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Think your ex was The One? Here's what you should know

More often than not, we think our ex was the one for us when we struggle to find someone else after the end of that relationship

Finding a great connection only once in your lifetime is a myth.
Finding a great connection only once in your lifetime is a myth. (Unsplash)

It may be true that once you get closure after a break up, you can finally move on. But there are quite a few who despite closure, continue to be deeply in love with their ex.  So much so that they believe they will never again find someone like that person, and they must learn to settle with second best. 

K, a 32-year-old lawyer, is one of them. She believes that her classmate, N from law college was the love of her life. They were together for five years and K was absolutely sure that he was the one. Work took them to separate cities, which lead to weakening their connection and eventually N, fell in love with someone else and ended their relationship. 

It’s been 6 years since K has been single and going on occasional dates. She says that every date she has been on has only highlighted the fact that she missed her chance with N and now she will not find that “once in a lifetime connection” again. The thought K really needs to contend with, however, is why she wants to be with someone who does not want to be with her.

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It’s obvious that N does not feel the same about K. How should K factor this aspect in her thought that N was a perfect match for her? What kind of a relationship will it be if only one partner has strong feelings but the other does not? Would it then be a perfect match? 

Finding a great connection only once in your lifetime is a myth. We are in a constant state of evolution, hence one can find that great connection at any point – when one is ready. 

Another scenario is where the person who initiated the breakup regrets doing so, as they now feel that their ex was indeed the right one for them. 

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G, 29, felt a bit suffocated in her three-year relationship with V. They were living together for a year, and she got tired of doing everything together. G felt that V’s attentive nature was a bit too much for her to handle. He would go to great lengths to make her comfortable as she had moved into his home. From putting her clothes into wash to ensuring she always had sanitary napkins stocked, he took care of every little need of hers, without being told to. 

G loved this at the beginning, till she started getting irritated by it. Eventually G broke up with V. Now, two years later, she feels breaking up with V was the biggest mistake if her life. 

In my opinion, if one felt so strongly about breaking up and they did it, it means that they had the clarity at that time about the fact that something off for them in that relationship. 

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More often than not, we think our ex was the one for us when we struggle to find someone else after the end of that relationship. It is what I call a ‘something is better than nothing’ thought process. The reasons for break up could have been as simple as your own fear of commitment or even immaturity, but know that you were not completely into that relationship at that time and if you tried hard, you would have either ruined the relationship completely over time or would have ended up in a sub-optimal relationship.

So, how should you handle this feeling of considering your ex, as ‘The One’ for you? I’d recommend that if you feel so strongly about your ex, and they are still single you can reach out to them. A word of caution though about physical/ emotional abuse and compulsive infidelity, etc. If you have managed to get out of such a relationship, it’s advisable not to go back to it.

K knows that N is still in a relationship with the woman he fell in love with when he broke off with her. In K's case, reaching out to N now is not a good idea. K needs to move on and heal from this heartbreak to find the person who is right for her and reciprocates her love. 

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G on the other hand knows that V is single. She is considering reaching out to him and being honest about how she feels and explain to V why she broke up with him in the first place: according to her, she felt that she needed to also invest the sort of effort that V was investing in her, and since this did not come naturally to her, she did not want her hand to be forced in reciprocating V’s extreme thoughtfulness. G now knows that V did not ever have that expectation from her. It was clearly mishandling of the situation on G’s part that led to the breakup. I think it’s good that she is finding the courage to take this path.  

Over the years, I have seen some of my clients and friends get back with their exes and have happy relationships. But do know that your ex might not be interested in getting back together. Having this awareness is important. For example, while G is hopeful, she needs to be prepared that V might not want to get back with her. 

At this juncture, what helps is accepting that there is still hope, even if things don’t work out with that one ex. I can assure you that your chances of being in a great relationship do not end with one person, ever.

Tough Love is a limited series by Simran Mangharam, a dating and relationship coach, who can be reached on

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