I have been pondering love quite a lot recently — the true meaning of it, what we want from it, what it means to us, what makes it long-lasting or short-lived.

One ex whose opinions I do not respect on this matter told me, self-servingly, that I just needed to find someone who thinks the sun shines out my ass all the time. Because that’s what it’s about for him. He has spent his life looking for someone to tell him all the time how great he is. And yet he has never had a relationship that has lasted more than a few years. Could it be because the sun doesn’t shine out his ass all the time and eventually his partners get tired of having to tell him that it does? Could it be that he is not mature enough to face the fact that eventually, the goofy giddy period of new love dies down and that’s when the real love sets in?

For me, true love entails quite the opposite of thinking a person is flawless. It requires really knowing someone and allowing someone to really know you, including all your dark flaws. And then, even when each of you know all about the nasty and miserable things you might have done and said during low moments of your life, you love each other anyway. You understand what motivates each other, whether negative or positive.

The truest love I have had in my life was like my best girlfriend with a constant boner in his pants for me. Just like my best girlfriend, if I’d phoned this guy up in the middle of the night to tell him I had just axed my own mother to death, he would have provided me with an alibi and a course of action with few questions asked about how I could have possibly whacked my own mother. To this day, he also commiserates like a girl and listens intently like a girl.

Someone pisses me off? Instead of telling me how to fix the situation, he will reply: “What a goddamned cunt.” If I have a long-winded story about something that’s bothering me, he will listen and ask a ton of questions rather than drifting off like a lot of men do. When we were going out, he was the type I could have asked to retrieve a lost tampon, highlight my hair or give me a facial while we snarked bitterly about all the people we mutually despised. I loved all his flaws as much as I did his many positive attributes, and he felt the same way about me. We are still lifelong and heartfelt friends, and will be til the day we die.

That’s love, my friends.