There are a million movies and shows about it, but still, we never learn... Sometimes we want something so badly, but when we get it we realize it's nothing like we imagined.
Well, recently, Reddit user u/Penguin633 asked this very question: "What is something you thought you wanted, but really regretted afterwards?" And maybe, just maybe, reading their responses will stop you from making the same mistakes.
Here are 27 things people desperately wanted, but then later regretted.
1. "Working a job that involves skills from one of my hobbies. Now it feels more like work than the hobby."
"'Work doing something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.' Bullshit. It makes you hate the thing that you love because most people have to work for someone else who sets the rules and conditions and deadlines."
2. "A business. Supposedly my dream job, but I hate it. ... I own a bakery that I’ve run for 13 years. It’s successful, always paid its bills…but it’s definitely zapped the joy out of a hobby. Anyone that has worked with the public knows it’s taxing. I’ve lost the creative aspect and just feel like a slave to it, honestly."
"Best line about running your own business. The big advantage is being able to set your own hours. You can work your 60–70 hours a week any time you want, as long as 40 of those hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday."
3. "As a kid, I dreamed of traveling the world and seeing and doing new things. Nearly 20 years later, and I am starting to regret it, due to how it all worked out."
"It's really taking some time to come to grips with it all (my experiences and how I ended up where I am)."
"Flight attendant here. I think it's funny how if you are young and in a small town, your biggest desire is to escape that small town and see the world, and then when you become a flight attendant and meet cultures from everywhere, you quickly realize how small your own world really is, and how quickly you are born, grow old, and die; and how important that small-town community really is."
4. "I thought I wanted to live the easy life in the suburbs, but my kids and I desperately miss the city."
5. "To live near family, instead of moving somewhere better. We haven't had two nice days in a row since October here. It is always raining, snowing, cold enough to kill you, incredibly windy, or just unpleasant out because of the resulting days before it. (Upstate New York near the Canada border.) Everywhere has issues, but damn, I just want to be outside in 70 degrees without taking a vacation."
6. "Moving to Florida to be near family. Turns out family is actually bonkers, and Florida really is a giant shithole."
7. "My tattoos. I only have two, and they’re both easily covered by a T-shirt. Non-offensive and people seem to like them enough — problem is I just wish I never got any in the first place. I don’t regret the tattoos — I still love what they are — [I] just wish I didn’t put anything on my body."
8. "Being single. I’m a 25-year-old gay male that was dating an older man. We had a great life together. I thought I wanted to be single because I needed the experience of living on my own/having other partners, but now realizing I lost something truly special. It’s hard learning to date again."
"To be single again. I thought I would be better off, and explore my options, but now I feel foolish for prioritizing superficiality when I may never find anybody that loves me as much as they did."
9. "A friend with benefits. I thought it would be fun and effortless but definitely not. He told me sweet things in the beginning, saying he could see it being more. I fell for it quickly. ... Then we had sex. Afterward he was playing hot and cold, and my feelings were on a roller coaster of 'What is happening??'"
"He said he just wanted to be strictly friends with benefits and not pursue anything more, but was still interested in me. Then he said he wasn't interested in being friends anymore, either. Maybe I was too clingy after the initial sweet words, maybe he wasn’t ever truly interested in anything but a one night thing, but either way my head was spinning. I have never doubted myself more. I just wish he would have been more decisive on what he wanted. Wonderful guy, wish nothing but the best for him, but whew, hell of a week. No more friends with benefits for me lmaoo."
10. "An open relationship."
"Maybe for some people it works, but every open relationship I have any personal knowledge about, there was some unequal aspect about it, and it created significant pain for one or more of the people involved."
"Not many folks can actually manage it. The communication and negotiation take up so much time, for one. The one time I attempted it, at my gf’s insistence, we spent more time talking about it than we did fucking anyone, including each other."
11. "My marriage. Divorce sucks, and I regret ever falling in love."
"After a childhood of emotional abuse, I was so relieved to find someone I loved who loved me; I trusted him completely and was happy to be married. Genuinely at peace for probably the first time in my life. Until like a decade later when he pulled the fucking rug from under my feet — he was apparently a different person all along and fundamentally betrayed my trust.
