Before sliding into the DM (Direct Message) was introduced, AIM (American Online Instant Messenger) existed. I met first girlfriend through AIM.
Our relationship started when I AIMed her: "Hi, I am Marrianne's brother. You are my sister's friend."
My sister passed away in 2003.
I decided to AIM her friend 2 years later. Because I was 18 years old. And I was legal (and ready) to AIM her. She was mysterious too. I was interested in getting to know her. And I wanted to date her.
I assumed I might have a chance. Because I'm grieving and mourning from my sister's death. Her friend can comfort me. And this thought came to mind.
I believed her friend might judge me and my family from a tragedy too. Because my mind wasn't functioning and performing well.
I never met my sister's friend. I think she went to my house one time (or a few times). But I avoided her. Because I was a shy kid.
I only saw her through pictures. I was a creepy kid.
Severe anxiety took over my mind. Every time my sister welcomed her friends, I went to my room. And I closed my door. Because I assumed I didn't want to embarrass my sister. My bedroom was my safe haven.
At the time, I was more comfortable talking to a woman through AIM than in person. I would prefer to type in front of a computer screen than talk face to face with an attractive woman. Because I had a low self-esteem.
My sister's friend and I were AIMing each other here and there. I enjoyed chatting with her.
About a year, I chose to ask her out. Although asking her out was more of a meetup or hangout, not a date. But my younger-self would still be jumping for joy.
I was never upfront with her or any woman. I liked to play it safe (and be nice). Because I was afraid of losing a friend. And getting rejected.
I only tried reading a woman's body language if she ever liked me. I only went for signals. But it turned into mixed signals.
I realized I will never know until I take a risk.
My sister's friend and I became closer friends.
3 year later, I was able to take the risk. I talked to her face to face. And I expressed my feelings to her.
She was astounded and excited. Because she was waiting for me to tell her.
She was a new chapter in my life (in my early 20s).
Everything was an amazement and excitement. It was a rush.
I liked her. I loved her. But I was more infatuated with her. Because I never experienced a girlfriend at all during my childhood or adolescence years. She was my first to experience everything.
It was a Santa Claus effect. (That's what I call it.)
For instance, she introduced me to go out more. And she showed me more experiences. Because I would usually stay at home ever since my sister passed away.
My girlfriend and I went to restaurants together. She taught me to explore different restaurants other than eat my mom's cooking.
I never knew how to use a chopstick. Until I met her.
We went to see Kenny G in concert. A special moment happened when he walked closer to us. And he played his saxophone in front of us.
My girlfriend and I traveled to Washington DC. It was my first time to travel without my family, friends, and relatives. And it was also my first time to be far away from my parents.
About 7-8 months has passed. I could not take it anymore.
The Santa Clause effect drained my mind and body.
Because I wasn't able to balance my time with others. I was always with girlfriend.
I took her for granted. I did not respect her.
For instance, I explored other options. She had no clue. I went out with a classmate from school. I had a crush on classmate. I never told her I was taken. And I never told my girlfriend about the hangout (and to this day).
I created this. I was a jerk. Both women assumed I cared about them.
I only hung out with my classmate once or twice. And I decided to avoid her. Because I made a huge mistake with my girlfriend at the time.
I was hiding secrets to classmate, and especially, girlfriend.
"She's your security blanket in a way," Kirtsen Corley writes in her blog entry, Someone Else is Going to Appreciate the Girl You Took for Granted. "The one who has been there when things have gone wrong, comforting you and building you up even when she didn't ask the same."
I decided to leave girlfriend. I called her by phone to end our relationship. I never had the courage to tell her face to face. My 21-year-old self was a coward. I told girlfriend to announce it as a mutual breakup.
We dated about 7-8 months.
The reason we split up was me.
My 21-year-old self blamed her.
And I would have said: "I'm tired of her. I need my space. I'm always with her almost 24/7. I never had the time to see others. I'm stuck. She's the one to blame. I'm better off without her."
It's not her fault. Because I was never honest and vulnerable to her.
And I always did tell her, "Communication is the key." I was such a hypocrite.
I never told her how I felt about her. She wasn't able to read my mind if I never expressed my feelings to her.
Because I always wanted to impress her. I had a huge ego. Honesty and vulnerability would be a sign of weakness. I accused her for my mistakes and flaws.
I realized I was to be blamed in our relationship. I assumed it was a toxic relationship. But it was only me. I started it. And created it. Because I never invested in my emotional and mental health at all.
I would ignore others. Because I chose to always be with girlfriend. (We choose our time.) I liked to please her. I assumed she would hate me if I spent time with a friend. Yes to her. And no to others. Because I wanted to be the best boyfriend.
It was hurting me.
My younger-self always escaped from negativity.
Whenever girlfriend and I argued, I would walk away from it. I needed space to apologize to her. And find a way to please her. I never took the time to resolve our argument or conflict together.
All I did was to forgive and forget. It was unhealthy.
I can say she was my first girlfriend as an excuse. And I won't. She was never an excuse. Because I will never learn from it for the next girlfriend.
Again, I am the one to blame.
We became friends after our breakup. But it was different.
She still cared for me.
For instance, my tennis and basketball coach told me she always watched and supported your basketball games. And you never acknowledged her. She would drive alone to your game. And you would never offer her for a ride.
(The games would sometimes start late at night. She was brave to drive alone. And choose her time to see me play.)
I chose to give rides to my coach than her. I never invited her to join us. I was selfish.
Another example is she invited me to her college graduation.
I'm glad to have attended her graduation in 2010. It happened on May 17, 2010. It was my sister's death anniversary as well.
"It's your special day," I told her. "I'm supporting you."
I think she and I decided to stop seeing each other as friends. I'm not sure when it began. Probably in 2011. I forgot.
3 or 4 years later, I decided to send her a friend request on Facebook. And follow her on Instagram. We would message each other hear and there since 2016.
For instance, I messaged her on March 21: "Earlier today, I'm slowly decluttering my room. I found a CD. It had this picture of us. Thank you for the memories."
I also sent her a picture of me and her. It was taken on the day of her college graduation. I was happy for her. We both smiled. My smile in the picture was priceless.
"Aw good times," she replied.
If you are reading this, I'm sorry. And I would like to reconnect and talk face to face with you. I understand if you are not able to. And I respect you.
You are a good person.