“Let no one who loves be unhappy, even love unreturned has its rainbow.” ~James M. Barrie
My first experience with unrequited love took place when I was a little kid at swimming lessons.
I developed a huge crush on one of the instructors. I don’t remember his name, but I remember the excruciating feeling of absolutely adoring someone who didn’t even know I existed. I wish I could say that this was a one-time experience, but it wasn’t.
Sadly, this pattern continued for many years. I seemed to have a radar device installed in my heart that would automatically fixate on the man least likely to return my affections and bam, I had to have him. Only it never worked out.
I once spent many painful years pining away for a man I’d been crushing on, even after he’d moved across the country and married someone else. I simply could not get him out of my head.
It should be noted that I never had a real relationship with any of these men. I never dated them, kissed them, nothing. I was friends with some of them, but that was it.
Perhaps you can relate. You’ve finally met someone special after what seems like an eternity. It’s like finding an oasis in a desert of nothingness and you are beyond excited. It just has to work out with this person, so you immediately go into obsession mode.
You have an agenda for this relationship. You know exactly how you want it to go and it needs to happen ASAP.
Becoming fixated on someone can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. Insisting on one relationship working out exactly the way you want it to is like trying to put a choke hold on the universe. It simply cannot be done, and trying to do it will only result in frustration.
If this is happening to you, see the situation for what it is, look inside for what’s really going on, and be open to the many amazing possibilities life holds for you.
It’s tempting to think that this person holds the key to your happiness, but that simply isn’t true. He or she is a human being with imperfections and you don’t know them very well yet.
When you have an intense emotional reaction to someone you don’t know very well, you’re dealing with your own mind, not the other person. When you become infatuated with someone and think that life will be wonderful once you are finally a couple, you place your chances for happiness outside of yourself.
Another person can never hold the key to your happiness, and when you believe that they do, you’re giving away your power.
Of course, it’s possible that you’ve known the person for a while. He or she may be a colleague or a friend that you’ve developed intense feelings for.
Do you infer much more meaning into a simple exchange than is really there out of your own wishful thinking? How much time do you spend analyzing your interactions with this person? Healthy relationships don’t need to be evaluated constantly.
If you’re spending a considerable amount of time obsessing about your chances of being in a relationship with someone, stop and ask yourself what’s really going on. It can help to confide in a friend, therapist or coach to get some outside perspective. If you hesitate to do this, ask yourself why.
When you become fixated on someone, it can feel confining for the other person. There’s a level of unease, a possessive desperation that can come off as needy or even creepy.
You must address the part of you that wants to cling to this person, and give it what it needs. That needy part of you has something to teach you and it’s not about holding on to this relationship, it’s about being at peace with yourself.
You cannot hide this by simply playing it cool or following dating rules about when to call or text. This needy energy will leak out of you and repel the other person. Don’t berate yourself about it; instead, listen to yourself with compassion and love.
What is it that you’re not facing? Do you resist the idea that you’re responsible for your own happiness? Are you hoping that a wonderful romance will take the edge off the pain of a less-than-stellar career or boost your confidence?
What do you hope that this person can give you that you don’t have now? Confidence? Love? The knowledge that you are special?
What can you do to give yourself what you need? Whatever it is, you’ll never be able to get it from another person. Take care of this within yourself and you’ll feel much better.
Trust that there is someone else out there for you and you will meet him or her when the time is right. There are so many people in this world. This is not the last eligible person you will ever encounter. If this relationship does not work out the way you’d like it to, trust that things happen for a reason and move on.
When you’ve gotten stuck on one person, it’s the perfect opportunity to examine what’s happening inside of you. Life has dished you up a generous helping of potential self-discovery, so welcome the lesson as much as possible and learn everything you can. You’ll be so glad you did.
If you dig in and see the situation for what it is, instead of waiting for your would-be lover to come to his or her senses, you stand a much better chance for happiness.
All of my heart-wrenching experiences with unrequited love led me to so much growth and self-discovery. I came to see that my fantasy relationships with these men were my way of protecting my heart.
I was alone, but I was sure that it wasn’t my fault; it was theirs for not wanting me. If only they’d see how great I was, everything would be fine. I was not opening myself to love by insisting that love could only come from one person.
Once I was able to really see that, and to truly love myself, I never had another experience like that again.
Every relationship and circumstance can bring you closer to the love you want if you open up and allow yourself to learn as much as possible. Love can come from so many sources. Don’t close yourself off. Be open to life, to alternatives, to possibilities.
Woman in car image via Shutterstock