Hello From the Other Side

Have you ever been so, so far deep into something, that you don’t even really realize how bad it was–how bad you were, until you finally start to come out on the other side?

Unrequited Love is defined as simply loving someone who doesn’t love you back. It’s a horrible feeling, and one that I feel like most people have felt at one point or another throughout their lives. There are books, songs, poems, and speeches about experiences with unrequited love. It’s everywhere. It’s been apart of life since the beginning of time.

Unrequited love is brutal. It’s toxic and it can eat you alive. The pain of loving someone who doesn’t feel the same way is almost unbearable; it feels devastating. The past sixteen months for me have been awful. I’ve cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to admit; I’ve lost so, so much sleep and I still feel like I’m playing catch up; I’ve been shamefully glued to my phone, silently hoping and pleading for a text, for a message, for a call.

Just over a year ago, my heart broke into a million pieces, and I’m still trying to pick them all up and put them back together. For most of last year, I was in a really, really bad place. I was really, really sad and angry the majority of the time. I tried to distract myself through traveling and teaching and training for a half marathon and even going out on my first Tinder date, but I was not ready. And in all honesty, after all this time, I’m still not where I need to be. Some days, it really does feel like I take one step forward and five steps back. 

It was a kind of mutual unspoken love. A kind of thing that happens at the wrong time under the wrong circumstances. But, then suddenly,  I didn’t count. I didn’t exist. I didn’t happen. I’m not important. I don’t matter.

For many months I tried to suppress my feelings and my anger; I desperately tried not to be *that girl*. I tried to be the feminist and the friend I always am to my friends– who tells them they’re worth more, that guys will come and go, that their beauty and their worth come from within. But the truth is that it really, really hurts. And I never want to feel like this again. Because above all else I’m grieving a friendship; I’m grieving a friend– and more importantly the person I believed- and hoped- they were. I’m grieving what was, and I’m grieving the fact hat they don’t seem to care, as long as they get to have their cake and eat it too.

But through this process, I’ve learned that feeling is so much better than not feeling. I’m only human, after all. I’ve learned that when it comes to unrequited love, it’s basically a form of grieving, and you need to acknowledge it in order to move on. It’s important to go easy on yourself, let yourself feel sad and angry and resentful, but to not stop living your life (I think I did a pretty good job at that!) The worst advice about unrequited love has been telling me I need to find someone else and move on, as if it was that easy.

I’m trying to remember that just because I am not loved by one does not mean I am not loved by others. There is so much love in my life. I’m trying to remember that I do deserve someone who can love me back, and that I am still capable of finding someone who will love me, fully and truthfully. I have to remind myself that I deserve that– that everyone deserves that.

I’m not where I need to be, yet. But I’ve begun to remove the blindfold. I’m trying to feel pity instead of jealousy. Im trying to feel gratefulness instead of pine. I’m hoping, sixteen months later, that I’ll be able to get there.




17 thoughts on “Hello From the Other Side

  1. This is a beautiful and honest post! I’ve recently been through the same kind of situation. A year of loving, hoping, agonizing and getting nothing in return except a lot of false hope accompanied by extraordinary amount of hurt and rejection. And it’s hard when you’re living the “adventurous life abroad” because it can feel like you don’t have the same freedom to hurt and feel and grieve. But nobody should settle for being cake, being had or treated as the afterthought. We all deserve to be more than that. But it sucks, plain and simple. I wish you healing in your journey, but know that you’re not alone ❤ Thanks for sharing


  2. I can’t say I’ve ever really been in a similar situation but I did lose someone a few months ago who meant a lot to me (they didn’t know I existed) and I would get upset everyday and always think of him. It took my coworker saying ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were grieving’ to fully understand what I was feeling. Since then I’ve felt tremendously better and I’ve stopped thinking ‘how am I suppose to be happy without him?’ And started trying new things. It also helped me acknowledge some negativity in my life that I needed to cut out.

