What if you got to do-over a dating mistake?


dating mistakes

How many of us like to admit when someone isn’t into us, or at least not as into us as we are into him – and yet we still call him, wait for his texts, or let him come over at midnight to hang out, hoping he’ll see we’re the one? Have you done the walk of shame in your heels and LBD after a drunken night? Have you gone for the no-strings-attached rebound, only to fall in love again?

There are a few dating mistakes we’ve all made that we’d like to forget about.

I’m reading this great book by Tara Lee Reed (not the actress) called Coulda Woulda Shoulda. It’s like the Choose Your Own Adventure series for adults – specifically single people dating. In it, we get to play the protagonist and make all the decisions – oh, and suffer all the consequences, too. There are lots of endings. It’s not pretty, but it’s fun. Mostly because you get do-overs if something goes horribly wrong.

Too bad we can’t do the same thing in real life. I would love a few do-overs, especially for a couple of embarrassing moments. But I digress.


mistakes in dating

Let’s say you did get a chance to correct the wrongs of the past. Maybe you decide not to call or send a dozen texts to the guy who disappeared for no reason. Maybe instead of getting drunk you politely decline last call at the bar and go on home – alone. Maybe you think to yourself, kissing my best friend’s ex is probably not a good idea right now…

While you might have dodged that particular bullet, life is always presenting lessons for us to learn until we learn them. Am I right? Maybe you wouldn’t make the same mistake with the same guy, but what about the next time? It’s kind of pointless to beat ourselves up every single time we do make a dating mistake. Isn’t life about learning from all of our experiences, not just getting it right every time? There’s no such thing. We’re not perfect. We’re human. But we also need to learn something.

We’re always learning from our screw-ups, and this is a good thing.

I’ve discovered that no matter what path you choose – get drunk with him, sleep with him too soon, leave him after a brief kiss – wanting more, not answering his phone calls in order to look less available – in the end, these mistakes don’t matter to your overall love life trajectory. It’s the decisions you continue to make after you’ve made a mistake. Do you keep doing the same thing, or do you choose a different course of action next time?

In other words, the mistakes don’t matter in the long run. We all make mistakes. It’s part of the process. But we have to learn from them, or we just keep making the same ones over and over.

I’ll leave you with this nugget I learned back in middle school:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana



About Kelly Seal

Kelly is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. She blogs about dating, relationships, and sometimes peanut butter. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter @kellyseal or through her website www.kellyseal.com.


  1. says

    I look at every bad experience as a learning experience, but having a skip back button would be too cool. Even if it’s only for 10 seconds. LOL! It could prevent a lot of stress and heartache. However, building upon mistakes is what builds character and resolve. It’s what strengthens (or breaks) us. Good post!

  2. says

    Sometimes I wish I could do-over a few things from my past, particularly a few relationships, but then I step back and realize they all happened for a reason, and make me a better person today. Thanks for the reminder! Great post!

  3. says

    Thanks Que and Meena! Yes, mistakes help us to grow to be who we are. But I admit sometimes I look back and just cringe…

  4. says

    Hey Michael! Hmmm…not sure about that one. I’d worry that there’s always another version of my choice floating around in Cyberspace, waiting to rear its ugly head. Nothing ever goes away forever in the digital space.

  5. says

    Do overs would be awesome! But in the real world we just have to learn from our mistakes and move forward in a positive direction. Thanks for great food for thought!

  6. says

    I warmly embrace the concept that I do not make mistakes…I have “learnings”! LOL! Even if we were able to go back and have do-overs the notion that we learned something from the missteps of our past would be crucial. All the cringe worthy moments are what create wisdom…at least in some!

  7. says

    Thanks for including me in this great post, Kelly!

    Part of what was so fun about writing this book was how much art imitates life, because even when you can go back and get a do-over, you’re still gonna mess something else up a few pages later, because that’s just life and love.

    The mistakes make us who we are, teach us about ourselves and prepare us for “that” person when we find them. And hopefully they’re also doing the same for us (but never reveal the details).

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