I’ve written a lot of articles about love and relationships lately, and I’ve been really proud of them. If you asked me five years ago, or even two years ago, if I’d know what true love and a quality relationship were, I’d probably laugh in your face. Love is hard to understand unless you experience it yourself – the good and the bad. But thankfully you can read from others’ mistakes and learn some quality lessons that will keep you from getting hurt or wasting time on the wrong person.

When you’re younger, it’s easy to think of love as being the most basic emotion, and therefore the simplest relationship – you love your partner and your partner loves you. In reality, it isn’t that simple. Love can take on many different forms, and it might seem like it’s always a positive emotion, but love can be dangerous and damaging. The wrong person can use love as a weapon. They could hold it against you, and make you act certain ways in order to “earn” their love. They may ask you to be somebody different than you truly are in order to keep their love. This isn’t true love, even though you may feel like this person loves you the most. This person isn’t worth being considered “the one,” because they’re using love as a pawn so they can play a game with you. It isn’t fair for you to live your life in constant fear of losing love just because you might do something your partner would consider “wrong” or “bad” – especially if you’re just being true to yourself.

True love is unconditional. Your partner, the one who is truly “the one,” doesn’t necessarily love you more than anyone else you’ve ever dated. “The one” is the person who understands you most, because when someone truly understands you, they love you for you. They know how you think about things, how you’ll react in certain situations. When someone understands you, they know how to keep from hurting you. They won’t be inconsiderate or make unreasonable demands because they understand how you’ll feel as a result of these things.

It’s important that whoever is “the one” also knows all about you. Understanding you is important on one level, because they’ll know how your mind and emotions work, but they also need the deeper understanding of why this is so. They need to know about your childhood and understand the circumstances of you growing up and becoming the adult you are today. They need to know about past relationships – good and bad. They need to know about things you’ve kept secret from even your best friend, because they need to know you fully. Having secrets in a relationship means you haven’t been completely open with your partner; it means that there are things you don’t like about yourself and worry they might be deal breakers in a relationship. This might be true, but whoever is “the one” is not going to consider anything about you to be a deal breaker. They’ll understand that you’re human, you’ve made mistakes – and they’ve made them too! Being totally open with your partner means that you expect them to do the same, and they should. You both need to be on equal ground in a relationship, and that means knowing everything about each other – and accepting it and loving each other regardless.

Looks turn to wrinkles. Passion fades. Love can come and go, ebb and flow, but a deep understanding is the basis you need for a strong relationship. Make sure whoever you think is “the one” understands you more than anyone else ever has. Make sure you want to confide in them, make sure you want to tell them everything – from mundane happenings during the day, to your biggest dreams and fears. And, most importantly, make sure you’re willing to do the same for them.

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