How To Deal With (And Get Over) The Painful Rejection Of Unrequited Love

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What Is Unrequited Love? How To Get Over One-Sided Feelings

Falling in love is one of the greatest things about being human. But for anyone facing the rejection of unrequited love, it can also be one of the most painful.

Experiencing a meaningful romantic relationship with someone is deeply rewarding. It can help you grow and develop into the person you were meant to me. And who doesn't love a romantic evening spent with someone they've had their eyes on, amiright?

But just as surely as the sun rises and sets, one-sided, unrequited love, to put it mildly, isn't so grand.

By the most basic definition, unrequited love means love that is "not reciprocated or returned in kind" — but few matters of the heart are as simple as the dictionary might have us believe.

There are a variety of types of unrequited love, including:

  • Love for someone who does not feel the same way, and never has.
  • Love for an ex who no longer feels the same way about you.
  • Love for someone who is not available because they are married or in a committed relationship.
  • A crush on someone you've never met and likely never well, I.e., a movie star, celebrity, or public figure.
  • Love for someone you are in a relationship with, but who does not love you with the same level of intensity.

Not being loved in return by someone we so desperately love ourselves is one of the cruelest twists of fate imaginable. In many respects, and many folks will agree with me on this, getting over unrequited love can be even more difficult than healing after a breakup.

I know that may sound extreme, but it's definitely true for many people out there!

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If you're an adult and you're reading this, chances are you've experienced unrequited love yourself at one point in time or another, whether from the perspective of the rejector or the rejected (or possibly even from both in two different situations).

If you were lucky, you have only been the person being crushed upon. And if you weren't so lucky, you know how it feels to be the one who climbs into bed each and every night hoping your beloved might possibly, finally have a dream that reveals their deep romantic feelings for you, albeit it all in vain.

And if you haven't experienced this cruelest of loves games as of yet, your dance with unrequited love might be yet to occur, but trust me, it's waiting for you, and when it comes, you'll want to be prepared to deal with it.

Ultimately, the only thing that can heal the heartbreaking pain of unrequited love is time.

I know, that's such a clichéd thing to say, but it's true. Time, space, and distance are all key when it comes to getting over a heartbreak of any kind, be it a breakup with a partner or a rejection by someone you cared for deeply but who didn't share those feelings in return.

While it might be hard to believe at times, women aren't the only ones who feel the deeply painful emotions that arise from experiencing unrequited love. Men go through it, too. We just don't hear about this side of things as often because — surprise! — most men aren't huge fans about opening up and talking about their feelings, especially if they think those feelings might make them seem weak or vulnerable.

But there is one place on the internet where men open up about how they feel each and every day — and that's on a little website known as Reddit.

When one redditor recently asked the guys on subreddit r/AskMen, "In your opinion, what is the best way to deal with unrequited love?", the gentlemen of Reddit had a lot to say about the topic.

Here are 15 tips on how to deal with — and get over — unrequited love, according to men.

1. Cut all ties.

"Cease all contact."

2. Shift your focus to other pursuits.

"It can be hard to let go but every time you get a random thread of contact, your hopeful side comes out and becomes your worst enemy. Cut things off, focus on a new project or goal, spend time with a friend or family member, etc."

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3. Give yourself space.

"Stop spending any of your time on the person. It's a broken power imbalance that neither of you can fix. You can be friends again a little down the road, but you need to give yourself space (a month minimum) to mourn the rejection before you're ready to be friends."

4. Accept the reality of the situation.

"[What] really helped me: don't focus or worry about her. Eventually she will be with someone else. It will make you feel sick. But acceptance is a big part of getting over it. Even though I experienced myself that a dozen girls couldn't make you happy, it is good to socialize. You get to know yourself. Try to focus on something to work on: career, study or sports. You'll realise there's more in life than her."

5. Get creative.

"Write a song. Lots of songs."

RELATED: 75 Heartbreaking Songs About Unrequited Love

6. Get introspective.

"Focus inwardly. So many spend so much time looking outwardly for the things they want like love, appreciation, and acceptance. It's important to learn to (to be cheesy here) 'love yourself.' When you accept yourself, appreciate yourself and yes, even love yourself then you can be at peace/equilibrium without outside stimulus. In this way, you become impervious — for the most part — to that empty feeling of being unappreciated, unloved and unaccepted by those outside yourself."

7. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.

"Give yourself time to be sad. Then move on."

8. Avoid their social media accounts.

"Obviously don't have contact with her (or him). On top of that, stay the hell away from her facebook/IG/etc."

9. Allow yourself to grieve.

"Accept that she doesn't want you. Mourn that and move on."

10. Focus on yourself.

"Put the focus on improving yourself into a better version of yourself for yourself and not for her. So start lifting weights and start looking at the stuff the makes you uncomfortable since that's where your personal growth is."

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11. Enjoy the friendship you share instead.

"Enjoy the moments you share together. The obvious side effect of this. You'll get your heart in a happy state and broken over and over again. From my own experience I can assure you one thing, you'll be able to withstand a serious emotional beating after a while. And you'll feel more at ease in either end of the emotional spectrum."

12. Keep on moving.

"Move on. Do you keep wondering about the bus you just missed? It doesn't even exist anymore except as a memory. Focus on the next one."

13. Fall in love with someone else.

"Fall in love with someone else. Get a group of friends together and go out and meet people. There's nothing more exciting than falling in love with someone new. You'll forget about the person you were in love with before. The next step is to avoid unrequited love entirely. Never allow yourself to fall in love with anyone until you are sure s/he feels the same way you do. Make no exceptions."

14. Adapt, adapt, adapt.

"There's one thing which you have: the choice to adapt. Love and relationships, specifically, are completely unpredictable at this day and age. If you see them as needs they'll seem more powerful than they really are, and this very overestimation often backfires. Instead of falling head over heels, see other people as human and live step by step."

15. Push yourself to move forward.

"If it's you who is in love, then just don't spend time or contact that person for awhile. Process your feelings, accept the reality of the situation and get over it. Push forward. You'll be a better person."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is Newsweek's Senior Editor, Pop Culture. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.