Submitted by kitfoxx t3_zwvi2o in tifu

So this wasn’t today, but actually has gone on for many many years. And sorry, this ended up being a super long one.

To start, I’ll say that I was in a relationship from age 14-24. That girl was my first everything. I didn’t know anything else. We spent every moment together through high school, college, and after. I missed parties, gatherings, and all opportunities to really make friends. I was engrossed in that relationship. So when I got out of that, I realized how trapped and unhappy I was and I developed some commitment and relationship issues. I also decided to go a little wild with dating apps and met many women. And I had a lot of fun exploring new things.

Around 2013 or 2014, I matched with this one girl. I’ll call her Taylor. I never intended much more than fun out of it, but we seemed to click really well. Liked a lot of the same things. I became really excited to meet her… until she ghosted me.

But after not too long, we reconnected and started talking again. I had learned she had just gotten a little too nervous about the situation before. We eventually met up and things were great. Problem was, I was moving. She lived in my hometown in Missouri. I was moving to Los Angeles. But we remained friends. Albeit, ones with more interest than just friendship. Sometimes we’d have sex talks. Sometimes we’d talk about missing each other. But life still went on.

Occasionally she would ghost me again. That would happen when she got into another relationship. When she had a boyfriend, I would rarely, if ever, hear from her. This would make me sad as I still really valued our friendship. Especially to talk about the latest horror movies! But I got used to the disappearing act. I’d just always hope she’d come back. In all that, I still felt so close to her. And I would feel ecstatic the moment she returned.

I’ll add that throughout this, when we were talking, we’d get together when I’d come home to visit (which I do twice a year). I still remember how fun it was seeing Midsommar with her. And sometimes we’d even have sex. So clearly it was more than just friends. We had a few times talked about what it would be like to actually date but she was very family oriented in Missouri and I didn’t want to pull her away from that while I was trying to get my career going in LA. I didn’t know how I could handle the long distance and still hadn’t worked through my relationship issues.

Meanwhile, I’m still playing the field. Having fun with other women but never fully committing because I was afraid. Eventually I did meet someone who was married and poly. Perfect situation for me. All the joys of the relationship but not feeling like I was trapped or had to devote all attention or anything. It was nice. She was amazing and we are still friends to this day.

Eventually, Taylor decided to fly out to see me. She got an Airbnb and we spent the whole week together. It was so fun! We did so many things around LA including the I Like Scary Movies event! I even introduced her to all my friends. And I did tell her about the woman I was seeing. She was disappointed. Me being my oblivious self, I had thought Taylor just came to hang and spend time together. I only found out much later after the fact when she told me, that she really wanted to see if we could make things work. She flew there for me. I had no idea. I felt so dumb. I clearly botched that. Definitely some miscommunication, but I should’ve picked up on things better. And for some reason, I didn’t take that as the sign to try. I just still wasn't ready.

We went back to our normal, but she was still the person I loved talking to the most. I’d still get so upset when she’d disappear on me, but I can’t expect her to wait for me or anything. She has a life to live.

In 2020, I met another girl. I’ll call her Rebecca. It was so hard dating during the pandemic. We barely got to see each other. We’d have calls and video chats. But it was nearly a long distance relationship for a good chunk of it. It took a long time of dating before I was finally able to commit and call her my girlfriend. A big step for me as I had not called anyone that since my 10-year ex. And it took me like 5-6 months of dating to finally make it official. I’ve got problems haha. But I felt optimistic about being in a relationship finally.

That relationship lasted about a year. Took me a while to get over because she was the first person I trusted enough to commit to and have a full relationship with. She just wasn’t the one. While there were many ups and downs with her, it made me realize some things. 1) I was ready for a committed relationship even though that one didn’t work out, and 2) I should start therapy.

Therapy has been wonderful. Learned a lot about myself. Helped me get through the break up and figure out what went wrong. And eventually, had me examine what I really want in someone that I’d want to spend my life with. Because I finally felt ready. I kind of made a check list of all the things that would be perfect in someone. Just so many different things and I could see how so many of the women I had been with didn’t fit. Except one.

