When my last girlfriend dumped me and I went on the market again, I tried very hard to strike the thought of fairy tale love from my being. The ex and I had kind of crushed on each other for years, so when we finally did get together it was a moment of indescribable rightness. And then it was a galactic disaster because the people (her) couldn't live up to the years' worth of fantasies and daydreams.
That had actually been my MO for dating girls for a while. See, crush, pine, passive-aggressively ask them out, then watch the relationship fall to pieces because I'd loved them before I'd known them as people. Online dating was probably the worst avenue for a person like that because it allows you to disqualify people without even knowing them with an even greater ease and sense of anonymity. She mixed up your/you're? Death to her! (Actually that one might be legitimate.)
Sometimes I would talk to people and realize, "I feel nothing for you," which isn't really fair based on a few snippets of emotionless text. Somewhere along the way I realized, "this is really not very logical." So I set out to change. And then went back on it completely. When I first saw one of my current girlfriend's pics on her profile, my internal monologue said, and I quote, "I think I'm in love." Luckily the more reality-oriented parts of my brain were in the office that day and they tempered that enthusiasm.
I went into our first meeting with little expectations. I think we had talked for maybe four or five days at that point and only once or twice on the phone. There was enough there for me to be intrigued, but not much more. It kind of makes me laugh remembering the first time I saw her in person, completely new, and how odd that image is now that we're so familiar and so comfortable with each other.
After an enjoyable first date, I wasn't enamored with her, which scared the crap out of me. But I thought to myself, "maybe this is how adults have relationships." And considering the things we had in common, and what I'd gotten to know about her in that time, I thought I'd seen enough to want to pursue a relationship and told her so. No pussyfooting, no passive-aggression, "bitch, you should date me." (Or something like that.)
If you were to ask me to pinpoint what it is that I love about my girlfriend, I think my answer would be "she makes me completely comfortable about myself and about being myself in a way that no one ever has." (Sure beats the hell out of "she was the closest thing with a vagina and a pulse that satisfied my Disney Princess syndrome.") I have never been or felt as confident as I do now, being with her, which is funny because she's described herself as abrasive and independent, things that tend not to mesh well with former passive-aggression.
Some of it has been how we define ourselves within the BDSM community. If someone is submissive, it's difficult to let them one-up or manipulate you regardless of how hard they try. (Look we both know you're a little bitch that just wants to do my bidding, so let's cut right to it, eh?) And there is something in having a submissive look up to you as their Dominant that makes you want to fulfill the most noble aspects of that role. I think I needed a challenge, someone who was complex enough to engage many aspects of my own multi-faceted personality. The girls I've dated in the past have been anything but complex, and with that, lacking the unique broad intelligence that stimulates me. (Even the high school valedictorian-ex that goes to MIT.)
Because of that, my relationship carries a strength that is often difficult to grasp. In the past, I was always frustrated by how little time I spend with girlfriends. I always wanted more. Now I'm okay with being away from my girlfriend, and that boggles my mind because I love her more than any of those other girls put together. It's completely counter-intuitive, but it all goes back to that strength. It's hard to miss someone when you know you have a piece of their mind every day, when your thoughts on things are so alike, it's almost as if you can share them without even speaking. (Opposites attract my ass.)
It's been endlessly amusing what that kind of multi-faceted connection has led to. My girlfriend says I'm very expressive, my ex hated how I never smiled. I hated going out anywhere with the ex, but Abbi and I do things together all the time. I always wanted to exist in a sort of unnoticeable bubble...well I still desire that with Abbi (because people are stupid), but I also want to show her off, to highlight what we have and to show those stupid people what they're missing.
In short, my girlfriend is awesome. I win, you lose, you smell.