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Lost Loves, Forever in Our Hearts?

By Lily Bradshaw May 14, 2024 Lifestyle

Did you ever have a love that got away; someone about whom you think, What might have happened if…? Someone who is perhaps still tucked away in a tiny corner of your heart. 

Sometimes we fall in love for fleeting moments and move on. Other times, that person has the most incredible effect on our lives and things will never be the same. I would like to share my one-who-got-away, as he completely changed my life, and who I might have become.

My Life Was About to Be Transformed

It is hard to remember that, just a few decades ago, class was what it was. I was from a poor (but very happy) family. He was not. 

When I was 18, I took a temporary job working on a switchboard at a company in London. His father was a company director, and he was manager of a department, at just 21. Every time I answered his calls, he would always say something lovely or make me laugh, and before long, I found myself falling head over heels.

When he asked me out on a date, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t care about his status or his wealth, he was just the kindest, loveliest man I had ever spoken to… and he wanted to take me out! This young girl from a rather run down council estate, who barely knew which fork to use, was about to have her entire life transformed. 

At weekends, he would pick me up on his motorbike and whisk me off to Knightsbridge, where we would go to Harrods and hang out in their fabulous boutique ‘Way In’. It was another world to me.

Afterwards, we might walk down to a beautiful little alley called Beauchamp Place, where he would buy handmade silk shirts (and often matching socks!). Then we would climb on the bike and speed across London to Hyde Park, and maybe have lunch in the little cafe overlooking The Serpentine or take a boat out on the lake.

A Big World Out There!

He took me to my first West End show, concerts, festivals, book fairs, flower shows, art galleries. We ate in fabulous restaurants (The Ivy!). Never once did he make me feel inadequate. If I didn’t know something, he always showed me what to do, in the most unassuming way.

He shared books with me that I would never have dreamt of reading – Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hesse – we listened to classical music. He taught me the value of study, as I had left school with zero qualifications. I learned about the environment, politics, history, economics; a world so big I couldn’t even imagine.

In the evenings, we would lie end to end on the sofa, reading books and listening to The Eagles or Genesis. Every so often, I would look up and see him just gazing at me, and my heart would skip a beat. Life was pretty perfect.

Not Quite Good Enough?

His father, who I met daily at work, seemed to have no problem with us and was always lovely to me. His mother, however, was not so happy. His elder sister had become pregnant and, in her eyes, had brought shame on the family. So much so that they had sold their house and moved to a new area. I guess she didn’t want to risk a repeat of that shame with her son.

Anyway, I don’t want to blame anyone at all, but after two wonderful years we split up. I was heartbroken. All I had left was his incredibly beautiful love letters, written in perfect scribed handwriting, and my memories.

Although we were no longer together, our time had altered the whole course of my life. I had experienced so much, learned more than I could have imagined, and felt ready to change what I thought was my destiny.

A Whole New World

I started studying. First a Degree in Psychology, next a Diploma in Counselling and a Diploma in Mediation, followed by a qualification which would enable me to be a lecturer. Later, I studied so much more. It was a thrill to learn new things and, even now, I am still learning.

I worked hard and saved hard. Soon, I bought my first property, a little Victorian house in London, which I spent four years renovating to make it absolutely beautiful. I was the first person in my whole family to buy a house!

I started to travel, going to amazing places like Kenya, South Africa, America. I opened a practice in Sussex, and another in London. I bought and sold more properties, both in the UK and abroad.

After about 20 years, I started to write educational courses. Imagine me, a writer! I had left school without a single qualification. What would my old teachers say?

Counting My Blessings

Now in my 60s, I have spent the last two years travelling the world on my own, always looking forward to my next adventure, whatever that might be. I count my blessings every single day.

I am sure none of this would have happened if he and I had never met, and I am grateful every day that I took a little temporary job answering phones in an office. A real sliding-doors moment for me. 

P.S. I met him once more, many years later. I was married and he was engaged, but there was still this wonderful connection between us. In the background, a song came on the radio, This Guy’s In Love With You, our favourite song. I hope that maybe I am in a little corner of his heart, too.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Did you have a love that ‘got away’? Do you still think of them and what your life may have been if you’d stayed together? Have you ever met up again?

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Teresa Esquibel

I can so relate. I’ll never forget the young man I met in my high school English class. Maybe we would have had a future if I hadn’t been dumb enough to get pregnant between high school and college. I had to come home from college because of the condition I was in. Shortly there afterwards he called and asked me to go to a Church young adult meeting with him. I couldn’t tell him I was pregnant by someone that I should have never dated. I cried as I said goodbye to him. As such, I ruined a future I might have had with him. I still think of him often and cry over what have might have been. I’m divorced now, and I know he’s married. But my heart still aches. 🥺

Lily

Good morning Teresa, thank you for sharing this. Love is such a strong emotion and often stays with us for the rest of our life. If only we had the wisdom of our age now, when we were younger. Lily x

Joyce

I can share a similar story, but not quite as romantic. When I was 28 years old, I started dating a man from the office who was 46 years old. My mother was not pleased to say the least because of the significant age difference. Anyways, looking back, I can clearly see that not all relationships need to end in marriage or continue on indefinitely, but are meant to enhance our lives in some way and get us moving in a certain direction. This wonderfully fascinating man introduced me to the arts, life experiences and the importance of education. After we split, I returned to college and earned a BS degree in business, ultimately achieving career success. So, in a way, my story did have a “story book” ending.

Lily

Hello Joyce, Thank you for your lovely comment.I think people come in to our lives for a reason, and your lovely man seems to have changed your life in the same way mine did.Enjoy the memories. Lily x

JLS

A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing

Lily

Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it :) Lily x

Janice

My very first love died several years ago and I am sad to say that I only saw him again one time in the twenty five years since we broke up. After all these years he still has a place in my heart.

Lily

Hi Janice.I am sorry to hear that, but a little piece of him still lives on in your heart. Thank you for sharing. Lily x

Lynne Stevens

Lovely story!

Lily

Thank you Lynne, pleased you enjoyed it. Lily x

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The Author

Lily Bradshaw has had an interesting and varied career. Twenty years working as a psychotherapist and part time lecturer, followed by 20 years of writing educational courses. Now she is enjoying semi retirement writing books and articles that interest her, mostly about having fun and enjoying life. She has spent the last 2 years travelling solo.

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