Why The One That Got Away Is F*cking Up Every Relationship You Try

by Paul Hudson

It’s possible to date countless individuals throughout a lifetime and never meet the one.

It’s also possible to spend your whole life with the first person you ever loved. Just as well, it’s possible to meet the love of your life and lose him or her.

Sometimes, the loves of our lives leave us. Other times, we abandon them. Other times still, they are taken from us.

The tricky part of it all is we never know which is which until the moment has passed, until we’re able to look back into the past and draw conclusions we weren’t able to draw when it mattered most.

Sometimes we’re stuck with the realization we screwed up, made a horrible mistake. Sometimes we’re left with not much more than the memory of the one who got away.

We were too young to realize what we were losing.

I wish someone would have taught me, at a younger age, that love must be worked for. I guess I have to blame my parents for loving me so unconditionally.

I feel like setting conditions is the only way to make a relationship work – for both parties involved. This goes for all relationships.

Love may come out as if from thin air, but it can evaporate into thin air just as quickly – if it isn’t worked for. Why is it important to work for love? Because the only things in life of any true value are the things we’re willing to work and do work for.

If we don’t work for it, then we don’t value it – it’s the basis of human psychology. We value those things most that we have to interact with and make an effort toward.

If we work for it, then it stays on our minds. If it stays on our minds, then it becomes a larger part of us. The larger a part of us it becomes, the more important it will be to us, for without that piece, we would cease to be the individuals we have become.

There aren’t many things in life that have the ability to penetrate the human psyche all the way to the deepest depths, however, love is one of them. But the only way to penetrate to those deepest depths is to grab a shovel and break a sweat.

We never stop imagining what could have been.

Not everyone has that guy or girl that “got away” – most of us have yet to meet that person, and the incredibly lucky ones are already spending their lives with him or her.

You can fall in love and have your heart broken – or break someone else’s for that matter – plenty of times without a single one of them earning the title.

The one who got away is the first one who we ever considered could be the one. Or rather, the last one we honestly believed we’d spend our lives with.

I’m not sure if it’s possible to replace “the one who got away” with a newer model, but, in theory, it’s possible.

The memories of those who got away are our favorite what-ifs because they’re the most emotionally packed memories we have.

They are when we felt happiest. They are when we felt saddest. They taught us the peaks of bliss and the depths of despair. They will always be our greatest what-ifs because they are the biggest forks in the road we left behind.

We compare every relationship we have to this "golden standard."

When we meet someone we believe we can spend our lives with, only to later lose or leave that person, he or she becomes our outline for what we’re looking in a partner. He or she may not have been the one, but that person most definitely gave us a great outline to work and build off.

Finding the love of your life is really trial and error. Sure, some of us get lucky earlier on in the game than others, but it’s really all about crossing candidate types off the list.

Over the years, we come to understand what we can’t put up with, what we aren’t looking for, and what’s most important to us in a partner.

Then we find someone who seems to exhibit all the things we’re looking for and lack all the things we aren’t looking for.

This is often when we learn we ourselves are lacking in several ways and aren’t yet capable of making the relationship work. That’s the thing about the one who got away… We always blame ourselves.

We'll never stop loving this person.

Yup. I’m afraid so. I wanted to say we hang on to him or her, but the truth is, it’s more than that. We do spend a significant time dwelling in those remembered moments, but it’s not so much the memories themselves that have such a lasting effect.

It’s what dwelling on those memories does to us over the years. It’s all about the little things. We go about our days and remember the little things he or she used to do, used to like, used to prefer being done in a certain manner. Then, the next thing you know, you’re doing those things in that same exact way.

Then there are the bigger things. The things we used to argue over, used to get angry over – things we now realize we were wrong about the entire time.

No one is ever right 100 percent of the time, and if we’re stubborn individuals, we may convince ourselves of the truthfulness of the most blatant fallacies.

The one who got away changes us over the years. The more time that passes by with us wondering what-if, the more his or her memory changes the people we are becoming.

This isn’t a bad thing. We are meant to learn from our past relationships. I can’t tell you the one who got away wasn’t the best thing that will ever happen to you – because it most certainly is possible he or she was – but there is always hope.

You can find someone else to love. It may be a different sort of love, but love comes in many different shades.

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