Thought Catalog
February 28, 2017

This Is How You Become ‘The One That Got Away’

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Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Quickly after my last relationship ended, there was an uncontrollable amount of grief and self reflection. Instead of accepting that it was over, I began to try to put the pieces back together.

When we met, I pictured every moment of our future together. As we got closer, I began to define my self worth as his girlfriend, so when it ended, I lost sight of the person I thought I would become. I lost sight of “me,” and just wondered what life would be like without “us.”

After the breakup, I wasted no time thinking about all the moments that were wonderful, and thinking about how hard each upcoming moment would be without him beside me.

In these moments, the grief seemed uncontrollable. In these moments, were the times that I started to think, “This might be the one that gets away.”

But I did everything in my power to stop it, despite all the warning signals.

If he’s such a horrible person, why do I still want him here now?

If things were so bad, then how come I picture these moments with him that could be so good?

Why do I believe so immensely, that if I had done everything right, that he would still be with me?

For me, when you starts to blame yourself, that’s when someone becomes the one that got away. That’s when you think, “I haven’t done enough, and if things were different, they would still be here.”

Some people will experience this sort of grief all at once, while others will shut down because they don’t want to reflect or grieve. They just ignore the pain for as long as they can, coming up with excuses or ways to blame everything else but themselves.

When people aren’t ready to face the music, they choose to overlook their mistakes. They choose to put the blame elsewhere. They decide that some other contributing factor, like timing, will eventually be better, and that a loss has nothing to do with them.

They figure that next time, things will just miraculously be different.

And yes, timing is everything, but that is because there will eventually be a time when two people who are ready meet, and they will be both be open to working on their problems.

I always believed the timing was off when I noticed someone in the relationship had so much more to learn, myself included, but refused to learn anyway. I figured that the timing must’ve been off, because that person, in that time, was not ready to put in the work, so it couldn’t have been right.

For me, letting “the one” get away because of timing was never a viable option. For me, the pain hits too hard and too fast. Instead, I look for every possible explanation I can find, seeking what went wrong and working to fix it.

I begin to try to learn from my mistakes. Although remembering them is rarely enjoyable, I want to learn right away, so I choose to acknowledge them.

I want to make sure I never look back and say, “that was the one that got away.”

As miserable as it may seem, after someone experiences heartbreak, they can start to look for the mistakes that brought them to that point and learn how to be a better partner.

While searching for answers as to why we lost a lover, there is a powerful impact on our sense of self. I believe that by taking that learning experience, we become more ready to try again.

I believe that if you can grow, you’ll find someone who can grow with you, and you’ll never need to look back and wonder why things didn’t work out.

Reflections can be crippling, so some people fear them. But they are also rehabilitating. Accepting responsibility gives us the power to overcome any mistakes that we make. It is not letting our mistakes define us, but rather having them help us grow.

Being in a relationship involves accepting responsibility for our actions, and how they affect another person. If someone is ready to be in one, they don’t let small mistakes build up until one person feels the weight of the world on their shoulders; the weight is distributed equally.

So when do you become the one that got away? When do past loves look back and say, that was a great girl, how did I let her go? How did I let all these things get in the way of our relationship?

I have seen it happen, and yet I can’t fathom why anyone could say that, when they were the one who ended things.

How does anyone live their life saying there was a “one that got away,” without ever making a single attempt at figuring out what they could have done to stop it? When you gave so many chances that they didn’t deserve, and they didn’t take a single one of them?

Why am I the one that got away, when he was the one that didn’t try?

Why was I the one taking the blame for so long, and him the one thinking everything was all my fault?

I sat there thinking that he was the one that got away for so long, when I was always meant to be the one that got away. When I took the time to learn to define myself and my mistakes with that person, I could also define myself without them. And one day he will be sitting scratching his head, thinking maybe the timing didn’t work, when in reality, it was just him that didn’t put in the work.

In these moments, the grief becomes controllable. We begin to become rehabilitated, and the strength re-enters our bodies.

We learn that by getting through the pain, we can get through anything.

I was always the one with the strong heart, who was designed to learn from my mistakes, and to grow into an even greater person. I was never looking for something to blame. I was always accepting responsibility.

Sometimes the timing IS off, because the one you want to be the great person for, made the choice to leave. But you will always be the one who will stay.

There are certain girls in this world who are made up to be powerful partners. Ones that don’t wait until it’s too late to see what they have right in front of them.

Ones who, even in dark times, think about what they could have done wrong, and can reevaluate themselves and learn to do things right.

And if someone won’t accept that, then you can do right by someone else.

If someone doesn’t want to work on things with you, you can work on your mistakes without them.

You will move on. You will find someone better. Because you were always better.

You are only the one that got away, because they let you. TC mark

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