Unrequited love hurts. It makes you feel powerless, miserable, frustrated, and heartbroken because you have so much love in your heart and no place to put it. Realizing that the person you love doesn’t feel the same way is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through, but there’s no reason why you can’t make it to the other side whole.
- Be honest about your feelings. When things don’t go the way we want, our first instinct can be to bury how we feel. Or deny that we truly wanted it. That just makes it so much harder to get past the river of hurt. You need to figure out how much their inability to return your love affects you. Sit with the emotions and try to make sense of them.
- Don’t direct your anger at them. It’s normal to feel a little angry and slighted, especially when you think the other person was leading you on. But you can’t hate them or react angrily because of it. It’s not their fault they don’t feel the same way about you, just like you can’t blame yourself for loving them. Let go of the anger and just accept the disappointment as part of life.
- You deserve to be with someone who is mad about you. Maybe you’re scared of letting go because you can’t trust that love will find you again. Maybe you’re hanging on and hoping they’ll come to love you someday. Remember that you’re worthy of love. You deserve all of someone’s heart, not just the crumbs they’re willing to throw your way. You’ll get your happy ending with someone who can’t stand the thought of not being with you.
- Respect their decision. You know how irritated you get when someone you’ve turned down won’t just take the hint and stop pursuing you? Don’t do that to someone else. You can’t force love down a person’s throat, so even if you unload all the romantic gestures in the world on them, you probably still won’t get them to go out with you. People have a right to not love you back and you need to come to terms with that.
- It’s not a reflection on you. When someone you care a lot about can’t reciprocate those feelings, it brings a sense of insecurity and self-doubt. You start to think it’s because you’re not enough or you’re too much, but nothing could be further from the truth. Their feelings, or lack of it, is about them and not you. Don’t try to see yourself through their eyes. Don’t go questioning your self-worth because one person can’t make room in their heart for you.
- Keep yourself distracted. Being in love means having someone on your mind a lot. You dream about them and obsess over everything they do. You make up scenarios of how things could be and bask in the glow of your illusions. It can tough to purge your mind of someone you love, but it gets easier when you create distractions for yourself. Pick up a new hobby, work out, go shopping, have fun with friends, keep busy, and just try not to think about them.
- Create some distance. Isolating yourself from the person you love might be incredibly difficult especially if you have a wonderful friendship. You don’t want to lose that, but being with them without acting on your feelings is rough. Consider taking a little break from them to get your emotions together. Avoid checking their social media pages every five minutes. You can keep being their friend, just create some boundaries to protect yourself.
- If the horse is dead, dismount. You don’t want to waste your time waiting for something that’s never going to happen. Once you’re sure they don’t love you back, it’s time to get real with yourself. Stop dreaming about what might have been and accept reality for what it is. Commit to moving on while you still have some dignity intact. You don’t want to keep pining for someone who doesn’t want you. Out there, somewhere, there’s a better love story with your name on it.
- Everything you’re feeling will surely pass. Don’t put pressure on yourself to heal overnight. You’re hurting and you need time to process your feelings before letting them go and moving on. Be kind to yourself. Practice self-love and care. Do the things that bring joy. Spend time with the people who already love you. One day soon, you’ll wake up and all the pain will be gone.