For most of my life, I thought unrequited love was basically a crush felt by one person that was not returned by the recipient of his/her/hir affections. I believed it was a schoolgirl emotion, a foolish notion of an immature person who could not understand that the other person didn’t care in the same way. That was until unrequited love happened to me.
What I learned in a very painful way as a 30-something year old adult with a Ph.D. was that unrequited love is a merciless emotion, one that has nothing to do with logic or maturity. It didn’t matter how much my rational mind knew and understood that the object of my affection didn’t see me as a potential love interest. My heart would not relent.
In my case, the man whom I fell deeply in love with was someone whom I had shared a platonic relationship with for several years. We got along incredibly well. He made me laugh in a way that no one else has ever been able to. Because we were both married (until we both weren’t), I previously never thought of him as a potential romantic partner. At one point not long after I originally met him, I was playing a “how small is Austin” game with a friend who knew of him through a friend of hers. The friend asked if he was good looking based on the comments of her friend. I told her I hadn’t ever thought about it. That just wasn’t the way our relationship was.
I remember the day when everything shifted. Nothing particular happened that instigated the change. I just looked at him and realized, “Oh, crap. I’ve got a crush on him.” However, I knew that crushes come and go and are a normal part of the human experience. I figured if I ignored it, the crush would go away. Except it didn’t. The crush got stronger and stronger until it reached the point of being physically painful. This was nothing like any other crush I had experienced. Even after talking to the man in question and verifying that there was no chance of anything romantic ever happening between us, the unrequited love would not let go. My brain understood completely. My heart just stubbornly refused to give up.
Five months after talking to the object of my affection when I was still unable to shed my feelings for him, I went to a healer to help me with the crush I could not get over. The healer, who is also an empath, bluntly told me, “You’re in love with him.” It took me another 24 hours to accept what I had been told. I realized that the healer was quite right. It wasn’t just a crush. This horribly painful emotion I was feeling was unrequited love. All my previous ideas about unrequited love were shattered as I came to realize that unrequited love isn’t a misguided crush. It is truly love, and it is devastatingly miserable to experience.
It took me almost two years to work through all of the pain of unrequited love using a large number of modalities to assist in the healing. I was not happy about having this experience; resentful is a far better description of my emotional state during a large part of it. I often questioned why I had to go through it all. When I originally Googled "unrequited love," I found almost nothing of use to help me understand why it was happening or how to heal it. What I eventually discovered was that this emotional difficulty paralleled many other traumas I had experienced in this life and past lives. There was a pattern my soul has experienced, and this one experience helped open the doors to all of the other traumas and allowed me to slowly and painfully work through them all. I had not previously found healing in any of those areas, so in retrospect, my experience with unrequited love gave me a great opportunity for growth and change. I wish it had not been so emotionally tortuous, but in retrospect, I am grateful for all I learned and healed through this experience of unrequited love.
As often happens in life, the man I loved so deeply and I went in different ways. The other day I ran into him for the first time in ages. It was odd to see him again after so much time has passed, yet I was grateful for how much has changed within me since we last met. As with any other trauma, I wished I hadn’t had to experience such deep pain through unrequited love, but I am grateful for all the growth the undesired emotion brought to my life.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC