The Myth of The One Who Got Away


We like to tell ourselves stories that really don’t serve us. One of these is the myth of the one who got away.

You meet someone and for whatever reason you feel strongly about him. He seems to feel strongly about you too and yet he’s not putting enough effort into you being an item. He sends signals and SAYS a lot of things but doesn’t follow up with these. You think that maybe he doesn’t know how you feel, you make it a bit clearer. He seems to reciprocate and yet continues to make no effort. He has a story of course. Sometimes it’s that he’s just out of a relationship, another time he wants to “build a friendship first”. In other instances he’ll tell you he’s taking a break from relationships or just doesn’t want to commit anymore. These are all excuses. The truth is for whatever reason he had already decided that you guys won’t be a good item but he will never tell you that.

In really bad cases, when the guy led you on for quite a while you’ll decide to “wait” for his problem to disappear and therefore, as experience taught me, waste your time. For his excuse will never disappear and even if it does he’ll come up with a new one. The reason why he won’t tell you the truth is because he wants you to wait around just in case. People are just like that, if you give they’ll take so YOU must protect yourself.

And if you don’t? Well, you won’t end up with the guy, that’s for sure. You may end up, however, thinking that he was THE guy. Do you know the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder? If you just had a little bit of that guy in your life and for you it was positive, you just wrote the rest of the story in your head. You idealize a person you don’t really know because we get to know people by being around them and seeing how they behave. Only that it’s difficult to be reasonable if in your head this person was perfect for you and you would have ended up together if not the circumstances.

Only that it’s not true. You and him are both a certain sort of person when you meet. If you don’t work out, you can’t just wait for the better circumstances. Why? Because with the circumstances you and him will change too. If you don’t work out it means that you’re not supposed to and that regardless of how things seem in fact you’re not a good match.

Of course they are exceptions of friends who fall in love after years of knowing each other but this is different. They didn’t “try it out” earlier. It reminds me of this guys I saw once, then didn’t see for many months and then we started to date properly. Only that a month in we both knew that our initial subconscious feeling of not being a match was right and we should have left it at that and spared ourselves the pointless and emotionally straining effort.

To sum up, don’t waste your life on people who don’t put enough effort to be close to you. Before you start to believe that he was the one who got away look objectively at his characteristics and at what you want from your partner. It will turn out that he wasn’t so perfect after all and you’ll spare yourself a harmful story you tell yourself.

Now to you, Dear Rinsers – what’s your opinion on the One Who Got Away? Can the One get away? Or if he got away could he have been the One?



  1. I agree with this, I used to think that one guy I was seeing for over a year and a half was the “one who got away.” It took me a long time to realize all the times he came up with different reasons why we couldn’t be in an official relationship were just plain excuses. I think that definitely happens to a lot of people and you end up thinking well this person was perfect and creating a whole sort of life in your head that could’ve possibly happened. Before realizing that person really wasn’t the one, because if they were they would’ve given you the respect you deserved instead of excuses as to why you couldn’t be together and just string you along for a long time period. Great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words and the epic comment. I also had my one particular guy that I was pining for actively for months and in the back of my head for a year or two. I think also the most difficult thing to admit to oneself is that the guy was not that much into us because if he was there’d be no excuses. It was just easier for me to believe in his words than to notice that no actions followed. I’m glad I’m older and wiser but whenever I hear a girl agonizing about the one who got away I can’t help but cringe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome! I agree completely if someone is really into someone else, they’d have actions back up what they say. If their actions don’t match up to what they’re saying, the feelings just aren’t there. Yeah, I’m happy for you that you’ve grown from it. That situation helped me grow too, I’m in a much better situation with my now boyfriends vs the situation I was in with that other guy. But yeah, I always sympathize with others who go through that because I know how it feels, it sucks and makes you feel like you’re not good enough. And a guy should never make you feel that way.

