What would you say to the one who got away?

Breaking up is never easy

When it comes to relationships, there are a few ways things can go. Sometimes, we get it right immediately. We fall in love and live happily ever after. Sometimes, it takes a few practice swings. We date a few duds and assholes, but the right one comes along eventually and saves us from our ivory tower of singleness.

Sometimes, we lose before we ever get a chance to play the game. We find someone we click with. They understand us. They laugh at our jokes. You finally start to believe you’ve found it – a soulmate. But, for whatever reason, it ends. Maybe you tried to date, but gave up too quickly. Maybe they were your best friend and you were too scared to confess your feelings. Maybe you were too young. Too immature. Too blissfully unaware of what you were losing or giving up. Whatever the reason, it ended for circumstances out of your control. The relationship was never given a chance to run it’s natural course – and it left you wondering, what if?

The One That Got Away. That’s what we call them when we can’t let go. That’s what we call that person who consumes our thoughts and affects our future relationships without even being around. They could have been your person if timing, or the universe, or the stars had all aligned. But, timing was not on your side. 


Some of us are fond of the memories we shared with this person. We think back and remember the good times. We think often about how happy we felt. Some of us hate them. We think of the heartbreak associated with losing them. We remember when we felt saddest. We remember all the sleepless nights and tears and wondering.

Regardless, we all have something we wish we could say. So, let’s play a game of ‘What If?’.

What if you could see him again?

What if you could tell her exactly how you felt? 

What exactly would you say?

Kimberly, 29

“Thank you. I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am that you made the decision to walk out of my life. Losing your first love is excruciating, but because of you I learned how to be strong. I learned my worth. How to love myself. To never settle for less than what I deserve and I also learned forgiveness.” 

Christine, 25

“For me, I don’t know that there ever really was one that “got away”. Every person I’ve shared a piece of my heart with still has it, and I still wonder how some of them are doing.”

Cherise, 31


“We were 21 and 22 and deeply in love, soul love. The kind of love that few are ever fortunate to find once in their lives. We spent six months together, but it felt like a lifetime.

“Each interaction between us was so real, raw, magical. We threw sheet pans to the floor when we fought, we made love within secluded groves of trees, we talked deep into the otherwise silent night under twinkling stars while the wind whipped our hair and turned the tips of our noses pink, we dreamed together of the crystal blue eyes our children would undoubtedly have, we spent moments in silence atop cliffs, we kayaked the choppy cove, we watched artsy, Indie flicks, we watched his father’s band down at the local pub and encouraged the patrons to dance with us, we ate delicious, flavorful meals and even seafood he had caught and cooked himself, we shared the darkest, most intimate secrets nobody else knew or ever would, we went Christmas shopping together with ones and fives opting to buy our families gifts instead ourselves, we crashed a car, we threw parties where people laughed, danced, and sang. We were invited everywhere and more beloved as an item than we were apart. We were THAT couple.

But I didn’t know it. And I left.  I wanted to explore, to adventure, to find the “perfect” man.

While I was out searching for myself, we stayed in touch. He wrote me beautiful letters and would send me photos, all trying to remind me what I had left behind, but I still couldn’t remember. There were fleeting moments when I would begin to recall but I assured myself that he would always be there.

You may wonder: how is it he that got away if I was the one who left?

Five years after we began dating, I was out camping at a Dave Matthews Band concert – still no closer to finding myself or the “perfect” man – when I received a call from my mother. There had been an accident. He was gone.

To him, I would say: wait for me, wherever you are.

Skylar, 17

“Thanks for helping me find myself but, bitch, you’re crazy AF.”

Kiah, 27

“I wished and longed for so much. I still think about it to this day. What if I let you hold my hand or laid with you on that bed; why did I resist when you tried to pull me close? All of these things still haunt me, because I know had I let go of my insecurities everything would be different. I’ll always hold you in my heart, and think of you when things don’t work out with anyone else. I compare them all to you, you know.  I think that’s why I’m still alone, you’re the one that got away, my heart should have been your home.” 

Kylee, 24

“The day we called it quits, I felt like maybe I’d just stop living, but today – nearly a year later – I’ve never felt more alive, more free, more myself.”

Allene, 51

“I would just ask him: why?”

Kaytee, 26


“Mine’s a bit different because he was never mine… The love I had for him will never lessen or be forgotten. He was my protector and I was his. When things were to hard to handle, he was there. Same for him. We use to talk about what would happen if things were different but we both knew that wasn’t possible. We had to go back to the real world. He was the most beautiful soul I have ever encountered in my life.”

Amy, 16

“You were never really mine were you? We met while we worked a haunted house together. I was younger, you were older. I lived in Pennsylvania but you lived in Maryland. But there was something about you. Despite minor age differences, and where we were in life, and where we lived, it seemed as though we were pulled together like magnets.

When I saw you laugh, and when I saw your whole face light up, I started to fall in love. I could feel it in my chest think you did to. At least, you told me you did. You told me that night when you first said that you love me.

Boy, I was head over heels for you. You had me thinking that this was it. No, we never started dating. But we didn’t need that. I was yours and you were mine… But you left.

Love is a wonderful thing until it is no longer.

Maybe it was puppy love, yes, but god damn it hurt so bad when you confessed you no longer wanted me…. A part of me died inside when you walked out of my life. And when I come across pictures of me and you, I know. I know you are the one that got away.”

I realized everyone – no matter their age – has a story of loss. We have all experienced varying degrees of love and heartbreak, but every single one of them matters.