How do you deal with unrequited love? How do you get over it? Is it even possible to get over it?
It might not feel possible. It might feel like a hopeless situation, one that torments you and might even keep you awake at night as you sit there wondering what you did wrong and why you can’t just have the love you want from him returned, why you are not good enough and why he can’t feel the same intense connection you feel.
You might even find yourself daydreaming about what it would be like for you and him to finally get together, to share that passionate kiss that you have been waiting for, as he confesses how he loves you so much but was too afraid to tell you… as he pours his entire heart and soul out to you and decides to say, “Screw it, even though I am afraid of being hurt and do not want to give into the intensity of this love, I am going to expose my heart without holding back… I love her too much.”
This is a very common feeling and happens to both women and men; unrequited love is painful, romantic and tormenting all at the same time.
People might tell you, “Just get over it. You have to stop thinking about him.”
But you love him so much and can’t stop thinking about him. Your heart hurts every time you see the way he treats other women, ones he actually likes and loves, in comparison to the way he treats you.
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
It’s so sad because you can’t help how you feel. It’s not like you want to love him. In fact, if you had the “choice,” you might even choose to not have feelings.
I understand that horrible feeling of helplessness and pure sadness that comes along with loving someone who doesn’t love you back.
And trying to make them love you back doesn’t exactly feel good, either. It might even make you feel insecure about yourself and question whether you are lovable or not. All these feelings can really make it hard to look at the situation objectively with a sense of clarity because unrequited love and the intensity of the emotions that go along with it make it difficult to step back from the fixating, the incessant journey of trying to “acquire” to somehow “obtain” his love.
There are different kinds of “unrequited love” situations as well. Maybe you are friends with a guy who you developed strong feelings for him and figured he must have felt the same deep down even though he never actually said he did.
Or maybe you had an initial spark and had a hookup or relationship but it never went beyond that. And you thought he would eventually come around and love you back so you continued the way things were hoping that he would fall in love with you as time went on… but nothing happened.
He did not fall in love with you and instead of getting over him, you only feel more attached and in love. There are a variety of situations that could result in the state you are in right now. But the point is: you are in pain and do not want to be in pain any longer.
How To Get Over Unrequited Love
Well, the first step is to really understand the psychology behind unrequited love. You need to analyze whether you truly love this person and figure out whether it is in fact true love or an underlying, unresolved psychological issue within you that needs healing. What I mean by that is… there are many psychological patterns that make a person end up in situations where they love someone who does not love them back. If this is a common situation you find yourself in then it is especially important to examine this possibility.
There are many reasons we fall for those who do not love or “want” us back. Understanding these reasons will help bring clarity to your situation. Clarity will bring you more inner peace and ultimately help you heal and get over this unreciprocated love.
This is one huge psychological underlying principle behind why we love someone who does not love us back: because the person is unattainable.
Are you in love with the idea of being able win this person who does not love you over and prove that you are worthy of love? We set ourselves up for a situation where being rejected is a very likely outcome, and yet, despite this, choose to pursue the person because of an overpowering surge of some kind of unexplainable love.
Why? Because of the chance that if only they do actually come around and profess their undying love for us… we will somehow feel like we “obtained” something rare and valuable. This is not necessarily love but rather a human instinct to want what we can’t have.
This is often rooted in a psychological wound that you may have suffered in the past, some kind of psychological rejection that made you feel inadequate and unworthy. You might be completely obsessed and in love with this person right now simply because of the fact that they do not love you back.
Their aloofness and indifference to you makes you subconsciously doubt your self-worth and winning their love would make you feel validated. The problem is, once you attain the unattainable, you would only end up realizing that it might not have even been love in the first place.
It might have been a quest of self-validation, a journey of pain that you went on only to find out that you did not even have real feelings for the person. It makes sense if you examine the underlying psychological principle of wanting what you cannot have.
You might even wonder why they do not love you back. Meanwhile, there might be someone in your life who does love you and actually has genuine feelings for you… but you do not have feelings for this person. This is too “attainable,” there is no “prize” or validation that you have to win to make yourself feel lovable.
Is It Love Or Setting Yourself Up For A Familiar Pattern of Rejection?
Some people experience trauma as a child and end up feeling rejected by those who are supposed to love them. This childhood rejection shapes later relationships, causing you to subconsciously select a person to love who is going to reject you, a feeling you are familiar with.
From Psychology Today:
“According psychologist Phillip Shaver, falling in love with someone who will reject you can be a repeated pattern for some people. This may be particularly true if you had repeated experiences in childhood with what is called “insecure attachment,” that is, a sense that the adults on whom you depend are regularly not accessible at the times when you most need them (it is important to note that this does not result from a parent who doesn’t respond to every childhood need immediately or exactly the way a child wants!).
One way to try to think about this is to ask yourself if you have ever fallen in love with someone who rejected you before. Try to honestly assess whether or not there is some sort of pattern here.
If so, you may be trying to find someone who will undo the pain of childhood rejections or abandonments; but unfortunately, in many cases in these situations we end up unconsciously choosing someone who will repeat, not undo the pattern, reinforcing feelings that you really are unlovable, as perhaps you believed as a child; or that you’re doomed to be disappointed, rejected and abandoned.