I came to this realization around the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. Taylor fit everything. It took me 8 or so years to see it, but I could be so happy with this girl. I couldn’t believe it had taken me this long. It felt so obvious. Problem was, she had a boyfriend. But I’ve been through this many times with her. I wasn’t fully wishing it to not work out because I don’t want her to go through bad times. But selfishly, I wanted to finally see if this could work between us.

Then the devastation hit. I opened Instagram to her engagement post. My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe after all that time, I just missed it. I will never forget that feeling. It’s one I still feel at least partially today. Knowing that I could’ve been with the perfect girl, and losing it. And also knowing that I was given opportunity after opportunity but let my fears and worries take over. I feel so dumb for not realizing sooner. For not giving her a real chance. It’s like she’s the one that got away, but because of my own stupidity. She tried to be with me, but I wasn’t ready. When I was finally ready, she was gone.

Me being a movie person, it’s hard to get out of my head that this feels like the end of Act II. That I’m in my “All is Lost” moment and this will just be an obstacle for our happily ever after. The reconnection and being together is yet to come. But that's a dream. Then I think from her perspective. She might’ve finished her movie. She made it to the end of Act III and is ready for her happily ever after. It’s hard to accept, but that’s just how things are.

She rarely talks to me now. We were supposed to meet up for lunch in the summer when I was visiting. She bailed because she hadn’t told her fiancé about our past. Once she did, he seemed uncomfortable. We’ve had brief texts from time to time. Most holiday or horror stuff but it’s just a simple exchange. I reached out to her while visiting home for Christmas. She actually replied and said we could get lunch because we have something we need to talk about. That lunch is tomorrow and I’m nervous as hell. I fully expect a complete cut off. It’ll hurt, but I’m mentally preparing for it. I just hope I actually get to see her and she doesn’t back out. It would be very her to cancel. But it’d be nice to have a conversation, no matter how hard.

Part of me wants to tell her my feelings. But I don’t want to be an asshole. I had my chance. Scratch that. I had my chances. I don’t want to at all try to ruin things if she’s happy. Because her happiness is important to me. And I’d rather have her in my life as a friend than not at all. But it’s not fully up to me. It also just sucks knowing I’ve got to hold this in.

Which is what leads me to this post. I have plenty of friends but none that I really discuss this kind of stuff with. I have therapy but I feel it’s not a good enough outlet right now. Plus I’m on a break from it while home in Missouri. That’s why I’m doing this super long post here. For all the randoms to read. I never post things, but this really felt like the best way to get it out. I’m sure I’ll sound like such an idiot to many. I know how oblivious I was and the poor decisions I made. I hope I don’t come off as an asshole or like I unknowingly treated her poorly. Sometimes it’s hard to see from your own perspective. I just wish I was ready sooner. Even by a few months. My life could be totally different with a bright future ahead. Instead now I am just feeling so down and alone. Stuck on thoughts of her. Afraid to see her face because it’ll bring all the emotions back up. It’s so hard not playing the “what if” game in my head.

But there it is. My shitty saga of regret. Sorry I went on so long but it felt cathartic to tell the full story. I hope it was at least enjoyable to read or something.

TL;DR Spent years of friendship and almost dating the perfect girl for me without realizing it until it was too late and she got engaged to someone else.

UPDATE: Sorry the update took me a bit. We've been talking the past few days and I just got out of therapy so I'm ready to finally post this.

First off, she canceled. As expected. We did not meet up. But we did text about why. She felt uncomfortable because she didn’t want to put her fiancé in that situation. She knows she would feel iffy if he was meeting up with someone he used to be with. I understand that. She’s right. But damn did I want to have that conversation in person at least.

She said that this uncomfortableness was why we have barely talked recently. She wants us to be able to still talk about movies and our lives but just needs clear boundaries. Which probably means I’ll never see her in person. Just more of a friend to text on occasion to catch up. Definitely not ideal but I guess it’s something.

I had trouble holding back how upset I was. Not in an angry way or anything. Just hurt but I understood. And it was hard not to hint that this all meant more to me. But I guess it’s good I didn’t say more. But thinking about it now, I’m surprised she didn’t pick up on anything. Why would I be this upset over the friendship changing? Like we'll actually be talking more than we have in the past few months. Maybe she did pick up on it and doesn't want to say anything. I wouldn't blame her. But she didn't give any indication.

