Distressing Alternatives

A recent conversation with a couple of friends lead me to tell them that I don’t think of anyone in my past as “The One Who Got Away.” I am not haunted by any notion that there was some woman who came across my path in the past that I rejected when instead I should have accepted her. When I realized this some months ago it was kind of a relief for me. Perhaps this is because I am someone who doesn’t handle regrets well.

At the same time, I also recognize that there is something particularly depressing about the fact that in all my years I never came across anyone who could have been a match for me. It certainly creates a sense of loneliness, and perhaps a sense that the future will be no doubt from the past. But all in all I prefer my present state over the alternative- regretting “letting one get away.”

Perhaps my readers share this view. Perhaps they find the alternative more palatable. So I ask you, whatever your present station, to voice your thoughts. Which is better easier to live with: To have someone in the past “Who Got Away”, knowing that such a person exists, or to have never met such a person at all, and to wonder if they do.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Distressing Alternatives

  1. Pingback: Distressing Alternatives – Manosphere.com

  2. jack

    In reviewing my past, I realize that I am actually the one that got away. From a bunch of ungrateful harpies-in-waiting…

  3. b g

    Hmmm, I was extremely fortunate, it had nothing to do with being deserved. It was nothing but dumb luck, fortuna, but she always called it grace ;-D

  4. fuzziewuzziebear

    When I first read this, I felt sad. On reflection, you have to take life as it comes. There is a parallel about it being better to have loved and lost than never having loved at all. I can honestly say, in the midst of heartbreak, this is a crock.
    I know that you are trying hard. It doesn’t speak well for the marketplace that you haven’t found one. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  5. Donal,

    I hear echoes.

    If it’s any consolation, be reassured that no woman out there is likely pining for you or I as ‘the one that got away’. It is in man’s nature to possibly do so, but the nature of women is pack oriented, prone to logical failure, and war bride syndrome. They rationalise whatever their current outcomes as ‘meant to be’. Anything else threatens their self view.

    We may reminisce over what might have been, but women certainly do not,, Their inability to do so acts as a protective mechanism and preserves their view of themselves as moral agents, critical to maintaining a falsely high self esteem.

  6. theshadowedknight

    I had one that got away, and one that I could have gotten had I been bolder. It hurt for a while, then it scabbed up and scarred over. Eventually, it becomes numb. I no longer feel an emotional response to the first girl, and the regret over the second girl is fading away, just as the first did. After a while, it all evens out.

    I have been good at cutting away my emotional ties, though, so your experience may differ. At a young age I learned that attachments can be a liability or a handicap, and learned how to excise them. It makes getting over someone simpler for me.

    The Shadowed Knight

  7. Novaseeker

    That may not be the best way to look at things, in terms of either/or.

    I’m not a subscriber to the “soul mates” idea where there is one (or, in the milder version of the theory, a smallish number) of “perfect fits” out there in terms of mates. There are tradeoffs with every person, and every possibility. And some people, due to their requirements, are harder to find mates for than others (have a harder time finding mates for themselves, I mean).

    It’s a classic question as to whether it is better to have loved and lost (the one who got away) than to have never loved, and that can be debated. But life is not really a limited number of opportunities. If a relationship failed, most of the time it was supposed to fail (almost all relationships do fail at some point, unfortunately), even if that means one or both persons screwed enough things up so as to cause it to fail. It’s best in these situations to learn from what happened and look to other opportunities.

    A part of the issue in our particular space is that it is always hard to be successful in a marketplace if you have requirements which are, in terms of the overall market, “exotic”. That is the case for serious Christians today, unfortunately, because what were once broadly accepted and not exotic as requirements (basic chastity, limited relationship/sexual history, family-oriented life goals and so on) have now become completely exotic asks that are varying degrees of uncommon depending on where you are looking and how long you are willing to look (and what other requirements there are, such as attraction, compatibility, personability and so on). So that makes the market very challenging for serious Christians such that most Christians just drop their exotic requirements in order to navigate the market (we know this — both men and women do it). When we realize that we have requirements that the market deems exotic, and we do not want to drop them, then we can tend to overemphasize the importance of the limited number of remaining opportunities (past, present and future alike) due to their relative scarcity compared to the market as a whole. That isn’t wholly irrational, given the numbers, but it is a very difficult mindset to approach this with, I think.

