6 ways to deal with the pain of unrequited love

6 ways to deal with the pain of unrequited love

How does one get over the barrier of lacking closure in unrequited love? Find out how do you find your way through the mess of unrequited feelings you keep holding on to.

We have come across stories where someone had to go through the pain of being in a one-sided relationship, and it is highly likely that you have gone through the experience of feeling love for someone but never got any love in return. While many young lovers go out of their way to prove their love, it is also necessary to understand the implication and management of feelings if you are into someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you.

It is not uncommon to be struck with an undeniable passion (Pixabay)
It is not uncommon to be struck with an undeniable passion (Pixabay)

Well if you have been in this situation and are wondering how to get out of this situation, then we might be able to help you. F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist and a teacher who writes on Psychology Today.com, has a few ways one can apply to cope with the unexpressed rejection and feelings that nobody reciprocates too.

1. Rewrite your reality

The pain felt due to emotional hurt is similar to feeling physical injury (Pixabay)
The pain felt due to emotional hurt is similar to feeling physical injury (Pixabay)

More often than not, while pursuing an unavailable person, one can hold on to the slightest glimmer of hope. It is only natural, as that hope keeps you invested, yearning and waiting for that person to love you the way you want. Most of our cognitive resources go into reimagining reality with that person and what all could have been.

Feelings don't always get reciprocated (Pixabay)
Feelings don't always get reciprocated (Pixabay)

Even when you know that your heart can’t be broken truly, one feels the physical pain. It takes a toll on the body and the heart. Research indicates that the pain felt due to an emotional injury is similar to the feeling of physical injury. And sometimes they are both felt in the same part of our brains. Phrases such as “a broken heart” or “hurt feelings” are not simple metaphors.  As pointed out by Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan, emotional pain activates the same part of the brain as the physical pain does upon feeling it.

2. Know that you are not alone

Our brains are hard-wired to find logical reasons for events (Pixabay)
Our brains are hard-wired to find logical reasons for events (Pixabay)

According to the social psychologist Roy Baumeister, almost 98% of us have gone through unrequited love at some time or the other. One of the main issues with such rejection is not that you are alone and it is not enough to feel sad, but one also feels ashamed and bad for feeling those feeling. It makes one think that something is wrong with you.

It's human to misjudge the time one feels love at, neither can it be helped (Pexels) 
It's human to misjudge the time one feels love at, neither can it be helped (Pexels) 

It heightens the self-inflicted pain as our brain is hard-wired to find logical reasons for the events that have taken place. One begins to wonder what made that person, whom you value, so much, stay away from you. Though, it’s not about not being good enough. It may be about the fact that this moment is not the right one for the two of you. It’s difficult to accept that you didn’t time your feelings right. But nobody can do that. It’s human to have misunderstood feelings, and one must consider that its not a fault that isolates you.

3. Is it a pattern? Break it

This may not be easy to accept, but one can be just attracted to unavailable people. Try and see if you have a habit of falling for someone who doesn’t love you back. According to Phillip Shaver, a psychologist, falling for people who’ll reject you can be a recurrent pattern for some people.

Childhood attachment patterns do affect how they grow up to feel love (Pixabay)
Childhood attachment patterns do affect how they grow up to feel love (Pixabay)

This may be particularly true if one has repeated experiences in childhood with something known as “insecure attachment”.  This comes about because the adults who you depend on are repeatedly not available at the times when you need them the most.

Normally one may try to find ways to undo this pain of rejection and abandonment caused in childhood. But in many cases, they end up choosing someone who will repeat the pattern and not undo them. This reinforces the already set notion of being unlovable, as one may have believed in their childhood.

4. Ask yourself whether you’d choose differently if given another chance

Maybe in the worst moments of pain, it’s easy to feel that you’d rather never have loved. This may leave you open to counterfactual thinking, a defense mechanism to deal with unacceptable reality. What one may end up doing is spiraling down the reflection of making a choice that fulfilled their previous belief.

An emotional shutdown is not a healthy choice in such situations (Pexels)
An emotional shutdown is not a healthy choice in such situations (Pexels)

One can form an aversion to feeling things, which is often times the case for a lot of millennial generation, who likes to project strength and bravado in front of their social circles. An emotional shut down can only increase the problems, as it can build up to unhealthy habits of thinking. Dealing with the hurt is very different from being indifferent towards it. If not loving at all could have been the option, should you have taken it?

5. Know that both the sides feel the sorrow

Even the rejecter is bound to feel the guilt of hurting someone (Pixabay)
Even the rejecter is bound to feel the guilt of hurting someone (Pixabay)

This is not a remedy, but research has shown that unrequited love hurts the person who is loved as well as the one is loving them. In the above-mentioned study, of over 200 cases of unrequited love, conducted by Baumeister, rejecters also suffered from guilt and anxiety.

The fantasy of possibilities is the only solace for unrequited feelings (Pixabay)
The fantasy of possibilities is the only solace for unrequited feelings (Pixabay)

Also that it was often the case when the rejecters felt like victims. Baumeister reports that many of the subjects said things like “I never hurt anyone before” and expressed how vile it made them feel to know now that they have done it.

6. Give up the quest for closure

Continuing to feel the pain for someone's neglect can drain you (Pixabay)
Continuing to feel the pain for someone's neglect can drain you (Pixabay)

It is unanimously agreed upon that the toughest parts of the journey of unrequited love is accepting that it’s never going to be what you wanted it to be. One may keep looking for logical evidence and proofs of it being over, but what we generally end up doing is that looking for signs that something could happen.

There are two solutions which can help you to get over this situation:

The first and the foremost way is to acknowledge and accept that you are stuck in this situation. No matter how long it takes to get out of this situation, you have to be hopeful and keep working on breaking that circle. Take help of your family, friends and even a medical professional if need be. 

Moving on would bring about new possibilities and new hope (Pixabay)
Moving on would bring about new possibilities and new hope (Pixabay)

The second step is to move on and go with the flow. If you find yourself in this pattern again and again then it is time to identify it and work on it.

We try to find ways to undo the pain of rejection, but end up choosing the person who'll do the same (Pixabay)  
We try to find ways to undo the pain of rejection, but end up choosing the person who'll do the same (Pixabay)  

Yes, unrequited love or being with someone who can never reciprocate our feelings the way we want is one of the worst feelings ever. Knowing that you have to give up the idea of being with together with them and starting a new life kills you from inside. But getting out of it is the best solution for you in the long run, as it will give you a chance to be in love with someone who loves you just as much as you do and live a fulfilling life together. 

 

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