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10 Ways to Deal with Unrequited Love

Catching feelings is the easy part. Perhaps you found yourself falling for your best friend or someone you’ve got to know better over time. People often tell you life is too short to not take a chance. So, you go for it, even if it makes you want to vomit. You step up to the plate and make your feelings known. And to your horror, it doesn’t go the way you hoped it would. You wait for them to tell you that they also feel the same way. But instead, an awkward silence follows before they let you know that they never saw you as anything more than just a friend. Unrequited love is a special kind of hell. But no matter how painful it is, it can still be overcome. Psych2Go shares with you 10 ways to deal with unrequited love:

1. Allow yourself to grieve.

Rejection hurts. Your heart just broke —not literally, but there’s an aching in your chest that you’re experiencing and your whole body feels heavy and worn down. According to a research study led by psychologist Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan, there is evidence that shows emotional pain activates the same part of your brain as physical pain. In other words, the metaphors “broken heart” and “wounded feelings” aren’t exaggerations because they hold truth. Be kind to yourself and allow time to heal you. Don’t pretend like everything is okay or put off your heartbreak as if it’s a chore. Acknowledge that you’re not doing well and probably won’t be for a while. You have to let yourself fully break before you can get better.

Catherine Huang
Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Catherine,

    This article was really well written and the research you put into it was thorough yet concise. I just have some follow-up questions and statements about a couple of the points.

    In the second tip, you suggest that people look for patterns in their behavior and in their potential mate selection. What would you suggest for those who may not readily observe the patterns because they are either unable or unwilling to acknowledge that the attachment may be a result of childhood trauma or other unresolved experience? Should they seek outside guidance from friends, family, or even professionals or should they just assume that isn’t a factor in their case?

    The fourth point is wonderful and I really loved that you showed the other side of this experience. The other person often times feels just as uncomfortable because they know that their response may alter the nature of your relationship and hurt your feelings. Being able to empathize with what they are experiencing as well is incredibly mature and thoughtful.

    In the latter half of the article, you focus a lot on removal from triggers. What about people who live and/or work in situations where they can’t always remove themselves from the people, places, or things (ex: nonromantic media) that connect to their rejection?

    I loved that you shared your own experience in point 8 and in doing so hit on a vital part of this process. Rebuilding your confidence and self-worth through tapping into your strengths and sources of empowerment. You never know what beauty can be created from a painful experience.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Valencia, thanks so much for reading. =) Those are some excellent questions you raise. In regards to point 2, I think with seeking any kind of help, there first has to be a will to admit that something isn’t right and some sort of curiosity to even produce thoughts like, Hm, I wonder if it’s linked to my childhood. The thing about having a pattern in constantly choosing people who are bad for us is that even if a third party were to recognize that and try to sit us down and seek help, that kind of guidance can’t necessarily be forced. That’s why I hope that point 2 will instill some sort of wake up call and allow people to self-reflect. =) We can have all the support we get from friends, family, or coworkers, but if we don’t necessarily want to acknowledge what may be going on and actively seek solutions to these repetitive issues, then it’s hard to be open and receptive to solutions when we don’t want to admit we have problems that may be linked to a difficult childhood.

      In regards to the point about non-romantic media, I think that even if people still find themselves being surrounded by it constantly, they can choose to take a break from social media in nature and turn to nature to get away for a while. If people still see the person they have feelings for on a daily basis, they can either work on moving to a new place or try to get a new job. But, if that isn’t favorable or if change can’t be implemented right away, then all I can say is that it’s going to take a lot of time, healing, and maturing. They can try to set boundaries and agree to work or live together harmoniously and choose to only engage with each other in that sense without having to be friends if it’s too painful. I think establishing space is important.

      I hope that answers your questions. =) Thank you and have a great day!

  2. Maybe I should’ve read this six months ago,when a friend told me my love interest was deeply interested in another girl.But I think I manged through this perfectly without it.
    When I knew I was bound to be friendzoned,I felt horrible for a moment,completely devastated.But then I got back up,and I decided that(since that guy had also lots of admirers)I was going to try to steal his heart,from that girl and all the others.And for months I tried my very best,I did all I thought I could do to woo him,but he friendzoned me,and nonetheless I kept going,at least more softly,at least to build a friendship.
    Now I’ve met someone new.It’s true,we meet special people when we least expect it.What I’m living is truly beautiful,and I’m recognizing a lot of things that I didn’t notice before about my relationship with that other person:maybe he’s not worth pursuing,not anymore.I think I’m realizing I’m wasting my time,and myself after him.
    On the other hand,I’ve met someone beautiful,and even tho I don’t wanna jump the gun,I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for both of us :).
    Sorry for the rant but I needed to get this outta my chest XD.Never give up on love guys,whether you’re gonna have your impossible love or your life’s gonna be taken by storm by a wonderful someone new,it is gonna turn around in your favor,one day.And meanwhile,always love yourself <3.

    1. Hi Hilary, thanks so much for reading. =) I think it’s great that you were able to find someone new. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to realize how much futile effort we put in trying to make it work out with the wrong people. And no need to apologize. I’m glad you were able to share you story so honestly and full of vigor. It’s inspiring! I wish you and your current partner the best of luck, really and truly. I hope you have a great day! =)

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