So I kind of wish I'd never gotten married. I don't want to let this ruin me (I still grew and learned a lot during that time), but man... I feel all those old habits from childhood creeping back even though I'm desperately trying to fight them off. It's hard not to fall into the same powerless self-loathing pits. But: 'It's better to be alone than to live with someone who makes you feel alone.'"
"If you are going to get married, date that person for a long time. My religion does not allow relationships, so you have to marry the person to find out they are horrible. Fortunately, I am divorced and atheist after experiencing eight years of abuse."
13. "Taking out student loans to achieve a degree that will never pay me enough to pay back the student loans."
"Sitting here at 12 years post graduation, still have 20% of my loans remaining, and paying extra or paying off as soon as I'm able. Worst part is, I could've made it where I am now for free if I'd known your university is not the end-all be-all of what determines your success."
14. "Going to university. It was always just expected I would. Dropped out with student debt and have been paying it off ever since."
15. "Stopping my meds for my depression. Only did that [after] less than two months because I felt better. Ended up screwing all my past year's efforts and ruining my medicine's efficiency. Had to take another go at the 'test everything until it works' [strategy], and now I have really bad side effects with the one working. If you feel better, don't stop your treatment. It's because of it that you feel better in most cases."
16. "Getting back together with my ex. She's a great person, we get along very well, and sex is nice... But there's absolutely no way we can possibly live together happily."
17. "A nymphomaniac girlfriend."
"My ex wanted to bang three times a day for like 45 minutes each. That may sound like heaven to some, but I am here to tell you it is not at all. It takes up way too much free time. There is more to life than just sex."
18. "Becoming an attorney. I wish more than anything I would have found a job where I worked with people when they were happy or at the very least in a neutral state of mind and not when people are having the absolute worst moments of their life. Being constantly surrounded by people who are suffering and experiencing trauma has been very difficult and more impactful on my life and happiness than I had imagined."
"I had a pretty rosy point of view that I could make such a difference and change so many different things, and you soon come to realize that the law is not that just, and the good guy does not always win, and that is a hard pill to swallow."
19. "I wanted to improve my work. Turns out I could and did, so much so that I hit the top of 200-plus peers. My boss promised a promotion in lieu of a slight raise [that] didn't happen, and now pretends like I'm 5 and is seemingly pushing me out — I'm assuming to give what I made to his wife so she could work from home, while I was turned down for that option. My peers either idolize or hate me, and I'm extremely bored throughout the day, as my efficacy is through the roof. Now I drag my feet and stick to myself when possible while looking for a new job."
"Some of the most miserable people I have met and know have kids. There have been countless starry-eyed future moms and dads that aren’t even remotely ready for it, and this in turn has a negative impact on the kids. It’s not about you anymore. Either get over that or don’t have kids."
21. "I was really drunk one night a few weeks back and thought to my inebriated self, 'I bet being a sugar daddy would be fucking dope!' $5K later and guess what, it’s not."
22. "A big house. Cost of maintenance could be as much as the mortgage every month. We used to have a big house with beautiful landscaping in the backyard. It had three water falls and a stream that ran through the length of the backyard. Looked absolutely stunning. Some months cost $2,000 to $3,000 to maintain... Constantly having to treat the water, fill the water, clean the rocks and floor and scrub off algae that builds up, replace the filters and remove all trash, leaves, and things that the wind blows downstream into the pump...it was constant maintenance. We decided to just shut all of it off permanently."
23. "Finishing my life goals. Once you spend a lifetime trying to finish them, and do so, you are just left spinning your wheels. Nothing to do and nothing to strive for. Absolute boredom."
24. "Wanting to be older when I was young."
"When you're a kid, you really do fantasize about the freedom and what you can do as an adult without people telling you no, like eating ice cream and sweets all day and whatever. We couldn't comprehend and [were] too naive to take into account what our parents do day in and day out. Which is usually always just going to work and coming home."
And finally, let's end on a few more lighthearted ones...
26. "Anal. We didn’t prepare."
"I've always wanted to try butt stuff, but most women have been against it. My last girlfriend let me try it, but my horniness made me forget that I have an extremely sensitive nose."
27. "I really thought I wanted bangs, but really I was just having an existential crisis after a breakup, and the hairdresser was right…bangs do take a lot of maintenance. Anyway, I don’t have bangs anymore, but I’m still in my crisis phase, so I got that going for me."
What did you think you wanted but ended up regretting? Let us know in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.