    1. It’s a really, really shitty thing. You’re totally right that it is a grieving process. I think I’m grieving the friendship more than anything else. I’m sorry to hear you’re going thru that as well. Always good to rid yourself of baggage, though!

  3. My favorite line: “I’ve learned that feeling is so much better than not feeling.” AMEN. I definitely am a professional compartmentalizer. It’s a problem I come up against again and again… It is so easy to devise distractions and ignore feelings, but you’re so right. Ultimately, we need to experience our emotions, even the bad ones. Coming clean about them is what always helps me push back against the urge to compartmentalize and forget, so I say brava! I wish you peace and closure. ❤

      1. I love that her song is a letter to herself instead of to a guy. Totally relatable
        When I look back in my 19-year-old self. IT GETS BETTER! Lol

  4. Great post Dana. You’re right, it’s easy to be on a supportive and neutral side and give advice to a friend who is not receiving the love they’re giving; it sucks when that friend becomes us! I know just a bit of what the self questioning and the feeling of inadequacy can be like when our emotions are not returned. I think it’s beautiful that you realized that these are experiences which help us become different or better versions of ourselves, and that it’s better to live these experiences instead of never knowing them.

    In my case, I sometimes tell myself that I’m alone because I’m discovering who I am and that it’s easier to be alone than with someone since being accompanied involves a lot of work. I think there is a lot truth in that but I also feel that part of it is a front I put up to avoid dealing with the difficulty of putting myself out there. Things happen to us when they are supposed to happen. Maybe this is recycled and very general advice but I think it’s the truth. We were not here at one point and now we are ; we didn’t know about certain things, hate, compassion, misery, lust, boredom, and now we know do; we live, learn, laugh, play and eventually we will die. I like to think that we will also find love. Romantic love is great and probably the greatest, but there are other kinds of love too.

  5. Dana, you are so awesome and deserving of someone who can see and acknowledge that and HONOR that! But I feel you! I used to feel that way before I met my boyfriend. I used to have these deep, one-sided feelings that would never be reciprocated. But now I realize how shady it is for someone to string another person along, to play with their emotions and give them just enough to hang on but not to actually be with them. You deserve much better than that. I think the biggest thing for me was finally being ready to receive love and acceptance for who I actually am and that started with me. I think we cannot receive the love we are unwilling to give to ourselves. It’s so cliche or whatever but it’s true. And to be honest, it’s the advice that one of my friends from TAPIF gave me as we sat at a cafe in France. And I had heard it all before but it just sat a little differently with me. About a year and a half later, I was a bridesmaid at her wedding where I met my now-boyfriend (who I live with and have been with for four years!). I didn’t think meeting someone like him was possible but I think the universe sort of aligns when we finally decide we’re ready and decide what we’re willing to accept. I know this is all stuff you’ve probably heard before but just wanted to say it because everything you’re sharing rings so true to what I used to feel and think and experience and if it’s possible for me to have a love as fulfilling as this, it’s possible for you, too! 🙂

    1. Erika is right. We accept things we hear when we’re ready to hear them. Certain pieces of advice that we know and share are especially effective at certain points in our lives. We open ourselves to great feelings and other things once we’re at peace with ourselves and once we can love and care for ourselves as we would like another to do to us.

  6. Hey Dana,
    From your posts, even though they’re obviously full of life and adventure, I had a feeling something like this was going on. I think once you’ve lived it it’s easy to recognize, because you remember that effort to make things normal, to not be “that girl” like you said. All I can say is that what I learned from my experiences with heartbreak was that closing yourself up was NOT the lesson to take away. I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I remember when I was in the midst of unrequited love, thinking of it like dents in a tin can, new ones every day that I couldn’t do anything about. I hope you get some kind of closure because I do think that’s the worst part of it. And some day it will help you appreciate the people or person who do love you.

  7. Unrequited love is not something I have ever experienced for that I am thankful, being in a bad place is also not an experience I am familiar with but I have seen my daughters in bad places and wished they could see what I had seen that is terrible. I hope things improve for you and you continue to go from strength to strength and take each day as it arrives

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