Why You Shouldn’t Regret Past Loves, Even When They Didn’t End Well

If there is one thing I truly, absolutely believe in, it is this: Everything happens for a reason. Everything.

Getting your heart broken is a really painful ordeal. Of course it is. It’s possibly one of the most difficult things we all experience in life, especially when it’s by someone you have loved, trusted, or shared an intimate relationship with, no matter for how long. For a time, this person was at the center of your life and it hurts when things just fall apart. It sucks when things don’t ultimately work out between the two of you, especially when the relationship ended on a bad note.

graphics girl love flower past loves

Artist: @uuuu__jin

But even so, don’t regret it. Walk away if you must. Go through the pain of the loss, of the fall out, of the moving on. But please, don’t ever regret it.

Because despite the heartaches, there are always good things to take away from the experience. And I don’t just mean the memories, the happy days, or the chance at love—I mean all the lessons, too. The lessons, above all. After all, as with all storms we face in life, after they pass (and they always do), we have a chance to come out of the storm stronger, wiser, and braver.

So choose that. Instead of regretting, choose learning. Choose growth.

I’ve had my fair share of heartaches too, that’s for sure. But no matter how bad things had gone between me and someone, I’ve never let bitterness, anger, or resentment towards them take over me. At least not for long. I don’t allow myself to. It somehow feels useless to me, letting yourself wallow over something that had already happened. Can regret change the past? Absolutely not. But your acceptance now and forgiveness towards how things turned out can change your future. And isn’t that so much more important?

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love rosieImage from: Love, Rosie (Lionsgate, 2014)

So don’t do it. Look back with an acceptance but don’t ever regret all the time, energy and—heck I’ll say it—love you’ve poured and invested into someone even when they were ultimately in vain. Because at the end of the day, you had a chance at love, and you took that chance. As poet Alfred Lord Tennyson had best expressed it, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Every person we meet in life is a teacher. Their presence in our lives teaches us something, whether we are aware of it or not. And the sooner we realize this, the sooner can we transform our experiences of pain and heartache into experiences that catapult us into growth, ultimately leading us to the people we were always meant to be with.

As for me, I can see now that all those years of failed attempts⁠—unrequited love, missed chances, or plain confusing times—have not only taught me what I wanted, but above all what I didn’t want. My past experiences in love have taught me to see all the things I knew wasn’t right for me. And in that process it taught me how to love myself. And by learning how to love myself, I learned what kind of love I should be looking for from other people. I learned what kind of love I deserve.

The next time someone exits your life, don’t regret all the time and love you poured into them. Try not to. Instead, let them go with an accepting “thank you” for all the things your time with them have taught you, both good and bad. And, finally, believe in the fact that with them leaving, you are creating space in your life for the right one to come along.

Because, really. Everything happens for a reason.