When you love someone who doesn’t return your feelings, it’s often referred to as unrequited or empty love. These types of situations may occur due to age differences, sexual orientation, your romantic interest in already having a partner, or them simply not feeling the same way about you. Creating physical distance from the person you’re interested in, distracting yourself with hobbies and time with loved ones, or moving on with someone who is equally interested in you may be ways to cope with unrequited love. If you’re finding it challenging to let go of your feelings, you may benefit from the help of a licensed therapist in online therapy.
Why Doesn't The Other Person Love You Back?
The first thing you may wish to determine if you've met someone you have fallen for is whether you can realistically start a relationship with them. While asking for a chance to get to know each other romantically can be a valid option, recognizing a situation in which it’s not likely that a loving relationship will develop can be an equally valuable skill.
Below, you may find some common reasons why your romantic interest might not feel the same way about you.
They Already Have A Partner
It could be that the person you love is already married or in a couple. If you know that the other person is happy with their spouse or partner, then it may be best to put any ideas of a romantic relationship with them out of your mind. Moving forward with them would likely negatively impact their current relationship and, if they have children, their family. Even if you believe that their current relationship is lacking in something like passion (which can be seen in cases of those who have transitioned to companionate love) pursuing them would almost always be inappropriate. This type of behavior can be disrespectful, and it could cause long-term harm to all parties involved. If this is the unrequited love quandary that faces you, then it can be both appropriate and wise to withdraw gracefully.
Their Sexual Orientation Means They Aren't Attracted To You
Sometimes situations may arise where you have strong romantic feelings for someone, but realize you are not of a gender to which they are attracted romantically. In that instance, you should not try to pressure or persuade them into having feelings for you. A person’s sexuality is not up for debate; attempting to order or coerce them into a relationship when they are not attracted to you could be disrespectful of their identity.
On occasion, you might have romantic feelings for someone who is either too young or too old for you. This problem might not be insurmountable, depending on how big the age gap is; if you are both old enough to give consent to have a relationship, then you may still be able to pursue a relationship with them.
However, there are some age differences so great that it is unlikely to work out in the long term, even if they eventually agree to date you. People who are many years apart in age or from different generations often have different values and priorities; their idea of what to do for fun and their goals for life may not be the same as yours. There can be exceptions, but it’s often better to look for someone closer to your age.
They Don’t Feel The Same Way
Sometimes, there may not be a particular reason why a person does not return your feelings of love. They may not be able to put this reason into words, or at least not in a way you can fully accept. Just as you may not be able to control your feelings of love for them, they may not be able to force feelings of love for you, even if they want to. In some cases, you may not be on the same page with the person you care for, or you may have an idea of them in your mind that differs from who they are in reality. This can often be true if you and this person are strangers or don’t know each other very well.
How To Move On From Unrequited Love
Determining that you may not be able to win over the person you love can feel like a crushing blow. It may be easy to say, "Well, you need to stop loving that person," but directing your heart to do something and doing it can be two different things. We don't always have complete control over our emotions, and in some cases, we may have little control over who we fall in love with.
What can you do to overcome unrequited love for a more fulfilling consummate love? Here are some suggestions.
If you love someone and know that they don't feel the same way about you, then you might choose to distance yourself from them or try to end any contact you have with them in your life, even if only temporarily.
If you are in unrequited love with someone from work, then you might inquire about getting transferred to a different floor or another department, minimize your face-to-face interactions with them, or, if the situation is particularly intense and you happen to feel it is necessary, you might search for another job. If it's someone you know socially, you can politely decline to spend time with them. If they're insistent about knowing why you're acting that way, it may be best to be direct and honest about your emotions and the resulting decision to remove yourself from the situation.
Out of sight might not equal out of mind at first, but it may eventually lessen the number of times you think about the person you love and the intensity of your feelings toward them. If you don't have to see them every day, you might think about them constantly at first or want an update on what they are up to, depending on the level of your infatuation. But the longer you remain apart, the better you may be able to distance yourself emotionally and accept the situation.
You might consider taking up a new hobby or reinvesting time in an old interest. You could think about beginning a project, taking a class, or practicing a skill. Spending time with friends and family can also be helpful. Whatever you do, try to make sure that it engages your mind and your body so that it can take up your focus and provide your mind with some relief from your feelings of unrequited love.
