When you refer to someone as “the one that got away,” what you’re really doing is holding onto that pain you’re in while romanticizing a fantasy of what could have been. Almost love is this romantic idea that you were so close getting there, that if something was different, you could have been and should have been. “If only” thinking points at something happening to prevent this “perfect” relationship from being your life and your reality.
Something prevented this relationship from happening the way you envisioned and it was easier to look at THAT THING than the reality.
Because the reality is, is what the person didn’t say and that was:
– “This didn’t work out because I didn’t want it to or I didn’t want to.”
– “I didn’t care enough to choose you.”
– “I didn’t want to work through this obstacle that stood in our way.”
– “The idea of us is better than the reality I want to live.”
Instead of saying those things, they pointed at the obstacle as an excuse or an opportunity to quietly exit without them taking accountability or being fully honest with you. They pointed at SOMETHING concrete that wasn’t them because that was easier.
It is easier to say THIS is the reason we can’t be together. It is easier to say, “Our timing isn’t right.” It’s easier to say, “I need to focus on my career right now.” It’s easier to say, “that distance is too much or I am not ready.” But whatever that something is, that can be pointed at is just an illusion and an excuse diverting you from the reality that this person doesn’t care enough to choose you.
An almost relationship and the idea of the one that got away paints this idea that no one is to blame but circumstance or timing or that SOMETHING. And it’s sad and heartbreaking when you can’t be with the person you love, but what is even more disappointing and sad is the reality that the one you love and the one you HAVE gone to great lengths for just can’t love you back. Or maybe they won’t even give it a fair chance and that’s all you ever wanted.
But just as someone doesn’t want to say something so blunt, you also don’t want to believe certain things yourself, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time into this relationship or person. It’s easier for your own ego and your emotions to point at that thing and let that be the reason, rather than the person you love. The truth is, you would have done anything and everything to make this work in ways you wish they would have met you there too. It’s really brave to love that way and put everything on the line when it matters most.
But for a relationship to work and for you to get exactly what you want and hope for and envision requires someone to meet you with the same devotion and commitment you have shown them. You deserve that. And you deserve that without having to prove you do. Because you have spent so much time and effort desperately trying to prove yourself.
They point at something that is that reason and they lead you on in believing that maybe something could change if THAT THING wasn’t there. So you hold on, you run in circles, you keep trying while growing deeper attachment you call love and you put them on a pedestal, they don’t even deserve to be on. But what you are doing is building up a fantasy, envisioning it as something that could be reality, “if only.”
This is what happens when you romanticize the person and blame the obstacle—you begin to live your life outside of your current reality. You put your life on hold, you ignore everyone and everything else that isn’t them, you pause your life and your heart while they continue to live theirs. And that just isn’t fair.
Until you realize the real obstacle isn’t a thing but rather a person, you will keep choosing someone who isn’t choosing you. And the longer you stay in that place and waste time emotionally investing in someone that is only an idea, your reality isn’t with them. What you’re missing out on is something and someone real who could love you through any obstacle and make love look easy the way it should be. But these tremulous relationships force you to close your heart to even the prospect and opportunity of someone who isn’t them and that’s sad.
You don’t deserve to be almost loved. Or almost in a real relationship. Or subscribe to this tale that they are the one that got away. The right people who are meant for you won’t go away.
The truth is there is no “one that got away,” there is only someone who didn’t choose you when they could have. There is only someone who allowed you to fall in love with them and instead of reciprocating it, they pointed at something and used that as an excuse rather than loving you back the way you deserved.
The question you have to ask yourself is:
– What is it about them that is making me hold on so tightly?
– What is it about them that I can’t let go of?
– What is it about them that appears better than others that someone else can’t give me?
– Am I actually happier with them or am I in love with the idea that they could make me happy because I believe so deeply in the prospect of what could be?
I can speak only for myself and my own experiences, I have had a history hanging on to the wrong things and people because of an insecurity within myself. It was this want and need to prove that I am worthy of their love like love was a competition and something to be won and earned like some sport.
But what I continue to tell myself even years later is love was never something I should have thought I had to prove. Self-love was something I should have known well enough to recognize, because then I would have seen red flags and walked away rather than seeing red flags and wanting to change them to green like my love was something that could do that.
Sometimes we cling to almost love and subscribe to the idea of the one that got away because we are still learning how to love ourselves. We are still learning what a healthy love looks like and learning how to accept it. We are still having to remind ourselves that a good love and a good relationship should have been the norm, not the emotional rollercoaster that we went on. And that ride was so intense BUT not always bad. I think that is the thing we all have to remember too is that these relationships we label as “toxic” coexisted with the kind of good that made us hold on for so long. There was good there. And there was real love there, even if it wasn’t always a perfect love. And maybe we will always love these kinds of people and it’s okay.
I think unrequited is really brave. But what is even braver is stepping away from this only thing you know, letting them go, learning to love yourself, and allowing someone into your life and into your heart who will reciprocate all you gave, because the only thing better than the idea of the one that got away is the love that saw your value and never allowed you to go.