It happens to everyone at some point. You fall head over heels in love with someone. Despite everything you do to get them to see you in the same way, they’re just not on the same page. It might be because someone has hurt them in the past or they may be focused on other things. Their career might be more important than a relationship so they don’t give themselves the emotional space to fall in love. Whatever the reason is, they don’t reciprocate your feelings and it hurts. How do you cope with loving someone who doesn’t love you back? We have some tips to help you out.
How to be okay with loving someone who doesn’t love you back
- Understand that love is a gift. Stop thinking of love as something you give out in order to get love in return. It’s absolutely okay to love someone knowing they don’t and may never love you the same way. You can enjoy loving them in your own capacity when you spend time with them. Loving them doesn’t have to be less pleasurable just because they don’t feel the same way. Love them all you want. Just stop expecting the feelings to be returned and be ready to love someone else when a more mutual relationship comes your way.
- Know that over time, your feelings will fade. Even though you love them with passion now, because they don’t hold you as highly as you do them, your love will decrease over time. Don’t pressure yourself to get to that point immediately. Slow down and it will happen. You’ll wake up one day and realize you haven’t even thought about them in days or weeks.
- Get busy. Stop planning your days and weeks around when you can see them. Go out with friends. Immerse yourself in your work. If your job isn’t that exciting, look for volunteer opportunities that make you feel good. Get involved with a volunteer organization and contribute your love in a different way. There are so many things you can do to get busy. Redecorate your house, take up a new hobby, take up an old hobby, reconnect with old friends and make new ones, discover fresh places to eat – the list goes on and on.
- Hide them. If seeing them on social media bothers you, hide their feed. On many social media networks, you don’t even have to unfriend or delete them. Just hide their posts for a while. Take a break from seeing their posts so you can focus your energy elsewhere.
- Don’t make them the first person you call. When you’re excited about something you used to call them, didn’t you? Call someone else now. You don’t have to cut them off but let other people get involved in your life. Family and friends want to know what you are up to and while you were falling for this guy you might have neglected them. So, just let his number rest for a while.
- Don’t put the blame on yourself. It happens. When we fall for someone, it isn’t planned. There’s a chance he may love you back. There’s a chance he won’t. Love is always a gamble. So, don’t give yourself the “I’m so stupid!” self-talk. You’re not. You’re human. And you will move on.
- Love yourself. Above all, the best thing you can do when you love someone who doesn’t love you back is turn all that love inwards to yourself. Self-love is the hardest thing in the world to get good at. It’s so much easier to beat yourself up and be hard on yourself. Start learning about self-love techniques. Yes, that kind of self-love can be awesome, but there are other ways to love yourself. Discover the joy of going out by yourself. Go out for a meal, roam the farmer’s market, visit an art gallery or anything else that you love doing. It’s nice to do those things with other people too, but when you go out by yourself and go to places you love, it’s a whole new experience. You can sit and gaze at that painting you love for hours with no one getting impatient and asking if you’re ready to leave yet. You can experience things the way you want to experience them.
The worst parts of loving someone who doesn’t love you back
- You’re constantly hoping. To quote Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing,” and in no case is it more dangerous than when you’re loving someone who won’t love you back. You spend so much time hoping that they’ll see you the way you see them, or finally leave the person they’re with because they’ll realize you’re The One, that you forget about other aspects of your life. Your obsession and focus is on hope, which can be a good thing, but in this case, is definitely not.
- You hate yourself for not being something/someone else. If the person you’re in love with is dating someone, then it’s easy to hate yourself for not being someone different, someone better. While the reality may be that you’re truly a fantastic person as you are, because your unrequited love chooses to be with someone that isn’t you, it’s hard not to experience deep levels of self-loathing.
- You walk around with a permanent aching. As is the case when you break up with someone, being without the person you love hurts like hell. It’s not just an emotional pain, but an actual physical ache. It’s a heavy, painful brokenness that never really goes away.
- You’re forced to feign happiness. Depending on the relationship you have with your unrequited love, you may be forced to not just witness their relationship with another, but be happy for them, too. If you’re in love with your best friend or a coworker, and they suddenly announce they’re getting married, then you have to deal with it. You have to smile, wish them well, and maybe even have to give a speech at their wedding… holding back your tears the whole time, of course.
- You try to change yourself. Because you hate yourself for not being “right” for the person you love, you try to change yourself for them. Whether it’s physically or something in your personality, you feel the need to mold yourself into a person that they just might be able to love.
- No one else compares. In not wanting to be alone forever, there’s a good chance that you’ll try dating; you might even fake your way into a relationship. But since no one compares to the person you love, you know you’re just doing it for appearances. Everyone else is simply second best.
- You feel like life is meaningless. It’s hard to walk through this life alone, especially when you have unrequited love. It can feel like it’s the end of the world, like everything lacks meaning and importance. But that’s not true; life is full of meaning, even if you don’t get to be with the one you love. It just takes some digging around to discover that as fact.
Some things to remember
- It’s going to hurt. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back sucks, end of. There’s no need to sugarcoat it. At the end of the day, when you get your heart invested in someone and realize it’s all for nothing, you feel like crap. Embrace that. Know that what you’re going through is normal. You’re not the first or last to deal with rejection. It will be okay.
- The pain will pass. This can be difficult to remember when the sting is fresh but it’s true nonetheless. It may take a few weeks or even a few months, but you will get over this feeling and this person. Your love life isn’t over and this isn’t the last person on earth you’ll ever love.
- Someone else’s feelings (or lack thereof) are not a reflection on your self-worth. While it’s easy to take it to heart when someone doesn’t feel the same way about you as you do about them, don’t. How someone else feels or doesn’t feel about you means nothing. It’s not a reflection of how smart you are, how kind, how funny, attractive, caring, etc. It’s about them, not you. Keep reminding yourself of that.
- There’s someone out there who will choose you enthusiastically. This is perhaps the most important thing of all. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back doesn’t seem so bad when you meet the person who does. You’ll suddenly realize there’s so much more out there for you.