Having a crush on someone and not being looked back in the same way isn’t the same as unrequited love. Or at least as I understand it. Having a crush, no matter for how much time you’ve had it, isn’t the same as being in love with someone. Even in those cases when you feel like you’re dying of love for that person, it’s most likely that it's just an obsession more than real love. Now, this doesn’t mean that not being liked back hurts less than an unrequited love. But what’s really the difference?
There’s no common consensus to separate both terms, and if you look up on the Internet, you’ll find that sometimes these are used interchangeably. But for me, calling a crush "love" is too much. When we talk about unrequited love it’s because there’s a story of a relationship behind. It can go from dating for a while and one party no longer having feelings for the other, to one of those terrible cases where one party toys with the other and then leaves them. Unrequited crushes don’t involve those harsh backstories or that devastating feeling of not being liked back, which can turn into very obsessive and sometimes sick behaviors.
There are many articles out there promising they have a definite solution to this situation. However, no matter how logical and easy their advice sounds, whenever we hear about our crush, all those emotions rush back, even though we believe ourselves to be completely over them. You might be thinking, why not just stop seeing or having contact with them? I guess that was easier before the Internet era, but nowadays it's basically impossible to do so, especially if you have many things and contacts in common.
And this is an essential point that many of these articles didn’t really approach or just decided to ignore. If you think about it, these types of crushes are usually with someone close to you or that you see on a daily basis, call it a classmate, co-worker, friend, or neighbor. If you think that liking most of their photos or posts is a bit too much, imagine how weird it would be to all of a sudden block them in every social media and still see them everyday. That's what I mean when I say these crushes are difficult to deal with. Yes, we may fall in love with people we barely know, but these cases are just based on attraction. However, when the feelings are stronger and you get to know the person better, it's more difficult to move on, especially if you thought their attitude towards you were attempts to flirt with you, when in fact they were just being nice.
Among the many bits of advice these articles give, the main one is to stop fantasizing about a future together and realize that, no matter what you do, they will never really look at you in the same way as you look at them. Now, yes, of course, this sounds logical, and we all wish it could be so simple, but I don’t think the problem is that we stubbornly cling to that desire. We might know it's time to move on and still be unable to.
Emotions can't be controlled so easily, but at the same time, finding a distraction, stop thinking about them, or putting some distance won't really wipe away the feelings. On the contrary, trying so hard to move on can actually turn into an obsession. It's important to place your energy and focus into other aspects of your life. Yes, it's heartbreaking, but it's also important to keep in mind the fact that you were a whole person before and you'll continue to be one after.
Unrequited feelings have been an inspiration for many artists, authors, and musicians. For more stories about this, check the following:
Images by @elliottsdunning