Find Someone Else
Once you have had time to let go of your unrequited feelings, it may make sense for you to look for someone else with whom you can have a relationship. It may be refreshing to pursue someone who is equally interested in being with you. It may help to search for a relationship that possesses the three components of love outlined in the triangular theory of love. According to the theory, these components are intimacy, passion, and commitment.
This might not seem like the perfect solution at first, but much like distancing yourself from the person you love and distracting yourself, it may be effective if you're patient and give it a chance. Making a concerted effort to refrain from thinking about the other person and focusing on this new individual may lead to you finding the requited love you are seeking.
It is generally not helpful to take the viewpoint of "there's only one person in the world I'm capable of loving." The idea of one individual in the world who's suitable for each of us or the “person of our dreams” can be a fallacy; there are billions of people on the planet, many of whom you might be compatible with.
Therapy May Help You Overcome Unrequited Love
You might decide that your emotions are complicated enough that you need to talk to someone about the way that you feel. Having an outlet can be critical if you are in a romantic conundrum and can't see a way through it. One option for that outlet could be an online therapy session in the comfort of your own home. This may provide the opportunity to sort through your emotions in comfort. You may vent and talk about your options moving forward with a licensed professional and message them when your feelings are too intense or confusing to sort through alone, when you want advice on how to proceed, or when you’d like to report your progress.
Studies have shown that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy sessions for many mental health concerns, including those of personal emotional control. Patients were able to find success at the same rate when meeting with their counselors online as they were when meeting in person and were able to effectively implement the techniques and mindsets they learned into their daily lives.
Unrequited love is a term that describes a situation in which you love someone, but they don’t love you back. This lack of romantic feelings may stem from differences in sexual orientation, an age gap, or a current partner. It could also be possible that there isn’t a specific reason why the person you’re interested in doesn’t return your feelings. A few ways to cope with the challenging emotions that often come with unrequited love can include distracting yourself with hobbies, spending time with friends and family, creating physical distance between yourself and the object of your affection, and choosing to change your focus to a new romantic interest. If you’re having a hard time moving past unrequited love, online therapy may be a helpful tool for you.
What does empty of love mean?
Being empty of love may refer to a component of the triangular theory of love, which categorizes romantic relationships based on three distinct measurements: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Depending on the level of each of these measurements, love may be classified as liking/friendship, infatuation/limerence, romantic love, companionate love, facetious love, consummate love, or empty love.
Empty love in a relationship can mean that a sense of commitment is there, but the intimacy and passion that may have been previously present are now gone. This type of love lies in the lower right corner of the theoretical triangle, scoring high on the commitment metric but very low on the intimacy and passion metrics.
What are empty love examples?
Empty love can manifest in a number of ways and can often be seen in long-term relationships or marriages. Here are a few examples of dynamics that may cause someone to stay in an empty love relationship.
- Having Children: Some couples will stay together because they have children and believe that divorce or separation could negatively affect them. While each individual can still have a deep love for their children, the intimacy and passion they once had for their partner may be gone for a variety of unrelated reasons.
- Medical Issues: Having a partner who has been incapacitated for a significant length of time may lead to empty love. Some relationships are able to endure throughout an illness, but others may lose their passion and intimacy if their significant other isn’t able to meet their needs.
- Comfortable Lifestyles: Despite the absence of passion or intimacy, some couples may remain together because they both enjoy their current lifestyle. The elements that keep this type of empty love going will vary, but may involve finances, a common home, or mutual friends.
What is empty affection?
Empty affection or unrequited love often refers to a one-way relationship in which one person has romantic feelings for the other, but those feelings are not reciprocated. Empty affection can occur in any relationship: for example, you may develop a crush on a friend who does not feel the same or wish to reignite a romance with an ex-partner. In both these cases, it's possible the other person does not have the same romantic feelings as you, meaning your affection will not be returned.
Recognizing empty affection isn’t always simple, but in many cases, there are clear red flags to look out for. One sign of empty affection is being told you are “like a brother/sister” to a person, or that they only see you as a friend. In other cases, a person may already have a partner. This means that, even if they wanted to be with you, pursuing any romantic feelings would be inappropriate.
When love feels empty?
Empty love can be common in relationships where there is still a sense of commitment but a lack of intimacy and passion. If you want to determine whether you are experiencing empty love, it may be helpful to look for the following signs:
- Going Through the Motions: If you and your partner feel as though there is no excitement in your relationship or you’re simply following a routine, that could indicate that you are experiencing empty love. While a sense of predictability can be comforting in some long-term relationships, it also means that the passion that you once felt for each other has gone.
