Romantic Regret Stings The Most According to a New Study

By Emily Murray

Valentine’s Day 2012 has come and gone and while sweet memories linger for some, the dark sting of regret may be closing in for others.

Did you leave your Valentine waiting for you to come home as you finished that final project at work? Did you forget to plan anything because you were so caught up with your job this week?

According to a new study, this type of romantic regret will linger more than any other. In fact, if you were to have neglected completing that project you would have regretted it less over time than leaving your significant other waiting for you.

For those of us who have felt the sting of love lost, a study from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University may be of particular interest. The findings of the study were published in this month’s edition of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Essentially the “need to belong” is one of the core desires we have as humans and since social relationships revolve around this notion, neglecting it can cause psychological distress.

Other studies have repeatedly revealed the importance of maintaining these types of relationships throughout life. Research has shown that those among the elderly who remain active socially tend to maintain their health longer. With the emergence of social media has come a new way for even those who are bedridden to remain active in the lives of their friends and families and their health benefits as a result.

The Study
In order to find the scientific significance of what may have begun as a mere hypothesis, researchers conducted 5 experiments on a range of participants somewhere between 108 to 549 men and women. Participants were broken up by age mainly and two of the groups were college students and adults. When questioned about their biggest regrets in their lives thus far, most related to social situations and romantic relationships.

Researchers found that regret seems to be most frequently reported when it comes to ending a relationship, engaging in infidelity or other socially connected and romantic blunders. These types of regrets trumped those created from job oriented situations.

The Take-Away
No matter our age, chances are that we already have certain things we regret in our lives. The best thing though is that we can always continue to try and make decisions in the future that we won’t likely regret further down the road.

Knowing that these romantic altercations can be the hardest to overcome, perhaps it will give us some ammunition for really thinking over our actions. While it may seem that the realities of life may leave little time for romance, why not step out of the office at 5 p.m. a few nights a week? Your social interactions and romantic life will benefit, leaving no room for regret later on down the road.