And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. It’s called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one-sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space!
— Iris, played by Kate Winslet, in the movie The Holiday
UNREQUITED LOVE IS a special kind of torture. Whether it’s in longing from a distance, actively obsessing, or clinging to delusions about the wo/man who isn’t returning calls, it distracts us from work and play and makes us feel unworthy. Those who have never experienced it—or have long forgotten that they once did—nonchalantly say, “Just get over it!” Sometimes it’s just not that easy…
Unrequited love has been the domain of poets, playwrights, novelists, and songwriters for centuries. (Taylor Swift currently makes millions writing songs about it). Only in the last thirty years, however, has it become the concern of psychologists and researchers. Scientific studies offer a clearer picture of what’s going on with the brain when falling in love. We don’t know everything, but we can now approach unrequited love more practicality, and (hallelujah) we’re not as helpless as we think.
My book Loves Me…Not: How to Survive (and Thrive!) in the Face of Unrequited Love is an anecdotal guide to triumphing over love that is unreturned and feeling emotionally evolved afterwards. The book offers empathy, advice, humor, personal tales of foolishness and a little tough love to those who find themselves continuously cyber-stalking a would-be lover. You will learn how to identify an unrequited love well past its due date, work through it, and move on with purpose. Some of this may seem obvious, but keep in mind that the unrequited lovers cannot see clearly. Rose-colored glasses distort vision (been there!).
Here, there is no, “Just get over it!” Rather, I chart the slow and worthy process of taking back you self-esteem—and never again giving it carelessly away. Even in—especially in—a healthy relationship you still hold onto your self worth and share it with your partner, rather than allowing him or her to determine how you’ll be feeling about yourself.
This isn’t to say that I’ll never again experience sadness or disappointment because a relationship doesn’t work out—I surely will. I’ve learned, however, to take less-desirable emotions and have them work for me rather than against me. I will undoubtedly experience sadness—but not hopelessness. I will experience disappointment—but not insurmountable despair. I will always be okay because I will always have me. Loves Me..Not assures you that you will always have you.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger, something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus