It's one of the most convoluted, cruel twists of fate we’re thrown: the right guy at the wrong time.
The sparkle is rare, so you fiercely hold onto it. It's the result of a compatibility wonder-match: He’s on the same wavelength as you; he smiles before the words have left your mouth; he knows your next move, and most of the time, he knows you better than you know yourself.
Life is much more interesting when he’s around. No matter how much of his time you're able to absorb, it will never be enough. You will always crave more.
The only problem is he’s taken. Or, he lives 12,000 miles away. He’s mourning a recent relationship.
He has an intense history with your best friend. Reasoning aside, he’s unavailable to you.
So, now what? Is it better to nibble the crumbs of attention you get in second place, or fight for a love you know is meant for you?
The choice is painful, but it’s not hard: It’s time to pick up your chips and move to a new table.
You know it’s the right thing to do, and you know "what has reached you was never meant to miss you and what has missed you was never meant to reach you."
Before you resort to the notion you’re the “exception” and not the “rule,” it’s time to learn to shake it off, reassess and reprogram:
Reality is a powerful tool. Repeat it.
Hearing the truth is a jolt of perspective. By acknowledging the facts of reality, you’re rewiring your thought pattern into a healthier recognition.
He’s with her. He’s not leaving her. You will never completely have him. Repeat it again and again.
Repeat it until the words puncture your expectations and you begin to rewire.
Once you bring reality to the forefront, allow it to sink in and weigh it against the stolen moments and butterflies.
Recognize it’s not all rainbows.
Distance has a dangerous ability to shade over the ugly parts and brighten the dark ones.
When he’s not yours, you never have to get too close. And when you don’t get too close, you don’t notice the cracks.
Every conversation is a brilliant rally of quick wit when there’s no animosity over who’s cooked all week.
His selfishness is almost comical when you’re not the one holding the dishcloth or balancing paychecks.
If the banter was replaced with reality of coupledom, would your love survive?
Once you clear away the fog of your fantasies, it may be enough to realize that not all that glitters is gold.
Make his situation your situation.
It’s all but impossible to keep alight the flicker of your romance while juggling your parallel universe.
You’re walking together, cozied up in coffees, emailing, stealing time on the phone or buddied up at work.
It stings to hear her name, but you acknowledge it. After all, there’s nothing to damper your moment quite like asking about his girlfriend.
By bringing his wife, his ex, your best friend, or whatever the challenge may be, into your conversations, you’re gently escorting out your reality and anchoring in his own.
It’s not a case of keeping your enemies close, but rather, a roadblock to steer you back onto platonic turf.
Weigh the baggage against the prospect of a clean, bright slate.
Let’s pretend for a moment the curtain falls in favor of your desire.
Let’s say you declare your love, and he leaves his wife, he forgives your indiscretion, or he accepts you’re The One, despite the fact he’s with your best friend.
Would the ash of the aftermath taint what would have otherwise been a masterpiece?
Once you’re both in the open, hand-in-hand and exposed to scrutiny, could you thrive in the damage? Would you want to?
Through the devastation of destroyed friendships, marriages and broken hearts, would your love stretch to fill the void you’ve created?
Get your blinkers off.
The real danger of pining for the partner you cannot have is you miss every opportunity in the periphery.
Similar to present-bias, we tend to discount the value of later rewards, and we hold the present in higher regard.
No matter what your situation, this bias is leaving you behind.
The more you pour your attention, joy and attraction into him, the less you open yourself up to a love worth sparkling for.
Is the unattainable love really worth spending the rest of your life in second place?
Take a day, breathe, wallow and lick your wounds. Tomorrow, rewrite your story and start to attract the love you deserve.
You’re not the supporting actress; you’re the Katniss Everdeen, the Olivia Pope or the Beyoncé of your own beat.