Monday, April 27, 2015

Lover's remorse...

Lover's remorse is the sense of regret after having made a lifelong commitment to one person, in this case, a spouse. For the sake of this article, let's go with spouse, since it has a degree of finality. A lover hopes that all that time, energy and resources will have been spent on a worthwhile pursuit of a significant other. It comes fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the current spouse. It's that longing feeling you get when you are with someone, and you feel like you've made a mistake. There may or may not be something inherently wrong with your choice, but the last thing you feel is contentment.

Lover's remorse is created through increasing distress associated with increased choices. I mean, the more potential mates one sees, the more difficult it becomes to pick one. Then they get caught up in the nitty gritty, the minute details. “He isn't tall enough.” “She is too needy.”  “He is too arrogant.” “She is too independent.” One looks around and sees so much on offer, but cannot partake because they are committed, as if there’s much fundamental difference in choice. Yes, the grass on the other side always looks greener. And it always will, no matter how green yours is. At some point, one must settle for what they want, in terms of key acceptable attributes, and try to enjoy life from there onwards. One finds themselves thinking about what they will be missing if they decide to go ahead with 'the one in the hand'. Others think that the universe has a twisted sense of timing, presenting 'the right one' just as they've committed their life to someone. 

For a goal-oriented lover (like those who badly want to get hitched, and time is running out), getting the 'wrong' spouse may not be a significant mistake. But for more involved decisions, the consequences of a wrong decision are significant. As the number of choices increase, it is easier to imagine a different choice that may have been better than the one selected. The constant comparison to one's expectations induces regret, which reduces the satisfaction of any decision, even if it fills the lover's needs. When there are many alternatives to consider, it is easy to imagine the attractive features of rejected choices and there is a decrease in overall satisfaction with the chosen spouse. And yet, to have any form of happiness (with a spouse), one must inevitably choose a spouse.

Factors that affect lover's remorse include resources invested, the involvement of the lover, whether the spouse is compatible with the lover's goals, and what positive or negative evidence the lover encounters post-commitment that confirms or denies the spouse as a good idea. The effort invested in the spouse (material, intellectual, psychological, and others) is directly related to the importance of the spouse. Spouses that require high amounts of effort but do not bear high rewards are likely to lead to lover’s remorse. 

Lover’s remorse is nothing more than a discomforting voice in your head that isn't based on any fact. Because, by nature, having a spouse is indeed fulfilling a fundamental need. The rest are just tweaks, according to preference, which must not be taken lightly, nor compromised on, for the sake of one's sanity. 

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