How to deal with unrequited love
It is the type of love story every teenage movie is made of. Girl loves boy, boy doesn’t love her back. Or at least needs a while to recognize her beauty.
While most coming-of-age movies have a happy ending, unrequited love in real life usually doesn’t.
It’s a very special type of self-inflicted heartbreak. To help you avoid this experience, I’m sharing everything you need to know about unrequited love and how to deal with one-sided love.
What is unrequited love
Unrequited love describes is when you love someone or have strong romantic feelings towards them, without them reciprocating it. See a full definition here.
In some cases, you might love someone and he does not even know about it, because you are too shy to share your admiration or worry about his response.
In other cases, you might have shared your feelings with your love interest and he simply doesn’t have the same feelings for you.
Either way, unrequited love is the worst feeling out there because you get the full effect of their rejection. It is devastating, embarrassing and painful.
But in most cases, it does not come as a surprise as there are clear signs that your love is one-sided. To help you assess, here are 5 signs of unrequited love.
Signs of unrequited love
1. You are the only one initiating contact
Do you initiate most of the conversations with your love interest?
Be honest and check your message thread for mostly colored bubbles. If you find yourself constantly reaching out to him, because you remember important events in his life, thought of him while watching a movie or simply want to say hi, then there is a good chance the interest is not one-sided.
In dating, the exchange of energy should be balanced with both partners being equally interested in connecting with each other. It’s characterized by steady communication that just flows.
So, if you constantly wonder whether you should text him again even though he cut the last conversation short and haven’t reached out since, then chances are your love is unrequited.
2. You put him on a pedestal
Another sign that you are borderline obsessed with someone is that you put him and everything he does on a pedestal. You fantasize about him, you imagine your future together, yet you have barely known him for 3 weeks.
When you find yourself magnifying his positive qualities to the point that you think he is perfect and can do no wrong then that might be one of the signs of one-sided love.
3. He doesn’t pay attention to you
Do you sometimes feel like you are annoying and irritating to him? Or that he is not interested in any of the topics or events you bring up?
One of the ways couples connect and fall in love with each other is through their shared interests. In a one-sided love relationship, you will feel like there is no interest in you as a person.
Whenever you tell him a story or ask a question he vaguely listens and pays no attention to you.
That’s a sign that he does not enjoy your company as much as you do and therefore does not feel the same way about you.
4. You always have to compromise
If the person you are interested in seems to never compromise or sacrifice to make things work, then that’s an indication that they don’t care about the health of the relationship. He is more concerned about his own satisfaction than he is about seeing you happy as well.
When love is one-sided there is an imbalance in the relationship and you will find yourself trying hard to make him happy. Every conversation leads to you giving in to his needs and wants without ever getting your needs met.
In a healthy relationship, every partner gives as much as they take. If he always takes and never gives it’s a sign he does not care for you as much as you care for him.
5. His body language is closed off
For the woman that has never talked to the man but has strong feelings towards him, this should not be a surprise. But for the woman that is dating him and still feels like she is dealing with unrequited love, this is an important indicator.
If the man you are interested in avoids being close to you and acts uncomfortable around you, it might be because he doesn’t like you back.
When a man is interested in you romantically, it will be mirrored in his body language. He will be open and welcoming, keep eye contact with you and not be afraid to gently touch your arm or shoulder when he can.
A man’s body language is very revealing and will show you whether he is attracted to you or not.
How to deal with unrequited love
Unfortunately, just like with a real breakup, being rejected by the man you love hurts.
It makes you feel undesirable and less than. But instead of being embarrassed and hiding your emotions, you have to mend the emotional wound caused by this situation and heal your heartbreak.
1. Allow yourself to grieve
The first thing you need to do to get over unrequited love is to acknowledge the pain. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship. Because truth is, no matter if the relationship was already established or not, you subconsciously visualized the potential of the relationship based on your desire for him.
And loosing what you hoped would become a serious romance hurts.
Therefore, take extra care of yourself and take some time to work through your feelings. Rather than ignoring your emotions and refusing to deal with them, accept them, make an effort to understand them and let them go.
2. Distance yourself from him
This step is crucial if you are wondering how to move on after one-sided love. Now that you know that the love was not reciprocated it is important that you gain clarity and seek to understand what lead to the misunderstanding.
That’s why the best thing you can do for yourself now, is to distance yourself from him. Only then will you be able to look at the situation objectively and move on.
3. Stop romanticizing him
It is very likely that you overlooked multiple red flags while you were smitten and head over heels in love with this guy. Some of which are mentioned above.
Now that you gained clarity and distance from him, be honest with yourself and see him for who he really is and not what you want him to be.
Remind yourself that you were feeling unappreciated in the relationship and that he was not perfect. This step is important because your mind will trick you into believing everything was great when it really was not.
4. Don’t search for closure
Most women believe that the only way to get over a guy is by getting closure in the form of a long conversation, where he explains himself.
That is not true.
Most of the time, the main reason why we seek closure is that we hope that the conversation will make him change his mind. However, most men do not change their minds once they determined that they do not love you.
In addition, closure is overrated. No matter if he ghosted you or told you about his non-existing feelings in a text message, the point is that he is not interested.
Rather than, asking him to explain himself, accept his decision and remove yourself from the situation to lick your wounds and mend your heart.
5. Avoid self-deprivation
The major problem with a one-sided relationship is that it affects your self-esteem, your confidence and your idea of what love is. You might start believing that your value and success in life depends on whether they like you back or not. Therefore, being rejected can lead to lower self-esteem.
That’s why it is important that whenever you start questioning your self-worth you consider an objective perspective. What is the real reason why you are not right for each other? Maybe you have different expectations of a relationship, maybe you are not compatible after all or he might just not feel ready to be in a committed relationship.
Instead of questioning yourself, make it a point to build yourself up with positive affirmations. Remind yourself that you are a good catch and deserve to be in a mutually loving relationship.
6. Identify dating pattern
Probably the most important step to cope with unrequited love is to self-reflect and identify what caused it. Research the four different attachment styles in relationships and figure out which one best describes you.
If you constantly worry that your relationship won’t last or are insecure about whether the other person really likes you or not, you might unconsciously be manifesting rejection.
So, if this is not the first time that you attracted unrequited love into your life, but repeatedly experience rejection then it’s time to reconsider your approach to dating.
7. Distract yourself
Last but not least, in order to overcome unrequited love you have to move past it. And the best way to do so is to focus on yourself.
Build up your confidence by investing time and effort into improving your health, your skills, and your self-esteem.
How to avoid unrequited love in the future
As mentioned above there might be multiple reasons why you fell in love with someone that did not love you back. Some common reasons are:
- Insecurity: You wanted to be with him so badly that you did not care whether he loves you or not and subsequently invested more into the would-be relationship than he did.
- Idolizing love or relationships: You are in love with the idea of being in love. So much so that you don’t care who it is and allow any men that show a little bit of interest in you to become part of your life.
- Manipulation: He came on very strong during the dating phase and made you believe that there is a real chance for a romantic connection. He manipulated you into believing that he likes you just as much and therefore you followed suit.
If any of these three apply to you, then I have good news for you. There are ways you can avoid unrequited love in the future.
1. Have healthy expectations
As a woman, it is important that you have healthy standards and expectations when it comes to dating. Be specific in what you want out of a relationship and compile a list of deal-breakers that you will not accept.
Those deal breakers should include all behaviors that don’t respect your needs and would force you to compromise your core values.
Only when you have healthy expectations and know what you will and will not accept from a man, including being loved and appreciated, you will be able to discern the behaviors that depict unrequited love.
2. Pace yourself
This one I cannot mention often enough. Don’t invest in a man based on how much you like him, invest in a man based on how much he invests in you. In a healthy relationship, both partners take alternating steps towards each other.
He plans a date, you plan a date. He surprises you with tickets to your favorite movie, you surprise him with a picnic including his favorite dessert. You tell him how much you like spending time with him, he opens up to you emotionally.
Both of you advance to the next level together.
Women, unfortunately, oftentimes get carried away by their fantasies for the relationship and put him too much too soon.
So, as a woman you want to make sure you meet him in the middle and truly evaluate the relationship based on the actions he already performed and not the ones you hope him to take in the future.
Stay objective and observe his actions, rather than listening to his words only.
3. Remember your options
Lastly, remember that this man is not the only one. There is plenty of fish in the sea and there is no reason to break your own heart by clinging to someone that does not reciprocate your feelings.
If needed, consider online dating and experience for yourself, how a man that is interested in someone treats them. Because oftentimes it takes a good experience to show you that everything else was bad.
Unrequited love is a special kind of hell and if you are not proactive you can even experience depression due to one-sided love.
Therefore, take time to review these points and make sure that you are not getting caught up in an obsession for marriage.