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Our Dating Regrets

I decided to take a survey of good friends and find out what kind of regrets people had when dating. Regrets took on many different forms in their varied answers but I thought it was interesting to ask because it often highlights dating issues we often forget to mention. As with many of my surveys, the results are haphazard but are useful in pointing out that we are not alone in the mistakes that occur in our dating lives.

Here follows are a mind boggling catalogue of dating disasters that we should bear in mind as lessons learned.

1. In top spot - dating a married person. Man or woman, it makes no difference. In every version the story was the same, dating a married person was a complete disaster. Not withstanding the lies, deceit, regret, cheating and false promises, on NO occasion did anyone I asked have a good outcome for their married affairs. This was one good example of how to waste your years waiting for someone who will never leave; sharing your loved one with someone else and spending thousands of dollars on stolen moments and brief weekends where you were not the only person on their mind. Avoid like the plague unless you want to lose all the dignity you ever had.

2. Amazingly not marrying your childhood sweetheart was number 2. It appears there are a lot of people who have spent years wishing they had married the person of their dreams when they had the chance. Unfortunately this often tends to be your childhood sweetheart or first love at college. At the time you are too young and there are too many other fish in the sea. In later years you have used them as a bench mark of the minimal level of romance required for potential partners and never quite match it. This leads to a feeling of making do with second best. In turn you start hankering for the girl or boy from all those years ago.

3. Not asking someone out on a date when the offer was there. This is a biggie because we are dealing with the eternal niggling "what if.." question. This tends to come out as a regret at a time when other things are not going well and you find yourself fantasizing. What if you had asked him out. What if you had said yes to that date. What if you had got married and had children. It seems that not asking someone out can leave a long term legacy. Just look at the popularity of reunion sites on the Internet just now.

4. Not ending a bad relationship earlier. Yes lot of us listed this one. There are many of us who have entered into a relationship willingly only to discover to our cost that the relationship wasn't all it could be. Whilst the door was only over there we chose for many a reason not to walk out of it. Whilst perhaps a worthy concept in itself it does none of us a service. The fact is, too many of us have stayed in long term relationships that were not good for ourselves and our partners. If only we had had the courage at the time.

5. Dating the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Maybe for sex, for appearance, for contacts, for business reasons or even out of sympathy. It appears that there are plenty of people out there who have dated people for the wrong reasons and lived to regret it. This has to be balanced against hindsight. Looking back it is obvious which people we perhaps should never have dated but there are plenty of us who dated the wrong person at the time and knew we were doing it. No excuse.

6. Putting your career first and waiting too long. Oh yes, this is a modern classic. Our current society has a problem in that a third of all adults are now single - and growing. The most commonly sited reason is that we put our career first, especially through out 20's and then begin seriously dating in our 30's when we feel ready. The problem is that we are not as young as we were, not as attractive as when we were 21 in many cases, our body clocks are ticking at a deafening volume and all the best catches have been snapped up. A great many of us appear to be wishing we had sorted out our love lives earlier. Be warned.

7. Leaving someone you were in love with. I don't have the answers but it cropped up quite a few times in my survey and could be tied in with point 2. People in love have left and seem to struggle to find an explanation. All too often the decision was regretted very quickly only to find that the rejected partner had closed and bolted the door and you were never going to be allowed back. Infidelity is the primary cause, or more to the point, getting caught. If you love someone stay with them faithfully appears to be the lesson here.

8. Not being the nice person you could have been. Treating someone badly in a relationship always comes back to haunt you if you are the guilty party, however empowering it may have felt at the time. As we grow older we list mentally those we could have been nicer too and I am amazed how many of us confess we could have been nicer people to our lovers. I am not talking about physical violence though we all accept that it does exist within our society. No I simply mean being courteous, kind, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, buying flowers, compromising, going on holidays and being romantic and spontaneous. We live and learn and later regret is clearly the message.

9. Dumping someone in a callous and bad way. I have done it and I have had it done to me and I regret both happening. When young it was easy to love and leave and I never thought anything of it. As I grew older I had it done to me by someone I loved and it broke my heart. I don't think we every do get over being left in a bad way - no explanation, no reasons given. One day it's fine, the next day you're gone. Dumping via email, texting or phone should be made cardinal sins and it appears from my survey that many of us regret doing just that.

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