How To Overcome Unrequited Love

Updated April 15, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Unrequited love can be painful. Whether it's for someone you used to be romantically involved with or someone you loved from afar, it can be difficult to pine for someone who is not in love with you and never will be. When the love of your life has found happiness with someone else, it can be even more heartbreaking. But all hope is not lost. It may be possible to overcome unrequited love and move on to the happiness you deserve.

Love is meant to be shared

What is unrequited love?

One definition for love that's unrequited is "one-sided love that is not returned by the object of one's affection". The love may not be returned because the person does not feel the same way or may not even be aware that the other person has feelings for them.

Coping with love that's unrequited

Unrequited or unreturned love can be miserable. At the same time, though, you may not want to stop loving the person you care so deeply for. You might wonder how you can you cope when you have such a deep-seated love for someone who doesn't feel the same way. 

It could help to know that you're not alone. Many people may experience unrequited love, and they may even feel like a hopeless romantic at some point in their lives. It might also be important to pay attention to whether this is a pattern in your life. Ask yourself if you tend to fall in love with individuals who are unavailable or who you know will never love you back. It is not uncommon for people with insecurities to unconsciously seek out unrequited love to confirm their fears that they don’t deserve love.  

This could be one reason why some women find themselves falling in love with gay men, men who could never see them as a romantic possibility. Of course, if they came forward with their love, then their advances may be rejected, which is why they may fool themselves into believing they are perfectly happy loving someone from afar.

Another way unreturned love can sting is after a break-up. When a couple breaks up, it may be because one person no longer wants to remain in the relationship. The partner who is on the receiving end of the breakup may feel rejected and may remain in a state of unrequited love for a lengthy period of time. Feelings of love for their ex may persist until they can move forward on their own or find someone new.

Quotes about unreturned love

Sometimes, we can find ourselves in so much pain that we can't even think of words to express it. Perhaps we're still in the throes of love that's unrequited, and we feel a bit pathetic. We might feel like no one else has ever gone through this before. Still, innumerable people have suffered from unrequited love at one time or another. It can help to read other people's opinions on the topic when we're feeling especially alone or despondent:

"The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs." - Thornton Wilder

"The sun's gone dim, and the moon's turned black; for I loved him, and he didn't love back." - Dorothy Parker

"Love may have the longest arms, but it can still fall short of an embrace." - Megan McCafferty

"Too many of us are hung up on what we don't have, can't have, or won't ever have. We spend too much energy being down when we could use that same energy - if not less of it - doing, or at least trying to do, some of the things we really want to do." - Terry McMillan

Moving on

Perhaps the best way to move on from love that's unrequited is to allow time to pass. It may also help to give up on the search for closure. When someone still has strong feelings for their ex, which often happens after a break-up, the person left hanging may not always get the satisfaction that closure can bring. In this case, they might begin to look for closure on their own. For instance, they may check their ex's Facebook page to see if he has moved on with someone new. However, every day that he doesn't post a picture of himself with a new partner, they might also hold onto the hope that he's come to his senses and may return to the relationship. 

The trouble is that the hope of reconciling could be holding you back from moving on from the relationship. In the long run, it may be beneficial to accept that the relationship was not meant to be. After some time has passed, and you have recovered from the hurt, you might find that there’s someone out there better suited for you.  

How to find closure

Even though you may not receive direct closure from your unrequited love, you can still find a piece of it on your own. For instance, you may want to write your unrequited lover a letter (even if you never actually send it). The simple process of writing down your thoughts and feelings can bring you closer to moving on.

You can also talk with friends or begin a new hobby such as a fitness routine or even an art class, for example. Getting in touch with who you are can remind you that you're strong enough to move forward on your own. 

Seeking help

Therapy may be one of the most useful tools available to you while moving on from unrequited love. A counselor can be an unbiased listening ear and someone who asks the right questions to understand your current situation better. This understanding can lead to a deeper form of closure and the ability to get over your unreturned love for good. 

Reaching out for help recovering from unrequited love might feel intimidating, though. It could be that you’re experiencing some negative emotions like shame, rejection, or humiliation. It’s not always easy to talk about these feelings with a stranger. An online setting could put you at ease and help you to open up about your feelings. Internet-based counseling might also be more convenient since not everyone has the time to drive to an appointment during regular office hours. 

This form of counseling is also supported by scholarly research in the field of psychotherapy. A comprehensive meta-analysis performed by researchers reviewed nearly 10,000 distinct cases and found no significant difference between online counseling and in-person therapy in terms of outcomes. The study followed various populations experiencing a wide range of mental health challenges and conditions.

Love is meant to be shared

Counselor reviews

Below are some reviews of Regain counselors from people experiencing similar issues:

"I was really nervous starting because I didn't know what to expect. After a few minutes of talking to her, I felt at ease. So far, she has been understanding and made me feel like my situation isn't completely hopeless. Every time I talk with her, I have felt relief, and my thoughts feel less jumbled than before."

"I don't know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place, and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today, I am happy and feeling like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation, he took time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him."


If you are struggling with love that's unrequited, consider reaching out to one of our licensed counselors for help and advice. A professional mental health counselor can help you move forward with your life and eventually fall in love with someone who loves you back. They can validate what you are going through while still pointing you in the direction of moving on. Take the first step today.

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