Loving someone who doesn’t love you is one of the most painful things you can experience.
Sure, you’ve read about unrequited love, but you don’t really feel it until you go through it.
And when you’re in the middle of this, it doesn’t help to know you’re not alone.
For now, you just want to know how to forget someone who doesn’t love you.
Because it hurts, but that doesn’t stop you from looking for signs that maybe they do love you after all.
What can you do to get past this and steer your life in a better direction?
- Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You Back
- How to Stop Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You
- 1. Be honest with yourself.
- 2. Find a trustworthy confidante.
- 3. Reframe the experience.
- 4. Practice radical acceptance.
- 5. Practice radical self-care.
- 6. Don’t play the blame game.
- 7. Allow yourself to grieve what you’ve lost.
- 8. Break the ties that bind you.
- 9. Marie Kondo everything that reminds you of them.
- 10. Make a list of the qualities you want to see in your partner.
- 11. Until you meet this person, enjoy being single!
- You can stop loving someone who doesn’t love you.
Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You Back
Whether this person is someone you shouldn’t love or someone who just doesn’t love you enough, there are reasons why the one you love doesn’t feel the same. And knowing those reasons can help you do what you need to do to get over them.
Consider the following possible reasons why this is happening to you:
- They only want to be friends — or “friends with benefits.”
- They let you think they’d fallen for you but pulled away when things got serious.
- They don’t see you. They see what they want to see (what you do for them).
- They worked hard to win you, but it was all about the win — not about you.
- They don’t know how to love you the way you deserve to be loved.
- They want to be in love; they don’t want the hard things that go with commitment.
- They’re not in a good place and aren’t able to love you as you deserve.
Whatever reason sounds most fitting for the person you love, it’s clear they’re not going to start loving you suddenly. And you’ve got better uses for your time and energy than to wait around and hope they eventually see what they could have with you.
How to Stop Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You
You deserve to feel whole and happy. And the following 11 steps can help you get there even if this person is never going to be part of your life. Think of them as 11 steps to letting go of someone who’s kept you in the dark for too long.
1. Be honest with yourself.
Admit to yourself what you feel (all of it). Don’t pretend that you were never really all that attached to them. You know it hurts that they don’t feel the same, and you’re allowed to acknowledge that.
Otherwise, you’re stuck in a place where you won’t allow yourself to deal with the truth behind the pain. Your loving this person doesn’t make you weak, foolish, or pathetic.
You’re human. You want to love and be loved. There’s nothing in that to be ashamed of.
2. Find a trustworthy confidante.
Don’t keep your painful feelings bottled up or stored in “tiny boxes.” Talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling without editing out the feelings you don’t like.
Think of a close friend or family member and ask if they might be able to meet you in a place where you feel safe — with tissues ready (and maybe some soothing tea).
Therapists count, too. Good ones know how to listen and ask questions that help you consider things you haven’t looked at yet.
3. Reframe the experience.
What are you telling yourself, and is it true? If you’re still feeling raw from the realization that the one you love doesn’t love you back, there’s a good chance what you’re telling yourself isn’t 100% true. It’s too easy to succumb to thought distortions:
- Thinking you’re unlovable because this person doesn’t love you back
- Thinking that you must have done something wrong, and you need to fix it.
- Thinking that moving on from this person is “giving up on” them
What’s a more truthful and positive or helpful way to describe what you’re going through right now? How would you describe it if someone you loved was in your place?
4. Practice radical acceptance.
Acceptance means no shoulds or should’ves. It means acknowledging how you got to this point without judging yourself or playing the “what if” game.
Accepting is part of practicing mindfulness. There’s no room for fixating on the past and what might’ve been (but clearly isn’t going to happen). It means accepting all that you feel with attacking or belittling yourself for it.
When you focus on the present — on what you can do now — there’s no more past. Take a moment to inhale calm acceptance and exhale regret and self-recrimination.
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5. Practice radical self-care.
Give yourself the TLC you need right now. Consider it part of therapy and the grieving process. Ask yourself whether any of the following could help you feel more like yourself again:
- Taking a hot shower or soaking in a scented bath.
- Getting a new haircut or a facial.
- Doing something you enjoy that this other person does not.
Make a list of things you’ve denied yourself to make more time for this person who doesn’t love you as you deserve.
Then do at least one of those things every day as you work through this.
6. Don’t play the blame game.
Blaming them keeps them on your mind. And you don’t need that. You have a right to feel angry, heartbroken, and disappointed. But it’s possible to feel those things without blaming this person for their failure to love you.
It’s also possible to take responsibility for your role without beating yourself up for it. Be kind to yourself (and others). And be patient.
Blaming keeps you trapped in negative thoughts and drags you down when you need the energy to stand and move forward.
7. Allow yourself to grieve what you’ve lost.
Healing doesn’t happen in a day. And it won’t happen at all unless you allow yourself to grieve, to accept the truth of your situation, and to move on.
You have a right to feel that you’ve lost something valuable. What you thought you had with this person or what you hoped would develop is gone, and letting go of that isn’t easy. I’ll repeat this because it’s vital to your recovery: Be kind to yourself. And be patient.
Give yourself the time you need to grieve. Don’t leave any part of yourself behind.
8. Break the ties that bind you.
The one who doesn’t love you back doesn’t have the right to contact you when it suits them or when they want something from you. Cut off all contact so that you can move on.
Block their number. Unfriend/unfollow them and block them on social media, etc. Make it impossible (or very difficult) for them to get a hold of you — and vice-versa.
Reclaim that room in your life for yourself and for the people who do love you.
9. Marie Kondo everything that reminds you of them.
Get rid of as much as possible of the things that remind you of this person. If items you can’t afford to replace remind you of them, think of a way to make it new again. Redecorate or make it feel more like something that’s uniquely yours.
You know none of their gifts bring you joy — even if they used to. Holding onto those things is, in a way, holding onto them.
Think of those gifts as keys to a back door into your life, which the giver can use when it suits them.
10. Make a list of the qualities you want to see in your partner.
Make a list of qualities you want to see in the person you’d like to spend the rest of your life with. Make it as long as you want.
If you start to feel as though the person who doesn’t love you is looking over your shoulder, picture yourself looking them right in the eye and saying, “This is me recognizing you are not what I need.”
Chances are, this person who didn’t love you as you deserve is lacking in more than one of these. Even if they aren’t, though, they’re missing an essential thing — real and undying love for you.
11. Until you meet this person, enjoy being single!
Do what makes you happy — not what you think would make this person love you (more). They don’t have a say in how you spend your time.
Enjoy doing things you couldn’t do with this person. Reacquaint yourself with pleasures you’ve missed because this person didn’t like or approve of those things.
Their personal taste is not your personal prison. Enjoy the freedom that goes with being single. Whether you meet the kind of person you’d want to spend your life with or not, you’ll be happier if you can enjoy your own company as much as anyone else’s.
You can stop loving someone who doesn’t love you.
Now you know how to let go of someone who doesn’t love you, what will you do today to take a step back from this person and give yourself what you need?
Loving someone who doesn’t love you is a torment you carry with you the longer you hold onto them. Give yourself the gift of freedom and wholeness. Neither one of those depends on someone else.
Don’t let a single day pass without showing yourself love.