Do you know the signs of unrequited love?
Have you been seeing them and feeling the worst effects of a one-sided relationship?
Maybe you’re thinking that if you prove your worthiness, the person you’re in love with will finally see you as the one they’ve been looking for.
Maybe they will, but you don’t have to put your life on hold until that happens.
If unreturned love is holding you back, you can see it for what it is and break free from it.
It doesn’t mean you’ll stop caring about the person whose love you’ve wanted, but ultimately you’re the one responsible for your happiness — no one else.
Before we discuss how to break free from unrequited love, it helps to know exactly what it is, so you can recognize it.
- What is the meaning of unrequited love?
- Can unrequited love ever become reciprocated?
- How to Get Over Unrequited Love
- 1. Find another outlet for your passion.
- 2. Get better acquainted with who you are.
- 3. Be a better friend to yourself.
- 4. No person is obligated to feel the same way you do.
- 5. Unrequited love in not proof that you’re unlovable.
- 6. Enjoy your feelings without needing more.
- 8. Prioritize the other’s good over your own gratification.
- 9. Forget the “zones” and focus on real friendship.
What is the meaning of unrequited love?
Simply put, unrequited love is love that you feel for someone who doesn’t feel the same for you.
The other might see you as “a good friend,” or they may be only vaguely aware of your existence.
Whatever their sentiments toward you, the more you interact, the harder it gets to ignore the difference between their attitude toward you and yours toward them.
And when you have to admit the truth about this, it hurts.
You might even feel as though you were misled by the other person into thinking they felt something when they clearly don’t.
So, what can you do to move past it?
Can unrequited love ever become reciprocated?
It is possible for unreciprocated love to become mutual. But you’re better off if you don’t expect it to.
If someone feels absolutely nothing for you and couldn’t care less whether you happen to be in the same room together or separated by an ocean, that’s not likely to change.
I’m not saying it couldn’t. But if someone honestly doesn’t care who you are, why would you waste time pining over them, anyway?
You deserve someone who sees you and wants to know you better.
Life is too short to waste on anyone who looks through you as though you don’t exist or as though you’re not worth their time and energy.
Read on to learn how to free your mind and heart, so you can put that energy of yours to better use.
How to Get Over Unrequited Love
Getting over love this is unreciprocated isn’t always as simple as telling yourself, “I’m no longer in love with that person (who feels nothing for me).”
But if you honestly believe those words, it can help to say them out loud — or to write them down.
Do both for extra emphasis, as long as you believe the words or at least want to believe them.
And don’t forget to allow yourself to feel the relief and freedom that go with no longer subjugating your self-worth and identity to someone else’s opinion of you.
The road to freedom will take you through the following steps, though not necessarily in the same order:
1. Find another outlet for your passion.
The brain chemicals associated with being “in love” are addictive.
So, even if the object of your obsession or infatuation doesn’t feel the same for you, you might hold onto those feelings for as long as you can, thinking your life is intolerable without them.
But your life and your identity are so much more than the emotional highs and lows you experience when you’re in love.
You don’t need to be in love to be interesting or to feel as though life is worth living.
Finding another outlet for your passion can provide the same emotional high without leaving you in thrall to someone who doesn’t return your love or romantic interest.
Just for starters, make a list of things you enjoy doing or creating. Think about small projects that can distract you — if only temporarily — from your unreturned love.
Choose something that demands all your attention, and get started with it today or as soon as possible.
2. Get better acquainted with who you are.
Allow yourself to think about what you like and know to be true about yourself. Don’t limit yourself to what others have noticed or mentioned.
And don’t allow the disparaging remarks of others to weigh in. They’re not invited.
A list of things you enjoy doing can provide some insight into the things you like about yourself, whether others notice those things or not.
Knowing that what you see and value in yourself doesn’t matter to the person who doesn’t return your love helps you see your attachment for what it is.
When you truly love someone, you know them and what they value.
If it comes as a surprise that they have little or no interest in having an intimate knowledge of you, you didn’t know them well to begin with.
Knowing that makes it easier to forgive the lack of reciprocal love and to let go.
3. Be a better friend to yourself.
Rather than playing back every memory of the fleeting glances and casual remarks that suggested to you that the interest might be mutual, remind yourself of the undeniable evidence to the contrary.
Then give yourself permission to want something better for yourself.
It’s possible that, after letting go, something could develop between you.
But while you remain fixated on them, they’re more likely to feel uncomfortable around you.
Think back to how it felt when you knew someone had a crush on you but didn’t feel the same way toward them.
Were you more inclined to hang around them or to avoid them as much as possible and to invent reasons to get away from them?
