Sometimes, Cupid flies in where he’s not wanted, shoots his arrow without looking and as a result, misses and hits the wrong person. And so, an unrequited love begins.
Unrequited love is a more common thing when you are a teenager: a period when you form your thoughts about yourself, your identity, and about the image of your ideal partner.
Further psychological maturation is associated with building long-term relationships in which the image of a partner is saturated with some new (and not always attractive) details. Some young men and women stay in the world of fantasy for a long time, preferring not to grow up and make friends with reality.
However, even otherwise mature adults find unrequited love to be intensely painful. When you hold strong feelings towards someone who doesn’t return them, you have been rejected. Rejection always hurts, but it stings even more in a romantic context. This is because it feels so personal. You may start to wonder what is wrong with you. It’s tempting to pick yourself apart, looking for the flaws that apparently make you unlovable. It’s hard to accept that sometimes, the chemistry just isn’t there on their end, and that the two of you will never be together. The romantic dreams you held have been shattered. No-one plans to fall in unrequited love, and it’s difficult when things don’t go as you expect or hope.
Romantic rejection not only leaves behind emotional scars, but it can cause physical pain and even disease. Research has shown that heartbreak is so stressful that those who have suffered a recent bereavement, relationship breakdown or other psychological trauma are at elevated risk of heart attack and physical pain. Our bodies and emotions are tightly interlinked.
One can take a look at the problem from a very different side. Unrequited love is the engine of the world’s art. There would be no brilliant sonnets of Petrarch without Laura, and if there was no Beatrice, we might not see that Dante, who affected the whole European literature of later times. But unlike them, none of us is willing to spend our whole life in splendid melancholy solitude. Those people who do not have mutual love, still dream of being loved.
If your feeling of love for another person isn’t mutual, here are 6 ways to cope with your feelings of unrequited love.
1. Say Goodbye to all Illusions
Maybe you think the person you have your eye on has a crush on you too. This hopeful thought can keep you up at nights. So what should you do? Try to set some criteria or terms. For example, if the person you like doesn’t show signs that they are interested in you (ie: doesn’t go out of their way to talk to you, hasn’t asked you out or isn’t interested in hanging out with you) it’s time to come to terms with the fact that your crush probably does not feel the same way about you.
“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.” – Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding
2. Try to Know Them Better
Nobody is perfect. We all know this statement, but when you are in love, it becomes more and more difficult to agree with that fact. If you do not know your crush well, you always tend to idealize and romanticize him/her. You can’t believe that such a great person may have drawbacks, bad habits, negative attitude towards something important to you, etc. Try to know your crush better, and you may learn something about him/her, that will break your obsession.
“Unrequited love does not die; it’s only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded. For some unfortunates, it turns bitter and mean, and those who come after pay the price for the hurt done by the one who came before.” – Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischi
Those of us, who suffered from unrequited love at least once, remember how difficult but desirable it may be to communicate with your crush: you are shy, you can’t think clearly, but you still want to make an impression, you long for his/her presence, you want to know about his/her every step, you want your crush to pay attention to you, and you try to contact him/her as often as possible. It sounds and looks a bit like paranoia, doesn’t it? Try to isolate a bit. Do not check his/her Facebook page every second minute, do not ask your common friends about him/her, do not visit the places s/he visits every day. If your crush is out of sight, inevitably, they’ll be out of your mind.
“When unrequited love is the most expensive thing on the menu, sometimes you settle for the daily special.” – Miranda Kenneally, Catching Jordan
4. Distract Yourself
When in love, we can’t think of anything but our crush. We imagine how wonderful it would be to spend time with them, we dream about them, and forget about everything and everyone around us. To get your mind off this person, find something that brings you pleasure and do this as often as possible when you have a free time on your hands. Indulge in your hobbies – even better if your hobby involves going outside or sports, which gives your body endorphins, that give the same effect as love does. Who knows? Maybe your undying love is just a way for you to escape boredom.
“Only three things are infinite: the sky in its stars, the sea in its drops of water, and the heart in its tears.” – Gustave Flaubert
5. Go on a Date
We realize the last thing you want to do when you’re crushing on someone is to go out with other people but it’s exactly what you need to do! If you suspect or know for a fact that the love is not mutual, staying at home moping around what would’ve been isn’t doing you any good. Get out there and try to live your life in full! Ask a friend or a colleague you’d like to get to know better out for coffee or dinner to a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. You know you’re not ready for a relationship, so the pressure that this person could be ‘the one’ is off the table right off the bat, upping your chances on having a great time and possibly making an amazing friend in the process.
“When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn’t want it, you cannot take it back. It’s gone forever.” – Sylvia Plath
6. Love Yourself
Love yourself, no matter what they say. Love your personality, respect yourself, accept yourself as you are – the all-sufficient and really cool person. This is the best medicine from all mental troubles!
Certainly, it is difficult to argue with your heart. But there is no love that can live without booster charge; and if a battery for mutual love is romance, trust, tenderness, common interests, and love making (well, we can’t ignore this sphere of our life anyway), unrequited love’s food is a fantasy only. And you have two choices here: to wait until this weak source of energy is discharged, or to turn it off deliberately and go to search for a real mutual love.
“Self-love seems so often unrequited.” – Anthony Powell