Five Common Causes Of Unrequited Love and How To Prevent Them

Stephen Hussey

There’s a ridiculously simple principle Matt talks about in his seminars. So simple it seems kind of silly. Naïve even. But it’s actually great.

It goes like this: “Make it a rule only to like guys who like you back. If you can do that, you’ll never go wrong.”

A noticeable balk always ripples through the crowd when they hear this. And I get it. It sounds ridiculous.

After all, attraction isn’t a simple choice right?

We are taught that attraction is a biological reaction in our brain that we can’t control. Attraction is triggered instinctively when someone just inflames our desire and we can’t resist them; it’s like that moment you inhale the popcorn scent in the movie theatre and your brain tells you there’s no way you are getting through the next two hours without a bucket of that sweet buttery goodness in your lap.

Many of us feel we have no control over who we become attracted to, which can often lead to that great generator of humanity’s worst misery and best poetry: Unrequited love.

Unrequited love is when we fall hard in love with someone who don’t love us back. It’s the painful kind of obsession that keeps you awake at night, and sees you spending hours at your laptop obsessively scouring your crush’s Facebook profile praying that they don’t change their status to “in a relationship”, or that makes your stomach convulse at the thought of catching them kissing another person.

But can unrequited love be avoided? Is it really completely out of our control?

It’s perfectly natural to want people who don’t like us back. But some of us choose to actively pursue the situation even when we have received signals that there is no future hope for a relationship. We ignore the signs. Shrug off rejections. Or we see our crush pursuing other people but think “he just needs time to truly notice me, then he’ll fall in love with me”.

Why do we get into this unhealthy fixation and keep pursuing someone who clearly doesn’t want us back?

There are many reasons, all of which can be traced to a lack of confidence, lack of standards, or lack of other important qualities that prevent us from moving on from unhealthy situations.

Unrequited love, like any love, is a complex topic. But here are a few common factors that lead us to pursue a lost cause:

1. You project traits onto someone that they don’t have

This easily happens when we feel in ‘scarcity mode’. We meet someone who ticks a few boxes (i.e. nice, attractive, smart), and over time we fill in the blanks and build a fantasy image of them in which they represent our version of total perfection.

But until you have actually dated a guy and seen how he is romantically, you don’t even truly know him yet.

That vision of perfection you have in your head is completely false. You’ve stopped seeing him as a normal (i.e. flawed) person and begun seeing him as an ideal. This leads you to feel crazy about him and completely overlook the potential negatives he might have.

2. You focus too much on impressing him, instead of whether he meets your needs

Just because a guy seems to have many great qualities: i.e. he’s attractive, funny, kind to his parents, successful and ambitious – does not mean that he is necessarily a great guy for you.

I know many great guys who are still bad boyfriends. It’s important not to put people on a pedestal just because they tick a lot of boxes. He still has a lot more to prove before you could feel love for him.

The classic victim of unrequited love is the person who spends all of their time dreaming up ways to win over the object of their affection, or scheming about how they can find excuses to be alone with him and try to adapt themselves to his likes and dislikes in order to become perfect for him.

In all of this effort though they forget to think about their own needs. They are simply investing and investing. They think if they just push hard enough, they will logically convince the guy to fall for her.

The way to combat this, crazy as it sounds, is the principle we talked about at the start: Like people who actually like you back. Or more specifically: Invest emotionally in people who emotionally invest in you.

This is easier said than done.

It’s hard to get into this mindset initially. But once you do, it’s one of the most powerful mental spaces you can be in. In order to do it you need to have:

(a) A clear picture of all the things you need for your perfect relationship (i.e. real affection, someone who loves you for who you are, someone who reciprocates your devotion and wants to be with you naturally).

(b) A strong sense of what you deserve. Your mindset is this:

I need to be with someone who is crazy about me, who can see what an incredible ‘catch’ I am and who puts in the effort to appreciate and invest in being with me – who shows affection and who recognizes on their own how happy they can be with me in their life.

That should always be our standard for falling in love, instead of just: I really, really, really like this person, even if they barely notice my existence, even if they date other girls while I sit on the sidelines, even if they overlook me and show no romantic interest.

This second mindset is a recipe for massive pain, and indicates low self-esteem, since it shows that we have no standards for what we need from the other person.

If you don’t feel like a catch right now, that’s another issue. It may be a wake-up call that you need to work on other areas of your life in order to feel truly worthy of someone amazing.

3. You are substituting “falling in love” for something missing in your own life

People who frequently fall into unrequited love often hope that their crush will ‘fix’ certain areas lacking in their own life. This is also known as the “wanting to be saved” syndrome – it happens when we latch onto people because they show us attention and perhaps because they embody certain qualities we want in ourselves.

