The author. Courtesy of the author
The author. Courtesy of the author© Provided by INSIDER
  • I met my ex in college. After a few months together, he ghosted me.
  • I couldn't get over him — and eventually, years later, we started dating again.
  • I found out he lied to me about cheating so I'd break up with him. It was what I needed to move on.

For a long time, my ex-boyfriend from college, Shawn, was "the one that got away" for me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get over him.

Then we got back together.

When I met Shawn, I was in my early 20s. He was handsome and had an infectious sense of humor. An hour into our first conversation, I felt like we'd known each other forever.

What started as an easy friendship quickly turned into much more. Over the next few months we stayed up all night talking on the phone, listening to records, and fooling around in bed.

A few years earlier, I'd experienced a sexual assault that often left me feeling disconnected from my body and desires. With Shawn I felt safe and understood, like I could be truly vulnerable with him.

One day, he ghosted. We'd known each other for only a few months, but I was gutted when he disappeared.

Years later we reconnected and got together again

In the years that followed, I struggled to fully move on, comparing everyone I met to Shawn. I held on to the memory of him, in part because of what he represented: my carefree college days when I was happier and wasn't shackled with the responsibilities of adulthood.