The man I should have married.

by mssinglemama on October 13, 2008

We all have one. 

The man we let go… and shouldn’t have. 

Mine is in South Korea. He moved there after we broke up and hasn’t come back since, aside from a few random visits. Once we met in Amsterdam – both of us are avid travelers – and once we met in Cleveland when he was visiting his parents. I was too young when we met, just 20, to realize that our relationship was the real thing. 

I met him just after I’d found out my father had terminal cancer.

“I have to tell you something,” I said, while I was curled up in his arms. “Dating me won’t be easy because I just found out my father has cancer and he’s going to die.” 

It’s like a hatchet. You throw it down and hope it doesn’t break the connection. If it doesn’t, if the wood is strong enough, it stays together. And we did – for nearly two years. I broke up with him when I found out he’d lied to me about something I didn’t understand. I didn’t take the time to understand – too young to work it out – to talk about it – to realize that our relationship was worth more.

Whenever I doubt my ability to truly love someone or be so connected to someone, I think of him. Because we were the best of friends and so insanely connected. It makes me believe that I can have something with a man, because aside from him I really haven’t. 

When he found out I was a single mom it came via e-mail. 

He called me a few months later to tell me if I needed anything – anything – to let him know. He was so incredibly supportive and pissed as hell at my ex-husband.

Tonight after the remarkable radio show, which you really should listen to – we found each other on iChat for the first time. Now I’m sitting here wondering why, after 8 years, I still feel so much for this man. Also wondering why, when you least expect it, a man gives you the most amazing butterflies. 

And why are those butterflies so damn thrilling? DAMN IT. He’s in South Korea so it’s incredibly, phenomonally impossible.

Who’s the man you should have married?

Spill it. Because I just did and I might delete this in the morning for fear that he’s reading.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah October 13, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Hey Ms Single Mama — I am so excited to have discovered your blog and I am going to send it to all my single mama friends. Thanks for being so honest and wise and funny about this journey. I will definitely listen to the show…

I honestly cannot say that there is one that I should have married…he’s still yet to materialize!



jenn October 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Hmmm… I don’t know who I should have married, but it’s weird because I just finished blogging about a friend that just dropped off the face of the earth ten years ago, when I wrote him and told him I was engaged. Now I wonder if he wanted to be more than friends….


O Solo Mama October 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

You know–it’s really interesting. I started to think about someone I dated my first year at university. I don’t think it ever would have worked, but. . .anyhoo, the one I almost married is deinitely not the one I should have!


jenn October 13, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Oh, and there was this really hot guy that I worked with that was obviously interested in me. I was dating my now ex-husband at the time, and now I wonder how things would have gone if I had given the other guy a chance. He was a really nice guy.


Laura October 13, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I havent met him yet!

There was a guy I THOUGHT wanted to marry and we are good friends now but I also realise that we wouldnt have made it! I was too young too back then and he has changed too much now!

So there is noone that I have felt this connected too!

BUT you need to enjoy this 😉 Who knows where it may go!!!


Laura October 13, 2008 at 9:26 pm

mine is married to someone else!
we were friends for 6 years then dated for a year. This goes back to 1999, we had been fighting and hadn’t had sex in a week. I told him I didn’t want to be with someone who could sleep in the same bed and not want to be with me even if he was mad. I was young and stupid. We’ve both had big and small relationships since then and we’ve asked other we we didn’t fight harder for us. We should have. We both have regrets but he’s taken so i keep him at a distance for my sake and for hers. I would never bring anything to someone elses relationship that i wouldn’t want brought to mine. But late at night it’s hard not wondering about us and what could have been.


Kat October 13, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Yup, I have one of those. I have no idea where he is today.
I do think of him from time to time, but it comes from when I’m thinking about that period of my life when I lived somewhere else, where my friends and family still are, and it comes to mind as sort of an oh yeah, that was the time I spent 2 years with Aaron.
2 really good years with Aaron, and 6 months of making mistakes with Aaron.
We both screwed things up, said hurtful things that weren’t true just to get a rise.

