Tips For Dealing With Unrequited Love

ChristineHasslerHave you ever loved someone or really, really liked someone but it was not reciprocated? I have and it was dreadfully painful.  Unrequited love is a heart-breaking combo of not being with the person you desire and enduring the feeling of not being desired back.  Thoughts like “what’s wrong with me?” emerge and we start buying into misunderstanding about our lovability.  When we feel unwanted, we experience temporary amnesia forgetting the love that we are.  We place all our worthiness in the hands of another, hoping that someday, somehow the other person will finally see us and choose us.

I have a very tender place in my heart for anyone who is facing unrequited love because it has been a big lesson in my own life.  That’s why I was particularly moved when my friend Samara O’Shea shared her new book Loves Me…Not with me. As I was feeling into the yearning to write about this topic (especially after Valentines Day), I was called to reach out to Samara and ask her some questions about unrequited love:

CH: What is unrequited love?

SO: I define unrequited love as an unreciprocated longing for love that reveals itself in many ways. For example, you can admire (even obsess about) a person from a distance and never tell him or her that you have romantic feelings. You can pursue a man or woman tirelessly and refuse to take no for an answer. You can stop hearing from a love interest after several dates but still be anticipating or desiring a call. You can be in a one-sided relationship, meaning you both say you’re committed but all of the compromises are made by you and few by your partner. You can be in long-term partnership with reciprocal love, when (in one of life’s more unfair circumstances) your beloved leaves unexpectedly one day and you’re left to recover.

CH: How can someone recognize unrequited love?

SO: The surest sign—with rare exception—is inconsistency in communication. If a person leaves you with no response to a text, e-mail or phone call for days on end, then you are not a priority in his or her life.  Other signs are…

–       S/he’s in a relationship (it doesn’t matter if s/he’s unhappy in it).

–       Your love interest has no respect for your time and either cancels plans or tries to make plans at the last minute—only when it’s convenient for him or her.

–       The object of affection criticizes you often and with the intent of being mean—as opposed to occasional, constructive criticism

Unrequited love is, of course, hard to recognize and harder to accept. Often times when we’re excited about a certain someone it’s very difficult to see clearly. We can be a bit delusional and end up interpreting every move a person makes to mean he or she is really into you.

CH: What is there to do when you feel for someone who doesn’t feel the same?

SO: The first step of surviving this situation is to admit to yourself that someone isn’t treating you well or just isn’t interested. Even though you think s/he is great in so many other ways, if s/he isn’t treating you well or paying any attention to you then you don’t have the makings of a solid union.  The second step is to muster up the courage to walk away or—if you’re not actually in a relationship—to give up. I know “giving up” is not advice we’re used to hearing. Let me be clear that you’re not giving up on love itself, but rather on love with this person.

 While it seems counterintuitive, giving up on someone who isn’t genuinely interested in you is preserving love—self-love. To love yourself is to surround yourself with people who support and respect you and to confidently walk away from anyone who doesn’t—knowing you don’t need them. Self-love is the cornerstone of every other type of love. (Tweet-worthy!)

CH: Amen! I really hear you saying what we are giving up is outsourcing our love to that other person and bringing the love back to ourselves.

SO: Exactly. And in a healthy love relationship there is balance. You care equally for your well-being and for your partner’s well-being.  

CH: I think it is so important for people who have been in the experience of unrequited love to remember that being single is not a punishment! It can be a wonderful time of returning to your own love – and having a lot of fun! What do you think are the positives to being single?

SO: Many people stay in relationships because they are afraid to be alone. They will choose an unhealthy romance over being single any day. In Loves Me…Not I quote frequently from a psychoanalyst named Erich Fromm. In his bestselling book The Art of Loving, he says “If I am attached to another person because I cannot stand on my own two feet, he or she may be a lifesaver, but the relationship is not one of love. Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.”

One of the biggest positives to being single is facing the fear of being alone. Once this fear is quashed, you are free to choose to be in a relationship because you want to be and not because you’re afraid not to be. So strangely—and paradoxically as Fromm says—being single for a significant period of time can improve your future relationships. You can then choose a partner out of an abundance of love rather than deficiency of it.

In addition to that, being single lends itself to coming and going as you please, focusing exclusively on family and friends for a while, and discovering things that you enjoy doing on your own. It is an exciting time in anyone’s life.

CH: Yes, wherever we are can be an exciting time – it just depends on the lens we look through.

To any of you who are dealing with heartache, I am sending you blessings of healings and remembrance: that in which you are seeking is inside of you!! No one else is the source of your love. If someone did not choose you, that means nothing about your worth and lovability.

There is nothing wrong with you and you didn’t do anything wrong.

Unhook your heart from a person who is not your source of love and open yourself to the infinite supply of love from the Uni-verse!

My thanks to Samara for contributing to this blog and sharing her insight. You can get to know her and check out her book here.




Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor dedicated to helping people answer the questions who am I, what do I want and how do I get it?  You can check out her website here.

p.s. I have ONE spot left for my Spiritual Adventure retreat in Costa Rica – is it yours? Details and new video invite from me here.

  • Truth is

    I have been back and forth with an ex trying to get from him what he can’t give. Unconditional love. I know how to love, he doesn’t. I am always the problem why he has to walk away. Thanks for this post. I know nothing is wrong with me wanting unconditional love and I will stay single until I get it.

    • Christine Hassler

      Yes, it always helps me to remember, and move into compassion, that people are only capable of giving the love to others that they give themselves.

  • TVJackieM

    The fact that it is unrequited means that it is NOT love. At the most it is limerance or a severe crush but certainly NOT love. Best way to get over it is erasing core beliefs that propels the pursuit of someone who doesn’t give a damn about you.

    • Christine Hassler

      Right on Jackie!

      • TVJackieM

        Thanks Christine. I feel that true love is only possible when its mutual. Anything else is the pursuit of misery instead of a pursuit of happiness.

        • Bryan Richard Ong

          Nay, Love comes in many forms. True love can also be unrequited as well. Not everyone in this world are meant to be with their true love. I’ve been with a few women in my life, but so far, none of them until now can compare to this one woman in my life, and it was an unrequited love. But I knew my feelings were true and she was my soulmate. And I can never be together with her because I was too late.

          • TVJackieM

            Bryan – you deserve better than that. A real love who is there for you in person. Trust me, it will be better than anything you felt with this woman. Timing is always perfect with your true love.

          • Deedee

            Jackie, unfortunately sometimes there is a thing that is true but unrequited love. I hear you Bryan. I’ve had this very close friend for many (like 12?) years. I love her. We’ve tried to be together but ultimately she decided she can’t bring herself to reciprocate the feeling. She’s been very close to me. We’ve spent countless hours and days together, we’ve kissed (and more) and we’ve done fun and serious things over the years. She never had anyone else (being 29) and she’s worried she never will. She’s very respectful and caring towards me and we’ve talked and talked and talked for many hours on numerous occasions about how this relationship could work but she plain doesn’t feel attracted to me that way, despite honestly trying hard (just take my word on this). There’s nothing wrong with me (I hope), I will take the liberty to assume I’m actually quite attractive, I make her laugh, I’m financially very well off etc. Nothing’s lacking – just the feeling on her part. She cried a river because of this. She’s always been there in person for me. This is far from just friendzone or whatever, as in ‘i have a crush and she doesn’t care about me’. This _is_ love. She told me to go date other women and I’ve tried once or twice but ultimately none of them could make me forget my real love and I always passed. She’s already like my closest person and she will always be the one. Cheesy though it may sound I would sacrifice myself so that she could live on every time – she wouldn’t let me though. I know somewhere deep inside she loves me and also doesn’t want to let go but this is not enough. So we will probably end up both alone. This is what unrequited love does to people. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly hope one day I meet someone “better” and forget the whole thing, but frankly I’d rather be alone and have her on my mind than even touch another woman. This is all very sad and takes away self esteem and happiness but at least I find comfort seeing I’m not the only one.

  • SuperJill46

    1000 thank yous! perfect timing!

    • Christine Hassler

      1000 blessings!

  • Thank you Christine for the well written article. It took me a number of years in a relationship I was in until I said ENOUGH of playing the waiting game for him to have a shift in feelings around certain things about me which he struggled to accept. I now know how very much this was about him and not me. I loved him dearly, but I deserve a healthy balanced love filled with mutual adoration and desire. It’s a lesson most of us will need to learn at one point or another. <3

    • Christine Hassler

      YES YOU DO!!!!

  • Karina Lopez

    “That in which you are seeking is inside of you”. Such healing words, Christine. Being single, with intention and focus on being my own best partner is now my focus, so as to heal the unrequited love within myself that others were simply reflecting. I can say that today I feel more than I am what I’m seeking more than any other time, and I hope to use that to create a positive single experience. Thank you for such a timely and refreshing post.

    • Christine Hassler

      Very wise Karina 🙂

  • Yasmin

    Hi. I am currently going through a ‘like you a lot, maybe more than you like me’, situation. Its horrible. Checking my phone a fair bit, for the text that doesn’t arrive, and feeling really invisible and unworthy. The worst part is for all my strong façade, I’m pretty sure this guy knows how I feel. So I go through a routine, where I decide that Im just not going to contact him, and I feel relieved and empowered. Then. The anger comes, and I literally want to call him and tell him how much I dislike his behaviour, and how it makes me feel, and demand to know ‘why the hell are you ignoring me’. I don’t, but believe me its tough. Then when I just move forward and am at a point of the letting go, out of nowhere I get a call or a text. Im really struggling as even hearing from him sets me back. Yet I don’t know if its a bit intense of me to just tell him he cant remain in touch with me, and just keep popping in and out of my life. I actually think I would cry if I had to tell him how much this has affected me, and I don’t want to show him how much this has hurt. We haven’t known each other very long, so TO HIM, the strength of my emotion is bound to feel disproportionate, to the overall quantity of the time we have actually spent together. He has actually mentioned he’s not looking for a relationship, and Im not sure that Im ready to be in one either. But this just feels messy, and its bringing me down. He hasn’t exactly done anything wrong, but he hasn’t done much right either.

