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How to Deal With Loving Someone You Can't Have

by Olivia Surtees

Love is one of the most complicated things in the world, and it only feels more complicated if you are in love with someone that you can’t have. At some point in all our lives, we have either been in this situation or, and sorry to say it, are probably yet to be in this situation. It is heart-breaking to know that you are in love with someone that you can’t have.

You might be in love with someone who is already in a relationship, someone that lives on the other side of the world or someone who is your best friend. Whatever the more personal details are, the fact that you can’t have them but you love them, remains the same.

Being in this situation can hurt more than a break-up would because you feel like you have missed out on a chance to show this person just how great your love can be and what you could have been if you were together. So, how are you supposed to deal with something that hurts beyond control?

This is where this article is here to help you. Even though by the end of the article I will not have magically taken away your feelings for this person, I will have given you some great advice and useful tips about how to deal with your emotions. You will find yourself a more experienced individual in the field of love by the time you move on.

1. The first step is to sit down and think about your emotions towards this person.

I want you to find somewhere you feel comfortable and safe to bring up emotions within yourself. For example, it could be your bedroom or a cozy living room. Once you have sat down and made yourself comfortable, I want you to take a piece of paper and put the person’s name in the middle or at the top of the page. Now, you need to think deeply about all of the emotions this person brings up for you.

Seeing as you can’t have this person, you might have subconsciously tried to mute all your emotions for them and bottle them up or push them down inside of you. To really deal with the situation, you need to drag up all of the emotions. This can be really painful if you know that they don’t feel the same. However, it’s necessary.

So, around or under that person’s name you need to write all of the emotions that you feel towards them. The important thing here is that you need to be thinking and writing these things down with no judgment of yourself. Take the other person’s feelings out of the equation. How do you feel?

Once you have written all of the emotions down, give yourself some time to mull them over and think about them one by one. Now that you have acknowledged your emotions, you can start to deal with them whenever you feel like they are coming up. Whenever an emotion comes up you can just think to yourself, “I acknowledge this feeling and I know that I don’t have to act on it.”

It might be useful to keep the piece of paper in a safe place. When you feel like one of the emotions on the sheet comes up, focus in on it.

 After a while and when you feel like you are really moving on, you can return to the sheet and look for the feelings that you no longer hold for this person. Once you have identified them, you can cut them out and burn them. This can also be a therapeutic thing to do. Soon you will realize that you have burned all of the emotions. You have finally cut all your emotional ties to this person.

2. Take time away from this person or cut your contact completely.

This point will obviously differ depending on how often you see this person. For example, it might be really easy to stop your contact completely with someone who is just an acquaintance. However, if you work with this person then obviously you will see them at work.

Whatever the situation, it is vital that you put distance between the two of you. By creating distance, you can then allow yourself time to heal. If you are quite close to this person and they know that you love them, you can always tell them that you are going to be taking some time away from them. This will make it a lot easier for them to understand why you have suddenly stopped texting them or meeting them for coffee. I will discuss confronting the person in the next point, so we don’t need to cover it in a lot of detail now.

If this person is someone that you work with, you can create distance from yourself in the office. If before you used to go on lunch break together, make sure that you take your lunch at a different time or go to a different café.

You need to allow yourself time away from them so that you can heal. Only after you have healed yourself and you know that you don’t love them anymore, should you resume seeing them or making an effort with them. However, be careful with that. Even if you think you might be over them, seeing them could trigger some emotions within you, and you don’t want to have to go through this process of healing again.

3. Confront the person and tell them how you feel.

It could be really beneficial for you to find some closure of the situation by speaking to the person. Obviously, it depends on how open you were with them in the first place. So, if they don’t even know that you exist, it's probably not best to go and spill all your thoughts to them. However, if you are relatively close to them, you can speak to them.

To avoid putting pressure on them or making them feel awkward, you can tell them that you don’t really need any response for them, but you just need to get something off your chest. Then, be honest with them. Tell them how you feel. Then tell them that you are going to take some space from them and that they need to respect that.

Once you have told them how you feel, you might feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. It will have helped you put an end to your longing for a relationship with them.

4. Ensure you have a strong support system around you, that understands what you are going through.

When you are having a hard time, it is always important to have a strong and supportive network around you. This is normally made up of close friends and family. You will trust them, and you should tell them what you are going through and how you are feeling.

It is probable that a lot of them have been through what you are going through right now, in the past. They might be able to give you some really great advice. However, even if they are not clued up about what you are going through, they can support you in other ways. If your friends and family know that you are feeling particularly emotionally distraught, they will help you to feel better by doing an array of things, like spending time with you more, checking up on you and showing you some love.

5. Allow yourself some time to grieve.

You need to allow yourself some time to mourn the loss of something you wish could have been. You are upset, so let it out. You need to allow yourself to feel your emotions fully and don’t judge yourself. It is better that you get your emotions out of the way now than push them to the back of your mind and still find yourself upset about everything further down the line.