You may end up more convinced than ever that you simply cannot trust anyone. Either way, your choice is likely to end up confirming your fears of abandonment rather than providing you with a new experience.”
So think about this very seriously and try to understand what it is that this person represents to you. What is it that you are searching for? When you start to self-reflect, you will begin the process of true healing.
Idealization Of What Could Be Is Better Than What Is
What is unrequited love? It can take on many forms but for the most part, you are in love with a man who is not in love with you… you are deeply, madly and passionately in love with him to a point that your insides hurt when you think about the burning passion you feel for him… and a sad sorrowful melancholy rips apart your soul when you realize he does not feel the same way about you that you feel about him. You are not actually with him or experiencing him in a relationship, though.
All that you are doing is building the image of who he is up to a point where he has become this mythical, untouchable figure in your mind and heart. In reality, if you really talked to him without this built up sense of overwhelming passion and obsessive love… you might actually see that he is nothing like you imagined.
You are able to idealize him because you do not actually have him. This will automatically make him seem better than men who are actually interested in being in a relationship and it will create an illusion that does not even match up with reality.
Pop Culture’s Influence
Think about common themes in songs, books and movies. Sylvia Plath captures this sentiment perfectly:
“When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn’t want it, you cannot take it back. It’s gone forever.” -Sylvia Plath
This dramatic interpretation of what it means to give your heart to someone and be rejected is a destructive mindset that only leads to unhappiness.
The One That Got Away
Another common myth is that there is a “one that got away,” the “one person” who passed us by who will forever leave a scar on our soul.
The pain of this loss will always be an unspoken burden on our heart. This is a very common theme that we see play out over and over again, which gives you a romanticized notion of unrequited love; this is actually destructive, because it influences your feelings even if you do not realize it.
The mental process of falling in love with someone is largely in our own mind rather than actually during the time spent with the person. Unrequited love is marked by a fantasy, a longing, a feeling that we must hold onto something that is slipping out of our grasp.
This desperation distracts us from even being able to see whether we love the person.
The fixation with obtaining them to finally feel complete is a futile fixation because it’s not based on authentic connected conversations and interactions but rather a romanticized notion of love.
Another way we fall into the trap of a common myth that Hollywood perpetuates is that we will forever, for the rest of our lives, be in love with and remember “the one that got away.” Except this burden of pain does not have to carry on with you for a lifetime.
This is the freeing part of recognizing the underlying patterns behind these overwhelming feelings: it is ok to let go, to walk away and to let the pain be part of the past not your future. It is ok to give in to pain, to experience it but ultimately come out of it and accept that what you felt was strong, overwhelming and felt like love.
Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. The point is that whether it was or wasn’t, you are not going to be forever bound by this feeling unless you allow yourself to be. You can put aside the notion that you will never be able to find love again, that you will never meet a person like that again and that you cannot imagine a life where you are not in love with them… because this will only make you unhappy and prevent you from finding peace.
Think of It As An Addiction
Think of this as an addiction: you continue to compulsively fixate and obsess over this person and what his actions, words and behavior means. If he says something nice, your heart jumps and you feel like you are on top of the world. It’s like a high.
When you get a sign, no matter how small or insignificant, you take it to mean that there is a chance that he actually does love you. This keeps hope alive that he has feelings for you even though most of what he does says otherwise. Then you feel a profound low. You feel these lows when he does not respond to your texts and ignores you and doesn’t make time for you at all…
And by contrast, the highs give you an extreme sense of relief and satisfaction. You cling onto these moments of hope as if they are a drug you need in order to feel any sense of pleasure or satisfaction.
When you recognize this cycle, it can help you heal because it means that it might not be love but rather a cycle of highs and lows making you believe that you have feelings you do not even feel.
But what if you actually do love him? What does that mean for you?
It is obviously possible that you do love him in a genuine way. It is very possible that you love a person for reasons that have nothing to do with an internal psychological motivation but rather… you love who he is, how he is and the way he is. You know him and you love him still.
If this is true, it means you genuinely care about him. To love someone, you have to genuinely care about their well-being and want them to be happy.
If you want him to be happy, think about it like this… you can love him and want him to do what is best for him. If being with you is not what will make him happy, you must realize that you have to let him go… And let him go because you love him and this love does not die just because he “rejected” you.
Rejection Is Related To Ego
Being rejected is a lot different than actually being with someone and things not working out. Rejection has a lot to do with your ego and how it makes you feel in terms of your self-worth.
Being rejected is something you must deal with by realizing you cannot take it personally. Why? Because he cannot control how he feels, just like you cannot control how you feel.
Realize He Cannot Control How He Feels Just As You Can’t
Imagine if you were on the opposite end of this situation.
Let’s say you are friends with a guy and he is in love with you but you do not feel the same way about him. You don’t think he is a bad person and you don’t hate him or anything but you don’t love him either; there is nothing you could do to somehow make yourself love him, is there?
