Cherishing the one that got away

Manila — In my last column, I wrote about growing old with "the one." As I was writing it, I thought about the people who didn't make it as "the one," on one hand, and the people who lost them, on the other. I suddenly thought that not all people find or end up with "the one." Not all people get to strike an agreement with someone with a promise of forever. For reasons we don't quite understand, we don't get to keep the person we thought was our big love, the one.

We don't stay together; we part ways. We could have ended up marrying them but we let them go. That is why we call them "the one that got away."

In these times when the norm is increasingly more about first dates, interludes and hookups, having huge expectations about a love that will last for life may be too much in the real world where two people who hang out for days after a meet-cute or who used to be a couple for some time are suddenly saying goodbye in a breakup song even before they think of calling it love.

A friend who says he is "happily separated" but feels pressured by people around him who try to pair him up with a prospective second wife told me one lesson from his marriage that didn't last, and that is, not to have grand illusions of eternal love and let those who left a huge impact be part of a beautiful past.