Learning to Stop Clinging to People: Know That You Are Loved

“As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.”   ~Eckhart Tolle

I have a heart condition. Not one that you could see on an x-ray, or even one that you would find in a medical textbook.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt like my heart has had a gaping hole in it—and I’ve been stuffing anyone, anything into that space to try and feel a little less empty. A little less alone.

The first day of my freshman year, I met a girl.

We spent the rest of the day together and discovered we had an uncanny amount in common, including our values and a passion for the violin. We even had the same name. So I decided then and there that she would be that college friend that everyone talks about, that friend with whom you share everything and never lose touch, even after you’re both old and gray.

I had decided she was the perfect shape to fill the hole in my heart.

I then proceeded to spend as much time as possible with her and her friends, ignoring the people I had grown close to in my dorm. I even declined invitations from classmates to go out to eat, get a coffee, or even just go with them to the library; I wanted to be available in case she and her friends decided they wanted to do something with me.

Yet even though I thought I had finally found a group of people that made me feel complete, there was always this underlying fear—a fear that they were just pretending to like me, that I was a second-class citizen in this clique.

And then she broke the news to me. “You make our group dynamic awkward,” she said. “We think you should go find some other friends.”

I was devastated.

My heart now felt even more empty and alone than it did before I met her, because I had built an identity for myself based on a friendship I had forced—a relationship I had made fit simply because it was there and available.

After that, I slowly started spending time with my other friends and started enjoying their company again, but I still withdrew and isolated myself.

I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to spend time with me if she and her friends didn’t, and that perception made it almost impossible to believe anything good anyone said about me.

A few months later, an old crush came back into my life.

We had been talking sporadically for years, but this relationship was also forced. I loved him desperately and had told him so on several occasions; while he didn’t feel the same, he still cared enough about me to want to keep in touch.

But the more we started talking, the more I became convinced that there was finally something there—the more I came to believe that he wanted something more than just friendship.

So a year later, I had completely invested my self-worth and esteem in his occasional emails and even rarer phone calls. And though our conversations were a little awkward and a bit strained, I continued to read in between lines that simply weren’t there.

When I asked him if he wanted to try a “formal relationship,” he looked confused and completely blindsided.

He said no.

I stopped talking to him and harbored a highly combustible combination of anger and resentment.

My carefully constructed identity, made from assumptions and wrongly interpreted signals, had just come crashing down—and I was left, again, wondering how anyone could love and value me if this man I had known for eight years didn’t.

At least not the way I wanted him to.

My overwhelming desire to feel loved and wanted by one person in particular had once again blinded me—and this pain I had created for myself, this empty ache in my chest, was the only thing I could feel.

The Buddhists have a word for this: samskara. A pattern, a habit you get into that is so seductive you almost want to continue the cycle. In my case, a cycle of self-inflicted suffering and abuse.

I was convinced that because I wasn’t in a “relationship,” because I had never had a significant other (nor had I even ever been kissed), I wasn’t loved. Worse, I started to think that I just wasn’t the kind of person anyone could come to love that way.

It didn’t matter that I had a good network of friends at school who loved and cared about me; it didn’t matter that I had incredibly loving parents and a brother who adored me; it even didn’t matter that I couldn’t seem to find a single person I had ever met that didn’t like me.

I had wanted love from a specific kind of person, because I was convinced that was it the missing piece in my heart. And because I hadn’t found it yet, I had measured my life that was full of love and support and still found it wanting.

He and I just recently started talking again, and though we’ve worked through a lot of the pain and confusion in our relationship, my blood pressure still skyrockets when I simply hear his voice. This reaction isn’t to him in particular, but simply because he serves as a powerful reminder of all the pain I’ve created for myself over the years by weaving fantasies around the people I choose to cling to.

I see him again in a week.

While most people prepare for guests by cleaning the house, stocking the fridge, and making sure the spare bed is turned down, I’m doing something a little different.

I’m working on getting to know myself.

If I don’t remember who I am independent of what he thinks of me, I’ll just get sucked back in; and the disappointment that we aren’t what we “could have been” will continue to keep me from being the person I have always wanted to be—the person who loves herself for who she is, not for which person chooses to love her.

I’m not going to pretend that this will be easy. Ripping away Band-Aids and actually facing the wound underneath never is.

But this time, I know I’m going to be fine.I know this because, even though it may not come from him, or her, or anyone else I’ve tried to stuff inside my heart, I’m surrounded by love. Unconditional love that is freely available to anyone who knows to look for it. 

