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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

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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