"I Still Think Of Her Daily": Older Adults Are Sharing If They Still Have Feelings For "The One Who Got Away"

"I Still Think Of Her Daily": Older Adults Are Sharing If They Still Have Feelings For "The One Who Got Away"

Whether it's someone you had a crush on but never pursued or someone you used to be in a relationship with, many of us still harbor secret feelings for "the one that got away." Recently, u/correct-cycle5412 asked older adults on Reddit to share how their feelings about that elusive lost love have changed over the years, and their responses range from heartwarming to heartbreaking. Here's what they had to say:

1."I married the one who got away over 20 years later. No, I never lost feelings."

A couple in a grassy field; a woman sits behind a man, both smiling and embracing each other. The mountains are visible in the background
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2."When I found out she was on her third marriage and still living the life of daddy's girl, I lost those feelings."


3."The one I truly wanted died last October, two weeks shy of our 35th anniversary. As I look back on my life, I can’t help but feel so incredibly blessed. All my dreams came true in so many areas of my life. Mind you, the tragedies have been big, too, but those I lost too soon (my son and husband) will be waiting for me at the pearly gates."


4."My first love recently got back in touch with me over social media, and I drew a tight boundary — basically, I'll see what she's up to occasionally, but all we said was 'hope you're doing well' to one another and I've left it at that. That's precisely because it did leave a mark on me, but I'm now happily married to a woman I love in a deeper, more profound way than I ever understood was possible as a young man."

A man and woman, both wearing trench coats, sit closely together on the ground outdoors, smiling

5."I spent over 40 years pining for the one that got away. One day, I started thinking about how miserably he’d treated me and how upset and stressed I was when we were together. Just an awful situation. I realized that he wasn’t really the one who got away but the one that I wisely walked away from. Thank goodness I did."


6."It’s been 25 years. We never had closure. I’m now happily married with an amazing child. But I will always wonder, 'What if.' However, I try to remind myself that I’m in love with a memory. That person doesn’t exist anymore."


7."Fifty years later, happily married with kids and grandkids, I still think of her almost daily. A bittersweet longing that I will have until the end."

Male with short hair and a female with long hair smiling and embracing from behind, posing against a fence background. Names unknown

8."I still think of him from time to time, even in my dreams. In dreams, we're the same age as we were when we met, rather than our current age. It's mostly about sex. No one since has known my body the way he did."


9."I was young. The relationship was too perfect. We had too many things in common. I became paranoid about his chivalry. I thought his loving gestures were a form of control. He was just a gentleman. After I broke up with him, he closed his North American office and returned home. Years later, we met back up when his nephew was touring my university. I just looked up, and he was standing at my office door with that same shy smile."

"He's divorced and still the perfect gentleman. I'm married. We've remained professional friends and often consult with one another on projects."


10."It's been years now, and I'm perpetually, chronically single because of it all. I can't date anyone because all I do is look for her inside them. And nobody deserves to be stuck with a miserable, broken-hearted, hopeless romantic like me."

A man and a woman sit closely together on the grass, smiling; both wearing casual clothing. Names not provided
Kevinruss / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11."I won't say she was the one who got away, but I was involved with someone many years ago, and the question of marriage was there, but there were obstacles that couldn't be overcome. I called her many years later to thank her for something that helped me improve my life. I found that she was a hardcore MAGA, and that put an end to any residual feelings."


12."The feelings change, but both of the 'ones who got away' still have a fond place in my heart. We parted on good terms in both cases, but it was a matter of wrong place and wrong time. I’m decades away from the time we spent together, but I wish them well, and on the rare occasion when I run into either of them, I’m genuinely glad to see them with no sense of regret. My life is good, and I’m glad to know theirs are as well."


13."We were together in the early 1980s, then broke up, and we completely lost contact well before the decade was over. I googled her name about two years ago to see what I could find out about her, and the first link was her obituary. I went into a mild shock for a day or two."

A couple intimately slow dancing, the man in a suit and the woman wearing a sleeveless dress, with their heads close together, sharing a tender moment.
Suteishi / Getty Images

14."After 35 years of being married to the same woman, I don't even really recall the names of the ones who got away (or that I got away from), much less have feelings for them."


15."We've remained friends over the last 35 years, mostly on social media now as he moved away years ago. We were young and stupid and never really single/available at the same time the other one was. We definitely still deeply care for and love one another, but we don't cross any lines, even in messaging one another."

