How To Get Over The Crushing Pain Of Unrequited Love

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sad woman sitting and thinking about loneliness, solitude, and unrequited love

Knowing how to get over a crush isn't easy. Well, not all crushes, of course. Some are totally easy to move on from.

I’m talking about the head-over-heels, I-understand-now-what-all-the-songs-have-been-saying kind of unrequited love for someone who just doesn't feel the same. The kind of love that, although not reciprocal, takes your breath away, makes you smile and laugh until you want to cry, and gets your heart feeling like it just might burst whenever you’re near them.

There are few things as painful as unrequited love.

You know you'll have to suffer until you are finally be able to own the fact that a romantic relationship is never going to happen and they're not going to love you back. ​

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Sure, there are many people who would sit there and tell you that, while it hurts, getting over someone you never "had" is nowhere near as hard as getting over a breakup, but we both know they’re wrong (most of the time). At least breaking up with someone means you got to give a relationship with them a chance!

Unrequited love means all those wonderful feelings you felt towards this person were never returned, and that hurts. A lot.

Right now, it might seem like nothing will help you move on from your heartbreak. You might think time is only thing that will help you heal (except maybe eating a pint of ice cream as you wait). Yes, you need time. But, you also need to allow yourself a proper grieving process.

While you might not experience them in the same order, the best way to get over a crush is to move with awareness of the emotions you experience along the way.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is said to have originally seen this "as reflecting how people cope with illness and dying," she later "expanded her model to include any form of personal loss, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or income, major rejection, the end of a relationship or divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, the onset of a disease or an infertility diagnosis, and even minor losses, such as a loss of insurance coverage."

How to Get Over Unrequited Love

1. Accept the pain.

Either you want to go about your day like nothing happened (“What? That conversation never happened and I definitely did not confess my feelings, I don’t know what you’re talking about ...”) or your mind is totally numb because you can’t even process your crush's lack of interest.

Either way, you can’t ignore the pain of your unrequited love, and you shouldn’t.

You need to accept that your crush doesn't like you the way you like them because only then can you actually start to move on. And you deserve to move on.

RELATED: Why We Get So Obsessed With Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love Us Back

2. Let go of any anger.

Stop hating on the person your crush is hanging out with, and while you're at it, stop hating your crush, too! Are they blind for not loving the incredible person that you are? Yes. But that’s not a reason to hate someone.

There’s a difference between not loving you and not liking you, and just because they don’t want to get married and ride off into the sunset, doesn’t mean they think you’re a horrible person.

Most importantly, do not be mad at yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not telling them how you feel, not saying anything sooner, or not being enough to warrant any returned affection.

The truth is, it just wasn’t meant to be — at the very least it’s not meant to be at this moment in time.

So breathe and try to let the anger go, as hard as that is.

3. Stop running through scenarios of what could have been in your mind.

“Maybe if I tell him, he’ll confess how much he’s always loved me but was scared I didn’t feel the same way.”

“Maybe if I tell her, she’ll suddenly have an epiphany that she’s loved me all along but never knew.”

“Maybe they were just stunned by my confession.”

We’ve all been through this phase where we try to keep the happiness and the hope in our heads — the part where we try to keep ourselves away from the pain. But take a moment and really think about it. You’re not a kid anymore and for the most part, you can tell if someone is interested in you.

If, however, you never told them how you feel and you really believe saying something can change the outcome, go ahead. At the very least it will give you some closure.

RELATED: The Real Reason You're Attracted To All The Wrong People

4. Nurture your valued friendships.

Suddenly it hits you: they don’t love you back. All your dreams come shattering around you and you can’t help but feel there’s no hope left in this world, at least not for you.

It’s OK to let yourself have a little time to wallow in the misery and pain of unrequited love! It’s even good to let it all out and cry. It’s healthy and the best way to heal. But don’t let yourself use this time to pull away from the people who can help you the most.

Get a pint of ice cream, grab a friend or two so you have a shoulder to cry on, and watch some movies that will give you a good excuse when you bawl your heart out.

That’s what friends are there for — to help each other in good times and the bad.

5. Keep looking for love.

One day, after going through all of the other emotions, you’ll realize you’re OK. You'll realize you are a strong person who can move on and get over your crush. Yes, you loved someone who didn’t love you back. That’s OK, and it doesn’t mean love isn’t out there for you.

After all, as cliché as it sounds, every wrong person brings you a step closer to the right one.

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Estee Kahn is a writer and amateur photographer who covers relationships, friendships, and lifestyle.