As a therapist, I obviously hear more sadness around Valentine’s Day than wonderous remarks, as I rarely have patients caught in the glorious exhilarating peaks of romantic love.
I have never seen any stats on this, but I can only presume that most people are at any given year, trying to forget Valentine’s day, rather than embracing it.
Unrequited love is one of the great tragedies to befall us fragile human beings. There isn’t any quick panacea to getting over the immense grief of not being loved by someone you love.
By definition, it is loving someone who is unable to reciprocate your feelings. They may be aware of your love for them, or they may be unaware.
When they are totally unaware of your love and maybe even unaware of your existence, well you have the making or erotomania, which is totally different and is a tenacious and severe mental illness that I wrote about in the past.
For love to be considered a successful relationship, it has to be reciprocated by your beloved.
The most painful feelings that unrequited love engenders are rejection and abandonment.
Both are heart wrenching and heartbreaking, leaving those in the throes of being unloved with the rawest of pain, that gnaws away day and night.
You might say it is the kiss of death of any innocence that may have initiated the love in the first place.
As a therapist and as someone who has had my share of this excruciating situation, there is not much to do to bandage a broken heart.
Grieving does not begin until there is some sort of acceptance or when the reality of the situation, seeks in.
Acceptance, even partial, may take years in some individuals. It does not mean they don’t “get it”, but their love may be so overwhelming to them, that they are somewhat blinded by the whole reality and the painful truth.
Rationalizations as to why someone may be unable to love you back may be helpful and insightful, but it can only do so much pain relief wise.
If you are in the midst of enduring unrequited love, and reading this, I make no promises that you will feel better after reading this post.
I do hope that you will think about some of the things I would like to say to you. Some of the things you may have heard before and some not.
Some of my thoughts and feelings come from my own suffering and spiritual grasp of this very complicated human trap, that reverberates with many hurts.
Because I have much compassion for your suffering, it is the least I can do, since for those of you not in my practice I am unable to actively listen to your own unique and individual painful stories.
There may be actually several reasons why love may not be forthcoming from your beloved.
The first that comes to my mind is timing; the great truth that weaves through the intervals and fabric of our lives.
I see this most often in the young, either late teens and early twenties. For some folks, who have more ambitious agendas that calls them; love and a relationship may be seen as just an unfortunate interference to be avoided.
If it is about getting ahead in one’s studies or career, then that is not a bad sign at all. Having a strong focus on obtaining your degrees and getting a head start in a budding career is certainly admirable and can pay off in the long run.
Another reason someone may not be able to return your love, might be they have not achieved a certain level of emotional maturity that would allow them to even consider a committed love relationship.
Of course, I see this more often in males, who do indeed have a developmental delay in comparison to females.
Though there are many long term marriages out there who started in their teen years, or very early twenties, they are an exception to the rule.
Many more end in painful divorces, often with children caught in the ugly battles that ensue.
The bottom line is that unrequited love due to youth, emotional or developmental immaturity, and career agendas, is not necessarily a bad thing.
Ask anybody about going through school coping with diapers and the stress of grades at the same time, which can dent any relationship in a short time!
Sometimes, in some people, they may be very confused by their feelings if you appeared in their lives after a breakup with someone they loved.
Unrequited love may happen, mainly because they need more time to clarify their feelings or in cases of separation and divorce to grieve.
Especially you should beware of dating someone who is separated from a marriage, or any long term relationship.
Frankly, they are never in shape to even consider another long engagement to someone, and may use you as a transitional partner, or a band-aid.
In these cases, unrequited love can be seen as a gift, even if you are unable to perceive it that way at the time.
I find the most painful unrequited love situations happens when you can not say it is for any of the above reasons, and there is an obvious reluctance to share even a morsel of reciprocity of your feelings.
Confronting the stark brutality of rejection makes you question your own self worth and can chisel away at your self esteem.
