1. A picture-perfect relationship doesn't exist.
A lot of girls (and guys for that matter) want a picture-perfect fairy-tale relationship. They have this ideal guy or girl and imagine life to be amazing and perfect. I used to think like that. I wanted a Christian guy who wanted lots of kids, never lost his temper, would act like a gentleman, would have the same political views as me, and would propose about a year after we started dating. I'd be married right out of college and start a family, work a part-time job a couple evenings a week, and he would work days. We'd have a nice house, a dog, and live happily ever after. Little did 17-year-old me know how stupid this illusion was.
2. It's okay not to have a picture-perfect relationship. In fact, it's better.
We laughed together, we shed a few tears together, and we fought. We now both won't be out of school until we're in our mid-twenties, he's not Christian, nor does he want kids, his political
views are a little different, and you know what? That's okay. Neither of us are perfect, and we won't ever have the fairy-take ending I used to dream about. But that's okay with me. In fact, I love it.
3. He taught me what I really want in a guy.
He knows how to act like a gentleman, he loves dogs, and he doesn't lose his temper. But he's also independent, stubborn, a little prideful at times, and he's not afraid to argue with me (though he doesn't scream at me...I don't scream at him, either, though). I like this. The independence, pride, and stubbornness reflects my own personality, and honestly people who are too easy-going frustrate me.
I need someone to challenge me, question me, and make me a better person. He can do that, and he's told me that I've helped him, too. We complement each other. He's also adventurous (like I am), but I didn't realize how adventurous I was until I met him. If we end up together long-term, I'll be perfectly happy traveling the world with him...without kids. But above everything, we're best friends, and that's what I wanted the most. I just didn't realize it until I met him.
4. He gave me hope that there are still quality guys out there.
Never once did he come across as a creep who wanted to hook up. Never once did he ask me to have sex. Never once did he touch me in a way I didn't approve of. Never once did he speak disrespectfully to me. He spoke up when his friends made degrading comments about women. He held doors for me, he helped me move furniture, and he brought me dinner when he knew I was tired.
To clarify, I respected him, I helped him clean his house, and I never made degrading comments to him. We treated each other as people. As equals. There's so many guys out there who just want sex, or think it's okay to go around calling women names and stuff, or just don't understand the need for equality in relationships. He's not one of them. And he taught me that gentlemanly guys do still exist.
5. He taught me what love is really all about.
I don't know where we'll end up. We're in a complicated situation, and who knows where life will take us. But even if we don't end up together forever, I'll never regret falling in love with him, because he taught me what true love feels like, and what it feels to be loved. It's perfectly imperfect, it's smiles, it's tears, it's liking each other's strengths, it's appreciating each other's faults, it's about an emotional connection above a sexual connection, I love it, I hate it, but it was (and still is) worth it all.