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Deeper Effects of Unrequited Love

Deeper Effects of Unrequited Love.

It has been noticed that an excluded or rejected lover was more likely to cheat. They are less likely to help others in many ways – donating money, cooperating or even just bending over to help pick up something from the floor. This could also be a sign of depression in the unrequited lover. As I have written in my blog Psychology of Suicide in Unrequited Love, symptoms of depression are easily noticeable to people close to a depressed lover. A depressed lover generally has trouble in starting practically anything, like getting up in the morning, going to work, interacting with people etc. Passivity and lack of normal response undermines their ability to engage in important life functions. In its extreme form they even feel like doing what is necessary for life such as eating and sleeping.

Does rejection really make people selfish? In some ways, but not others.
Rejection leads to significant increase in self-defeating behaviours. Rejected lovers are more likely to take foolish risks instead of playing it safe. This implies that a person probably starts loving himself less after being rejected in love. Unrequited lovers procrastinated more. They make more unhealthy choices, such as becoming smokers or alcoholics.
This combination presents a puzzle. Why would rejected lovers become both selfish and self-defeating? Self-interest is clearly not a full explanation. However, this gives us a cue to look at self-regulation as a crucial inner process that will help lovers overcome selfish, antisocial impulses. It also helps prevent self-defeating behaviour resulting from impulsively taking short-term gains that lead to bigger losses later.

unrequited love 9 Aug 16

The way we behave, feel, think and act are deeply linked to the goal of connecting us to the cultural system. In that way, rejection or social exclusion is not simply a misfortune. Nor is it just a sad drama. It strikes at the core of what our psyche is designed for. Social exclusion or rejection thwarts the need to belong. It causes emotional distress, and wreaks havoc in the person’s life. This is why, when your loved one walks away like there was nothing between the two of you, the chemical reactions that go on inside the unrequited lover’s body are similar to the loss of a loved one. I have written about this in detail in my blog Addicted to Grief. You feel inconsolably hurt, broken and shattered. Although emotional pain is different from physical pain, a break-up or rejection literally crushes your heart in a way that you feel it breaking inside your chest like it was physically happening.

Rejection has a grievous impact on behaviour, sure enough. But the emotion rarely shows! Often rejection fails to bring out immediate emotional reaction. Why is that so? Social exclusion does affect us, but these effects do not depend on emotional distress. This has been rather shocking and has led us to question the purpose of emotion and its relationship to behaviour. However, in case of unrequited love, despite the fact that it is connected with tension and anxiety, this state, mixed with hope of reciprocity leads the unrequited lover to feel extreme happiness to the level of euphoria. As I have written in my blog Unrequited Love and Cocaine, this reaction is similar to the effect of cocaine. Like cocaine, love increases the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the body. Because dopamine is associated with pleasure and causes the brain to think about pleasurable moments, narcotic drugs like cocaine increase the brain’s levels of dopamine and cause addiction. This scientifically explains why unrequited lovers are addicted to the object of love.

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