Our Biggest Regret Is...

Love, family, education, career, money all make the list
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 24, 2011 4:32 AM CDT
Sweet love   (©Zdenko Zivkovic)
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(Newser) – Love—or lust—was in the air, and we failed to take action, or took the wrong action. That's the biggest regret of our lives, according to a recent study. Nearly one in five survey respondents named a lost love connection as the one thing in their lives they regretted most of all. Some 44% of women named a romantic regret, while just 19% of men have relationship regrets. People not in a relationship were the most likely to cite a romantic regret. No. 2? Regret related to family, with 16% of respondents naming a regret about a family fight or being unkind to a sibling.

Other regrets centered around education (13%), career choices (12%), money problems (10%), parenting mistakes (9%), and health (6%). “The longer-ago regrets tend to focus on lost opportunities, things you could have done or should have done different,” Northwestern researcher Neal Roese tells the New York Times. “More recent regrets tend to focus on things you did do that you wish you could take back. The most helpful way to experience regret is to feel it deeply, get over it quickly, and move on and use it to push you to new behaviors that are going to be helpful.’’ (Read more regrets stories.)

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