The One That Got Away (T.O.T.G.A.)

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I will never forget the first night we met.  A random, friendly “Hello” turned into an 8 hour conversation that we both wished would never end.  We were both dealing with personal issues in our lives and used each other as a much needed distraction.  Instantly, I could sense her smiles through a screen and the feelings of joy and happiness were mutual.  This is the first real conversation we had (despite both being from the same town and knowing of each other for years) but it felt as though we had known one another for years.  A few weeks later, we actually hung out.  Again, it was better than I could imagine.  Safe to say that right off the bat, she had me hooked.  And each time after that, I found myself falling harder and harder for her.  But I’d soon learn that I was in the midst of a game, a war with my feelings and a seven-year battle that I was destined to lose from the start.  I wish I knew right off the bat that she had me hook, line and sinker.

We had first met early in 2008 when we were both 18.  Conversations lasted throughout the day with no sort of awkward pause or hesitation in each text sent.  Phone calls lasted hours with constant laughter, hilarity and glee.  The only thing better was when we actually hung out. 

Not only did our personalities mesh in a way I had only read about but God, was she drop-dead gorgeous. 

I had never been so attracted to a woman while also feeling so wanted.  I was the luckiest man in the world for a few months but then out of left field, everything changed for the worst.

Without any sort of fair warning or explanation, the hours and hours of conversation turned into unanswered texts, missed calls and foul treatment.  Undeservedly and unexpectedly, she disappeared.  I was left with thousands of questions and zero answers.  A few answered texts here and there turned into months and months of ignoring.  Now 19 years old, I suffered my first heartbreak.  But with all things considered, I handled it well.  Until she came back into my life for the first time.

Maybe a year later, things went back to normal.  We picked up where we left off and I made my first major mistake, I said yes and asked no questions.  Meaning, when she asked me to hang out, I said yes.  When she asked if I had time to talk about her personal issues, I said yes.  I never once referred to the past and how mistreated I was.  Instead, I was so happy that she returned into my life, I allowed my ignorance and stubbornness to look past what happened yesterday and to just enjoy what happens today.   Truly this is what “they” mean when “they” say “love is blind.”  

Love doesn’t give you any sort of warning of what lies ahead or remembrance of how fucking terrible somebody had made you feel yesterday. Instead, love makes you oblivious to everyone’s warnings and only lets you feel that present happiness when you see their name pop up on their phone.

After spending months getting over her, it was like nothing changed except this time, she claimed she had.  Another cliché perfectly describes what happens next, “love is a bitch.”

For the second time, she disappeared but this time, into the arms of a “man” who wasn’t good enough to lick the dirt off the bottom of my boots.  That typical “asshole” guy who mistreated his girlfriend to the point where all you could ask is, “What does she see in him?”  And the worst part is all it did was make me question, “Why wasn’t I good enough?”  Again, texts were ignored, calls were missed and I was left with thousands of unanswered questions.  But this time, it wasn’t just some pain or inconvenience, it was a catastrophe.  I was broken, wrecked and I thought my heart could never be fixed.  And five years later as I am writing this and you continue to read, you can still sense and see that I still have yet to recover.

One of the most dangerous things about crushes is without closure, they may never end.

After her, I found myself falling into a relationship (let’s call her Jane Doe) that I wasn’t nearly prepared for.  Not only was Jane the exact woman I DID NOT need in my life but I still had way too strong of feelings for T.O.T.G.A. This allowed my continued ignorance and blindness leading me on to a terrible situation.  After a month and being cheated on numerous times (including Jane hooking up with some of my “good friends”), my first post T.O.T.G.A. relationship had ended.  Instead of taking a step back, I met my next, and last to the present day, girlfriend (let’s call her Brittany Smith).  To say Brittany and I rushed things from the get-go would be a massive understatement and again, turned into a mistake of epic proportions.

Within two weeks of meeting, Brittany and I were a couple.  Without learning of her past relations, we began to date.  Again, the past repeated itself.  Brittany “pulled a Jane” and cheated multiple times.  Unfortunately, it was another painful relationship but this time lasting nine months.  Nine wasted months.  But to be honest, I think I deserved what happened in both these cases.  Both exes knew I was still hooked on T.O.T.G.A. and they knew that no matter what they did and how well they treated me, I could never show them the amount of love I had for T.O.T.G.A.  With that being said, I deserved to be cheated on.  T.O.T.G.A. had fucked my mind and my heart up so badly that I couldn’t give my girlfriends nearly as much attention, love and care that they deserved.  I was a shitty boyfriend and got what I had coming.

