Dealing with tragedy is one of those things that, requires you grow up fast. I bring this up because I have been in a successful relationship for six years, and we've been dealing with a degenerative, painful disease. HID was diagnosed with "some kind of" auto-immune disease, later diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can be described as having sand in your joints, resistance to movement, never being comfortable, random pain elsewhere, and the feeling of "being hit by a truck." Ultimately an unknown force stealing your life, and the lives of those around you.
So why did I go into this on a relationship thread? This experience has changed, and formed my personal views and values, as well as my general thoughts on love. What I've learned is listed here, and there will probably be more later. I'll start with the things I find to be the most important.
Love is trust, loving someone is being on their team no matter what. I'm talking about the social tropes like: gently mocking your significant other, or venting to friends. Finding ways to subvert your beloved, will put a barrier between the two of you. Watching someone you love experience pain, pain you can't do anything about, is horrible. I experienced it as: feeling as though my body was slow cooking, with a lot of shame and guilt at my own helplessness. I also felt it was important to hide those feelings, my thinking: he's in enough pain. This is another example of building a barrier, and it could have been the end. Mistakes can, thankfully, be talked through, and behavior corrected.
If we're all honest, no one is perfect, and if someone really cares about who you are, then you can trust them with those deep, dark, quirks and undisclosed desires. This is a two way street; you can also learn what you find acceptable. It takes time to build a rapport, but I haven't found a single thing more valuable in this world.
Now, to my next most important fact: you have to want the same things in life. You don't have to share everything but the end goal needs to match up. Ask yourself these questions: What do you want from life? What will you leave behind on this planet? Are you satisfied with where you're going?
Questions like these are ones you have to be honest with yourself about, and you may not be able to answer them yet. Sharing your ideology, ethics, and religion all reinforce your trust, and the need to be on the same team. It doesn't hurt one bit to start a romance as friends.
I hope this made sense, I'm overdue for sleep, this may get a rewrite.