  8. Donal
    Don’t worry about it, really.

    The one who got away is a very effeminate idea of modern culture. It is women who are the addicts of “what could be or could have been” and this is seen in their choices. Its why women traveling or around travelers is a BAD IDEA. The same for a man moving away. Yet it can be used to aid women in making choices; by having an overall demeanor that tells women you aren’t going to play the “lets be friends” game and she has to make a lasting choice the day she meets you. Be the person for them that is or may be the one who got away.

    As for them being out there… If you’ve explored and fished the local ponds, finding nothing worth keeping, look to Catholic match and be ready to travel. I have three friends who found their current interest in the last year that way – one of whom did so when she was living in Sweeden and he here in Oklahoma. It’s not ideal, but it works.

  9. An observer,

    “If it’s any consolation, be reassured that no woman out there is likely pining for you or I as ‘the one that got away’. It is in man’s nature to possibly do so, ”

    The “one that got away” seems awful similar to what an alpha widow would be saying in her mind. It comes at a great expense to a woman’s husband when she is in a perpetual state of comparison to her ex lovers and this is also true for a man. It would make anyone shudder to think that their spouse wonders about the “one that got away” even if they actually did, it’s a dangerous mindset. It seems like people of both genders would address these thoughts as sin issues and nothing less.

  10. Pingback: The One Who Got Away | To our bodies turn we then

  11. @ Novaseeker

    I guess my post wasn’t clear enough. I wasn’t talking about “Soul Mates” or anything like that. Not that “Perfect One”, but rather someone who was “good enough.”

  12. Chad,

    That is the thing- I’m not worrying about it. I really don’t. This was an intellectual exercise to see if others are, however. I wondered if I was odd for finding it something of a relief that I never met anyone in the past who could have been a regret, as it were. For myself at least, it helps me focus on the future.

    I’ve looked at Catholic Match and Ave Maria. And you are right- traveling will be required. It is a wasteland of courtship opportunities here. Although I suspect that to the be case most anywhere.

  13. @ Psalm1Wife

    The “one that got away” seems awful similar to what an alpha widow would be saying in her mind.

    Correct. Something quite similar, although in this case I was asking a theoretical question which rested on the premise that the person asking this wasn’t married.

    But I agree that the mentality involved is dangerous to relationships. That applies to men and women, although I think women are more prone to it, as others have suggested.

  14. I don’t know if she qualifies as “the one that got away” but when look back at who I most likely would have married at 21 if I had married and who she eventually became I’m really glad we didn’t. But I think marriage is at best a lateral move. There’s no certainty, but it is one of the good opportunities available in life. I think it’s kind of like choosing a career, where you’re going to get good stuff out of it and bad and you’re going to miss good stuff in other careers and also bad. But this is the case no matter where we land in life. I’ve been trying to get out my head more lately and think less about the past and future and focus on shorter term good things that will most likely benefit me in the future in some way. And, to me, I’d have to say I’m probably not a supreme catch myself. But I don’t really think getting married would be terribly difficult. I don’t really know though, because I’ve never tried and I’m just now working my way into thinking about finding a girl (and a “career” type thing).

  15. @ Donal
    Glad to hear you have the right mentality. I would hazard that, in a more healthy culture, it is not a rare one for men to have. In a culture that is effeminate, hates men, and most men chase their passions like a bunch of little girls…. It sadly has become more rare. Yet, it’s really the only healthy one to have to maintain sanity while giving one’s vocation up to God’s providence.

    As for this:

    “I’ve looked at Catholic Match and Ave Maria. And you are right- traveling will be required. It is a wasteland of courtship opportunities here. Although I suspect that to the be case most anywhere.”