"I've been married for 22 years, and when my husband almost died in ICU last November (he is not well), my mind went to 'what if?' My ex has been single for 15 years now. My husband said he wants me to be happy if something happens to him, but I can't imagine living without him. I feel very fortunate to have had two great loves in my life. I know many people who have never even had one."


16."I thank God for unanswered prayers. I wouldn’t have my wife of 25 years if I had what I thought I wanted decades ago."

A woman in a short dress and knee-high boots sits on a man's lap. Both are holding drinks and looking off-camera
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17."I never thought I would say this, but at 72, I was still in love with my first love."


18."I dated mine in my early 20s, and now, at 49 and in a happy and loving relationship with someone else, I still think about him. We actually still keep in touch and have for 20+ years. We’ve agreed to never actually meet in person, though. That would be a bad idea."


19."He gets to remain an ideal because we never argued over the dishes in the sink or how to discipline the kids or where to cut back on spending — discussions people in permanent relationships have. I thought of mine for many years, but I finally realized he had mentally stayed in his 20s. I wouldn’t have wanted that for myself or my kids."

A couple kisses inside a parked vintage car with the window down under a partly cloudy sky
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20."In my experience, at least, every truly significant relationship changed me a little bit. Every woman that I loved left a mark on my heart, and those feelings NEVER exactly go away, BUT they did decrease in intensity over time, and I did get over them. Personally, I believe they are there to help me protect myself in future relationships and help me be a better partner to my wife."


21."I feel so lucky that he got away. I was totally infatuated with him. In my head, I transformed everything he said and did into genius. He was incredibly handsome, though. By chance, years later, I went to the taping of a cheesy TV show with my husband, and that guy was the warmup act. My husband commented on how shallow and stupid the guy seemed. I said nothing about the past and I just couldn’t see what I saw in him before."


22."I got another chance ten years later. She is currently in the kitchen making coffee."

An elderly couple is smiling and dancing in their living room, holding each other closely and gazing into each other's eyes
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23."It's been 14 years, and clearly, he's not coming back. I still miss him every single day. I just live around it."


24."If it was a good relationship for you both, you'd still be in it. Of the ones I pined for over the years, one turned into a hard-core fundamentalist Christian who belittles anyone different from him and moved to a remote location to get away from the influences of 'evil' society. The other became a rage-filled alcoholic who eventually couldn't hold down a job and shot his wife, killing her, for wanting a divorce. Yeah. I had been hung up on fantasy, not reality."

"The one that really hurt was the one I gave up because we wanted very different things out of life. I had to choose between him and the man I ended up marrying. I made the right choice, but I never quit regretting that I had to choose at all. Both he and my husband are dead now, and in a way, I got to keep them both. I would've fallen out of love with the first guy very quickly because we were on different trajectories, and in the process, I would've missed out on 28 wonderful years with the man I married.

So be careful with the relationship nostalgia. Time might show you that it was for the best after all."


25."There is one particular relationship from 35 years ago that has stayed with me. He wasn't my first love, and certainly not my last, but he was the best of my life. There are songs we listened to (on a mix tape then, on CDs now) that I still can't hear without tearing up. Recently, one of those songs played on the radio on an oldies station when I was at a particularly vulnerable point, and I had to pull off the road and have a good cry."

A couple stands together in front of a stone building. Both wear casual clothing with jeans and sunglasses

26."I’ve never lost feelings for the love of my life. We were young, and he left me. We are opposites in many ways. We went on and had relationships with other people. None of them worked out for either of us. We’ve stayed in contact almost all of that time. We now speak every day. He is always there for me in a jam. I guess we both know it couldn’t work, but there’s still a lot of love between us. Sometimes, something is better than nothing. I couldn’t have him as a lover, but I could have him as a friend."


27."My husband considered me the one who got away, so he found me on Facebook. We'll be married for 15 years on New Year's Eve."


28."Mine passed away very young, age 32, and I was 25. You never get over that."

A man and a woman standing close together against a brick wall at night, embracing affectionately, with the woman leaning her head on the man's shoulder
Dmytro Betsenko / Getty Images

29.And finally, "With age, I've learned that 'the one that got away' is not necessarily a truism. Along with 'soulmate', 'twin flame' and all that kind of (what I call) Disney Thinking. I can look back and think of that one guy that I wish things had lasted longer, or he had broken up with me properly, etc., but not with real regret. Just, 'Well, that could've gone a lot better.' It's perspective, time, and distance."


Is there someone from your past who you still think about years later? Tell us about your connection with them in the comments!