“It’s hard to admit when you have fallen in love with someone who can’t be yours.” – Unknown
Almost everyone has had this particular experience: falling in love with someone that you can’t have. Whether this person is your best friend, or the partner of someone you know, your co-worker or just someone who lives too far away, pining after someone that you have.
This is a particularly painful experience, and many of us have been in this exact situation, wondering how in the world we’re going to get over wanting someone that we can’t have.
As entrepreneur Paul Hudson rightly pointed out, “It’s the kind of love that doesn’t signal the beginning of something beautiful, but rather the end of something that might have been beautiful, but will never amount to anything more than what it is.” Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to both positively handle that pain and get over the other person.
HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO HANDLE THE PAIN OF LOVING SOMEONE YOU CAN’T HAVE
1. ENJOY YOUR TIME TOGETHER
When you’re spending time with someone that you love but can’t have, it can be tempting to ask for more. However, that will only lead to rejection and more pain. Instead, focus on enjoying the time that you do spend together. Focusing on the good times that you have means that you’ll have more good memories to draw on so that you’re not spending your time thinking about how badly you want to be with them.
2. GET A HOBBY TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED
When we’re hopelessly in love with someone that we can’t have, it may be hard to focus on anything else. Instead, try diverting your attention to other things, like hobbies. Find something that you really enjoy and put your energy into that. You’ll find that you pass the time much easier, and you might even stop thinking about them all the time. Finding ways to distract yourself from obsessing over someone that you can’t have will make it easier to move on.
3. PROTECT YOUR FEELINGS
Being this person’s friend is entirely possible. You can be there for them when they need it, but you also need to be able to know when something is too much. Learn to protect your feelings and set boundaries. If you find it hard to listen to them when they’re having troubles with their partner, it’s okay to set that boundary. Be there for them when you can, but also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.
4. HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Surrounding yourself with other friends is a good way to make sure that you’re not alone. If you’re hopelessly in love with your best friend and can’t have them, life can get isolating pretty quickly. Instead, make sure that you have other friends who are supportive and understanding, so that you can always have someone to turn to when you’re feeling low about your unrequited love.
As relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer points out, “Allow yourself to be supported by your friends, even if you’re just going through the motions because it helps you jumpstart yourself into a new rhythm.”
5. LEARN TO COMPARTMENTALIZE
This is an important tool in making sure that your mind isn’t being obsessed with your unrequited love when you’re not together. When you’re hanging out with them, make sure that you’re enjoying your time together to the fullest. However, when you’re apart, you want to make sure that you’re not letting your mind keep wandering back to them and distract you from doing your work.
6. LIMIT CONTACT WITH THEM TO HEAL YOURSELF
Sometimes, your heart doesn’t stop pining. In that case, it’s time to stop letting your heart rule your head. If you’re in pain and in unrequited love after months or years, it may be time to limit the contact that you have with this person.
Relationship and dating expert Ravid Yosef says, “… Leave them behind. Keeping the line of communication open, no matter how good of ‘friends’ you think you’ll be is only keeping the hopes of a relationship alive.”
It might be upsetting at first, but you may just be opening old wounds every time you’re together. It’s time to give them space to heal.
7. DATE OTHER PEOPLE
The best way to get over someone is to date other people. It’s important not to compare the new people that you date with your unrequited love. Not only will you feel bad, but it’ll make the person you’re dating have to live up to impossible standards. Enjoying people for who they are will open you up to all kinds of new relationships, though you may not fall in love with every new person you go out with.
8. JOURNAL YOUR FEELINGS
With social media now, it can be easy to throw up a Twitter post about how you feel and get validation from others. This may make you feel good in the moment, but it’s not the same as really examining your emotions. Instead, journal about how you’re feeling. You can do it on a blank word document on a computer, or get old fashioned with paper and pencil. Expressing your feelings in an open and honest way without the expectation that others will see it can help you work through them.
9. DEVOTE SOME TIME TO SULK
Don’t let yourself wallow for too long, but giving yourself a half hour to sit and sulk about your unrequited love may actually help you work through those feelings and move past them. You may find that the longer time goes on, the less you’ll feel the need to sulk about them.
Soon, you’ll be living your life day-to-day without the same pain that was there before because “trying to miss out that period of sadness can mean that we don’t give ourselves a chance to process what has happened,” says relationship counselor Amanda Major.
10. TELL THEM HOW YOU TRULY FEEL
Expressing how you feel to the person in question may be one of the best things that you can do to help yourself both cope and move on. You don’t want to expect anything from them, because that will only lead to more heartache. Instead, simply be honest with how you feel, and how your unrequited love has been hurting you. They deserve to know how you feel about them just as much as you deserve to tell them.
Love and be both a wonderful and painful thing to go through. When you love someone who you can’t have, it can make your whole world turn upside down. Thankfully, these feelings are well known throughout the rest of the world, and you’re not alone in dealing with this type of unrequited love. Learning how to cope will make your life easier and happier than if you allowed yourself to stew in the pain of it all.