When someone doesn’t love me back

Questions We’re Afraid to Ask #34

When someone doesn't love me backWhat do I do when I love someone who doesn’t love me back?

Your initial reaction to this question of what I do when someone I love doesn’t love me back may be that it’s just a repeat of yesterday’s question, or at least very similar. However, in reality, they are two very different questions, although the most gratifying and beneficial answer ultimately may be the same.  

This is also not usually the first question we ask when we love someone who doesn’t love us back or the one on which we focus, which is why I’ve included it among these forty questions we’re afraid to ask.

There are two aspects to this question.

  • What, in reality, do I actually do when
    someone I love doesn’t love me back?

If I’m like most people, my focus will be not on what I should do, or what is the right thing to do, but rather why the other person doesn’t love me like I love them.

Perhaps they really like me, but just don’t feel the same love I feel for them.

Perhaps they really don’t even like me, but I refuse to see it or am unwilling to accept the possibility.

Perhaps they simply have a different agenda for their life.

Perhaps they are incapable of love.

Focusing on the question of why is a clear sign that I’m at a Level 1 in my relationship with that person.  The focus is on meeting my own needs of certainty or significance or love and connection, and so on, not the needs of the person we claim to love.

To love someone in this way causes me to become like a caged bird, wanting to fly but caught within a prison of selfishness.  Depending on the other person’s awareness of the situation, it may be holding them in, as well.

  • What could I do that will ultimately bring about the
    most gratifying and beneficial outcome for both of us?

I can’t think of a better answer to this than what was once offered by a wonderfully wise and loving woman who just passed from this earthly life yesterday.

Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”
                                                                         ~ Maya Angelou

This holds true, whether it be a romantic love, love for a child, love for a parent, love for a friend. It doesn’t matter.  True, unconditional love liberates.

Love says “you are free”.

Love says, “you may not love me, but there will always be a special place in my heart for you.”

Love says, “I love myself enough to set myself free from you.”

Love liberates.

Rest in peace, dear lady! You have indeed set us all free!

Steve Vernon photo

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