But I don’t think about the what if’s or have any regrets about that relationship ending or that time in my life.
I choose to live with no regrets, I cannot live regretting what has happened.
It’s done, in the past and over with.
Regretting it, dwelling on it, even thinking about how he could have been the one, is regretting, and regretting doesn’t change the fact that we didn’t marry.

I cannot change the past, and trying to build a relationship in the now from then, would be trying to make that time happen all over again.
We remember how a person was then, and time has passed, things have changed, we have changed, and so have they.
They are not the person they were then no matter how much we may want them to have stayed exactly as they were then.


Linda S October 14, 2008 at 6:03 am

he was in college and I was in love. he was nice like the man i did end up marrying, but he family was well grounded. and normal…he broke up with me and i think i just pushed the relationship too hard at the time…or he just lost interest. can you really have regrets when you end up with 3 of the most wonderful children?

I just tell my kids to double and triple check out the parents and family of the one you are interested in…it sooooo matters. If my background check had really been a factor I would have run from my now ex. even though I saw him as soooo different, in the end he ended up just the same and, well, being void of emotion in a marriage doesn’t work for me….thanks! I have so many things I want to vent about my divorce that I wont because i don’t want to trash my ex…but this helps doing it on your blog!


Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) October 14, 2008 at 6:08 am

I’m glad you didn’t delete it. Perhaps there is still time and means for making it work. Someday I will be brave enough to share about the man I should have married…. maybe.


Jolene October 14, 2008 at 6:35 am

So I don’t know if there is a man that I should have married but I know for sure that there is a man that I shouldn’t have! If I would have found this web site five years ago I would not be in the “situation” I am now in. five years ago I married my boyfriend at the time because I was prego…. BIG MISTAKE!! and now five years and three kids later I am fighting to get out of hell. After reading some of your blogs I feel a sense of impowerment… I can do this for me and for my kids. Thank you.


Leslie October 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

I suppose there’s always one that got away, but the one that was probably right for me never really got a fair shake. Just one of those I will always wonder what happened to (and probably the only person my age without a myspace, etc. ha) we kept crossing paths again but one or both of us was in a relationship or just got out of one and so on. Bad timing.

But since we never really had a real serious relationship, I’m able to think of only the good times and great guy that he was. Those are the perfect kind of memories, only good ones 🙂

I just always invisioned that one as the kind of guy I’d marry. Probably why I never pursued it like I should have, eh. I am my own worst enemy indeed.


J-Fo October 14, 2008 at 6:53 am

This hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’m DEFINITELY scared of it happening with the person I’ve recently met. I’m more than crazy about him, but our geographies absolutely do not line up. The logical person would just, as he puts it “tuck tail and run.” But I’m petrified that, if I do…I will be sitting at my blog writing this same post 5, 6, 10 years from now.

This shit is just never easy, is it?

I’ll be interested to see what happens with this…thanks for sharing!


Nicole October 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

I should have married my law school boyfriend. But I thought I was too young, I have not met anyone who has treated me better.


mssinglemama October 14, 2008 at 1:44 pm

No regrets here. But clearly, women like to daydream – don’t we?

I still am.

Damn. I’m sure it’s just because I’m ovulating. : ) TMI, I know.


PT-LawMom October 14, 2008 at 9:44 pm

I definitely haven’t met him yet.

And, girl, I totally hear you on the ovulating thing. Damn hormones. 😉


Rita1968 October 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm

We met in 1992 in a small town in Europe. He was playing in a rock band there. He is American and I’m Australian. For the first year we couldnt stand each other, the second year he became my best friend. The third year he became my big love with romantic dancing in public, spine tingles, poems and love letters, the whole shebang.

It endured ten years of on again/off again due to the tyranny of distance. He stayed in Germany, I lived in the States then I moved home and he eventually went to the states cause his dad had died. We visited each other every six months. He was and still is the funniest, most romantic, caring and talented man I have ever met but there was one big flaw that only became apparent to me as we grew older. He was an alcoholic. A bad one.

