You may find that friends or family who have not been through this difficult emotional experience find it hard to take you seriously, or espouse the view that you do not ‘count’ as even being in love if the object of your affection does not love you in return.
Read on to discover the most important steps that you can take towards accepting the validity of your feelings and letting them go.
1) Stop blaming yourself for the fact that you are in this situation:
Although we can choose how to act, we cannot choose how to feel. As a result, falling in love is not a conscious choice that can be made or abstained from depending on whether it is sensible to form a deep attachment to some particular person. You must not blame yourself for having fallen in love.
Equally, however, you must not blame the person you love for not reciprocating your feelings. Perhaps they were already in love with someone else before they met you, or perhaps they enjoy spending time with you but just don’t feel any sexual chemistry.
The person may not know why they don’t reciprocate your feelings, and may indeed wish that they did. Many complicated and interrelated factors play a role in whether we fall in love, and lots of these are at a subconscious or biological level – read more here.
If you spend too much time around the object of your unrequited love, this is likely to prolong and intensify your unhappiness and perhaps artificially sustain your romantic feelings.
As difficult as it can be, try not to feel personally slighted by the fact that your love is not being reciprocated. If you can take it less personally, this will make it much easier to let go (and also much easier to put yourself on the line in your future attempts to start a relationship).
2) Put some distance between yourself and the person you love:
Although it is painful to deliberately cut down the time that you spend around someone who probably brings you a thrill of infatuation and wonder every time you see them, it is for the best that you seriously consider distancing yourself.Note: If you spend too much time around the object of your unrequited love, this is likely to prolong and intensify your unhappiness and perhaps artificially sustain your romantic feelings. You do not need to tell the person that you are trying to put some distance between the two of you; it is possible to just casually and slowly back off a little.
Do not call them as often, or go to places just so that you can see them. When you hear from them, don’t eagerly race to the phone or the computer just so that you can respond and then excitedly wait for their next attempt to contact you. Choose to spend your time with other people, especially close friends who can make you laugh.
If you are good friends with the person who doesn’t reciprocate your love, you can attempt to enter back into a closer friendship with them once you have successfully turned your romantic attentions elsewhere.
3) Realize that you do not need the person you have fallen for:
While love undoubtedly involves a deep sense of yearning, do not mistake this for proof of the fact that you need this other person’s love in order to be happy. You will probably fall in love again many times over the course of your lifetime, and even if you do not this does not mean that you will never feel content or fulfilled.
Think about all the other things that you appreciate having in your life, and about the things that can and sometimes do make you happy in spite of your unrequited love. It is perfectly normal to feel as though your life would have been better had you not been rejected by the person with whom you have fallen in love, but try your best to see it as a temporary impediment to your happiness as opposed to an ominous sign that you will never be happy again.
4) Revel in some of the great things about being single:
Remember that there are substantial perks to being single–ones that many people in committed relationships actually think of with considerable nostalgia. When you are single you have your own space, you are able to structure your time according to your own needs and desires, you can make decisions without answering to anyone else, and you can choose to date or sleep with lots of different new people (more).
Push yourself to take up a new hobby or interest. Learn how to do something that has always interested you, or start attending new classes.
Think realistically about how things would have been if you really had ended up in a relationship with the object of your affections. See their flaws and problematic personality traits for what they are.
Instead of wistfully dreaming of fun holidays and unrealistically perfect sex, realize how the person’s negative traits and incompatible interests or desires might have impacted both you and your autonomy on a daily basis.
5) Leave yourself with little time or introspection:
When you are in intense emotional pain, it is tempting to just stay in bed and focus on your negative feelings about yourself and your situation.
However, it will be much easier to get over the sadness of unrequited love if you make sure that you stay extremely busy. Push yourself to take up a new hobby or interest. Learn how to do something that has always interested you, or start attending new classes (where you will also have the opportunity to meet new people).
If all else fails and you find that you are just as miserable after months have passed, consider seeing a counselor or a psychologist. There is no shame in asking for help when you are struggling with huge and complex emotions, and with time and effort you will eventually be happy again.