I’ll add that the conversation was super hard because I felt like I was lying to her. She’s explain that friendships change, especially as people focus on families and marriages. I know. That’s not why I’m upset. But to her it is. And I’ve got to talk about it like it is. In the end, I wish I would’ve managed to hold back more and not let on that I’m upset about anything. Just to let things seem normal. But it was very difficult in the moment. Maybe I’ll get it back there.

For now, I have decided to let it be and not tell her. As bad as I want to get it out, I don't feel it would be fair to her. This is all just something for me to live with. I'm not sure how I'll handle being her friend while wanting so much more. I guess we’ll see how things progress. And maybe one day I will finally tell her. But not now.

This doesn’t seem like a terribly eventful follow up but there it it. Thank you all for reading my story. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and hearing all the advice.



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AjahnAnarchy t1_j1xh2ie wrote

You need to move on and forget about this.

It meant a lot to you then, it’s all in your head now and you’re making yourself miserable dwelling on it.


TucuReborn t1_j1ygru5 wrote


I was with my last longterm partner for six years, from the start of college until I was 24.

We hit it off, and our personalities were a perfect match.

But much like this story, we slowly drifted and talked less and less.

What started as a romance fit for the greatest novels just ended with us moving apart emotionally and in our life goals.

It sucks, but it happens. And unfortunately, dwelling on such things only brings you down. It cuts off your chances to go back out and be your full self.

You have to move on. Maybe not immediately, but sooner rather than later. It's what's best for your own health and social life.

I told myself to wait one month for each year at most. Six months tops. I was moving on in two, and back out in life in three. I took my time to process and evaluate, but came out knowing how to improve and ready to hit life head on like a bullshark.

I am not a bullshark, I'm more a fidgety raccoon, but you get the idea.


Zeta_Mythoclast63 t1_j1ylzmz wrote

How exactly do you not dwell on thoughts you can't control?


TucuReborn t1_j1ym6oc wrote

The thing is, you can.

You can't choose what pops into your head, true, but you decide if you want to keep thinking about it and let it drag you down. You can choose to think about anything else you want, be it a game, a movie, having a drink with friends next week, or drawing something. Moving forward takes work, it's not instant, and you have to choose to do it.


Zeta_Mythoclast63 t1_j1ys2tr wrote

I see. The thinking about it can't be helped but the act of dwelling on the thought can be avoided. Gotta be honest, Im going through some shit right now and Im doing a lot of self improvement but the thought of my ex keeps popping by every moment im idle. It's an extremely shitty pestering feeling that I cant get rid of. I was able to improve my physical healthy by immersing myself in the gym but my mental health is at a shitty state.


TucuReborn t1_j1yugru wrote

It's definitely a process for sure. Whenever you think of your ex, try to find something nearby to distract yourself for a moment. Maybe a Youtube video or a game, or a movie you adore. Literally just anything to push it out of your mind. Activities are the easiest since they require constant attention, but eventually you just learn to push it out with something else.


Topinambourg t1_j1yzs62 wrote

Sports is the best remedy. You'll be too tired and full of endorphines to have the energy to torture yourself. It takes time but at each down period of my life, physical activity saved me


kitfoxx OP t1_j1ye9c7 wrote

Easier said than done. My last ex, who things really didn’t work with, took me so long to get over. I hold onto things too much. Something I need to keep working on in therapy. But with time, hopefully I can get there and move on. I have work ahead of me.


AjahnAnarchy t1_j1ys0hl wrote

Yeah, you gotta start somewhere, even if it’s just reminding yourself, whenever you get the chance, change what you can, accept that you cannot change what you can’t, and make sure you know the difference.


VoxR4710 t1_j1xf0ld wrote

The one that got away huh. Savage. Posting mostly so I get notified when you update us. You WILL update us tomorrow. Right?


kitfoxx OP t1_j1ydni9 wrote

I’ll do my best to update you guys in the morning if there is an update. She didn’t respond to me tonight. I even more now expect this meet up to not happen. But I hope I at least get to talk and don’t get ghosted again.