I let him go in the end after he lost everything – his job, his dignity and everything he owned. I tried to help him but I lost my physical attraction to him and this made him more sad. I was under so much pressure from my family to let him go. Was so difficult and very traumatic in the end. And I foolishly thought I would eventually meet someone else who would make me feel like he made me feel and I never did…or have yet to anyway.

Funny you posted this today cause I was just thinking about him a couple of hours ago and had a little cry (might also have something to do with me being 38 weeks pregnant and single). I think about this man all the time. He eventually married and he doesn’t want me in his life now. I guess he needed to move on. The hard part for me is that it seems like he has sorted himself out but I’ll never really know…


Jaime @ Just Add Laughter October 16, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Mine was a guy I met on the internet when I was 17. He was 23 and attending college in Ohio, and I lived in California. I dumped him for a guy who was in the here and now, who ended up dumping me. I have been in a string of bad relationships since, including my 5 year marriage. I have been trying to find him via MySpace and GradFinder, but no luck. Of course, he has a pretty common name, and I don’t think he’s in Ohio anymore.

P.S. I love your blog, and I have something for you there!


spatulahandle October 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm

The man that was” the one” for me passed away three years ago. I met him seven years ago. Have you ever had someone right at your fingertips but just can’t quite grab a hold of them? I had him, but couldn’t grab him…I miss him! If you want, I can email you the story.


Leslie Poston October 16, 2008 at 6:40 pm

I hope he still is into books, as we used to own a bookstore together. I was far, far too young to have found him, and I treated him horribly in the end because I didn’t know how else to break it off (or to stay) at my 23 to his 30something. I hope he is deliriously happy.


spatulahandle October 16, 2008 at 11:05 pm

…His name was Kenneth. He had moved into my brother’s house. Shortly after moving in he and his girlfriend got into a fight and she took their daughter with her and moved away. On a trip to my parents house to pay the rent he told my mom that his girlfriend had left. They somehow got on the subject of me and the marriage I was in, which was really bad, and he told my mom he would like to talk to me…so one day when he called my mom’s house I happened to be there and he asked to talk to me. The words that came out of his mouth were the kindest I had ever heard. He told me I was beautiful and that he knew what my situation was and that no one deserved to be treated the way I was being treated and he went on talking…I can’t remember all he said, but I think my jaw was on the floor when we were finished. He made me realize that I could find better. He gave me the courage I needed to get out of a bad situation. He made me smile again. A month after we met he got back with his girlfriend and our conversations stopped. I took my three kids and left my husband. After my divorce, I found out that Kenneth and his girlfriend had split again, so I called him and we started seeing each other. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other and I just fell head over heel for him. Then he got into a tiff over the rent on the house with my dad and my dad threatened to throw me out of the house ( I was living with my parents at the time) if he continued seeing me. So, for my sake and my kids he decided it was time to move on and got back together with his daughter’s mom, again. I was so heartbroken.
I remember one day I was in my car and I started crying for him, I missed him so much, I just cried and cried. Later that evening he came by my parents house to check up on me, he knew I was heartbroken. He brought my dad a small amount of money as an excuse to see me briefly, he asked me how I was doing, gave me a hug and then left. He must have felt my sadness, to get up the courage to come to my parents house to see how I was doing. I wanted to talk to him more, I wanted to hug him with all my might and just never let go, but his girlfriend and daughter were in the car and he had to leave.
I had him at my fingertips and was so close to having him, but I just couldn’t grab hold of him.
A couple of years later, I met his brother in Wal-mart and stopped to see how Kenneth was doing. His brother took and interest in me and we are now married. He is good to me and I love him very much, but I still hold a very special place for Kenneth way deep down in my heart.
Kenneth, three years ago took his own life. He and his girlfriend had gotten into a fight, she bought a trailer from her brother on her parents property under the conditions he, Kenneth, never set foot on the property again and he wasn’t allowed to see his daughter. Tired of the situation, he gave up and shot himself in the head.
Sometimes when I dream, he is there. He never speaks a word, he is just there. One of the dreams I had, we were dancing and I could feel his arms around me. It was just like he had never left, It felt so good to be in his arms. Not a day goes by that he is not in my thoughts. He is greatly missed.


