What Might Have Been – Evaluating Past Relationships

In reflection, it is easy to look back on your life and see the forks in the road where you may have made a wrong turn. Silent thought can have you wondering what if, what if you had chosen another path, another partner, or another route that seemed to present itself like a fleeting butterfly. Would your life be different? Would it be better? Would you have been happier? The past exists in our mind, not to haunt us – but to help us avoid making the same mistake twice; and to offer the quiet comfort of all the life you have had before this time.

It’s funny really how someone from the past – someone from a time in your life when you were a completely different person than you are now can freeze you in tracks. A simple glimpse, the sound of his or her voice after a very long time can cause shiver bumps to travel up your arm and bring tears to your eyes, for no real reason at all. And in that same moment it is easy to question yourself, to ask yourself what might have been had you chosen to stay and love that person for the rest of your life. No relationship is perfect and yet the wounds that may have caused you and this ghost from long ago to part ways, aren’t always deep enough to make you glad things turned out the way they did. The truth is that thinking about this person or wondering what if, has nothing to do with the person you are now involved with. Comparing people and our relationships in life is like comparing apples and oranges – while they are both fruit, they are completely different. And even worse, it is possible and natural to love both apples and oranges at the same time.

Meeting Up with an Ex

The question may arise at some point whether you should agree to meet this person for coffee or dinner. You may be thinking, after all, a decade has passed and you are completely content where you are right now – so what is the harm? The problem is that when our hearts are broken we never remember how bad it hurt ten years later, until we come face to face with the eyes of the person that broke it. As you sit across from them, stirrings of feelings from the past, deep attractions and resentment can flare up turning your life topsy-turvy for a while. Are you prepared for that? The other thing you should KNOW before you decide to meet with this person – is whether or not you are strong enough to not compromise your current relationship by being in their presence. And its important to ask yourself if you are still clinging to a small string of hope that this person will have come to the realization that you are the one for them, the only one – after all these years who makes them feel alive and whole.

Call it pessimistic, but it is also pretty important to understand why after all these years of silence, someone that you loved so much it hurt, would contact you to begin with. If they are married with children, or in a happy place in their life than it seems suspicious that they would think of you and just want to sit down and catch up. Not knowing their true intentions or being simply a pawn for them to relieve their guilt over the past – puts you in a pretty scary predicament that could lead to heartbreak all over again. It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are, or how much you think you are over something – when you are face to face with it again – all bets are off. Chances are some wound that wasn’t licked long enough will resurface. If someone is playing games with you, then there is probably nothing that will make you angrier. Before you agree – ask. Chances are you will hear in their voice what they are too afraid to say.

What might have been? Had the two of you stayed together, would you have had children? Would your life have taken on a different meaning? Would you be more in love than you are right now? The questions in your mind can go on for days as you recount moments with this special person, now just a stranger trespassing in your life. You may teeter-totter between feelings of anguish and love, laughter and tears – surprising yourself that you could still feel so much after so long. And the bottom line is that you still will never know what might have been. Just as humans spend tons of time making important decisions in their life hoping for a certain outcome only to realize that things don’t always go as planned, you cannot gauge what might have been in a relationship.

There are many people in this world who hand it over to fate and destiny. It is much easier to let it go; believing that if it should have worked out it would have done so during its season. Handing it over to the universe to figure out is one way to stop the nagging of your mind. The harsh reality is that what might have been could very well be much less than what you have in your life right now. Perhaps the best way to deal with what might have been, is to instead think of what was as building blocks to the where you are right now. If it wasn’t for this person, there are probably many things you wouldn’t know in life, many choices you wouldn’t have made. Should you go to see them? The magic eight ball says no. For most of us leaving the past in its place is the best way to live in the future. Considering that things didn’t work out for a reason – and the strength of the way you feel considering this person for just a minute – makes meeting them a dangerous event for your future. Instead, hold on to those warm feelings, those bursts of emotions and remembrance that cause you to wonder what might have been – then quickly roll over and appreciate what is.



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