This week’s question comes from Jen:
“Dear Orna and Matthew,
I have a question about unrequited love. You see, I met my soulmate a couple of years ago. I knew it the moment I met him. It was like my soul had opened up and I finally knew what love could be.
The problem is he didn’t feel the same way. I don’t really understand how that could be possible. He told me that he had never felt so comfortable with anyone before. Our connection was so strong.
He met someone else and I heard through a friend that he is engaged. I feel devastated. It’s like my heart is being crushed. How could I meet my soulmate and he not feel the same way as me?
I don’t know why this is so hard for me to get over. Lots of men ask me out, but I’m just not interested. I only want him.
Please help me!”
Thank you for reaching out to us and we hear how much pain you are in.
Unrequited Love Can Be A Difficult Experience To Overcome
You can spend years asking yourself, “What if?” You find that other people you date just don’t match up to the one that got away. Your mind can’t stop going over every interaction wondering, “What did I do?”
Unrequited love can make you feel lonely, unlovable, and despair about your ability to ever find love again. After all, if the person who you know is your soulmate doesn’t love you back then how could you ever find love?
You may find yourself obsessively looking for clues about what happened and why it didn’t work out. You can end up stalking the person on social media and spying on his new relationship, triggering intense feelings of jealousy.
Unrequited love can be debilitating, blocking your chances of finding the lasting love that you desire.
You Can Move On And Create Something Even Better
You can overcome this experience and actually become stronger and more capable of creating a healthy, lasting, and soul-satisfying love.
The key is understanding the reason why it is so difficult for you to let go and to heal that part of you that is attracted to what you cannot have. You don’t get only one soulmate in your life and if it doesn’t work out you are doomed.
Love doesn’t work that way. Love is infinite, unconditional, and for everyone. There is no higher power deciding who gets love and who doesn’t. Fate is not controlling your love life.
Instead, you can use this experience to understand more deeply why you are stuck and how to change your situation. First, you have to understand what is going on inside of you that keeps you stuck on someone who doesn’t love you back.
Why Is Unrequited Love So Hard To Get Over?
Unrequited love is an addiction.
Examining your behavior through the lens of addiction can give you some insight into why your mind can’t let him go. Imagine that the feelings you felt when you first met him – the excitement, the butterflies in your stomach, the intense feeling of recognition – are like you trying heroin or cocaine for the first time.
You reach a high you’ve never felt before. But then the source of that high is taken away from you. Your mind searches for the source of those feelings and attaches on him, identifying him as the only source that can make you feel that way.
Your obsession with his unrequited love becomes a fantasy that is much more interesting than the reality of your life. The longing, the obsession, and the stubborn refusal to let it go all add up to an addiction cycle that you need to break.
An Emotional Addiction Can Keep You Trapped
First, you experience the denial of his rejection. How could he not love you the way you love him? It doesn’t make sense that you would feel this way towards someone who doesn’t also feel that way towards you.
Maybe you rationalize his rejection, believing that he is too afraid to experience the kind of love you have for him. And yet the craving for something you can’t have just gets stronger.
You could start behaving compulsively. Stalking him in real life or on social media. Calling or texting him after he’s asked you to stop. Talking about the situation non-stop with your friends until they get tired of hearing about it.
You could even lose sleep, develop anxiety, or begin to believe that there is something deeply wrong with you, or that you are broken in some way, and incapable of loving anyone else.
The Real Issue Has Nothing To Do With Him
The real reason why you obsessed with his rejection isn’t actually about him. It comes from a wound created in your childhood from your family of origin.
As a baby, you are dependent on your parent’s love for your survival. More than just getting your basic needs met, you need to feel loved and safe in order to develop a healthy sense of self.
There is a discrepancy between how you wanted to feel being loved by your parents and the way they expressed and showed their love for you. This discrepancy creates a belief inside of you that love is conditional in some way.