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Ms. Single Mama October 17, 2008 at 6:06 am

Spatula – This is such an amazing, beautiful and heart-wrenching story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Really – thank you. I’m so sorry life has to be so damn cruel sometimes but in each of these experiences there is some kind of lesson and just sharing it here, I believe, will help keep Kenneth’s memory and the lessons he left you alive for the rest of us to learn from.

Thank you.

P.S. I LOVE all of these stories… all of them. As for mine, the subject of this post, we were going to chat again the next day but I haven’t heard from him. That’s how it is – sporadic and random times that we find each other. Sigh.


Susan October 17, 2008 at 6:57 am

I just broke up (again) with my first love…20 years after the first break-up! I really thought that it was my destiny to be with this man that started my relationship journey. It was very hard but I realized (after an 8 month long-distance relationship) that he’s really not for me BUT, oh, the lessons I’ve learned! I still love him and he’s got a special place in my life but I got clarity and realize that he’s not the one for me.

So, now, I’m looking (again) to my friend with whom I have always felt an incredible connection with since we were both married and now, after 4 years, 3 divorces and many play dates, I wonder, wonder, wonder…do I dare risk loosing a great friendship and see if there’s potential?


Cyndi October 20, 2008 at 3:08 pm

I don’t know about marriage, but Ben. Gawd I still miss that man. I wish I knew where he was, not because I want him back but becuase we were just the best of friends and things were so easy with him. But we were never on the same page at the same time. Something was always in the way. He will forever be the what-if-I had-gone-down-that-road guy. If I saw him now we’d probably be totally wrong for eachother since he’s an eternal free spirit and I’ve totally settled down.

Miss you, ‘Jamin!!


Rakia October 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Yeah, I had someone that was good to me, but I let him go. He was sweet, understanding, generous, even handsome, intelligent, and most important God-fearing. And he cooked. All the desires we as women have in the ideal man. But that was back in hign school…… I’m now 35 years old.
Why oh why do we go for the thuggish, bad boy type.


THE REAL FIRST LADY!!!! October 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm

He’s someone that I will never forget because he is always…ALLLLLLLLLLLWAYS on my mind. I can honestly say that I am 120% sure that he was the man that I was supposed to marry. I was also too young when we were together. The reason I say this is not because i wasn’t sure it was the real thing, because I was (even then), but since I was so young older family members gave me the wrong advice!!! because I was soooo young they gave me the cliche ” there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” While that is sort of true, it’s not true at all when the “fish” you had was extremely rare!!! We broke up because of a misunderstanding which I would give ANYTHING to change the effects of! after about 7 years I still feel this way 🙁 Lession learned? always tell people how you really feel… AND… don’t listen to advice when you don’t agree with it no matter how old you are!!!!!!!


Lost in Love November 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

So I am back, and realize I am replying on an old blog..but I am searching for some advice from you wonderful single moms. My ex (the single great mom) has been contacting me lately, alot. Telling me her kids miss me, her brother misses me…and well using words that I thought I would not hear again…For fear she reads this blog I will not give details…but my love for her, 4 months later has not left, I think of her often. And always smile. We still speak every now and again, until this past week, It has picked up on her part, she even told me she wanted to visit ( i moved recently)…Is my hope real, or is she keeping me on hold???? Our break up was not mutual, but I did accept it bec. I love her, and it was not bec of a terrible relationship, quite the oppossite, could I be the guy she fears will leave her in the future, younger, never married, no kids?


Lindsey November 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm

He was my college beau. I kept breaking up w/him because I felt I needed to grow up & be my own person before committing to him for the rest of my life. But I did want to marry him eventually. He got tired of waiting (or thought I didn’t really care) & found someone else. They were divorced after 3 yrs. We haven’t had any contact in 25 yrs. We’ve both married & divorced others & are both now married to others. And not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Still.


mae January 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

The man i shouldve married is now married i’m also married have been for 10 years now he just married in 2007 and i have to say we had a fling together about 6 years ago and it was like we never broke up he was not with anyone then shame on me yes i was married as i said i have thought about him ever since i got married and then now 10 years later i think of him everyday its tortue i have kids he still has none and i could never rip my family up i do also love my hubby so just take your time in things is all i can say so ya have no regrets later but i see i’m not alone in this which is a real relief.


