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CBS News poll: Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Not necessarily. 

While most say they have a relationship in the past that they regret, they are less likely to look back and wish they had more actively pursued an old crush.

And among those who have both in their past — more regret the former.


Men are divided on which they regret more, but for women it's not much of a contest: they are far more likely to regret a past relationship they wish they hadn't been involved in.

About half of Americans do think at least occasionally about either an old crush or a romantic partner with whom they have lost touch (even if few do so frequently), and a similar percentage have used social media or the internet to find out what happened to an old flame. Those who think about their old crushes more often are more likely to look them up.


But in some perhaps encouraging news for those trying to maintain a romance in the present, Americans who are currently involved in a committed romantic relationship are less likely to think back on old crushes.

And when married people were asked specifically if they would marry their current spouse again if they had to do it all over, the overwhelming majority say yes — and this is even true of those who think back on their old flames from time to time.


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,791 U.S. adult residents interviewed between January 29-February 2, 2024. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote. The margin of error is ±3.1 points.


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