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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    How Can I Handle Unrequited Love?

    Dear eNotAlone: I am deeply in love with a man I've known for several years, but I don't believe he knows of my feelings. Although we communicate often and seem to connect on many levels, I don't think he is aware that the yearning I have for him runs deeper than friendship. He has had several relationships since I've known him, which suggests that either he is unaware of my affections or is not interested in acting on them. I fear he may feel repulsed if I do express my true feelings. Should I take a risk to make my longings known or continue to keep my emotions under wraps?

    * * *

    We've all been there: you're head-over-heels for someone, but they seemingly don't even notice. Unrequited love can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences of life, and the way you choose to handle it can significantly influence your entire future. Before making any decisions, it's important to assess the situation from every angle, and weigh your options carefully before acting.

    Consider the risks involved of declaring your feelings: are you merely afraid of rejection, or is there a valid possibility that your confession could cause deep embarrassment or awkwardness between you and your beloved? It's worth truly understanding the potential outcomes before proceeding. reflect on your own readiness to express such a vulnerable emotion; are you emotionally strong enough to be okay no matter the response?

    Think through the importance of your relationship with this person: is this an individual you deem reliable, trustworthy and respectful? Could you stand to have a friendship with them regardless of their reaction if you were to confess your feelings? Gauge exactly how important this person is to you and consider how much satisfaction you get from being in their life, even if it is from afar.

    It can be helpful to ask yourself whether your feelings are reciprocated in some form. Have there been moments when you're together that suggest they feel something beyond simple friendship? What are the signals they're sending, whether they're aware of them or not? In other words, is this a hopeless cause, or is there argument to believe that your love has a genuine chance of working out?

    Even if you feel like you've come to a logical conclusion, it's still important to put yourself first in this process. If the need to maintain your relationship from a distance is more desirable than risking rejection, then perhaps it's best to stay silent and accept the circumstances as-is. However, should you decide to take the plunge and lay your heart out, prepare yourself for a series of emotional waves. It's a risk worth taking, but understand that even if things don't go as planned, you're not alone and you haven't failed.

    Everyone's relationships look different – the ability to differentiate between a passionate attempt and unrequited love comes only with reflection and experience. Remember to enjoy the moments spent with the person, and appreciate them for everything they've done to contribute to your life. No matter what the outcome may be, value the journey and trust that you will eventually find the strength and courage within to keep going, even when it's hard.


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