If you haven’t suffered from unrequited love, count yourself lucky. It’s that horrible, desperate desire to have someone love you who just never will. That one-sided emotional attachment that you probably formed with very little help from the subject of your ardor. It’s an obsession with someone who will never feel about you the way you feel about him. And it happens to most of us.
You may even understand, on some level, that this person will not love you in the way you want, but still, you try. It’s unwarranted optimism. And relentless passion. Maybe if you change the way you are, she’ll like you more. Maybe you can change him instead and get him to be responsive to you.
But the fact is, unrequited love is a dead end. Until you realize that, you will be unable to let go and move on. Because you deserve someone who loves you, appreciates you, and makes you feel good about yourself. And that is not someone who doesn’t return your love.
Ask yourself why you are hanging on to this relationship.
Is he unavailable?
Maybe because he is emotionally unavailable to anyone, you think you can conquer him. And you love a challenge. Or maybe she’s married and you want to prove you are man enough to get her away from someone else. Or maybe it somehow feels safer to be with someone you know you’ll never get. That way, you won’t ever have to make a commitment. You won’t have to get emotionally close. And you can pretend it’s not your fault the relationship failed.
Is your family history a clue?
Does your relationship look like your parents’? Are you comfortable with this unsatisfactory relationship because that is all you know? Are you reliving your parents’ problems? Take a hard look at the dynamics of your family when you were growing up. Did you pick some unloving person because that was how your parents treated you? Or perhaps it’s how they treated each other? But just because your mother or your father didn’t leave the relationship doesn’t mean you can’t.
Are you hooked on inconsistent reinforcement?
Sometimes she’s sweet and shows affection. Sometimes she’s verbally abusive and shows contempt. She’s on again off again, keeping you perpetually off balance. And under her spell. When she’s off, you try desperately to get her back to the person who treated you well. You’ll do anything for her. And just when you think it’s hopeless, she’ll be sweet again. And you’re hooked. Some very talented manipulators can keep you yo-yoing for years. You will only be free when you realize you cannot make this person love you.
If you are suffering from unrequited love, remember. The sooner you recognize it’s a one-way street, the sooner you will be on the road to recovery.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.