No matter where you are in your journey, no matter what you do for a living or even what you eat for dinner, you are loved. And if this samskara has taught me anything, it’s that only when you’ve opened your heart to the love that already surrounds you can you begin to see it elsewhere.

Photo by Mitya Kuznetsov

About Elizabeth Garbee

Elizabeth Garbee is a college student who loves her brother, her cats, and playing the violin. She's a regular reader of Tiny Buddha, but this is her first contribution to the site.

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  • Erin

    I came to Tiny Buddha in a desperate moment, and this article could not have come at a more difficult (and necessary) time. I feel like you were describing me at times. I have done this same thing with one of my close friends for four years, and while my feelings were returned for around one year, I read into everything more than I should have. Now I still carry a torch for someone who got over me long ago, and I prioritized our relationship/friendship so much that I lost my other friends and haven’t made new ones. It’s so hard to wonder why not me, and accept that some other girl will come along and for some reason, be perfect for him (especially when I’m pretty sure I already know who that is). But trying to force some kind of ‘love’ here has made me feel like I’ve lost it everywhere else. A part of me doesn’t want to try to move on, and the other part of me knows it’s best. Thank you for making me feel less alone.

  • Cindy

    I’ve had an upset stomach for weeks. I have been eating uncontrollably and making decisions about people that don’t reflect who I truly am. I have been feeling so incredibly lonely, too. I found your article spot on and enlightening. I have been trying to fill a hole in my heart my entire life. Sometimes I concentrate on it more than other times, and those are the times that I really am not balanced, like now. Thank you for sharing. I feel my stomach and other parts of my life calming down because I now can begin to understand what I’m doing.

  • Boni

    I loved this. It helped put into words so many wrong things I have done in a relationship exactly like this. Exactly. Thank you Elizabeth.

  • Chris

    I am actually dealing with this very thing right now. I had a therapist appointment this morning before work and talked about this very thing. He said not feeling loved even though there are many people in your life who love you is a direct reflection of how much you love yourself. Slow and steady I guess and baby steps.

  • Kavetha@

    Thank you for such an honest and inspiring write up! It takes courage to be vulnerable and to self reflect and I applaud you. I went through this in my younger years as well and what helped me was to 1)spend time alone with nature, focusing on learning to enjoy solitude, reminding mylsef that i was a child of nature, perfect as I am.
    2) actually imagine a light shining out of me, kinda like my inner zen is showing (corny I know, but it made me feel good :)) 3) understanding my passions, so I could be around a cause and people bigger than myself and 4) books that transported me to stories of growth and triumph over pain.

    I wish you joy and peace.

  • right on time. thank you.

  • Ann Marie

    Elizabeth you are very wise for one so young! I am twice your age (and a bit more) and have also struggled with the relationship that I would “read into”. And the entire time it was always quite clear what he wanted and when. It has been four years (on and off) and I believe that I have finally come to some kind of peace with him.
    We are friends and I struggle with still wanting attention from him, but am doing my best to be kind and compassionate with myself rather than harsh and judging those feelings.
    We all want to be loved. It’s such a basic human need. And you have, in my opinion, a big head start on healthier ways to find it.
    Thank you again for sharing your experience and helping to remind me that I am not alone. Sending a hug! 🙂

  • a_distorted_reality

    What a wonderful post, Elizabeth. Thank you.

  • KBKaruna

    Learning to let go of dispositions of the mind is one of great difficulty. Seeking the housebuilder as the Buddha states it is a most difficult task for many people. It takes time alone with our thoughts and patience everyday to understand how we are creating certain perspectives based on our misunderstandings. Self-knowledge and compassion towards ourselves must be achieved before we can properly convey that towards others. You are on the right track, be patient with yourself and allow your mind to be in constant flow. Direct it by all means, but let go of the need to control where it goes. Take life one breath at a time.

  • Diana B

    Wow – honest. I will dedicate my meditation to you today and offer compassion and a life lived in peace.

  • I can’t even begin to describe how much this rang true for me. I was very much the same way for a long time…trying to fill what I saw as emptiness in my life with other people. Putting all my happiness in them. Even recently I dated someone and made him my everything while he was going out, having fun, picking up other girls and contacting me when he felt like it. I wanted him to fill that void I thought I had in my life. It’s amazing how good we can get at focusing on what we don’t have in our lives instead of all the great things we do have! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you! Realizing that we are already perfect, just as we are (imperfections and all) is sometimes the hardest part.