This turns the guy into a symbol. You think: If I have him, I’ll be saved from the dull existence I’m living in now. E.g. you see a guy who has his life together, and envision stability, or you see a guy who has a fun lifestyle and hope that he’ll be able to bring excitement into your dull existence.

When you do this, you are making him responsible for your happiness in life, instead of focusing on bringing your own value to the table.

4. You aren’t confident enough to show romantic interest, so you always fall for people who see you as just a friend

This form of unrequited love comes from those who usually get stuck in the ‘friend zone’ – which is usually symptomatic of a person who lacks confidence at showing romantic desire early on.

This person keeps their desires concealed out of fear of rejection, and then tries to be friends with someone and do what I call the “killing him with closeness” approach, hoping that more and more time spent together will magically transform into love.

To fix this, we need to become more comfortable with expressing our romantic and sexual desires early on and flirting in a non-needy way. (There’s more of this in the Get The Guy book for those who have a copy – check out the chapter “Stuck In The Friend Trap”).

5. You are unable to accept rejection

Finally, some people pine over romantic interests because they can’t take no for an answer. This is usually a result of low self-esteem, and indicates an inability to deal maturely with the fact that someone doesn’t return our affection.

We become dedicated to changing our crush’s mind, making them a project to win over, instead of moving on in a healthy way and finding someone who does like us for who we are.

The only solution to this final one is to create a bigger purpose in our lives than being liked, and to know when to cut our losses and find someone else. Remember: Added time and effort will never change someone’s mind romantically once it has been made up.

This is a complex subject, and the issues linked to unrequited love run wide and deep into many different areas of the human psyche. The important thing to takeaway is this: Although attraction isn’t always a choice, pursuing a lost cause is definitely a choice, and we can always choose to move on and begin the process of healing and getting our sanity back.

There is often a crucial moment when we can choose whether to emotionally over-invest in a losing situation, or to move forward, take the short-term pain, and find someone who actually reciprocates our feelings.

If in doubt, turn to Alice Hoffman’s sobering words:

“Unrequited love is so boring. Weeping under a blue-black sky is for suckers or maniacs.”

I think Hoffman’s quote is too narrow. All forms of love lead us to act like suckers and maniacs at some point.

But at the very least, when we find healthy, reciprocal love with someone who shares our feelings, we get to enjoy the madness who feels the same.


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Photo credit: Sarah Horrigan

71 Responses to Five Common Causes Of Unrequited Love and How To Prevent Them

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  1. Emily says:

    I met a post where this man Robinson_buckler ,,, have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar situation to meet with this man and have your lover back to your self. He also treat all health issues like herpes robinson_bucler (@)y ahoo . c o m ♥️❣️♥️❣️

  2. Plamena says:

    “ But at the very least, when we find healthy, reciprocal love with someone who shares our feelings, we get to enjoy the madness who feels the same.”
    Love it
    Thank you Stephen!

  3. Neng says:

    Agree with you Alex, points that didn’t think that way until you articulated that

  4. Nicole says:

    It’s sad to admit but I’ve diplayed some of these traits.
    I’m working on getting pass this. I know it will take time.
    Dating can be a challenge but I know I need to just jump out there and meet someone.

    I realized that I’ve always liked men who where never going to be available to date. Most of this was due to policies of who I could and couldn’t take. My problem…I was caught up into the fantasy of being with them, and I did this for way too long. The good thing is that I don’t have to do this anymore.

  5. Alex says:

    So true, every point you made.

    I find that these days were are all encouraged to try harder at everything when things don’t go our way and love seems to be no exception. We live in a society where giving up is a sign of weakness and so we try and try. I strongly believe that letting go and moving on is a part of life as much as trying harder is. Otherwise you can dedicate your entire life chasing after something that was never meant to be to begin with.

    Having said that I do feel bad for those who get caught up in this nightmare.

  6. Candy says:


    This is an excellent explanation of how we act when we love someone who does not treat us with the respect we deserve. They “say” they love us and want to be with us forever, but treat us horribly. It’s very difficult to break away from these people when they will not accept the breakup. They try to make you believe that you somehow are at fault. That what they are doing is ‘normal’ when it is cheating. This is a form of emotional abuse and it wears you down, tears away at your self esteem and starts to make you feel like you don’t have any other options when in reality we all have a lot of options. This is an absolute miserable way to live. God bless anyone in this position and give them strength to break away.

  7. vicky says:

    So how do you move past this if you have the low self-esteem depression and anxiety all wrapped into one. I’ve been doing this over and over for the past 5 years. And can’t seem to break the cycle. even though I’ve tried about a dozen times. im still no where with him and ive seen all the signs he doesnt want me around. Yet he gives that little bit to hold me there. not enough but just enough. please help.

