Loving Someone You Can’t Have: What To Do And How To Cope

Few things are as painful as loving someone you can’t have. Surviving this lot in life comes down to being honest with yourself, limiting your contact with that person, and prioritizing love. Check out our guide on how to cope with loving someone you can’t have.

  1. Feel your feelings. As uncomfortable as your emotions might be, you won’t be able to cope with the situation if you don’t feel them. Unless you let yourself be sad or angry, you won’t be able to move on. Instead, you’ll internalize those feelings and carry them with you, everywhere you go. According to Healthline, feeling your feelings is one of the most effective starting points in getting over someone you can’t have. There are no wrong emotions—however you’re feeling, let it be and address it in a beneficial way—which brings us to our next step!
  2. Deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Once you’ve acknowledged and felt your feelings, you have to deal with them. Your first reaction, if feeling angry, might be to lash out at the person you can’t have. That might help you to process your anger, but it’s not healthy. A reaction like that could have permanent effects on the rest of your life. Instead, find non-harmful ways of dealing with your emotions. You could write them down or express them through art. Maybe you can channel them into exercise or vent them with people you trust. If you feel like crying into a pillow on your own, that’s fine too. But there are lots of ways to express and work through how you’re feeling.
  3. Spend time with other people you love. Just because you can’t have the specific person you love doesn’t mean your life has to be void of love. There are lots of kinds of love. The more you immerse yourself in them, the less alone you’ll feel. So spend time with other people who mean a lot to you. Think your family and friends, whom you’d be lost without. If you don’t have many connections, it’s worth nurturing your relationships with other people. Invest in friendships and family relationships. Even if you do find someone to love romantically, it’s important to have non-romantic connections too.
  4. Show yourself love and kindness. Even if you feel like there’s no love around you at all, you can always show yourself love. Self-love might involve some pretending in the beginning. You can’t just turn on self-love after months or years of loathing yourself. But you can start by committing to self-love. Make an effort to be kind to yourself and not put yourself down. The more you act like you love yourself, the more natural it will feel.
  5. Get productive. Being rejected by someone you love, even if their hands are tied, can leave you feeling pretty worthless and without a purpose. That’s why it helps to be productive. Try doing something that’s been on your to-do list for a while. It might be cleaning out your closet or getting involved in a charity. Not only will you reinforce that you are making a change in some form, but you’ll also be too distracted to wallow in self-pity.

How to deal with loving someone you can’t have

  1. Remind yourself why you can’t have them. Sometimes, logic can overrule emotion. If there’s a good reason why you can’t have the person you love, remind yourself of it. Maybe they are already in a relationship. Or you live on different sides of the planet. Or you have totally different values. Whatever the reason, think how hard life would be if you did have the person you love. Think about what it would really mean and what would really change. Often, this is enough to make you feel better about not being able to have them.
  2. Keep pursuing love. Loving someone you can’t have is really tricky. But please don’t let it put you off searching for love! Keep pursuing your search for The One if you’re disappointed about a love that didn’t work out because you do deserve to be happy. And while dating can come with lots of setbacks, you have to be in it to win it.
  3. Be picky with dating. If you are jumping back in the dating game, try to be picky. It might be tempting to just settle for anyone. But if you do, you’re more likely to have your heart broken again. If you’re not true to your own standards, you’ll probably invest in someone who’s not right for you and won’t make you happy. Enough dating experiences like this and you may find yourself giving up on love.
  4. Limit your contact with the person you love. The less you see of the person you love but can’t have, the better. It might make you feel better initially to keep in touch with them. But that will only remind you of what you can’t have. And in the end, you’ll feel a lot worse. A lot of relationship gurus swear by the no-contact rule when it comes to getting over an ex, and the same principle applies to unrequited love.
  5. Resist the urge to stalk them on social media. It’s very tempting to stalk the person you love on social media. But just like directly interacting with them, this is likely to make you feel worse. As your look on their profile pages and feeds, you’ll just be reminded of what you can’t have. Don’t feel bad about muting or unfollowing them, as your happiness and wellbeing should be your top priority.

Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.