I spent the majority of my adult life with one person. We were in a long-term relationship and things didn’t work out so it all ended. Coming out of an unhealthy long-term relationship, it is fair to say I fumbled a lot. I had no experience of navigating the dating scene.
I had my share of “meet and never see again” people, emotionally unavailable people, and some weird interactions. I had to do further investigation into why I am attracting certain types of people. After doing some reading and soul searching I made a vow not to date anymore or meet anyone because I was so tired. However, one day as fate would have it I came across a person on my profile and his bio was about “how to make the best hummus”. As a hummus enthusiast myself I reached out to him and had a short chat in the middle of the night.
For some reason, I contacted him the next day. The man expressed interest in meeting for dinner and felt “pushy”. When a guy pushes for a plan, I usually see them as needy and get turned off. I didn’t want to have dinner and lead him on to more so I cut it short and said he is welcome to see me at the cafe because I was working from there. I was so distracted by my work I didn’t even realize it when he texted. Unlike other guys, I had met prior he kept on updating me on his ETA. It felt a bit odd to me but I didn’t think much and carried on with my work.
After a while, there came a guy with a backpack. I still remember when I looked up to wave at him he had this friendly smile almost inviting and warm. He smiled and came to sit beside me. He felt different, but it was nice. I don’t know what it was. I felt like I didn’t have to pretend to be anything. He would let me talk and listen to what I had to say. His aura was so clean and warm. He would show me his work and share his geeky side. I come from a non-technical background and I didn’t want to appear less knowledgeable so I just listened.
We would do our work and chat in between and share coffee. My roommate came to sit with us too and we had a pleasant conversation. He followed us to dinner and my roommate left to attend to her thing. We kept on moving from one place to another and the first “date” that I thought I didn’t want to be turned into 10+ hours.
As he was in my city for a week, we frequented our meetings, spending more than 8 hours each time. This was so different from all my dates before. I actually enjoyed being around this person. Our date consisted of just walking and talking for hours and hopping around places. He was working and also taking some classes. Therefore, he would often come with his laptop and I would wait for him to finish his class to hang out with him.
One of my fondest memories is when we visited a rooftop restaurant at dusk, with the sky almost turning dark and the stars and moon clearly visible above us. I had my overly-priced cocktail in hand and he was on my side attending his online class. I felt so much at ease and at peace in his presence. I remember taking a deep sigh and thinking “ maybe I wouldn’t mind dating someone like him”. I started imagining living with someone like him and sharing our days. I loved how easy it was with him but since he was leaving soon I had no further expectations (maybe it was my way of keeping myself safe).
During our time together, I felt so magical. I am never shy or scared to meet people but I actually cared about how he thought of me. I had no guts to hold his hand or even sit near him. Besides feeling so warm, he expressed his sadness at leaving me.
The day before he left I joined him for a concert and hung out with friends. I gathered all my guts and leaned on him during the concert. He might have noticed it but didn’t go further. We leaned into each other in an awkward manner. With the help of a drink, I finally managed to hold his hand after the concert. I still remember how warm it felt. On our way to the house, we grabbed dinner and I semi-hugged him. I don’t know why I was so nervous. On our way home we were walking behind our friends in the alley. It was nighttime and as usual, I was talking and he was listening. While walking, I noticed him approaching me with a big smile. I knew what was about to happen but I didn’t move. He slowly reached toward me grabbed my face and kissed me ever so gently. Although I did kiss him back, I found myself mostly frozen. After our kiss, he kissed my nose, leaving me in awe. I couldn’t recall anyone kissing my nose before.
Later we shared pizza and checked into a hotel. After a week I finally hugged him properly. His hug was like warm sunshine in cold weather. He was very affectionate, and since I had been lacking physical contact, his touch felt incredibly nourishing. Since everything had been so perfect, I didn’t want to ruin the moment, so we simply shared a hug and left to sleep.
I recently came across an article that suggested that if a girl likes a guy, “she has no intention of sleeping with him right away,” and I found that to be true in my case. I was content with his company and the comfort of his hugs, and our dates had been so restorative that I didn’t desire anything more. I thought I would never see him again and I was completely fine with it. He was the first “nice guy” I dated. Something about him just soothed my soul. I felt like I could breathe around him. I felt safe enough to be me.
Coming from a history of toxic relationships and emotionally unavailable partners, he was a breath of fresh air for me. I didn’t even know what I was missing until I met him. We checked out in the morning and I bid goodbye. I believed that was the end of our interaction, but fate seemed to have other plans, as we kept in touch and continued to meet repeatedly.
I once heard someone say, “No one talks about how unsettling it can be when transitioning from a toxic relationship to a stable one”. This could not be further from the truth. We have been together for a few months and I have had my fair share of “battling my demons”. It’s almost like you don’t know how to behave at times. After being accustomed to neglect and harsh treatment, experiencing calmness felt surreal. I was usually the one who got triggered and acted in a toxic manner. Regardless of what happened, he was always there for me, and I found myself returning to him time and time again.
In a few months, he will be leaving for overseas. Part of me feels sad and part of me feels happy for him. I met him when I said I didn’t want to see anyone. He came into my life to show me how it feels to date a “nice guy”. Even when I encountered someone I was interested in, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy. With him, everything felt easy. I could tell him exactly how I felt and he would listen. He would never react with anger and would never step behind to say sorry.
He helped me relive my childhood fantasies. I had seen in movies how a guy would come up behind a girl while she was cooking and hug her, and they would sway together. Prior to him, I had never experienced anything like that with anyone else. More than anything my inner child felt safe with him. I didn’t have to just pour in but stay back and let him nourish me.
Spending time with him I realized “nice guys” have their own struggles. He had become accustomed to carrying the label of a “nice guy,” always saying yes and not expressing his feelings precisely because he prioritized others before himself. I firmly believe in open communication, and a part of me hoped that he would speak his mind and I would often encourage him to do so.
Regardless he is one of the most humble and genuine people I have met so far. We have shared so many precious moments together, shared laughter together, and got so high on a brownie that we thought we were dying. We also spent all night talking and going to places together. I will always be grateful to have you as my “nice guy” and for the time you spend with me. You have taught me so much in a short span of time and I will always cherish you.
Although I had never published my writing before, I find myself doing so now as a tribute to someone I hold very dear. I would like to raise a glass in honor of all the “nice guys” who help mend broken hearts and heal people in countless ways.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
|Compliments Men Want to Hear More Often
|Relationships Aren’t Easy, But They’re Worth It
|The One Thing Men Want More Than Sex
|..A Man’s Kiss Tells You Everything
Photo credit: Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash