A recent NY Times article cited a study about regrets, saying 44 percent of females had a romantic regret…
I suspect there are many of us who occasionally think about the one that got away, the friend to whom we never confessed our true feelings, the relationship we unintentionally sabotaged, simply because we didn’t know any better…
Most of us who have gone through a divorce or major break-up have probably thought more than one of these regretful thoughts:
- Why didn’t I settle for the guy / girl before him / her?
- Why didn’t I leave sooner?
- Why didn’t I work harder?
- Why didn’t I see his / her true nature before we got married?
- Why doesn’t he / she want me anymore?
- Why wasn’t I enough?
None of these are productive questions. As I’ve said before, even if these kinds of questions were answerable, the answer(s) would never be satisfactory. If there were easy answers, I’m hopeful that we’re all smart enough to find them unacceptable. What could possibly explain away the upheaval, decimated self-esteem, cock-eyed financial shenanigans and ruined dreams (especially of our children)?
Perhaps later in the process, we’re asking instead:
- How could I have done that?
- Why did I behave so poorly?
- How did I let that slip in front of the children?
- Why did I fight so hard for or hang onto that (home, piece of furniture, or other physical object) for so long?
This morning I met a strong, incredible and divorced woman for coffee. She asked me what happened, and I told her, “we just disagreed.” Yeah, it’s probably a cop-out. After awhile, the pain and resentment fade, the drama no longer seems to create a compelling narrative, and it seems I’m mostly looking forward.
When I’m feeling nostalgic, I just dig through my iTunes for this classic Dave Mason song:
So let’s leave it alone, ’cause we can’t see eye to eye…
There ain’t no good guys; there ain’t no bad guys;
There’s only you and me and we just disagree.
I’d like to think I’ve mostly moved on. Every so often there’s a flash of anger. I can hear it in my tone of voice when I’m cleaning the basement and marveling to anyone who will listen about something my ex hung on to, or when I come across another of his ineffective home repairs. Mostly, though, I am grateful for the lessons, grateful for our children, and very pleased with the woman emerging from the experience.
Do I have regrets? Sure. But most are fading regrets of misbehaviors that I’d like to think taught me a little something. There’s no one who got away. In this Zen moment and every other, everything is as it should be.