Have you ever gotten to the point wherein you absolutely knew what type of man you wanted to be in a relationship with?

I didn’t. And it certainly didn’t help that I was a late bloomer. I was a kasapi of the dreaded NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) club until I was 25. I had always been the boyish type and I didn’t actually feel attractive until I was already working. It was only then that I was able to go on dates, enjoy the attention, and experience a semblance of courtship.

My first official relationship was with an officemate, and we didn’t really have the same intentions. It was an infatuation, and it fizzled out in less than three months.

I was young and terribly heartbroken. I guess that’s what happens when an NBSB’s first real relationship goes sour.

I didn’t realize that another guy officemate had secretly been admiring me for months already. He was teammates with a close friend of mine, and we would have the occasional lunch together as a group every now and then.

As luck would have it, we would also end up in the same inuman circle, and one night, I discovered that he was pretty serious about me. With the not-so-gentle prodding of friends, he took me home that night.

And so it began, the daily dose of text messages and chocolates. He wasn’t at all abashed about his actions; he didn’t care if our other officemates saw what he was doing. He wasn’t the least conscious about it.

I was. While the attention was flattering, I didn’t want people to notice that a new guy in the office was showering me with gifts and doing me favors and whatnot. I got even more conscious when friends started to tease me about him.

While Mr. Officemate and I had not gone on an actual date yet, he was doing all sorts of gentlemanly things that I found touching, romantic, and, well, boyfriend-like. I’ll never forget the time I merely tweeted about my wonky desktop computer and in a few hours, he had braved the traffic from the office just to fix it.

We would go on dates after a while, and I would always have a great time with him. There was an obvious connection. And yet, the more we spent time together, the more I thought to myself if I was sincerely having fun or if I was just using him to feel good about myself, because he would treat me like a princess.

In my heart, I knew the answer, and the only mature thing to do would be to break his heart into pieces. I didn’t want to lead him along; it wouldn’t be fair to him because I still wasn’t over my ex. I felt ashamed, too, because many people had supported his panliligaw and they were rooting for him, and I had just crushed him.

Instead of being spiteful, he remained the sweetest guy. And maybe that’s how I realized I might have lost Mr. Right forever. I might never find another guy just like him.

In December 2011, I saw a post about his enjoying the view in a place overlooking Manila, and I knew that he was with a different girl. I felt the pangs of jealousy eating at me. He had found someone new, and I had let him slip right through my fingers.

With the encouragement of friends, I vowed to myself I would make him mine again. I started by inviting him to lunch one time. From then on, we found ourselves spending time together again, and officially became boyfriend and girlfriend not long after.

Three years later, we are still together. We have long gotten over the puppy love phase and I’d like to think that what we have is a deep sense of companionship and partnership. We aspire for greater things in life and we continue to learn more about each other. To this day, the courtship is mutual and it shows itself in the littlest and the grandest of loving gestures.

The next time you think of your ideal Mr. Right, think again. Because really, you never know just what kind of man you will cross paths with. But when he presents himself, trust me, you’ll know. And you will not want to lose him or find love again in all the wrong places.

PHOTO: Flickr Creative Commons/Anthony Citrano

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