An anonymous reader asks for deep thoughts about unrequited love:
That is, other than 'move on, keep busy, date others, etc,'' any thoughts on how to let go, and not feel inadequate and undesirable, when the one you love loves someone else??
Well this is a tough one. You've taken away the easy answers: eyes on the horizon, keep moving, there are other fish in the sea.
When I sat down here I was planning to be all worldly-wise, and say, "we've all experienced unrequited love, and I know I've had my share." But the truth is, I'm not sure I have. I've been disappointed, for sure. I've built up expectations based on the most optimistic interpretations of someone else's behavior, and then been crushed to realize I was reading it all wrong. I've fallen for men who never really opened up to me. But is this unrequited love? I don't really know.
I think I've protected myself against unrequited love by holding a part of myself in reserve. I want the other person to go first. Once upon a time I wasn't afraid to go first, to be the person who liked the other person more. Because what are the chances you're both going to have your feelings deepen in exact synchronicity? People open up at a different pace. Time was, I was able to be brave. And then I got damaged, and I wouldn't go first anymore. So I stayed aloof, kept a part of me separate, and always watched the other person for signs that would let me cut and run away. It did protect me from unrequited love. But I think it protected me from real love, too.
Something is different with Mr. Next Big Thing. I don't know why, but I'm not afraid. I have some theories (he met me through this blog, for one, so I felt like he'd seen a lot of my most vulnerable self already, and I couldn't really pretend or project something stronger than I really am. Or I didn't have the energy to be elusive and reserved. I dunno.). In any event, it's an unfamiliar sensation, this enthusiastic, sappy, opening up, and it's made me see just how much I held back in prior relationships. It feels really, really good.
So I don't know if I have much to offer to you. I do think that timing is so much of connection. I know you know that just because a particular person doesn't love you back, at the same time you are able to love him/her, it doesn't mean you're unloveable. It really doesn't. It's okay to feel sad, though. It 's okay to long for something. But all that other stuff that I'm not allowed to advise is not eye-rolling pablum. It's real, and I think it's the only thing besides time that can heal the ache of wanting something you can't have: take care of yourself, date other people, be kind to the people around you, do something that makes you happy and do something that makes you feel beautiful, like your best self, once a day if you can.