5 Best Ways To Make Your Ex Regret Losing You

Lamenting What You Might Have Done Differently Is Not Only Holding You Back But Potentially Making You Sick And Preventing You From Livingyour Best Life. Instead Of Trying To Rewrite History, Meg Mason Finds It’s All About Reframing It

You Hear Women Describe It As A Weight On Their Chest, Or A Stab Of Pain. Something More Like Nausea, Coming In Waves, Or The Sense Of Being On The Fluttery Edges Of A Panic Attack. They Experience And Describe In Physical Terms Something That’s Purely Emotional: Regret.

5 Best Ways To Make Your Ex Regret Losing You Photo Gallery

It Feels That Way, Like Something Concrete And Immovable. It’s One Of The Most Universal Aspects Of Human Experience, With 90 Per Cent Of Us Easily Identifying At Least One Major Decision We’ve Gone On To Regret, According To Tech Start-Up Happify – And Who Has Ever Met A Member Of The 10 Per Cent? But If Regret Is So Common, Why Don’t We Know How To Deal With It? Why Do We Let It Sit There, Defining Us And Informing All Our Subsequent Choices? Why Do We Lie Awake At 3am Reliving It, Going Back And Back Over How Much Better Life Would Be Right Now If We Hadn’t Done The Thing, Or Had Done The Other Thing, When That Only Serves To Sharpen The Feeling And Make Sure It Will Hurt Just As Much In 10 Years As It Does Right Now? Or In Actual Fact, Hurt More.

“I Think About It All The Time And When I Do, I Feel Such A Heaviness In The Pit Of My Stomach,” 27-Year-Old Lea Sharp Says Of Her Decision To Stay In An Unhealthy Relationship For Years After She First Realised How Destructive It Was, Less Than A Month After It Began. She Was 21 At The Time, Pregnant And Preparing To Be A Single Mother When She Began Dating A Man Who She Had Known For A While And Was Already A Single Parent Himself. “At The Time I Thought, ‘Oh, This Man Must Be Amazing To Want To Take Over Parenting A Child Who Isn’t Biologically His,'” Sharp Says. “And He Was Very Doting To Begin With, But After The Birth He Became Very Jealous And Threatened By My Son. My Instincts Flared Right Away But My Mindset Was That I Just Needed To Stick It Out.”

So Many Years Later, Happily Married And With Another Child, Sharp Says, “I Just Wish I Could Go Back And Have The Time Over With My Son, Just The Two Of Us. I Still Struggle, And Even Though I Tell Myself I’m Doing So Much Better Now With My Second Child, Certain Things Will Remind Me Of What I Missed The First Time That I Can Never Get Back. I Still Regret Every Moment Of It.”

Hers Could Be An Object Lesson In Regret. And Most Of Us Could Tell A Version Of The Same. Out Of Every Small And Large Life Choice We’d Wish To Undo -From The Lower-Back Tattoo To The Decision Not To Buy That Apartment That Has Since Doubled In Value While You’re Still House Hunting – Relationship Choices Rank Most Highly, Especially Among Women. Nearly Half Of Female Respondents In A Study By Northwestern University In The Us Put “Romantic Regrets” At Number One Compared To Just 19 Per Cent Of Men, A Finding That Some Researchers Attribute To The Fact That Women Have More Difficulty “Disengaging Attention” From Past Relationships (Whereas Men’s Tendency To Partner Up More Quickly Shifts Their Focus On). Education, Career, Finance And Parenting Choices Occupy The Top Five, “But In My Practice, The Biggest Regrets Are Definitely Around Relationships,” Agrees Psychotherapist Melissa Ferrari. “The Sense That, If They Had Made A Better Or Different Decision – To Leave A Partner Sooner, Or Stay With Someone Who Would Have Been Good For Them – Is What I See Most.”

If We’ve Ever Been Told That Time Is A Healer, In The Case Of Regret, It’s Precisely The Opposite. The Passage Of Time Only Aggravates The Related Feelings Of Grief And Loss That Grow Out Of Regret. “The More Time That Has Passed Since An Event,” Reports The Same Northwestern Study, “The More Likely People Are To Focus On What They Failed To Do, Rather Than What They Actually Did.” And Instead Of Helping Us Process And Put Away Bad Choices, Those 3am Ruminations That Have Grown Into Habit Only Reinforce The Pain, “Extending [Its] Emotional Reach For Months, Years Or Lifetimes”, As The Psychologist Melanie Greenberg Has Described It.

“We Start To Go Around In This Loop And We Can’t Get Beyond It,” Explains Psychologist Madonna Hirning. “That Feeling Of Wanting To Go Back And Rewrite History, The Frustration That We Gave Up Our Control Of The Situation – Especially If It Was Something Really Important To Us – Is What Gets You Stuck In That Cycle Of Self-Recrimination.”

It’s A Wholly Internal Cycle, Which Is Why Sometimes An External Voice – A Friend Encouraging You Just To Get Over It Since It’s In The Past After All – Helps Exactly Not At All, And If Anything, Makes You Feel Guilty That You Can’t. And Contrary To What We’d Maybe Guess, It’s The Things We Didn’t Do That Elicit More Regret Than The Things We Did Do, Especially As We Get Older And Begin To Feel Like Time Is Running Out And Opportunities Are Becoming Fewer.

