babe, I've read through this question a few times and it is very confusing. for example, you seem to know what you'd like in this situation; your heart is telling you you love this girl, right? but
I would like to be happy as well, but I would be very content to be with her.
is perhaps what I'm hearing here that you had never thought about being with a woman before in this type of relationship, and that it's still a little hard for you to get your head around it? (or are you truly not happy when you guys are together? please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm just musing here.)
She tells me she loves me but is not IN love with me and that she needs to find a traditional relationship.
maybe this is what's going on with her as well? we are told all our lives that the only real relationship that counts as love is a man and a woman together, and sometimes even when we are confronted with love, it doesn't feel "right" because we're still looking for that "real" thing. have you asked your friend about how she feels about this? or does she simply enjoy the level your relationship is at now, but want something deeper with a man?
(it's strange that we think that one gender or another is going to make a difference when it's really who that person is that counts, isn't it? as if simply being male will qualify someone else to be what she needs.)
I don't want to get too caught up.
but it sounds like you already are, right?
She says there is a chance that she will want to explore a more perminant relationship in years to come but right now she feels that a traditional relationship is what she truly desires.
yes, this is her decision to make. and it may hurt you very deeply, and it may be for the "right" reasons, or for the "wrong" reasons, whatever those are. but at this point, all you guys can do is talk to each other about this, about how you're really feeling and figure out what is going on here. both of you need to know all the facts and feelings to be able to make decisions about the path your relationship will take.
I hope this has helped at least a little. I feel like I'm wandering around. please correct me if I've gotten anything wrong or assumed too much.
Kissing girls in English at the back of the stairs, you're a honey with a following of innocent boys, they never know it because you never show it..." - Belle and Sebastian