What If You Don’t End Up With The Love of Your Life?

Dear Abby

‘You’re not my ex, You’re the love of my life’ 

What would you do if you heard such words? Would you :

a) slap the fool and burst into tears

b) throw yourself into his arms, say all is forgiven and sail away into the sunset


c) Say ‘Well, sadly for you those two things aren’t always mutually exclusive’, have a bit ponder, write a blog post about it (then swiftly move onto bigger and better things!)

Fairy tales and Hollywood movies have us all hooked on the concept of ‘Big Love’. You know, the kind of story where your eyes meet across a crowded room, a twist of fate results you both walking down the same street and the same time or he sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a magic carpet ride. Of course, these stories contain a few hiccups and miscommunications along the way, a village full of provincial fools that has decided your guy doesn’t look quite look like a Prince so they try to slay him or some ho-bag that tries to get in between you and your man. Whatever the case, because this is ‘The Love of Your Life’, everything falls into place, you iron out the issues, punch the bad people in the face and subsequently live happily ever after. THE END.

But the thing is in real life, love doesn’t always work out that way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a total cynic (yet!). Probably because I’ve been there and done that, I still believe in (elements of) Big Love. I still believe there are real life stories that are worth telling your grand-kids (although I honestly doubt they can ever involve Tinder).  However, as we all know things don’t always go plan and there maybe some alternatives to that happily ever after bit. Yes, if you are lucky, you may only ever fall in love once in a lifetime and  marry that person, move to the burbs, adopt a puppy (because happily ever after must ALWAYS involve puppies) and perhaps pop out a few of those crying things.

Sadly though, the world isn’t fair and we don’t all get dealt the same hand. So here’s what those fairytales don’t tell you. Sometimes we do meet the ‘Love of Our Lives’ but we don’t necessarily get to stay with them forever and live happily ever after. Ugh, surely this makes that little girl inside of you wanted to stomp the feet and burn all the Disney memorabilia she ever owned! I’m sorry!

The truth of the matter is that in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. Sometimes the people we love do unforgivable things. Love may not resolve every conflict. It certainly can’t cure Cancer. Love doesn’t always bridge religious or cultural differences either. There are also times where love can’t fix a person who is totally off the rails, unhinged and  determined to self-destruct. And what about when life pulls you in different directions? You want to pursue a career that takes you around the world and they are happier living in a small town close to their family (mummy’s boy! Jokes!). It is possible to have ambitions that are bigger than a relationship. And sometimes you are forced to let go of someone you love because it’s best for them or for the both of you. And there are other instances where you have no choice in the matter whatsoever.

But none of this means that the love wasn’t there in the first place. The fact that you don’t end up together doesn’t mean that the whole thing was nothing more than some stupid farce. While the end goal may (or may not be) happily ever after, just because you didn’t get the result everyone is after doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. If it was even partially a good experience that you can look back somewhat fondly well then it’s probably better some of those seemingly solid marriages out there.

So, yeah you don’t always marry the ‘Love of Your Life’ but it’s not the end of the world. Who knows what the future holds for any of us? Maybe that particular chapter was intended to help us grow up and know how to act when a more pragmatic match came along? Perhaps it was a pretty important stepping stone on the yellow brick road to happily ever after?  Or what’s to say there can’t be another ‘Love of Your Life’ around the next corner. Because those fools who wrote the fairy tales may have just forgotten to add the plot twists. And even if you don’t get the white dress and the dream wedding, at least having an epic story to tell is better than dying a virgin!

So Rinsers…Do you think it’s possible to have a the ‘Love of Your Life’ but not end up with them? Or do you believe that if it really is love it will conquer all? And is it possible to have more than one epic love story in a lifetime? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. I don’t think it’s really “The Love of Your Life” if you don’t end up with the person. The love of your life is someone’s who’s there for you and who’s a source of support. Strong feelings don’t necessarily mean good prospects for the future. Butterflies fly away and if there’s no substance left, that’s it. I think actual mature love you develop in a stable long-term partnership can do a lot, maybe even cure cancer 😉 Hollywood gets hang up on the initial stages of the relationship, the being “in love” part, drama, emotional highs and lows… I don’t think that can move mountains (nor that it should). That’s what we want to read about and watch (because who wants to pay for a ticket to see a movie about people who met, got on extremely well and proceeded to have a supportive partnership which is their source of strength?) but there’s a reason why it’s called fiction.

    On a different note: People also talk a lot. I’ve been called “love of people’s life” twice by people who treated me badly. If you treat the supposed love of your life badly and they can’t rely on you then what does it mean? Words are cheap. The dog that barks doesn’t bite etc. Even if people saying such big words (think they) mean it, if actions don’t follow to me it’s just a sign of their emotional immaturity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How will we ever know who the ‘love of our life’ ever is then? Maybe we’ll only know when we are dead and can assess everything properly. Everyone divorcee probably thought they were marrying the love of their lives. But clearly they were all mistaken. And widow(er)s who remarry? How will they know which partner was the love of their lives? It’s probably a bit of stupid terminology anyway. As you said people just throwing big words around.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know. I think the love of your life is the person who still feels like the most important romantic partner on your death bed. Hopefully, that’s your spouse who’ll be there holding your hand but as you mention, life’s full of surprises.

        Re divorcees I think they’d be less of them if people thought more about their choices. None of the divorces in the circle of my friends/acquaintances, for instance, came as a surprise.

        But, ja, I don’t know why we need big words like this. I heard a lot of widowers of my grandma’s generation using the “it was the love of my life” excuse and giving up on love at 40 or 50. Even if you end up just being comfortable with someone for the next 20 years, there’s nothing wrong with it. No one wants to die alone… People should focus on creating loving and respectful partnerships rather than running after some fictitious idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you have hit it on the head referencing change. There are oh so many changes in life; to learn to go with change is a skill. Some never attain this skill and forever keep buried in the ongoing road. Epic romance is possible more than people think; the length of the romance, bringing with it change, is what may knock us over. Real love always lasts, I mean real love, even if changes and circumstances vary. As some of my friends know, I will always say go for the brass ring, have what you can, and treasure every bit of love you get in life. Life changes; death comes; live loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it’s possible for people to pine and love someone from afar. But I’d say that’s more a case of the ‘one that got away rather away’ rather than the ‘love of your life’. Then again maybe they aren’t all that different – just big words!

      I do agree with you about following through with the adventures. I mean it’s better than living your life and then getting to the end of your life and realising you’ve lived a loveless (read: sexless) existence and never experienced butterflies. I also know it’s this sort of thinking that gets me into trouble. Oh well!


  3. I am so happy I didn’t end up with those ex boyfriends (2 of them) who I thought each were the love of my life / soulmate! I think there are definitely many ‘soulmates’ out there, and also one’s idea of soulmate may change with time (the guy / girl that made you go all wobbly legs at 18 is probably different to the one at 35).


    • 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? And it is funny when you look back and remember times when you thought that was your person and only ever imagined a future with them. 10 years down the line you look back and think WTF!! Was I unhinged? And you can’t imagine a fate worse than being stuck with the guy you were in love with back in those teenage days.

      Still, I think it’s good to experience all these different soulmates. It’s shitty at times. But I don’t think those epic loves are ever a waste of time. On the other hand, all those bleak Tinder dates I’ve been on….those are hours of my life I’m never gonna get back 🙂


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