    • Christine Hassler

      Yasmin – I encourage you to let this one go….you deserve a man who can show up for you and be PRESENT. Focus on being your own best partner to yourself…

    • anonymous

      The guy who can not give you time and does not remember you is not worth it . I know i am a bit harsh but you deserve to be loved by some one who cares for you and is willing to keep in contact. I had the same problem with a guy a month back. If they dont talk then they are not going to change. Find some one who loves you back

      • Yasmin

        Thanks for the generous support and wise words. Im a hopeless romantic, but self preservation, and self worth is the only thing relevant here. Best to keep it moving I think.

    • Poonam

      Hi Yasmine,

      I am going through a simila situation in my life, where the guy is least bothered to reply me or text me. i have to wait for hours to hhear from him. I relised i m not his priorities, which hurts my self respect. I have just decided to move on. Its difficult but not impossible. Try to stand for yourself

  • Esther & Grace

    I completely agree that inconsistent communication is a clear sign he isnt interested. I had a similar situation when I was in college, dating a working professional and making excuses for him.

    I have a fashion/dating blog with stories about my personal experiences:

  • Carol Maurer

    A book I read recently helped me understand that there are some folks who just can’t form a healthy relationship: Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. There are those who have an attachment style of avoidance — those who equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness. If you continue to try to have a relationship with such a person it can make you “crazy” because it is always “come closer — GO AWAY.”

  • Tamika Stepney

    Oh wow I needed to read this. Thank you for your service of love

  • megred

    So, I find myself in a fairly unique situation, albeit one where your general advice does still apply.
    I’m in a situation where from the outside it certainly looks like unrequited love, but I know for a fact that this guy does love me. We fell in love in very unique circumstances, but it ultimately came down to his lack of self-love and has since pushed me away. He is not ready to face the intensity of possibly being truly happy.
    I have accepted this reality, I respect that he is not ready. But it’s a very interesting version of unrequited love to have felt, seen, and heard the depth of his love and the extent of his happiness in the months where he allowed himself to open up. To know that he doesn’t yet love himself enough makes my heart ache for him because I love him and want everyone in this world to be embrace happiness.
    But I also know I can’t wait for him and that’s where you article speaks well to me. Plus I have the opportunity to practice the unique situation of recognizing that the most loving thing I can do for a person is to leave them alone, even if I wish I could wrap him in a huge hug and love him up! 🙂
    I always love your messages, especially your acknowledgement of the ‘good fear’.

  • Randy Reality

    Love is a crock of shit.

  • I’ve been in a 16 year on-and-off “relationship” with someone who could not fully commit to me. He shares a house with an older brother and a sister who is ill (now). He always came up with excuses as to why he couldn’t move in with me on a permanent basis (although he has clothing at my home and a key). We rarely went out together and he always made snide remarks whenever I went out and had a good time without him. Anyway, this passive-agressive cat and mouse game got very old and I finally told him we are finished. It was hard to actually make that decision and follow through, but I finally feel free to let someone else into my life when the time is right.

  • Bird Cage

    Love is a biological mechanism, we only need to synch it with the people who are genetically compatible with us to avoid unrequited love. Unfortunately I will never fall in love with someone as genetically flawed as I am, so I guess I will experience unrequited love for the rest of my life.

  • Clay J Pena

    Hi, I need an expert advice. I am in love (or whatever this is) with a very close friend, but he’s in a relationship with someone else. They used to be a mess, but now everything seems okay because the other guy’s finally changing. Anyway, they say that to move on, I need to cut contacts with the object of my affection. But how am I gonna do that, when this person I have fallen for is one of my best friends. He’s caring and sweet and kind and appreciative, though mischievous and critical at times, but never really malicious. Not to mention that he’s unaware of how I feel. SHould I really give up this beautiful friendship?

    • JustWannaBeFriends

      I am not an expert, I just wanted you to know I totally understand how you feel because I am in a very similar situation. He and I are incredibly good friends and just when I was going to confess my feelings, he told me he’d just gotten together with a new girlfriend. My friends all say the same thing–let him go, at least for a few months/until you are over it. If he’s a true friend, he will understand and be there when you’re ready. Let’s hope. x

  • PK421

    What if all you have ever known is unrequited love?

  • Lauren

    They left something out the best thing a person can do for themselves in this situation is ending the friendship with the person that doesn’t feel the same way I know it sounds selfish but it’s really not no one needs a friend like that

  • C Jasz

    Life sucks – most of time..

  • y3shuA imMANu3l