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      • I think the real relationship after this experience are also a sad realization of how much time you’ve wasted for nothing. If you really like someone and he SAYS he likes you back maybe no wonder it takes such a long time to understand that saying isn’t enough. After all, this person is the one thing you want. It’s understandable but at the same time I’m positive that if not for the movies and people sharing this myth more people will get over such situations easier. The whole idea that true love is supposed to hurt or be tough just adds up to it. Many women actually think that they’re going to be rewarded for their “sacrifice”.

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      • I agree completely that it seems like movies really promote this idea. So I think people put that idea in the back of their minds, “well, if I’m just patient, he’ll come around.” I think movies really need to be more realistic about love, that way people lessen those expectations. More people nowadays are getting strung along for long periods of time and never actually get back with that person who was just taking them for a joke. I think that movies should have that idea. Love is far from a fairy tale. Its a nice idea, but not very realistic. There’s a lot more downs in relationships then what movies show. Yeah, its horrible I’ve had friends who have been in physically abusive relationships and they actually think that they’ll have a better man in the future. Its so sad…

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      • I think I’ll post soon about silly things about love they teach you in movies and books. Thanks for inspiration! Domestic abuse can be partially caused by them too. However, it’s very often the mothers and the community that justify the abuse as well. Guys are just like that, your father beat me up too etc. Slow social evolution is the only solution I’m afraid.

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  2. Nice , clear and accurate post. I know plenty of guys that keep girls on their beck and call I call it hedging their bets …the just in case something else doesn’t work out I got this to fall back on crap. And you are right it is an excuse. To answer your question Can the one get away yes they can if the person foolishly and knowing passes on someone they know they go well together and yes sometime as person can suspect the one that got away was the one. If it is truly meant to be though …it will come back around again .

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  3. It’s easy for us to kid ourselves. Its often a case of you ignoring certain red flags and convincing yourself that these things can work even though in reality they probably can’t. Speaking from experience, I think many chick find it hard to live in the moment…we often let guys have what they want because we like them and even though the facts show that this can be nothing more than a fleeting affair, it’s only a matter of time before a girl starts thinking ahead into the future – wedding bells somewhere down the line and possibly the patter of tiny feet. And yes, it is often an ego thing…the one that got away will often string you along and then ditch you when they find someone that ticks more of the boxes than you did (and even after that they might keep you around because you are good value). Even the most humble of us, gets offended, especially when we had strong feelings for a person and were just holding out for them to get sorted. The saddest part of this whole charade is that we often blame ourselves and waste hours of our precious time running through how we could have done things differently – maybe if I had dressed prettier, maybe if I was blonde, maybe if I didn’t offend his religious sensibilities by being a hater of God, etc etc. But the truth is he just wasn’t that into you and no amount of plastic surgery or a personality transplant could change that. He was looking for something different (not better, just different). If things are meant to be, even for the short-term, the universe will works its magic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really agree with what you say in this post. Nicely written. I also think that when you think about these “princess charmings” that got away objectively you’ll discover that they weren’t so amazing after all. Unfortunately, we tend to cling to what’s taken away from us.

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  4. For the longest time, I thought my ex of four years was “the one who got away,” but I think it’s because he’s “happily” married now and I’m kinda jealous, haha! But when I actually look back on the relationship, we were horrible for each other. The funny thing is the guy I’m currently dating is just like him, & he’s giving me those “why we can’t be in a relationship” excuses. I think women do tend to cling on to these men for way too long, for whatever reason (good looks, good conversation, good sex, etc.), then we hate ourselves for how much time we wasted when it doesn’t work out. I’m at the point where if he doesn’t want to “be” with me, then he can’t have my goodies. Ain’t no woman got time for being strung along so a man can have his ego constantly stroked.

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    • I think it’s the culture that makes us disrespect ourselves like this. No one ever tell you that when it’s right it feels right, you’re treated right and it’s just, well, right. We’re surrounded by people in bad relationship who accept their not being good as a fact and not their choice. Try to tell people that you want to have a partnership and people will tell you you’re living in a fantasy world. It’s not true. When you know what you want and you don’t settle for less you get it.

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