In addition to being a Katy Perry song, the phenomenon of "the one that got away" is a real thing. Admit it — you definitely have that one person you shouldn't have broken up with. At least I do — as someone who has broken up with a host of people for some very silly reasons, I know this experience all too well.
Just how silly were my reasons for letting my possible love interests get away? Well, I once ghosted on a dude because he didn’t know what Pierogis were. If we don't share the same food references, this just isn't gonna work, I thought, as we sat in a Ukrainian restaurant, silently spreading chicken fat onto our complimentary bread. Sure, there were other problems with this specific date, but the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back? A dumpling. (News flash: I judge quickly.)
But no matter how fast I might write someone off, my mind will inevitably return to them, and I'll wonder about all the things that could have been. If I had given Pierogi guy a chance, would we have worked out? What if I had just gotten in my own way?
I know I’m not alone in dumping a perfectly fine person for ridiculous reasons. So, in partnership with Bride & Prejudice , I got a few brave souls to (anonymously) share their stories about why they let the possible one get away.
His Family Didn't Approve Of Me
"Throughout the four years of college, I was dating my very first boyfriend. His mother expressed her complete opposition to our relationship because I was not of Korean heritage, like he was.
Despite taking Korean language courses for years, learning to cook the food, and attempting to forge a relationship with her, the tension inevitably destroyed our relationship and we broke up shortly after college.
I couldn't stand the thought of his family always thinking he could do better. We're still close friends to this day and he's supported me throughout all the ups and downs of my twenties.
Although we've both long moved on, I can't help to admire how successful he's become and how well he treats his current girlfriend, which leads me to wonder what could've been if we stuck it out. Keeping in constant contact definitely keeps that regret alive. Regardless, I'm happy to have him in my life."
I Wasn't Ready To Fully Accept My Sexual Orientation
"When I was first coming out [as a gay man], I fell in love with a guy I met in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he was just visiting from the UK. After a brief yet fun affair, he wanted me to go back with him. We were both so new to dating guys, and I wasn't sure, so said no. When I saw him again years later, he was partnered to someone else. Still, he's the best kisser and I had the most electricity with him out of anyone I've ever met."
Things Had Changed In A Big Way
"I broke up with my fiancé after he came back from Afghanistan. He had changed so much, and I deeply regret leaving when I did. I should have stuck with it, let him heal, so we could resume our relationship we fought so long and hard for."
I Was Afraid Of Getting Hurt
"I was in a serious relationship from the ages of 18-22. After a particularly devastating break-up, I pledged to take a break from dating and really find myself. During that time, however, I started casually seeing this really great guy. But because I had made a pact with myself not to get into anything too serious, I didn't fully invest.
Today he's married, has fully moved on, but I still think of him with fondness. Still, I know I never should've let him go. I believe everything happens for a reason, so I can't regret things too much. What I regret is not being open about why I wasn't putting forth the effort he deserved."
I Didn't Agree With His Pop Culture Tastes
"Once, I spent a spontaneous night with a guy who I had a slight from-afar crush on. We spent the whole night talking, and the whole interaction felt slightly magical.
Afterwards, we went on a date, and despite nothing terrible happening, I started to have doubts about him. I started looking for some arbitrary reason not to like him.
As fate would have it, I found one. He said he wasn't a fan of Larry David when we got on the subject of Curb Your Enthusiasm (one of my favorite shows of all time). With a lack of sensitivity that would make my curmudgeonly idol proud, I took this as the ultimate indicator that this wasn't gonna work.
After that, I became totally cold. He tried to kiss me and I ducked away. A couple days later, I came to my senses, recognized that I was being comically judgmental, and tried to get in touch with him. But by then, things had soured. I think he had made up his mind about me. In all likelihood, we wouldn't have worked out. But since I was so attached to a random idea of who my ideal partner should be and what their tastes were, I will never know."
I Needed To Grow Up
"After four years together, my ex and I broke up. I loved him a lot then, and I still do, but at the time I felt like I was too young to be in a serious relationship.
Moving in together, marriage, our future — it wasn't on my mind. He wasn't pressuring me about any of those things, but I felt like I was no longer excited by the idea of our relationship progressing like I had been earlier. The idea of stability freaked me out and I wanted a change. I needed to be single. I needed to be alone. I needed to grow up.
I'd say these last few years gave me exactly what I needed — a chance to challenge myself and figure out who I really am and what I want. I've dated a bit, but I can't help but compare everyone to him — actually it's not even possible. No one's even come close.
I finally feel like I'm ready to be in a relationship again and, of course, as these things tend to go, he's in a relationship now. While I'm grateful for what singlehood has taught me, I think I'll always regret the decision. Maybe I regret not trying harder while we were together. But I was young and needed to grow."
This article was sponsored by Bride & Prejudice on FYI. Bride & Prejudice premieres March 15th at 9/8c on FYI.