  • Elizabeth

    Hug received – keep ’em coming! 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you Diana – I’m honored.

  • Elizabeth

    Oprah actually said something in an interview that just clicked with me that I want to share: she said “When someone tries to show you who they are, you need to believe them.” Most of my pain seemed to come from comparing people with my own constructed expectations of them. Huge hugs! You can pull through this, I promise.

  • Elizabeth

    Exactly. Thank you so much!

  • Elizabeth

    You’re very welcome 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    It’s unfortunately a cliche, but still true – one step at a time. Learning not to beat ourselves up because we haven’t made as much progress as “we should by now” is so hard, but so important.

  • Elizabeth

    You are so welcome 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    I’m so grateful to have helped in such an immediate way – I also get an upset stomach when I feel nervous or heartsick. That’s often accompanied with a feeling of not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing … what helps me when I feel that way is realizing “I know exactly who I am and what I’m doing. I’m Elizabeth, and right now I’m drinking my coffee.” That simple realization helps some of the anxiety go away. It seems silly, but being present even when making a bed or walking from the parking lot to a store seems to help bring a sense of centered-ness even when the more complicated things seem out of control 🙂

  • Joel

    I’ve been going through the same thing. Even though I’ve taken great efforts to break the cycle in real life, the fantasy of it still plagues my mind. I know it’s my own doing but I just haven’t been able to kick the habit yet. I’m still very much a work in progress. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s been helpful for me and others.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for reading!

  • Carmelo

    Very nice work, Elizabeth. Enjoy your visit with him next week. Remember too that you are love. All the love there is emanates from you … inside. There is absolutely nothing missing in your life. 🙂 Congratulations on your first post here. It is a great one!

  • viola

    loved this elizabeth, its as if you poured my heart out here. if i were writing this, every word would have been the same. in fact ‘you are loved’ has been my phone’s screensaver for the past one year now. i am in the transitional phase too and wish you a beautiful journey ahead, of accepting and loving yourself as you are!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    Absolutely – and we’re ALL a work in progress 🙂

  • MB

    Wow!! I have been struggling for the last several months with this same feeling. When I read your post, it was like I was reading about myself. The pain that I am going through right now with this hole in my heart is almost too much to bare. I do have a husband and a son who love me very much but at times it just doesn’t feel like enough!! I did leave most of my friends behind because their lifestyle was never changing and mine was. So I decided to move on. I was content having just my family but for some reason now I feel so lonely lately and I know I try way to hard to become friends with people because they have even told me so. I often wonder why there is no one out there who needs me as a friend. I hope I can learn to just let go and accept the love that already surrounds me because so far it just does not seem to get any easier as the days go by.
    Thank you so much for your post. I don’t feel as alone now.

  • Happened the same thing to me with my last relationship that ended 3 months ago…My lack of self-love and self-esteem forced a relationship and I clingged to it very strongly despite knowing that wasn’t the kind of person I was looking for. I’m in the same situation you were but fighting day by day to feel better than ever. thank you for sharing your experience and wish you all the best. Best regards from Portugal

  • Hi Elizabeth, what a great piece. I’m in this situation right now, so your article could not be better timed for me! I wish you the best, and can’t thank you enough for this. It’s great to see all the comments too…so good to see none of us are alone!

  • T

    Thank you Elizabeth for your honesty and willingness to share
    your vulnerability! And congratulations on your first post here!

    I am 32 years old and never had a ‘real’ relationship. It
    will be 7 years today since I first met him. And god it has warped and changed
    me to an extent that I’m not sure I will ever recover from. Years of love and
    emotions directed at someone who possibly cares but not enough; has a way of
    taking away your confidence and belief in love one piece at a time. But then
    perhaps I hung on to the idea for so long due to the lack of self-confidence and
    self -love in the first place.

    I wonder if a lot of it was sheer habit and stubborn pride
    to let go, because then it would be admitting that all those years of energy
    and emotions spent have been a self-indulgent form of self-flagellation!

    I have wonderful friends and family who love me. I may not
    have someone to share my life with but I need to allow myself to believe that
    the world is full of possibilities and that I like everybody else deserves a
    relationship that is based on mutual affections and respect.

    But most of all as you say, I need to fill that empty space
    in my heart with that ‘unconditional love’ that comes from within. Still

    Thank you once again for your post. Enjoy his visit.

    You are love. And you are loved.

    Lots of love


  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much T. I know that pain, but it’s only as powerful as we make it – lots of love 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    I really appreciate it 🙂 And I’m so glad this was published when you needed it!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you Jorge!