The Single Reason That Those “Regrets Of Omission” Sting More And Linger Longer Than “Regrets Of Action” Is This: That Dumb Thing We Did, We Know How It Played Out In Real Life. We Put Three Months In Europe On A Credit Card And Regret That It Took A Year To Pay Off. But When That Pain Was Over, The Outcome Became Fixed. As For That Thing We Didn’t Do, We’re Able To Attach To It A Boundless – If Completely Imaginary – Upside. A Few Months After We Turned Down That Job, We Start To Think That Maybe We’d Have Made Team Leader By Now. A Few Years After, We’ve Convinced Ourselves We’d Have Made Ceo, Thanks To An Absence Of Actual, Real Facts To The Contrary. “The Passage Of Time Often Brings With It Increased Confidence That One Could Have Performed An Earlier Task Successfully,” Explained Thomas Gilovich, A Researcher At Cornell University In The Us, While Northwestern University Researcher Neal Roese Found That Missing A Subsequent Opportunity To Put That First Choice Right Is Like Kerosene On Your Smouldering Agony. And The More Intelligent And Creative You Are, The Better You’ll Probably Be At Imagining An Alternate Future In Which You Were A 100 Per Cent Happy And Successful Person, As Opposed To The Plan B Human You Are Right Now.

“It Haunts Me A Little Bit,” Admits 27-Year-Old Evangeline Dascombe*, Reflecting On Her Choice To Study Mining Science At University, Only Because She Couldn’t Think Of What Else She’d Rather Do. “I Realised Fairly Early That It Wasn’t The Right Choice, But It Was Literally When I Finished The Degree That It Really Solidified Into This Realisation That, ‘Oh God, This Was A Mistake.'”

Even Worse Than The Feeling That “I Had Just Wasted $100,000 Of My Parents’ Money For A Degree That Was Functionally Useless”, Worse Than The Fact That Because She Didn’t Want To Work In Mining She Ended Up Temping, “The Most Soul-Crushing Thing Ever” Is Still The Sense That By Neglecting To Take Certain Subjects, She’s Living Out The Consequences Now As She Prepares To Retrain In Nursing. “I Never Used My Conservation Ecology [Qualifications], Which I Worked So Hard To Get. If I’d Just Taken Statistics And Chemistry [Instead], I Would Have Been In A Much Different Position Now. The Other Options I Might Have Taken, In Retrospect, Maybe Wouldn’t Have Turned Out Any Better But I Don’t Know That And That’s What Makes It So Aggravating.”

As A Shitty Bonus, Dascombe Also Feels That 18-Year-Old Her Has An Outsized Impact On The Ability Of 27-Year-Old Her To Make Any Kind Of Decision With Confidence. “Ninety-Nine Per Cent Of The Time I’m A Decisive Person And Always Have Been, But Now There’s This Refrain In The Back Of My Mind: ‘Am I Screwing Up Again?’ It Took Me Two Years To Buy A Car Because I Kept Turning And Turning It Over And Over,” She Says.

It Doesn’t Help Any Of Us That Advertisers Intentionally Play On Regret (If You’d Just Used Our Spf You Would Look So Much Younger Right Now; Buy A Car Now Because It Will Kill You If You Miss The Sale), Or That Society Presents Us With Such Surfeit Of Choices In Every Part Of Life. They’re Laboratory Conditions For Breeding Regret.

In The Well-Known “Jam Experiment”, Participants Made To Taste And Then Choose Their Favourite Out Of 24 Different Varieties Of Jam Experienced Significantly Higher Levels Of Regret Than Those Made To Choose From Six. Because, Think About It, What If The One Jam Out Of Two Dozen You Didn’t Taste Was The One That Was Going To Be Your Favourite? We’re Wired That Way – To See The Downside Of Every Decision After And Before We Make It – A Hangover From The Evolutionary Brain’s Need To Constantly Detect Danger And Feed It Back Into Decision-Making. Regret’s Best Friend, Fear, Lives Somewhere Near There As Well. “Fear Plays Off Regret, Absolutely,” Says Hirning. “You’ve Made Yourself Vulnerable In A Choice, You Got Burnt And The Brain Says, ‘Don’t Do That Again, Just Be Safe.'”

Women Are Also More Skilled Than Men At “Catastrophising” A Future Decision Based On A Past Failure, As Though There’s Such A Thing As Ahead-Of-Time Regret. “We’re Designed As Women To Pre-Plan Failure,” Explains Life Coach Lauren Heys. “We Have A Great Tendency To Catastrophise Because We Live 90 Per Cent In Our Emotions And Only 10 Per Cent In Our Logical Mind. That’s Where The Frozen Effect Comes From.”

The Frozen Effect – That Feeling Of Paralysis, An Inability To Act Or Move On – Is One Of The Many Negative Consequences Of Chronic Regret On Our Mental Health And Wellness, Which Also Include Lower Levels Of Overall “Life Satisfaction”, According To One Study, And Chronic Stress. Mri Scans Have Shown That In The Throes Of Regret, The Limbic Part Of The Brain Fires To Cause An Emotional Threat Response (Another Round Of Cortisol Shots!), While The Part Of The Brain Connected To Feelings Of Reward Slows Right Down. That May Be Why Some Researchers Believe That Regret Can Cause A Specific Form Of Depression, Known As Anhedonic Depression, The Kind That (In Simple Terms) Makes You Withdraw From Pleasurable Activities And Feel Emotionally Flatlined. Regret Can Also Trigger A Battery Of Physical Issues, Affecting Everything From Our Hormones To Our Immune Response.

But Let’s Fast-Forward To The Upside, Because There Is One, Thank God. Children First Experience Regret Around Age Six, But Not As A Negative. Simulate The Feeling Of Regret In Children (In Studies, By Using Lollies) And Rather Than Feeling Depressed, Despondent Or Frustrated By Making The Wrong Choice, A Child Learns “Adaptive Decision-Making” – The Exact Same Thing That We Can Use To Turn Serial Regrets Into A Positive. You Made A Terrible Decision Or No Decision Once, You Can Make A Better Decision Now. But Only If You Work For It, Cultivate The Practice. And Here’s How…

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