Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. ~ Sydney Smith
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
I don’t have many regrets. I feel that everything we do, everything that happens, serves its purpose, even though we may not know what that purpose is at the time.
One thing that I can say I regret doing, I regret because I hurt someone else, and possibly may have caused his (and my) life to go down a different path, although honestly I doubt that. What I truly regret about it is that because of my actions, he was not able to experience the fullness, the richness of an alternative life to the one he chose: my actions closed that door for him. I still believe that he probably would have made the choice he did, but at least it would have not have been out of fear.
When my ex and I were about a year into exploring poly, we started dating a woman together. Actually, I started dating her, he and she were friends. She is gay, but occasionally sleeps with men, and they had an instant, strong attraction for each other. Knowing this, I facilitated a threesome, and we all had a great time. Flash forward a couple months, and he confessed to having fallen in love with her.
I totally and completely lost it. Worse than any emotional meltdown I have ever experienced, worse behavior than I have ever exhibited, just sheer madness and insanity on my part. The meltdown only lasted for a couple hours before I brought myself under control, realized how patently wrong and unfair I was being, and tried to salvage the situation…but the damage was done. Previous to that he had been involved only sexually with other women, and believed himself incapable of loving anyone but me. He was filled with such delight, such unexpected joy at the discovery that he could love someone else. And I stole that from him. After that…he was afraid to open himself up again to anyone else but me. It was horrible to witness, and so much worse to know that I was the cause of it. My incautious words, my thoughtless reactions, my insecurities and fears.
I think he would have still come to the same conclusion–that he is happier in a monogamous relationship–but I stole something from him that day, and I do regret it.
It is no justification, but I learned a lot from the experience, at least. I know myself well enough to know that that is always going to be my initial, knee-jerk reaction. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish that my lovers being with others didn’t elicit this almost primal sense of insecurity and fear of loss, but I know that it is as much a part of me as my need to overcome that fear. But whenever I feel it, whenever it starts to overwhelm me, I remember the stunned expression on his face, and I make myself remember the look in his eyes…and I take a deep breath, and walk, slowly, back from that precipice.
I hope that forcing myself to feel that regret, to acknowledge the pain I caused him, makes me a better partner to those I love. No, not in justification, but, perhaps, in recompense.