Regret falling in love

5 tips to avoid regrets about love

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Regrets about love are ubiquitous in literature, theater, and music. (Consider almost every country song you've ever heard.)

However, very few practical guides have been written about it avoid Relationship regrets. In my interviews with 700 older people who had great experience both in and outside of relationships, I was very interested in what younger people could do to avoid regretting their actions regarding love, relationships, and marriage . I was not disappointed - they provided useful pointers on how we can improve our chances of having no regrets in our lifelong search for love.

Here are five rules made by the oldest (and wisest) Americans:

1. Pay attention to your intuition

In choosing their partners, almost all of the elders described a strong sense of being accuracy, an intuitive, overwhelming belief that you made the right choice. Call it what you will - spark, intuition, gut feeling - they agree that you shouldn't commit to a relationship without them. But they warn even more of the downside of feeling in love: never marry without it - or you might regret it.

Because for the prevention of regrets, the opposite is even more important than the feeling of being in love: let's call it the feeling that this is wrong. Many described this feeling in remarkably similar terms - a visceral, intuitive, agonizing feeling that the relationship is just not right. It can be so weak that you have to carefully search your feelings for it. But the elders report from their own experience, sometimes tragic, that at your very own risk, you ignore the warning about this feeling.

A vivid and poignant example of this tough lesson came from Kathy Andrews, 78. She was married to Ben for 20 years before she finally found the courage to divorce him. They met while studying in college. Early on, she told me, there were red flags that should have warned her about the relationship. But her boyfriend was extremely persistent and her friends were encouraging. She fell into the engagement and had no will to break it off.

Looking back, she talked about the lack of feeling "in love":

There was a warning that I should have been looking out for, and I hope younger people will listen carefully to this. Here's the thing: I had a bad feeling down there somewhere. A gut feeling that at some point I knew that I wasn't really in love with him and that this was a mistake. It was a warning sign. But I wasn't smart enough to realize it at the time. I just kind of made up my mind.

There was a ritual in our college. It was well meant and should be how your fellow students would share your joy. When a man got engaged, a couple of other men threw them into a lake on campus. It was different for girls; They dragged her into the pool and poured her in there. Of course, many girls looked forward to it; You were proud to have a future husband, and I suppose they liked the fact that others might envy you. I knew I should be happy and excited. But when they came to me to pour over, I noticed a sinking sensation in my stomach. I was - that wasn't quite right. It's a feeling that is difficult to describe. It was a feeling like "I don't think so ..."

If only I had listened to this feeling!

The marriage was disastrous and ended in divorce. Kathy's message is that you probably know at some level if the relationship is just wrong, but it requires you to listen carefully to your inner voice. You need to heed the warning that even if there is social pressure to stay the course, this is wrong.

2. Perform due diligence

Yes, the elders say instinct and intuition are important. But the second rule to preventing regrets is: you may be in love, but Don't park your property by the door

The elders believe that you need a systematic process of evaluating a potential mate. Some of them even used a business metaphor: do a "due diligence" on your partner. So that this doesn't seem unromantic, remind yourself that this is exactly what you are supposed to do: bracket romantic love in a compartment of your brain. Now take a good look at whether your partner has objective qualities that make him a good life partner.

Now that you are serious, the questions should come to the fore: Is he or she good marriage material? Is he or she likely to be a responsible and committed partner? If your love can't stand this kind of scrutiny, wonder how deep that love was in the first place.

The elders say that there are a number of important and practical questions that you should carefully consider before committing to a relationship. Some may sound old-fashioned, but that's exactly what you should be doing - think "old-fashioned".

You have to ask the question: Will my partner be a good provider? Most couples require two incomes to achieve their financial fortune goals. As always, marriage is an economic institution where most people pool their finances. Your economic success and standard of living are inextricably linked to that of another person. Hence, you need to check whether your potential partner is economically viable.

