Loneliness, self-doubt, and heartache make unrequited love seem like the worst possible experience ever. There’s something uniquely devastating about falling head over heels for someone who doesn’t feel the same. It blows, we’re not gonna lie. However, it’s also not all bad news. In fact, unrequited love can actually be good for you, even though it might not feel like it right now. Here’s why you’ll be grateful for the experience down the line.
- It makes you think about what you want. At some point, you start thinking about why you feel the way you do. This leads you to thinking about what you truly want. Is he really the type of guy you’re into? What is it about him that you like? What would your ideal life be together? Before long, you know what you want and it’s not actually him.
- You’ll learn what it means to love. Love isn’t always butterflies and rainbows – it’s a pain in the ass like no other. Sure, not having someone return your love hurts, but really feeling the love shows you what it feels like to love someone (outside of family and friends of course). You won’t have to wonder anymore if you’re dealing with love or lust – you’ll know.
- It teaches you to handle rejection. To me, unrequited love is the ultimate form of rejection. The other person doesn’t mean to hurt you, but they honestly don’t feel the same. Getting turned down for a date stings, but when your heart is pushed away, it’s painful. Dealing with these feelings helps you better deal with rejection in the future.
- It forces you to improve yourself. At first, you’ll try to change yourself to whatever you think they’ll like best. Gradually, you stop doing it for them and start doing it for yourself. That initial change phase makes you analyze the worst parts about yourself and encourages you to improve. Once you move on to changing for you, you end up with a much better version of yourself.
- You’ll learn what makes you truly happy. The only way to get over unrequited love is to fight back by doing things you love. I’m not talking about eating ice cream or stalking your love on Facebook. I mean you have to immerse yourself in hobbies, go out with your best friends, and try new things to take your mind off what’s going on. In the end, you learn what things in life make you truly happy. Often they’re things you’ve been taking for granted.
- You’ll realize you are happy on your own. As you start to try to get through your heartbroken haze, you start to realize you don’t really need anyone to make you happy. All that loneliness you felt didn’t break you and now you’re starting to feel good about life again. And it’s all because of you. It didn’t take a guy to make you happy.
- It makes you more cautious in relationships. I know it might not seem like a benefit, but I’ve watched a few friends get hurt time and time again because they fell head over heels after the first date. After you’ve dealt with unrequited love, you’re a little more careful. You hold back until you know whether the other person has feelings for you or not. Basically, you get to know the person better before giving him your heart.
- It boosts other relationships in your life. The people who love you will be there for you. It’s okay that some guy didn’t return your love. This gives your friends and family a chance to help pick you back up. While they’re doing this, your relationships with each of them are growing stronger.
- It proves that you can love again. I honestly felt like I’d never possibly love again. It just hurt too much. Along the way, I realized if I felt this strongly about someone who didn’t love me, how much more would I love someone who loved me back? Even if you don’t realize this, trust me when I say someone will prove that unrequited love isn’t your last and only love.
- It lets you love safely from a distance. If you have problems with commitment, unrequited love is your best friend. This is especially true if you’ve never told the other person you love them. You’re able to love them with all your heart without ever telling them or committing to them. It’s safe and you don’t get hurt like you might in a relationship.
- It improves your confidence and self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll feel anything but confident when you realize you’re not loved back. Winning the battle and coming back from unrequited love makes you feel more confident and self-assured than ever before. You loved, you lost and you survived.
How to move on from unrequited love
While loving someone who doesn’t feel the same can teach you some valuable lessons, unrequited love isn’t exactly an experience you want to hang around for long-term. There comes a point when you have to move on, but how?
- Go no-contact for a while. Just like you would after a breakup, it’s important to remove this person from your life completely, at least temporarily. That means not following them on social media, not texting with them, not hanging out with them, etc. If you want to move on from unrequited love, you have to be truly willing to leave this person in the past. You may be able to be friends after you’re over them, but that shouldn’t even be a thought in your mind right now.
- Focus on your differences rather than your similarities. One of the best ways to begin the process of getting over an unrequited love is by reminding yourself of all the things that would make you terrible as a couple rather than all the stuff you’re on the same page about. It’s all fine and well that you both love Twin Peaks and hiking, but that doesn’t mean a long-term relationship would work out between you. Think about all the things that make you uncompatible and it’ll be much easier to imagine no longer being romantically interested.
- Do something to distract yourself. Of course you’re going to obsess over your unrequited love if you’re not doing anything else with your time and energy. At a certain point, you have to drag yourself out of the house and go do something. Whether you start actually putting your $100/month gym membership to use, you join a book club, or you just start spending more time with your friends, getting out of your own head will work wonders.
- Practice self-care. You have to look after your heart and mind here. Dealing with unrequited love can make you feel very down and depressed, and you don’t want that. It’s important to do things to care for yourself, including taking long baths, journaling, going on walks, talking to your friends and family… whatever makes your soul feel a little less heavy, go for it.
- Give yourself time to grieve what could have been but wasn’t meant to be. It seriously sucks when you love someone and they just don’t feel the same. There’s no other way to put it. It’s going to be devastating for a while, and it’s important to acknowledge that. Let yourself mourn the death of the dreams you had for the two of you as a couple, but then celebrate the fact that you’ll get to experience those things with someone way better suited for you and with someone who actually feels the same.