What Happens When You Love Someone Who Doesn't Love You Back, According To Experts
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. When you love someone who doesn't love you back, it can take a long time to accept that it's virtually impossible for things to work out. It can be so easy to convince ourselves that their feelings could change in the future, but more often than not this isn't what ends up happening. This false hope can lead to a vicious cycle of pain, frustration, and disappointment — a far cry from what a balanced and healthy relationship should be.
Not only is putting time and effort into a person who doesn't love you unfair, it can also be the major obstacle standing in the way of finding true love with someone who is capable of loving you. Unfortunately, we can't always control who we fall in love with, which is why it's so important to recognize when an attachment isn't mutual. By being honest with yourself, you can finally break the cycle of negativity that often results from loving someone who simply doesn't feel the same way.
How do you end up falling in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way about you?
We all can probably think of a time when we liked someone who didn't like us back. However, having a crush on someone versus actually being in love with them are two completely different things. And while unrequited love can happen to anyone, having a string of relationship disappointments 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 told Elite Daily. "Regretfully, [you] inevitably end up settling."
Why is unrequited love so problematic?
Not being loved in return is something that can result in some serious dysfunction on a personal level. Being in a healthy relationship is supposed to be an emotionally fulfilling experience for both people involved. Not having this emotional balance can leave the loving partner feeling bad about themselves and completely rejected.
"It is not a good decision to settle for 'emotional crumbs,'" Dr. Lesliebeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist told Elite Daily. "Unfortunately, many partners do 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.”
What's the best way to get over someone who doesn't love you?
Knowing how to deal with feelings that aren't mutual can vary depending on the status of the relationship. If you're in a committed relationship with someone who you suspect doesn't love you, then it's important to confirm that you are accurately interpreting what's going on, Dr. Wish said.
“Before you decide to leave, get counseling to see if your view of the relationship is accurate or healthy," Dr. Wish said. "Learn ways to express your feelings of not being loved, and develop a different understanding of how you and your partner show love.”
If you're dating but not in a full-fledged relationship, trying to propel things forward in the hopes that their feelings will eventually catch up could be a bad idea.
“It is never okay to just accept the bare minimum from someone; it's called settling,” says White. “Stand your ground and clear space for the real thing!”
It might be difficult to accept that the person you love doesn't love you, but accepting your feelings for what they are is the first step to moving on. It's also important to remind yourself that despite how much you love them, you deserve to be loved in return and there are definitely people out there who can give you that. Just remember that while it might be hurtful, their lack of feelings is in no way a reflection of your desirability. Chances are, they just aren't the right person for you.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!