You made me see myself, and like who I see. And that's why it worked with you.
I don't believe in "meant to be" or "soulmates." Maybe it gives some people a warm fuzzy to describe their romantic partner in this way,but I've always taken a more practical approach to matters of the heart.
Life is messy and confusing and there's far more to making a relationship tick than just pretty words and gushing to the world (or at least everyone you're friends with on Facebook) that so-and-so is your bae.
I went through a lot of guys before I met you. With some, I realized they weren't right for me straight off the bat like the one guy whose answer to "How old are you, again?" was "Uh... what did I put on my dating profile?" With others, it took a minute to figure out they were wrong. Some are better than others at hiding who they really are behind the veil of a flawless smile and near-flawless abs but true colors will always show through eventually.
And then you...
I remember those giddy, hopeful early days. In spite of my steadfast waning belief that believing in "the one" is pure bullsh*t, I let myself hope you were, in fact, just that.
As we danced the dance of first date, second date, third date, first time we spent the night together, first time you introduced me as your girlfriend, first time we had a real fight, I started to become secure in the knowledge that you were going to stick around. That you were different.
You were different in that "OK so, he's kinda geeky and I don't have the urge to see him without his shirt" kind of way. You were different to the point where I had to break out of the superficial zone to agree to that first drink in the first place. You were different in that "I'm not gnawing on my fingernails and obsessively analyzing the timing of your next phone call with all of my girlfriends" kind of way.
You called me the day after our second date "just to say hi." I think you've called me just about every day since. You asked me how I was doing and (gasp!) you paid attention to the answers. You didn't turn my insides to mush or make my stomach flutter but I came to realize I didn't like the butterflies that some of your flashier and more prettily packaged predecessors had given me.
This was the first time I felt secure in a relationship. Comfortable in my skin. This was different from the comfort level we achieve from being lovers over a sustained period of time. If you stay with someone long enough, eventually you'll give zero f*cks about letting them see what you really look like with last night's eyeliner caked on your face or pooping at their apartment, but I'm not talking about just that.
This level of security, this lack of anxiety over what you were saying and doing, and what you were going to say and do, was unprecedented. You made me feel safe.
Not safe in a physical "big man must protect helpless little girl" way, because I'm certainly no shrinking violet, but safe with my feelings. Before you, I didn't know I needed to have that safe space to lower the mask and to share my true self with another person. I didn't realize I was so guarded with myself until I wasn't anymore.
Realizing that someone is enough isn't the same thing as settling for less than I deserve. You taught me that. I don't have to rehearse what I'm going to say next. I don't experience that gripping anxiety over when the next call or text will happen.
I've heard people describe me as "out of your league." I've been congratulated on how clever I am to "go for one of the nerdy ones." I'm not clever, I'm lucky.
I'm secure because you're enough and I know I'm enough, too. I could say it didn't take me long to realize that you were different but in realizing you were different, I realized who I really am.
I don't need the emotional roller coaster thrill of the hunt. I don't thrive on the adrenaline that comes with the high highs or the drama that accompanies the low lows. I like my feet on the ground, and I'm most comfortable in my own skin when my stomach isn't doing flip flops.
You made me see myself, and like who I see. And that's why it worked with you when it didn't work with the guys that came before you.
And yeah, I have to keep telling myself that believing in "the one" is pure bullsh*t.