At least three men from my past consider me the one who got away. Among them are my first boyfriend who went to prison when I was 18. Altogether, he served 12 years (I was devastated for at least two). There’s my recent ex (well, we broke up 4+ years ago) who calls every three months to ask if I’m married yet. And another one who told me he needed “space” after he got another woman pregnant. I let him go (and I was majorly depressed), but only found out about the baby via my sister once the child was born. Separately, the man I had children with is just off the table as a topic of discussion. I will say that he tried to make my life hell because of his bitterness. (Dude, get over it.)
And so on.
In stark contrast, I don’t have a “one who got away.” There isn’t one man from my past who I think I’d be better off with today – or that I feel I could have married and lived happily – or comfortably, ever after with.
My lessons? In love and in life? Invaluable. Do I know what it’s like to have a man love you so much that he would never leave? Yes. Is love enough? No. I keep reading that love is an action verb. Perhaps.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we have to learn to love each partner based on their needs. Based on their experiences, past pains, hangups, scars and wounds – and what makes them happy. What brings out the best in them. The type of expressions that make them feel emotionally connected and appreciated.
And so, we create unique bonds based on actionable love, mutual respect, and the rest – starting with communication. Communication is the center.
I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangent.
Being stuck on any one who got away (or left, or got kicked out, fell out, bounced — whatever) – forever – is unhealthy, outside of extenuating circumstances of course. And even then, there’s a grief and healing process. The key is in knowing there’s a better match out there for you (if you haven’t yet found them).
None of my prior romantic relationships would be suitable for me at this stage. (Amen.) In each one, I yearned for something different – loyalty, companionship, communication, plain old compatibility, etc. I do embrace the possibilities with LB though; he’s the best one yet.
What are your feelings on the concept of “the one who got away?” Which party normally holds on to that prospect? The one who got dumped, or the one who did the dumping? Have you ever entered a new relationship knowing you were pining over someone else? What happened?