August 8, 2022

The Problem with Believing in “the One who Got Away.”

Every morning on my way to work, I would sit alone on the early train with nothing but my thoughts. It was my favorite time of day. I nursed my first cup of coffee as I stared out the window into the dark morning skies.

In the distance, I could see the brightness slowly creeping in.

These were the moments I thought about him the most. The one who got away.

I would think back to when we were together. We were so young. So full of life. So full of the future.

I could almost feel the first time his lips touched mine. So f*cking sweet and tender. No one has ever kissed me like that since. I would lightly run my finger along my lips to remember his kiss.

Oh, and that song. Every time I heard that song, it brought me back to the way he used to hold me tight. I used to play that song over and over again.

I thought about the way he would place his hand in mine when we took long drives, talking about everything and nothing at all. My heart soared at the thought of him.

We were so immature and stupid. We were clueless about life. Neither one of us knew how to hold on to each other when the world came crashing down around us. I ran so fast and far away—I never looked back. He let me run and never came looking.

In another life, he would have been mine. It was supposed to be him and I against the world. I wished I had stayed. I wished he had fought for me. I never thought I would lose him.

He was the one who got away.

Some of us may have that one person we regret not being with. Someone we loved but things got too hard. Someone we might have taken for granted. Someone we left because of things outside our control. Someone who was oh so right but the timing was wrong. Or maybe it was someone we never even gave a chance to but now we can see how stupid it was not to ever take that chance.

When we look back and think about them now, we feel they may have been the perfect person for us. We wonder what could have been. If we had only known how we would feel today, we could have fought a little harder, stayed a little longer, given someone a chance, or put in more of an effort to make it last forever.

Maybe we think about them often. Memories of them swim in our thoughts when we least expect it. Maybe we think about them when we feel lonely or sad. Loneliness will always bring us back. Or maybe we have a hard time moving on. We may have spent a lot of time reliving the past over and over again.

The one who got away feels like we somehow believe this person from our past was the only one for us. I’m talking about “The One.” The absolutely and positively only person on earth who we are meant to be with. Soul mate type sh*t. Our one true love who eventually got away for whatever reason. The one we regret losing.

It sounds kind of cruel that the universe would provide us with our one true love years early—and then let us lose them.

I’m not so sure I believe there is only one person out there who can love us. There are actually hundreds or even thousands of people who could love us. The fact that this person didn’t stay is confirmation enough that they were not meant for us. They were not the one.

“The One” is the one who stays—forever.

When we believe in the one who got away, we give that old relationship more value than it deserves.

Despite what our mind is telling us, it wasn’t the best relationship. It was far from perfect. It most likely was average, like the majority of our past relationships. And the fact is, that relationship didn’t work. It was a relationship that failed. And not just failed but ended long ago with little or no communication since. Why are we giving that failed relationship any credit? We owe it nothing at all.

When we believe in the one who got away, we are living in the past.

If we had a chance to reunite with the one who got away, all it would do is dredge up the past. Our past is meant to be a memory of events that occurred in our lives. But when we continuously go to the past over and over again, we are not living in our present. By giving the past a title, we are giving it life. So instead of living in our current lives, we stay stuck in a past we can’t have a future with. Why are we giving the past our attention? We owe it nothing at all.

When we believe in the one who got away, we are living in a fantasy world.

We see the relationship, the person, and the past through rose-colored glasses. And the memory is most likely a lot better than how things actually were.

Time does a number on our memories. In a way, it distorts how we see events from the past. It is almost like we remember the past more favorably than we assess the present.

Maybe giving that past relationship some flare is a way to escape the truth of where we are now. Why are we giving the past a story? We owe it nothing at all.

There was a reason we ended things with this person. We are underestimating our decision-making abilities back then. We have to give our younger self more credit than that. We knew what we were doing. Some things felt off. Something wasn’t right.

If we could go back, the same result would happen again and again and again. We were going to end no matter what.

There are exceptions to this. I have met people who have successfully rekindled an old flame. But the difference is, none of them were pining for the other. These people just so happened to run into each other while they were busy living their own lives. They were able to find something new with someone from the past.

It’s time to once and for all let go of the one who got away and place that person in our memory—in our past. And keep them there.

Don’t live in the past.

The past is over. There is nothing we can do to go back or change it. Looking back only takes us to a time that doesn’t exist any longer. Let the past go. He is no longer a part of our lives.

Stay in the present.

Look at the beautiful life we’ve created for ourselves. The magic of our lives. This is real. If we waste time on someone who is no longer a part of our world, we are missing this very moment in our lives. A moment we could be spending with someone who just may be the one. A moment that we don’t get back.

Don’t waste any of what is in front of us right now because once tomorrow begins, this moment becomes the past. We don’t get a redo of the present. Breathe it in.

Accept reality.

Our reality is the life we are currently living. Accept the happy moments. Accept the lonely moments. Accept the beautiful moments. Accept the stressful moments. Accept every damn thing about our reality. Whether we are with someone or not, our current reality is better than any past. Look around and see all the amazing people in our lives. Our reality is the love we feel within ourselves and the love we give to those around us who are here. This is our life—love every minute of it.

Then look to the future.

There is a big world out there. There are so many more things to do. There are so many more things to see. There are so many more people to meet. Our future is to live our lives with love. Let’s look to a future that holds the one who will stay.

So every morning on my way to work, I still sit alone on the early train with nothing but my thoughts. It is still my favorite time of day. I still nurse my first cup of coffee as I stare out the window into the dark morning skies.

And in the distance, I can still see the brightness slowly creeping in.

These are the moments I think about the present—and look to the future.

The ones who matter are the ones who stick around, the ones who fight to stay, and the ones who love us in the here and now.


Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.


Read 53 Comments and Reply

Read 53 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sharon A. DeNofa  |  Contribution: 195,105

author: Sharon A. DeNofa

Image: екатерина глущенко/Pexels

Editor: Nicole Cameron