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Unrequited Love: Signs, Dealing With & Lessons

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Put simply, unrequited love is love that is felt by one person toward another that is not reciprocated by that person. The object of the love may or may not be aware of their admirer’s feelings toward them.

You love someone – at least, you think you do.

But you’re not sure whether they love you back.

How can you tell if their feelings for you are quite different to those you have for them?

You just need to look for the signs…

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you look at your unrequited love objectively and work to let those feelings go. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

16 Signs Of Unrequited Love

(1) Are you performing grand gestures for someone only to get nothing but a “Thanks” in return?

(2) Do you constantly wonder what the other person is doing, whereas they are off living a seemingly carefree life, giving no heed to you whatsoever?

(3) Is there a picture of this person on your phone you’d die if anyone found out about.. but there’s no way you’re deleting it?

Your love for them might be unrequited.

(4) Do you find loads of reasons to be around someone that fall just short of stalkerish, but close to “Wow, isn’t this coincidental? Hey, if you’re not busy there’s this – No? OK.”

(5) How jealous do you get when that special someone grinds your soul by telling you about the great movie they saw with Someone Else?

You may have an unrequited love.

(6) Do you feel used, do you feel unappreciated, do you wish their eyes would open to what is the wonderfully intertwined life path so clearly laid out before you?

(7) Do you see yourself as patiently waiting for the other person to experience a revelatory burst of healthy, stable affection for you?

(8) If you’re the one constantly initiating contact, you may be missing a sign, but let’s rename and reposition it from “unrequited love” (a) it’s not love, it’s infatuation; b) “unrequited” means “not returned or rewarded”) to a more actionable observation of: It is time to move on.

(9) Do you have more conversations in your head with this special person than actual out-loud dialogue? Unrequited love.

(10) Do you have a habit of telling people about the “ones that got away”? Are you already scripting it about the latest object of your desire? Unrequited. Love.

(11) Let’s enjoy a bit of bluntness: has someone told you “It’s not you, it’s me”? Clear, clear sign right there.

(12) Has someone told you it’s not them, it’s you? Burning bush of signs right there.

It’s really tempting to think of ourselves as these sad, sensitive, romantic victims of the heart, but isn’t it funny how a lot of the time the “sensitivity” of “sensitive” dumped folks only extends to them getting what they want, not the feelings of the other person?

How about, instead, realize that no one (and this bears repeating in caps), NO ONE is owed to you.

To anyone.

Even if there’s no mountain high enough to keep you from getting to them or valley low enough, the journey is yours alone.

No one, no matter what, in any way, shape, or form, is beholden to travel it with you.

If you weren’t convinced already, how about a few more signs your love for them might be unrequited:

(13) They can do no wrong

Wherein the object of your desire is elevated so highly that you’re perfectly fine with that person never washing their unmentionables, which is pretty much the view of them, looking up from below, you’ve consigned yourself to.

(14) Your identity depends on loving them and them loving you

Placing the burden of your general satisfaction with life on the shoulders of another person presents a huge emotional imbalance.

It’s enough for us to live our own lives without also having to make someone “whole.”

If the love you feel for another is based on how complete they make you, you’re definitely on the path to ruin.

This is a selfish and draining type of co-dependent attachment.

(15) When you think of them you feel anxious

This occurs as a result of part of you, despite what you want to believe, knowing that the intermix between you and the person on your pedestal is a one-sided affair. You’re afraid they’ll disappear before seeing how wonderful the two of you could be.

(16) There’s little to no physical contact

If the best you’re getting out of a hug is the shoulder-touch/pelvic-repel, the level of intimacy you hoped for isn’t there.

Touch is so important to bonding, and if you think you’re in love, but you and the object of your affections never hold hands or even maintain solid eye contact, that’s a sure sign their feelings for you are solidly platonic minus any hint of romance.

How To Deal With Unrequited Love: 10 Tips

Falling in love is supposed to be the most amazing feeling you experience in your entire life.

But when you love someone who doesn’t love you back, it can be devastating.

Rejection can leave an empty hole in your heart. You may feel as if you can’t go on, but you can deal with unrequited love.

Pull yourself together and follow these tips to move past the pain and on with your life.

1. Allow Yourself to Grieve

Unrequited love is still a loss, even if the relationship never started.

You had invested emotionally into a relationship and felt love for another human being.

It is normal to feel grief, anger, and denial as you recover. Cut yourself some slack.

Your feelings are normal and healthy. You will heal, and you will get past this.

2. Don’t Take it Personally

The fact that the other person didn’t fall for you likely has a lot more to do with them than you.

Perhaps they are in a different place in their life. Perhaps they just got out of a long-term relationship. Maybe they’re supporting a sick family member. Who knows?

The point is that it may have had nothing to do with you.

Loving someone doesn’t automatically mean that they will love you back. It isn’t your fault. It doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough.

Accepting the reality of the situation is tough, but it is the most important step towards dealing with your hurting heart.

3. Don’t Blame your Crush

It isn’t your crush’s fault that they didn’t fall in love.

As mentioned above, they may not be in a place to love anyone right now.

