We’ve all been there in some shape or form.
There are so many ways these complicated feelings can come about.
Could be the classic case of unrequited love where two single people aren’t a match. Yet you can’t quite shake the feelings.
It could even happen between two individuals that are in a relationship.
Here are 11 signs you’re in love with someone you can’t actually have.
1) They don’t know how to be an authentic person
Most of the points I’m about to talk about stem from this one.
Someone who doesn’t know how to be an authentic person won’t know how to communicate, healthily express themselves, or offer true commitment.
So even if they reciprocate your desires to be in a relationship, you’ll never really date them. That would require them to have substance.
While no one owns anyone, to have someone’s heart totally means you mutually value each other.
Let’s unpack this further, shall we?
2) They don’t put in the same effort as you
A telltale sign of someone who doesn’t value you is when they don’t put in as much effort as you.
They take, take and before I forget – they take.
Especially if you have a history of not knowing how to fill your own cup, you won’t fully realize how draining a person can be.
And what happens a lot is when a person with a lot of empathy meets someone that lacks it, they end up loving the other person on their behalf.
The problem here is that the feeling of being needed is confused as love. And by the time they realize, the attachment is too deep, making it harder to leave.
Which brings me to my next point…
3) They lack emotional maturity
Also known as the Excuse Machine, and also the Chronic Victim.
Sure, this can mean a person who can’t deal with their problems properly or take accountability for themselves.
Or treat you with respect by co-creating safety in the relationship.
But it can also be about that person whose redeeming qualities rely on their looks, childish tendencies disguised as charm, or sex appeal.
They are attractive and slightly out of reach, which leaves you wanting more.
But once you do “have” them, that’s when these seemingly exciting qualities stop being cute. And become bad for your nervous system.
Because to a person who doesn’t know how to feel stable in their own life, you’ll never be good enough.
4) You never feel like you’re good enough
Being constantly surrounded by chaotic people will make you feel like you’re on edge.
Imagine what it can do to your psyche and body when you date them.
Aside from having to deal with unpredictability, your confidence will be affected as well.
Yes, you should be confident on your own and not need anyone else’s validation! But a healthy relationship is about helping each other help yourselves.
If you’re someone who already has low self-esteem, it might just feel like your partner is being honest when they put you down.
But I’m here to tell you that no one should be talking to you like that.
So if you always feel like you’re not doing enough in a relationship, don’t blame yourself because it’s not your fault.
It’s just a sign that the person you’re dating is insatiable.
5) You get jealous when you see them with someone else
I should mention that feeling jealous is a normal human emotion.
But when you excessively feel jealous of the people in your partner’s life, it’s a sign that there is a lack of safety in the relationship.
Your partner could be immature and make you jealous on purpose, or you could also feel this way because they don’t make you feel prioritized enough.
Which makes it harder to talk about it, creating an endless loop of frustrations.
But what if you’re not in a relationship with them? Because that can happen!
6) You’re attached to who they are in your fantasies
Well, combined with the lack of commitment, this is a sign that you’re falling in love with an idea of them.
And becoming aware of it sooner than later will save you a lot of time.
In addition, when you’re in love with someone who isn’t available, you might avoid that reality by escaping into your imagination.
Where they don’t have any of the red flags and are able to love you the way you want.
Falling in love with an idealized version of a person is like playing with fire because feelings are still feelings. You can catch them, even in your fantasies.
But the real problem begins when they start to affect your ability to move on or want better for yourself.
That’s a sign your perception is becoming warped.
And when you no longer have a distinction between the real and the fake, your emotions become compromised.
7) It feels like no one understands
When you are emotionally invested in someone that you shouldn’t want, it’s quite an isolating feeling.
Your family and friends might always try to convince you to move on or they may invalidate your feelings.
Because they can see how you’re holding yourself back by longing for someone that could never love you the way you deserve.
Which might only encourage you to make excuses for them, and inevitably stop talking about your love life.
And while I’m here to make you feel understood, I must say that this is your sign to listen to them.
You are being blinded by your emotions. Good news is that it’s possible to take off those rose-coloured glasses.
So reclaim your eyesight and start pouring your energy back into yourself.
Your present makes your future – if you’re constantly relying on your fantasies, you will always feel ungrounded.
8) They remind you of someone from your past
Feelings aren’t like thoughts.
They’re like portals that can lead you from one point to another even if they don’t seem to be related.
And sometimes, our attractions are reflections of our unfinished businesses.
Sort of like when you have a crush on someone because they look like your favorite celebrity? But instead of a celebrity, it’s an unconscious attraction to a facet of unavailability.
Which happens when there’s something left for you to understand from your past, or certain regrets that you’ve been denying.
Without confronting what it is that your heart thinks it’s missing, the relationship in question might lack the proper foundation to be healthy.
Or just as you may become attached to an idea of that person, keep you from being open to other options in love.
9) They avoid serious conversations
Let’s talk about some specific signs that a person is leading you on.
Being led on happens when a person enjoys the attention you give them but they don’t have any real desires to commit to you.
They might do so by not planning the future with you, or by having a wall up so you never really get to know them.
For example, ever notice how you only see them in group settings? Or only to have fun?
It’s not to say that they don’t truly enjoy your company.
But you have to decide if someone enjoying your company is enough for you to want a life with them.
10) They aren’t interested in settling down
This isn’t really a sign, it’s more of a billboard.
Perhaps they’ve friendzoned you and have been honest about their unserious dating life.
Whatever it may be, if someone expresses that they aren’t ready to be in a relationship, this is when you have to keep it real with yourself and your expectations.
A part of that is deciding if you could actually be in a healthy friendship with them.
If being friends with them would only make you want to play the long game, maybe sit this one out.
11) They breadcrumb you
Breadcrumbing is when a person keeps tabs on you, but never puts in the real effort to maintain a relationship with you.
Sure, it’s impossible to maintain close connections with everyone when you’re an adult. In fact, I had a hard time understanding what breadcrumbing actually was.
But then I realized that it’s less about the behavior itself, and more about how you perceive it.
First, you have to call it what it is.
So realize that when a person does the bare minimum and calls it “effort,” they’re bullshitting you.
Then you have to want more for yourself. Create your own definition of effort and stick to it!
What makes you feel safe? Prioritized? Grounded?
What gives the butterflies in your stomach a nice garden to sit on?
Love just happens sometimes
But if you want to stop chronically falling in love with someone that you can’t have, you need to love yourself more than you want to be loved.
And know yourself more than you want to be seen.
Ironically enough, that means you have to stop denying or judging these feelings.
Instead, pay attention to what kind of stories they create.
Be brave enough to sit with it all instead of acting on them, and you’ll find all the answers you didn’t even know you were looking for.
That perhaps it was you who wanted to be pursued by you all along.