  • Elizabeth

    That means so much to me – and one of my favorite quotes (I forget who first said it) is “A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.” I’ve learned that there’s no way I can be the kind of friend I want to be to others if I don’t value myself the same way. I sometimes use the best friend test: when I feel alone or needing advice, I often ask myself what a hypothetical best friend would say … you’re beautiful just the way you are, it’s ok to make mistakes, etc. Then I work on telling myself those very things 🙂

  • Chars

    Hi, thank you for sharing such a wonderful article! Firstly, it takes a lot of courage to admit our wounds, especially when the wounds are our own making. I am 23 years old and 8 months ago, i was almost in the same place until i lost my aunty(whom was like a mother to me) in March. Sometimes, death has a way of changing our perspectives rapidly. The pain of losing her was and still is overwhelming compared to my earlier pain of “why am i not loved by a specific someone”?

    Its in my grieving state that i started reading tiny buddha, to learn to let go. To learn to accept ourselves just the way we are. To accept things as just as it is. It took a lot of effort but the journey was worth it. There are times where i still find my self slipping to my old habits, wondering why am i the only still single, why was i the one who had to lose my aunty, BUT, thanks to my inner journey, i step out of the rut as quickly as i can. To do that, i learned that we have to love and accept the shadow parts of our selves. To just let it be, without forcefully pushing the dark side of us away. We are only adding even more inner turmoil the more we push the negative aspects of our selves in our hopes to be our “perfect” version. The real perfect version of us, as i learned, is when we embrace our light and dark self with equality.

    In August, I wrote this for my self, as a reminder for the times i slip back into my “old” mode. I would love to share this thing i wrote in the hopes that it may help whomever is going through the same thing.

    Unless the universe intervenes and works its magic, I am most definitely going to be single for some time now to say the least. I believe in a friendly universe and that there is a reason for everything. Me not having a boyfriend is nothing personal. It’s not that I am not good enough or unlucky. It’s just that the universe has worked out a better plan. Love is something that happens by its own. I can’t make it happen. So, I need to let go of my iron fisted grip and concentrate on something else.
    In order to receive love, I don’t have to do anything. That’s actually the best part.
    Absolutely nothing at all. I don’t have to prove anything to receive love. Everybody
    deserves to be loved for who they are. We don’t have to be anybody else to have love. Love will find me when the time is right. I mean, seriously, do I want to ponder the complexities of the universe and wonder what are it’s plans and reasons? No. I have tried that route before and only ended up driving my self crazy. If I am supposed to receive the answer, I will receive them. It will let me know.
    Love is not a prize to be sought after. It is already there for everybody. I don’t have to push my way through it. I can relax and have faith that it will definitely find me when it’s ready.
    Do I want a forced love? No. It’s more meaningful when it comes to me by it self. It’s more beautiful when it comes to me when I am being my self. When it comes to me when I have a not so perfect body, when I am still a recovering control freak, and when I don’t have a picture perfect family. When it comes, I’ll embrace it in a bone crushing hug. If it’s a little delayed, I’ll give it space and the freedom for it to choose the moment while I continue to be my self.

    It’s October now, and i am still single. But i have found my focus in other things as well. I am a 5th year medical student but i found my calling in pediatrics. The feeling of exhilaration is just as equal as finding a true love. I believe i found it because i allowed my self to be open to other things. I still want to be in a relationship, but the desperation has eased. I feel more in peace now. I hope you are too. ^^

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for sharing that beauty! I see myself in what you wrote, and I’m sure others will too 🙂

  • kavita1873

    i for one am caught in this cycle of samskara….looking for love and validation from my spouse who says who no longer loves me….and try as i might i cant break this samskara cycle….i feel some progress in breaking the pattern and then fall back to the same…..bringing me in the pits of an neverending abyss…ur post is just the rope i need to climb back from the abyss….I returned from my morning walk confused and disappointed with my self and I find this real gem .From a certified doctor by profession,ur post is just what the doctor prescribed for me
    Metta to u

