Unrequited Love: What Is It And How To Get Over It

One -Sided Love | |
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The thing with love is that it can completely turn your life around for the better when you have it. It can make the most mundane day seem rosy, the worst pizza delectable, and make the worst assignment at your job bearable if you know you have that person by your side. But if you’ve got yourself a case of unrequited love, things are not quite like that. When your feelings are not reciprocated, you feel like you are stuck in a rut and frustration, self-esteem issues, and insecurity might arise. And that is just scraping the surface.

Not everyone is lucky enough to love somebody who loves them back. Unrequited love takes something away from you. It can actually take away quite a lot. Dealing with unrequited love is something we all have experienced at some point and in some form. And if you are stuck there once, there is no coming out of that limbo any time soon. Don’t fret, because even though the journey is hard, you can indeed make it to the end. But first, let’s understand what unrequited love really is.

What Is Unrequited Love?

That pain you feel when you text your crush a meme but they only notice it after three days? It feels rough when you notice that after three whole days, all they’ve sent is a ‘like’ and not even a proper emoji. You know that feeling when the woman, who you’ve loved all through the university years, posts on Facebook that she’s engaged to the jock who was also in all your classes?

That gut-wrenching feeling and heartbreak is basically what unrequited love or one-sided love is. It’s when you love or have loved them, but they never saw you in the way that you do. And that’s what makes it unreciprocated love.

Signs Of Unrequited Love

Perhaps you’ve been hitting on this person for a while but you’re always left with mixed signals. They go out with you, but not too often. They reply to your texts but never answer your calls. They smile and laugh at your jokes but you never seem to get an invitation to the parties they throw. Do they like you or not? Or is this a case of unreciprocated love?

If you’re not getting the answers you’ve been looking for, do not stress or overthink it. We can give you a few helpful tips to understand what is unrequited love and what it may look like. Here it goes.

Related Reading: 15 Clear Signs Your Crush Doesn’t Like You Back

1. Their responses are always delayed

And we don’t mean by two-three hours because they’re stuck doing an important project at work. We’re talking days. Or sometimes, they just never open the messages or the memes you send to them. Don’t see this as a sign of them being too occupied. See this as them not choosing to take time out for you.

When someone loves you, they make the effort in the relationship, no matter what. If you’re convinced that the effort is zero on their side, you have your answer right here.

2. You see them flirting with others

So, you heard a rumor about him kissing someone at a frat party. Don’t lie to yourself by saying, “Oh, he was drunk and it probably means nothing.” You don’t know enough about the situation to decide if it was nothing yet. And even if you did, do you really want to be obsessing over someone who clearly has eyes for others?

3. There is an imbalance in your relationship

It’s always you showing the initiative in the relationship. If you two are heading out to dinner, it’s always you who picks the restaurant. Or when it comes to doing favors, you seem to go all out for them but they don’t even bother calling you when you’re sick. Clearly, there is an obvious imbalance in this relationship and this is nothing but a case of unreciprocated love.

How To Get Over Unrequited Love?

Now that we’ve established that reciprocated love does not and is not supposed to feel this way, let’s move on and talk about how to get over unrequited love.

Okay, firstly, nobody plans to fall in love with someone who won’t love them back or get hurt in the process of falling in love. Living with unrequited love feels like a constant stab in the heart. And there are so many forms in which unrequited love can exist. 

You may be in love with a friend or acquaintance or a coworker who is emotionally unavailable or already committed to someone else. Or worse, they might not even be aware of your existence. If you have been in any of these scenarios, or you are going through it, we don’t need to explain these woes to you in detail.

Why does unrequited love hurt so much? It is because we are not able to be with the person who we crave to be in a relationship with. The heart wants what it wants and sometimes, absolutely refuses to understand reason and logic. That’s how we end up pining for someone who doesn’t love us back. We suffer, but there is a threshold to it beyond which it can be toxic for either of the two people involved. 

The source of this conflict may arise from a lack of closure, and also because we don’t understand what to do with unrequited love. Not having direction and not knowing how to go about it is the worst kind of state of mind someone can be in. The key is to focus on how to deal with unrequited love and get over it, rather than put your life on hold in the hopes that your relationship with them will somehow materialize.

how to get over unrequited love
The heart wants what it wants and sometimes, absolutely refuses to understand reason and logic

Living And Coping With Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is not something that can go away when we want it to. We wish it worked that way though. So when you cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, the only way to go about it is through it. Feeling disappointed when someone you love hurts you can wreck you emotionally, but there are ways of dealing with it.

