Dating
If you love someone who doesn't love you back, that's called unrequited love.

If You Love Someone More Than They Love You, Here's What To Do

As one expert says, "It is not a good decision to settle for emotional crumbs... crumbs can never bake the cake of love."

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I think we can all agree that unrequited love is one of the worst feelings imaginable. The pain of becoming attached to someone in a way that isn't mutual can be so unbelievably traumatizing. The thought of saying “I love you” and hearing crickets in response is crushing. But even if it isn’t that obvious of a rejection, any instance of loving someone who doesn’t love you back can be painful.

Unrequited love can happen to anyone, but if you start noticing a pattern, it could be more than just bad luck. If it keeps happening, loving someone who doesn’t love you could be a sign that you have a romanticized idea of what love looks like. “We are also more likely to experience unrequited love when we have already fallen head-over-heels in love with the 'idea' of being in love,” Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, PhD, Founder, and CEO of Family Matters Counseling Group, told Bustle.

At the end of the day, this kind of situation may have more to do with you than with the object of your affection — it could even be a sign of some relationship anxiety. “Studies conducted on the topic of relationships suggest that people who engage in relationships anxiously are more likely to experience unrequited love than those who go into relationships confidently,” Bates-Duford added.

The good news: this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to continue to fall for people who won’t love you back. By being honest with yourself, you can break this cycle of unrequited love, leaving more room to find people who adore you right back and in the ways you deserve. Trust me — they’re out there and they can’t wait to meet you.

In order to understand why this is happening to you, or why this cycle continues to repeat itself, there are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to why you keep falling for people who don’t treat you the same.

Why Do You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Feel The Same?

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We all can probably think of a time when we liked someone who didn't feel the same way. However, having a crush on someone versus actually being in love with them are two completely different things. And while unrequited love happens all the time to all different types of people, having a string of disappointing, nonreciprocal relationships in the past could make you more likely to continue dating someone who isn't as invested as you are, says relationship expert and author Alexis Nicole White.

“[You're] more likely to accept the lack of reciprocity for the sake of saying [you have] someone," White tells Elite Daily. "Regretfully, [you] inevitably end up settling." If you do catch yourself settling for less and less from your partner, it’s time to have an honest look at your relationship and your expectations — both might need some reevaluation.

Why Does Unrequited Love Hurt So Much?

Loving someone who doesn’t love you stings because you deserve so much more than that. "It is not a good decision to settle for emotional crumbs," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, tells Elite Daily. “Unfortunately, many partners do [settle] out of fear of being alone or dealing with changes in finances, parenting, homes, and other major changes. But crumbs can never bake the cake of love.” Wish adds.

Healthy relationships fulfill both partners’ emotional needs equally. Without that balance, the relationship isn’t worth having.

How Can You Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back?

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Knowing how to deal when someone doesn’t love you back can be tricky, and it mostly depends on your relationship status. According to Wish, if you're in a committed partnership and you suspect your feelings aren’t reciprocated, your first step should be confirming that you are accurately interpreting your dynamic as a couple. Tell your partner how you feel. If you’d rather navigate this conversation with professional support, a couples therapist can help facilitate it. “Before you decide to leave, get counseling to see if your view of the relationship is accurate or healthy," Wish says. "Learn ways to express your feelings of not being loved, and develop a different understanding of how you and your partner show love.”

On the other hand, if you're seeing each other but are not in a full-fledged relationship, it may be time to cut your losses (and skip the couples therapy).“It is never okay to just accept the bare minimum from someone; it's called settling,” says White. Plus, trying to propel things forward in the hopes that their feelings will eventually catch up could be a bad idea. Instead, White adds, “Stand your ground and clear space for the real thing!”

It might be difficult to accept that the person you love doesn't feel the same, but accepting your (and their) emotions for what they are is the only way to start moving on to better — and, hopefully, more loving — things.

"Don’t allow unrequited love to make you doubt yourself or what you deserve from a partner," Samantha Burns, licensed mental health counselor, dating coach, and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, explained to Women’s Health. "… Remind yourself every day that you define your own worth.” And you deserve a partner who never makes you doubt it.

Experts:

Tarra Bates-Duford, PhD, Founder, and CEO of Family Matters Counseling Group

Alexis Nicole White, relationship expert and author

LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist

Samantha Burns, licensed mental health counselor