Being rejected in love hurts. New research shows that social and romantic rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain. When you have one-way love–the one you love doesn’t love back, you may feel it physically and emotionally.
Here are some ways to transcend the pain of one-way love:
Be true to yourself
At the beginning of a new relationship, you tend to be on your best behaviour but after time passes and you become more comfortable you should be able to show your partner all sides of your personality. You need to be your true self very early on. If you’re a spiritual person then express that part of yourself to the person you’re dating. If you’re an introverted person who cherishes your own alone time, communicate it. Assuming there is mutual chemistry, if a man embraces who you are, and matches some of your deeply held values, then two-way love can develop. If they’re not willing to embrace everything you are, it’s best to move on.
Is there a chance?
If you’re questioning whether or not the person you’re dating truly loves you, it’s time to sit down and have a real conversation about what each of your intentions are. When your love isn’t being returned, the first thing you may ask is: “What can I do to make them love me?” In reality, there is nothing you can do. From the beginning of every relationship, it’s important that you communicate what kind of relationship you’re each looking for, whether it be long/short term. If you find out you’re not on the same page early on, you will want to reevaluate whether this one is right for you.
Embrace the empty space
You finally admit to yourself that they will never love you back, and decide to end the relationship. Here’s a way to ease the pain: Embrace the empty space—the time period between the ending of one relationship and the beginning of another.
Too many people jump back into a rebound relationship after the breakup. Doing so can be hazardous to your emotional health, because you haven’t yet healed from the previous relationship. You need time to grieve, heal, and repair yourself. Cry, hug a friend, listen to your favorite playlist; express your feelings of doubt, despair and hurt to a close friend or counselor.
Recognize that embracing the empty space means that you will not be contacting your ex to “catch up,” or “grab lunch or coffee.” It means cutting off communication via text, email, phone, or social media. The law of association in psychology tells us that we have a tendency to build up positive associations with certain things or people, it can be difficult to change these mental patterns once they’re established. Just hearing his voice, or smelling their cologne, can send your hormones into overdrive and make you yearn for them even more. The best approach is to cut off all communication with them is to give yourself a chance to embrace the empty space and heal from your wounds.
One of the greatest secrets of recovery from one-way love is to practice self-compassion. To have compassion means to alleviate the suffering of others. When you have compassion for yourself, you love yourself enough to do what is best for you.
It’s time to love and take care of yourself. Go on a mini-vacation for a couple of days, go to the spa, gym, take a trip to nature, make new friends, start a new hobby, or restart an old one. Take time to think and meditate, to journal, and plan your future.
Get involved in activities that help other people; perhaps volunteer at a nonprofit foundation or humanitarian organization. When you help others, and take care of yourself at the same time, you will experience increased feelings of gratitude, joy, and love for others and yourself. Don’t be surprised if, in your new journey of self-love, you find a caring man who resonates with your style—a great guy who connects with you at the deepest possible level.