Unrequited Love: Causes, Types, Signs And How To Deal With It

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Sarvika Aggarwal

06 November 2023

9 Mins

Unrequited Love

We have all heard the saying – love hurts. And, sometimes, it can hurt a lot – especially when it is unrequited love.

Unrequited love is when you have strong emotional feelings for someone, but they do not feel the same way. It is a one-sided experience. In this kind of love, you desire a long committing relationship where you long for physical touch, romantic feelings, compassion and togetherness with them.

Unrequited love is very common and can cause a lot of emotional pain. Have you ever been in this painful situation?

What causes unrequited love

Research has shown that unrequited love usually happens with people having an anxious attachment style – where the person feels that the other person will abandon them. People with this attachment style crave love and attention, become overly dependent on relationships and want constant reassurance that people care about them.

Studies show that in order to fill this void and feel better – these people tend to fall for people who are out of their reach. Because of this, they feel miserable and lonely.

Moreover, research has shown that love develops over time, and often people who are friends for years can develop feelings for their best friend – that is either mutual or one-sided. Feelings often develop between people who share the same hobbies or have a good friendship.

Often people who are good friends or just know each other for years end up falling for the other person. This can also happen from what is known as mixed signals or a person interpreting certain signs as a person liking them when, in reality, they are just affectionate.

A single thing cannot determine how unrequited love occurs because, in the end, the topic of discussion is love which is a complicated issue.

Types of unrequited love

There are different variations of unrequited love. Let us see what they are –

  • Loving someone who doesn’t reciprocate the same feelings
  • Loving your ex
  • Attraction to different people while you are in a relationship
  • Longing for someone unavailable
  • Unequal love relationship

Science has discovered love to be a chemical reaction producing hormones like oxytocin and dopamine in the brain in both unrequited and mutual love. Therefore, both types of love are equally genuine. However, the types of unrequited love can differ in the level of emotional pain it causes and how one takes it.

unrequited love

Signs & symptoms of unrequited love

Unrequited is different in different case scenarios. It is a yearning to have unconditional love that makes you feel equal and at a level with them. There are some signs and symptoms of unrequited love.

They are –

  • Your love interest doesn’t seem interested or take any initiative to build a deeper connection with you. They are mostly interested in hanging out with you when they wish to chill with somebody.
  • If you wish to build a strong connection with your love interest, there is a longing to have a physical relationship with them where you show them how much love you have for them. However, if they do not feel the same for you – they wouldn’t want to have a physical relationship with you and would give signs of resistance to you.
  • They do not reciprocate your calls, texts or invitations. They might take long hours to reply or will ghost you with a good excuse for why they didn’t call or text you back.
  • When you are in denial – there are times when the person is affectionate as a person but you might misinterpret their simple actions like casual hugs, smiling at you happily, or complimenting you as them having feelings for you.
  • Experiencing unpleasant and anxious thoughts like – rejection, hopelessness, and unworthiness engulfs you and makes you feel like you are the problem. This can also lead to feeling like you don’t deserve love and are good for nothing.
  • Struggling to get them off your mind and creating scenarios where you imagine you are in a relationship with them. You often find yourself stalking them on social media or shopping in areas where they like to shop.
  • You tend to put that particular person on a pedestal and don’t see any flaws or imperfections within them. In healthy relationships, people talk about their vulnerabilities and insecurities. However, in unrequited love — you feel the other person is perfect because you do not usually chat with them and see them in a different limelight.

Impact of unrequited love

Unrequited love can cause a lot of emotional and physical pain. It is a major source of depression and anxiety. Some of the effects of unrequited love are –

  • Anxious thoughts: Unrequited love can bring a lot of unpleasant and anxious thoughts into your consciousness which might create a disturbed illusion for you.

  • Poor self-esteem: Often people in unrequited love tend to attach their worth to the people they love, and if they don’t get the same amount of love they give – they feel they don’t deserve anything and are not worthy of love at all.

  • Isolation: When someone doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, you lock yourself in and feel isolated and lonely. Moreover, this can also make you feel like you don’t deserve to be in a relationship.

  • Unnecessary stress: Being in a one-sided relationship can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. It might make you feel like you have no one by your side who can understand the feelings you are going through, and that may contribute to feelings of anxiety, and depression.

How to heal over unrequited love

It is possible to get over these feelings and heal over unrequited love. But for that, you have to give yourself that time and space. Let’s see how you can do it.