- Communication is Lacking: Empty relationships often involve less closeness, which could manifest as a significant reduction in communication. If your partner used to give you everything but lately you feel they are closed off or indifferent when you try to talk with them, that may be a red flag that something is wrong.
- The Distance is Growing: Individuals in an empty love relationship may sense their relationship is declining but are unable to end it due to the commitment they feel toward that person. As a result, they may physically distance themself or find excuses to spend time doing things without their partner.
How do you deal with empty love?
According to the triangular theory of love, empty love relationships maintain a level of commitment but lack passion and intimacy. In order to deal with these challenges, a person may need to analyze their relationship in order to determine what areas could be improved. If you feel that you and your partner lack intimacy, opening up and trying to form a deeper connection with them may be helpful. This may require a vulnerability that some individuals find difficult to experience, but doing so may show your partner that you trust them.
If you feel that your relationship is lacking in passion, you may want to increase the amount of quality time you spend together. Long-term relationships and marriages can often fall into a routine, so setting up a regular date night or surprising your partner with a spontaneous display of your love may help reintroduce passion into your lives.
If these methods aren’t effective or you feel as though you could use more support, it can be beneficial to seek a couples or marriage counselor. These professionals can help you both address your concerns in a safe environment and offer strategies to help you deal with challenges in your relationship.
What is it called when you feel no love?
Feeling no love is a complicated situation and could refer to several different scenarios. If an individual does not develop a romantic attraction to others, they could be considered aromantic. This does not mean that aromatics can not form connections with other people; those who identify as aromantic often have close relationships with family, friends, and even partners.
If a person is unable to feel love for anyone, romantic or otherwise, they may be experiencing a mental health condition. One example of a condition that could stop someone from feeling love is depersonalization-derealization disorder, which may cause a sense of emotional numbness to the events and people around you.
What happens to people without love?
A lack of loving relationships can have a negative effect on a person's mental and physical state and may result in conditions like touch starvation. Individuals experiencing touch starvation may not be receiving the positive physical or emotional contact that helps humans bond; as a result, they may have an increase in cortisol, which can raise stress levels. In addition, touch-starved individuals may have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, and may have a higher rate risk of infections.
There are several ways to relieve the adverse symptoms of touch starvation, even if a person does not have someone they can interact with physically. Exercise has numerous health benefits and may help reduce the stress associated with touch starvation. A person may also consider getting a pet. Interacting with pets can release oxytocin in a similar way to interacting with humans and could offer relief to a touch-starved individual.
Why am I not affectionate anymore?
There are a variety of reasons a person may not be able to express affection. One possible cause could be negative past experiences in relationships. If an individual has previously been open and affectionate with a partner, and that person betrayed them, they may be apprehensive about showing affection in the future.
Another cause could be that a person is struggling with their mental health. If an individual is experiencing a mental health condition or has recently been through a traumatic event, they may be less able to show affection to loved ones. In these cases, it can be beneficial to seek the help of a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor may be able to find the root cause of the situation and discuss strategies to address it.
How do you fix a lack of love?
If you find that you are falling out of love with someone or you no longer desire your partner, there are a variety of things you can do.
- Set Aside Time for One Another: Sometimes, a lack of love can be caused by physical or emotional distance, which often occurs due to spending less quality time with your partner. Making time for your significant other and planning date nights could reignite the spark of your love and revitalize your bond.
- Discuss Your Feelings: Communication is one of the most important elements of a healthy relationship, and it's possible that your partner hasn’t recognized the decline in your romance. Sit down with your significant other and tell them how you have been feeling, being mindful of how you approach the topic and avoiding unnecessary criticism. Working together, you may be able to come up with a way to address the challenges in your relationship.
- Assess Other Struggles In Your Life: In some cases, problems in a relationship can stem from challenges you are facing in other areas of your life. If you have been having a tough time at work, struggling academically, or dealing with family issues, these all may have a negative impact on your ability to show your partner love.
What is empty love in a relationship?
According to the triangular theory of love, empty love occurs when a relationship loses its intimacy and passion, leaving only a sense of commitment. This type of love can be seen in long-term relationships or marriages where one partner or both partners feel an obligation to stay with each other, but physical attraction or deep communication that may have once been present has deteriorated. In these types of relationships, partners may stay together in order to maintain a sense of comfort or status quo. In other situations, those in an empty love relationship may have children together. They may also have cultural obligations to encourage them to remain with one another.
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