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How to Recover From Unrequited Love

by Maura Banar

Unrequited love is a popular topic for tragic love stories like Romeo and Juliet, but fortunately, most real stories don't end the same way. Still, it can be devastating to realize that your beloved doesn't return your affection. It may be difficult to move on because the feelings are so strong. It's important in recovering from unrequited love to allow yourself distance from the object of your affections and time to go through grief process.

Enlist the help of your social supports. Social supports can include friends and family and are your primary source of security, stress relief and objectivity. Don't underestimate the value of your supports, even if you feel uncertain whether you want to share your feelings about your unrequited love. If your supports are truly emotionally supportive, they will listen without judgment and boost your self-esteem at a time when you need it most. Call, text or meet your supports in person regularly to decrease feelings of isolation that can make your mood worse.

Purge your life and home of reminders of the object of your unrequited love. Keeping photos, text messages or other reminders of the person you loved stunts your ability to move forward. As difficult as it may be, getting rid of reminders can give your mind and heart a fresh perspective that doesn't include someone who didn't reciprocate your feelings. Enlist the help of your supports if necessary to get rid of things, especially if it's just too much effort for you, emotionally. Delete the person's email address and phone number too, because leaving them gives you an option to continue on a path that hasn't been fulfilling for you.

"Date" yourself. In the midst of unrequited love, you may have forgotten how to enjoy your own company. In some cases, feeling uncomfortable without a significant other can lead to attachment that prevents you from letting go of the possibility that your unrequited love will evolve into something more. Making an effort to enjoy activities, people, places and meals that suit your preferences reinforces your relationship with yourself. If you feel defeated or intimidated in taking the first steps, ask a social support to join you.

Utilize an outlet to express your feelings about your unrequited love. Expressing yourself can occur in the form of journaling or by speaking with a professional such as a counselor or therapist. The therapeutic value in expressing your feelings, explains the University of Illinois in their online publication "Experiencing and Expressing Emotions," is in processing the effects of the emotional event. In your case, processing also gives you the opportunity to evaluate your actions. Without expressing your feelings about the object of your affections and their lack of mutual romantic interest in you, you may find it difficult to recover.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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