What Is Unrequited Love?

Updated 05/14/19

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You may have heard the term, “unrequited love,” and you’re unsure as to what it means. Or perhaps you’re currently experiencing what you believe is unrequited love and are trying to figure out what to do and how you should proceed. Whatever the reasoning is, it’s important to understand the meaning of unrequited love and learn the crucial steps to deal with this kind of tricky and sticky love situation.

What Is the Definition of Unrequited Love? 

In the most basic sense, unrequited love is love that isn’t reciprocated. For example, you may love someone deeply, but this person simply doesn’t love you back. There are times when this person isn’t even aware of your strong loving feelings towards him or her, and there are also circumstances in which this person knows exactly how you feel, but doesn’t feel the same way about you. Whatever the case may be, unrequited love is a love imbalance in which you may love someone with all of your heart, but you don't receive these feelings in return.

How Do You Deal With Unrequited Love?

Unrequited love can be incredibly painful and heart-wrenching. You may care so strongly about someone and love him or her so deeply, but you don’t get to have these feelings mirrored back at you. It can be challenging to know how to handle this difficult situation and manage these feelings of rejection. Fortunately, there are five crucial ways that you can deal with this unfortunate love scenario, protect yourself, and move past the pain in a positive way.

1. Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions

When you’re dealing with the aftermath of unrequited love, you shouldn’t be afraid to embark on what will likely be an emotional roller coaster. You’ll have good days and bad days, but the point is that you're allowing yourself to work through your feelings and letting yourself experience these different emotions in order to heal. Rather than pushing these emotions down and refusing to confront them, you should accept the reality of the situation so that you can begin the process of moving on for good.

2. Understand That You’ll Love Again

It can be challenging to even think about the possibility of loving someone new after experiencing unrequited love. You may think that you’ll never love again, and that no other person will be able to live up to the current object of your affection. But this simply isn’t the case. After all, if you can love someone this much who doesn’t love you back, just imagine how much more you can love someone who actually does. Just because this specific person doesn’t love you back doesn’t mean that no one else will.

Have faith in yourself and recognize that you deserve to be happy and be with someone who loves and values you. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back will actually make you stronger, as it helps you learn to prioritize what's important to you in another person and what qualities and attributes matter to you.

3. Recognize That You’re Not Alone

When you’re experiencing love that goes unrequited, you may feel as though you're the only person in the world who’s ever had to deal with this kind of painful situation. But in reality, many people go through this same type of experience in their lives. Both in great literature as well as music, unrequited love is a common and widespread theme, as many people can relate to this challenging experience. Not everyone you love and have feelings for is going to love you back, and vice versa. It’s imperative that you gain some perspective and recognize that you’re not alone and that you can get through this.

4. Surround Yourself With a Support System

In regards to being alone, it's imperative that you surround yourself with friends and family during this difficult time. It can be easy to isolate yourself and shut out the world around you as you deal with the pain and reality of the situation, but this isn't the approach you should take. Spending time with people who care about you and your well-being is one of the best ways to heal, as their supportive words and actions can help to boost your spirits. Plus, you’ll likely come to understand that they have their own stories of unrequited love and learn how they made it through the heartache.

In addition, you shouldn't hesitate to seek out advice from a therapist or other trained professional who can provide you with essential tools and strategies to deal with and manage the range of emotions you're experiencing.  

5. Be Kind to Yourself

If you're experiencing unrequited love, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is kindness. Rather than being hard on yourself or upset that you're in this kind of love situation to begin with, it's best to practice self-love and self-care. You should be your own best friend and advocate in order to deal with the pain you may be experiencing. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, you should use this time to pamper yourself and seek out situations that bring you joy. Whether you go to a spa, redecorate your apartment, or spend a day at your favorite museum, you should use this time in a productive and positive way if you want to help make yourself feel better.

 

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