  8. Karthy says:

    Great articlehave a question for a friend who has gone in depression. As she lines a guy as a teenager he always insulted her never valued her. He married his girl friend had a child and she seen him he knew she liked him and he couldn’t still like her back or be friends as they never even had a friendship.
    She got hai number to ask about the baby and he kept telling her to call back Qhen she called back he had an argument with her told her never to call back.
    He told her friend she will call and never did for 20 years
    The two of them bumped into the train as she was at the door he stepped in it was a shocking moment for the two to meet after 20 years. It was a ghost relationship they didn’t even say hello. Di e one cannot force one to like but people can be civil to each other and to appreciate her love.
    She is heart broken how can she ever get over such an un caring and thoughtless person?

  9. Katharina says:

    Hey there Great article

  10. Jeruza Gojit says:

    Thank you so much for this! Amazing article!

  11. Selene says:

    I tought you were talking about someone attracted to us and we just don’t like back (just like my ex BF)
    But is important as well…

  12. Jake Sales says:

    Amazing article. Do you think this applies for guys as well. Should guys only like girls who like us back.

    Although this has been directly aimed at women and how to get the guy can you create some content for the guys as well.

    Up the amazing content!

  13. Dr. Truth says:

    Great article. Great comments.

    Comparable to my own story.

    I met a superstar and I experienced a lighting love bolt that sizzled throughout my whole body. I was hooked.

    He also told me he just loved me so much that he wanted to make me his Queen as he believes Im his true wife, his soul mate and that it would pleade him to can help me with my works.

    I spent 7 days with him. We never kissed or held hands except a platonic hug when I left. Just spend time doing things we both love. And soeaking. He was all I ever dreamt of in a King. Kind. Loving. Patient. Truthful. Powerful. Strong. Wise. Wealthy. Famous. A man of Faith.

    I was on fire. I held on to his words. I was sure he felt the same fire.

    I went back home in a different continent. I started buying all his records. I prepared myself to be married to a superstar.

    I sent him 37 long pathetic heart pouring emails but he replied only 7 emails short and usually one sentence and sometimes one word emails.

    I send him 27 texts. He replied once “who is this?”

    I called him everyday for 27 days. He answered only 7 of my calls and He never retirned any of my missed calls. He never called me on his own initiative. Not once. Despite him always promising to call me whenever we talked if he answered my calls.

    And one day He sounded so tired. He was sighing. He was cold to me. Almost rude. He sounded irritated or uninterested in me or talking to me. I was taken aback. Worse at the end of the call he demanded I keep calling and texting him.

    I said “OK. Bye”.

    I pulled over on the side of the road and cried. And cried. And cried.

    Felt like my heart was breaking into a thousand pieces as I realised that this love was one sided and this relationship was not going to happen.

    I made up my mind not to call him ever again. I decided to spend 27 days investing in myself to compensate for the 27 days of my investing in him and making a fool of myself.

    Im a true believer in liking only those that like me. And stopping to like those who dont see my value.

    All allong I was going full steam not realising this was unrequited love cos I believed him when he said he loved me.

    I made excuses for his no communication or his not answering my calls or emails or texts cos I thought would never get another opportunity to be loved by a superstar.

    But as soon as he showed me explicit lack of interest I could shut down. So that rule helped me self regulate my actions.

    And he never called.

    Today is day 77 and I finished the 27 day investment in self. Left me feeling that I used his not returning of my love to develop self.

    So 27 days pinning for him was balanced by 27 days investment in self development that stopped my downspiral.

    This success enabled me take another 27 days to celebrate the love bolt I felt (since it was unique) and acknowledge the love force that changed my life. Now I am grateful to have met him; shared 7 days with him and experiencing the thrill of being proposed (albeit fake) by a superstar.

    I laughed and laughed and laughed. Im healed.

    In those last 27 days I wrote a small book called “77 days” which records my 27 day journey to the hell called unrequited love and how the principle of ” loving only those who love me” helped me come back quick from hell and actually learn to appreciate the experience.

    All in all the whole roller coaster took 77 days.

  14. lonelygrandma says:

    Like only guys who like you back. Ehat if there are none? I go for YEARS between men. Its like once i turned 5, i fell off the earth or something . Not easy for an older black woman to find love when men either ignore you or say they just want to be friends, or they act offended that you would even dare to approach them. It makes me feel ugly and worthless. Like I have failed in the one thing any woman should be able to do: attract and keep a man. The last “unrequited” was the first guy to approach me in 5 years. He’s left me no other choice but to move on, but move on to what? More years of abysmal loneliness with no prospects whatsoever? Yes, I have a good job, friends, family including wonderful grandchildren but nothing can replace the kind of love only a boyfriend or husband can give. I’m still lonely in that respect and I don’t like it.

