I am a fiercely independent woman. I value my ability to take care of myself above many other things.

During my teen years, I decided that my life goal was not just going to be about getting married and having children. When my junior year English teacher told our class about the concept of a "Mrs. Degree," I was aghast that anyone would seriously devote their college experience to finding a husband. I went stag to my senior prom because I just couldn't be bothered.

The summer before college, I had a lot of different ideas about what my college experience, and life in general, was going to be like. That all changed when I started falling for one of my best friends.

Being in a long-term relationship has been a wild ride. And even though I'm a strong, independent person on my own, I can still admit that my boyfriend helps me be a better person. Here are a few ways he does so:

1. He encourages me to try new things.

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2. He inspires me to take better care of my body and overall health.

Paige Ryan

3. He helps me come out of my shell and make new friends.

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4. He exposes me to new cultures and traditions.

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5. He keeps me grounded when I'm being too negative.

Paige Ryan

6. He reminds me it's OK to stand up for myself.

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7. He gives me great advice when it comes to my career and navigating the workplace. 

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8. His determination and passion for helping others inspires me to be a little more selfless.

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9. We have similar aspirations and work together to have the things we want out of life. 

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10. He supports me in chasing my dreams and going after my goals.

Paige Ryan

You can still be a strong person even if you have others helping you along the way. My boyfriend is part of my support system and he's helping me become a stronger person every day.

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