What having regrets in a relationship could actually mean

Relationships are one of the most important things in our lives, whether it be with friends or a significant other. Sometimes relationships can be a roller coaster of emotions and we begin to start doubting ourselves and the decisions we've made. Regrets often come after a fight or when things don't go the way you hoped or envisioned. The good news is that having regrets can also mean you've grown as a person and realize you should have done things differently.

For example, Bustle spoke with people who experienced regret in romantic relationships. They expressed disappointment in themselves for not expressing how they truly felt, giving up their dreams for a partner, and staying in relationships past their expiration date. Experts say this is normal, and that lack of communication is a common regret. Psychology Today interviewed 700 experienced people about what they regretted most when it came to relationships and a common theme was not saying how they really felt. Many said they didn't regret the things they said, but regretted what they didn't express, whether it be deep feelings, compliments, or gratitude.

Relationship coach Jordan Gray explained that two things are going on if you regret a romantic relationship that happened. You either

"aren't finished processing your pain," or "you haven't given up the victim mentality, taken responsibility, and gleaned your lessons from the relationship yet." He said these are important parts to process before you can move beyond regret.

Not forgiving someone can also lead to regret

Not expressing forgiveness can also lead to guilt. Brandon Vidito from Oshawa, Ontario told HuffPost he regrets not being more forgiving when it came to a close friendship from high school. "I felt a strong connection with this person, but we had some arguments and eventually grew apart," he explained. "I regret not being more forgiving and forward with how I felt and sometimes I just miss the friendship. It's bittersweet to think about even though this was years and years ago."

However, Dr. Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor at Virginia George Mason University, explains regret isn't always a bad thing. He told Psychology Today that when we feel remorse and are embarrassed by our actions it helps to motivate us to make better decisions in the future. "We all learn and grow from our regrets..." he said. "...without regret, you are done evolving, and you will be ineffective coping with an uncertain, unpredictable world where mistakes are inevitable."

So don't worry — many of us regret things in our lives, but that just means we are growing into better and more understanding people.