  • Sunday

    Great article. I have experienced much of what you described (and so have many other people, apparently!). For myself, I’ve found that when I get into these (clingy) situations it’s because underneath I’m feeling an intense fear of being alone (without a partner). An unfounded fear. I also know that it’s not just me reading imaginary things between the lines. I have certainly been “strung along” by people who don’t want as much as I do in a relationship, but they are still getting something from me that they fight to hold onto – such as empathy, someone to stroke their ego, a feeling of security, enhanced social status, unconditional love, etc. It’s never black/white, and I rarely feel like people are intentionally trying to exploit me. Nevertheless, the best thing for me in these situations has been to step back and stop participating. Like you, I’m surrounded by amazing friends and family who love and support me and are REALLY there for me. If there is an imbalance in my life with someone who wants much less than I do between us, I do my best to let it go and that has brought great peace to my life. Of course, that’s easy for me to see in hindsight, but was never very apparent when I was in the thick of things! It seems to me that you are an insightful and well-loved person who is looking out for (and loving) herself. I think you are on the right path, and that things will fall into place for you, so keep pushing forward and know that there are so many of us out there struggling with the same things! 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much – in my case, it was definitely a combination of me reading too much into it and also most definitely being strung along. Bad combination!

  • Elizabeth

    Metta right back 🙂 Thank you!

  • Sunday

    I have read too much into things, too, but I don’t think the other person was necessarily minding that (it was keeping the dynamic between us flowing). At some point I have to have the courage to just ASK him what his intentions are. For some reason that’s very difficult for me. It’s like I don’t want to show my hand first and embarrass myself . It looks like you have been able to express yourself, so my hat’s off to you! You are an inspiration to me! 🙂

  • JuliaeCalder

    Wonderful! just what I needed to read. I love how the universe conspires to talk to us in the right moment. thank you for sharing your experience.

  • DannySCR

    Thank you for this Elizabeth. I too am in college and I’ve faced the same problem, thought to a lesser extent. I took a step back and realized that I need to value myself instead of trying to force others to do so. Today I can say that I’m much happier than last year. Im very happy I came to this site because so much of it applies to my day to day. With regards to a SO, Ive had a similar problem. I invested too much emotionally too quickly and would completely lose my self worth in order to try to satisfy the other person. Today I am much more mature and although I’m still single, I carry with me a positive outlook! Regards,

  • Elizabeth

    I’m so glad to hear it!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for reading!

  • Savini

    this is exactly what i was looking for. i do the exact same thing. and it breaks my heart. except i was stuck in a fwb type of situation and i’m still trying to get out of it. idk why its so hard when it clearly hurts me. alot.

  • disqus_7jplsOSY7H

    i would llove to talk with u

  • Michelle

    My heart went out to this writer because I completely relate and struggle with this same topic. I am trying to love myself but sometimes it is easier said than done. I grew up feeling emotionally neglected as a child, so it is hard to feel that same connection with anyone now and even harder to believe it when people do care about me. It can be a very lonely feeling. It is a daily struggle.

  • YinYang

    Hi my dear, what an enlightening post. “My carefully constructed identity made from assumptions and wrongly interpreted signals had just come crashing down ” this just hit home.

    I was clinging onto a past fling who broke it off and had moved on (forced rship too), . Nonetheless, I kept thinking that since my feeling was and is still so strong, he must be my soulmate, my true love, and that i could do the whole unconditional love thing for him, even after he made clear that he does not feel the same. Every litttle response, or non-response from him, drove me crazy. No family or friends can change my determination in loving him.

    Sometimes it is our own stubborness and ego? that makes us hold onto the past unhealthily and blindly, the “could have beens” and the “if only”, which i think that TOO MANY people romanticize.

    Thankfully, if you ask for wisdom, you get wisdom, even though the universe has an uncanny way of delivering the message. That’s when i stumbled upon your article.

    Metta to you, and to those who are going thru this.

  • Wow, wow, wow. Thank you for such an amazing story of courage. It gives hope. Love & Courage

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks Stephen 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    I’m so glad this was here for you when you needed it – writing this was something I needed to do a long time ago 🙂

  • leticiacee

    I can really relate to this post. I recently realized i was chasing after someone who didnt feel the same towards me. I felt like i could change the way he felt about me.. but we all know we cannot change ANYONE! I was emotionally abused by my parents, and have a lot of issues that im getting over or should i say ACCEPTING. So that love feeling, that i would sometimes get from this person was everything to me. I was misinterpreting his texts, his actions, his words, everything.. because i wanted LOVE. from anyone that i would give it to me. How misleading i was to myself. For a long time, i blamed him. I would get mad because he wasn’t treating me the way i wanted him to. But underneath all that, it was something much bigger. How am I going to be angry at someone for not feeling a feeling i wanted him to feel? The only person that needs to change is ME. i realize i need to stop looking for others to love me, and just love myself…. so hard to do. And I am so young, 20 years old… and i accepted that the feelings i felt for this person was not love… i was so yearning for love I’d accept anything. Even just a little hint of what i thought “love” was. I PUT MYSELF THROUGH A HEARTBREAK, not him… I

  • Summerscircus

    Beautifully and honestly written. So many don’t acknowledge this about themselves.