Coping with unrequited love might be one of the hardest things one has to do in their entire life. It is when your body and mind are telling you that you are in love and they are in sync to intensify your love, but only your sane, rational mind knows that nothing is going to come out of it. Yet, something about one-sided love keeps us hooked.

As heart-wrenching as it may sound, there is never any foolproof way that will tell you how to deal with unrequited love or tell you how to lessen your pain. But as someone who has been through it more than once, here are 6 things that happen when you are in “one-sided love”, and below are the ways you can deal with it.

Related Reading: 13 Warning Signs Of Being Obsessed With Someone

1. Introspect through the initial stages of loving someone who doesn’t love you back

It’s the worst feeling: loving someone who doesn’t love you back. The initial stages are the worst since you are not exactly equipped to deal with such a sense of doom. The feelings of sadness, resentment, regret, anger, and a lot of other emotions that come as a part of the package, overwhelm you completely.

All you do is think about the possibilities of joining the dots and having little moments with the person as and when you can, and spend quality time with them. But little do you think of your own sanity during this process. It is very easy to fall in love, but the consequences of love can be dire when it is not reciprocated. 

It can drive you to do things that you couldn’t have imagined and that your self-esteem would not allow otherwise. The best way to go through the initial stage is through deep contemplation and introspection. Think of everything you can: how you feel about this person, what need of yours they fulfil, why you want them in your life, how this ‘rejection’ is making you feel, what stressors or triggers it’s bringing out in you, what your definition of love is, is love a scarce resource for you or you believe in its abundance, what coping mechanisms you’re utilizing to get you through this, etc. Hurtful as it may be, introspection is essential for getting over unrequited love.

2. The “what ifs” override your system

The “what ifs” that cloud our mind can be very dangerous since they brew most of our problems when we’re living with unrequited love. These questions will drive you insane to the point of no return.

Tess Nolan, a reader from Oshkosh in Wisconsin, tells us, “I always believed that he likes me but started dating someone else at work. I really thought we were going to be a crazy office romance. I always believed it. I think a part of me still does. Which is why I still keep imagining scenarios such as: what if I had admitted my feelings to him, or what if I’d asked him out earlier?”  

Imagining scenarios with your love induces a sort of added euphoria – imagining a date with them, thinking about what to say when you see them next, or contemplating whether or not to drop them a text or comment under their photo. The one thing that happens endlessly when you are falling in love is overthinking. But the problem is that it kills you from within.

Getting over unrequited love is not in our control, so the “what if” will take its time to leave. But there are ways to minimize the number of times we think about the possibilities. These are nothing but little fantasies that we keep feeding ourselves to function and be sad at the same time.

Are we dealing with unrequited love the way we deal with life? It’s important to pause and ask ourselves this question. If we don’t, we risk messing up our life as well as our dynamic with that person. We need to realize that we can’t isolate one from the other. To get your head out of its “what if” stage and back to reality, think about this: If you prioritize self-care and self-love, but you’re falling short of it when it comes to this unrequited part of your life, then it’s reminder to you to fall in with your values.

Or if you’re mostly level-headed in your life, and have allowed rationale to fly out the window when it comes to your one-sided love, then you know you need to dig deeper as to why you’re unable to let go of a fantasy. Sometimes, the answer is about what that person represents and not about them directly. On the other hand, if you have a habit of compromising in your life, if you constantly settle for ‘less’, then it might be an indicator of deeper self-esteem issues that you must work on. A reality check will help in not only healing yourself, but also in recovering from this unreciprocated love.

Related Reading: 12 Clear Signs You Are Infatuated And Not In Love

3. Confess, if you must, but don’t expect

If you think the only way to deal with this sadness is by talking about it with them, then, by all means, do what you think is going to make you feel better. Talk to that person, if you are on talking terms with them. Make sure that you get to a certain sort of understanding where they support you, understand you, and don’t dislike you because of it. This walking on fire might get easier when the other person is at least kind enough to be understanding about your feelings.