Think about it like this rather than taking it personally. It has nothing to do you with you as a person. We like who we like.
Now that you understand the psychology behind it, how do you actually get over it? Can you get over it? Is it possible?
How To Get Over Unrequited Love
Yes, I know that getting over unrequited love is a lot easier said than done but it is by no means impossible. One of the biggest challenges is truly letting go.
First, Confess How You Feel If You Haven’t Already
If you have not told him your feelings already, even if he is in a relationship or even if you are embarrassed and feel like you are going to be rejected and that it’ll make you miserable.
Even if all this is the case, you have to go into it accepting and expecting him to not give you the answer you want to hear.
Having expectations will create disappointment; you already have an inkling that he does not love you back.
But if you have never actually expressed yourself to him, you have nothing to lose by doing it (unless there is a compelling reason not to; at the end of the day only you know your situation).
But the reason I mention this is so that you can have some kind of “closure” in a sense, that you at least know the answer and are able to have a fresh start in your love life.
Let Yourself Grieve But Not Forever
This is key: there is nothing wrong with being sad and grieving the fact that he does not love you back. This is natural and normal. In fact, this is something that you might be avoiding.
You might be clinging onto the hope that someday, somehow, things will click in the future and he will love you back. But just remember that you cannot stay stuck in this forever. You should be sad, let it all out and cry—be emotional, experience the pain but do not dwell. Simply let it happen and then realize you must move on. Time will make it easier and easier to cope.
You must Truly Let Go Internally
When I say you must let go internally, I mean you completely stop having fantasies about what his reactions mean, secretly hoping that if you wait long enough and act in a certain way he will eventually start to reciprocate your love for him.
There is a big difference between pretending to let go and truly letting go in the privacy of your heart and soul. Letting go of this notion that you will end up with him is crucial to your own healing.
You cannot move on if you say to others and yourself: “I am over it. I am not going to fixate anymore… I accept it…”
And you go try to spend time with him as “friends.” You might even pretend to be “cool” with it, because you feel this will win him over. No, this will not win him over because you are not accepting the truth that you cannot force him to love you and why would you even want to if you could?
The only way to heal (and the only way to make it even slightly likely that he will fall in love with you) is to truly let go internally. Stop hoping and over-analyzing everything.
Don’t fixate. Instead, live your life in a way that makes you happy.
Keep yourself busy in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Go out with friends, take up a new hobby, focus on improving your home, take on some kind of project, join a gym, do something that takes you out of your negative headspace and puts you in a rhythm. This rhythm will make it easier to get out of the devastation of unrequited love.
Now, the obsessing, wondering and fantasizing might still creep in here and there. I am not saying this will magically disappear; however, as you continue to build your life and make yourself happy, you will see that will time… you will feel better and better.
He will eventually be more of a distant memory who you reflect upon sometimes. Yes, it might make you sad. Yes, it might make a tear fall every time you think of him or remember a song that reminds you of him… but for the most part, you will be happier when you are keeping yourself occupied.
Another way to keep yourself occupied is…
Date, Date, Date!
There is literally no harm in dating even just for fun. Just be casual about it; I am not saying you have to go further with these men or to be in a relationship. Simply go out and have fun.
This will put things in perspective, that there are other men out there in the world. Don’t hold back because you are sad; force yourself to at least try it out. If nothing comes out of it, that’s fine.
Warning: Now, one possible issue here is you might go out with these men and then compare them all to the “unrequited love,” the “one who got away…” and by comparison, you will say to yourself that your “true love,” aka the “unrequited love of your life” is so much different than all of these guys I have tried to date. He is so special; in fact, this dating experience has not only failed at helping you get over unrequited love but has actually made you love him even more!
Please be aware of this extremely common trap that so many women fall into.
Remember this. Just because you go on a date with someone you do not connect with does not mean that you will not have a real, genuine connection with any men out there or that you are destined to be alone because the only one who makes you feel tingly, warm butterflies does not love you back…
Do not make dating into a serious thing, just have fun with it and do not use it as a barometer to compare everyone to the one who you are trying to get over.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “You don’t what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
Appreciate what you do have. Appreciate those who love you for who you are, don’t focus on those who you need to prove your worth to. Don’t place such high value on another person’s opinion of you.
I hope this article helped you understand a little more how to get over unrequited love. However sometimes the best thing to do is let go but on the other hand the man you want could just be losing interest in you and pulling away. A lot of the time women who suffer from unrequited love wind up unintentionally pushing the guy away, without even realizing what they’re doing wrong. If he’s not showing you the love you desire and he’s going cold, distant or if he’s withdrawn then read this: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This…
And I want to leave you with some quotes that capture unrequited love:
Here are some quotes to read about unrequited love you might like.
“If only the strength of the love that people feel when it is reciprocated could be as intense and obsessive as the love we feel when it is not, then marriages would be truly made in heaven.” Ben Elton, Stark
I never knew until that moment how bad it could hurt to lose something you never really had. ~ from the TV series The Wonder Years
Want to find out if he’s really losing interest? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Is He Losing Interest” Quiz right now and find out if he’s really losing interest in you…