  15. Laura says:

    Amazing article! So many papers explain the things we do but hardly any talk about why or how to handle certain emotions. So helpful. Ever since the death of my mother I’ve had low self esteem and have been guilty of trying every trick in the book to get people to like me. It’s so refreshing to read this article. I feel like I have a chance now…. I don’t have to keep being an option / a doormat.


    Ps I’ve been to one of your seminars in London, saw all your family. They must be so proud ☺️

  16. CGM says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am in high school and I have been in love with a boy for over two years. We sit next to each other in chemistry lessons and he is so funny and kind to me. I always feel bad about asking him out because now I feels guilty that he doesn’t feel the same way about me, but we are still good friends. I feel like it’s my fault that he feels guilty and people sometimes tease him about me. I’ve always wished I could just fall out of love with him so I could free him from that burden.

  17. Anna Y Moss says:

    One more thing: if someone is in unrequited love, show compassion. Don’t judge or play amateur psychologist. To them it’s very real and who is an outsider to say it’s not?

  18. Anna Y Moss says:

    I hate it when everyone tells you to “move on.” Move on to what? Fine when you’re in your 20s or 30s and there are plenty of men out therr, but after you turn 40 then a woman falls off the face of the earth as far as men are concerned! Then moving on means only one thing: prepare for a life of loneliness.

    • Lisa Ann says:

      You are absolutely ridiculous. Areven you living in the stone ages? Get a makeover, and get your butt out there. You’re using a cliché to back up your fear of getting hurt again.

  19. Alex says:

    Well that’s all good and wonderful, but what if you know the person very well, are otherwise very happy person (happy with your life, with your friendships, with your job, with everything), sexually and romantically confident, know exactly what you want and realize that this person meets your emotional and psychological needs in a way that no one you’ve ever dated has done? And the guy is in a happy relationship and you’re still madly in love with him without any chance of getting to be with him? What then, eh?

  20. Miss Z F Cassells says:

    I liked a guy once. I’m no fool; I know it wasn’t love. But sometimes I think I must have really liked him. What does it say when you like someone you barely exist to? Someone you barely know? Crush, maybe. Maybe I needed to like him to figure out what I really want. He represented everything that I didn’t know I wanted: care, intelligence, loyalty, reliability. Maybe in the end it was as simple as liking someone who was kind to me; maybe I’m that pathetic. I hadn’t expected someone so young in charge when I went to volunteer at Oxfam. I walked in ready to be greeted by an old, short Dundonian with chapped skin. But there he was, a 24-year-old Postgrad. A genuine smile. As the cliché goes, he put me at ease. I spent most of my first shift talking about Uni and music and Philosophy. I can’t remember exactly when, but in some deep sleep I dreamt we were chatting away as we’d done. I dreamt that I instinctively placed my hand behind me and into his palm as we walked up some imaginary stairs…my heart soared. And then I woke up. I learned he liked Ray Charles and Placebo and read Nietzsche… I learned he was in a long term relationship with a girl I can only describe as tiny and sweet – and German – impossibly cute. After some Halloween party in first year they’d got together, graduated together, lived together. And so it goes. So I listened to only the most empowering songs on my way to Oxfam (thinking Gloria Gaynor might assist me) and of course fell powerless as soon as he greeted me. I spent a lot of time in the basement. I even tried reminding myself he had a ponytail. Isolated and cold downstairs, I felt I wanted to be around him; that I would give anything to have a conversation that didn’t involve the interruption of breaking cardboard, for him to see me and not blundering Zoe with her nerves and sadness. Some days it got the best of me. I was elusive and quiet until the ‘See you next week!’ He spoke in platitudes that made me grin: ‘Wicked cool’ was a favourite. I settled for being his friend. Even when I came in to find him hunched over the desk, broad shoulders aligned, with an army green shirt; that perfectly dark green that clung to his arms and chest, I was his friend. But friends make plans to go out with friends, and we never did. Friends text back. He never did. This left many gaps. What were his family like? What was his favourite drink? Did he just not want to be my friend? One day, after a particularly harrowing night, I was visibly upset. Pale. Down. All it took was for him to wave a hilariously titled-vinyl in my face, for us to share a giggle, and I was lit up. Then I was OK. Then my sister/ best friend lost her baby. Then I left for summer. Then my ex and my friend got together, my dad had a breakdown, and I, for once in my life, drank to not feel it anymore. Then I was a bit more Ok again. He didn’t enter my thoughts every day. He never entered my thoughts at all. Until I learned he had moved to England with his girl.

