Regret is a terrible thing. I’ve lived with it and even with therapy, the feelings stick.
You can work through the feelings, but the situation itself remains.
So Close But Yet So Far
“What hurts the most
Is being so close
Having so much to say
And watching you walk away” –
“What Hurts the Most”, Rascal Flatts
It can be difficult to express your feelings with someone that you care about, for a variety of reasons. Fear is a beast that can keep you from doing what you need to the most.
What if I say how I really feel?
Does this change everything?
Will he/she freak out?
The closer you get to say these things, the bigger the questions get.
The Words Left Behind
I wanted so badly to tell Jake that I loved him, along with years’ worth of other things. “I love you” just happened to be at the top of the list.
I just didn’t. I was afraid.
I knew he cared a lot about me- but love? I couldn’t tell. He wasn’t a fan of commitment and I was aware that he had other women in his life, so I really struggled with the idea of saying this.
Things were about to change between us as it was- when he died, I was a week from filing for a divorce. I didn’t know what would happen next, but I was worried that putting too much on him emotionally would push him away.
We hung out a week before his death and there was one moment that I felt it was finally okay, and for some reason, I told myself, “Nah, next time. This isn’t it.”
There wasn’t a next time.
The next time I saw Jake besides work was his visitation.
Dealing With the Leftovers
I realized that I wouldn’t be able to tell him how I felt. This crushed me. I would never know how he really felt about me.
While sitting with Jordan at the visitation, I asked him if he thought Jake died knowing how much I cared about him.
“I think he knew. He really cared about you.”
Jordan has no idea how much that has helped heal my heart. I had a hard time figuring out how Jake truly felt about me sometimes and this has always stayed in my heart.
His words helped me come to terms with not fully knowing how Jake felt about me, along with therapy.
But how would I deal with what I didn’t get to say?
Of course. It’s the main way I deal with things.
I wrote in an online journal, in a letter from, like I was talking to Jake as I wrote. This helped immensely through my grief process.
Letting Go of the Words
How do you let go of the things you don’t get to say?
A few tips:
- Just say it. Saying three small words would have saved me a lot of heartbreak. I could have gotten hurt afterward but at least I wouldn’t have the regret. I’ve often said on social media to not hold back and say how you feel.
- Don’t hold it inside. If something happens and you are truly unable to tell the person what you need to, don’t hang onto it. This might set you up for emotional distress.
- Write a letter and then destroy it. This can help you get the feelings and thoughts out, then you can let them go (safely)
- Talk to someone. Verbally expressing your feelings can be extremely helpful, whether this is a friend, family member or even a therapist.
- Distract. Sometimes our brains like to mess with us – either with “what-if” thoughts or replaying the situation repeatedly. Finding a good distraction, like music, cleaning, or even a funny movie can help.
We can’t fully avoid things we regret, as much as we would like to. We can, however, try our best to deal with it in a healthy way. This can also help with words left unsaid.