Throughout the beginning of time, the notion of “the one that got away” (TOTGA) has been prevalent. The concept is simple: we meet someone completely fabulous and fail to end up with them. Perhaps we never became romantically involved with them, or maybe we did but couldn’t sustain it. The bottom line is that we lost them and they will forever be “the one that got away.”
Some people would refute this theory and say that if it was meant to be that it would happen. That it not working out is a sign that they weren’t the right one for us. To a certain degree, I concede with this. Unfortunately, love is NOT all we need. Relationships, as we know, need more than just chemistry and compatibility, but also timing and proximity.
I would venture to say that, for the most part, these losses we incur are due to factors beyond our immediate control, but even so, we find ourselves placing blame, and recounting the scenario with a bunch of “what ifs” We think that maybe there had been some variation that it would’ve worked out differently. We torture ourselves over this, even though we KNOW that doing so is fruitless. Things were they way they were and we simply can not change the past. We need to accept it.
I know this is easier said than done, and that even after significant amounts of time pass, that our mind may wander back to that person and sigh. I wish I had some advice as to make this stop happening, but I don’t actually think it’s possible. The best I can offer is a change of perspective: rather than forget this person and move on…why not use them in the process? Instead of crying over their memory we should be grateful for knowing them, for it’s because of them that we have a reference of what it is we truly want. We not only know how we want to feel but that it’s possible to feel that way. We have a way to measure our relationships. There is something incredibly empowering about that. It gives us a new sense of control and ability to discern future relationships. It means we waste less time with the wrong people for us.
Just keep in mind a few things:
MEASURE not COMPARE: There is a fine line between measurement and comparison, and we need to make sure that we don’t cross it. We need to understand that no two people are the same (thank goodness) and no one we meet will be exactly like TOTGA and that’s ok, we don’t need them to be. We are not looking for a replacement or duplicate. Instead, we need to be focusing on measuring. What does that mean exactly? Well, we need to think about what it is about TOTGA that we found so wonderful and use that as measurement. Examples: the way they make me feel, the way I feel about myself when I’m with them, acceptance, respect, compatibility, comfort, passion, inspiration etc.
DO: be realistic. DON’T: lose faith. It is unlikely that we are going to find someone immediately. We may have to wait months or even years but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It will, but these kinds of things can’t be planned, they just have to happen. We may date dozens of people before stumbling on the right one, don’t look at these as setbacks, but rather insurances that we’ll know when the right one comes along.
REMEMBER: As lovely as it sounds, there really is no concept as “the one.” Especially now with the world shrinking so rapidly. We have the ability now to connect with such a vast majority of people that our options are abundant.
TOTGA may seem like the one of worst things that’s ever happened to us, but in fact, they may be one of the best, because they have helped us gain a sense of strength, self awareness, and appreciation that we may never have known without them. They have shown us how things can be and with that, have given us the tools to make that the way things are.
*Thanks to a dear friend for the inspiration. You know who you are but no one else will (for obvious reasons)