact?"
"Well, there's the 'hard-boiled' method, where you boil it in a solution of cynicism, skepticism and apathy, seasoned with contempt, for thirty minutes. Damn thing won't so much as dent then. Of course, there's not much challenge then either."
"And that's fair to do?"
"Oh yes. And quite popular amongst the kids these days, though that seems to indicate a larger systemic problem, if you ask me."
"Sounds too extreme. What else can I do?"
"Well... you could pair up with someone."
"What does that entail?"
"About what you'd expect... you watch their back, they watch yours. Kind of pleasant at the beginning, what with the companionship and all. But it's slow going, and that seems to trip people up. They're all in such a hurry these days. Plus you're now paying attention to two Hearts, yours and theirs."
"Two Hearts? That seems awfully complex."
"It is. It has its benefits to be sure. However, you could end up breaking their Heart. Or vice versa. Happens all the time. Usually unintentional, but it seems more painful of an act than if a stranger does it."
"That sounds dreadful. People actually pair up like this?"
"Oldest trick in the book, really."
"I suppose it has merit... though that whole 'hard-boiled' thing doesn't sound so bad now either."
"Eh... to each their own. Now, you'd best get underway. You've got a long road ahead."
"Wait. One last question: What do I get when I reach the finish line? What do I win?"
"Win? ...I'm afraid it's not that kind of game, mate."