  21. Lauren says:

    Well a guy that friend zoned me would be out of my life so fast he wouldn’t have time to tell me if he has a girlfriend or not so I don’t really have that problem since I have hardly any guy friends I had more in high school but I ended those friendships because they didn’t know anything about women

  22. Jeanine says:

    I needed it put on words and that is it…. So crazy . Thanks for giving a definitionto my. Lack of love life.

  23. tallnspicy says:

    I am really struggling with this right now.

    All I can think about with a recent situation is how I am bad and made him go away.

    Met a guy online, had an amazing first date – he asks me out again. We have a second date, where he ends by asking me out for the next weekend, with us leaving it that he would let me know when he was free. I was going to be in Mexico for work, and he had some up in the air travel plans.

    He never called, so I asked for an exit interview, with clarity it was for self awareness, and he shocked me when he said – he had hoped to hear from me and he wanted something mutual. So I was shocked and asked if he had a misunderstanding. So we had another date. A fun one, and in the spirit of mutual, I texted him the next day saying the night was perfect. He responded with a similar sentiment – I said catch you later, and then he disappeared.

    So I am left feeling very confused and feeling like he thought I was not sophisticated enough, was not feminine, was too direct and a whole list of things. And since I have already done an exit interview I cannot do another.

    Then of course, I am also not paying attention to the feeling that I got that his life is not settled (bought a condo, renovated it, and then sold it in 6 months because his view of his life in that condo was not what he expected), had an alcoholic ex-girlfriend that supposedly ended in February, but is saying he is just getting his head sorted out, that they don’t talk anymore (but broke up 10 months ago) and said she is needy in present tense.

    I know I should not like this person, and he has flaked on me twice and in fact, blamed one of those times on me, but I still feel like had I just contacted him when I was away, everything would be fine.

    How do we deal with men who turn things on you like this?

  24. UrsulaX says:

    I really liked this article. I tend to think unrequited love is romanticized by people who (1) fail to realize a relationship can be a rollercoaster ride even when both parties love each other; (2) choose to pursue the unattainable and accept the role of unloved victim; and (3) have a tendency to believe the burden of loving more is worse than receiving such unwanted affection. In reality, suffering or claiming to suffer from unrequited love is remarkably self-indulgent. You’re not emphasizing your passion for someone, which should bring some modicum of pleasure, but the futility of your generosity. It’s as if you believe your emotions entitle you to sympathy and affection, even when your attention is uninvited. Instead of taking responsibility for your own feelings, you force that burden on someone else who is not in a position to make you happy. After all, the source of your suffering is not really unrequited love, but a void you created. The world is filled with people who don’t love or know you, but you chose to elevate one person above all others and base you entire wellbeing on their existence. For most, this is a terrifying responsibility, and you can’t blame someone for shying away from a love that demands so much in return.

  25. Kirsten says:

    This article is a great help! It made me realized a lot of things. It’s like I was being poured a cold water on my face in order to open my eyes up to the reality. I have been in love with this guy who doesn’t love me back or even know my existence. And he already has someone he loves too. I often saw them together whenever I go to my Math Class. Maybe it’s time for me to stop this fantasy and get over him. Thanks a lot!

  26. Pingback:The One Hundred – Broken | munduspintus's Blog

  27. Zahra says:


    I have a question that’s been haunting me for a few years now.

    I was married to a man through match making. We knew each other for a few month got engaged and married. But a few years before that he was engaged to a girl he knew online. He lived in Europe and she was thousand of miles away in a different continent. He knew her for 18 months and during that time he saw her around 3 to 4 times where she lived with him. He loved her crazy from day one, and from what i heard from family and friend he was crazy in love and deeply attached to her. She was a very beautiful girl, more appealing than I am. He spent every single penny he had on her until he was broke. A week before their wedding she decided to leave him and until now I don’t know why. When that happened he decided to leave Europe and moved to a different city. He becomes very defensive and aggressive whenever I ask. Now killing me is that how could he fall so deeply and get that attached to someone he knew for a little period of time. what’s killing me is that to date after 4 years i feel like i do not compare. whats killing me is why did he love her that much and not me. was he lonely at the time, was she better than I am, what was it that broke him and still is after almost 7 years.

    He’s a good husband and a daddy, sweet, tender and generous. But still deeply hurt, still compares me indirectly, mysterious and will not visit any place he used to be with her.

  28. Armando says:

    Im a fella, and not a young fella neither, but the information was very helpful. Thank you. I have made a life time career of becoming attracted to women who do not reciprocate my attraction, and it has led, of course, to a lifetime of emotional pain and frustration. I went a long period were I simply either did not encounter anyone who interested me, or had become now thoroughly shielded, and so the issue seemed dormant. But in the last year two different women awoken the passions, and alerted me again to the fact that I have never matured in this area of unrequited love. Or maybe I have a little because I quickly recovered myself and backed away (or am backing away.) But thanks again. The information you provided helped to clarify and direct me.

