I spent last Thursday night on the floor of a living room, sandwiched between used tissues, Instagram feeds and dirty plates.
I was playing psychologist to a friend who had recently ended things with a boyfriend we jokingly referred to as “Baby Tom”.
Baby Tom and Sarah* had lived together for four years.
In this time, his biggest achievements could be counted on the screen of a Playstation menu, where he listed his name as “Baby”. He was a sweet guy but spending time with him was like hanging out with a sleepy Labrador.
Baby Tom was dumped a little after Christmas. Sarah said she couldn’t see a future with a man who was so happy to coast and Baby Tom said very little.
Searching for love advice? Listen to hosts Osher Gunsberg and psychologist Leanne Hall on the Love Life podcast.
Fast forward three months and Baby Tom’s face beams only from the white light of Sarah’s laptop screen.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “What a joke.”
In the short time the pair had been apart, Baby Tom had undergone some kind of “12 Week Life Transformation.” He’s employed. He’s socialising. He’s filling his Instagram with days at the beach and women we’ve never seen.
This is no post-break up haircut. This is a 12 week life transformation.
“I REGRET EVERYTHING,” Sarah cried.
I tried to soothe her but regret is a powerful feeling, and one that is all too commonly linked to lost love.
In 2011, a study at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign asked 370 Americans to describe one significant moment of regret.