  • Acceptance: In order to move on from these feelings and be at peace with yourself, you need to accept that you have feelings for that particular person, and if they don’t reciprocate those feelings — that doesn’t say anything about you as a person, that is just how they feel.

  • Giving yourself the time & space to feel your emotions completely: To get out of this unending cycle of sadness and loneliness, you need to give yourself the time & space to feel your emotions completely and get out of this process slowly. Running away from these feelings will only lead to stress and overthinking.

  • Indulge in things that make you happy: Keep yourself busy and indulge in activities that make you happy and connect you with your inner child. Your real self knows what is best for you – try to connect with it by doing things that make you lose sense of time and help you stay in the present moment.

  • Talking to your friends/close ones: Venting about your feelings with someone can give you a new perspective on them. Letting out your feelings can also make you feel light and unburdened.

  • Understand your patterns: Instead of giving in to your thoughts, try and contemplate where are those feelings and emotions coming from – is it real? Or is your mind trying to create an illusion for you? At times our thoughts tend to play with us, which can lead us to lose touch with reality. The moment you understand your mind and thoughts – no one can harm you, not even your thoughts.

  • Getting professional help: If you feel like you are not able to help yourself but wish to move out of this state – ask for help. Get in touch with mental health professionals or relationship counsellors to talk about this issue. Now&Me also has an expert panel with therapists and relationship coaches who can help you talk about your problems when you don’t know what to do. There are times when you feel stuck and don’t wish to overburden your close ones. In times like these, you should have the opportunity to talk to a professional about it. Now&Me provides its audience with the benefit of talking to a professional, and the good thing about this is that the first session is absolutely free. You can try out if a mental health professional suits you by having the first session for free.

How can Now&Me help you?

Our platform Now&Me is a safe place that helps you feel better and make you understand things from a different perspective by journaling out whatever is weighing you down. It can help you in the following ways —

  • Journaling helps in understanding your emotions on a deeper level by structuring your thoughts and feelings.
  • Engaging with others can make you understand the importance of love from a different angle & perspective.
  • It assures you that you are not alone. -You feel heard and might make a friend who can relate to your situation.
  • You can be a part of a larger community that can guide you in times of crisis.
  • You never know – unexpected meet-ups can help you solve your issues.
  • It’s like your personal journal – write whatever you wish to. No one will judge you, and you will get a chance to shine your authentic self.


When you feel like you don’t have any solution to your problem or feel blurry when you look into the future, download Now&Me for free and let your words flow. Be a part of a non-judgmental, inclusive, and friendly community. It is a beautiful and warm family that has got your back. Help someone via your experiences or simply write your feelings here and breathe easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of signs of unrequited love. The most common ones are – unpleasant thoughts, anxiety, the other person not showing any interest and often ghosting you, not reciprocating your calls or texts, and making up excuses when you try to get to know them — these are a few examples that you can look out for as signs of unrequited love.

The feeling a person has for someone is very subjective. Some people can certainly be in love with the other person, while some are just in a phase of infatuation or attraction and give it the label of love.

While there is no problem in falling in love, unrequited love can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for the person who is always thinking about the other person and wish to come into a relationship with them.

Yes, unrequited love can go away if you just let things be and instead of forcing yourself to forget about them – you give yourself ample time & space to process your emotions completely.

Unrequited love is unhealthy as it can cause tremendous pain and rejection for the person who is always thinking about the other person and their needs. This doesn’t mean that it is wrong to fall in love with someone; these things are quite natural. However, over time – it can harm the person and cause immense pain and stress.

Unrequited love can become addicting as, after a point, the person in love really wants to have that person in their life, which makes them feel their emotions at an intense level. These emotions can become so heavy and strong that the person does everything in their power to get that person in their life.

Comparing unrequited love and breakup is not the right thing to do as both of them have different pain levels, and this is something which cannot be compared. Both unrequited love and breakup hurt a lot, and it is not logical to compare them.

Surviving unrequited love takes a lot of strength and courage as the emotional pain and stress can overwhelm the person and make them fall into the void of anxiety and depression.

Unrequited love means having strong emotional feelings for someone, but they do not feel the same way. It is a one-sided experience where you desire a long committing relationship with physical touch, romantic feelings, compassion and togetherness.

There is no set course to deal with unrequited love. However – talking to your close ones, being easy on yourself, giving yourself that time & space and seeking professional help can help you wonders in this area.

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