Roses or regret this Valentine's Day?

Feb 14, 2014

Miami's Amy Summerville says, "taking time to understand this year's regrets may spur next year's romantic dinner for two."
Credit WVXU via Instagram

If you're more inclined to call Friday "Single's Awareness Day" than "Valentine's Day," Miami University researcher Amy Summerville says cheer up. Well, kind of.

The Assistant Professor of Psychology is out with a study on why romantic regret is more pervasive than other kinds of regret. Her research finds regret tends to fade quickly unless it's relevant to an ongoing goal.

"Romance," says Summerville, "unless you're in a Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus song, is something where most of us really feel like even if we've screwed up one relationship, hopefully we have a chance to love again and have other relationships. Romantic regret is really perfectly poised to be something that persists over time because of this ongoing relevance to our lives."

While that may sound kind of depressing, Summerville says, 'fear not,' romantic regret is actually pretty useful. It helps us learn from our mistakes and think about what we can do differently in the future.

Summerville says research is unclear on whether "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

Summerville says taking time to understand your romantic regrets this Single's Awareness Day just might lead to a romantic dinner for two next Valentine's Day.