I remember when I fell in love with him. We were friends, alone together talking one night in the moonlight, when I looked up at him. His penetrating blue eyes gripped my soul like no one had ever done before. I couldn’t stop gazing up at them, and I knew, at that moment he was the one.
Except that he wasn’t. He still thought we were just friends. He was completely oblivious to my feelings. I lit up like a Christmas tree, whenever he was near, and everyone around us could see how crazy I was about him. Unfortunately, they also could see what little interest he had in me.
My friends all told me to leave him.
They told me I deserved better and I should move on. But I couldn’t. I was under some kind of captivating spell by him. In my mind, he could do no wrong. He was my hero, my friend, my confidante. I put up with all kinds of painful situations because of this unrequited crush.
I went out of my way for him. When he needed me, I would drop everything. When he was sick, I brought over chicken soup. When he needed someone to talk to, I was there. When his car broke down late at night, I picked him up. He liked all the things I did for him, but thought that was what friends should do for each other. He was kind to me, but mostly unavailable. If he sensed my amorous feelings for him, he backed off.
When we were out together, I wanted the evening to last forever. At the end of the night, I longed for a hug from him or even a kiss goodbye. And if he did neither, I would go home in tears, and fall into despair. If he did pull me into his arms for a platonic hug, it would send me into romantic ecstasy. I would dream of a beautiful future for us together, and while I was doing that, he was out living his life. And he was seeing other women.
That devastated me. I wrote beautiful poetry, haunting love songs. And you know what? I don’t regret any of it. Some of my most beautiful creations were born out of the worst emotional pain of my life.
Almost everyone at one time or another has fallen for someone who didn’t return their passion. In movies, the protagonist suffers throughout most of the movie, until the loved one finally realizes how wrong they were, and returns their passion, and they live happily after.
Real life is nothing like that. There is seldom a happy ending. Most people move on quickly once they realize the connection is going nowhere, and drop that person fast. Yet others, linger. Some of them for years. They are stuck in a moment that never ends. Maybe they love challenges. Maybe they just can’t let go. And maybe they just can’t get that person out of their heads.
This stops someone from living a full life. They miss out on other opportunities to meet a partner who will love them. Because they are convinced that this person was the love of their life. Yet even though all the heartache, good can eventually come out of it.
It’s hard for the loved one too
Unless they are a cold-hearted narcissist, the one doing the spurning is negatively affected too. It hurts them to know how deeply they’ve wounded someone. Especially if they genuinely cared about the person as a friend. If the friendship ends, both of them usually end up feeling spurned. One lost the romantic fantasy, the other mourns the loss of a friend.
Eventually, most rational people move past the heartbreak and find someone who reciprocates their love. And a mutual life-giving love is the most precious love of all. We should all strive for it.
Yet there is beauty in an unreturned love. It often boosts creativity. The intense emotions of a love that never was, can create unforgettable and heartbreaking music. Throughout history, unrequited love has inspired beautiful art, stories, poetry and songs around the world.
What I learned from this experience
I’m thankful for all the creativity this heartbreaking experience inspired in me. I’ve learned that I would rather love in vain, then never love at all. I would rather feel alive than feel nothing.
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Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Previously published on Medium.com.