Ah, the one that got away. Many a love song has been written about that elusive relationship (Katy Perry’s song is on the money). The “one” was the person we thought of as perfect, the one who would’ve loved us the way we wanted, the person who we could’ve been happier with – if only. If only…

We only look back wistfully at the one that got away when we’re single – or possibly in an unhappy relationship. That’s probably because we thought there was so much potential in that relationship to be our one great love. We’re likely to feel regret because we haven’t reached our relationship happiness goal with that someone, and there were so many “what ifs” and “if onlys”.

How do we move on from the shoulda, woulda, coulda? Let’s get this hard conversation out of the way.

Stop asking yourself all the “what ifs” as it would only lead to heartache.

It’s so easy to romanticize the relationship and remember only the good parts – how we fell and what we felt. We like to think about the could’ves and should’ves. Could we have fought harder? Should we have stayed together? But if you stop to think about it, it ended for a reason. That reason could be that “the one that got away” was unavailable, emotionally or otherwise. Maybe “the one that got away” didn’t really get away but chose to leave, or walked away, or didn’t run after you. If they were meant to be in your life, they’d still be there. Think about that.

Don’t think about them as perfect.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of idealising the person when you love them from afar. You daydream about a perfect relationship with them but you’ll never really know for sure because they’re no longer with you to prove you right – or wrong. Someday you’ll look back at all that time you’ve wasted pining over a person who could turn out to be wrong for you.

Give yourself a second chance.

It’s time to stop running in place. Instead of thinking “what if we had a second chance”, think about giving yourself a second chance. Actively decide to change your life. Slowly remove things that remind you of that relationship – this includes mementos, numbers, and social media. It’s not petty, it’s for your mental health. Some people have a harder time than others getting over the person they deem to be “the one”. A few even fall into the depths of despair and never move on. Decide that this won’t be you. If you think it would help, seek a mental health counselor or get professional private counselling. If you think that therapy would help, then by all means, please get the help you need. Do everything you can to change your life and be as forward looking as possible.

It’s not going to be an easy journey. Some days will feel harder than others, but something good is waiting on the other side of fear…so take the leap! You’ve got this.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash