The Most Common Reason People Broke Up With "The One That Got Away"

BDG Media, Inc.

There are a few romantic myths that can loom large in our consciousness — and one of them is definitely "the one that got away". This person who you were perfect for but, as fate would have it, it all just went wrong some how. But how many of us really think we have a one that got away — and how does it affect our current relationships? Well, the answer might surprise you.

A new survey of nearly 1,000 adults from Superdrug Online Doctor, the online doctor, has found that a whopping 70 percent of people think about the one who got away. Not only that, nearly 50 percent of women would have sex with the one who got away if there were no consequences — and over 65 percent of men would do the same. But this might not just be in theory — 43 percent of people are still in touch with the one that got away, which was surprisingly high.

There's a reason that the one who got away can have such a hold on us — and it's in part to do with the way that our brain processes regret. "Regret tends to persist when it's about an area of life where we still have opportunities to meet our goals," Amy Summerville, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Miami University and director of Miami’s Regret Lab, tells Bustle. "So, one reason that romantic regrets tend to loom large is that we know that we'll eventually have another romantic relationship, and so that regret is something that will be useful to us. Five years after college, it's much more useful to remember why things didn't work out with your college sweetheart than what went wrong on your chem midterm."

If we long so much for the one who got away, why did we break up with them in the first place? Here are the top reasons people broke up with the one who got away, according to Superdrug's findings.


Trust Issues: 28%

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Trust issues are really difficult to get past, which is why it's not surprising that they came in at number one. Twenty-eight percent of people who broke up with the one who got away cited trust issues as the reason — even if they're still thinking about the person later in life.


Communication: 27%

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

You hear a lot that communication is the bedrock of a relationship — and the proof is in the pudding. Communication is the number two reason broke up with the one who got away (and the number one reason for relationship breakdowns overall). It's a good reminder to keep your communication strong.


Dishonesty: 26%

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Dishonesty seems closely related to trust issues, the number one reason, which is maybe why there are so few percentage points between the top three on the list.


Misunderstanding: 21%

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Having misunderstandings on this list is interesting, because normally you wouldn't think of that as a major cause of breakups. But if you're thinking about the one who got away, it makes sense that maybe you would think it was all a big misunderstanding — and that it shouldn't have happened in the first place. There's an implicit sense that you could have — and maybe should have — found a way to work it out.


Lost Interest: 17%

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Seventeen percent of people said the broke up with the one who got away because they lost interest — but then many are thinking about and even fantasizing about them years later. Maybe the heart doesn't always know what it wants.

It's surprising to see how many of us are still thinking about someone else — even when we're in a relationship with someone else. In the words of Joni Mitchell, we don't know what we got 'til it's gone.