The Shadow of “The One”

Q: When I was 19 I met the girl/woman of my dreams. I had always been attracted to other women and had a few flings before I met her. She was 23 at the time and positive that she’d never been attracted to another woman. It didn’t take long for that to change… A little under a year into our friendship, we had an affair and she fell madly in love with me. She was convinced, as I was about her, that I was “the one.” Our problem was this: I was only 20 years old at the time and not solid enough spiritually or emotionally to make a “rest of my life” commitment to this woman. She agreed to be patient and we had an off again on again affair for 5 years. Throughout all those years, we dated other people and she always ruined her other relationships because she told them that she was in love with me. Long story longer…I eventually made a commitment to her that I was not ready to make. We went from roommates to married couple overnight. It didn’t take long for me to get claustrophobic and call the whole thing off. That was two years ago and I’m still having trouble getting over her. I believe I did the right thing by not staying in a relationship I couldn’t be 100% for but I miss her so much I can’t breathe. How do you get over “the one”? I know we’ll never be together again, that would just be too cruel to her…but I’m afraid all other women live in her shadow.

Diva Says: Ahh, there’s nothing so sad as bad timing. Otherwise perfect chances, otherwise perfect opportunities… lost to placement. But sweetness, you need to prioritize. You’re correct when you say that it was wise of you to walk away from a relationship that you weren’t 100% in… but now it’s time for you to step back and take stock of where you really are.
You were claustrophobic. You weren’t ready for the commitment. You went from roommates to married couple overnight.
I suppose before I respond to those statements, I should clarify a few things. Is what you were missing, inside that trapped feeling, the chance to be yourself or the chance to be with other women? Those are two very distinct variables. One side can potentially cohabitate with a loving relationship, given the proper space and the proper progression. The other cannot cohabitate with any relationships other than the quick kind that leaves your underwear curled up in a ball at the bottom of your backpack, or the more complex polyamorous dynamic.
You may have been in your wild oats phase when you met her. It’s a valid phase. But what I see in your question is a carry-over of those fears, those worries of being trapped, of ‘missing out’, into a new piece of you that is learning the real value of a truly loving relationship. Your values are changing, independent of your conscious desires for them to do, or not do, so. It would be age-ist of me to say that you’re growing up… but in essence, a part of you is evolving – I’ll leave it to someone wiser than I to say if it’s to a higher plane or just a different one.
If the answer to that question is that you’re afraid of losing yourself, of losing your chance to be an individual… that’s something you can address with a permanent partner, rather than in lieu of one.
If you don’t want to go from roommate to married couple overnight – don’t live together.
If you want to prolong that honeymood period, make sure the two of you keep your seperate interests, hobbies, friends – but make sure that the alone time you spend together is “quality time”.
Now, I don’t know what to tell you about this particular woman. You know better than I if that bridge is burned beyond recognition. Best be damn sure, however, if you do go back, that you’re ready for it and that you’re ready to put the work (and there will be work, believe me) into getting past the old hurts and moving into a more healthy relationship.
Now, if it’s the other problem – the being with other women, and missing out problem that you’re afraid of… then you’re definitely not ready for the kind of relationship that your ex desires. And unless she’s willing to explore polyamory, which at this point, I’m going to guess would be a big fat no – it’s likely that you’re going to need to play the field a bit longer before you’re ready to settle down with anyone.
It may be too late for you and the woman you call “The One.” But rest assured… there is more than one “The One.” And half of what makes “The One” the one… is your readiness to have a “The One” at all.
Good luck to you.

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