My “One That Got Away” Is Engaged & I’m Genuinely Happy About It

A couple of weeks ago, my ex’s friend shared a photo on Facebook that stopped my casual scrolling right in its tracks: it was a picture of my ex smiling and pointing to a woman, his now-fiancee, with a ring on her finger. Even though I’d once sworn that this guy was the one I’d never get over, I actually felt happy and excited for him. Yes, really.

My love for him has changed.

The younger version of myself was right when she swore she’d never stop loving this guy, but the love I feel for him now is way different than what it used to be. I feel absolutely no romantic attraction to my ex anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring for him. I think of him the same way I think of my old best friends from college — even though it’s been ages since we’ve even spoken to each other, I still want nothing but the best for him.

We wouldn’t have worked out in the long run.

Even when we were together, our relationship had plenty of rough points that signaled our incompatibility. The younger, less experienced me believed that these were all things that could be overcome, but I look back now and see that we were honestly a trainwreck of a couple. We were great for each other at the time, but I’m relieved that things ended when they did so we could both move on to happier futures.

I don’t resent him for ending things.

When we finally broke up, it was at his insistence. He was moving across the country, and unlike me, he wasn’t willing to carry on a long-distance relationship. At the time, I was heartbroken and felt betrayed, and that feeling stuck with me for quite a while. But now I see that he made the right choice. Neither of us was in a place in our lives that would’ve enabled us to continue that kind of relationship, and I’m grateful he made that choice so I didn’t have to later on.

We’re both very different people now.

Once his engagement photo popped up, I’ll admit that I did a little bit of light social media stalking for curiosity’s sake. I had to laugh as I looked through his feed — he’s nothing like the person I’d dated all those years ago, and he’d probably say the same about me. We’ve both embarked on different career paths and abandoned the hobby that brought us together in the first place, and we even look different than we did while we were dating. There’s no way he’d be my type now, and vice versa.

He really deserves love and happiness.

I’m no saint, and I can confidently say that I have scummy exes who I hope are miserable and alone for the rest of their lives. But this ex isn’t one of them. He is (or at least, was) a great guy whose heart was always in the right place, and even though we weren’t always great together, I know he tried his best to make me happy. If he still has those qualities that made me fall in love with him, I’m glad he’s found another woman who sees everything in him that I did.

I’ve moved on too.

Until that photo popped up on my timeline, I hadn’t even thought about my ex in months and months. I’ve found someone who makes me happy too, and while I’m not engaged like my ex is, my happiness for him is certainly increased by how content I am with my own partner. It’s nice to know that even though I was devastated by our breakup, it was for the best, and we both found people who were better for us in the end.

A few years ago, I never thought I’d feel this way.

When my ex “got away”, I may as well have been the female lead in a Shakespeare tragedy. I pined for him day after day and swore to myself that my heart would shatter into a million pieces if he ever fell in love with someone else. Well, clearly I was wrong (and way too melodramatic). I had no negative emotions whatsoever when I found out that my ex was engaged, and I wish I could go back in time and tell the once-heartbroken me to chill out.

I’m glad to see that he’s grown as a person.

A lot of the issues my ex and I had while we were together stemmed from his fear of commitment. The mere idea of marriage terrified him, and even getting him to put a label on our relationship felt like pulling teeth. But with his fiancee, he looked proud to have decided to spend the rest of his life with someone he loves. Not everyone decides that marriage is for them later in life (and that’s fine!), but it was nice to see that he’d found someone who helped him see long-term commitment in a new light.

I see him so much differently than I used to. 

It’s weird to think about how I used to look at this guy like the sun shone out his butt. Yeah, he was great, but I thought he was the perfect man, and I never thought there would come a time when I wasn’t attracted to him at all. But as I looked at the picture of him with his new fiancee, I couldn’t see him in a sexual or romantic light at all. As weird as it sounds, it was like looking at a picture of a distant relative, and it was almost surreal to think that I’d once been in a relationship with him.

I’d like to think he wants the same for me as well.

I’ll probably never speak to my ex again, but I hope that if one of his friends ever brings me up in conversation or he comes across an old photo of us, he can at least think of me in a pleasant light. And to be honest, I bet that if I one day end up engaged, he would be genuinely happy for me just as I am for him. It’s nice to think that even though our relationship ended, we might still want the best for each other after all this time.

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