However, it’s crucial to say that I do not recommend hiding away and crying on your bed for long. The maximum I would probably say that you could do this for, intensely, is about a day. If you allow yourself to be upset for too long, you might actually slip into a depressive episode.

Of course, you might feel upset from time to time about this person, but it is a good idea to try to get all the hurt and sadness out of the way in the beginning. You will also probably feel strangely refreshed once you have got all the tears out of your system.

6. Do something productive to help you get through the pain.

In order to move on and deal with the love you are feeling, you can do more than cry. You could actually start to do something productive and useful, which can also help you through the pain. For example, decide to take up a new artistic hobby or vow to get fit.

Anything to do with being creative is a great idea. You will be able to really express your emotions through any of the arty mediums. Whether you decide to take up a painting class or you start to learn how to play the guitar, you will be able to show your pain, anger or upset through doing these things. It can feel soothing to let out your feelings whilst doing something enjoyable.

You could also start to exercise more. If you make a conscious effort to get fit, not only will your body improve but it will do great things for your mind. When we exercise, we release endorphins which make us feel great. Also, if you are feeling angry or frustrated in particular, you could decide to take a class like kickboxing or start to learn a type of martial arts. This will allow you to release any anger, in a safe way.

7. Indulge in some self-love.

When you are feeling down, it can be a really good idea to indulge in some self-love, especially if love is the reason you are feeling upset. It is time to make yourself and your happiness your main priority. The first steps you can take to love yourself are very simple and physical acts.

For example, run yourself a bubble bath, light some candles and do a face mask. Or, you could cook a wonderful dinner for yourself and enjoy it in front of your favorite movie. Or, you could go and get your nails done. You need to do whatever makes you feel good about yourself, straight away.

After all, you need to remind yourself that you are not the reason that the person can’t love you. Nothing is wrong with you. You are a beautiful person who is more than deserving of perfect love.

After you have done some real pampering to yourself, it might be time to start taking the self-love to a higher level. You not only need to love your body, but you need to love and appreciate your mind too. You could start to incorporate some self-love and self-appreciation mantras into your everyday routine. Another great tactic is to stand in front of a mirror every morning and make yourself say five nice things about yourself.

Within no time, you will feel like your self-confidence is better than ever.

8. Start to date other people.

Before you begin to date other people, you need to make sure that you are past the stage of being distraught and constantly thinking about the person you can’t have. Of course, you can still feel a little upset about it, but it is not fair to start dating other people if you are still really hung up on someone else.

I’m not telling you to go and jump straight into a new relationship, but what is the harm in dating a few people? Meeting new people can open you up to all kinds of possibilities and can be a great way to take your mind off your old love.

You will also realize that there are so many people out there who you are open to love and you can be with. It will give you a new perspective on love and relationships. You will understand that being hung-up on someone that you can’t have is a waste of time when there are so many great people out there that you can be with.

9. Spend more time with people who love you.

Earlier on, I spoke about making sure that you have a support network around you, which is so vital. However, once you are feeling a little bit better, you need to start getting yourself out there and spend more time doing things you like, with people you love and who love you back.

You should start to grab every opportunity that comes your way. Now you have stopped uncontrollably thinking about your lost love, you will realize that you have a lot of free time! This can feel really empowering if you utilize this time to do things you like. You will be replacing your previously sad time, with happier times. 

Maybe it would be a good idea to start organizing a weekly dinner for all of your friends or make an effort to go and spend time with grandparents. Doing things with people you love will make for a really happy time and eventually you will have a happy mindset.

10. Finally, move forward and still be open to the idea of love.

After you have taken all of the steps above, it is time to move on from the person that you couldn’t have. You need to move on with a clear mind and an open heart. Don’t go into the world of love with a negative mindset, or negative things will probably follow. You need to realize that there are so many people out there that you can have, it is just unfortunate that this one time you fell for someone that you couldn’t. You are deserving of a love that will fulfill you and the perfect person is out there for you, you just have to be open to the idea of love. 

You will eventually be able to look back on this painful time as an experience that has helped you grow into a stronger individual. You must also realize that you have opened yourself up to the prospect of a real and mutual love. 

Conclusion

I really hope that this article will help you if you are trying to deal with loving someone that you can’t have. It can be really difficult to get through, but the most important thing to do is to allow yourself to feel how you are feeling and don’t judge yourself.

Remember that you will get through this, and the pain you are experiencing now is only temporary.

Did this article help you at all? If it did and you liked what you read, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

Olivia Surtees
After realizing I was the person that everyone around me always came to for dating advice, I decided to merge this skill with my profession – writing. So, I came about to be a relationship advice writer! Being able to show not only my passion for writing, but also my passion to help others in their relationships, means the absolute world to me and I hope to continue doing so. Studying the vast and complicated world of relationships entices me, and I am constantly striving to learn more, so I can then help others with more knowledge and experience.

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