Unrequited love doesn’t exist in most movies. We love our happy endings! In a neat two hours, the heroine or hero realizes that the person she or he has overlooked their entire life is The One. Cue the passionate making out and cries of “I love you!” In real life? Not always the case. Far more often in things can turn out like the Pretty in Pink storyline. With the best friend (Duckie) stepping aside and even while desperately in love with her, telling Andie to go after the guy she really loves. Most films teach us that being bold and declaring your feelings to someone is all it takes to achieve your dream relationship. I’m here to commiserate with all of you who have ever been in that place where you could spout off your feelings until you’re blue in the face but know it won’t result in the fairy tale ending. Let’s all hug it out together, OK?
Hanging out is simultaneously the most wonderful and painful thing in the world
This is torturous. Being around this person makes you light up inside. You crave every moment of togetherness, even though you have begrudgingly accepted that it’s platonic. It’s a constant yin and yang because it’s not emotionally satisfying to spend time with them but not seeing them at all feels like a terrible alternative. Afterwards when you’re in the conflicted throes of the emotional hangover that hanging out causes, you try to convince yourself that being around them is fine because they’re still a good person whom you want in your life in some way. And how would you explain cutting them out completely? “Hi I’m in love with you and you don’t love me back, so no I don’t want to come to your BBQ. Ever again.” Seems a little awkward.
You overanalyze everything they say
When you hear them casually mention personality or character traits that they enjoy in the people they date, your mind starts contemplating if you are exhibiting those characteristics and if so why aren’t they finding you incredibly desirable as a result. Meanwhile they could just be making offhand comments like we all do. Which can cause problems because in our crush induced state we file these statements away as cold hard facts and then if they fall for someone completely opposite of all the things they claimed to find attractive, it drives us bananas. “Hypocrisy,” we shout to ourselves alone in our rooms as we struggle to contain our emotions or try not to overreact in the name of friendship.
You constantly fantasize about the possibility that they will see you as more than a friend
I know the daydream. You’ll be laughing together over beers and Sunday football. Or watching the latest episode of The Mindy Project. All of a sudden you look at each other and something feels different. The eye contact lasts a little longer than usual. Or maybe they show up at your front door with a bouquet of pink tulips and tell you they can’t believe how much time they’ve been wasting time dating other people. Whatever the scenario, it creeps in on your daily thoughts and can be tough to block out.
Dating other people can be really difficult
It’s never a healthy thing to date someone with the intention of making another person jealous. But sometimes you find yourself wondering if talking about your dating life makes them feel even the least bit territorial. And you find that dating other people is hard because you’re not focusing or being open to the possibility of the person across from you while you’re so consumed wishing it was someone else.
You find yourself bringing them up in casual conversation ALL. THE. TIME.
“It’s so funny! I was just talking about that same thing with [insert name of mad crush] the other day. They said….” If this is a common response to anything your friends are saying when you’re out together, you are probably looking for excuses to talk about someone because you are thinking about them. A LOT. But anyone who knows you well will totally pick up on this. I have occasionally not even realized how into someone I truly am until a friend of mine has said, “you know you haven’t stopped talking about that guy all afternoon, what’s the deal?” Maybe it’s because even subconsciously we know our time with our friends is our safe haven and we hope that they will demand that we spill how we’re really feeling, even if we haven’t fully admitted it out loud to ourselves. Other times I’ve caught myself doing this and wonder how obvious it is to everyone that I have this certain guy constantly on the brain. And oh no does that mean it’s obvious to him too?!
You feel inadequate or like you’re not good enough (but you are! You are!)
STOP! Right there. I know it hurts but do not ever let the lack of a relationship with someone define you. We are all exquisite unique human beings and not having feelings returned will never change that fact. Odds are that person does think the world of you, just not in the romantic sense. And that’s okay. It’s heartbreaking but it’s okay.
You feel taken advantage of
This is the worst case scenario. Whether you have divulged your feelings or not, the object of your affection takes advantage of the love you feel knowing they have no plan to reciprocate. These are people who need to be cut off, because now it has turned into a respect issue. If they don’t have any regard for your feelings, or if they’re flagrant with your heart, who needs ’em? Seriously.
In the end, unrequited love can be soul crushing and there’s no easy fix. Some of us will end up with the Some Kind of Wonderful John Hughes happy ending (spoiler: the girl with the crush gets the guy) and some of us will end up like Duckie (do we need to spell it out?).
The important thing to do is mourn the non-existence of the relationship and move on. Next up: working on opening our mind and hearts to the possibility of letting someone else in our lives who will see us the way we want to be seen.
(Photos via Paramount Pictures)