The one that got away?

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  • This topic has 7 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 3 weeks ago by Avatar photoCopa.
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  • Honeybear
    April 29, 2024 at 9:29 am #1128947

    So I am wondering whether you can have a “one that got away” if you never dated them?

    I had very good friend, I am F(26) and he is M(26).
    We went to kindergarten and basically grew up together. Elementary school but different high school and colleges.
    Always stayed in touch on and off through the years of school, college and beyond.
    We would drift apart if one of us started dating in our teens, naturally I guess. But would always come back to being really great friends, speaking most days just general chit chat but we could talk for hours about nothing and everything.

    I was never attracted to him physically. He had many amazing qualities, absolutely hilariously entertaining, just a funny person. Caring, thoughtful. He would ask about my day and was sincerely interested. I believe he liked me as more than a friend as we got into our early 20s, he never said those words but he would make a lot of time for me, always ask when we could hang out and even plan things for us to do. I whole heartedly believe that if I had been attracted to him we’d be together. But I feel I may have been terribly shallow as the only thing preventing me from pursuing him romantically was his looks. I had a type in my teen years and he was basically the opposite, I see now in hindsight that he was attractive.

    Now that I am somewhat older and I feel I value what’s really important about a person and life in general terms, I wonder if he is the one that got away?

    We are still friends on our social media platforms but we haven’t spoken for around 10 years.

    I got into a relationship a few years back and just started speaking to my then friend less and less. He also got into a relationship a couple years later. He is married now with no kids. I am married and have 2 kids.

    I adore my husband, he is awesome. Very attractive, and great in different ways. I still can’t help but feel a bit jealous when I see my old friend’s photos of him with his now wife. I would never act on these feelings, and believe it or not I am secure and happy in my marriage too. Adore my kids too and would not change them. I just wonder why I get these feelings. I sometimes wonder “what if” And I wonder if I knew what I know now about life and relationships and people, would my life be different now? Can you have a “one that got away” who you never technically dated?

    Has anybody ever experienced anything like this?

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    Avatar photo
    April 29, 2024 at 9:05 pm #1128953

    I don’t have a “one who got away” — not anyone I dated, not anyone I could’ve dated but didn’t. I can think of a couple men that I was friends with that maybe I’d have been interested in dating had circumstances been different (e.g., if we’d both been single at the same time, or both lived in the same city when we were both single, etc.). With my therapist, I’ve realized, with hindsight and introspection and obviously therapy, that from 28-30 I probably passed on some nice men who may have been good partners because I was unknowingly self-sabotaging in dating. I occasionally wonder what my life would’ve looked like if certain things had played out differently, though this is not specific to romantic choices. However, I don’t dwell on any of these things. They don’t often cross my mind and I have no big regrets or strong feelings around any of them.

    I’m curious how often you think about this, LW. Maybe this is more a sign of something that is lacking in your own life or marriage than it is about this guy. If it’s disrupting your life or you want to explore it more, you could consider meeting with a therapist.

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    Honeybear
    April 30, 2024 at 2:43 am #1128954

    Thanks @Copa for your response.

    So it’s actually quite often (on and off) like something will trigger these thoughts.

    For example, I saw him at the grocery store recently with his wife. I know he saw me too. We didn’t speak, kind of just pretended we hadn’t seen each other. Which made me quite sad considering how we used to be such good friends.
    Another trigger is if I see a photo on social media, it makes me think those thoughts again for a few days and then I find that I have really vivid dreams that involve him and us in different scenarios, then again after having those dreams it’s on my mind for a few days. Then I can go weeks without thinking about it, until something else occurs and I’m in this cycle, but I’ve thought about him on and off like this through the years.

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    Anonymousse
    April 30, 2024 at 6:43 am #1128955

    Are you attracted to him now? I don’t think you explicitly said whether you were or not.

    I don’t think whether he is or is not “the one that got away” matters or not. Why are you bringing this up, if you’re happily married with two kids? It’s something you can give attention to, and feed, or you can be a grown up and put out the feelings you have for a boy you knew a decade ago. You don’t even acknowledge each other in public now. You are not long lost loves, he is married.

    Put this attention on your husband. What is wrong in your relationship? Are you happy? Do you need counseling?

    I’ve been married for eleven years. I rarely find someone attractive in that way- and to me this hung you have in your head about this guy is a distraction from something. What is it?

    See a therapist, don’t blow up your life for a crush on a guy you don’t even really know now.

    Reply
    Kate
    April 30, 2024 at 6:52 am #1128956

    How young did you get married? How many serious relationships did you have before your husband? This could be maybe a way you’re processing having settled on a path and it feels like this is it.

    I think this guy sounds like he was simply a friend, and there was likely no other potential there or you would have explored it. This is likely not even about him in particular but maybe about letting go of a phase of your life and wondering what else might have been.

    I don’t have a one that got away… I married my hs boyfriend, no kids, got divorced, had another boyfriend, dated other guys, and then met my current husband of 10 years who is the right one. I do think of friendships I let go, people I was really close with at various points, and have regrets. But not in a romantic way. I don’t know if maybe something is missing in your relationship that you’re seeking, or you’re just growing up.

    Reply
    Kate
    April 30, 2024 at 6:55 am #1128957

    And also, maybe you’re not missing anything in your relationship but there’s something you’re seeking in your life in general. How are your friendships? Do you have a fulfilling life outside of marriage and kids?

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    Anonymousse
    April 30, 2024 at 8:32 am #1128958

    Are you bored or unhappy? My sincere advice would be to analyze what’s going in with you- your happiness, your marriage, are you fulfilled, do you have a social outlet and friends, etc and kill this idea of this man you’ve cooked up in your head.

    You weren’t attracted to him then, as Kate said, you would have explored it, you didn’t. He didn’t. You said you haven’t spoken in a decade. And you’re both 26, so was this sophomore year? When did you get married? How old are the kids? What’s the situation at home like?

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    Avatar photo
    April 30, 2024 at 9:01 am #1128959

    Yeahhh, how exactly is it that you’re 26 and haven’t spoken in 10 years but also didn’t stop speaking until you met your now-husband a few years ago? This timeline doesn’t make sense.

    Assuming this story is even true, I think therapy is your best bet.

    ETA: I can recall a couple phases of life where I’d log onto social media and feel jealous of people. It was never because I wanted exactly what they had, but because I wanted my own version of it. Like, I remember being about your age and feeling like such a loser compared to my friends who already had great careers taking off because mine was lackluster. Or feeling left behind when, around 30, my feed felt like nothing but engagement announcements and I was very single. For me, jealousy has always been my cue to look inward and reflect on what I felt was missing, then try my best to improve my own circumstances. BTW, I left FB several years ago and I do not miss it. Social media isn’t real life. I’ve had some bizarre experiences as a result of social media. It’s also known to contribute to worse mental health outcomes. Take a break if you need it.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Avatar photoCopa.
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