How many people stay in our lives for the long run?

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Not many. Every day we come in contact with a stranger for barely a moment before they are gone. We have friends that come and go and relationships that enter our lives in love and leave only a lesson.

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Only some people will stay with you to witness the others that have come in and out of your life.

Some of these people are friends who stay by you through all of your phases and struggles, some are family, who love you too much to not be involved. And then, there are those who have always loved you as more and have, quite possibly, always been overlooked. These are the people who deserve your love more than all of the people who left you put together. Here’s why.

They have loved you for a long time.

Sometimes you can fall in love with one person and everything works out. Sometimes you can fall in love several times and not once does it manage to work out. Why is that? Maybe it’s because we don’t understand what real love is, or we don’t understand that to make a lifetime with someone work, there is so much more than just love that is needed.

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They understand this.

Someone who has stood behind what you have put before them must really love you to patiently hold onto their feelings while you figure out yours. Maybe they tried to let you go, or didn’t even realize they loved you enough to hold on, but either way, this is the deepest kind of love. Someone who has loved you for years has withstood the test of time. They stayed because they saw something in you that made them feel completed, or, perhaps, you made them feel like their life couldn’t be the same without you.

We don’t always realize these people love us, and most of the time we start as friends and the love comes later; often, not both parties fall at the same time. When it is hardest to hold onto your love for someone, but you do it anyway, that is when you know it’s real. When time, distance or differences can’t change the way they feel for you, they will never abandon you. That is more than love. That is commitment.

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They understand you.

Communication is a hard thing to define. Is it the exchanging of words? Is it found in lengthy conversations or heated moments of expression? Or is true communication when you want understand each other, even if you don’t always agree?

This is actually extremely hard to find. Not many people can understand someone else in depth. I think part of that is sometimes we are afraid to let someone in to understand us in the first place, and vice versa. But not those who have loved you for a long time. They have stayed yours because they want to understand you. And that is the most important part. They want to be there to see what makes you happy and to fight what makes you sad. They want to see your strengths and your flaws. And they aren’t intimidated by either.

They are never selfish with you.

People who truly love you, love you unselfishly. If they know someone else will make you happy, they will support you even when it hurts them. When that someone doesn’t work out, they are there to help you get back on your feet. They want the best for you, even when what is best for you doesn’t include them.

Being unselfish is incredibly hard at times, but it reveals so much about one’s character. Someone who can put the one they love above themselves is someone who’s love is 100 percent pure. They will never hold you back to get ahead.

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People who have loved you for a long time may have loved you first as a friend. Or maybe the two of you loved each other before, and when it didn’t work out you never quite moved on. Love comes in many forms and can grow in many ways over time. When you think about who is worth your love, think of those who have been with you the longest. Chances are you two have stuck together this long for a reason.