Whatever the reason it happened, it won’t do you any good to harbor anger and resentment. Forgive the other person and start the healing process by letting go of the disappointment that is weighing on your heart.

4. Distance Yourself

Sometimes we have a hard time coming to terms with unrequited love. We may think that if we do something different or change our approach, it might work out.

“If only I could make them see…” or “If I could just talk to them in person…”

Don’t fall for it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to put some distance between you and your crush. The hope you feel is only an illusion. What you need is time to grieve the loss.

Cut off all communication. Don’t “accidentally” run into your love at the grocery store or at a local hangout. Don’t stalk social media.

It is time to move on, and moving on will be a lot easier to do with a healthy distance between you.

Spend time with your family or friends. Surround yourself with people that do care about you.

Give yourself a day or two to vent and cry. After that, don’t mention your crush’s name out loud again.

5. Focus on your Future

Acknowledge that you have been hurt and that you will need some recovery time.

This doesn’t mean that you should lock yourself away for six months. Now is a great time to rethink your future.

Throw yourself into something new. If you can distract yourself while also doing something valuable for your life, it is a win-win.

You’ve probably been mentally designing a future with your crush for some time now. Since that ship has sailed, it is time for a redesign.

What do you want to get out of life? What can you do now to advance your career or your education? What about a new hobby?

Not only will planning help take the focus off the painful experience, but you can also turn those hurtful feelings into feelings of excitement for what the future holds.

6. Realize that you Deserve Better

Try asking yourself, “Why do I want to be with someone that doesn’t want to be with me?”

Realize that you deserve to be in a relationship where your partner has love for you. Without love, you would never be happy in the long haul.

You deserve better than to be in a one-sided relationship. Anyone who doesn’t recognize how awesome you are doesn’t deserve you either!

7. Think Positively

When one door closes, another one opens.

If you had entered into a relationship that was destined to fail, you would have wasted a lot of your own time.

You may have missed another opportunity that you don’t even know exists yet. Who knows what the future has in store for you?

You may be about to meet the real person of your dreams in the next day or two.

8. Go Ahead and Date

There are a lot of fish in the sea. Since this person didn’t work out, go ahead and cast a line.

Even if you need time to grieve, there is nothing wrong with spending time with new prospects. You never know – you just might find someone who takes their place.

Worst case scenario is that you spend an hour with someone new and have a decent conversation and a drink.

Even a bad date can still boost your morale and self-esteem.

Go out there and live your life.

9. Find Out if you are Addicted

Have you found yourself in this predicament before?

If so, it may be time to reevaluate if, subconsciously, you knowingly fall for people who will not return the favor.

Sometimes people are addicted to going after something they can never have, and sometimes you may not even realize that you do.

If you have found yourself with unrequited love in the past, it may be time to consult a therapist and work through your issues.

10. Know that Eventually You’ll be Stronger

When you first realize that your crush doesn’t love you back, you’ll be devastated.

The last thing you will think about is how strong you’ll become.

But once you have won the battle and come back, you will have higher self confidence and self esteem than you did before.

You loved, you lost your love, you survived the loss, and now you’ll be stronger.

You will be more careful in the future with who you hand your heart to. You will recognize the signs of unrequited love going forward and will be less likely to repeat the mistake.

Listening to this might help you overcome your feelings of unreturned love.

7 Lessons We Can Learn From Our Unrequited Love

It’s rare for any of us to go through our entire lives without experiencing that feeling of loving another, but not being loved back.

But what might we learn from these bouts of unrequited love; these times of pain and longing?

Well, these 7 things for starters…

1. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

Yep, as much as you might wish for something or strive to make it happen, not everything can become a reality.

You may have long thought about it, even fantasized that it might one day come true, but love, like so many other things in life, is not guaranteed.

You have to accept that things will sometimes not turn out the way you hoped.

It’s important that you don’t see this as a defeat, but as something that just wasn’t meant to be.

If you can maintain a positive attitude even when your heart is breaking, it will hasten your emotional healing.

There is a positive note to not getting what you want – whether it is a love that remains forever unreciprocated, or missing out on your dream job or house, you learn to be grateful for those things that do go your way.

Think about it: if you were blessed to have your every wish come true, you would soon lose any appreciation for these positive outcomes.

You would just take them for granted and become unable to enjoy them to their fullest.

Your successes will taste that bit sweeter after you’ve experienced disappointment.

2. You Can’t Make Someone Love You

No matter what you do or say, true love is not something you can force.

It may grow if the conditions are right, but it has to happen organically, naturally, and in both parties.

You may try to plant some seeds – with kind gestures or flirtatious language – but they won’t always take root.

There’s nothing you can do to make the other person have the kind of feelings you want them to have.

The same goes outside of romantic relationships, too.

How someone feels about you – whether they like, respect, or value you is as much to do with them and their mind as it is to do with you.

No matter what you do, some people will never quite “get” you or see you as their friend or even as their equal.

The lesson: don’t waste your time chasing the “wrong” people when you could be spending it with the “right” people.

Which leads nicely on to…

3. Know When To Call It Quits

Your love for another is unrequited, but how long should you wait to see if this changes?

