How to Deal With Unrequited Love

Two Methods:If You Are the Victim of Unrequited LoveIf You Are the Recipient of Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is love that is not returned. Whether you are the one who loves or is loved, it can be a painful experience. This article will offer some guidance for dealing with unrequited love, which has haunted and inspired people throughout history.

Method 1
If You Are the Victim of Unrequited Love

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    Accept that romantic love isn't usually a conscious decision. So, if a person knows that you love them, but doesn't feel the same way about you, don't view it as some kind of betrayal or deliberate withholding. They might want to love you, but simply don't, for reasons they don't understand, and may never understand. Sometimes the feeling just isn't there. Try not to take it personally.
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    Eradicate any sense of neediness. If you're feeling upset, depressed, or bitter, it's probably because you feel you need that person's love in order to be happy. But, the research on happiness says that all you need is a healthy dose of optimism. You may also find that it's a sense of neediness (which you may be conveying without even realizing it) that's turning off the person you love, perhaps by making them feel like they are on a pedestal that they don't want to be on.
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    Distance yourself. You won't want to, but staying close to someone you want but can't have just isn't healthy. Don't tell the person or anyone close to them what you are doing, as they might try to convince you otherwise. Just try to get away for a while. Don't call them, don't go places where you know they frequently visit, and make yourself scarce. If you must have some contact (such as work) respond to messages slowly after a few days. Only call back when you have a good excuse to get off the phone after a few minutes. Take the time to reflect on your situation and learn more about yourself.
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    Enjoy being single. Dealing with unrequited love is a lot like getting over a break up, except you feel a sense of loss over something you never had. Still, you have to learn how to enjoy life without someone, which can be hard in our couple-centered society, but it's do-able.
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    If you want to stay friends, follow the steps in How to Deal With Being Dumped when You Want to Remain Friends. While you weren't dumped, you were rejected, and following that advice will help preserve your friendship with this person.
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    Practice unconditional love. If you feel that you really, truly love this person, then perhaps you can love them unconditionally. You'll know you've reached that point when you can genuinely feel happy for them, even if that happiness does not include you. With unconditional love, there's no sense of loss, because it's about deriving all your happiness from the act of giving - not from receiving.

Method 2
If You Are the Recipient of Unrequited Love

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    Remember that it's not a conscious decision on their part. They aren't trying to make you feel uncomfortable, and are probably feeling even worse; no matter if you are the closest of friends, they have more on the line emotionally than you do.
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    Consider whether you are blocking out their love. Sometimes we feel undeserving or suspicious because of our past experiences, but if you reject love just because you can't trust someone, you're selling yourself short. See How to Receive Love if you feel this might be your conundrum.
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    If you're sure you don't love this person, be firm. Don't let the person believe that you're on the fence, that if they just do this or that they might be able to convince you to love them. The longer you wait to tell them, the harder it is to do. One thing you can say is "I don't feel the same way about you as you do about me. I don't know why, but I'm sure that's how I feel, and I don't believe it's going to change." They might be angry, bitter, depressed, but they will recover most quickly if you convey that this is non-negotiable.
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    Reduce contact or end the friendship if the boundaries can't be clarified or upheld. If the person is attracted to you as more than a friend and can't seem to put that attraction aside, it's probably best to take the friendship down a notch. Keep contact casual, conversations short, and get-togethers brief. If the friend continues to press or yearn for a romantic relationship when you've made it clear that you don't want one, if they constantly trash talk your significant other (without good reason), or if they let their own significant other demean you, then perhaps the friendship isn't worth keeping, and this person should just be more of a friendly acquaintance.


  • Let your feelings out. If you're sad, it's okay to cry, and to be honest, this might even help you feel better - it's a release. Make sure not to dwell in the negativity for too long though, and do something fun or upbeat to get out of the funk and get a fresh perspective.
  • The simple truth is that all people have chemical attractions to one another and not often is it mutual. This shouldn't make you despondent... there are many other people that will find you attractive in all forms, intellectually, physically, emotionally... the fact is, you need to accept it and move on (without being pessimistic) that he/she just wasn't that into you, but there is someone out there that eventually will be.
  • Try to focus your attention on something else. Make a list of things you've always wanted to do, and do them.

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