When the what ifs matter more than the right nows

One of my very best friends is always dealing with relationship drama.

She recently said to me that she just wants to be with her ex, who dumped her more than a year ago.

And then today an article popped up on my newsfeed called “Why thinking about the one that got away is ruining your relationship.”

What great timing right? I immediately sent it to her. As I’m writing this she hasn’t yet replied to me, so we will see how that goes. Anyway, it got me thinking.

Someone said to me the other day that it pains them that they can never listen to all of the music in the world, that their favourite song, the one that changes their life forever, might be out there somewhere and they might never listen to it.

And it isn’t just music. What if you never read what could have been your favourite book? What if you never meet all of your soulmates (I have a multiple soulmate theory, a topic for another day)? What if you never find what could have been your favourite place? What if there is someone out there who matches the perfect person you have envisioned for yourself?

Everything is better in our head. For those of us that read, that is why we will be eternally disappointed in book-to-movie adaptations. For those of us who are online dating, it’s why we can swipe left so often.

There is no way of knowing if it would have worked out with the one that got away. And everything that has happened to you since then would have been different.

It doesn’t take a very big decision to change the course of your life, and deciding on a person is pretty big.

You might never have met your current best friend because you didn’t move to a new city when you decided to stay with that one.

And you definitely wouldn’t have the family you have today. The other half of your kids’ genetics would have come from someone else. Or maybe there wouldn’t have been any kids at all. I don’t think many people had those conversations with the one that got away.

Just some of the many things to consider.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a ‘what if’ optimistic kind of person. I put myself out there because I think things will work out. But I also mourn the ‘could have beens.’ Most often they are people who I would have been good friends with if I hadn’t moved away, or the relationships I could have had if the other person had been a little more brave.

But for me it is part of the process. I mourn and move on. I did the best I could, if they were freaked out by my “Hey I think you’re cool we should go for coffee sometime,” then we weren’t meant to be friends, or anything else, anyway.

I hope I don’t look back at my life and think there was one that got away.

I want to spend my life dancing to my favourite song, not sitting behind my computer looking for a better one.