It is something not all of us have the horror of experiencing; The Few. The Proud. The Confused. While America’s mightiest warriors might make little of this comedic lexicon, we get it.
Unrequited love sucks.
I’m not too sure about the “few” aspect, I admit. I do lean towards the belief that every being on the planet has experienced unrequited love. Parent versus estranged child (or worse, the reverse); denizens versus governments—and perceivably our most horrific: unrequited love versus the beloved.
Imagine, the seas part, the stars align, and the rocks cry out because there they are, everything. Finally, you think, the movies and books have it right. The One exists. There is such a thing as your heart beating faster than your lungs can keep up with, and YES, there is a type of happiness that only one, single, individual person can give you—in the way they walk and the way they talk. My God, in the way they grin at you for throwing out a joke or two or fifty (because your nervous around them and when you’re nervous your defense mechanism of humor is chronic).
But there’s only one, single, individual problem: they don’t like you. Romantically, of course. They could be very good friends with you (and is the case often). And not returning your affections is dubious. Because they could, but the chance of that is slim. You don’t know until you know. So let’s definitely prepare for the hard no and say they DO NOT.
I do want to be very clear that I am discussing romantic, unrequited love from one nonmarried person to another nonmarried person. If you find yourself fancying married folk then this is not for you. Please seek help and stay away from the wedded (it will all be better this way, I promise).
For limited literary purposes, let’s label the pronoun “her” as the one who loves and let’s say “he” is the one who doesn’t.
No. For real. He DOES NOT love you. Even though you tell yourself, “Well he does get chummy with me” or “I swear he’s checked me out like two whole times” and maybe the good ol’ “If he just felt a fraction of what I do, then…” No. I’m sorry. He…doesn’t. Probably.
I know, at the end of the day, you are the hardest on yourself about the truth that he doesn’t feel the same. And then you do the following:
- You will question your worth.
- You will question why God ever allowed you to feel the unrequited love.
We must be transparent: When we question our worth due to the inability of another human to love us, we are automatically setting ourselves up for disillusionment. Disillusionment is, according to Oxford’s Dictionary, a feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be. Within our ability to think and process reality, we are saying because one person does not reciprocate feelings, we are suddenly insignificant and less than who we thought we were.
If you are a human that already struggles with the perception of yourself, then this is detrimental. Or if you’re a wise guy, you will question your beloved’s ability to choose and reason because, my goodness, how could he not like someone like you? You’re an entire snack. Now, you very well may be an entire bowl of kettle corn, but he’s a straight out of the bag, butterless popcorn kind of guy.
Your worth is not measured by the lens of another human’s point of view. Do not fall into that evil trap. I have lost count of how many Unrequiteds have walked away from God because their adore was not met with equal fervor. How many people do you know aren’t who they used to be because someone didn’t say ‘yes’?
the Lovers stand side by side.
can you picture it?
their hands are—
their knuckles face each other —
I mentioned previously ‘you don’t know until you know.’ I do encourage anyone with true romantic regard towards another human to confess to them. Please note I said ‘true.’ You and wise counsel alone can determine this.
It may seem scary, but the truth will set you free. If they are good, they will let you down gently and treat you kindly afterwards. If they are crooked, then they will make everything uncomfortable, and if they are wicked, then they will be cruel to you and avoid you thereafter. If they respond like the latter two examples, good riddance. If they respond like the first example, then know you loved a good person and with time, your heart will heal. And no matter what response is given to you, be the first example always. One day, God will honor your honesty and your kindness in whatever way is best for you and the plans He has for you.
Let go, Unrequited. Let go!
There seems to be a false notion out there that you are safer to never meet the miserable reality that the beloved does not love you—that there is a privilege to never make contact with the truth. Is it better to live blissfully daydreaming in the phantasmagoria of secrecy? If it is not love, please continue with childish fantasies. Please do! Never speak of it and bury it down until it vanishes. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent—and if this is a fickle thing, be respectfully silent.