  29. Suzanne says:

    team hussey droppin’ knowledge on the art of the heart. “Unrequited love is so boring. Weeping under a blue-black sky is for suckers or maniacs.” nailed it.

  30. Kendra says:

    It’s painful how close to home this hits… but probably a necessary pain to jolt me into moving on. Thanks for the jolt!

  31. Ruthie says:

    Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for taking time and writing on this extremely important matter.

    As having experienced it many times I believe unrequited love to be one of the most painful things in the world.

    I actually have categorised this love/relationship thing subsequentely:

    1) PUPPY LOVE OR CELEBRITY CRUSH (That’s just liking someone that you have never met personally in a way that’s a bit more passionate than usual.)- Celebrity crushes usually start by appreciating their talent or work a lot and believing them to be cute or hot. What girl, who was a child in the 90’s, hasn’t had a puppy love crush on a member of BSB or N’SYNC?

    2) CRUSH( That is a status of mind when you believe to rather love than just like an other person. Usually the subject is someone aware of your existance/maybe ever a friend or acquintance. Crush on a classmate or schoolmate would be a good example. Something about them just attracts you. Usually after getting over the crush you seem to wonder why the hell you were attracted at the first place.)- I’ve gotten loads of them aswell. I don’t even remember the 90% of them. I usually laugh at myself after the crushes just fade away.

    3) UNREQUITED LOVE ( This is serious love from the givers side. Sometimes the receiver might falsely lead you onto knowledge or feelings of them loving you back. There’s no intimate physical contact…not even a kiss. There might be some hugs (platonical or maybe not so platonical). Sometimes the other side just plays with you and your feelings. Other times the other person does nothing else than change your life somehow via just talking to you. I’ll always remember the 4 guys in that category because they’re the ones that either changed my life somehow and/or broke my heart the hardest. All of them did change me a lot though and even though I’ve cried the most about those 4, I’m also somewhat grateful to those guys.)

    4) A THEME or maybe dating period… I actually come from an European country with no dating culture at all. (You find someone, you usually hang out without barely any verbal communication though and hook up with them. In the culture of the country of my birth there’s a really respected belief that the less you talk, express and open yourself, your feelings and emotions ,the better it is. It involves at lot of ALCOHOL as well as physical and intimate activities especially kissing.)

    5) RELATIONSHIP (barely any verbal communication)

    6) MARRIAGE (very rare phenomenon)

    After analysing my unrequited loves, I realised that I only fell in love with guys that actually paid a bit of attention to me and had conversations with me. I have always been the neglected and rejected child of the family. My parents never showed any love or affection me. They never were interested in having conversations with me. They never paid any attention to me. I never had any real friends until I was 16 years old. I have always had an enormous amount of love to give, but have barely received any in my 24 years.

    So I guess people who have been received the healthy amount of love, attention and affection from their peers will react more easily to people who pays more attention(platonically) to them than they are used to. So in my opinion, one of the possible reasons for people having unrequited loves might lie in their childhood and early years.

    Even though I am turning 25 in few months, I’ve never experienced the categories nr 4,5 and evidently nr 6.

    Since I am currently in the process of moving away from the country where I was born to a culture and society that is more suitable for my beliefs and my personality, I am confident of soon being able to experience the traditional dating culture and finding someone amazing who I can to share my life with. Having a great sense of intuition, I have a strong feeling of (love) life getting better in a different environnement and culture.

    Feel free to give me your opinion regarding the classification and THE possible cause of unrequited loves.

    Thanks again, Stephen!



    • Ruthie says:

      Oh my dear lord! :) Too many grammatical mistakes for one language and culture scientist to handle :) :P

      So first of all,My parents never showed any love or affection me – * Correction: My parents never showed any love or affection FOR/TO me.

      And secondly,So I guess people who have been received the healthy amount of love, attention and affection from their peers will react more easily to people who pays more attention(platonically) to them than they are used to. –* Correction: …THOSE WHO HAVEN’T RECEIVED AN…

      Have a nice Sunday evening!


  32. Jen says:

    Wow! Great article Stephen and I’m guilty as charge. In my last relationship this happened and he wants to keep on recieving without putting in the investment even after so many open heart conversation about how I felt. The fact was he was unavailable to return my love and affection and we were not in the same page even though the attraction was there. It was painful but I let him go because the relationship did not serve me well. I want to be with someone who will celebrate and appreciate my being instead of just tolerattolerating it. Hurt so much to let go but its healthy and I’m claiming my power back each and every day.

