As I looked for a place, I discovered that The Doctor had been asked to not renew his lease by his landlord. We talked about all of the crappy apartments available in the college town where I attended school and he worked and how it was impossible to find a decent place with a decent landlord without getting charged an arm and a leg. At some point in the conversation, we tossed around the idea of pooling our resources and getting a decent house together with enough room for all of our separate stuff. After some inquiry, we found a nice big house with two bedrooms that was only a few blocks from campus that was a decent price. And he was cool with my puppy (who was no longer a puppy!) living in the house. So we made it happen.
We shared a big apartment for two semesters before I got accepted to a PhD program and moved to North Carolina. In that time we had become close and fast friends. We shared so many interests: good food, good movies, good booze, good books … We definitely had our differences, but I will say that have a male roommate was a million times easier than having a female roommate. He was an awesome cook, and he actually cleaned bathrooms! Who could ask for more in a roommate?
In May I packed up all my stuff, hired a U-Haul and moved on down to Carolina. It was a pretty big deal. I had never lived more than 30 miles from my parents, so packing up and moving 650 miles away was huge. And it was exciting. I was eager to be a single girl living in a big(ger) city with lots to do. I couldn’t wait to meet new people and do new things and start learning and reading and just living. It was terrifyingly exciting.
The Doctor called often to check in on me and to see how things were going. He made introductions between me and some of old college pals (he had gone to the university a neighboring city). When I went home to visit, I made sure that he and I had time to catch up. He came down to visit me once or twice. Finally we decided that since the former impediments to our relationship were gone (his “professorship” over me and my now-dissolved marriage) that we would give it a go. And, while that decision came with all sorts of conflict and anxiety within me as a divorcee, it was the best decision I have ever made.
The Doctor quickly transformed into The Boy (as this blog refers to him). Being with him has helped me to grow and develop as both an individual and as a woman. He had a confidence in me and my abilities that I had only ever experienced from my parents. He has joined them in being my constant cheerleader and supporter. He encouraged me to take risks and to release the “me” that had always been there but had been hidden beneath the exterior that I thought others expected of me. He showed me how important it is to find happiness within myself before I can make the people that I love happy as well.
The Boy didn’t make me who I am today, but he certainly has encouraged me along my path. His love has been something I have never before experienced. Of course, like all relationships, we have our “moments,” but the depth and breadth of the love that we share is at times overwhelming. He understands my quirks and maybe even loves me for them. He is my partner and my teammate, considering me and my feelings in almost all things. He asks my advice and actually values what I have to say.
Most of my happiest times in the last five years or so have been with him. Because we have so much in common, we laugh together every day. We love to eat good food, drink good wine and booze, watch good movies, travel with each other (and sometimes with the dog) and just spend time together. Just being together fulfills me. He is, without a doubt, my partner in life. Like any relationship, we have had our hard times. Every day can’t be sunshine and roses. But, thankfully, we have more sunshine and roses than grey skies and storms. But when I am ready to cut and run (which is sometimes my style), he is not. He wants to work on what is ailing us and make it through the storm. I appreciate his determination to keep our good thing going.
In many ways, my young marriage and subsequent divorce was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It forced me to grow up and seek my own happiness. It released me to explore the world around me and find adventure. It revealed to me my own worth and standards of what I would accept and what was unacceptable. Most importantly, it gave me an open heart unwilling to compromise or settle that would eventually lead me to my one great love. I know I’m young to say that he is my “one great love,” but I honestly can’t imagine it ever being any better than this.