Ah, love. It makes us do the craziest things. And while it can fill us with complete happiness, it can also take us on a rollercoaster of emotions and leave us with a few regrets.
But whether or not you wish you could go back in time and change something, these regrets and experiences shape who you are today.
“When we feel regret, when we feel guilty and embarrassed by what we've done, we are motivated to undo the wrongful things we did and make better, more careful decisions in the future,” Dr. Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor at Virginia’s George Mason University, explains in Psychology Today.
“We all learn and grow from our regrets,” he continues. “Without regret, you are done evolving, and you will be ineffective coping with an uncertain, unpredictable world where mistakes are inevitable.”
So this Valentine’s Day, Huffington Post Canada spoke to 17 men about their biggest love regrets. We can all learn and relate to these stories.
1. “I wish I had dated more when I was a teenager; looking back, I feel like I could have been less shy and more confident and proactive with romances. There are also a couple of former girlfriends that I would have broken up with sooner if I could go back in time. I think everything's eventual though, and I'm so happy that all my experiences led me to find the perfect woman who I'm lucky enough to share my life with now.” - Curtis Runstedler, Durham, U.K.
2. “My biggest love regret would be not being able to face the truth and ending a relationship sooner. In a previous relationship, I saw the signs of it degrading, but always kept an optimistic attitude, thinking things would change over time. There comes a point where you need to realize things won't get better, or are not worth trying for, and you need to step away from that relationship.” - Shawn Sayavong, Vaughan, Ont.
3. “In high school I was really close with a friend of mine. We used to hang out all the time and when we weren't together, we were messaging each other or we were playing video games together. I felt a strong connection with this person, but we had some argument and eventually grew apart. I regret not being more forgiving and forward with how I felt and sometimes I just miss the friendship. It's bittersweet to think about even though this was years and years ago.” - Brandon Vidito, Oshawa, Ont.
4. “Friends with benefits never works. Eventually someone starts developing feelings for the other, and it only ends with an ultimatum between dating or ruining the friendship you had beforehand. And I have tried both options. I regret both and not cutting off friends with benefits when I noticed romantic feelings developing.” - Calin Mindrut, Mississauga, Ont.
5. “When I think of love I regret not having the courage to tell him how I feel. I regret that it took me so long to put myself back together and figure out that he was someone good for me, that I wanted more between us. Because of love and regret I've spent more than a few sleepless nights wondering, ‘What if?'" - Brett Thornton, Oshawa, Ont.
6. “My biggest regrets are paying too much attention to the opinions of others instead of prioritizing the person I was with.” - Will D'Souza, Ajax, Ont.
7. “My biggest regret has to be with my first love. We were on and off for so long, it was toxic. Instead of just calling it quits earlier, we just battled it out. You're in so deep you can’t imagine ever leaving. You think you will never find anyone again because your confidence is shattered from all the negativity that's happening every time you're with her. You turn into someone you're not or someone you never thought you would become.” - Amin Shafiee, Toronto, Ont.
8. “One regret would be losing myself while trying to hold on to someone who didn’t care about losing me. Another regret is not trusting my gut. If you feel like something's wrong or off, chances are it is. Lastly, I would say I regret not being more confident in myself and not taking more chances.” - Mike Robinson, Whitby, Ont.
9. “I told a girl I loved her and she broke up with me right there on the spot. My guard has been high since then. Went on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and relationships. And now, here I am getting married this year to the true love of my life. My regret in all this is being naive and keeping my wall down; it wasn't even built up. I hate the pain, anxiety, anguish that I felt for the months, and even years, after that, but I wouldn't give it up because I am where I am today thanks to the issues in the past.” - Gerry B., Whitby, Ont.
10. “One of my biggest love regrets was a relationship I had after my second serious one. I started to see a girl and we got along great. The romance felt like something out of ‘Gossip Girl.’ We were basically Chuck and Blair. We'd fight about stupid things, fall apart, but the lust to be together was always there. The whole thing fell apart after I wasn't ready to give her the full commitment she wanted. Thinking back on it maybe if I had committed more we would have had it all and gotten past our other issues.” - Chris Kmieciak, Whitby, Ont.
11. “What I've learned from my relationships is that trust is the number one component. Once someone has been dishonest or unfaithful, the relationship slowly withers away. Personally, I've stayed in relationships knowing the other person was constantly lying, but I loved them so much I put up with the compulsive lies and cheating. Once you break the key to unlock their trust, you won't find another key easily.” - Evin Balkissoon, Toronto, Ont.
12. “I think the hardest part is walking away after giving so much time. I’ve been in a toxic relationship where I've wanted to stay for the sake of not being a quitter, the sake of making it work. Leaving a toxic situation is different than quitting.” - J. Brown, Toronto, Ont.
13. “We were only a couple of months into our relationship when my former girlfriend first introduced me to her male best friend. Soon, her friend started spending more and more time with her, and she spent less and less time with me. She eventually confessed she cheated on me with him and I ended things with her as I believed I deserved something better than betrayal. I regret dating someone who eventually developed feelings for someone else while in a relationship.” - Nizar Mawani, Whitby, Ont.
14. “The only real regret I have is not walking away when I knew things were past the point of no return. Relationships are generally unhealthy when one person starts feeling disconnected, and if both people can't catch that early then it becomes harder and harder to get back to that spot. Eventually you get to a point where you're just holding on to memories. Sometimes it's better to walk away, or at the very least, just create some breathing room to think. That's a hard lesson to learn at any age.” - Matthew Roberts, Toronto, Ont.
15. “I regret focusing on my own needs at times when I should have considered her feelings.” - Tristan Bennett, Jacksonville, U.S.
16. “I regret not being more aggressive or putting myself out there more. I've run into some really great girls that when I look back, I realize they were interested but I was far too shy to acknowledge it at the time. Sometimes I guess you just have to lay all your cards on the table and take a hard chance, or else you'll just be stuck thinking what could've been.” - Dusan Micic, Oshawa, Ont.
17. “Regrets? No – I don’t have any. Having feelings of regret, especially now, would dishonour and taint my memories, my moments and my feelings for all the women with whom I shared a loving relationship with as I grew up. That is all critical; those moments haunted me, changed me, shaped me and matured me into the man I am today and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. You’re asking if I had to it all over again? Right or wrong, devastating or not, and even if it hurts? Absolutely I would, because that is how I knew it was real.” - Martin Encarnacion, Toronto, Ont.