SmileyWillmiester t1_j1x910t wrote

It's amazing how we communicate sometimes.... Or don't. In the end, if you really think it would matter, say something. But it sounds like that moment passed when she tested you without your knowledge and was mad when you were honest about seeing someone else at the time. To me that sounds like you communicated properly and it wasn't what she expected to hear

My favorite quote for things like this:

It's never the wrong time for the right person

To me, it sounds like it was just the experience to show you what you wanted and set you up for the next chapter. I wish you the best of luck on your journey :)


kitfoxx OP t1_j1ye5ua wrote

Thank you. It’s hard to imagine finding anyone else like her. But there’s always hope.


dougramz t1_j1ysi3a wrote

There's always hope! Billions in fact.


Nailbomb85 t1_j1zbs6m wrote

Even if she was one in a million, that just means there's about 4,000 of her out there.


keifluff t1_j1ygmyu wrote

Youve never been in an actual relationship with Taylor and seen it not work out, so youre attached to the idea of being in a relationship with her


AcrobaticSource3 t1_j1xd6y3 wrote

We always think we have more time and that things will change until we run out of time and realize things won’t change


Alone_Pancake t1_j1yxfh5 wrote

have you talked to your therapist about taylor? it sounds like you’re romanticizing the idea of her as a partner. especially when you say "I just missed it" about her being engaged. she's a whole person with her own relationships and her own life, not a prop that was available to you until the moment she got engaged.

it's unhealthy and unrealistic to make a checklist of ideal traits and expext to find someone who meets them all. and the fact that you think she meets every aspect of your list implies that you don’t see her as a real person with flaws. you are creating a "perfect girlfriend" in your head and using Taylor as evidence that this perfect girl can and does exist. please please talk about this in therapy.


kitfoxx OP t1_j2ahn2u wrote

I understand where you're coming from with this. You're right about the romanticizing. Like another comment said, I never actually had a relationship with her. It could easily not work like I imagine. I more just meant it in that I've known this girl for 8 years now. I took her for granted. I know our dynamic has always been amazing and I never really took notice of it.

And I guess I worded poorly about the checklist because I don't want it to sound like she's a thing for me to have. I don't view her that way at all. Or maybe my view is skewed to where I don't see it. But I more meant that through therapy, I felt like I had the realization of what I truly want in life. I was ready. And the epiphany hit that it was in front of me the whole time. At least that's how it felt.

Also, the "just missed it" was more in reference to that epiphany coming a month into her starting this relationship with her now fiance. More in me wishing I realized sooner. I am aware she is her own person and wasn't just there waiting for me. I thought I even mentioned that in my post but I don't think it came through clearly. I have no blame toward her in any of this. She's living her life and finding love as she should. She owes me nothing.

But I still see points in what you're saying and, trust me, Taylor will be the subject of many therapy sessions to come while I sort things out.


Alone_Pancake t1_j2bfkw5 wrote

yeah, I didn’t get the impression that you were being malicious or like an incel. It seems like you needed a place to direct your feelings about having a few failed relationships, and nostalgia about taylor is where those feelings ended up (even if not on purpose). Something that will probably be helpful to you is to take the checklist mindset and apply it to yourself. I have always found that my relationships tend to start while I am focusing on my own growth and betterment. good luck dude


kitfoxx OP t1_j2bh22u wrote

Thank you. I really appreciate your comments.


XavierHigdon t1_j1z0983 wrote

You're hanging on to a fantasy. You didn't work, as shown by the week she spent in LA. Don't ruin her life by lying to her and pretending you're different.


R3DLOTU5 t1_j1x2our wrote

Why not tell her how you feel and at least hope you can remain friends if not reciprocated?


MonstahButtonz t1_j1x3a2r wrote

I don't know. That wound definitely make being engaged a tough thing and cause discomfort for at least 1 of the 3 people in that situation in my opinion. Likely more.

Honestly, if it's taken that long, OP may think she would've been the perfect girl, just because she's the onky one who matched the things he's currently decided he wants in life.

But ultimately, the likelihood of another person coming along who also matches OPs preferences (and potentially even more than "Taylor" does, is pretty high.

