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Unrequited Love and Sacrifice

Unrequited Love and Sacrifice.

We often discuss about the need for sacrifice and compromise in romantic relationships. Are these two words interchangeable? Which of these is required in a romantic relationship? Does this also apply to unrequited love? According to the ideology of romance, love requires more sacrifices and less compromises. However, while love does lead to formation of a relationship, the situation changes once the relationship is formed. A relationship typically requires the opposite – fewer sacrifices and more compromises.

 “Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love is by far the truest type of love.” Unknown

“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.” Oscar Wilde

So, in this context, unrequited love falls in the category of romance, unless it turns unrequited after the couple gets into a relationship. Hence, unrequited love requires more sacrifices and less compromises. This probably explains why unrequited lovers sacrifice the natural human instinct to belong, and just pursue someone who doesn’t reciprocate the feeling, or worse, doesn’t even know they exist.

Sacrifice requires giving up something that we hold precious or important, in order to gain or maintain something, or for a worthy cause. Thus, we say that some lovers sacrifice their careers in following their beloved. On the other hand, compromise requires giving up the pursuit of a better prospect in order not to risk an existing situation. Even if the prospect is better and even considered feasible, the person decides not to pursue it, in the state of compromise. For example, compromising with an alcoholic spouse to save the marriage.

Sacrifice entails actual deeds and losses. The realm of sacrifice is in the actual realm; the realm of compromise is in the possible and imaginary realm. One cannot sacrifice in one’s mind what one does not have in reality. Sacrifices deal with actual and concrete actions. Like other actions, their consequences can be positive or negative but once completed, they are over and tend not to carry a significant emotional load.

Compromises are loaded with intense emotional aspects and are harder to bear, as they involve unfinished business that could alter the existing situation. Compromise typically entails inaction and possible losses, which are constantly reconsidered in our minds.

At times, you wish you could go back in time and just tell yourself to make some compromise. Maybe you could have convinced yourself to make some amendments to your notions of love. Perhaps, if you changed who you were and what you wanted out of life, you could have chosen a better person to fall in love with, instead of choosing unattainable love. Or maybe, if you changed who you were, you wouldn’t have remained the person you fell in love with in the first place. This kind of thoughts could keep you up at night. These ideas continue to wrack your brain because while on the outside, you may look like you’re fine, deep down, you’re not. You will be okay eventually, just know that.

Once you have decided to move out of a relationship, while going through separation in unrequited love, it is important to be compassionate. Be true to what you feel and be kind to what the other feels. I have written about this in my blog Moving On in Unrequited Love. Be willing to compromise or let go of all that is important – assets, relationships, custodies, etc. In the long run, you will see that everything can be recovered with time; yes, even relationships. If you are going to lose a friend, because of your one-way feelings, so be it. Once you have got your feelings under control, you can always try to be friends again. Money, assets, children, everything will fall into place, with time.

It is important to recognise when a stage of life or a relationship is over and let go. Consider it as retiring well in order to live well. Do not make your life a holding action, but a process. It requires leaving what’s over, without denying its validity or its importance in our past lives. We need to understand that, at times, love is not enough after all. Different life, dreams and ambitions lead to difficult relationships, even if you loved each other and thought that love would be enough to make things work despite the differences.

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