We all have that one random, slightly insane reaction when we’re hit by a romantic disappointment. Mine includes listening to The 1975 on repeat, episodes of Teen Wolf, and trying my hand at vegan baking that, more than likely, will end up in the trash. As much as we want to pretend to be okay and over it, the truth is that realizing the person we like doesn’t feel the same way hurts. We can be as open-minded as we want, but every love trouble comes with a grieving process. People going through the end of a long-term relationship might be confused as to why we’re so broken up about something that never was. Well, the reason for that is that what’s tearing us apart on the inside is the loss of a hope for something. And sometimes that feels worse than realizing that the person who’s been at your side is no longer in love.
It takes guts, or a lot of confidence, to confront the person you have feelings for and pour your whole heart out. Even if we know for sure that our crush will say they’re not interested, there’s always that little glimmer of hope that they’ll open up about how they also have feelings for us. Ultimately that’s what gets to us: all the dreams and plans we made are suddenly dissolving before our eyes. However, it seems that being on the heartbroken side of an unrequited love is a rite of passage for all of us. It might even be a step towards finding someone who will love us back.
There is no perfect answer as to why we fall in love with people who don’t feel the same way. However, there’s a chance that at times we idealize them. We don’t see beyond the positive and beautiful aspects about them because we only establish a superficial relationship. We only see what we want to see. This is also a somewhat comfortable position for us because we are able to stay at a safe distance. We never show our true selves. We might even bend the truth a bit because we feel that if we’re too honest we won’t make a good impression. We create an entire scenario based on half truths and expectations. It’s no wonder we feel saddened when it ends because it’s as if someone had bursted our bubble of fantasy.
Unrequited love can teach us a lot of things. First, when we examine our feelings for the other person, we’re more than likely to find that the relationship we think we have with them is not the perfect rom-com plot. Through this we can start to evaluate if we were ever really in love with the person or just wanted to feel good about ourselves for being with them. Perhaps we figured that once we were with them, all of our problems would disappear, or we’d be able to achieve some sort of goal. This is incredibly dangerous, since we’re piling on a lot on to one person. It’s not their job to love or fix us. We can expect them to be the salvation or answer to all of our issues. In fact, we need to face all of these before we consider bringing someone else into the mix.
Even when we’re at our lowest point, we can use this heartbreaking moment as a chance to reflect on what we want in a partner. This time, we should strive to think about what we really want versus what we keep telling ourselves we want or need. We can take an introspective look at our own actions and see whether we’re displaying disingenuous traits or if we’re pretending to be someone we’re not. Instead of playing the blame game or declare that nobody will ever love us, ever, we should take this as a valuable learning experience.
It’s easy to say that it’s the other person’s loss. But why would you ever conform to being with someone who wasn’t entirely sure about how they felt about you? Blackmailing or trying to gaslight someone into admitting these kinds of feelings is incredibly unhealthy as well. If love is a pure emotion, these negative acts are sure to sully or destroy them. If you’ve recently found out that the person you were pining for does not feel the same way, don’t be afraid to be sad and grieve. Just don’t go down a path of resentment. This is a valuable chance to see things in a new light. You’ve been given a gift. A painful one, but one that can help you grow into someone who is ready for a lasting love.