We’ve all had that one that got away.
It’s the boyfriend you dumped, the girlfriend that didn’t last, the relationship that didn’t work out, the marriage that didn’t make it. The one that got away may either be long gone, or still hanging around–if just in your mind. They have you reliving old memories, looking back with nostalgia, romanticizing about what life would’ve been like, and haunting you with “what ifs.”
They could even have you kicking yourself for letting them go.
The one that got away was great while it lasted. They were sweet, good hearted, maybe even marriage material. You had high hopes, and as much as you wanted it to work, you just weren’t feeling it, so the relationship had to end.
“It’s not you, it’s me.” That’s what we say to the ones that get away.
The truth is, the one that got away didn’t really get away, you let them go. And for good reason:
- You didn’t see a future with them.
- You had different goals.
- You weren’t ready to commit.
- The relationship ran its course.
- You outgrew them.
- You fell out of love.
- Your attachment style didn’t mesh with theirs.
Being truthful about your relationships requires radical self-reflection. First, it requires getting real with yourself, being honest, owning your faults, and trusting your intuition and instincts, then it requires having the courage to do the right thing. Letting someone go hurts, but the pain of staying when you know your heart isn’t into it, is worse. The one that got away deserves more, so do you.
Sometimes we let the good ones go for reasons that aren’t so good:
- You self-sabotage in relationships.
- You’re not used to healthy love or stable partners.
- You’re bored without chaos and drama.
- You don’t feel worthy of a great guy/girl.
- You blow up perfectly good relationships.
- You thought you could do better.
- You’re a fault finder.
- You operate from a place of fear.
If you’re letting the good ones get away, maybe it’s time to do a little radical self-reflection. Do a deep dive and take a harder look. What is happening or has happened in my life that’s making me let the good ones get away? Am I repeating patterns? Do I have an emotional wound that still needs healing?
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Looking back on my single days, you could say I had one or two that got away. Correction: they didn’t get away, I let them go.
They were perfectly wonderful people—kind, respectful, loving–but they weren’t for me. Do I regret letting them go? Not at all. Somewhere in my gut I knew it was the right thing to do. As expedient as it would’ve been to get married younger and earlier, I couldn’t do something I wasn’t ready to do.
But still, it made me think: If it wasn’t them, was it me?
To understand why perfectly wonderful people didn’t work out, I did a radical self-reflection. I did a deep dive and took a hard look at my dating patterns and decided that I had let people go for both good and bad reasons.
Maybe it was my intuition or instincts (or even divine intervention at work), but as it turned out, it was a good thing that the ones that got away, got away. They cleared the way for right person to eventually come in.
There are times when you find your way back to the one that got away:
- You’re lonely, bored, horny, or afraid of being alone.
- You hate being single.
- You realize you made a terrible mistake.
- You miss them.
- You can’t live without them.
- You couldn’t find anyone better.
- You saw them on social media with someone else and it’s killing you.
The question to ask yourself is: Do I really want to be with this person, or am I just trying to fill a void? Do I want them back for good or bad reasons?
If you truly feel like you’ve made a terrible mistake, then circle back and explain. Apologize and make amends. Talk about what happened, what went wrong, and take responsibility for your part and actions. Maybe there’s grace and forgiveness, maybe there’s a second chance, or maybe there’s closure, which you both could probably use.
Remember why you let them go in the first place and don’t stop remembering. Chances are, you dodged a bullet. Remembering that alone will keep you grounded in the present, and secure with your decision.
As much as you may want a relationship, you must be willing to walk away from the ones that don’t work and be firm. Don’t second guess, and for god’s sake, don’t live with regret. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. You can dream, muse, fantasize all day long about what could’ve been, but leave it at that. Don’t keep yourself chained to the past. You moved on for a reason, so respect that!
Let the one that got away, get away–and don’t look back. Because when you release that person, you will also release yourself for something better.