When two people fall in love with each other, it can be a wonderful thing. Longing stares, nervous giggles, electric shock passing from hand to hand as they touch each other, sexual tension. Unfortunately, not all love affairs guarantee the same level of care and commitment and, well, love from both people. Unrequited love is a condition of love unanswered or undervalued. It can hurt as much as a heartbreak, because a person struck with a case of unrequited love is always wondering “What if.” “What if he/she loved me. Would would life be like then?”
The fantasy world of “what if”s is what sustains the feeling of love, even when it is hopelessly unrequited. And at some level, many of us have dealt with unrequited love, or the lesser degree of it, in a form of crushes. However, it is one thing to have a fleeting crush, and it is a completely different situation to have feelings of love, even if the other person has no intentions of returning them back. Crushes are exciting, prolonged periods of unrequited love are unhealthy.
It is hard to determine what exactly is the cure for unrequited love. Different things work for different people, after all. But, universally, a person needs to get out of his or her own way, in order to shake off the feelings of unrequited love and to move on emotionally.
For example, long periods of boredom and inactivity can lead to thoughts running rampant in one’s head, prompting fantasies and more “what if”s. It is imperative to get out, get a lung-full of fresh air, a lick of ice-cold ice cream, clear head of thoughts by going for a run. It helps to stay occupied, either by throwing oneself whole-heartedly into a hobby or to dedicate free time to get ahead at work. Even to get out for a few drinks with good friends can be therapeutic and can help ground one in reality.
Getting out there and into the dating scene can help as well. Now this does not give a license to anyone to use other people just to get over their unrequited love; far from it. However, dating other people can be a good way to get over love that may never happen. It is also a good way to realize that there are plenty of other people out there, most of them with good, unique qualities that are worth loving as well. Even if the dates do not ever blossom into anything serious, realizing that there is a world of dating opportunities waiting to be explored can be helpful.
It is also time to reformat a way of thinking. It is time to stop comparing other people to the object of unrequited love, who is probably not as idealized as he or she may seem to be. As no two individuals are exactly the same, nor will anyone really be able to compare to the person who is the object of unrequited affection. Thus, to compare two different people can only do disservice to at least one of them and to the person who is doing the comparing, of course.
Unrequited love can hurt just like an end to a real love affair but it does not have to hurt for long. Moving on with dignity intact and realizing that there is nothing that can force a person to fall in love with anyone they do not want to love are a part of the healing process. After all, taking one step away from fantasies is a step closer to meeting someone who will love you just as much as you love them.