The One That Got Away

Everyone has one.  One person in their past that the unfathomable “What If” surrounds their memories and their name.  The one that got away.

Mine was Jonathan.  I saw him in a play at my church, he was in a college drama group. My heart melted  Later that same year I went to an event with my friend and  I saw him across the room.  My heart floated.

The next year, not even thinking of him, I transferred universities. And he ended up in one of my classes.  Turned out he was friends of a mutual friend so we would see each other outside of class as well.  Oh how I liked him. Sometimes we would say hello, other times have light conversation.  We hung out as friends a few times.  And I was falling in love.

I think the clencher for me was when we left English class one cold winter day.  I had a bit of a cold. Either he told a joke or I attempted one…I laughed.  HARD.  And blew a snot bubble.  Let me say it louder for the people in the back. I BLEW A SNOT BUBBLE IN FRONT OF THE GUY I WAS SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH.

And he simply looked away while I fumbled to clean my nose.  We kept walking and he kept conversation going.

A few months later we were officially in a relationship.  We dated for a year or two, and breaking up was hard for both of us.  I don’t really remember why we broke up.  I transferred schools again. He left to go home for the summer.  He was graduating and not sure of his life course.  A combination of all or none of these.

It was over.  We talked maybe two or three times after that.  We moved on.  I got married.  My marriage was an unhappy one riddled with infidelity, identity theft and dishonesty (read all about red flags here), and I remember wondering what my life would have been if only Jonathan and I had connected or tried harder.

Then my divorce happened and the healing started.  I reached out to him again, in a professional manner, to get help with a small project at my work.  I hoped it would develop into something else, but I think he was seeing someone.  I remember talking to him a few more times, then social media became a thing, so there was no need for a yearly-catch-up-phone-call.

He was always the one that got away.  My what if.

But now almost 20 years later, I am grateful for the time we shared, but have more gratitude that that was it.  Only time we shared, not a life.  I’m grateful we were not meant to be intertwined nor one.

Had we taken a different path, we would both be different people.  I would not have met the people that I have nor be the woman that I am.  I would not be me.

I do not think about him anymore.  Do not wish for a different past or present.  I am only full of gratitude that our paths crossed and continued separately.

I am sure he is a wonderful man, wonderful husband, wonderful person.

And that is my message in this article.  I can’t put into words the deep feelings I had for this man.  Only that with all the joy that was in that relationship and friendship I have so much more joy and gratitude that it ended.

I think everyone has a person.  That someone. That ‘if’.  But give it time and eventually you will be glad that you went your own way as well.

Does anyone else feel this way?


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I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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