I used to contend that there should be a support group for those of us who suffer from the pangs of unrequited love; that dreadful feeling of loving someone who does not love you back.
I would imagine that we would start out our meetings by standing up, stating our first names, and declaring that we are the victims of unrequited love.
We would then dramatically profess how we have so much love to give, but sadly the objects of our affection do not return that love to us. We would then go around the room in a weepy-eyed fashion, one-by-one unabashedly fawning over pictures of our radiant loved ones. In between the giggles and raging hormones, we would carefully pepper in our painful tears for added emphasis.
We would complain how true love is not fair, and wonder what we did to deserve this pain.
After the estrogen levels would become too overbearing, we would conclude our meeting with some heart shaped cookies and red-tinted fruit juice. We might even have some of those cute tiny umbrellas in our drinks for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day (which would act as our undeclared feast day of sorts).
So, it’s no secret. My name is Tara and I am a victim of unrequited love.
A “die-hard romantic,” if you will. Well, at least that’s what my natal chart tells me to believe (and my groin, at times). It’s easy for me to fall in love, but I prefer to say it’s easier for me to fall in lust. However, when it comes to true love? Thanks to a friend of mine, I realized that being a victim of the dreaded unrequited love monster isn’t as bad as it seems. It is actually a very, very good thing.
A few of years ago I was chatting with my friend Dave (whose name is changed to protect the innocent). Dave is a somewhat successful musician and composer, who has worked for decades along side various equally brilliant artists.
Dave has had his share of women.
Each time I would sign into Facebook, I could almost be assured that there would be a picture of a new lover in Dave’s newsfeed. His photo album was littered with pictures of his latest conquests (usually models), all posing for intimate head-shots with him, which always took place in his bedroom.
Occasionally, he would even post videos of himself with his current lover doing an improvised jam session, or some other adorable three minute long video, proving to viewers just how much fun a short term love affair could be in his world.
However, one day Dave confided in me that he was heartbroken. At first I assumed that he was just being melodramatic. “Did your latest lover not agree to a threesome?” I joked. Dave was silent. No, this wasn’t a laughing matter. Dave was quite serious.
It turns out that, for many years, Dave had been in love with his (always platonic) best friend—a best friend who just announced she was getting married. I was a bit taken aback by this news, especially since Dave was notorious for being such a playboy.
Trying not to pry, but also desperately wanting to solve the puzzle, I asked Dave why he just didn’t profess his love to her. He gave me valid reasons as to why that would never happen. I respected that and did not push any further.
I then proceeded to ask what, exactly, he loved about his unrequited love interest so much.
I figured that if he could precisely define what he loved about her, he could find it in another woman and get over his feelings for her. In my mind, I just naturally assumed that this was a case of someone wanting what they could not have; a challenge of the ego. Surely one of the many models he shacks up with would possess some, if not all, of the qualities he admires in his long time friend, no?
Excitedly yet sincerely, Dave began to rattle off reason after reason of why he loved this woman, each reason full of more joy and admiration than the last.
I could tell it wasn’t merely the qualities that she possessed, but the fact it was just her that he loved—faults and all. I also noticed that not one reason he listed was about her physical appearance or material in nature. All of his reasons were deep and meaningful. He did not simply love the components that made up this woman, but rather he loved this exact woman that could not be duplicated or reproduced, even in a top notch science lab petri dish.
He truly loved this woman.
“Oh,” I sighed. “You really do love her, Dave, don’t you? It sounds like you have a bad case of unrequited love. I can empathize. It’s no fun loving someone who won’t love you back. I feel bad for you.”
Without missing a beat, Dave said something that shocked me and changed my life for the better:
“There is nothing wrong with unrequited love, Tara,” he cheerfully stated. “I am quite happy feeling love for her. To love her is an honor. It is a gift. Don’t feel bad for me. Feel bad for those who cannot feel what is in my heart right now. I am blessed to know her.”
It was that very moment that I had an epiphany of sorts.
I realized that the term “unrequited love” is a misnomer of sorts. There is no distinction between “true” love and “unrequited” love. One is not better than the other. One is not more noble than the other. One is not pure and the other obsessive.
It is not a matter of having two yes’s versus having one yes and one no.
No. There is just, well, love. And that’s it.
And that is why unrequited love is a good thing. It teaches us how not to posses. It allows us to admire and help another without personal gain. It shows us that we have the capacity for enormous, selfless love. And most importantly, unrequited love allows us to feel true love without being attached to the other person, but rather letting them be free to spread their joyful energy to others and how to admire them from afar—to love them and want to touch their soul, not their bodies.
Unrequited love is beautiful and inspiring, and pure in its aim. Dave is right. Unrequited love is a blessing in disguise.
Hello, my name is Tara, and I am a victim of unrequited love. But, sorry to say, I am leaving this group. I have nothing to recover from.
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Assit Ed: Judith Andersson / Ed: Cat Beekmans