Trapped In The Torture Of Unrequited Love

It sounds romantic: To love someone with all of your mind, body, heart and soul. But what happens when they don’t love you back? The pain of loving someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you, can almost be unbearable. And it certainly doesn’t feel romantic - it just feels devastating.

“Unrequited love is like waiting for an aeroplane at a train station.” Urban Dictionary.
The official definition from The Cambridge Dictionary is “a feeling towards someone who does not feel the same way toward you.”

Thought Catalog describes it cleverly in four simple words; agony, despair, foolishness and hope. From sorrow washing over you, negativity consuming your thoughts; a dull ache sits on your chest.

Evidence from research by Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan suggests emotional pain activates the same part of your brain as physical pain. So it’s no wonder why some describe their experience of unrequited love using physical descriptions.    

Whilst everyone’s experience may differ slightly, the emotions paired with the situation are almost parallel. And you’re not alone. Unrequited love is extremely common. According to social psychologist Dr. Roy Baumeister, 98% of people have suffered at one time or another.

But what can be done to help you understand, recover and move on?

Start with yourself and acknowledge you have been hurt. Rejection is a difficult pill to swallow, and if your heart has been broken, there is a real sensation of pain. But with time you shall heal and feel once again.

And then move on to letting go of the anger. Not loving someone back doesn’t mean he/she is a bad person. Whilst unrequited love is extremely contradictory, it is important to not create excuses for a someone’s behaviour. But it is wise to understand the possible reasons as to why the love is not reciprocated. 

We rarely hear about the agony of those who are the target of unwanted love. Most literature and films tell the story from the viewpoint of the rejected lover. Nevertheless, both rejects and would-be lovers can end up feeling like victims.

INSTAGRAM • @Samantha.king.holmes

There could be several factors as to why love isn’t felt both ways. Perhaps it is the most common case of friendship, where one sees, feels and wants more romantically than the other.

One of the most common stories was of being in a friendship with an undercurrent of attraction on one side. Over and over people said, ‘We were good friends, but I secretly was in love.’" Dr. Roy Baumeister, Case Western Reserve University.

Another major element is communication and timing. Nomoreus says: “The lack of communication ruins a lot of potential forevers.” As a society, humans are programmed to see vulnerability as a weakness. Not sharing your feelings with someone is a button for self-destruct and if time passes you by too quickly, keeping quite can ruin potential chances of happiness.

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.” Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding.

One version of unrequited love is perhaps the most predictable but less familiar: falling for someone who is much more desirable than yourself, whether it is physical beauty or attributes like charm, intelligence, wit or status. This kind of mismatch is called “falling upward”.

In this circumstance it is best to identify what you saw in the person. Why did you fall for them? What was it about them that you liked? And then compare that to the ideals of a partner you seek. While not everyone is going to possess the qualities you desire, if the fundamentals don’t match up, it is clear you romanticised about their attributes and created an unrealistic representation.  

To move on you must understand, when someone fails to see your worth, it doesn’t mean you are unloveable. If you are having difficulty remembering the incredible person you are, despite a unfulfilled romantic interest, repeat positive affirmations to yourself. And remind yourself, you deserve someone wholly. You are worth the risk, and you are better than this. If it is meant to be, then it will happen. But do not fear, the best is yet to come. 

 INSTAGRAM • @r.h.sin

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