Alexa, play Lovesong by The Cure. No! Alexa, don’t start with Katy Perry song now…
Most of us that one person, a friend, a lover, who we refer to as the one that got away. Even decades later, you can’t stop wondering what if. And what sucks is that there’s no way to answer that question. Understanding your position and what went wrong will do good for your present and future life.
We live in a society full of explanations, where social media is always telling us to do better. Yet, we don’t take responsibility. Now, one might wonder, what does it have to do with the one that got away? Well, a lot, actually, and not much of it is pretty.
Is it just a fantasy, or you really screwed up?
Let’s put your situation in perspective. There’s a reason why you’re holding onto that one person, the one that got away.
If you’re stuck in the past, it can mean two things. Either you prefer the past to the present moment, or you feel guilty. Both situations mean that you have to take a long, hard look at your life and face the music.
Depending on what it might be, your actions will be utterly different. But, you do have to be honest with yourself.
That person that got away, that long-lost love, they can’t save you. They were never the ones saving you. If you miss the way you felt with them, then your dating life is not fulfilling. If you’re missing a person that you used to know, well, that’s on you.
Dealing with the ghosts of the past
In a scenario where you miss feeling a certain way, where your present seems to gloom compared to your past, it’s time for action.
Your illusion that the past was way better than anything coming your way is pure fantasy. Spice up your life, ask for more and give more. Try to be the person you thought you would be when you grow up, sort of speak.
Asking for help to be more present doesn’t have to include therapy. There are many simple mindful exercises, from yoga and meditating to doing more things that make you happy right here and now.
Dwelling over the past, however, can be a symptom of depression. It’s up to you to recognize whether you’re stuck or it’s something more profound.
In this case, the one that got away represents grieving over your past life. And moving on from that person, who’s not even as real as you want it to be, is just one of many steps you need to take to have a brighter future.
But, what if it was all real, raw, and you know that you messed up? What if you can recall all the bad things that happened with that person, and still, you wouldn’t change a thing about them? Does that mean you’re hopelessly in love?
The shortest answer is: could be.
The one that got away did it because of you
Let’s pretend that you’re in high school or college. You meet someone who becomes your friend, and with time, you realize that you’re in love. Yet, the thing is that you’re too insecure, too stupid, too young to make a move.
Or, something happens, and you start well, sort of dating, or having an open relationship. Either way, the more time you spend with that person, the more you understand that they are your person. And no matter how much you try, you are theirs.
You see their flaws, and they can drive you insane in the worst possible way. But, your time together is still fabulous, and after a few months, years, you feel as if they belong to you.
Foolishly, you believe that your person can’t stop loving you. They know everything about you, and you feel accepted. Until you don’t, because if they were here with you know they wouldn’t be your one that got away.
I’ll say this with empathy, but it’s on you. And to get that person and that relationship, you need to follow the five steps of grief.
But, before everything, you have to face that it is your fault. Labeling it as it wasn’t meant to be, or it was faith is such a cop-out. You didn’t fight. But don’t worry: neither did i.
Speak now or forever hold your peace
Being stuck on someone isn’t fair to you or all the people who came after the one that got away. And it’s not fair to you because you’re not allowing yourself to be truly satisfied with your lover.
But, accept that you messed up: you didn’t go after them, or you didn’t listen. You didn’t know any better at that point, but you do now. So, write them a goodbye letter, but don’t hit send. We’ll get to why later.
My point is that you had so many chances that you didn’t even know about. You were a coward, perhaps. Or you were too self-observed, had your personal issues, and you weren’t able to communicate properly.
There’s no line you could write now to change what happened many moons ago. But you can forgive yourself. And let it all out: all the despair, the dreams you shared, and the nightmares you still have about that one person. The one person who made a world more colorful, a person who challenged your way of thinking, who wasn’t afraid to step on your toes, but gently, tenderly, so that it felt like you were simply being teased.
You didn’t say what you had to say. You didn’t do what you needed to. Who knows why… Yet, it’s over now, and you owe it to yourself to grieve, to truly feel all the pain you’ve been holding onto.
It’s not as if someone died, but the grieving process is quite similar. Your mutual love, friendship, whatever it was: it’s gone.
Live and let die
Some experts say that it’s okay to contact the one that got away. I’m afraid I have to disagree.
Unless you accidentally bump into them on the street, it’s not okay to expect anything but more heartbreak.
You see, the thing is that you’re no longer the same person you were 10 years ago. Or yesterday. And same goes for that one person you adored.
If you do contact them, you might be disappointed. Or you might find yourself even more in love. Whatever it may be, it won’t give you closure. Not everything has to come with a closure, and that sucks. But that’s why you need to focus on healing and moving on properly.
It’s not a gunfight. And it wasn’t faith. It was younger you not being ready to give your best. Or simply, your best at the time wasn’t enough.
That one who got away did it for a reason. Expecting that you can fix your past mistakes with one phone call or one drink is foolish, selfish. Burring the relationship, grieving, and finally letting go, that’s how you eventually find your next person tailor-made for you.
Or you don’t. You find someone who is good enough, and you enjoy what you have.
Sometimes you love, other times you learn
Perhaps the one that got away was your big lesson. The biggest lesson on love that you’ll ever get.
If they taught you to appreciate other relationships or to be more open, then it’s all worth it.
In hindsight, you knew what you would do to make things differently. But, since time travel isn’t an option, and what’s done is done, there comes a time to face your mistakes and never repeat them.
If there’s a person who taught you to fight, to be honest, to be more you, thank them. Be grateful for them. Otherwise, even if you corrected your mistake from the past, you’d trip on the next challenge.
To the one that got away
I’m sorry for being a witch with a capital B, for being a coward, for letting you let me go. And I am sorry for being petty and stupid enough to think that you belong to me. Owning someone doesn’t exist in a healthy relationship.
So, I am sorry for making your world a bit toxic, it was never my intention.
Your needs, your desires, your dreams,… it’s that I didn’t hear you; it’s just that I didn’t know how to say that I want to be part of all of it. You deserve to live the best life, and I’ll be seeing in you my dreams until I stop. That’s when I’ll know that it’s my turn to sleep. Highly, with my arms wrapped around someone else’s heart.
But until then, I’ll pretend there’s a happy end, all until the final letting go.
Eventually, you’ll be okay, but embrace your responsibilities
Stop running away because the harder you run, the less likely it is that you’ll ever find yourself guilt-free.
To start something fresh, something new, something that doesn’t mean replacing that one person that got away means taking accountability for your actions. Don’t let faith, or the universe, or any third party be held responsible for your mess.
Once you stop kissing the past and the one that got away will be a distant memory. Sweet, innocent, silly, but not bitter, and definitely not something that will hold you back.
The meaning of one that got away is to teach you a lifelong lesson about cherishing a person, not to hold you back for the rest of your existence. You never owned them, but neither did they.