  • friend forever

    I can relate to u. The part about stuffing people in an empty hole in the chest. I, on the other hand, try to stuff anything that I think is worthy of being stuffed. It isn’t in an empty space. If I look at my life, I know I will find it is filled and complete. But, ‘no’, my ego says, ‘that isn’t true. How can it be? Until I get this or that, neither me nor my life will be complete.’ That’s the voice of my ego.
    Thanks for posting this. I too am working on believing in myself EXCLUSIVE of anyone else.
    Best wishes <3

  • Timm

    Although I did not grow up with neglect and I might not know how you feel, I feel like I’ve had a similar feeling anyway, especially with other people. I used to doubt their honesty toward me or at least keep myself a little withdrawn just in case they weren’t that interested. I didn’t want to feel like I was imposing on them, which might break what I saw as a fragile chain of a relationship.

    But slowly I’ve found that most care and being open and accepting of their care is not imposing. In fact, it’s usually expected. Of course there are the few that don’t care but pretend to, or totally show that they don’t care. I don’t let that affect me personally; I try to be mindful of the fact that they’re working through their own things if they don’t have the strength to be forward or are so upfront that they come off as crude.

    But to care for others and know they care for you, you have to care for yourself. Try some nature time! Have care for a squirrel or a tree or a cloud, something that can’t judge you, and slowly work your way up to people? There is care out there, and I’m here to say that it’s not aaaaas picky as it so often seems. =)

  • bdzc

    Wow, good timing, thank you for sharing this. It’s funny how the things one looks for suddenly and unexpectedly pop up.

    I’ve never acknowledged myself as a “clingy” person, but actually I am. I’ve been through what you describe: reading into situations, imagining, forcing relationships…and this year I’ve gotten out of a unhealthy, one-side relationship with a man who never cared for me the way I wanted him to, and just gotten into another one, with a man who cared for me but wasn’t looking for the same thing I was.

    A few months ago I started a realtionship with a guy, having been hurt before I told myself: it’s casual, no feelings involved, just fun. We both agreed on that. But he was so kind to me, so tender, loving…I sort of got hooked on the feeling of having someone to love that way…then he broke it off. I was devastated. We stopped seeing each other but eventually we started hanging out (now, I realise I always was the one to reach out to him) and started an on again, off again sort of relationship. Sort of.

    He left a few days ago to work abroad for a long time. We parted on good terms, after all we were friends before anything happened between us…but I keep wishing, expecting, imagining, he will miss me as much as I miss him, that he feels the same way, even though when we talk he seems distant, aloof…I create an explanation to his behaviour and believe it, simply because, as you said, I want to feel loved by someone in particular.

    Reading this helped me realise I do too have that empty space in my heart, and that I need to love myself, and recognize the love that actually is around me if I want to feel happy–and I do. Having a significant other is something I really want, but if I don’t have someone it doesn’t mean I’m not loved, or good enough, it doesn’t mean life has to be dull; it will happen when it happens, for now I’ll relax and enjoy what I have and let life surprise me.

    Sorry for my bad english and writing, I’m a bit rusty. And again, thank you and everyone who has commented. It’s moving to realise there are many people who go through the same thing.

  • Alex

    I can totally relate to your post. This is how I have felt all through my life. I have been in relation…left by the girl. I can feel the pain. I try not to hurt people and be like the one they want. Presently, I am seeing a girl and things are not going well. I care for her but in return I am asked not be nice and caring. I am being faithful and in return I get to hear about her ex and her attractions towards other males. I feel like to end all this misery. I am an introvert, not many friends and none too close, a family which loves but I haven’t shared my emotions with. I am highly successful, atleast for my family and relatives and that makes it all the more impossible for me to open up. I am my grades, my accomplishments, my all-through-success path for everyone. No one sees me beyond that. I desperately need help. I have tried all I could.