After Jane and Brittany, T.O.T.G.A. would still occasionally come back into my life.  But for five years, it was nothing that lasted more than a few months at a time.  But instead of allowing myself the time and space to get over this “love,” I kept letting her back in.  I never asked why she had hurt me so severely or for any sort of answers.  And each time, she’d disappear without any sort of warning and return to her on again and off again boyfriend. 

To feel heartbreak from simple mistreatment is one thing but to not allow yourself to heal and receive closure is worse than ANY pain you can feel in this crazy game called “love.”

Closure is everything in life.  Say you have always dreamed to be a musician but instead of maintaining all your focus on harnessing your talent, you still spend most of your time at your miserable 9-5 job.  While having that job, you can’t put nearly enough time needed to follow what always feels like an impossible dream.  You need closure from that job and all unnecessary distractions to reach that dream.  This is my metaphor for being in “love” or having the type of crush I did and as you will learn, still have.

An innocent crush is one thing but when a crush becomes a curse is when you find yourself too deep, sunk in the middle of the ocean with an anchor holding you down from re-surfacing. 

This is how I have felt for nearly eight years.  I remember when I was 23 and T.O.T.G.A. was constantly arguing with her boyfriend and relying on me comfort.  Of course, without hesitation, I obliged and welcomed her back with open arms.  Again, not asking any questions of why I had been so mistreated in the past.  One night she called me at 4 AM balling her eyes out.  Now, despite constantly being there for her when times were tough, I had never heard her cry.  This absolutely CRUSHED me.  Imagine knowing the one person you have ever “loved” was stuck in a dead-end relationship and called on you to save her.  After waiting years for the opportunity, I was finally called out of the bullpen to be her true knight in shining armor.  I was terrified.  Terrified of how much I was being relied on to save her from what can only be described as her everyday living hell.  She asked me to come over and said she’d call me back.  I awaited for that call but by 6:30 AM, I had to go into work for my last day at a summer job I had for 5 years.  But after a few minutes being there, I received a call telling me to come over.  I told my boss I had a personal emergency and thanked him for the years of employment.  Though confused, he allowed me to leave.  I went to multiple places but finally found a gas station two towns over that had freshly picked roses.  I headed her way to only find once I pulled up, her boyfriend there waiting for me.  As she stood by the window, he tried to force me out of the car.  He threatened me numerous times and, as you can imagine, I was shell-shocked.  I lacked the words to say and only could think of having my ass beat.  I went from feeling like a knight in shining armor to the biggest fucking fool in the world.  She played me worse than I had ever seen.  I am man enough to admit that when I returned home at 8:00 AM, I felt emotions no woman has ever nearly made me feel.  I’ll never forget one of my oldest sisters, the toughest woman I have ever met whom I only had seen cry once when my grandmother passed away, throwing her arms around me.  She broke down in tears and repeated,

“She doesn’t deserve you, she doesn’t deserve you.  You don’t deserve this.  You’re too good of a person for this.” 

I broke down and lost it.  Years of pain had killed me.  Never once did I contemplate suicide but never have I felt so terrible.  Thousands of questions in my head turned into millions.  “How could somebody that used to be so good to me turn around and put me in such a bad and scary situation?” “Why would somebody, anybody do this to a person?” “Had she done this on purpose?”  Days waiting for an explanation turned into months.  Once her and her boyfriend broke up, for what seemed like the fifth time at least, I received a message on Facebook.  She apologized and again, at 24 years old, I allowed her back in my life.  Finally, I was nearly over her and I fucked up again.  I gave in.

Overall, I consider myself one tough-ass dude.  But with her, I’m as soft as silly puddy.  All it has ever taken is one text to pull me back in.  And guess what happened next?  She disappeared again.  I was back to square one.  This led me to where we are in the present.  

During the wee hours of one late July morning, we began talking again.  It’s like nothing had changed.  I had her laughing nonstop and, I guarantee, making her feel better then her now ex-boyfriend had in years.  A couple of days later, we decided to go out for an innocent drink.  Unfortunately, I knew I was in for much more then that.  I tried to pep talk myself while on my way to picking her up not to fall into that same trap.  But as soon as she stepped into the car, I knew I was fucked. 

Again, I was hooked.  She just looked so beautiful.  Her eyes, her laugh, her smile were so infectious and still made me feel a way another woman never could. 

Due to the high regards and lone company I put her in, I had become unable to gain true feelings for anothet woman.  All that past pain had built up a wall that nobody could take down, except for her.  This made me falling for her again that much easier and sweeter.

