People of all ages and genders suffer the pain of unrequited love.
Most of us have been there at some point; we are convinced that someone is the right person for us, but they have no desire to date or, in some cases, even spend time with us.
Assuming that you have told them your feelings and have been met with rejection, your first step is to minimize contact.
This means cutting ties on social media, deleting their contact details from your phone, and not engaging in any form of interaction unless strictly necessary.
You cannot hope to get over someone if you see or talk to them regularly.
In doing so, you will keep your hopes alive.
Having distanced yourself from the situation, you need to work on building yourself up and moving forward.
Follow these five steps to help move through the pain:
1. Remember why you are awesome
When someone rejects you, it’s tempting to assume that there must be something “wrong” with you, and that you aren’t good enough for them.
This isn’t true; their decision not to enter into a relationship with you doesn’t reflect on your worth as a person.
Set aside some time for self-appreciation.
Remind yourself of your best traits and proudest achievements.
Tell yourself that there is someone out there who will fall in love with your unique personality, because it’s true.
2. Extract the lessons from the situation
What has this experience taught you about yourself, love, other people, and the world in general?
For instance, it may have taught you that you are capable of developing very strong feelings for someone, which might be a revelation if you’d never had a crush before.
Unrequited love can also make us more sympathetic to other people.
You might come away from the experience with a new appreciation of art and literature that centers around unrequited passion.
If you have a habit of falling in love with someone who is unlikely to return your feelings, it’s worth examining why.
For instance, if you tend to develop fierce crushes on authority figures, you may be re-enacting an unhealthy parent-child dynamic.
Placing your experiences in a broader context can help you understand them, and reduce the risk that you’ll fall into an endless loop of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.
3. Remind yourself that when you move on from unrequited love, you are free to date others
Loving someone who can never be a good partner to you comes at a cost, not just because it hurts, but because it robs you of the chance to date other people who would be a better match.
When you decide to move on and re-enter the dating world, you will finally have the opportunity to find healthy, mutual love.
One day, you’ll meet someone who is a much better fit for you.
When that day comes, you’ll thank your lucky stars that you are no longer obsessed with your old crush.
4. Remember that most people have suffered romantic rejection
Lots of attractive, successful people have been turned down at some point.
No matter how lovable, beautiful, intelligent, and rich you are, there will always be people who just don’t want to be with you.
Remind yourself that most relationships don’t work out because the people involved aren’t compatible, not because they have serious character flaws.
Confide in a close friend or family member if possible.
They will probably tell you about their own experiences of unrequited love.
Hearing their stories will make you feel less alone.
5. Give yourself time to heal
Don’t jump straight back into the dating pool; make sure you have given yourself time to get over your feelings.
It’s normal to feel low for a few weeks or even months after deciding to officially let go of any hope that the two of you will ever have a relationship.
Don’t worry if you backslide occasionally.
Spend this time treating yourself well.
Invest in your hobbies, push yourself harder at work, and expand your social circle.
What to do if you can’t let go
It’s difficult – sometimes heart wrenching – to let go of the hopes and dreams you had for the future.
In some cases, the agony of unrequited love is so great that life without the object of your affections feels pointless.
If you feel this way, it’s very important that you tell someone you trust how you are feeling.
It may seem improbable now, but you can move past unrequited love and build a healthy relationship with someone who returns your feelings.