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Unreciprocated Love: 22 Ways to Move On When Love Isn’t Returned

Unreciprocated love can be extremely painful, and while it is a common occurrence, it doesn’t make it any easier. Here are some ways to get over it.

Unreciprocated Love

Unreciprocated love is something most people experience in their lifetime. Whether rejected on the playground by the person we had a childhood crush on, or having our hearts ripped out of our chests by someone we are head over heels with telling us they simply do not feel the same way.

Whatever the circumstances, unrequited love can be one of the most painful things a person endures. At the time, it feels like the world is over, and takes months, sometimes even years, before we feel our wounds are healed enough to get back out there and make ourselves vulnerable again.

22 ways to move on from unreciprocated love

If you suffer from such a rejection, there are ways to try and get back on your feet sooner rather than later. The faster you get over someone who doesn’t like you back, the better. After all, if they don’t feel the same way, there really is no point dwelling on it.

It’s more than likely in the future that you meet someone better, who makes you happier, and, most importantly, likes you back too. The sooner you stop wallowing in misery about this other person, the sooner you open yourself up to the experiences and people who make it happen!

So, what can you do to get over unreciprocated love? Here are some tried and tested pieces of advice.

#1 Accept it. The most important thing you do to move on is simply to accept it. People waste years trying to make the object of their affection change, hoping that maybe one day they will see them differently, or suddenly the veil will be lifted and they’ll fall head over heels for them too.

But life doesn’t work like that. If they told you they don’t feel the same, accept it and make your peace with it. [Read: 25 signs your heart is breaking and how to get over it]

#2 Forgive them. It’s hard not to feel hurt and bitter if you have strong feelings for someone and they don’t feel the same way. But remember, it is highly unlikely that they try to hurt you, they just don’t feel the same. Instead of becoming resentful towards them, forgive them and understand that it isn’t anyone’s fault.

#3 Go on other dates. Try to see who else is out there. The more people you meet the more likely you are to find that special someone, or at least realize that there are plenty of lovely, attractive, funny people out there. Your unreciprocated love might not be the be all and end all after all. [Read: Good Tinder bios that get you dates]

#4 Talk about it with friends. If you are feeling hurt and upset about being rejected by someone you love, don’t bottle it up. Your friends are there to lean on and help you make sense of your feelings, to give you comfort and to persuade you that the person isn’t worth your time!

So, make sure you talk to people about it. Often when you talk it through you feel so much better.

#5 Give yourself a break. Stop blaming yourself and realize it is nothing you did, and nothing you change about yourself will make any difference. It’s so easy to think ‘if I was just a little thinner’ or ‘if I just hadn’t said that stupid thing’ everything would be different. But you shouldn’t have to change yourself for someone else—remember that! [Read: The pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back]

#6 Treat yourself. When you feel hurt, remember to be kind to yourself. Go for a massage, cook yourself a nice dinner, buy those shoes you eyed for ages. Doing nice things for yourself is sure to bring a smile back to your face.

#7 Distance yourself from them. In order to get over someone, get your space. It’s hard, we know, but putting some distance between you two helps you heal.

#8 Do lots of things for you. Make loads of time for yourself and do things you’ve always wanted to do. The more you achieve and the more goals you hit, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

#9 Enjoy single life. Remember single life has its perks too! If you spent too long dwelling on this person, you’ve probably forgotten that so try to enjoy yourself, be more independent and revel in your freedom! [Read: Single for life: Enjoy the ride and find the one along the way]

#10 Get healthy. It can be tempting to lock ourselves in our houses and eat buckets of ice cream when upset. However, do yourself a favor by eating healthily and exercising. Those feel-good endorphins make you feel great and have loads more energy too.

#11 Keep busy. Don’t wallow in your misery, distract yourself by keeping as busy as you can, just take things day by day but keep them action packed, then you won’t have time to stop and be miserable anyway.

#12 Spend time with people who do love you. Remember, just because this person doesn’t feel the same doesn’t mean there aren’t loads of people out there who think you are amazing! Focus on them instead.

#13 Take up meditation. Doing something relaxing and cathartic like meditation helps you free your mind and put things in perspective. Give it a go! [Read: 20 ways to focus on the positives in life]

#14 Go for long walks. Sometimes getting out into nature and taking in fresh air gives you a new perspective on things. Long walks are a great time to spend mulling things over and the exercise makes you feel good too.

#15 Listen to uplifting music. Don’t indulge in your sadness by putting on all those heartbreak tracks. Instead create a playlist of songs that get you going, lift your mood, and make you feel great. Play it every time you feel sad.

#16 Do something daring. Be brave, take on the world! Do something that scares you! Doing something daring gives you a new sense of courage and independence. [Read: 20 lifestyle changes to make in your 20s for a better life]

#17 Sing your heart out. Singing helps you release some of that pent-up emotion, so even if you’re not the best singer, just go for it!

#18 Dance! Dancing is another feel good activity where you really shake out all the emotions you feel. Whether it’s at a great club or in your undies in the living room, dancing helps us feel great.

#19 Know it happens to the best of us. Remember, you are not alone in this, no matter how lonely you feel. Unreciprocated love happens to most people and pretty much everyone survives it, so take comfort in that. [Read: 15 steps to handle the pain of loving someone you can’t have]

#20 Learn from it. Try to reflect on your experience of unrequited love and use it to help you make better decisions and have healthier relationships in the future.

#21 Allow yourself to hurt. Remember, it is okay to be sad at times. Allow yourself to feel it, but just don’t let it become all that you do. [Read: 14 powerful ways to unlove someone]

#22 Know you’ll find someone better. You really will find someone so much better for you and who makes you feel amazing. Try to remember this and really believe it, the sooner you do the sooner you’ll be able to move on.

There is no denying that unreciprocated love really sucks. But no matter how painful it is, you won’t feel this way forever. Remember that!

[Read: 11 compelling signs you’re facing unrequited love]

 The vast majority of people who experience unreciprocated love find that once they are able to move on, they appreciate the experience for what it was, learn from it, and find that they end up a happier, stronger, and more enriched person because of it. 

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Bethany Locke
Bethany was born and raised in Scotland and now resides in Brighton where she lives with her partner and rather disobedient cocker spaniel pup. She works as a f...
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