Cecilia Fowler, 76, summed up the problem:

It is hard to think about material things when you are physically attracted to someone. It's hard to put that aside. But one thing to look at is your attitude towards work. If you're a hard worker and you want to push, push, push and the other person doesn't, it's hard. It's awfully hard to work all the time and someone else is sitting there watching you. Imagine what two people could achieve if both were filled with the same fire and drive. But when you have to be carried all the time, that's difficult. So you should look at the personality of the person. Do you want to be successful in school, successful in your job, or have a successful time? This is something that you need to take into account.

An important step in the due diligence process is therefore the careful observation of the work habits of the potential partner: Does he jump from job to job? Can't she make career plans, and get stuck in an impasse without looking to the future? Or worse, is he or she not even looking for work and instead needs your support or asks for credit? The experts argue that such behavior is unlikely to change after marriage - and you may regret it.

3. Make sure your values ​​match

Americans love the idea that "opposites attract" when two radically different people overcome their differences and live happily. Films play this theme over and over again My beautiful wife to Pretty Woman to You got an email. Because love isn't all that matters? To answer this question, the elders say: No.

In fact, among all the advice on choosing a partner, one particular lesson stands out: You and your partner must share the same core values.

They believe that much of what is good in a long-term marriage comes from similar values ​​and worldviews, and conversely, much that goes wrong results from incompatible value systems. In order to avoid regret, the elders say that the most important task a couple must do before making a firm commitment is to answer the question: do we share the same values ​​about the most important things in life?

Warren, 86, put it briefly:

The most important thing is to understand the other person's values ​​to determine whether they are properly related to your own. What are you interested in? How do you feel about the world? What is important to you?

The elders encourage you to think twice (or more) before entering into a relationship with someone who does not share your core values. Personalities can complement each other. Different interests can spice up a relationship. But a clash of core values ​​is something that marriage cannot easily survive. Three particularly important areas to talk about before getting married - values ​​about money, religion, and how children should be raised.

4. Take a close look at your partner's family

The elders agree: they don't marry just one person; You marry his or her family. By this, they mean that your partner's relatives are a lifelong ingredient in the recipe of your married life. Therefore, an essential part of avoiding regrets is to consider your potential partner's family before committing to marriage.

Most people don't think much about in-laws after dating. But the elders tell us that once you are married, each partner brings a cast of different - and sometimes quirky or difficult - family members into the marriage. If we like them, it's a bonus. If we don't, we can be embroiled in a lifelong struggle to minimize conflict and accommodate disappointment.

Cindy, 72, formulated the basic problem as follows:

There are huge differences between two families that mean that you have to work on it. But everyone has it. You know, I found out a long time ago that the only problem with in-laws is that they aren't you. You don't have the story that you have. That makes it easier to get along with your family because you know what to expect. But the biggest sin of your in-laws is this They are not you and they are not your family.

Scientists agree: studies of newlyweds show that satisfaction with relationships between in-laws strongly correlates with overall marriage happiness. On the other hand, marriages in which there are mismatched relationships between in-laws have a lower chance of success in the long run. No question about it: parent-in-law relationships are really important.

Of course, some couples overcome in-laws problems. But the elders warn you to beware of any combination of highly toxic future in-laws and a partner who is entangled with them. They will not make your decision for you. But they say that not considering your future in-laws when choosing a partner is often a way to regret it.

5. Say it now

A great regret that the elders expressed was not the things they said but the things they did Not say. Some of the saddest comments had to do with the failure to express deep feelings of love. Gratitude or even simple compliments throughout the relationship.

Janice, 83, told me:

Well, we're pretty old now, of course, and when we were young it was common for people not to be ostentatious. So neither me nor my husband were very interested in showing our feelings or emotions. That's one thing I would do differently. I would try to be more loving and then I think that at some point he would have learned to be too. I knew he took care of me and everything, but it was just the little things that weren't there, just through everyday life. I really missed that. I could have done something about it, but I didn't really realize that at the time. And over the years it was just a pattern that never changed.

Just add to the number of small, positive things you say to your partner. According to the elders, it can improve and enliven your marriage - and help you avoid regrets.

I look forward to hearing from you Your Suggestions How To Avoid Regrets About Love, Romance, and Marriage!