OP just needs to play the dating field more than the hooking up field, and I think he'll quickly find that once he knows what he wants, and is comfortable expressing that to others, that finding the right person becomes easy once you know what your criteria are, and voice it during dates. In an appropriate manner of course. Don't be weird and cringe, lol.


kitfoxx OP t1_j1ye2hz wrote

Yours is the comment I keep rereading. I agree that telling her would probably make things bad for at least one of the three involved. And there’s only really two outcomes. I blow up her life for her to be with me and things work out between us (and that’s so unlikely) or we stop talking all together. Because she couldn’t still be friends with me if I’m saying I want to be with her. It changes everything. I may have to decide if that’s worth it but I think it’s not.

And I like your optimism that I could find someone else like her. I’ve done the dating (yes a little too much hookup too) and it just hasn’t felt right. I think the dating made me realize I only ever felt that way about her. But I’m also just so stuck in this feeling right now and it’s hard to escape. With time, hopefully things will get better and I’ll be able to move on. It seems difficult to comprehend now though.


Data_lord t1_j1ymsd1 wrote

You can't be friends with her, please realize that. You will ALWAYS want to be with her and that is not what friendship is about. Give up that thought. Just tell her, make the big bang happen either way and you can move on with your life.

So shoot your shot, it's the last one you get.


Impulsive94 t1_j1yg195 wrote

Fuck it, you're barely communicating with her as it is and you're stringing along your pain. Tell her about your journey, tell her you've realised what you actually want. Preempt it with understanding that she may not want to maintain contact and that her fiancé isn't comfortable with you being friends. Tell her you're sorry and exactly how you feel, then drop the bomb.

Like you say, two possible outcomes most likely - either you nail it and she feels the same which is a win for you, or she accepts/appreciates it but is happy with the other dude and you part ways. You'll feel better for finally telling her and if it doesn't work out, you can move on without being reminded about her all the time.

This is a selfish way to do things but at this point can you really see you staying friends considering her fiancé is already uncomfortable with you being in contact with her?


dougramz t1_j1ysqdz wrote

You'll get a another chance when she's divorced.


Topinambourg t1_j1z1axc wrote

Even from her perspective, she is not going to believe you.

She is going to believe that you think it on the moment, but she's just going to see it as a reaction from her getting engaged. And that's not what she wants anyway. Even if deep down she would want it to work with you, she doesn't want to risk it all for you when it seems like it's an emotional response to her getting engaged. Because then you could change your mind 4 months later as abruptly. It doesn't sound "safe".

I don't know Taylor, but I assume she is around your age so around 35. This is the time lot of people (and mostly women) decide it's time to settle if they want to start a family. And even if everyone would love to settle with the love of their life, it often isn't the case. But the next best thing is to find a loving partner, that provides stability and security, that will be a good loving parent. If she found that, she isn't going to blow everything to risk it with you, because yes you are a risk, and her time is a limited resource.

I had a similar experience, and when she said she wanted to stop, and I learnt she met a "safe" guy to settle with, I tried to show her I was ready. She told me I should have done this before, and basically she can't be sure if I'm being truthful or if I'm just like that as a reaction. And to her that was too big of a risk, she couldn't lose more time when she is getting older and wants a family.


supaboss2015 t1_j1x3jn8 wrote

Yea she definitely won’t be friends now that she’s married. They don’t even talk anymore


SuperWaluigiWorld t1_j1xeimq wrote

He will never forget this. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but this one will stick forever. I think all of the people like this are there in your head forever, thinking about it now and then. Always gonna be that “what would it be like if that worked out?” thought from time to time. Just one of those things that pops up in our minds when we’re sitting around with nothing to do.


h311r47 t1_j21l068 wrote

OP, I get this and feel it hard. I've considered the trauma I've felt over past relationships more difficult to get over than the traumatic things I've experienced that have conspired to take my life. I also know that the regret we experience over the chances we never took far outweigh the regret we experience from taking that shot and failing. Living with the "what if?" still plaguing your thoughts is a tough one.

