I’m the queen of one-sided love. Not the kind of one-sided love where men are falling at my feet. It’s the other way around. Unfortunately.
I’m Kate Winslet’s character in The Holiday. But hey, at least Kate Winslet gets to play me in a movie of my life, right?
But for whatever reason, I’ve found myself, more often than not, in situations when I’ve had feelings for someone who was either “too old for me”, lived too far away, wasn’t ready for a relationship, was seeing someone else, just didn’t feel the same way, etc. You get the picture.
One-sided love, or unrequited love as they liked to call it in the days of Shakespeare, is one of the most painful, gut-wrenching, heart-in-a-blender, things to endure. To care about someone who doesn’t feel the same way back leaves you feeling hurt, crazy for having the feelings that you have, and totally out of your mind.
If you’ve ever felt that way, know you’re not alone girl.
Everyone always seems to write about relationship issues, and how to deal with breakups, but what about those of us who have issues with just even getting into relationships in the first place? You don’t have to be in an actual relationship to have “relationship problems”. That’s a fact.
I’ve been there. I’ve felt the heartbreak and have felt totally, painfully, alone. I have a wonderful support system of friends and family who have always helped me through everything in life, but heartbreak from “relationships that never were” is a realm only us one-sided lovers can really truly understand.
So, I’m here to offer some unsolicited advice and tips on how to deal with it. Although the pain felt from unrequited love may be the most painful, I truly believe it’s the easiest to bounce back from.
Here we go:
1) Realize it’s not you, it’s the situation.
When we have feelings for someone who we find out doesn’t feel the same way back, our first response is to ask what’s wrong with us. Hold up right there sister. Repeat after me: there is nothing wrong with me. Feels good doesn’t it?
We’re so quick to find our flaws and blame them as the sole cause of not being loved back. We get down on our looks, our personality, our weird quirks and habits that actually make us beautifully us – there’s nothing wrong with them. Nothin’.
As hard as it is to accept it, they just don’t feel the same way about you. We’re all made differently and are wired to be attracted to some things and not others. I think bacon is a wonderful, wonderful thing – I’d eat it off the ground well beyond the 10-second rule. But my friend Jenn almost threw an omelet at our waitress once because it had bacon in it. Jenn doesn’t like bacon, and that’s just that. I might not understand it, but I’ve accepted it.
So stop trying to find what to change about yourself, and realize you’re just in a situation you can’t change.
2) Don’t invalidate your feelings.
The second thing we’re most likely to do in one-sided love situations is to make ourselves think we’re crazy for having the feelings we do. So, you have feelings. Guess what? That means you’re not a robot. Good for you!
Feelings are weird, and sometimes you can’t explain where they come from, and most of the time you can’t control them. So why make yourself feel crazy over something you can’t control? What you can control is how you handle those feelings (which we’ll get to very soon).
And heads up, if that person makes you feel weird or crazy for having feelings for them, then good riddance. Anyone who mocks your feelings or emotions is a person you don’t need in your life. Boom.
3) Recognize all the double-sided loves in your life.
One-sided love can leave you feeling pretty shitty. It also makes us forget that love comes in so many forms, and we’ve got a lot of things and people in our lives who love us just as much back.
Let’s start with people. Your parents, your grandparents, siblings, roomies, best friends. You’ve got a lot of people in your life who love you just as much as you love them- if not more. It’s easy to let yourself feel alone when romantic love isn’t reciprocated, but friend-love and family-love are constant and powerful.
Now for things. Recognize the things in your life you love doing and ask yourself if it’s something that loves you back. For example, you may love yoga, and when you do yoga, you end up feeling healthier, happier and more centered. I’d say yoga loves you back.
Going out and ripping shots may be something you love, in the moment, but the hangover in the morning and sometimes regrettable decisions show that alcohol does not always love you back. Of course drinks out with the girls is always a good idea, but really recognize the things that end up making you feel good afterward. Whether it’s music, cooking, religion, the arts – find those things and spend time with them.
You’ll begin to feel like yourself again in no time and realize just how loveable you truly are.
4) If you need closure, just say something.
Tread lightly on this advice.
Depending on your situation, the person may know how you feel and has already told you they’re not into it.
But you may be in a situation where things are one-sided because of circumstance and you haven’t said anything. And. It’s. Driving. You. Crazy.
You want to say how you feel, but you just know the answer is going to be a bad one. I truly believe in the power of guts – and if you feel it in your gut, 98% of the time it’s true. You could always be pleasantly surprised though (hey, trying to be an optimist here).
If these feelings are sitting on you and driving you crazy, take a shot of whiskey and tell the person how you feel. Yeah, it’s definitely one of the scariest things in the world to do, but it’s only that way because you’re overthinking it.
If someone felt this way about you, you’d want to know right? I mean I would.
You’d be flattered, not freaked out, so stop thinking you’re going to freak the person out.
Be prepared though for the worst. And have Ben, Jerry and the gang waiting for you at home.
Although it can be painful, it’s just like waxing your eyebrows. Once it’s done, it’s done, and you’ve got solid answers and Cara Delevingne power brows.
Yeah, yeah easier said than done, I know. And I hate when people tell me that time will “heal all hurts”. But you know what, it does.
Chalk it up as a learning experience. Know how much stronger your heart is now and how resilient you are. Move on but take this experience with you always.
Whenever things are really bad, frustrating or scary, my best friend and I always say it’s just another great chapter for your memoir.
Life is full of crazy experiences – some amazing, some terrible. You go through a lot of pain too – especially in these years of our lives. But letting yourself feel is one of the greatest things you can do. Life can be a beautiful thing if you let it.
I’m still learning along with you all, no prophet here.
But I do know that when all else fails, dancing to this song will always do the trick.