How To Recognize And Get Over Unrequited Love

You spend your waking moments slipping into daydreams about the future you'll have together, the places you'll go, and the things you'll see. But there's just one catch:  the other party doesn't know how you feel, or if he or she does, the interest and affection isn't reciprocated. Chances are, you have unrequited love, and psychology professor Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr. puts it in plainer terms (via Women's Health) — "It's the love you have for another person who does not love you back."

Licensed therapist Kim Egel says, "Unrequited love can show up in a variety of ways," which include wanting someone who isn't available, longing for someone who doesn't share how you feel, or even having feelings for an ex after you've ended things (via Healthline).

Signs your feelings aren't being returned

Unrequited love is a form of rejection. As such, you'll know you're facing unrequited love when the person you are interested in isn't as invested as you are — a key sign is that they are slow to respond when you reach out with a text or when you call to hang out. If you are friends, or even if you've started dating, the other person doesn't seem to want to take the relationship out of neutral or first gear. 

We've got good news and bad news if you're working through unresolved feelings for someone else. "Unrequited love is love-ish, or love light," Lewandowski says. Basically, it's usually nowhere near as intense as true romantic love is, so while moving on can be a bit of a struggle, it won't be as difficult as it might feel right when you realize your feelings aren't going to be returned.

You need time to bounce back from an unrequited love

But there may be times when an unrequited love can be as intense as the feels you get in a reciprocal relationship — even if the other party didn't feel the same way you did. As such, you do need to give yourself some time to grieve. "The emotions and pain from getting over unrequited love can feel quite similar to breaking up from an established relationship. [Moving on can be] especially painful because you often put your crush on a pedestal;  mourning the loss of a future you envisioned together [can hurt just as much]," mental health counselor Samantha Burns says.

It's important to recognize that feeling unrequited love should not be linked to your self worth. In a column for Psychology Today, psychologist Diane Barth says that when you discover your feelings are not returned, you may start questioning yourself. But unrequited love isn't about being "unworthy" of the other person, it may simply be about not being right for each other. But if being in love with someone who doesn't return your feelings is a life pattern for you, it may be time to break this destructive cycle.