the best thing

The best guy I’ve ever dated, hands down, was Mr. Surgeon. I’ve talked about Mr. Big in detail because he was my first love and because I’ve a lot of regrets in regard to him. With Mr. Surgeon, I don’t have any of those bittersweet feelings. I look back and I know that he treated me well and that he cared about me a lot and loved me in his own way.

We first met on the Light Rail, commuting back from class, because my then-roommate knew him from college. We then passed each other frequently during class and at other times, not really talking until I approached him one day at the library because I knew I was interested in getting to know him better. I suspect if I had never gone up to him that day to talk to him, we might have never gotten together. He was definitely introverted, but I was extroverted enough to make the first move.

From then on, we spent a lot of time together during the day and then chatting over Gmail in a friendly kind of way. This lasted about a month before we started hanging out in earnest at his apartment or mine. I don’t think I’ve ever truly pursued a guy until I pursued him and it was worth the effort. Our first kiss was sweet and unexpected as we were sitting together in front of the computer going through lecture slides.

We never really had a discussion if I was his girlfriend or if he was my boyfriend. We knew we were together by being together. I miss that kind of certainty in intentions. There were no other motives in spending time together. We did it because we liked each other, plain and simple.

The first 6 months were some of the happiest months of my life. I was infatuated with him and knew I loved him toward the end of the honeymoon phase. I didn’t tell him until a few months later, waiting for him to say the words to me first. I caved and told him later, but he was unable to reciprocate. I was heartbroken, yet able to understand that the timeline for loving someone is not always the same for everyone. He finally said, “I love you too,” a year later.

Even though he always doubted he loved me in the right way, I felt his love for me. The words are important, but if you can’t feel someone’s love for you–it doesn’t matter how many times they say the words.

Mr. Surgeon and I went through many ups and downs through our three year journey together. I made my first extended road trip with him when we drove over 24 hours to get to the Grand Canyon. I took him on his first trip on a plane, when we went to New York and traipsed around the city. I even got him to watch Korean dramas with me (and his brother too!). I was crazy at times and he was understandingly stoic. Despite the headaches and heartaches, I don’t regret one minute I spent being with him. I knew toward the end we weren’t right for each other, even if we did love each other. We had fallen into the habit of being with each other because it was easy and comfortable, but that’s not a good reason for staying together.

We decided to breakup before residency matching, so our being together didn’t influence our decisions for my future or his. I cried and he cried, we held each other as we reminisced through all the good times we’d shared. But we parted on amicable terms because we were ready to move on, as scary as it was.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt very lonely afterwards. I was accustomed to coming home and having him there. It was difficult not to run back to him as I had done before when we had stupid little fights that caused us to part temporarily. This time, I didn’t. We had danced very dance and we weren’t progressing, we were stumbling together, and struggling.

It took time to move on and truly be okay with someone else. But we’ve both accomplish that in our own ways. He’s still with the girl he dated right after me. They’ve been together for longer than I’d been with him and I think one day he’s going to ask her to marry him. I haven’t gotten that far with any of the guys I’ve dated, but I’ve felt deep emotions for Mr. Big since Mr. Surgeon. So I know I’ve recovered and I’m ready for more.

The best thing is that he and I will catch up every few months. It’s a simple thing, but it’s sweet that we still care.

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