1. For actually being ready for a relationship. For working on themselves enough so that they were willing and able to open up to another person. For not making excuses for why they “weren’t ready” or saying one thing and then acting on another.
2. For being someone who you vent to, not someone you have to vent about.
3. For accepting your actual flaws, not just the shallow, unimportant ways you think you’re imperfect. For accepting that you are struggling with mental illness or are currently broke. The real stuff.
4. For adapting. For learning to love what you love, or being open to it at least. For listening when you say that you dislike something, and not doing it anymore.
5. For acting on their word. For not just saying that they love you, or that they want a relationship with you, but for showing you those things, so you trust them, and you believe them.
6. For making you feel like an autonomous adult even – or maybe especially – when you’re in a relationship.
7. For building an actual relationship with you, not just being someone to go out with a few nights a week and text at 3 a.m. when you’re feeling lonely. For being there to do dishes and go to family parties and take you to the doctor when you’re sick. For being more like stand-in family than an occasionally-stand-you-up date.
8. For making you feel proud to be with them.
9. For posting photos of you on social media.
10. For valuing your relationship over being “right” all the time, or holding onto anger to prove a point. For apologizing, admitting when they’re wrong, and forgiving you when you do the same. For caring more about you than their egos.
11. For being an asset to your life, not a liability. For making things easier. For not being another thing to juggle, rather the thing that makes all the other juggling feel lighter, and worth it.
12. For being someone you can express your genuine feelings to, not someone you feel you need to constantly appease at the expense of your own sanity and emotional freedom.
13. For not making you feel as though you’re something they have to sacrifice their lives for. For no longer thinking casual sex or world venturing is the most appealing thing ever. For choosing you over the pervasive narrative of things the world says are potentially more interesting.
14. For seeing the beauty in being together, and making it feel more like your life is “taking off” rather than “settling down.”
15. For treating you with the fundamental respect that isn’t a given in every relationship. For the fact that you always know you’re safe.
16. For all the little things that become the big things. The errands run, the coffees grabbed, the backs rubbed, the dinners made, the nights you stay up talking about everything and nothing. For all the pieces that make up your life together, and how they make up your whole life, whether you realize it at the time or not.