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The Betrayed Unrequited Lover

The Betrayed Unrequited Lover.

When you fell in love with the person, it looked like they were possibly going to reciprocate, but now it doesn’t. Or You loved someone deeply who loved you deeply and then this person just switched off and hurt you in ways that were unimaginable at the height of your mutual love. Or You love someone who simply doesn’t feel the same way and isn’t going to feel the same way. Ever. Or This person loved you and you loved them but then someone new came along and they left. Friends tell you that you are better than this new person in every way, but your ex still want to be with them.

Whatever the situation, you’re left with unrequited love and excruciating pain. Where did it go wrong or fail to go right? All you can do is review the exchanges over and over in your mind, as you walk through your days, like a zombie. What did I do that I shouldn’t have? What should I have done that I didn’t? The perseveration drives you crazy. It takes away your hunger and sleep. You feel rejected and less than. You’re a weepy mess. You wonder what you could do to make this person want you. You feel as if there is something really wrong with you, and change this unrequited love situation.

Admittedly, it is not easy to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and move on. Isn’t this what we have learnt from the first fairy tale of our life? That true love never goes in vain and that they lived happily ever after? The truth is that a heart once broken is not the end of the world. There is not just one love possible in a lifetime. Especially, not when it was unrequited love!

If your ex is enthralled by someone who doesn’t seem to come close to being what you are, and is blind to the flaws and foibles of the new love, you cannot understand why this is happening. Whenever you think about them together, your mind shuts off or you crumble completely. You feel as if you are going crazy. However, when there is no one else, it is even harder to fathom. Your mate just fell out of love one day or failed to fall in love on the day you did. They have stumbled and stuttered through explanations but nothing is going to make you feel better except “I love you and want to come back.”

Now, like all of this wasn’t enough, even more baffling is the third possibility. There isn’t someone else; there’s no real reason. The person just wants to be left alone. Your lover simply said they want out. Your mind reels with astonishment. For someone to choose “nothing” over you? Now that’s definitely the ultimate form of rejection!

Psychiatrists have suggested that there are two general phases of rejection: Protest and Resignation. During the Protest Phase, unrequited lovers dedicate themselves to winning their partner back.  Restless energy, insomnia, loss of appetite or binge eating, and obsessive thoughts about the beloved plague them.  Many sob; others drink too much, drive too fast, hole up and watch TV, or talk to friends and family incessantly about the evaporating partnership. I took a long time to realise the central importance of belongingness and rejection. Before psychology, my intellectual background was a mix of existentialist philosophy, humanistic, social upbringing. Hence, I had a severely individualist view of life and human behaviour.

People like me mostly emphasise individualistic approaches. For example, exploring a single person’s cognitive processes in reaction to social events. For me, this approach changed when I read an article ‘The need to belong’, which made me believe that people are perpetually guided by the need to connect with other individuals. As discussed in my post Psychology of Rejection in Unrequited Love, majority of their impulses, thoughts, emotions and behaviours are directly or indirectly rooted in that drive. Human need to belong is much deeply rooted than any other social animal. This is partially because we are shaped by nature to create and sustain culture. Here, I don’t mean the culture of a country or community. Culture as a highly complex and flexible system of the society, based on role differentiation. We have been made by nature specifically to sustain culture.

I am going to discuss more about this subject in my next post. Please leave your comments in the message section.

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