The One That Got Away

We all know the saying, “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” But what if he/she was the right person—at the wrong time in life?

It might have been an instant connection or a special bond that grew over time, but the harsh truth is that it’s over. Perhaps we were too young and foolish to cherish what we had, and now that we’ve grown up, we sometimes find ourselves wondering if things could’ve worked out if we’d met some time later.

To understand those who have loved and lost, we spoke to 10 Singaporean millennials and here’s what they said.

*Some names were changed to protect identities

We’d probably be saving up for our wedding by now

We went our separate ways after I left Australia to return to Singapore after graduating. I didn’t know how to cherish him despite his efforts to make me the happiest person in the world.

He was everything that I wanted in a husband—hard working, humble, never too proud to apologise, and filial. Had I stayed in his home country, we’d probably be saving up for our wedding now. He wouldn’t have let our relationship crumble because I meant that much to him. My loss.
Valerie, 25

7 years later, she left out of the blue

We were best friends for six years, and a couple for seven. She was my first girlfriend. She had a messed up family background and grew up bottling all her problems, which eventually made her cold. One day, she packed her bags and left without any warning.

We lived together and I was ready to marry her—if money wasn’t an issue. I had planned to work for another two years before proposing. But shortly after, I discovered she had another man behind my back. It killed me but I accepted it even though I still love her.
Chris, 27

I stopped trusting people by the time I met him

He’s the one I fell the hardest for because we had a connection like no other. We were best friends before we started dating and we thought we were “the one” for each other back then.

However, I brought forward my emotional baggage from my previous relationship. I had a hard time trusting him and we’d argue non-stop. Although I thought we were strong enough, he reached his limit and couldn’t take it anymore.

I’ve already moved on but he’ll always have a special place in my heart.
Alyssa, 23

We were too young, insecure and idealistic

We were 16 when we met. I spent my entire teenagehood with him, even in the same school. However, things fell apart when we grew older because we had different directions in life.

Sometimes we mistook each other’s actions as signs of “not caring” because we were young, insecure and idealistic. Although our love was real, we couldn’t accept the ways we dealt with our problems/pain. It was always about proving ourselves to each other.

Today, we’re somewhat friends; we trust each other with our problems but I have to remind myself to keep a distance. I’ve learnt that over-thinking kills more relationships than problems do.
Yan, 24

We were too similar and too stubborn

We were too similar and too stubborn; we always wanted to be heard and the other to give in. Until one day, I stopped giving in—not because I stopped loving him, but because I had to start loving myself more. But the joy I felt with him was unparalleled; we had a special bond between us.

When we broke up, there was this awful feeling I’d never felt before—no pain ever came close to that. I think we were just too young and didn’t know how to sustain a stable relationship.
Sasha, 25

After I dated more people, I realised how special he was

He was in NS and I had just entered university. I was distracted by all the new people and new experiences I had, that I left him behind.

After I dated more people, I realised nobody else make me feel the way he did. I tend to compare every guy I date to him, which makes me impose high expectations on them. I cry myself to sleep thinking of him and how I can’t go back because I’m the one who broke his heart.
Jenny, 24

We didn’t want to ruin the memories

I was living in the US then. We broke up because I had to fly back to Singapore to enlist in the army. In a warped way, we chose to preserve the good memories by breaking up over the phone instead of seeing us struggle with a long-distance relationship.

She had it all: beauty, brains, the kindest heart. I’ll always be comparing every girl to her.
Brian, 20

He never spoke to me again after he drunkenly confessed

We were best friends for three years. Back then, I never confessed that I liked him and he got together with someone else.

A year later, they broke up and he drunkenly confessed to having feelings for me at a party. I told him I wasn’t interested anymore just to test him but after that night, he never spoke to me again. Even when I tried to initiate conversations, it would end awkwardly.

He was my best friend but for some reason, he chose to walk away. I still regret that it didn’t work out.
Agnes, 23

I wanted to try again but she was already interested in someone else

She’s the one who got away because she was my first lesbian girlfriend. Before her, I used to date guys but my feelings for them were never as deep as they were for her.

As time passed, I started to have more commitments. She was understanding initially but soon, she got annoyed with my schedule. She was unhappy that I was working more, even though that was the only way I could get extra income for us.

Eventually, I got tired of our arguments so I asked for a breakup, and did whatever I could to make sure lost feelings for me. When she finally let go, I wanted to give the relationship another shot…but she was already interested in someone else.
JJ, 22

The shot I never took

I was invited to a party once and had too much to drink that I passed out. When I woke up, I was on his bed while he was on the floor. From there, we formed an unlikely friendship and had an instant connection that I never experienced with any guy, even after him.

He made me laugh like no one else, and he’d always sit quietly with me when I had troubles to sort through. It was as if I’d known him my whole life despite only knowing him for months. We both knew we had feelings for each other but neither of us acted on it, probably because he was migrating overseas.

On the day I sent him off at the airport, he sent me a message from the plane thanking me for being his friend, and for accepting him for who he was. I hid in one of the toilet cubicles and cried for an hour, and for the following evening. I’d be lying if I said I don’t compare the guys I date to him because I’ve never felt as special a connection since.
Kelly, 27

Moving On 

If there’s anything positive we can take away from this tear-jerker, it’s that the people who have touched our lives never really leave us. After everything, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.