    I believe you’re correct. Even in a very ‘conservative’ and traditional friendly diocese (an FSSP parish, a diocesan latin mass, an SSPX parish, and the benedictine monastery), Tulsa has a dearth of marriagable women in those circles. I would say that there is 2 that I would recommend almost without hesitation, one that is slightly overweight (aka, average american woman), and one that simply is too flaky for me to recommend to men to pursue in any serious manner. I would be hesitant to recommend most men to even bother with women in the Catholic Young Adults group of the diocese. I haven’t met one that give the impression that they have the strength of faith to hold true to the hard teachings on any level. Such that I don’t have confidence in obedience in marriage for situations hard to submit in.

    On the flip side, I know of one man I would consider marriage material, but many more that are close to it in a year or two of maturing.

    Coming from the eyes of a man engaged, and having gone through issues with my woman that I have, I have found my appraisal of the standards women and men must meet have gone up. It’s much more difficult for each than I would have thought.

    Be ready to travel to make it happen.

  16. Michael Kozaki

    Brilliant post. I like the “good enough” over “the one”. Never yet dated a woman “good enough”. Objectively 60-80% at best. At 75%, I married.

    So of course there are dozens “good enough”. If one can accept a sinner as a spouse. Plus face the terrible legal risk (basically, play chicken with your life). I wouldn’t try it unless wearing the pants without fear or apology.

    So marriage is probably not for most men today. Rather, a life filled with goals, achievements, and commitments to others. The purpose-driven life could mirror the fruits of marriage (or holy orders) by imposing definiteness, an overarching project. Being single can be a glorious, anything-but-lonely life.

    Bonald: Man loves his freedom but finds no happiness in it. As a miser hordes his gold, so the freedom-lover hordes his options. Both make the same mistake. Just as the only joy in money is in spending it, the only joy in freedom is in casting it away in the act of commitment. This indeed is the ultimate self-mastery, to hold one’s entire life in hand and, in one moment’s vow, to offer it whole to God. The Church offers man the life-disciplines of marriage, holy orders, or the religious life. In embracing one, he imposes on his life a unity and definiteness, an overarching project to be completed, a narrative to be lived.

  17. “To have someone in the past “Who Got Away”, knowing that such a person exists, or to have never met such a person at all, and to wonder if they do.”

    Apathetic on both.

    Life is unfair. Sometimes you screw up or you or she or both of you weren’t mature enough to handle a relationship at the time. On the other hand, the future is uncertain to a large extent, so there’s no point in ‘worrying about tomorrow’ as per Jesus.

    It is what it is. No time or not much time should be wasted on either

  18. A Visitor

    It’s better to have lost than to have never tried. Speaking from experience, you know at least you gave it a shot instead of sitting there wondering forever, “What if…” It hurts like crazy when you’re shot down. Saying it’ll get better is small comfort. However, even then, I knew it would.

  19. KP

    … that I could have gotten had I been bolder

    I was quite blue-pill in my younger days, and there are a number of women that I could have gotten if I had been bolder. But almost without exception, while sexually quite attractive they would have been very unsuitable relationship choices. So I look at it more as having inadvertantly dodged some bullets.

  20. But almost without exception, while sexually quite attractive they would have been very unsuitable relationship choices. So I look at it more as having inadvertantly dodged some bullets.

    I have the same view of it. In retrospect I can see how very few women I have *ever* known would have been fit to have been relationship material. Back then I couldn’t have seen it, but now I can.

  21. @Donal

    I had “one that got away” and there is no day I don’t regret I let her go. It has been ten years from then and I haven’t loved any other woman with a tenth of the love I had for her.

    It’s not that she was perfect: far from it. I have had women much better than her. It’s the fact that first loves cut deep. There was wisdom in the tradition of marrying your first girlfriend. The bonding mechanism does not work the same way.

    I assure you Donal. I will change my place for yours. It is painful to have a ghost like that haunt you.

  22. I meant “I would change my change for yours”. English is not my first language.

  23. The “one that got away” seems awful similar to what an alpha widow would be saying in her mind…..

    It is not an issue for me. Though i will highlight a crucial difference. An alpha widow pines for one above her smv, the high value man she was always unlikely to snag, given his range of options.

    Whereas A man who ponders a possible fish that got away contemplates an associative mating outcome, a quite possible setup that probably failex but for her lack of attraction to him, fuelled by hypergamy, careerism etc.

    Two very different scenarios. They should be considered as such.

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