What should I do if I love someone who does not love me?

Unmesh Uttaraa Nandkumar
one side love

Many of us have fallen in love with someone who does not love us back

There are few things as pointlessly heartbreaking as one-sided love. I mean, seriously, what’s the point of an emotion that’s sure to end in heartbreak? It’s not fun for any of the parties involved. While historically a lot of art has come out of such heartbreak, the jury is still out on whether the pain justifies the end product.

Although there is no clear way, a plan of action as it were, for when you find yourself in love with someone who doesn’t love you back, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are faced with such a dilemma.

Leave them alone

Instinct would tell us that confessing your love, again and again, would perhaps change their mind. Instinct will be wrong. When you know that the other person doesn’t share your feelings, repeating them again and again can become not only awkward and embarrassing, but annoying after a while. The way you are entitled to feel your feelings, they are, too. A ‘no’ is always a ‘no’,

A no is always a no

so constantly telling someone that you love them after they have told you that they don’t share your feelings, is a strict no-no. Leave them alone. Fragile heroes in films who couldn’t take a ‘no’ and turned into romanticised stalkers are a horrible example to follow in life. Don’t be that person.

Related reading: What is it about one-sided love that keeps us hooked?

You are entitled to your own love

However, don’t deny yourself your emotions, or invalidate them just because the object of your affection doesn’t feel the same way about you. You have every right to love them on your own. They cannot take the feelings you have away from you.

They cannot take the feelings you have away from you.

While a mutual relationship can only work if they return the feelings, them not reciprocating also doesn’t mean that what you felt wasn’t precious beautiful love. You just have to love someone on your own when it happens to be like this. Which is sad, but not invalid.


Your love being denied can feel like a loss.

A personal one. That one moment can break your heart, and yet it can also teach you humility. Love is beautiful and cannot be played from the safety of the harbour. You have to let your boat out in the sea. If the boat is knocked over, remember it will hurt, and it’s okay to feel hurt. Heartbreak hurts like hell, it feels like you’re losing a part of yourself and you have the right to grieve that loss. So let the tears fall, write the long note and burn it, drink that wine (always have friends around when you do so!). Expressing the feeling of loss often helps one in letting go of it.

A little respect

Remember that while you might feel like you have lost something the other person hasn’t technically done anything personally to harm you. You happened to fall in love with them and they didn’t. Unfortunate as the circumstances are, they do not warrant rude or negative behaviour towards them. You are hurt and sad, you are hoping that they’ll change their mind, but being nasty to them, or reacting negatively is sure as hell not going to help. Respect their feelings. The way you have a right to love them on your own, they have a right to not love you and it’s a right that you must respect.

The way you have a right to love them on your own, they have a right to not love you and it’s a right that you must respect.

Don’t be a creep

I’m being rather blunt and repeating this point, because it can’t be stressed enough. A majority of crimes of passion (we need a new term for these!) happen when one-sided love is denied and the person (mostly a man), can’t take it. Acid attacks, murders, stalking, rapes are a horrible reality that we might not want to deal with, but they are all somewhere results of toxic masculine entitlement. You are not owed love by the other person, no matter what gender. Love is a beautiful thing; wanting the other person to comply even when they don’t feel that way isn’t love. It becomes about power and ownership. Definitely don’t be that person.

Related reading: 5 ways to stop stalking your ex on social media

Move on

Remember that one-sided love is rarely a success. More often than not, the person whom you love doesn’t develop feelings for you and you will have to make peace with that. One way of doing so is by moving on. Accept to yourself that it was great to love this person. And know that it was a success because you felt a life-changing emotion.

Love isn’t just being with someone. It’s a catalyst that can teach you a lot of things. So remember that and slowly try moving on. You can try by meeting new people, going on as many tinder dates as possible, by not thinking or talking to the person. If the person whom you love but who doesn’t love you back is a friend, it is advisable to get a little distance in such a situation. Go on a road trip with your (other) friends. Slowly but surely, like the leaves that fall in autumn, you’ll find yourself moved on. You’ll always feel a certain something for that person perhaps, but the stabbing pain of the heartbreak or the longing would be gone. Trust me, it will get better.

There is a world out there for you

Speaking of Tinder dates, unless you’re polyamorous, you will be focused on loving one person at a time. While this is great when they share your feelings, it might just be the problem when they don’t love you back. Remember that a soul mate might not be a reality but just an idea that you find in different people. There are plenty of people, good people, out there who are looking for love just like you. It could be the girl you bumped into at the nearest coffee place or the dude with the great butt at the gym. It could be the shy nerdy boy in your office, or the boss lady, who is brilliant at everything she does.

Everyone is looking for love, if not actively, then at least as a thought at the back of their mind. You have a world out there full of these people, whom you could meet and love. While that one person who didn’t love you back might have seemed perfect, they sure are not the last eligible or perfect person for you.

So go out there and meet others. Your love story isn’t a bleak one-sided cliché. It doesn’t have to be, you can do this.

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