Is Unrequited Love Really Love?

Medically Reviewed on 3/5/2021

Of all the emotions that have been studied, love certainly remains the most interesting one.
Of all the emotions that have been studied, love certainly remains the most interesting one.

Of all the emotions that have been studied, love certainly remains the most interesting one. We cannot choose to “not” fall for someone. Irrespective of our social conditioning, education, and ambitions, we sometimes find ourselves falling head over heels for someone.

Science had dissected love to a chemical reaction attributable to the hormones oxytocin and dopamine in the brain. These are secreted in both unrequited and mutual love. Therefore, in a way, both types of love are equally genuine.

We are social animals. We are genetically meant to search for a person who is the most suitable to our temperament and pheromones. Often, in this fast-paced world, however, we may have feelings for a person that are not reciprocated. It may be because of various reasons such as lack of mutual chemistry, lack of will from either side and different socioeconomic preferences.

Unrequited or unreciprocated love has been an inspiration behind many forms of arts and proses. As much as it is important not to shy away from relationships, one must always be attuned to situations where one is not appreciated. It is important to love yourself enough to avoid unhealthy coping behaviors in unrequited love.

  • There are times when unrequited love can affect your perception of the world and yourself and thus your self-esteem.
  • Unreturned love can be consuming and crippling and hinder your ability to live your life.
  • Realizing that your feelings are not reciprocated can be hurtful and frustrating or may even make you angry.
  • It may set in motion unhealthy behaviors such as addictions, self-harm, anxiety, and rebound relationships.

It is always advised to learn from unrequited love and move on to find the love of your life.

What is unrequited love?

Unrequited love is an experience of loving someone without them loving you back. When your feelings are not reciprocated, your thoughts and emotions can go haywire. There are two main types of unrequited love:

  1. The first type of unrequited love occurs when you have started a relationship with someone, but their interest in you wanes over time.
  2. The second type of unrequited love occurs when your interest in someone isn’t returned from the outset. You may be confused about the other person’s true feelings, or it may already be apparent that this other person simply isn’t interested in you.

It’s critical to know the signs of unrequited love so that you can identify the problem and quickly move on:

  • You’re getting nothing when you give everything.
  • You’re always finding ways to spend time around them, but those efforts are not reciprocated.
  • You get jealous when they spend time with others.
  • You constantly feel underappreciated.
  • Thinking of them fills you with anxiety.
  • There’s no physical contact.
  • They avoid spending time with you.

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How to overcome unrequited love?

Below are few ways to overcome unrequited love:

  • Acceptance and mourning: Mourning is the process of adapting to a loss and integrating grief. Unrequited love can be one of the most intense grief you will ever experience in your life. Recognizing the grief and letting go form an integral part of the moving-on process. Repressing emotions will not heal you in the long run. Take out some time to grieve and slowly re-envisioning the future, in which there is a possibility for happiness without your ex. Cry, write, and talk about it. Go for a run or walk daily. Try to love yourself first before searching for another being to fulfill your vacuum.
  • Love and pamper yourself: Loving yourself is often a healthy practice. Take time for yourself. Go out shopping, get a makeover done, and do all your favorite things. This is one of the best medicines to get over one-sided love. Go for spa massages, head for a small trip, and do anything that makes you happy. This will also give you time to introspect.
  • Do not look for reasons or a closure: Life does not always offer closures. Do not obsess over the reasons why it didn’t work out. Sometimes, it is no one’s fault. It is important to realize everybody has a choice to love or not love another. Learn to exit with grace.
  • No social media stalking: The first thing you need to do to get over this one-sided obsession is to stop stalking them on social media. It doesn’t matter what they post, who they are with, and where they hang out. All these updates might affect you, so either delete them or stay away from them. 
  • Accept the pain as a small phase: The healing process is about acceptance, and acceptance is about validating the pieces that were hard and invalidating those which aren’t true. The good news is the intensity of your current feelings won’t last forever. While you’ll probably always remember this time in your life, the emotions around it will dull and, eventually, heal.
  • Know you’re not alone: Love and heartache are extremely personal experiences. However, they’re also universal. Knowing that this is an experience most people will have in their life can help ease feelings of shame or embarrassment.
  • Socialize: The best way to get yourself diverted is being with your friends and family. Spend time with them, hang out with them often, and just have fun. The one thing you need right now is to be not reminded of that phase when you loved somebody who didn’t love you back. There are people out there who will love you. You just need to commit yourself to finding them.
  • Set boundaries for yourself: We feed our obsession when we need to be starving it. To stop focusing on them and regain control, you might have to be strict with yourself. Likely this is going to mean ending all communication with the other person. This could mean unfollowing their socials and deleting their contact. If you feel the urge to contact them, try reaching out to a friend instead.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/5/2021
References
The Prevalence and Nature of Unrequited Love: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244013492160

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/grief-and-bereavement-in-adults-clinical-features?search=unrequited%20love&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~46&usage_type=default&display_rank=1