Overall, the conversations were better than they had ever been.  No exaggeration, I had her laughing for hours.  She was smiling nonstop.  She explained why she was single again and I gave her the positive distraction she needed.  Eventually, she began telling me the things I had waited to hear for years.  She said how I constantly crossed her mind when her ex mistreated her, always thinking, “(Speaking about me) *TheTrulyAnonymousOne* would never do this to me.” 

She said she changed. 

She claimed it took her this long to mature and realize that she could have had the right guy in me all along.  She again had me beyond hooked.  This turned into the most amazing, memorable and unforgettable night I have ever had with a woman in my entire life.  But, I now knew I had made the biggest mistake of my life as well.  As genuine as she seemed, I knew she could never feel as strongly as I did in that moment.  I knew things could never be that good and this was too good to be true.  After a few days, she did seem to change.  I only confined in one person who could nearly understand what I was going through from his own past experiences.  He warned me to stay away but knew I wouldn’t.  Not even he could understand that this woman had mistreated me worse or as bad as any human I had ever come in contact with in the past. 

But, this time seemed different, this time seemed different.

But all of a sudden, she would barely text me back.  She went from making excuses to not being able to see me to flat-out saying, “Naa.”  I was right about one thing, this time was different.  Not only because of the things she said but because no person has ever made me feel this badly about myself.  The worst part is that I can’t talk to anyone about this unless I want to hear, “We told you so.”  Or, “Haven’t I learned?”  I never asked for sympathy

but having such an emotional roller coaster so quickly is the most dangerous thing a person can go through. 

This time, the disappointment and sadness turned into anger and self-hatred.  “How the fuck could I put myself through this again?” “Why the fuck did I think she’d actually be different?” “Why the fuck did I believe her?” At this point, I had never become more afraid in my life of what I may do to myself.  I can be an extremely self-destructive person, especially when it comes to dealing with her.  Not to be specific, but my mind had thoughts I never have had before.  The most dangerous part is none of the blame was put on her but only on myself. 

I deserved this.

 As always, I was played for a fool but no time worse than this.

As I write this, I am still dealing with this struggle.  My feelings with her are still too strong and I will be the first to admit that one text could draw me back in.  But, this time truly is different.  I am pissed off and motivated.  What you have taken the time to read was a non-fictional autobiography on my struggles with T.O.T.G.A.  Now, I’ll give you some simply and incredibly difficult advice.

Chances are you have taken the time out to read this because you have gone through to some extent this sort of heartbreak.  You have been on that roller coaster or been sunk in that ocean with an anchor wrapped around your ankle Maybe you shouldn’t take advice from someone who can’t follow their own.  Or, maybe you should take advice from someone with as or more experience in heartbreak than most 25 year-olds you’ll meet.

  • “Love” can be a blessing and a curse. It can be the most beautiful, fruitful and immaculate feeling in the world when it is returned.  But when it’s not, few things are as devastating. 

    DO NOT make my mistake and give your “love” to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

  • “Love” is blind, especially when giving someone countless chances to “change.” DO NOT allow that person back in with explanation of why they had left your life in the first place or caused you any sort of pain.  But to be honest, chances are they should not be allowed back in your life at all to begin with.  But when you do, “love” will not allow you to remember the past but only risk the dangers of allowing that person back into your present and eventually your future.
  • Be careful what you wish for. You may think a crush or T.O.T.G.A. is exactly what you need for happiness but instead they may be the last thing you need.
  • “Love” can be an illusion when you “love” the wrong person.
  • “Love” can be a trap. It can leave you stuck in the bottom of a closed-off well with no ladder or means of escape.

  • Heartbreak can be a blessing in disguise.

    Use that pain as motivation Instead of wondering why they hurt you, wonder why you wasted your time.

  • It’s their loss and your gain. You are the winner here.  Yes, it may not seem that way now but you don’t need someone who cares so little about your well-being that they’d make you feel so shitty.

As you have read this you may have noticed that I never once specifically said one bad thing about T.O.T.G.A.  I never called her a bitch or a slut or any other sort of derogatory slander that NO WOMAN should ever be called.  She can break me countless times and put me on the cusp of a self-destruction that you cannot return from. 

In my eyes, she will always be the most beautiful woman I have ever met.

I do believe that one day I will be over her but I find it difficult to see a time where I am not comparing a woman I meet to her.  Unfortunately, no woman has ever compared to her inner or outer beauty. 

I will never speak her name and will never once have a specifically bad thing to say about “the one that got away.”