Because of this wounding, you developed specific limiting beliefs, mental and emotional patterns, and behavioral strategies for giving and receiving love. This becomes part of your subconscious program for intimate relationships and drives much of your behavior as an adult when you are looking for a life partner. Your patterns and behaviors in intimate relationships are a result of Your Love Imprint®.
Your system for intimate relationship most likely includes the belief that the love you want is unavailable to you. Maybe one of your parents was emotionally distant or physically not present. However, it developed in your family of origin, your obsession with unrequited love has more to do with your childhood wounds and limiting beliefs about love than it does with this particular man.
In fact, your intense desire for him could very likely be from the fact that he is unavailable.
Your Subconscious Mind Is Attracted To What Is Familiar
One of the functions of your subconscious mind is to keep you alive. It does this by keeping your body in a narrow state of homeostasis. Your blood pressure, your heart rate, and your body’s temperature have to stay within a narrow range in order for you to stay alive.
Your subconscious thinks of your behavior in the same way. What is known to you is familiar and therefore safe. What is unknown to you is a possible threat to your survival. This is why people are generally resistant to change.
Your behavioral patterns in intimate relationship are known and therefore familiar. Or another way of thinking about it is that these behaviors are habits and they are running on autopilot. Your beliefs, your patterns, and your strategies around love are keeping you stuck, believing a false narrative that this man is the only man you could ever love.
In order to break out of this pattern, you’ll need to make some changes. These changes will open you up to romantic love in a whole new way, and make you more resilient around rejection and heartbreak. Here is how you break your addiction to unrequited love.
Allow Yourself To Truly Mourn The Loss
While you have been experiencing feelings of loss, you haven’t allowed yourself to truly mourn this experience. Mourning requires a period of grief. Set aside time to feel all of your feelings and to move through them.
You’ve become stuck on a longing that cannot be fulfilled. Have you allowed yourself to feel all of the anger and hurt, the disappointment, the sadness, or whatever else you’ve been resistant to feeling?
It’s important to move through the icky feelings so you do not stunt your emotional growth. Simply take time to feel all of your feelings and then let them go, not taking any actions other than just feeling whatever comes up.
Forgiveness is the tool that allows you to release yourself from this pattern that is no longer serving you. Forgive him for not loving you the way you wanted him to. Forgive yourself for becoming attached to someone who is unavailable to you.
When your heart breaks it ultimately breaks open to receive more love. Allow the love of forgiveness to flood your heart and begin the process of healing. Everyone is flawed in some way, it is part of the human condition. Being human means that you are imperfect, and when you have compassion for yourself in this way your heart fills with love of self.
Forgive your own flaws and the flaws you see in others so that you can release yourself from the bondage of anger and resentment.
Find The Golden Nugget™ Of Learning
All of your relationships have the potential to teach you more about yourself and your ability to love. Discovering what he showed up to teach you is the final step in releasing your heart from the bondage of unrequited love.
What do you need to learn about yourself in order to grow and become better at intimate relationship? What was his role in teaching you? Why did it have to be him and not someone else to teach you this?
Answering these questions will give you the Golden Nugget of Learning. This is why he showed up in your life – to teach you about yourself so that you could move past him and into a fulfilling and lasting love relationship.
When you discover the Golden Nugget for yourself, write a letter to him (that you’ll never send) expressing your gratitude for why he showed up in your life and what you learned from this experience. After a few days, revisit the letter and then burn it, releasing it for the highest good of all.
While it can feel difficult to let go of unrequited love, doing so frees you so that you can find the love that you desire and deserve. In a true soulmate relationship, both partners choose each other equally. Soulmate love is not one-sided.
Are you having trouble moving on from unrequited love? Join our Facebook Group “Common Sense About Love” where we regularly share our insights into creating long-lasting, soul-satisfying love. In this group, we host special events and you’ll receive exclusive access to us and a supportive community, all devoted to the idea of creating lasting love.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.