  • Jules

    Thank you. I’m going through.this very same thing right now. It’s like you expressed everything to the letter i couldn’t put into words, yet am feeling. Namaste

  • Amanda

    Wow, this was a great post and one that I can completely relate to. Thank you for making me feel less alone, less like the only person who is always searching for a ‘fix’ and more capable of over coming this addiction I have to finding my fixer. I am in a new relationship and trying so hard not to let it be what defines me and makes me happy and whole. I have been through the exact same as you with an ex that I got back with but who never wanted anything exclusive….. For me I ended my friendship with him for fear that I would always allow myself to be available to him for the simple reason of believing he may have realized how great we are…. Good job you that you are able to maintain a friendship still. I wish you all the best and want to thank you for your writings…. It touched me and I feel a little stronger for it. Peace

  • Leigh

    I am in exactly the same position. I have acknowledged the hole in my heart and that no-one can fill it but me. It is very hard, however. I wish there was a 3 step program: take 1 cup of flour, add milk and 2 eggs, bake it, eat it – DONE! You are fixed! That would be so great.

    So daily I struggle and try not to completely destroy a fledgling relationship with a new (and odd) man out of my need to fill this void. Its almost exhausting to try hide the crazy that goes on beneath the surface.

    Great article; even one that allows us to commiserate for a moment.

  • tommydefendi

    Growing up I was teased tremendously for being gay. I was talked about by strangers, family, friends, adults, children. I was told over and over again that being gay was bad. So any time I made a friend, I felt like I had to cling to that person because I needed them to love me because not many people would love me. Of course when those relationships fell apart, I blamed it on my homosexuality. I didn’t feel good enough for people. I was VERY insecure. I became social phobic and confined myself to my house. I would make online friends. Of course those didn’t work out. And I genuinely thought everything I did was never good enough for people. It was only when I discovered the books The Secret, How To Win Friends and Influence People, and Feeling Good: New Mood Therapy that my outlook started to change. Those books truly changed my life. They taught me how to think in a whole new way. It’s all about cognitive therapy. I still have my moments, but I know how to deal with my moments much better now.

    Another very important thing that I learned is, to become the person I want to fall in love with. How can we expect anybody to love us in the state we’re in? Honestly, would you love you? I don’t know who this quote is by, but it goes, “Things come to you when you let go and don’t need the validation anymore.” That quote is so true. My relationships and my self-esteem did a 180 when I when I started focusing on me. All of sudden people were attracted to me, complimenting me, wanting to get to know me. The funny thing is, I was so focused on myself that I didn’t care! I challenged people to leave. When they did, I genuinely didn’t give a shit. You are all you need. You are the WHOLE.

  • FaitedPariah

    I read this post and it inspired me to write an article about how to remedy a clingy personality, and would appreciate it greatly if anyone was to read it ( This article is cited at the end of mine as well.

  • X

    Thank you thank you thank you!., this! Sum up my current situation! I am confused too. Im feel very lonely, loveless, and i feel like such a waste. I don’t deserve anything because a guy who used to be my boyfriend didn’t treat me well, it made me think if my own boyfriend didn’t treat me well, other people shouldn’t treat me well too. I mean why would they? Isn’t a boyfriend someone who love and care about me the most??? Ic thats how he treated me, maybe i really don’t deserve any love?
    I do realize i have my family and my other close friends, but i was blinded by my own mind because what i want is some attention and love from a particular guy (not my ex) which i didn’t get. Reading this article make me realize, however much love and support i get from my friends and family, if my mind only things about that particular guy, i will never get enough and keep on beating myself up.

  • Shayne the girl

    What are you? A girl or a boy? the hims and hers are all jumblead up, its confusing, but its a good article nevertheless

  • disqus_nkdJZ8pTJl

    i am exactly like you described yourself here, it felt like reading the story of my life. But i didn’t know the solution to my problem and now i do, thanks to you. Though i had a lot of good friends, i ended up ignoring all of them ever since i got into a relation with someone who i believe to be the one for me, only he doesn’t know that. My whole world revolved around him for four years, during which he dumped me many times for not being perfect or something according to his standards. And each time i would do something to convince him that we belong together and he would stay. I was forcing it too much that now he has grown tired of it, nearly hating me.
    Now that i know i have to let go but its going to be so difficult; its going to seem like building my life again from scratch. My whole identity was built around him for a long time and now i need to find myself once more, rediscover who i was before i met him and find the confidence to let go and live my life my own way.

  • Kiki

    Your post I havd to read it again because that really speaks with me and how live my life I’ve even decided to go back to therapy because of it. I do want to know because this post is 2 years old how are your relationships with others now especially the friend you mentioned?

  • Kiki

    I identify with this article this is my 4th time reading it and I want to learn how to break the cycle I’m in now.

