What happens when you love someone who doesn’t love you back?

One-sided love is one of the most painful experiences a person goes through.

Most of us have been there, and if you’re one of the lucky ones who haven’t, I’m sure you know someone who has.

Loving someone who doesn’t share the same feelings is so painful; I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

But beyond the obvious ripping-your-heart-into-pieces experience, unrequited love can be a beautiful process of discovering how unbelievably strong your heart can be.

To explain what I mean by this, let’s go through what happens when you love someone who doesn’t love you back:

You become infatuated

Love at first sight, a spark, an instant connection, or a magnetic pull. You can call it whatever you want, but let’s agree that any form of love starts as a crush.

It begins the moment you set eyes on someone. 

You notice your heart flutter and feel a sense of warmth around your cheeks. And then the lyrics “you’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you” starts playing in your mind.

It can also start when you enter into a conversation with someone, and suddenly, you feel as though everything is muted apart from the two of you. Every word they say gets you into a deeper trance – a love hypnosis of some sort. 

And so it begins.

From these moments onward, you can’t stop thinking of them. You will soon find them living rent-free in your head. 

Suddenly the world looks better. The sun shines brighter, and you see flowers blooming where you’ve never seen them before. 

The people you meet along the streets become friendlier. They all smile at you now.

You hear love songs on the radio – all the time. You hear happy tunes and hopeful melodies.

The stop lights always turn green when you drive past. Everything is working your way.

It’s as if the universe is telling you: 

You’ve finally found the one, and life will only get better from here on out.  

You develop a deep attachment

But the thought of them isn’t enough. 

You want more, so you make the move to spend more time with them.

Soon you realize that the more you get to know them, the stronger your attraction grows

It no longer feels like an innocent crush. Instead, you think it may be love. 

A few more times spent together confirms what you’ve thought all along:

You’re in love with them.

Because only love would make you care for them this much. Only love would make you see the beauty even in their flaws. 

Only love would make you miss them every time you’re apart. Only love would make you feel that you can’t live without them.

And then you start to wonder: “Am I the only one who feels this way?”

So you muster up the courage to ask……

You experience rejection

feeling empty inside What happens when you love someone who doesn’t love you back?

But the answer you get is far from what you expected.

Your awkward confession of love becomes even more awkward thanks to a period of silence that feels like forever.

And then you hear the most hurtful words you will ever hear:

“I don’t love you that way.”

And just like that, rejection hits you like a sh*t ton of bricks!

You’ve never felt the same level of pain and embarrassment in your life.

After crying your heart out, you ask yourself a lot of questions:

What now? What do you do when someone doesn’t love you back?

Is it okay to love someone who will never love you back?

Why does it hurt when someone you love doesn’t love you back?

You’re left with many questions, but your brain has no time to search for answers. Because every bit of your body is overwhelmed by the immense pain coming from your heart…

You go through an emotional roller coaster

Like any form of grief, you go through a roller coaster of emotions. 

  • It often begins with denial. 

You try to tell yourself that you might have heard it wrong or misunderstood what they said. You convince yourself they just need more time to realize their true feelings for you.

  • Then comes anger.

Anger towards them: How could they hurt you like this? Who are they to reject you like this?

Anger towards yourself: How could you be so stupid as to fall for someone that doesn’t love you back?!

  • And then you start to bargain.

You run back to them and ask if you can do anything to make them love you. 

Or you pray and beg the heavens to give you a shot with the person you love – and you will do anything in exchange.

  • Depression follows suit.

This can manifest in different ways. 

Prolonged sadness and constant crying are the most common, but you may lose sleep for days.

You could also find yourself binging on your favorite tub of ice cream every day or maxing out your credit card after a whole day of shopping.

One thing’s for sure, though: you won’t be your usual self. 

Hopefully, you don’t stay in your depression phase for too long, so you finally get to the best part:


You learn to let go

You know acceptance kicks in when you finally learn to let go.

When you reach this stage, you should be proud of yourself.

Because letting go is a challenging feat. 

It takes a lot of courage to forget someone who was once your everything.

It requires wisdom to understand that your love life may have a better future if you stop holding on to the pain of the now. 

Letting go of someone who doesn’t love you back is the first step towards finally regaining control of your life. 

But that raises the question:

Why does love so often start out great, only to become a nightmare? 

And how can you get over loving someone who doesn’t love you back? 

The answer is contained in the relationship you have with yourself. 

I learnt about this from the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me to see through the lies we tell ourselves about love, and become truly empowered.

As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, love is not what many of us think it is. In fact, many of us are actually self-sabotaging our love lives without realizing it!

We need to face the facts about our one-sided love:

Far too often we chase an idealized image of someone and build up expectations that are guaranteed to be let down.

Far too often, we are on shaky ground with our own selves and this carries over into toxic infatuations that become hell on earth. 

Rudá’s teachings showed me a whole new perspective. 

While watching, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find love for the first time – and finally offered an actual, practical solution to what to do when someone doesn’t love you back.

If you’re done with rejection, embarrassment, resentment, feeling unworthy, having your hopes dashed over and over, and the unending cycle of hurtful feelings resulting from your one-sided love, then this is a message you need to hear. 

Click here to watch the free video.

You realize your self-worth

youre wise beyond your years What happens when you love someone who doesn’t love you back?

We’ve finally come to one of the best parts of loving someone who doesn’t love you back: redirecting all that love to yourself. 

You may or may not realize it, but rejection can make you feel worthless. Somehow, you may have even lost a bit of love for yourself.

This is why taking time for self-reflection and inner work is essential. 

Reaffirm your strengths and qualities that make you a wonderful human being. Use these traits as reminders that you deserve someone’s unconditional love.

More importantly, tell yourself that your worth is not and will never be defined by someone. 

You are worthy of nothing but the best, and you shouldn’t let anyone (even yourself) tell you or make you feel otherwise.

You emerge stronger than ever

The strongest and most beautiful diamonds are the products of intense pressure and meticulous cutting.

So whenever you’re reminded of the painful process you had to go through by loving someone who didn’t have the same feelings, choose to feel gratitude instead of bitterness. 

Think about it:

Because of that pain, your heart is stronger.

Because of that pain, you’re now more resilient.

Because of that pain, you value yourself better.

And finally, because of that pain, you love yourself more than ever.

Final thoughts

Loving someone who can’t return your love is an awfully painful experience. 

People who haven’t been through the pain of a one-sided love are lucky. 

But people who’ve been through it are equally as fortunate because they come out of it a better person.

In the words of Kelly Clarkson:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stand a little taller. What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter. Footsteps even lighter…” 

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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