Forgive yourself for being fixated on someone who didn’t feel the same for you. And forgive those who put you in the same position.
Now think of the people in your life who see you and value you as you are. What do they see in you that you don’t yet?
4. No person is obligated to feel the same way you do.
No matter how strong your feelings may be, no one is obligated to return them. The person you fell in love with doesn’t owe you their love in return.
If the roles were reversed, and someone was in love with you, would you appreciate it if they expected you to love them back, as though justice required it?
How would you respond if you learned their “love” for you had turned to hatred simply because you had insulted them by not loving them back?
Genuine love doesn’t see the other person as an unthinking object who must love you back simply because you feel love for them — as if your love for them has deprived them of the right to love anyone but you.
5. Unrequited love in not proof that you’re unlovable.
When someone doesn’t love you back or feel the same intensity of love for you, you only compound the pain by choosing to see it as a personal insult or as proof that you’re unworthy of having your love reciprocated.
And again, real love — which is not self-centered but other-centered — doesn’t depend on how the other responds to that love.
Their inability or disinclination to reciprocate your love doesn’t say anything about you.
Your unappreciated love isn’t really about them, either. You chose to make a personal investment in an outcome based on your own feelings.
So, forgive yourself for not knowing everything, and forgive the other for wanting something else.
6. Enjoy your feelings without needing more.
Why not simply enjoy the feeling of being in love without raising the stakes and letting your happiness depend on whether the love is reciprocated?
If you can recognize that these feelings come and go — even in the context of long-term relationships — you can relieve yourself of the obligation to earn the other person’s return devotion.
Let yourself enjoy the surge of energy that goes with feeling “in love” and then turn that energy toward something that will benefit you and others, rather than turning it into your own personal hell and trying to drag others into it.
Just as no one is obligated to reciprocate your feelings, you are not obligated to make sure they lead to something more lasting.
Allow yourself to feel while you choose to respect the other’s freedom as well as your own.
7. Recognize that your feelings can change (and often do).
As mentioned just seconds ago, feelings can change even between two people who’ve committed to loving each other “til death do us part.”
Real love doesn’t depend on feelings, which is a good thing, because feelings aren’t constant. No one can sustain an emotional high 24-7-365.
The level of intensity you feel when you’re riding the wave of overwhelming passion would burn you out if you felt it all the time.
So, enjoy it while it lasts, but keep your eyes on what’s deeper and more sustaining.
Reciprocated feelings of love and passionate romantic interest are fun and acting on those feelings can be deeply satisfying if there’s real, mutual love behind it all. But those feelings come and go.
Real love keeps its eyes on the bigger picture.
8. Prioritize the other’s good over your own gratification.
No matter how intensely you feel in love with someone, when you’re tempted to feel let down or disappointed by their apparent lack of romantic interest in you, you can choose to focus on that person’s good instead.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
When you’re overcome with passion, it’s much easier to focus on how you feel and on whether or not the other person is likely to gratify those feelings by reciprocating them.
But you still have free will. You can still choose to prioritize the other’s good over your own self-interest.
And genuinely wanting their good can help you let go of love that is unreciprocated and seek your own good, too.
9. Forget the “zones” and focus on real friendship.
Ditch the whole idea of “the friend zone” and whether you feel slighted by the fact that the one you’re in love with likes you only as a friend.
If someone truly sees you as a friend — someone they can trust to always be there for them — it doesn’t make sense to take that as an insult unless you have compelling evidence that they’re using you as some sort of consolation prize or as a shoulder to cry on.
You are no one’s consolation prize. And you are much more than the sum of your shoulders.
If they’re taking advantage of your willingness to always be there for them — even when they give you nothing in return for your devotion — they’re not true friends.
And you’re better off letting them go and honoring your own need for friends who will be there for you.
More Related Articles:
You deserve more than unrequited love.
Now that you can recognize unrequited love for what it is and you know how to free yourself from it, what first step will you take today?
How will you divert your energy to something that builds you up and helps you move on?
What do you value about yourself that you’d like to develop further or put to a new and creative use – even if the person you’ve been in love with doesn’t notice?
Whatever you suffer at the hands of someone else can either be the weight you choose to bow under every day or the catalyst for new action and transformation.
So, why not tell yourself, “On some level, I chose this, so I could learn from it and use what I learned to grow and to help others”?
Take back your power, and tell yourself what you need to hear – what you might tell a good friend in the same situation – in order to move forward.
May your courage and your passion for growth influence everything you do today.
Finally, if you’d like to learn how to have deeper intimacy and enhance your relationship, then I invite you to grab this book, which has 201 powerful questions to build a deeper connection with your loved one.