    • grace says:

      I don’t know if I like the buzz about being unhealthy just because you love someone that doesn’t love you back – since love is a matter of heart and your heart chooses, and your head follows whether to heading that path or not. It is actually a choice you’re making when you try to win him or her over.

      In the end of the day, if we don’t love the unnoying ones who love us so righteously, does that mean that we are sick? Are we doing someting wrong now? Just because we stay true to ourselves for a while it doesn’t mean we are not aware of consequences or even that we’re not loving ourselves enough. Actually I don’t know why it is so crucial to kid ourselves and paint this exact subject matter in blacks and whites, and I don’t even gather why the trend on facebook and forums go towards the proclaiming on being as narcissistic as possible. What’s about that? So, when does one get over of over loving one self? Cause, when it comes to romeo and juliette really the only thing that matters is to be reckognized, seen and wanted by the one that one wants, in contrast to being appreciated and celebrated like a golden cornish. So come on, one just wants to live and be happy without superfluous morals about whether we should love ourselves better or be better loved. It’s not a compitition. It’s about love that comes in mysterious ways.

      Would I choose to love one the ones who do currently love me, that would mean me saying yes, you may to all those that my heart hasn’t choosen, to persons that don’t attract me nor my heart. Nope, I won’t direct nor my head or my heart.

  33. Daria says:

    I’ve suffered from unrequited love several times. It has always followed the same pattern and yet only now I’m beginning to see what I was doing wrong the whole time. Unrequited love is an awful experience, especially when you just can’t let it go, no matter how hard you try, there’s always a tiny amount of hope that maybe I’m not delusional and the guy likes me back but for some reason he is not upfront with his feelings. Thank you so much for this article Steven. I’m guilty of all 5 point you listed here. It was really helpful to read about it and realise what I was doing wrong exactly. I hope that from now on, and having already read Matthew’s book several times, I’ll be able to fall for a guy who would fall in love with me too. I actually cried reading the last sentence of this article. You used the perfect words.

  34. Nina says:

    Another great post Stephen, but what is really exceptional is that you take the time and investment to answer the comments.
    I, like Jenny, am in the situation where he used to like me but doesn’t seem interested anymore.
    I find this one is harder to deal with because I had that goodness and now it’s gone.

  35. Susanne says:

    ♥:)♥ ROMANCE ♥:)♥

    With all my heart I thank you for everything heart-touching :)

    May I say:

    I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove your blog :)


    I agreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

    What is really in our hearts? :)
    I think that is one of the most important questions
    we need to ask ourselves every moment of each day :)
    If true LOVE is the answer, we know:


    ♥ for us (if we date ourselves) or
    ♥ for both (if we are on our date with Miss/Mr.Right)

    If we loooooooooooooooove ROMANCE with all our heart I believe we can always be romantic :)

    In the name of true LOVE may we always loooooooooooooove ROMANCE with all heart ♥&♥ never stop being ROMANTIC as long as we live :)

    Looking forward to the next heart-touching episode of LOVElIFE ♥&♥ blogs, where two romantic brothers speak and write with heart :)

    May God bless us that we always can be as ROMANTIC as we human beings can be ♥&♥ enjoy all the ROMANCE in life :)

    If we always loooooooooooooooove ROMANCE with all heart, I believe we will always enjoy PEACE with Miss/Mr.Right :)

    LOVE :)


    • Susanne says:

      ♥ I looooooooooooooooooooooooove what you said dear wonderful Hussey brothers :)♥

      ♥ IS IT ROMANCE or is it NEEDINESS? ♥ :)
      I believe this is one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves :)

      What I know is: If you are in Christ you can always loooooooooooooooove ♥&♥ hug
      ♥&♥ kiss everybody you looooooooooooooooooooooove :)

      “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Romans 16:16)

      • Susanne says:

        What I know is:

        If we are truly in Christ we are 0% needy :)
        ♥&♥ are free to express true ROMANCE :)♥&♥
        live a romantic life with Miss/Mr. Right :)

        May Jesus Christ prove it all :)

        “But whoever drinks of the water that Jesus will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

        “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

        (John 7:38)

        • Susanne says:

          The question is:
          Is she/he Miss/Mr Right? :)

          If yes, loooooooooooooooooooove her/him with all heart :)♥&♥
          be as romantic as you can be :)

          If not, well looooooooooooooove your friend with all heart ♥&♥ be one of the best friends you can be to her/him :)

          Looking forward to Mr. Right ♥&♥ all true best friends :)

          I wish you a loooooooooooovely day :)

          • Susanne says:

            SO :)
            Whoever is Mr. Right: I looooooooove you with all my heart :) & looooooooove being Miss Right :)

            Whoever is my best friend : I looooooooove you with all my heart :)& looooooooove being. a best friend :)

            I enjoy both: being Miss Right & best friend :)
            As long as we all looooooooove each other, everything is completely fine :))))))))))

          • Susanne says:

            My heart beats for Mr. Right & best friends in heaven & on earth :) You are deep in my heart :) Kisses for everybodys heart ;)

          • Susanne says:

            With all this said, may everybody go to one of the most romantic events on planet earth:
            <3<3<3 Matthew Husseys live event <3<3<3
            & learn everything about ROMANCE :)
            & know who truly is Miss/Mr.Right :)

            May 2014 be a year of receiving all the best answers :)

          • Erica says:

            You. Need. Help.