Folks will tell you to move on, but I know it's not that simple. You're currently processing the very real possibility of not only never being able to answer that "what if?" question, but also losing a friendship you've had and valued for years. I don't think there's an easy or best answer here. If you meet and she says she can't talk to you anymore, you will have to choose between keeping your feelings and thoughts to yourself - you will likely hear this is the mature choice - or telling her how you feel - which is still a totally human choice, though folks will tell you it's selfish. (Try not to think of it as that way as we should consider our own wants and desires in order to be happy in life.) I've been there before and took the latter route. I don't regret that decision. We had a great romance, got married, and tried to start a family. Unfortunately, a medical condition I discovered later in life prevented us from having children and she moved on. As others have pointed out, people often eventually develop the drive to settle down, and ultimately the same doubts that drove her hesitation early on resulted in the irreparable fracture that ended our marriage. I kept this irrational belief that it would work out again like it did before, but I got cancer while we were separated and that sorta solidified things for her. No point in holding out hope to start a family with a guy who can't have kids and will probably be dead soon. She found another guy pretty soon after we separated and got pregnant before the divorce papers were even drafted. We said we'd stay friends, but I haven't spoken with her in over a year at this point. She will never know the things I wanted to tell her, the life I wanted to live with her, or how much she meant to me. I've seen her posts on social media. She has two kids, a loving partner, and both of their families adore them. She is content in life, having finally found the family and stability that she always longed for and that I objectively would never be able to provide. Though I feel robbed of the life we had promised each other, I am happy for her and do not blame her. This time, I took the former choice. I didn't want to blow up her life when I couldn't even guarantee I'd be alive in a year, and who was I to potentially rob her of what she had wanted for her entire life and that I could never give her? This is a regret, a "what if?" that I will carry with me to my grave. I still think I made the right choice for me in both cases, though I know she wishes I would have chosen differently the first time around due to the outcome and pain involved.

Ultimately, there is no right choice here. It is impossible to know and plan for all potential outcomes. You just need to decide what type of regret you are most willing to live with.

I feel for you, OP.


MidnightMinuit t1_j1z0m8s wrote

Kodus to you for 1/ getting therapy, 2/ expressing genuine concern for Taylor (you want her to be happy, even if she can't be with you), and 3/ reaching out when you're in a dark moment. None of those things are easy.

What truly hurts is the kind of throwaway comment near the end where you say you don't feel like you can talk about this with your friends... That must feel incredibly isolating.

I wish I had a full-proof solution, but all I can suggest is that you try and expand the limits of your current friendships so you can share important stuff like this, or try and build new ones with broader emotional foundations.

Wish you all the best, seems like you're on a good (if painful) path.


kitfoxx OP t1_j2aie5l wrote

Thank you for your comment. I have always been the type to bottle up my emotions and not let anyone in. It's not good at all and I'm aware. My whole family is this way. I get it from my dad. We never talk about emotions or important things. Not sure why.

I will say I've gotten much better about it since starting therapy two years ago. I let people in more, but I have to really trust. This whole Taylor thing has been a lot and so overwhelming. That's why I reached out here. But I also took your advice and opened up to one of my friends and my brother. It was nice having someone close to talk to. So thank you. I need to be better about confiding in others in the future and not holding it all in.


Purplestarfire1 t1_j1zaqgg wrote

I wish I could say everything would work out for you two and you could end up together. I can say this, there are other women like her out there. No, they won't be her and no, they won't be the exact same, but they are similar in personality. I'm going through my own stuff right now, so I can say with experience, nothing lasts forever. Maybe you two will be single at the same time again and give it a go. Maybe you'll find another woman that you love just as much and she will love you just as much. Nobody knows what the future holds. Don't put your life on hold for the possibility of being with her. That may never happen.

Regardless of what she says when you meet, move on with life with or without her.


lemon-rind t1_j1x3eeh wrote

That sucks. I’ve been there, kinda. It was 30 years ago. My best advice is to give up hope and move on. You are young and have your whole life to live.


Topinambourg t1_j1yzixc wrote

It's ok. Sometimes the timing is just not right. It happened to me too, and even though I have regrets, I know it was not meant to be, and I cannot go back in time to change who I used to be.

You weren't ready, don't beat yourself up.

As long as it doesn't hold you back, I don't see issues keeping this person in your life and having some news every now and then. You have to respect basic boundaries though, and telling her your feelings is clearly a big NO. Especially that you might have been too much inside your head, idealizing what could have happened.

The fact is you were not ready, she might not even have been, and you and her might have wanted different things. Don't hang on to the possibility that something will happen one day. Life your life, enjoy yourself, be happy.