Actually, when this happens, it is not about rejecting you at all, but for mysterious reasons that only someone’s heart knows, that may remain unconscious even to them.
They may be fixated with another archetype that resonates around an earlier parental relationship that was conflicted, and they unconsciously want to heal.
Have you often wondered how so and so ended up with someone who you were surprised that they could even find attractive?
Well, in many cases that could also be because of Karma. Of course I realise that you have a believe in reincarnation in order to give validity to that concept, which not everyone does.
After 38 years of hearing the intimate lives of many of my patients, who do have reciprocal relationships, there has often been extremely synchronistic circumstances in love relationships that go well beyond just being circumstantial.
If who we fall in love with is often mysterious, then it is as mysterious as well to how we actually ended up meeting them.
My own belief in reincarnation is actually quite validated by these various stories that seem orchestrated beyond what we call reality.
I mention this to not elaborate on the subject, but only as another reason why what you may perceive as a “rejection” has nothing to do with you.
Basically in some instances your love can not be returned because in the mysterious realms of love, it is not supposed to for reasons that may remain hidden from our human understanding.
Once again this reinforces the truth that this is not a rejection of you. If the universe or God wants you to have a relationship with someone, you will, if not, he or she was not meant to be yours in the first place.
One thing to remember if caught in this vicious cycle of unrequited love, of hoping and waiting, is persistence will get you nowhere.
Persistance in trying to establishing contact with someone who is unavailable to you will only lead to resistance and is basically futile.
A hard truth to swallow for someone hellbent on trying to scale over an impossible wall.
Retreating may be easier to do than accepting, but retreating is the only way to allow some possible healing time to creep in.
Getting help from a therapist can offer you increased understanding about the whole sad situation and reinforce the truth that it really has nothing to do with you.
For those of you who have been raised in a Christian environment, you may have heard of the new testament Apostle Paul talking about not being yoked with someone.
Although some may simply concur that Saint Paul is talking solely about having a relationship with someone who shares your religious faith, it can also be interpreted to mean more than that.
A yoke is a wooden harness that encircles animals that pulls heavy equipment. To make any relationship durable and nourishing for both, then both partners need to be on the same vein of pulling their weight to make the relationship work.
If one partners lacks the same desire, or intent or ambition in investing in your relationship, you may find yourself ending up doing all of the “pulling”.
We certainly can be attracted to differences in a beloved, but after the initial romantic love wears thin, differences in education, culture and faith may indeed creep up and cause difficulties.
Falling in love with someone who can not share at all your spirituality or faith, or who may even mock or try to discourage your faith, is a bad sign.
You might think that your own spiritual beliefs will rub off on them, and yes that is always possible, but that often is not the case.
The bottom line is why we may end up with someone or why we may not, is not as logical or as obvious as you might think.
However painful the whole situation is, there can be spiritual growth if you can look at it from a spiritual perspective.
Unrequited love is actually learning to love someone unconditionally, because you are not getting anything back in return for your love and devotion.
I know that isn’t much comfort, and it is not a good reason to continue in the void, once you understand the principle.
You see, the Love you feel may seem to come from your own heart, but it does not belong to you, nor does it originate from you.
Love comes from God and is a Divine aspect of His presence that we “borrow” to give and share with others, regardless of it being returned back to us.
None of us “own’ that love and it should never be used in a manipulative manner, but given freely as God does.
When, there isn’t any of the above possible reasons why reciprocal love is not forthcoming, we have to eventually face that mysterious unknown element of destiny.
What is meant to be, in the Divine blueprint of our lives happens generally without us pushing and bulldozing.
Releasing your pain, hurts and bruised ego to God can be a healing measure.
Patience is required to realise that when one door closes, it may be to prepare you for another that will open at a more appropriate time.
Since Ash Wednesday for Catholics and most Latin Christians entails the imposition of ashes on our foreheads, I would like to leave you with one last thought and truth.
Love, reciprocal or unreciprocated is still Love from God. Love can live beyond the ashes of our death.