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What do you wish you’d done differently? Whether it’s the great guy who got away or the dead-end relationship that went on way too long, romance gone-wrong tops the list of regrets for most people.

Nearly a fifth of participants in a study out of Northwestern University cited regrets involving romance. That was followed closely by regrets about family, education, and career, finance, and parenting.

Women were more likely than men to have regrets about relationships. That’s what fueled 44 percent of their regrets compared to 19 percent of men’s. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to have regrets about work or education — 34 percent compared to women’s 26 percent, according to the study.

Many of the regrets around work involved missed opportunities — turning down a job instead of taking it, failing to take risks that could have led to a more fulfilling career. Those with less education were more likely to have education regrets. And those with more education were more likely to have career regrets.

Short-term regrets tended to be about things people did like forgetting to call Mom on Mother’s Day.

But the long-lasting regrets were more often about things that people did not do, such as never expressing their feelings to a loved one or taking a career risk. What does it all mean? When in doubt, go for it! And remember regret is an essential part of the human experience.

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