Nobody wants to get caught up in a one-sided love story. And yet, most of us experience this at least once. Therefore, what’s the best way not to get caught up in unrequited love? It has to be not to fall for people who aren’t into you. After all, attraction is a simple choice, right? Wrong, deeply wrong.
Life, it seems, makes the obvious all the more difficult.
So if so many fall for someone that doesn’t feel the same way, then maybe we’re made to crush on people who don’t have the same feelings for us. Are there people who seek comfort in unhappy and one-sided fantasies? I mean, you know it’s not going to end well, don’t you? And yet, giving up hope doesn’t seem like an option. So what keeps these unhappy, one-sided, and lonely love stories alive, and what does it take to break the cycle of unrequited love?
How unrequited love happens
Perhaps you’re secretly in love with your best friend but don’t want to admit it. Or maybe your crush is the charming newlywed coworker. Whatever your situation, you are experiencing a love that isn’t mutual.
Unrequited love occurs when we project our disowned characteristics or potential onto another person. In doing so, we idealize the target of our affection and then suffer because that person does not return our sentiments. This means that we remain caught up in our personal love drama. And it is this drama that frees us from the necessity to accept both our positive and negative qualities — or to embrace another person’s positive and negative aspects. Instead, we begin to see another person as our savior.
It is normal for us to want those who dislike us to like us back.
However, some of us decide to go after the relationship head-on despite warnings that there is no chance of it developing in the future. We dismiss the warnings. Shrug off rejections. We hold out hope that maybe someday they’ll love us back. And if we’re completely honest, in many ways, unrequited love is a way to avoid the challenges of real love.
We love to write our personal fan fiction.
When we start to like someone, we tend to add and project our hopes and dreams onto the person we’re falling for. Let’s say we met someone for the first time, and this person ticks most of our boxes. It’s someone who completely fascinates us with their elegance, wit, and many funny bones. On top of that, they’re totally our type.
Now imagine how you’ll be talking about this date with your best friends. Chances are that in your mind, you’ll fill the blanks and build a fantasy image of your crush in which they represent our version of total perfection. There’s nothing wrong with that; we all do that. It only becomes problematic once rejection or contradicting information that threatens this fantasy is ignored. Why? Because this is an indication that maybe, by filling in the blanks and consequently building a fantasy around this person, we’ve stopped looking at this person for who they truly are.
Unfortunately, this means that your crush turns into the main character of your individual romantic love drama movie rather than a real person with feelings, desires, and needs (that you can’t satisfy and never will). This causes you to be obsessed with them while ignoring aspects you don’t like.
What if their laugh sounds ridiculous? Could you be together with someone forgetful, clumsy, extremely tidy, or chaotic? It may well be that sometimes it’s much easier to deny reality and believe that someone else is perfect, or at the very least ideal for you, than to face the truth.
Impressing someone while forgetting your worth.
While you don’t have to force yourself to quit like this person as much as you do, shifting your viewpoint away from wanting to get them to feel the same way about you might help a lot.
There’s simply no way to make someone feel something they don’t.
It’s upsetting when feelings aren’t returned. However, failing to act and moving on would hurt far more in the long run. Deciding to consider yourself first means setting healthy boundaries. For example, only make time for the person after they’ve made time for you. Don’t drop everything for them; instead, try to only do what you feel comfortable with. Another way to break the cycle of unrequited love is to give yourself space. Make sure you don’t hear or interact with your crush for quite some time. Letting go of unrequited love is hard — it’s like breaking up with someone.
Unfortunately, falling for someone that’s just not into us is a rather common experience. However, if it’s a frequent pattern, it’s a concern. Especially if it’s negatively affecting your well-being. Because in the end, we all deserve to be loved.
In real life, not in a dream world.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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