The One That (Maybe) Got Away…

Most of us over the age of thirty have at some point in time had occasion to give serious contemplation to the manner in which we are conducting/have conducted our relationships. For those of us still single, by circumstance rather than by choice, we sometimes contemplate our past interactions in an effort to decide where things could have gone so far off the path we may have imagined for ourselves.

Having been through a divorce and recently stumbled through a painful breakup, I’ve been reflecting on all the platitudes and pep talks that are often offered. ‘Everything happens for a reason’, some say. ‘Learn from your mistakes’, others chime in. ‘The right person for you is out there somewhere, you’ll meet him/her when the time is right’, singsong the voices of the perpetually optimistic. Would that you could see my dead-eyed stare right now… But the people who challenge me the most are the ones who deliver some variation on this theme, ‘the bad relationships you’ve been in were necessary for you to appreciate the good relationship that is to come…’.

I’ve been reflecting on that one in particular this week in conjunction with the phrase ‘the one that got away’ and I devised a somewhat horrifying theory. What if we all have that one that got away? What if while we were fighting to save relationships that we knew in our heads and/or our hearts were destined to fail, we were making ourselves unavailable for a person we actually could have had a good, lasting relationship with? What if while we were searching for the societal ideal we overlooked our personal ideal because it wasn’t in the package we were told it should be in? What if we used some flimsy excuse, based on society’s prescribed norms, to disqualify a person who may have been perfect for us? Did we consciously choose another option over the person who we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was who we could be happy with?

What if we’re the reason we haven’t found that love that we’re looking for?

When I contemplate the number of years I’ve spent applying effort where effort was not deserved, it fairly curdles my blood. When I honestly reflect on when I sensibly should have stepped back and admitted that a relationship was not working and likely never would, I’m forced to do some serious introspection. When I consider the persons I ignored because I didn’t immediately ‘feel’ what society tells me I should feel when I first meet the ‘right’ person…because the earth didn’t shift on it’s axis and sparks didn’t fly and I didn’t immediately have visions of white picket fences and 2.5 children… How many persons did I meet in that space of time? How many advances did I brush off? How many dates did I refuse? How many times did I ignore the pull of attraction because of my current commitment (while my partner was happily bouncing along with everyone tugging at him)?

Or did I meet him when I was in recovery, from broken heart or broken spirit? When I absolutely, positively could not bear the thought of giving anyone a chance to hurt or disappoint me again, is that when our paths crossed? Is he still around somewhere? Do I still see him, interact with him?

Did that ideal person move on, move away? Are they married now and living behind the white picket fence with the 2.5 children? Or are they in introspection mode like me? Are they writing a blog post too? How many persons could I have met during those years when I should have been single, and was one of those persons the ‘right’ one?

Because you know what? I should have been single. I should have honoured my self and my expectations and stepped back from the persons who did not honour me and my expectations. I should have saved my energy and my effort, my time and my commitment, my love and my loyalty, for someone who would give me the same. But I didn’t and now, for just a little while, I’m wondering about the one that (maybe) got away…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s