12 Books That Will Make You The Best Girlfriend Ever, Because You Have To Love Yourself Before You Can Love Someone Else

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It takes a strong, vulnerable, and confident woman to make a loving girlfriend. That's because you need to be happy with your whole self before you are able to effectively give your love to another. Now, since most of us become aware of our sexual and emotional desires when we're tweens, we aren't given a proper chance to become those whole individuals before the chase for love begins. So, you have to learn and grow and figure out who you are along the way. And that path to your best self is a bumpy one, filled with scrapes and cuts that leave subtle battle scars from all the times you handed your heart over to people who didn't deserve it.

Those scars become lessons and ultimately, chapters that lead to a happy ending. The good thing about living through the ups and downs of love is that you're not alone. Learning who you are as a person in order to discover who you are as a girlfriend, lover, partner, SO, wife, or whatever relationship label you choose to hold, there are people and characters who can guide you along the way. Here are the best fictional books that can inspire you to love yourself a little bit more, so you can love your favorite human a whole lot more.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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A beautiful and tragic masterpiece about a woman whose imagination runs wild with the idea of what love is supposed to be, and is always seeking the place where the grass is greener. Emma's story is a terrific reminder to love what you have and maybe stop obsessing about what you don't. Sometimes the grass is plenty green right where it is.

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

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A tasty treat for any woman torn between her precious freedom and choosing whether or not to settle down, or what settling down is even supposed to look like nowadays. It's just perfection. Even though it was first released in 1969, this is still a relevant struggle for women today. It will make you feel less alone in these opposing feelings and thoughts you might be having.

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

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It's a super-sweet tale about a couple who plans out their forever, and then forever never comes because Gerry (the husband) suddenly dies. But what follows is an incredibly romantic journey, orchestrated by Gerry, to give Holly (the wife) a fresh start. This showcases love at its most selfless and vulnerable, which is when love is at its best. Because any true love is selfless, but it only works if that selflessness is coming from both sides. This book will show you what real love looks like, which will help you define exactly what you want in a relationship.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Elizabeth Bennet is happy with who she is. She has found her whole self and doesn't need anything more than books and her family to keep her satisfied. Then she meets Darcy, and they clash, and sparks fly, and they build a romance based on an equal partnership. It's basically the dream. As a couple, you should challenge each other, bring out the best in each other, and accept all the flaws. You can basically use this tale as the blueprint for what you want your happily ever after to look like.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Katniss serves at inspiration for all of life's trials and tribulations. She's just that rad. But it's the way she puts her own responsibilities first until she knows for sure that she loves Peeta that really struck a chord. The love that they share is built on a foundation of trust and equal respect, and it's what makes their bond so unbreakable. This is where every love story should begin, you know, aside from the actual Games themselves. So IRL, it's important to feel ready to give your heart away before you do. Just because someone says, "I love you," doesn't mean you have to say it back until you actually feel that way.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

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A vibrant romance told in an unconventional order, this literary gem is proof that honest, real, and eternal love can overcome some seriously insurmountable obstacles. If you're both all in, then it can work. Be willing to do what it takes to make it work, and if it doesn't, then it wasn't meant to be.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Use this one as an example of what not do. Amy Dunne is unhappy living her life according to the expectations of her parents and husband. So she plays a part and weaves a masterful plot to seek her own freedom. Basically... if you pretend to be someone else for too long, you lose your effing mind.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Claire has to adapt to living as a war nurse in the 1940s and then as an Englishwoman living in 1740s Scotland. She ends up with two husbands, and constantly dodging men who want to rape and or kill her. Claire is badass, not only for her survival skills, but in how she allows herself to fall in love with Jamie Fraser. She makes the best of what she has, and it's something all of us could stand to do.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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This book is about a couple living in an isolated lighthouse come across an orphan baby. After suffering through multiple miscarriages, they decide to keep it. This is a very complex story about the weight of our decisions, but it's also a very realistic look at how relationships can be handed some abundantly crappy cards, and it's important to enter those situations as two members of the same team. You and your SO should fight your battles and endure any setbacks as a unit. If that doesn't happen, then some serious relationship reevaluating needs to take place.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

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This is not a fairytale. This does not have a happy ending. What it does have is a personal account into the quest for emotional awareness, which is essentially the key to inner growth. It will inspire you to figure out why you've been through some of your own love-hate relationships, and how they got there in the first place.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

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Yup, this is your classic cheeseball feel-all-the-feels book pick, but I don't even care because that stage of love is every bit as important as the rest. It'll make you want to love as deeply as Noah does, even when life puts a very serious and very sad obstacle in your path.

Every Day by David Levithan

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Love is love. This book depicts that perfectly, since it's about a soul named 'A' who wakes up in the body of a different person every day, yet still somehow falls in love with a girl despite his consistent physical transformations. A has no assigned gender, and it doesn't matter, because this isn't about what the picture of love is "supposed to look like," it's about the reality of how spectacular the power of love is. It will remind you that true love can grow and thrive no matter what the physical picture looks like. Everyone deserves love, including you, and you will find it, just by being yourself.

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