But that support is not always viable from your unrequited crush, since it depends on the situation. If you are completely out of touch with them, it is better to cut them out of your life temporarily and follow the no contact rule until you’re sure you’ve got a grip on your feelings. Sometimes, it can be more helpful to not talk to them at all.

You will feel the urge to talk to them, but staying in touch will only make things difficult since you will never find the answers you are looking for. It is not their responsibility to make you feel less sad; it is yours. You must learn to move on. So, consider the smarter thing to do here. Is confronting them going to make your woes go away or will it make things worse?


4. Pining for someone who doesn’t love you is not the end of life, it’s a small part of your life

Years ago, I watched a movie that I honestly did not love too much, but there was one line that I took away from it and that I still remember. Now that I’ve also felt what it’s like to be disappointed when someone you love hurts you, that line that makes so much sense. It goes like this: “Love is not the heart of your life, it is a part of your life.” Your love for that person is what keeps you hooked on them, but what if you start loving them from a distance and try to bring back your mental peace? No one else can do that for you, this task rests on your shoulders.

Having said that, I can understand how love works. Love doesn’t operate solely on attraction; it works in ways we can’t define. That’s the thing we like and hate about love, isn’t it? So, while you try to love them from a distance, try to gather some joy out of that process too. After all, loving someone so much is a beautiful feeling. You get to know your own capacity for love that you can extend to others too: even your friends and family. Spending time with them will eventually help you get over your feelings as well.

Unrequited love might seem unfair, but it’s not. Just like we can’t compel someone to be our friend, we can’t compel someone to be in love with us. It’s that simple. This perspective is important and will help you heal.

Related Reading: How Do I Move On From One-Sided Love? Our Expert Tells You…

5. Find the closure that you deserve

Closure doesn’t come overnight from your unrequited crush. In fact, it is not even something that you can consciously bring about. It will happen when it has to and you cannot foresee it. But your peace comes first. If you are at peace with the fact they are not with you romantically, that they are not in love with you, and that you’re not entitled to their love, it solves a lot of your major problems. Consider it half the battle won!

In fact, acceptance is not only the healthiest way of coping with unrequited love, but also the first step toward moving on from a crush. If you are mature enough to have this basic understanding, you will probably not even need a closure. Once you choose peace over anything else, you’ll start to invest more into yourself than your imagined scenarios with someone you can’t have.

6. Love is indeed a four-letter word

The heartbreak of loving someone who doesn’t love you is real. But even if they don’t love you back, do not lose faith in love itself. But also, don’t take it too seriously.

Love, at the end of the day, is another emotion – just like happiness, sadness, anger, etc. Even though it is more intense than the rest, if it is not nurtured, respected, and acknowledged, it fades away too. When you’re wondering what to do with unrequited love, it helps to remain mindful of this fact. It will give you the clarity to see that the one you’re pining for isn’t the be-all and end-all of life. In fact, remember that you can always manifest love in your life again!

Love is something that is here to stay in the world for you, and for many others. So, can you really contain love to a single person when you have an entire world to explore? You will relapse but you will heal too. It won’t be a linear healing journey, but you’ll get there. Dealing with unrequited love will become easier with time. And that is the beauty and the magic of all emotions, in this case, love.


1. Is unrequited love really love?

Just because a form of love isn’t returned in full, or not acknowledged, it does not mean that the person is not feeling the same kind of love and longing that couples in relationships do. Unrequited love is still very much love.

2. Can you be friends with unrequited love?

You can, but again, there is no one fixed answer to this. It depends on each individual. One can fall in love with their best friend. Does that mean they stop being friends after that? No.

3. How do you let go of unrequited love?

That is something that you have to decide for yourself. Whether it is literal or symbolic for you, only you get to decide the course of your unrequited love.

4. How long does unrequited love last?

Honestly, that depends completely on you. When you are hopeful of letting it go and put the work into it, the feeling of it won’t last longer than a few months.

5. Is unrequited love obsession?

Absolutely not. It’s a case of bad luck at most.

6. Is unrequited love infatuation?

Even though there is quite a difference between love and infatuation, unrequited love can honestly be either.

7. What does unrequited love teach us?

Unrequited love teaches us that life and love don’t go our way a lot of times, and that’s okay. You have to keep moving ahead and you will find happiness eventually.

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