Wednesday, September 7, 2016


“The one who got away” is a common theme in romance novels.  The man from the past.  The woman he hasn’t seen in many years. Sometimes this bleeds over into the secret baby theme, where for one reason or another she never told him he was about to be a dad.  Usually she doesn’t want to be a burden.  Or she has some other noble reason why she feels it would be better to go off to have a child alone.

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Sometimes a misunderstanding separates a couple, especially if they were very young when they were together.  Maybe one goes away to college or off to war, and the Mom or Dad hides the letters or doesn’t let the child know their lover has called.  (This would be increasingly difficult for the interfering parent to pull off these days, what with social media and texting.)

Sometimes one of the lovers misconstrues something they see, or something they overhear, and believe that their partner doesn’t want to be with them anymore.

Sometimes an interfering parent decides the partner just isn’t good enough for their child, and threatens or blackmails the lover into going away.

Many of these situations could be resolved with a simple conversation, but not all. In the face of young love, though, sometimes the partners simply aren’t mature enough to avoid jumping to rash conclusions.

Sooner or later, especially if the former lovers come from the same town, they end up in the same place again. It could be years or even decades later.  Sometimes they’re bitter and mean to each other.  Other times they just avoid each other because they still remember the hurt of the break-up.  Eventually, though, because it’s a romance novel, they manage to muddle through the explanations of what went wrong and even live happily ever after, or so we assume.

There are probably as many variations on the theme as there are authors to write it.

But what happens in real life, when someone suddenly stumbles upon a person they used to date way back when?  I’m sure there are many variations on that theme as well. 

This happened to me recently, and I’m afraid there won’t be any big, dramatic story attached.  The fact that there was never a big, traumatic break-up probably helps…just a gradual drifting in the different directions in which our lives took us.  But it was a very pleasant experience, discovering that the man in question actually remembered who I was, that he’s had a happy life, and that he’s happy that I’ve also had a happy life.  With no secret babies or interfering parents involved!

Have you encountered a past romantic partner, say at a high school reunion or something along those lines?  Has anyone reunited with their former partner?  Or do you just swap photos of your kids and grandkids and call it a day?


  1. I love reunion stories, Hannah! It's one of my favorite themes!

  2. I love reunion stories, too, and I like yours--that you were both happy for each other and with "how things turned out."

  3. The one that got away is a frequent theme in Hallmark movies. I think they're just popular with lots of readers. One of my most popular books mined that theme.


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