Why He's Not The One Who Got Away, You're Just The One Who's Looking Back

The one that got away is long gone now, but that's nothing to be sad about.

Last updated on Jun 03, 2023

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By Rachel Connell

You might be newly single, or debating your current relationship, or maybe you’re just sitting here alone, wondering what if, and what could have been with that certain someone who got away.

You know the one, and I’m sorry to say it, but they aren’t coming back.

The reason for this isn’t because your mistakes are unforgivable, it’s because you’re looking back on a time that is long gone.


You’re reflecting on the past, which won’t ever be again. Even if they were to leap back into your life, they wouldn’t be the same, and neither would you.

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But that’s okay. Because you don’t need the one who got away, and you don’t need a dependency on finding that time when you were in love.


You need to love yourself now, and you need to have faith that you will meet the person you’re meant to be with one day, even if it’s not today.

It can be hard to tell when we’ve met the person we’re supposed to be with for the rest of our lives. I know movies and books convince us that we’ll just know when it hits us; but what happens when you fall hard, fast, and often?

You might have thought you found the one, multiple times in your life, and that may have left you feeling disappointed time and time again. But when you let go of someone you once thought so highly of, for reasons you no longer remember, they disguise themselves.

They are the one who got away. It was so long ago, you can’t fathom where things went wrong.


They’ve aged well. I mean, damn, they are looking good. So you think to yourself: what if.

That’s your first mistake. You need to stop questioning if the path you took was the wrong one. It wasn’t. Fate has a funny way of lining people up right where they are supposed to be.

You might be feeling alone, hopeless, and unloved, but your person, the one designed to fit perfectly into the inner workings of your heart, is on their way (if they aren’t standing in front of you already).

RELATED: After 16 Years Apart, I Reunited With The Love Of My Life

Don’t miss out on them by chasing after a "what if." Breakups sometimes happen suddenly. We overreact and we’re too young to understand how important things we think we love are to us when they hit us.


But at least one of you, if not both of you, made the choice to separate for some reason, and you owe it to yourself to believe in that.

We find ourselves looking back more often than not, and drawing conclusions on scenarios that we didn’t place our attention on when it really mattered. Imagining what could’ve been doesn’t make it happen again, and although they seemed like everything you wanted, that person simply didn’t suit everything you needed.

Love extends further than the way our minds distort it to. We tend to remember monumental moments; the best times, and the worst times. Maybe you have so many good times with that person, that it outweighs the bad ones.

But what you may be forgetting is that the bad times were bad enough, for you or for them, to give up on what you two had. Giving up, in any form, is giving up.


Deciding years down the road that it was a mistake isn’t a guarantee that things could work out again, and you need to be strong enough to prove to yourself that you’re done looking back. You’re so worth looking forward to.

You may very well go back to relationships from your past, and that’s okay. But you can’t spend your days forcing those past relationships back into your life.

Those moments have faded for a reason, and there are so many new, wonderful, exciting memories to be made. Go meet some fresh faces or sit at home and enjoy some time with yourself.


If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that love comes in unexpected places. You can’t look for it, you can’t overthink it, and you especially can’t hope it’s found in the shadows of your past.

The one that got away is long gone now, but that’s nothing to be sad about. The one around the corner will come soon enough, and you’ll be so grateful you waited.

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Rachel Connell is a writer, editor, wedding photographer, and former contributor to Unwritten and Thought Catalog. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture, and entertainment topics.