Susan January 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Golly, the man I should have married, or the man I THOUGHT I should have married was my first love. He crushed my heart and I’ve not been the same since. I had a second chance with him just a year ago but we didn’t make it…but we might have if we married each other when I was 18! I’m not kidding. We might have made it but I know too much now…it’s so hard to date as a single parent AND when I know myself so well…I really wish I’d married younger EXCEPT I adore my kids and I really don’t have regrets…


PhenomenalMama January 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I don’t think I have one, honestly.

I do have a man that I wish I hadn’t given up on so easily….or rather, maybe more like a man I’d wished I’d met at a different time in my life. I didn’t get to know him well enough to figure out if he was ‘marriage material’ or not.

I will probably always wonder “what if” about him.


Kim - My Crew Magazine January 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I should have married Sam Perkins! I acted like an idiot when we dated. We were so connected and intune, I was too immature at the time. It goes down as the worst regret of all time. I loved that man. Still do.


sandi March 5, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I didnt marry the one I should have. I met him when i was 19 and his type of love was so intense that i didnt get it. I hurt him real bad…a few years down the line i tried to get back with him again and again and all he said was NO. Somehow i just couldnt hear it because in my head and heart his voice was saying one thing but his actions were saying another…Now i am married to a wonderful man who loves me completely and he married someone a few months after i married. I was ok for the first one year but all of a sudden i have been thinking about him again…damn it I wish i could just erase that and move on…


mssinglemama March 6, 2009 at 3:29 am

So sad. But now you're both in different places. We can't re-create the past – can we? But we can learn from it. So glad you found this post so you at least know you're not the only one kicking themselves.


Muhammed February 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

Go to michael’s for alot of your deroiatcons and make your own boquets and boutinerres from fake flowers. get signed up on their mailing list to get coupons, get some other people to do the same. then, when you go to buy something every week, use the coupons. take some people with you that have coupons and then you can get more! The dollar tree has some things like thank yous,tulle circles that you can put buttermints into for your guests, and much more!


phiasmom January 30, 2009 at 5:37 pm

He’s single still?!! Go for it! There are two guys I should have married (well, I would have only married one of them) and always regret it.


Apples January 30, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I married him…. Yes this might confuse some who know that I am a divorced-solo-mother of one. I still say that the man I divorced and the man I married although legally and physically the same person were two total different people. Maybe thats just the way I coped with it who knows….


Mandy February 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm

It is so comforting to know I am not alone. I threw away a love which I know I will never experience again and now he is engaged less than 6 months later to someone else. I was married and unhappy when we met. He was 16 years younger than me. In my head i thought it was insanity and infatuation on my part, but I failed to listen to my heart until it was too late. That 'infatuation' was in my heart and soul for 5 years. He has the most beautiful heart and soul I have ever known and he wanted to marry me. My husband and I seperated 3 years ago but it took me a long time to let go of my marriage although I knew my heart and soul was not with my husband. I just loved him with my head and all the practicalities of our life. I told my new love to go away as I needed space and time to get myself strong again after 23 years of marriage. Finally after 5 years he did. And by the time I ditched the baggage 6 months later my wonderful guy was gone and with another . I can't blame him at all and I love him more than I can say in words. I miss him every minute of everyday and wish I had just gone with my heart from the start. But I guess it was a lesson i needed to learn …..


ed August 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Yup just another relationship you screwed up because it was easier to leave than to figure things out. Bravo.


syrona November 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I just wanted to say I’ve found all your stories really inspirational, I’m only 18, and my boyfriend has just proposed (we aren’t getting married till after uni though when we can afford it) everyone thinks that were too young, that we don’t know enough yet to know what love is and we need more experience in order to make this sort of decision, but we know this is it, the real thing, and it’s given me such confidence to know so many women who are older and wiser still believe they should have married young, so I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your stories its really helped me know I should just follow my heart, and that just because I’m young, doesn’t mean I don’t know that this is the man I should be with.


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