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6 Ways to Cope With Unrequited Love

6 Ways to Cope With Unrequited Love

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.

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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.[1]

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.

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“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

3. Isolate

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.

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“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.

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“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

    Reference

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

    “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

    Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

    You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

    Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

    1. Take a step back and evaluate

    When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

    1. What is the problem?
    2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
    3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
    4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
    5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

    Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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    2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

    If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

    At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

    Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

    3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

    Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

    4. Process your thoughts/emotions

    Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

    1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
    2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
    3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
    4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

    5. Acknowledge your thoughts

    Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

    By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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    Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

    6. Give yourself a break

    If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

    7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

    A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

    Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

    After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

    8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

    As Helen Keller once said,

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

    9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

    In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

    1. What’s the situation?
    2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
    3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
    4. Take action on your next steps!

    After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

    10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

    A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

    Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

    For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

    11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

    No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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    12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

    No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

    13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

    There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

    After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

    Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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