How To Let Go Of One-Sided Love When He Doesn’t Want You

Updated April 9, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
“Feeling rejected can be so tough and hard to let go of. Try to recognize what you can get out of moving on. Make sure to validate your worth and positive qualities that someone would be lucky to appreciate someday.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

Many people find themselves in one-sided relationships where they are the only ones making any effort. While it can be a painful, complicated realization, it can be a helpful first step to moving on with the rest of your life so you can find someone who wants a place at your side. Read on to explore how to recognize one-sided love, tips to help you move on after a breakup, and how therapy can help you heal so your next relationship can be healthy. 

Are you ready to move on from a one-sided relationship?

What is a one-sided relationship?

Mental health professionals typically define one-sided relationships as couplings that lack balance and equal reciprocity. Healthy, successful relationships are often built on a foundation of consideration, compromise, and communication. Both partners should work together to support, love, and care for each other’s needs. It may be a one-sided relationship if that sounds different from what you have with your partner. 

“In a balanced relationship, you know where you stand with the other person. … A one-sided relationship has more uncertainty and boils down to one person doing more of the heavy lifting—emotionally, physically, and mentally.” — Cleveland Clinic

Why it may be better to break it off and move on

Whatever the reason you’ve grown apart, once the intimacy and deeper connection are gone, there’s not much left to save. If he’s not showing any interest in repairing your bond, it can be healthier to break up and move on with your life. Lingering and hoping for him to change or suddenly recognize that he does love you may be a pointless endeavor that will only likely lead to more pain and disappointment. If you don't feel valued, cared for, or necessary to him and nothing changes after you express concerns, it may be healthier to cut ties.

How to recognize when he doesn’t want you

While the most effective way to know if there are reciprocal feelings in the relationship is to ask him, he may not answer honestly. You can look for signs indicating he's not emotionally engaged in the relationship and doesn't feel the same way you do. 

Signs your relationship is one-sided:

  • You constantly feel exhausted because you are making all the effort and stretching yourself too thin to hold it together. 
  • It doesn’t feel like you have a meaningful connection with him. 
  • You’re always the one who has to apologize.
  • There’s never any compromise or sacrifice on his part. 
  • His needs always come before yours.
  • He doesn’t seem interested in fixing anything when you express your concerns. 
  • You don’t feel like a priority in his life. 
  • You don’t spend time together. 
  • He makes time for the things he considers important—but not you.  

Exploring healthy ways to let go of unrequited love

Breakups are almost always hard, and when you are the only one who genuinely cares, it can be challenging to let go of your love for him. You may not get to know the reasons the relationship failed. Try focusing on the fact that you put in the effort and did what you could to make the relationship work. When it didn’t, you valued yourself enough to break the bond rather than be a convenient choice or continue leaving your needs unmet. 

Focus on loving yourself

Getting out of a one-sided relationship where he didn’t want you may leave you feeling undesirable or as if you’re not worthy of being loved. However, those lingering feelings should fade. Pour the love and attention you would have given your partner into loving yourself. Discover how you want to be treated by doing everything for yourself that you’d like a partner to do. Set the standard for acceptable treatment in your next relationship and work regular self-care into your routine at the same time. Identify what you want in a partner, and don’t settle for less. 

Give yourself the time and space to grieve your loss

The relationship may have been one-sided, but you still had real feelings for your former partner. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve the loss of the connection and the love you had for him—but set a time limit for your misery. Give yourself a week or two to feel what you feel, but don’t let it become a habit. Remember, if you’re stuck wallowing in sadness over a lost love who didn’t want you, it could be easy to miss someone who does.  

Lean on your support network

Let your friends and family support you through the breakup. Create a positive environment with people you trust and talk through what happened if that could help you. You can and should set healthy boundaries, so if you'd rather be distracted and don't want to talk about the breakup, politely but firmly tell them so. 

Put your energy into personal development

Studies show that people who focus on personal development, such as getting fitter, developing new skills, or making other positive changes in their lives, often show higher levels of self-confidence, personal satisfaction, and progress healing from a breakup compared to peers who did not make efforts to better themselves after separation. 

Understand that you are worthy of love—he just wasn’t the right guy 

Realizing that your former partner didn't want you can be painful and may make you feel that no one will love you. That is likely your grief talking. You are worthy of love; he simply wasn’t the guy for you. The initial spark of connection with someone doesn’t always grow into something more, and even long-term relationships can fade. 

Continue letting love into your life

You may not want to even think about love for a while after the breakup. That’s fine—for a while. Try not to close yourself off from the possibility of connecting with someone else. Your ex may not have been the right guy for you, but that mean’s he’s still out there waiting to meet you.  

Coping strategies to help you through a breakup

  • Keep a journal to help you work through your feelings. Studies show that the act of journaling is therapeutic in itself because you must examine your feelings before you can write about them. 
  • Visualize the possibilities that new relationships could bring to your life. According to recent studies, you can also feel positive emotions after a breakup. Learn from this experience and use it to grow. 
  • Perform a breakup ritual to give yourself closure if your feelings are lingering. Recognize and acknowledge your pain, loss, anger, sadness, and the other emotions you feel about the breakup. Get rid of his photos, pack up his things to return, or write a goodbye letter you don't send. Studies show that a breakup ritual can help you find closure and move on to the next phase of your life. 
Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Are you ready to move on from a one-sided relationship?

How therapy can help heal after one-sided love

Recognizing and ending a one-sided relationship can be challenging and complex to manage independently. Consider working with a licensed relationship therapist online through a virtual therapy platform like Regain. Therapy can help you identify and reshape unhealthy thought and behavior patterns, develop a wide range of practical coping skills to help you manage stressors, and communication strategies to help you let you effectively discuss your feelings and needs with your next partner. Therapy can help you develop your sense of emotional intelligence, awareness, and literacy, so you can identify, understand, and express what you feel. Parents or guardians looking for ways to support their kids can find online counseling for 12-19-year-old children at TeenCounseling. 

The American Psychological Association conducted numerous recent studies to explore the effectiveness of different therapy delivery methods. The research indicates that online and in-person psychotherapy provide similar outcomes. In addition to being more cost-effective and requiring shorter wait times, teletherapy platforms offer connection to a comprehensive network of licensed therapists and mental health professionals. Unlike most brick-and-mortar therapeutic offices—which generally have a limited selection of providers—it’s simple to connect with someone else if you don’t find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and fits well with your circumstances and personality on the first try.   


Realizing that your relationship is one-sided and that he doesn't want you can hurt. However, it does give you the closure necessary to start moving on so you can find someone who can’t imagine life without you. The information in this article offers insight into letting go of one-sided love and how therapy can support you through healing and thriving.

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.