Ah, the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back. But what are you to do when Cupid has set its eyes upon you to fall for someone who doesn’t love you back?
When you love someone who doesn’t love you back, it leads to two things: pain and more pain. But every love is a lesson to learn. With this form of unrequited love comes the lessons of loving, letting go, and moving on.
Loving someone who doesn’t love you back
So what happens when you give into the feeling and fall for someone who can’t reciprocate your feelings?
#1 Oh no, it’s not happening. At first, there’s the denial. Of course, you believe the love you feel will be returned. In your rose-colored vision, there really is no such thing. So you convince others—and yourself—that the apple of your eye will eventually notice you. Then they’ll fall for you, ride into the sunset, and live happily ever after.
Despite all the pep talks, deep in your core you know it will never be. You ask them to hang out, and they say they have other plans. You send them the wittiest, funniest joke via instant message and all you get is the indifferent seen-zone. Worse, just when you feel like the turning moment finally comes for them to return your affections, you see them with another person. [Read: How to stop loving someone else… and love yourself more]
#2 Just friends. There’s nothing as heartbreaking as being close to someone, but you only go so far. No matter how nice they are to you and appreciate all you do in their eyes *and in the way they fidget in front of your favors* you will always and forever be nothing more than “just friends.” Even to them, watching you is painful as you go to all lengths, showering them with affection they never asked for.
You wear your heart on your sleeve, yet they might be totally oblivious as they have their own eyes set on someone else. [Read: Dammit, why doesn’t he like me back? All the reasons why]
#3 Floor, meet your heart. Yes. When you love someone who doesn’t—and couldn’t—love you back, it feels like you’ve just given your heart to someone and seen them trample it. It’s painful, alright.
It feels as though your world is falling apart, and every fiber of your being torn to shreds along with it. Pain, despair, and loneliness overcome you. You find yourself wallowing in bed on a Saturday night, watching sad movies, and stuffing your face with all the comfort food you find. And yes, you cry (a lot!) because you have loved like you have never loved anyone. Yet you are on the losing side of that love for the person who doesn’t love you back. [Read: The pity playlist: 10 songs to help heal your broken heart]
#4 Face the music. After the tears fall and the gloom lifts, you have to face the truth—you two are just not meant to be. One day you’ll meet the person they love, the person you’d have given anything to be.
You may even try to pry them apart, but your efforts prove futile. So let’s just be honest: the person you love really just doesn’t love you back. And they are in love with someone else.
#5 Someday, someone. The wounds cut deep, but in time you’ll eventually heal. Though looking back wistfully to how you were and remembering that person brings an all-too-familiar tug at your heart strings. But with time, the pain finally disappears.
When that time comes, you’ll be open to meet someone else—and you’ll fall again. This time, though, things will be different. You will love someone and, at last, that someone loves you back. Your love will be way more than you ever thought you could love and be loved. [Read: Getting over rejection: how to bounce back in no time]