“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis
I am fairly confident that I would say about 98% of people who are reading this post have been in love at some point in their life. You may not have told the person the actual words of “I love you” but it’s probably a safe guess that you have held feeling of that nature towards someone else. And it’s probably a pretty good guess that a good majority of those folks have also been in love with someone who doesn’t love them back.
Now either you actually told them how you felt and then were disappointed when they said they couldn’t return the feelings or you loved the person from afar and watched as they gave those feelings away to someone else. Either way, unless you have an unbreakable heart or cannot feel things, you have experienced pain and heartache. When you feel deeply for someone and they can’t return those feelings, it hurts like crap. And because you’ve essentially offered up yourself only to be rejected, what usually follows are feelings of wondering what is wrong with you and what does someone else have that you don’t.
The emo song of all girls everywhere who love a guy that doesn’t love her back.
Because we feel better knowing that we’re not alone in feeling this way, I’ve chosen three examples from TV shows and movies that I believe describes the feelings that come with having a love that is unrequited.
WARNING! THERE BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT! YOU WERE WARNED!!!!!
The first clip is from the 1994 version of Little Women, starring Winona Ryder as Jo and Christian Bale as Laurie. Jo and Laurie have been best friends for several years. Jo wants to go out, make her mark in the world, and live out her life, before even considering to think about settling down and getting married.Laurie, meanwhile, has decided he knows what he wants now. Every time I watch this scene, I’m like “Who on earth would say no to Christian Bale????” Laurie’s pain is very evident here as shown here by the words he says to her refusal. Unfortunately I believe what he does later on in the story and who he ends up with is purely a rebound from this scene. Start at the :52 mark.
The next scene is from the series 3 finale of Doctor Who, where Martha leaves the Tenth Doctor as his companion. Even though the two became extremely close friends, Martha had the unfortunate opportunity of being the companion following Rose Tyler who had been very close to the Doctor. Martha is a very smart and independent woman, herself a medical student, but she falls in love with the Doctor who doesn’t love her back. Some people aren’t a fan of Martha for this reason (they must be Rose fans). Throughout most of her season, you can see Martha struggling with her feelings, hoping that he’ll change his mind but he doesn’t. There is one episode where he does fall in love with someone, but it isn’t her and it pains her tremendously. The following clip is when Martha finally realizes what she has to do in order to help herself. Start at the 1:40 mark.
The final clip is from How I Met Your Mother. The majority of the entire series deals with Ted and Robin’s relationship. Ted and Robin are best friends. Ted has been in love with Robin from the beginning of this story and it is because of their relationship that triggers the search for the mother. From the very first episode, Ted has had strong feelings from Robin that have pretty much never wavered. Robin, on the other hand, has been pretty unsure about her feelings for Ted. She cares for him, but not as much as he does. Ted has lost several relationships because of his continued feelings for Robin and it is something that he keeps struggling with because she is one of his best friends. However, this scene marks a strong turning point for Ted in terms of their relationship. (The original clip got removed so I’ve replaced it. For the most part it’s the same thing)
The biggest thing to remember when your love isn’t returned that is you can’t let the hurt take over you. Yes, perhaps you do have some flaws but so does everyone. However just because the other person can’t return how you feel doesn’t mean you are a failure. Do not put the other person on a pedestal and think that their love is more worthy than yours They aren’t perfect and they are just as flawed as you are. You are not any less worthy a person just because one person doesn’t love you back. Having their love will not validate you as a person and they will not fix you. Only you can do that.
However, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re in the worst pain that you’ve ever felt in your life. Being rejected no matter how nice the other person was about it still sucks. You’ve basically offered what you thought was the best of you only to get turned down. And yes, there is the temptation to become bitter and angsty (and sometimes pyscho) and wish that one day this would happen to the other person so they can in turn understand all the hurt that you’re going through now. I caution against that. Accept the hurt. Mourn the loss. Let the pain happen. It sucks. It’s painful. Don’t try to play it off as it’s nothing and shove those feelings under a rug and ignore them.
BUT don’t let it take over you. It’s not always going to feel like that. You’re going to be ok. Things will get better. Or I’ll let Iris (Kate Winslet) from The Holiday explain it:
You may be in that deep, dark hole right now. You may feel like your heart has been ripped apart. You can cry and yell and curse at the world. But soon you will want to look up. And you will see the light trying to reach into that pit. And you will crawl out of there. And you will have hope. And you will be whole again.
- “I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.” (Lamentations 3:55-58)
- “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.” (Psalm 25:16-18)
- “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)