Understanding Unrequited Love.
“Missing someone who isn’t yours to miss, dreaming about someone who isn’t yours to dream about, and loving someone who isn’t yours to love.”
There is hardly anyone who hasn’t experienced unrequited or one-sided love at least once in life. At times the lover is not able to express his feelings, at times the feelings are rejected by the other person. In both cases, the lover is mostly left heart-broken, anxious, and even depressed.
There are many theories and counter-theories on this subject, as love forms an important part of our lives and is a much talked about subject. Psychiatrist Eric Berne in his book Sex in Human Loving says that “Some say that one-sided love is better than none, but like half a loaf of bread, it is likely to grow hard and moldy sooner.” This indicates that single-sided love does not last long and is soon forgotten when the lover finds some other source of love or something else to occupy his mind and fill his time. However, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, believed that “indispensable…to the lover is his unrequited love, which he would at no price relinquish for a state of indifference”. This theory completely counters Eric Berne’s theory about unrequited love and suggests that a lover might move on in life or accept rejection, but can never forget the loved one.
Like is said in my blog “Hopeless Unrequited Love“, while it is always easier to give advice than take it, it is equally difficult to see the red flags in unrequited love while we are really quick at locating them in other people’s lives and telling them “I told you so”. This is why we often find ourselves in unrequited love or sinking relationships, with no understanding of how we reached there.
Unrequited love has existed in society since time immemorial and has been a subject of uncountable stories, movies, songs, and books. Some lovers find it easier to maintain platonic friendships with their loved ones for the fear of losing them if the actual feeling is revealed, as the object of unrequited love is often a close friend or acquaintance. This forms a comfortable ground for them to remain around their beloved, interact with them, and even be a special, trusted friend. Moreover, there is always a chance of rejection and social embarrassment as the existing association often does not permit a romantic relationship.
On the other hand, some lovers like to be persistent and wait for the feeling to be reciprocated by the beloved. It has also been seen in scripts and real-life that with patience and selflessness, there is quite a chance that the love that only one person felt begins to melt the heart of the recipient and they start reciprocating. Like they say – be with the one who loves you, rather than being with the one you love, and you will be happy!
Pros and Cons
Unrequited love has been known to be giving, altruistic, and selfless. It is considered as the purest form of love that arises from the knowledge that your love may never be reciprocated. In more conventional societies, unrequited love has been depicted as noble and stoically willing to suffer. Where the only possible cure for being in such love is to get indisputable evidence that the beloved is never going to reciprocate. In such societies, it is associated with a feeling of euphoria and is considered the only ‘successful’ form of love.
In westernized societies, however, it holds less relevance and is looked upon as a passing phase. Love, when not reciprocated or rejected, counts for being the cause of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. In such societies, with less rigid codes of sexual fidelity and relatively high social mobility, unrequited love is looked upon as not as romantic as devastating and is rather forgotten than pursued.
How to handle Unrequited love
As romantic as it may sound to love someone with your heart and soul, even if they don’t love you back, it is not easy. It is really painful to long for someone who does not feel the same way about you. While there is not much we can do about how the other person feels, there certainly are a few things we can do to save ourselves from the unbearable pain. See my post on “ways to handle unrequited love” where I am going to write in detail about the subject, but the most important thing to do is to know that you have been hurt and to take care of yourself, no matter what.
Share your experiences in the comments section and I will add them to my future blogs.