Shakespeare once said that love is blind, and the blindest (and the cruelest) kind of love is unrequited love. As Kate Winslet put it in the movie, The Holiday, it’s “the one that almost kills its victims.” But what’s this one-sided love about to begin with?
When it comes to intimate relationships, people’s reactions and behavior differ. Some are straightforward with their feelings, while others are masters of sending mixed signals.
Are you in unrequited love? And if you are, how to get over it?
Here’s what you need to know about this type of affection, according to Katherine Woodward Thomas, relationship expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Conscious Uncoupling Quest:
They say, “All we need is love,” but not all love we think we need is what we actually need to be happy in relationships.
What Is Unrequited Love?
This type of adoration is a strong romantic feeling toward a person who doesn’t feel the same way. “One-sided love” is, frankly, the ultimate unrequited love definition.
This type of love usually occurs in people who easily attach to others and consciously or unconsciously enjoy the sense of drama it brings.
4 Signs of Unrequited Love
When you are in love, you tend to have distorted ideas about the person you’re in love with. On top of that, you may receive mixed signs, which can be pretty confusing.
Yet, there are five indications of unrequited love:
Sign 1: They’re distant and cold
When you love someone, you naturally want to spend more time together, but this desire isn’t mutual. On the contrary, they keep their distance by rain checking you when you invite them on a date or show up with other friends.
They also don’t display any emotional connection, avoiding answering your questions about their personal story, core values, and aspirations.
If you pay attention to their body language, you will see that it reflects their lack of interest. When you are around the object of your unrequited feelings, their legs and arms are crossed, and their body is turned away from you.
Sign 2: They are slow to reply to your messages and calls
Do they take forever to reply to your texts? Or when you invite them to go out, they keep canceling your dates at the last minute?
This pattern in communication indicates that your feelings are unrequited.
Sign 3: They are open to romantic relationships for others but not for you
This sign may be the hardest to swallow, especially if you explicitly showed them your romantic interest in them. How does it show?
They talk about their willingness and openness to being in an exclusive relationship, yet, they avoid or ignore the possibility of being romantically involved with you.
They may even regularly go on a date with other people but decline your invitations to get closer or, at worst, bail on you.
Sign 4: They don’t put as much effort as you do
Whether you are dating or not, if you find yourself putting much time, energy, time, and attention without reciprocity, it’s a sign of unrequited love.
When someone likes you, they actively express their feelings through tangible actions to build a solid connection with you. When you constantly put other person’s interests ahead of your own, you may end up being taken for granted or having an unbalanced relationship.
If your efforts aren’t reciprocated, it only means that the object of your affection doesn’t feel the same.
Sign 5: You have a distorted perception of them
There’s a scene from an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted tries to persuade Barney that “things are going to work out with Tiffany because that girl’s special.” To which Barney replies, “She is the devil! This girl is poison and you must cut her out of your life forever!”
When you have one-sided love, you tend to idealize the person you’re in love with, ignoring all red flags about their personality and signs that your feelings aren’t mutual.
So ask yourself if they’re really into you or if you’re simply on the hook. Chances are, it’s the latter.
How to Get Over Unrequited Love
According to Katherine, people suffer from unrequited love because of bad habits that often stem from their childhood.
“We must learn to change these habits. However, it is not easy if there is no good role model in life — a person who can teach us how to resolve conflicts sensibly and how to love. In that case, we have to grow and learn ourselves,” she adds.
When the relationship never started
Scientists explain that people who suffer from unrequited love usually have an anxious-ambivalent attachment. It’s a type of insecure relationship that children have with their mothers. Then it shapes the way you behave in your adult relationships.
People with anxious attachments are needy and clingy, with low self-esteem. This is why they easily get overly fixated on someone. This anxious attachment style implies unrequited love drama to display their neediness.
If you want to get over the relationship that never started, it’s easier than you think. You want to see your attachment clearly and realize that you can be happy without your desired object.
In fact, you can only be happy if you learn how to meet your own needs.
In a relationship or marriage
If your parents were emotionally unavailable when you were a child, you would manifest emotionally unavailable partners as an adult.
To get over unrequited feelings in your current relationship, you want to reflect on your past romantic experiences to see if unrequited love is your persistent pattern.
Underneath any pattern, there is a limiting belief about yourself, holding you back from attracting mutual love.
For example, you may believe that you aren’t worthy of love or that your feelings will never be reciprocated. This belief translates into unrequited feelings in your intimate relationships, where you constantly make more effort to deserve love.
The more you try to deserve it, the less your efforts will reciprocate.
Just because you thought you would never find love again doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because you feel lonely doesn’t mean you are alone.— Katherine Woodward Thomas, trainer of Mindvalley’s Conscious Uncoupling Quest
So identify your limiting beliefs about yourself or your romantic relationship and replace them with empowering ones like:
- I’m worthy of love.
- My feelings are always reciprocated.
- I deserve the most magical love.
When you rewire your subconscious mind and install new beliefs, you will soon notice that your partner reflects them to you by putting more effort into your relationship and reciprocating your feelings.
Not really. It’s the power of your subconscious mind.
When the relationship is over
When your intimate relationship comes to an end, it’s never easy. You might be suffering from pain, pondering why your relationship didn’t work, and replaying happy and challenging moments in your head like a movie with an unhappy end.
You might be going back to your childhood to uncover your deep traumas. But instead of traveling into your past, you want to begin with your future.
Katherine calls it a “positive possible future.”
There was a social experiment with people who have gone through a significant loss in relationships and felt alone, rejected, and unwanted.
Half of them projected whatever was happening in the present moment into the future. They weren’t able to imagine that they would ever again feel loved and happy.
The other half, on some level, knew they would get over this and feel happy again.
Researchers found that those who could imagine a positive future managed to find their way back to happiness.
So you want to imagine who you are in that future in the most positive way — a future where you are loved, happy, and free.
Another essential step is up-leveling your self-care.
Katherine explains that self-care is critical when someone you’ve loved is unwilling to love you back.
Look at it as if you are entering your romantic rehab. You need to create your self-care and self-love routine to move through this healing journey.
Here’s how to up-level it:
- List at least 50 things of your favorite activities that bring you pleasure. List everything you can think of: flowers, books, favorite food, people who uplift you, etc.
- Once you have it, make a habit of doing at least one thing on the list daily.
This practice will help you establish a healthy habit of taking great care of yourself and meeting your own needs from within.
Heal Your Past to Create Your Positive Possible Future
Even if you’ve experienced unrequited love, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to be squeezing water from a stone — in this case, romantic feelings from someone’s cold heart.
You can change this pattern by transforming your core sense of self to show up in the world in a new way.
If this speaks to you, join Katherine Woodward Thomas in her Conscious Uncoupling Quest at Mindvalley to heal your heart, reclaim your power, and live “happily even after.”