Thank you so much meili. I do count myself lucky every day for what Mrs. Howie and I have, but we're not special or unique. It happens all the time.
After three years it's clear that you still have special feelings for the one that got away. It seems there is nothing to be gained here from living in the past except pain.
You're still very young and have so much time to be happy with another. I wish I could tell you how to do it, but I know not. You have to put away your measuring stick and compare other potential partners only against how happy they make you feel. Grading anyone against someone you've lost is not fair to them or you. I promise there is someone out there for you. I believe it in the depths of my soul. There's a good chance you won't see them for their true potential until you've spent much time together and you may never see them if you're looking through glasses tinted by images past.
Chin up little one. Tomorrow is always brighter and brings you one day closer to meeting the one you seek.
Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town!