It seems that a lot of relationships ended recently or people were thinking back to failed relationships past because both in person and online I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking if their failed relationships were a waste of time. That made me recall my own situation after my divorce and countless failed dating experiences. No one that’s been in a failed relationship, whether it was serious or not, can say they haven’t felt like it was a waste of time, I know I did. I felt like I wasted some of the prime years of my life. But was it really a waste? Is anything in our life a waste? After you’ve let them walk away and peace out what happens? Is a failed relationship a waste of time? Well … here’s what my experience has taught me.
Living With Regret
After a relationship has ended, we typically think back with sadness and regret. This is what leads us to believe that a failed relationship is a waste of time. Psychologists define regret as “regret is a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.” They go on to say that, “overall, 44% of women surveyed had romantic regrets, versus just 19% of men.” Sounds about right, we’ve all been there, women typically more than men. After my divorce I definitely regretted my choice in partner and each time I had a negative dating experience I blamed myself and cursed my bad luck. More wasted time, more bad choices.
Furthermore, studies reveal that “regret can result in chronic stress, negatively affecting hormonal and immune system functioning. Regret impedes the ability to recover from stressful life events by extending their emotional reach for months, years, or lifetimes.” What this tells us is that too much regret can make us sick and lead us further and further inwards to a darker place rather than a place of healing. They go on to say that “regret can also stem from counterfactual thinking. In other words, the easier it is to envisage a different outcome, the more likely we are to regret the lost opportunity.” How many times have you sat there thinking, if a certain something had happened then things would have turned much differently. We imagine all the different scenarios, play the blame game, throw a pity party or two, until we get stuck in our pit of despair. Now THAT is a waste of time.
While mourning a failed relationship is an important part of healing, we oftentimes waste countless hours wallowing in self-pity and “what ifs” when we could be doing something more healthy like slowly letting it go. Every encounter we have with someone, especially when we’re in a relationship, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Every one of those lessons learned is a new paving stone towards your happily ever after. Life is a journey and you can’t let your failed relationships define you, you have to use them to EMPOWER you. Thinking back, there were both positive and negative aspects to your failed relationship and like it or not you contributed to both. Learn from the experience. When I learned this important lesson I ended up taking my journey of failed relationships and turned it into something positive … this blog. Because of that, it kept growing to what it is today. Now, I am so grateful for my experiences because they allowed me to grow into who I am today and have given me the opportunity to help others along their paths as well.
Living with gratitude has brought me to such a better place in my life and allowed me to reach so many goals I could not even imagine were possible. When you appreciate what you do have every day you focus on the important things and the things you regret end up becoming insignificant and small. Daily gratitude really does bring love your way because you’re letting go of past hurts and regrets and opening yourself up to positivity and light. Try it and see how your life changes.
Is a Failed Relationship a Waste of Time?
So, is a failed relationship a waste of time? I say no it isn’t. Our life is a journey and each experience is an important part of our personal growth and makes us better and stronger individuals. I’ve heard before that we live life forward but understand it backward. Perhaps it’s hard to see what good came of your failed relationship right now, but, one day you will find something to be grateful for, even if it’s that you dodged a bullet. So pick up the pieces of your broken heart, put it back together and look ahead to something better and brighter … look ahead to the path you’re paving towards your happily ever after … and, regret nothing, especially if it made you happy, even for a short time.
READERS: Do you believe a failed relationship is a waste of time? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Sometimes yes, especially in cases where you know it’s going nowhere yet the person keeps holding on. However many failed relationships teach us more. For example, it was several failed relationships (though they were brief and mostly casual) taught me these situations don’t work for me. Failed relationships in general gave me knowledge on what I want in a mate. A terrific relationship after a horrific one taught me not all men are out to use me.
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Initially when a relationship fails you’re left feeling like you wasted all this time and energy. It’s only after some time has passed that you can look back and appreciate the good times and things you learned that have made you stronger and a better person. Each person or situation you encounter teaches you something, which helps you grow as an individual. We waste too much time looking back wondering what if, instead of looking forward to new adventures and possibilities. Easy to say to our friends, but so hard to follow our own advice!
Yes and no. There’s one year of my life that could have absolutely been spent on something (anything) better. And yet, without it, I likely wouldn’t be married to my wife – so here we are. Broken roads that lead to the right places in the end.
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