Unrequited love: What to do when the one you love doesn’t love you back

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • Loving someone who doesn't love you can be heartbreaking and painful to bare. 
  • Unfortunately, you can't force someone to love you when they are simply not into you.
  • You have to know when it is time to move on and heal from the disappointment.

It is a heartbreaking experience to love someone who is not that into you. 

Being in denial and having false hope the love will come alive and the attraction will lead to something special does not make it easier. In some situations, being with someone who does not feel the same way about you. 

Relationship architect Shelley Lewin says unrequited love can be a painful and challenging experience.

"It is painful only if we make it mean there is something wrong with you or that you are not lovable," she adds. 

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"The person of your desires might be looking for someone different, which can be very disappointing, yes, but it doesn't mean that you are broken, or there is something wrong with you and that you are not good enough."

It is all about preference.

"In the long run, it is better to be with someone with whom you can be yourself completely than to pretend to be someone else to have someone like you. We all deserve to go where we are celebrated, not where we are tolerated," Shelley says. 

But how do you move on from the disappointment and heartache of not having what you thought you deserved to have in your life?

Life coach Thembi Hama says this happens to the best of us, adding the best thing you can do when in a similar situation is to not lie about how you really feel. 

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"Your job is to acknowledge that even though you're head over heels in love with them, they don't love you. Loving someone is a wonderful emotion, but it doesn't qualify you to claim them. Just because you love them doesn't mean they should love you back," Thembi adds. 

You can't force someone to love you, no matter what you do. If the love isn't there, it simply isn't. 

"Your job is to quit actively participating in something that is hurting you. The true magic and miracle of life is when the person you love, loves you back. And that's the only moment you can say you have a relationship," she says.

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Thembi adds it hurt badly, but that doesn't mean you have to twist it into something it's not.

"Negotiations won't work. If it's not there, it's not there. When you are done grieving over what never was, teach your heart to go where it is embraced, valued, and nurtured," she says. 

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Having to let go of someone you loved and wanted in your life can feel like the aftermath of a break-up.

Tips on how to move on from heartbreak

Face up to the pain

The only way to end the pain is to go through it and give it time. Do not rush the healing process.

Release the pain

Find ways to release the pain. It is toxic to bottle it all up inside. Cry as much as you need to. Speak to close friends and family. Get a therapist or a professional person to speak to if needs be.

READ MORE | ‘I love the freedom of being single, but it’s lonely’ - Women on the pros and cons of living solo

Look at the upside of things

There are so many lessons to be learnt from this.

Cut off all contact with them

When trying to heal, let go and move on. You don't need to be speaking to them. This will only serve to reopen your wounds and reinforce your pain. 

Keep busy

Find things to populate your new normal. Go out with friends, read books, travel, get a new hobby, etc. Keep yourself occupied so that you are not tempted to get back to them out of boredom.

Have you gone through heartbreak and how did you deal with it? Tell us about it here.

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