This extremely painful scenario has happened to almost everyone: you love someone so much and they don’t love you back. This can feel extremely devastating and difficult. The other person may or may not even be aware that you have romantic feelings for them, or they may have openly rejected you.
According to social psychologist Roy Baumeister, 98% of people have suffered from unrequited love in their lifetime. So, although it is painful, it is quite common. It can send people into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. Am I not worthy of love? Am I not good enough in some way? Am I inadequate? Will I ever even be loved? The rejection happens to almost everyone, though. It does not mean that you are not good enough to be loved, it may just mean that is not the right time or the right partner for you.
This heartbreaking scenario can leave you feeling very broken and sad. You may even be in physical heartache. This is a good time to start to nurture yourself gently. Allow yourself to take it easy. Try to gradually move forward and move on with your life to the best of your ability. It may take some time, but eventually you will start to feel completely back to normal again.
Unrequited love can also be a psychological pattern people experience. If you find yourself falling for people who don’t love you back over and over, try to evaluate what work you can do on yourself. According to many psychologists, including Dr. Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., having an insecure bond with your primary caretaker in early childhood can lead you to subconsciously seek the same experience in your adult life, where your needs are not getting properly met. Putting yourself through therapy or learning more about the topic can help you overcome this tendency.
Focus your efforts on forgiveness. Forgive yourself for making your love known. Even though the love was not returned, you made the effort to express it and put yourself out there. That is a brave and strong move! In many incidents of unrequited love, the person who had to be in the position of rejecting the other person was hurt as well. They feel guilty that they hurt someone. If you can forgive the situation, you are doing the most loving thing for yourself and the other person. If it didn’t work out, try to let it go. You will feel relief and the other person will hopefully feel less guilty as well.
Stop looking for closure. Closure may be what you think you need in order to move on. You may think it will help if you find the exact reason it didn’t work, but often you can actually be looking for ways it might. As harsh as it may sound, you may have to give up on looking for the exact reasons love went sour, and accept that it somehow did.
Feeling heartbreak can be one of the most difficult experiences ever, but with good coping techniques you can overcome the pain and move forward. It might give you information for what type of partner to look for, or teach you something about yourself at the end of the day. You can get support and love from your friends, family, or even therapist. Reach out and talk about it if you feel that you need to. Love comes in many forms and romantic love is just one of them. Your support system of people can really come through for you at this hard time.