  • RaLos

    This post really made me silent for a couple of minutes….right now I’m in the exact same situation that I feel like no one will love me. The last few years were a continious cycle of rejections and broken hearts for me. 3 years ago, after being severely depressed because of a horrible heartbreak, I decidd that I wasn’t going to need it and wasn’t going to look for that particulair person…..until 3 months ago. I started at my new college and I saw this girl and we both inmediately fell in love with each other (Found that out later on, she still had a boyfriend). She told me how she felt, we went on a couple of dates and she told me multiple times that I had to trust her and that there was nothing to worrie about. A month later, I started noticing that she was taking some sort of distance from me, turned out that instead of choosing me eventually, she went back to her ex who she’s been in a on/off relation with for 6 years……Now I am in a continious form of pain, because my heart and my trust have been completely shattered by the one person I trusted the most in the world.
    And even though it ended horribly, I still see her, cause I want to help her through her rough times (she’s still my best friend after all)….but now it has been a couple of weeks and I still feel pain when she talks about her boyfriend. She still says that she loves me, but that only makes things worse, since I know that that won’t change anything about the situation

    But indeed….all I turned out to miss was someone specific to love and I was convinced she was going to be that person. In the end I get reminded again how brutal life can be

  • Sierra

    The ending was beautiful 🙂

  • Jayce

    This is exactly what I done with my ex, but i isolated myself from my family because she didn’t like them I even moved to her state I stopped hanging out with my friends after awhile my friends just stopped trying to contact me, after being with her a year I had gotten really insecure I let her family belittle me out of fear of me being alone then had a child with her which complicated my feelings even more, I was only happy when she was happy, it was like her moods determined my confidence my feelings everything and i was living in this rut that just consumed me, when we got in a fight she would leave me and then after a few months once i had gotten over it well healed myself and moved forward new house new lot of friends a girl i was interested in she would come back and i would throw it all away every time

  • lovingmyself

    I have a need for approval from my sisters, who are twins and are 13 months older than me. They have a bond, as twins normally do, that has left me wondering why I was not loved like they love each other. To make matters worse, I have twin brothers 18 months younger than me. Their bond is not as strong, but growing up… I remember the twins being so special. Everyone would exclaim to my mother, “OH, two sets of twins! How wonderful! Which one are the twins? Never mentioning that there was me in the middle, feeling very left out and alone. If there was ever an argument, my mother would side with my sisters, because they would and still do gang up on me, and are older. There is power in numbers and they figured this out at a young age. So, I also felt and feel rejection from my mother. I cling to my sisters by calling them constantly, trying to fit into their lives. If we disagree, I feel a real need for them to understand and accept me. It hurts deeply that I can never get their approval, and understanding. My husband has been a God send for me. He tells me that I will never change them, so don’t even try. It relieves me in a way that I didn’t think possible, because I realize that I will never have the bond they have between them, I will never make my mother understand, and I am relieved of the burden of making them understand. It is very difficult to break that dependency to cling to those you want in your life so badly. But, it has made my life more bearable giving up on changing them. I will be loving to my family, but if they want a relationship with me, they can chase me for a change. If they do not, better I find out now.

  • truthhurts

    This sounds great but how does one stop? Is there a key word or topics to google so that we can stop this way of thinking? Thanks

  • Ciara Kansiime

    Thank you so much for sharing. What your going through is carbon copy of my love -life struggles. I will read your entry everyday to encourage myself and be stronger. I have been touched. Thank you so much for your entry.

  • Shannon

    I too believed that I was supposed to find that one person to mend the hole in my heart.But then I realised that love is not between 2 people but many of us and the love of nature. I saw the world in a different way and I understood that if I change my thinking I could love more and be happier. Now I try to smile more and be nice to everyone and share my love.

  • Louise

    I feel exactly like this , a longing for a love that seems to allude me in my life

  • Nancy Miau

    Oi how nice, I was reading this site and came across this, I can say I relate!! Oh boy how I relate!! I’m in my 30’s, just been a year or so that I started to learn to love myself and that I don’t really need specific love from specific people to be happy, and all that. Thanks for sharing this :3

  • Gilly

    I have just come across this article several years after it was written. I have found it at a time in my life where I am going through exactly what you described. I was starting to think that I was the only person who clung so tightly to certain friendships. I have wanted to ‘play it cool’, to wait for the other person to get in touch with me, to not chase them, not to be too eager, but it has been really hard going. This article has helped me a great deal. Just knowing that it is not just me that does this is a help. Thanks for this 🙂