Life & Love

Unrequited Love - How To Move On From A Love That Hurts

''I became fixated on the women he liked, stalking them on social media. I even started to dress like them hoping he would notice.''

By Ifunanya Nwanoka

PUBLISHED: September 06, 2023

Unrequited Love - How To Move On From A Love That Hurts


My first experience with unrequited love was back in 2019. I was a  20 year old girl  who was very hopeful about love. In my mind’s eye, everyone who I meet  is supposed to automatically fall in love with me. I was a romantic and still leaving in the land of delusion. 

Back then, it was my first time having deep and genuine feelings for someone who didn’t quite feel the same way for. I was a tangled mess of feelings that I couldn’t even begin to explain. Alex was the guy’s name. He was a tall light skinned guy with a full head of hair. I didn’t even like light skinned men, so I was surprised at my feelings. 

The first time I had felt the stirrings of  feeling la for him, I had relaxed, basking in the comfort of knowing that he would return the feeling too. In my head, he was my next boyfriend. However, the longer I stayed around him, the more I discovered that he looked at me with the eye of a close friend and nothing more.

Things became painfully clearer when he started going out with other girls. To make matters worse, he would come to me seeking for relationship advice on how to get some of the ladies and with my heart invisibly wrenching I would dole out pieces of advice to him.

I wish I could say that Alex was a mean guy who had played me, but the truth is he was the exact opposite. Alex cared about me a lot in every way a true friend would. 

My love for Alex grew by the months and it soon became an unfettered storm inside me. It made me do things I wouldn't normally do. I became fixated on the women he liked, stalking them on social media. I even started to dress like them hoping he would notice.  I couldn't focus on anything else, especially not my studies. My grades, which were already swinging on a pendulum, crashed to the ground. 

I became so caught up in this one-sided love that I forgot to take care of myself.  I felt like there was something wrong with me for him to not love me. Was it my looks? Was it my personality? Why couldn’t he see that I was the one for him?

I didn't realize that unconsciously, I was beginning to question my worth. I felt like I was chained to the feelings I had, and it was suffocating me with each breath. But as time passed, I had a realization. It wasn't Alex's fault that he didn't love me the way I loved him. Love is like a wild animal; you really can't force it. It chooses its own path, and sometimes that path doesn't lead to us.

In reality, ours was not a love story. We were just two characters with different roles to play in each other’s life. With time, I started to accept that my love for him  might never be requited and I  stopped fighting the way I felt for him.

 I also intentionally distanced myself from for a while so that It would be easier for me to move on. I didn’t try to rush the process. I started spending more time with myself, catering and taking care of myself. I took my time with letting go and moving on until one morning I woke up, and my chest no longer felt heavy. 

Boom! Just like that, I was no longer in love with him

My biggest takeaway is that I should have learnt to start loving myself earlier.  Loving yourself during a hard time is like having a light inside you that guides you through the darkness. When you love yourself, you can handle unrequited love better.

Now, that I'm older and wiser. I understand that unrequited love isn't the end of the world. It's all a part of life's drama, but it doesn't have to be the tragic story we all like to tell. Unrequited love can lead you to a place where you can learn to love yourself more than anyone else ever could.

How To Move On From Unrequited Love

Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings

Recognize and accept that you are in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you. 

Give Yourself Time

Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself. Don't try to rush the process of moving on because you will fail at the end.

Limit Contact

If you can, please distance yourself from the person you love but who doesn't love you back. This can help create emotional space.

Give Yourself All That Love

Redirect the love you had for the other person toward yourself. Practice self-care, self-compassion, and self-acceptance.

Express Your Feelings

Always share your feelings with a trusted friend or therapist. Expressing your emotions can be therapeutic and help you gain perspective.

Set Clear Boundaries

You have to create boundaries to protect your heart. Avoid trigger situations that will remind you of your unrequited love interest.   

Get Active 

Keep yourself busy with different hobbies and activities you enjoy. This can divert your focus and boost your self-esteem.


Get out there and meet new people. Expand your circle. Meeting new people can help you see that there are others who may appreciate your affection.

Journal Your Feelings

Writing can be a great way to process your emotions and gain clarity on your thoughts. So, when you can, write out your thoughts.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Unrequited love can be a painful loss, and you are allowed to grieve that loss. It’s not “nothing”z Give yourself permission to feel sad, hurt, or angry. It’s all a natural part of the healing process.

Reflect on Your Feelings

You should take some time out to reflect on your feelings and why you fell in love. This can help you gain insights into your desires and what you're looking for in a future relationship.

Seek Closure

 If you feel it's necessary, have an open and honest conversation with the person about your feelings and seek closure. However, be prepared for different outcomes, including the possibility that they may not reciprocate your feelings.

Remember, healing from unrequited love is a personal journey, and there's no set timeline for when you'll fully move on. Be gentle with yourself and prioritize your well-being as you navigate this process.

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