“Winter is much like unrequited love; cold and merciless.” – Kellie Elmore
It was one rainy and stormy Sunday night of the year 2006.
My object of affection was sitting in front of me while we were eating at a fast food chain when I had finally found the courage to ask him what exactly we were.
My brain told me that I was not supposed to ask him since we’re grown ups and we didn’t need labels anymore.
On the other hand, my heart was dying to know the answer and kept on muttering: “You have to know”.
And you guessed right, the heart won.
So I asked my unrequited love and his answer broke my heart to pieces.
“We’re friends, right?”
Three simple words. But they hit me like a tidal wave and left me drowning.
And the one who I wanted to rescue me wasn’t ready to save me.
I have not seen him since.
The pangs of unrequited love left me bloody and wounded (and almost nearly killed me). Here are five of the most important lessons I learned from my one-sided love affair with a bassist who played songs meant for somebody else.
1. Love cannot be forced.
If the object of your affection has already communicated to you that they’re unable to return your feelings, respect their decision. Do NOT ever attempt to convince them otherwise. Do NOT fool yourself, too by making excuses for them and hope that they’re just mistaken. You are setting yourself up for a big disappointment if you do.
2. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
We can be a bit tough to ourselves than to other people. When it happened to me, I kept on blaming myself for being so stupid to the point of hoping that he feels the same way. Not only did it made the recovery slower but it made me stuck. I was unable to move on because of the self-blame and the pity parties I threw for myself whenever I remember what happened.
Learn to not beat yourself up each time you make a mistake. You only have you so love yourself and give yourself the opportunity to make mistakes – you are not perfect after all.
3. Unrequited love has its benefits.
Those of us who have listened to blasting Taylor Swift and Sam Smith music knew that some of their best songs were products of their experience with unrequited love. Their muses for these songs where people they weren’t able to win over.
So instead of letting what happened drive you towards self-destructive behavior such as stalking your unrequited love, channel your energy to creative and productive activities. You’ll be surprised as to how it can turn your life around afterwards.
4. Acceptance is the key to moving on.
Unrequited love is quite hard to recognize. When you have special feelings for someone, you get blinded and you live in a fantasy world sometimes. Delusions then become present and you find yourself scrutinizing the words and actions of the object of your affection and interpreting them incorrectly. So you end up thinking that they reciprocate your feelings, when in fact they don’t.
So when you are made aware that they do not feel the same way about you, step back. It can be difficult to accept the truth in the beginning. Give yourself some time to reflect on what happened, to acknowledge your conflicting emotions and to search for your soul (if necessary). Over time, you’ll find that you will accept the truth when it seemed impossible to embrace at first.
5. Healing starts within.
We all have different ways of coping but the basic foundation of healing is our souls. It has to start from the inside. Until we forgive ourselves for what had happened, get ourselves together, pick up from where we’ve left off and decide to move on, healing won’t begin.
Unrequited love sucks. I know – that’s an understatement.
You open your heart and soul to another person and of course, more often than not, you expect that the object of your affection will return the your feelings. But it’s not the case sometimes.
So to all lovelorn romantics engaged in a one-sided love affair out there, take heart. It happens to most of us. You are not alone.
You will soon heal and find the right person (or be found by the right one) at the right time.
Rejection is not pretty and is an incredibly painful and agonizing experience. But there are situations where we need to be at before we fully realize the lessons we need to learn. And maybe falling in love with the wrong person is one of them.
Photo by Nguyen Huu Quan