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Tissues at the ready, these tales about the one that got away are pretty emotional!

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As much as we think we love a good old happy ending, complete with a Disney-style closing scene and all loose ends neatly tied up with a pretty bow, it’s actually the stories of love and loss that seem to resonate the most.

Missed chances, unfortunate timing or tales of ‘the one that got away’, are the plot devices that keep us hooked until the very last page of the novel, or when the closing credits start rolling.

Stories of the love affairs that never quite happened, or the ones torn apart from factors out of the protagonists’ control, are the most heartbreaking of all. And they happen in real life, too.

Put the kettle on, grab some tissues and make your way through these tales of the one that got away (Adele’s Someone Like You playing on loop, optional).

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Sometimes even long lost love stories get their happy ending…

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One of the more famous examples of lost love in the movies is the 2004 adaptation of famous Nicholas’ Sparks The Notebook. After spending the summer together and falling head over heels in love, Allie and Noah are torn apart by Allie’s disapproving family. Cue one of the most tear-jerking romantic gestures on screen ever, where Noah spends the years and years spent apart from Allie building her dream house, all the while thinking he’ll probably never see her again as she’s engaged to some suave army chap. *Spoiler alert* Luckily, she gets wind of his antics and the two manage to rekindle their romance. Heart-wrenching stuff.

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This guy, on the other hand, is pretty realistic about his chances of ever seeing his long last love again..

“I think what we had, when we had it, it was so easy. I don’t know if it’s because I was younger or if it’s more of a credit to the great chemistry we had…it might be some combination of both, actually. I know that relationships aren’t exactly supposed to be easy, but we just really got along, never fought, really understood and respected each other. It didn’t end badly, just sadly. I chose to take a job opportunity that would put us far away from each other, and she did not want to do long distance or move from our home town, so that was that. Maybe someday if both of us don’t end up married and we end up in the same town I’ll try and reconnect romantically with her, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’d be some serious Nicholas Sparks stuff.” Vincent, via Woman’s Health

Buzzfeed did a little experiment to see what people would say to the ones that got away, if they had the chance, or the courage…

Excuse us *cough* we just have a little something in our eye… 

Then there’s this guy, who we think needs to pick up the phone and call his ex, NOW!

“We had a lot of problems that ultimately did us in, but my ‘one who got away’ was amazing. I still think about her all of the time. What I loved most about her was that she was one of the few people I’ve ever known who truly couldn’t care less what other people thought about her or what she was doing—like just literally did not give a sh*t, which mean she also didn’t care what people thought about what I was doing. It was amazing. I haven’t been with another girl like that since. I don’t think there will be any rekindling, though, because, like I said, we had a lot of other problems, ones that I think would probably creep back into our relationship if we tried to go another round.” Noah, via Woman’s Health

These two took a whole 40 years to work it out! But we’re glad they did…

“Eric and I met in 1950 and from the moment we began dating I knew we were made for each other. We had so much fun—Eric was always making me laugh…I never forgot about Eric. Every time I heard our song, ‘Jealous Heart’, by Connie Francis, I recalled the first time Eric kissed me….[Then one day] I was serving at the bar when a voice I’d not heard for nearly 40 years asked me if there was any chance of a pint. I looked up and there was Eric, the hair was greyer and the face a little more wrinkled but other than that he was just as handsome as ever….Our relationship is just as passionate and physical as before, although now we’ve lost all of our teenage inhibitions.” via Though Catalogue

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While we may think fairy stories always end perfectly, The Little Mermaid is actually pretty hard hitting when it comes to heartache. Forgetting the Disney version, Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale sees Ariel not only watch the man she loves marry another woman, but also sacrifice herself to become foam on the water in order to save him. Brutal.

This woman’s now glad that things didn’t work out with her former love…

“I met a guy in my teenage years who became one of my greatest friends. He was a giant teddy bear with a full beard at 15 years old, and I was a chubby, happy go lucky, optimistic girl. Because I had dated one of his friends, I was cautious about dating him because I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. He was SO into me, though, and told me repeatedly how much he wanted to date me. I loved him very much, just not “in that way. Eventually, my feelings changed and a few years later we fooled around. I fell head over heels for him, and he dropped me like a sack of potatoes. Friendship over. It was over so fast, and seemingly for no reason. None of our mutual friends found out what happened, or why he dumped me. But I loved him, and continued to think that someday we would work it out. Our friends always said that we would end up marrying. After a few years of non communication, I looked him up and sent an email. He wanted nothing to do with me. I still don’t know why. But it doesn’t really matter… We are both happily married to other people and have kids. I still look back on our friendship and relationship fondly, though I really wish I would have known what went wrong. I am crazy in love with my husband, but before I met him I always thought of this fellow as the one who got away. Turns out, my life is far better than I ever could have imagined with him.” JMDTova, via Reddit

This woman reconnected with an old love through Facebook…

“About eight years ago, I represented America in a soccer tournament which took place in Brazil. While I was there, I met a guy who was also there for soccer, playing for one of the boys’ teams. We hit it off instantly and spent almost all of our free time together. When it was time to leave, we exchanged information (he lived in California and I’m from Massachusetts), and I felt sad even though we’d only known each other for about two weeks. When we got back to the States, we kept in touch by e-mailing and calling each other, but it eventually just petered out. A few weeks ago, however, he friended me on Facebook, which made my jaw drop. We started talking again, he came out to visit me, and now he’s my boyfriend. Being older and able to travel to see each other makes things a lot easier, and I feel like it was fate that brought us back together after all this time.” Vanessa via Cosmopolitan

The list wouldn’t be complete without Casablanca, the 1942 romantic drama about two young lovers brought together during WWII. Rick and Ilsa fall in love but never marry due to external factors beyond their control. Cue one of the most iconic parting scenes in cinema, ever…

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And who better to close this round up, then Katy Perry. We wonder if she still holds a torch for Russell…

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