When it comes to relationships, my outlook on the subject has always remained tainted. I guess I can thank my parents divorce for that brutal reality.
Perhaps it was witnessing the impolite way my father treated my mother, or the influence of the many rom-coms I embarrassingly devoured as a teenager. Regardless of the reason, I promised myself if love didn't mirror perfection, I wanted no part of it.
But it wasn't until I entered into my first serious relationship eight months ago that I really got some relationship perspective.
Enter "Peter," a graphic designer/artist, 13 years my senior, with a sensitive demeanor and model good looks to match.
Apart from the instant attraction we shared, there was nothing original about the circumstances of our introduction. In fact, we met like so many individuals do — in a crowded, dimly-lit bar one evening back in March.
Peter played the part of the quiet stranger with a contemplative state, while I played the role of the cheerful 24-year-old who just wanted to dance and have fun.
We hit it off instantly, and it didn't take very long for our relationship to evolve into something altogether unfamiliar to me.
Rather than acknowledge the foreign territory I had entered, I chose to proceed with childlike optimism, oblivious of the decision I was making.
Perhaps the reason for my lack of concern was due to the initial appeal of Peter. On paper, he was perfect.
He was older, charming, funny, thoughtful and extremely sexy. There was also the discovery that my persisting sarcasm didn't send him running for the hills.
So, I did the unthinkable. I opened myself up to him and allowed the sturdy walls of trepidation to come crashing down.
In the beginning of our courtship, everything was great. We saw each other almost every day, introduced one another to friends and family and even went on sporadic weekend getaways together.
After what felt like an eternity of being single, I was finally in a mature relationship with an amazing man.
But as our relationship moved further, the immaculate facade I envisioned began to crumble, and the realistic image of our relationship began to take shape.
For instance, there was Peters' incessant reluctance toward wanting to make our relationship official, along with the unusual fact he never wanted to discuss his past relationships with me.
There was also the unnerving detail that, even nine months into dating, Peter had yet to tell me he loved me, despite the fact I had told him numerous times already.
Although I was uninformed on the specifics, I knew Peter hadn't had the best luck in love in the past, and I didn't want to be the girl who continued to push.
But as time progressed, I could no longer ignore the red flags, and it didn't take long for those components to act as fuel for future arguments.
It came to the point where our arguments became more consistent, resulting in me questioning whether I should just end things for good. But every time I came close to making the decision final, I would think back to a metaphor my mother use to tell me.
The metaphor, pertaining to relationships, goes something like this: Throughout any relationship, memories are made — both good and bad. Let's say you have two jars, one for the happy memories, the other for the sad.
Whichever jar is overflowing should be a clear indicator of what kind of relationship you're in, and whether you should continue to be in it.
In my relationship, the happy jar was the one overflowing.
Every person has their preconceived image of what love is supposed to look like. One might think it looks like a scene straight out of a Gary Marshall or John Hughes film. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: That's not reality.
Contrary to what Hollywood might have us believe, the experience is not a candy-coated fantasy, saturated in absolute merriment.
The truth is, relationships can often feel like an endless roller coaster — both chaotic and dizzying, but thrilling nonetheless.
So many of us, myself included, are caught up in the "ideal relationship" and won't settle for anything less. But it's within that ideology where we make the mistake.
Just because a relationship doesn't match up to a scene in our favorite movie doesn't necessarily make it any less special.
Yes, sometimes Peter can be unintentionally inconsiderate. He may not understand my unhealthy obsession with Beyoncé, or my affinity for cheesy reality television.
He'll probably never show up at my doorstep in the rain with an enormous bouquet of roses after we've argued, or even write me a lengthy love letter explaining how he truly feels.
But I look at all the considerate things he does do for me, like giving me his coat whenever I've carelessly forgotten mine at home, rubbing my head whenever I have a headache and driving me home every night, even though it's 20 minutes out of his way.
Because of this, I've chosen not to sweat the small stuff. Instead, I've chosen to live each day as it comes.
Relationships weren't manufactured to be perfect, and loving someone means loving every part of them. Flaws included. If anything, I'm more in love with Peter now than I was eight months ago because of his authenticity.
Besides, perfection is overrated.