Well, not too long is the honest answer.

Time is precious and you can’t be certain how much of it you have, so when it becomes clear that your love for this other person is unlikely ever to be reciprocated, you are better off calling it quits sooner rather than later.

As much as you may hold out hope that they may one day change their mind, the truth is they probably won’t.

Consider, instead, that by holding on to your feelings, you may inadvertently overlook the real potential that lay elsewhere.

There are other people and there will be other loves, and by moving on with your life, you give these a chance they would not have otherwise had.

The same might be said for many things in life: knowing when to cut your losses is an important skill to practice.

Often, the very act of accepting an outcome you didn’t want is merged with the opening of a new door through which other opportunities await.

4. Always Be Yourself

It can be very tempting, when someone isn’t returning your love, to change yourself in the hopes that this somehow persuades them.

You alter your looks, your attitude, your behavior, or something else in the belief that they will suddenly feel differently about you.

You try to become who you think they want you to be by putting on a mask and acting out a role.

As clever as this may sound, it is a tactic that is doomed to fail.

Love is lots of things, but one of the most important is the acceptance by another human being of you as you are. Only through this can you feel secure and comfortable in a relationship.

Try to hide your true self and you’ll experience feelings of resentment, anxiety, and discontent.

The same goes for life in general; if you are afraid to let people see your true colors, you will live a life fearing that one day all those relationships you’ve built on the back of your lies will come tumbling down.

The happiest people and most meaningful relationships depend on honesty and acceptance of yourself and others.

No fakery, no deception, just openness and a mutual celebration of each other’s souls.

So drop the mask and let the world see who you truly are. Embrace your vulnerability and watch as genuine relationships blossom.

5. Communicate Your Feelings

Unrequited love is quite often unspoken love, too.

You might have these intense feelings for someone and yet be unable to tell them.

You suffer from a distance, watching on as they go about their lives, see other people, or just drift beyond your reach over time.

Sound familiar?

We all know why you do it, don’t we?

You’re afraid of the finality and irrevocability that declaring your feelings would lead to.

Right now you can hold on to the hope that you may one day, possibly, end up in a loving relationship with this person.

If you actually communicate your feelings and find out for certain that they are not reciprocated, you can’t turn back the clock. You will know, for sure, that your love is one-sided.

And that would hurt.

Yet, knowing where you stand is the pivotal step you need to take if you are to be able to move on as we discussed above.

Assuming they do not feel as you do, you will at least receive closure. Only then can the healing process begin.

Communication shouldn’t stop at declarations of love, however.

All areas of your life can, and generally will, see improvement when you talk to people, speak your mind, and express your opinions.

So don’t be afraid to show your hand and open up about what it is you are feeling or what you want – people aren’t mind readers after all.

6. Respect Yourself

If someone doesn’t love you in the same way you love them, it can be easy to blame yourself.

Suddenly you see faults where you saw none before, you begin to question who you are and what your worth is.

Don’t be deceived. You are thinking from a place of pain and hurt right now, but you are still you.

It doesn’t matter if this particular person doesn’t love you because there are plenty of people who do.

Don’t let this negative experience fool you into devaluing yourself. You weren’t right for them and that’s ok. You are right for others.

Your worth does not depend on how this one person feels about you.

Again, we can broaden this point to cover other areas of your life.

Did you get turned down for a job you applied for? It’s their loss.

Were you priced out of the housing market in your ideal location? You’ll find somewhere better.

Did someone try to make a fool of you in front of others to boost their own fragile ego? How sad for them.

Your self-worth is exactly that: from the self.

The most important thing is not what others think of you or what your circumstances are; it’s what you think of yourself.

Believe that you are worthy and don’t let anything or anyone convince you otherwise.

7. Your Path Will Twist And Turn

One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you discover that your love is not their love, is that all those dreams you had of a life together turn to ashes.

In your mind, you may have made plans for a shared future; one that you dearly wish could have come true.

But it hasn’t and it won’t. And you are now faced with unknown prospects.

This is how life works.

The path – your path – is not a straight and easy one.

There are twists and turns, dead ends and obstacles.

Where you think you are headed might turn into an altogether different destination (not that there are any destinations other than death, only waypoints on your journey).

Know this. Accept this. Realize that you cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.

Your life can and will change in many unexpected ways, so you might as well strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Just leave your expectations at home; they will not serve you.

Unrequited love may feel horrific, but it is a blessing in disguise. You could be missing out on the type of relationship you deserve if you are with someone that doesn’t love you back. You could have missed out on the love of your life.

Don’t let a case of unrequited love turn you into a bitter soul. Love is a difficult journey which is why you will appreciate true love once you find it. Until then, chalk this up as a learning experience.

A few months from now you will look back and agree that it was all for the better. You will love again, and when you do, it will be with someone that loves you back.

Still not sure how to deal with your unrequited love? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

A. Morningstar is an author who started writing for A Conscious Rethink in 2017. He particularly enjoys writing about the mind, spirit and getting the best out of our relationships. He writes from lived experience and is passionate about helping others to find peace within.