But if you burn with passion and you have prayed and asked God to take this from you or to honor your desires, speak! With your free will and human cognition, be brave. Open your mouth and have faith. Do not be afraid for what can man do to you? Do you not know who your God is? A God of truth and order. He will make your path straight.
Do not keep silent and anguish yourself further as the object of your adoration goes on, blindly unconcerned with the torture you’re going through. Your surreptitious glances to the unprepared vessel are fruitless and the earth will continue rotating, unobstructed by your unanswered intrigue.
At the end of the silent tragedy, you will either hate yourself or hate them. And hate is never right (unless it is against evil). To hate another for what they cannot give you says more about you than the other person, who knows nothing of your adoration. In theory, they are guiltless. Love is a choice and if they do not choose you, do not fault them. Do not fault yourself. Do not feel guilty. Unless you have inconvenienced the beloved, please do not feel this. Certainly, if you’ve taken up stalking and harassing them, by all means—feel guilty and get help. Really. Go see a professional who will help you stop this at once.
He doesn’t love me because why would he? Look at me. I am no one. I’m not like the one he loved before. I am not enough. I have nothing to offer. I am very little in my own eyes.
You see? This is cruel to the self and to the beloved. It is cruel even to God, who made and loves you.
Speak, Unrequited. Speak!
You are not alone. Look to your friends and family and myself. We are all the same, bereft of the reciprocity of another, in some way or form. Look to God, who suffers unrequited love more than any other.
2. You will question why God ever allowed you to feel the unrequited love.
I can’t say if the Lord may or may not have put the beloved in the vicinity of your life for a purpose. What do I know of the mind of God? Yet I do know love is a choice.
“The One” is only The One if you are choosing him to be so. Where free will is concerned, fate and Judeo-Christianity have very little to do with one another. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling (although initially it could be—a stirring, a glance, an attraction of body or mind).
I Corinthians 13: Love is never described as an emotion. Has anyone ever felt patience? I do not think I have—but I can be patient. I can be kind, without envy—I can honor others and disregard wrongs. I can rejoice in truth and hate evil. Love protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. These are choices. Choices are concrete, wrong or right. When executed, choices are forever imprinted in the fabric of time and space and your life. Love imprints.
You chose, Unrequited. You chose!
And if you chose, then you must know God won’t take away your free will. He loves you too much. And that is where we find ourselves. Bereft of love from another and God bereft of our love.
The greatest unrequited love of all is the love God has for his children. Billions of people have little regard for the one true God and they ignore his love for a convenient love—that is to say, we all cannot love God as he loves us. While that is understandable, as his love is too great a thing for us to comprehend and even return, there are believers who care very much about the ways of God. Despite all our efforts of meeting God’s love, admittedly, we fall short in comparison to the vastness of the Great I Am’s adoration.
We are his estranged beloved.
We love because he first loved us. If the world hates you, know that it has hated [God] before it hated you. God is the only being whose love is always given and rejected first. We are very much like him when we are Unrequited.
Even though God knew his love would be unrequited, he was honest and told us he loved us anyway. Imagine, for fear of rejection, Jesus never descended. Never wanting to meet the objects of his adoration’s lack thereof, the Lord lived blissfully daydreaming in the phantasmagoria of
I am glad He said, I will love you, anyway.
Unrequited, whatever you choose, whatever you find to be fitting and pleasing to the Lord and your walk with him, know that you aren’t alone. As Unrequited, you are still like Jesus during this strange and difficult time. It is only for a little while. And you will be better for it.
You are lovely
and worthy to be taken
into the wilderness
and told tender things.
Your face is lovely
and your voice is sweet.
1 Samuel 2:30
1 Corinthians 7:9
1 Corinthians 14:33
1 Samuel 15:17
1 Corinthians 2:16
1 John 4:19
1 Peter 5:19
Song of Solomon 2:14
Photography by: @timhoon