The One that Got Away
(Reblogged from http://everyday-isa.com)
The one that got away: the golden relationship that, for a variety of different reasons, just didn’t work out.
- Everything was perfect but the timing was off.
- He wasn’t emotionally ready to commit.
- The relationship evolved into a long distance one.
- Work/academics got in the way.
- Your parents didn’t like him.
- His parents didn’t like you.
- There was a spiritual/racial/ethical barrier.
The one that got away is always lost to circumstance; to a situational divide. It isn’t the lack of love but the inability to sustain it. You might call it emotional euthanasia — letting someone go, not in the name of fairness, but because it’s what’s right. Freeing someone from the clauses of a relationship when you don’t want to is the ultimate act of grace.
That’s what immortalizes the one that got away, makes them so irritatingly unforgettable.
Because at the back of your head, there’s a door that exposes a future burning with so much potential. The if ____, then _____‘s gnaw at you because the truth is that this guy… he wasn’t a jerk. He didn’t cheat on you. He didn’t make you feel bad about yourself. He listened to you, made you feel special and it was obvious that he didn’t set out to date you just to break your heart. There is no shadow of a doubt that he actually really liked (maybe even loved) you.
But a reason stepped in and thwarted all that beautiful potential. All of this is followed by two destructive words:
He’s wrong for me… for now. The situation sucks… for now. He’s dating someone else but, I mean, it’s not like they’re married and the pain’s only here… for now.
For now is deceptive — it tells you that the door in your head is a promise, not just a possibility. It guarantees something without any foundation other than blind hope. For now convinces you to put everything on hold, raise the relational stakes, so that, quite possibly, the one who got away will become the one who came back… for good.
People see the one who got away as a soulmate. A soulmate, from the way I understand it, is the one true love that was destined for you before your life even began. The perfect yin to someone’s yang. The answer to all the questions in your heart. Every cliche and movie and lyric epitomized in a single person.
But here’s the thing: I don’t buy it.
I’ve never believed in soulmates and I’ve always been a (closet) hopeless romantic. My problem with the idea is that if you miss the right person (or if they, ahem, get away and never come back) then you’re screwed. Your happiness will always be elusive. Sub-par at best. That’s really depressing and confirms my suspicions that the soulmate system is a dumb one.
Perhaps this all stems from the fact that I believe in a God who is infinitely creative. In my head, that means that there is not just one person — there is a healthy number ofgood options. People you can have great chemistry with. People with genuinely good hearts who can love and fix and grow and stay. Sometimes, they fit the list in your head. Sometimes, they don’t. With some, the relationship will come naturally and with others, it’ll be extra work.
The point is that with either of the two, the happy ending is possible. There is no lid to this creativity and there is no limit to romantic potential. It’s like that popular quote:Love is like a bus. If you miss it, another one comes along. I know it sounds lame but the theory is infinitely romantic because it means that you will never run out of chances with love. You will always have the option of starting over and finding something that lasts.
So here’s the thing: you get to choose your one person. Life will not handpick them for you. And if you know who you are and what you want, if you have a good solid standard, then chances are it will work. All it takes is two people who are willing to give things a shot and, at the end of the day, press on even when things are hard. I love how Monica Geller (hyphen Bing) of FRIENDS said it:
So when it comes to the ones that got away, I say let them go. Silence the for nows and move on because the future is wide and the world is big. Open your heart to the possibility that The One can exist in multiple places at multiple times and, hey, that is not a bad thing. Choices, too, are a gift of grace. You might not be able to conceive an even greater relationship than the one you lost but there is an infinitively creative force at work out there that guarantees that love is possible anywhere,over and over, always.
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