“The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned.”
– William Somerset Maugham
Unrequited love can be on of the most painful experiences we’ll ever know. It brings to the surface a deep sense of inadequacy and failure; it can even make us want to die. While we usually feel unrequited love for another person, we can also suffer because of a job we didn’t get, a house we can’t afford to buy, or a friendship that never seems to materialize. Learning to comfort ourselves in the face of disappointment is one of the great tests of self-love.
Sometimes it’s necessary to delve into our past in order to heal this discouraging pattern. Perhaps we’ve unconsciously chosen to aim our affections at a cold, unresponsive party because it recreates trauma from our childhood. Or we may simply never have experienced reciprocity in any of our primal relationships and therefore have no way of identifying it in the present. The pain of unrequited affections can be akin to masochism; we may relish the sting and wallow in it, unable to admit the part we play in chasing unavailable partners.
Part of the misery that unrequited love brings us is due to the conditions we place upon the object of our desire. Perhaps they don’t respond to our messages or compliment us the way we had hoped. In failing to conform to our hopes and schemes for the liaison, the person becomes a source of obsession for us, a symbol for all that is lacking in our lives. This is a great time for us to practice giving without expectations. We can feel our admiration fully, appreciate the other person’s excellent qualities, express our attraction, and then accept the reality of the situation and move on. And if we can’t move on, we can get help. After all, we each deserve an enduring, nurturing love that is returned in equal measure.
– Alexandra Katehakis & Tom Bliss, The Center for Healthy Sex, Daily Meditation, October 14, 2013