  36. Petra says:

    Hmm…a couple of good points indeed. Let me share my story. I’ve been pretty close with one guy, he is colleague of mine, we live in dif. countries, but although we are far away from each other physically and see each other once in 2 months, mentally we developed very close friendship. it started more like a flirtationship, we got involved a bit, but then it never developed and at one point we just had conversation and agreed we should not mix things and be friends. the thing is there is very tiny line and indeed it is a very special friendship, full of mutual attraction. he is great guy, but the reason why it can’t develop is because of he is attitute to relationships. he looks for girls out of neediness, he is unable to be on his own. I’m able to be on my own and want to be with sb, because I’m relalizing being on your own is not enough. so there is part of me, which is turned off by this, and part of me which feels a lot of love for him and wishes he could put himself together. and these two parts are fighting together. not easy…

  37. Jenny says:

    There is a lot of great advice in here, and my favorite line was this: “The only solution to this final one is to create a bigger purpose in our lives than being liked, and to know when to cut our losses and find someone else.”

    However, I don’t think it’s as simple as the black-and-white, choose to love who loves you (or “like who likes you”), otherwise move on philosophy.

    From my experience, the worst cases of unrequited love, where the women tend to “go crazy,” are instances when the guy HAS recognized her worth, HAS invested, and HAS wanted her, and then has exited the relationship without real explanation.

    Or says, “I’m not ready for a relationship YET.”

    Or says something heartrending like “Then, on top of all of that [an explanation of how he doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life], there’s you who likes me when I don’t even like me and don’t like where I am in my life. I am a ‘lost boy’ who may never be found, and perhaps never should be found.”

    It’s easy to walk away when someone has never shown interest.

    It’s easy to walk away when someone has steadily ignored you all along.

    It’s easy to walk away when someone has an overwhelming sense of self and ego and little time for investment.

    It is NOT easy to walk away from someone who has a genuine heart and who, in the end, seems to be letting go because he wants something better for you.

    And the problem with real unrequited love, the kind that’s NOT boring, the kind that persists through centuries, told and retold in classic literature, poetry, and television shows (Ross and Rachel, anyone??), is that the possibility of being together “someday” doesn’t die.

    There are a lot of axioms out there that make it sound easier than it is to move on. And as much as I admire you and Matt, the notion that there are “millions fish in the sea” is hardly a reality when most of us don’t have millions of youtube followers.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      First off, I have zero YouTube followers so we’re in the same boat there Jenny ;)

      Seriously though, you make a very interesting case. I suppose though, for me, what you are talking about would be filed under the category of good old heartbreak (i.e. when someone falls out of love with you and leaves you broken), rather than unrequited love, which is more like pursuing someone who perhaps never loved you or cared about you significantly to begin with, or who has always seen you as a friend. My interest is in what drives some people to doggedly pursue this lost cause instead of walking away and minimising the damage. I think what separates these people is a genuine self-respect and belief that they can find love again, and a high standard for what they want from someone else.

      The whole “like who likes you” thing isn’t a magic trick for making you like someone you don’t. It’s a mantra for reminding yourself of a STANDARD, which is: I need someone who is CRAZY about me. That’s my standard for what counts as someone amazing.

      I also think you’re right, that people cling onto possibility, which is usually a disguised form of denial, where we interpret every nice action someone does as a chance that things might happen. The best thing we can do here is start pursuing other options, and this at least makes us see the situation with a stronger perspective that there are other people out there (Yes, I do believe there are more fish in the sea wholeheartedly!).

      Thanks Jenny, great comments!

      Steve x

      • Jenny says:

        1. Thanks for taking the time to respond to your readers’ comments. That’s much appreciated!

        2. You’re correct in that I have mentally merged (my particular type of) heartbreak with unrequited love, and to separate the two makes more sense.

        3. This STANDARD is a good one to have, but it’s not practical as advice. You don’t know who’s going to like you when you’re first getting to know someone, and unrequited love occurs because your feelings develop over time while the other person’s does not. Matt’s standard is only retrospective (does he like you NOW? well, then, move on!) and that’s heartless. So this blog is great because it offers advice of how (or perhaps why) to move on.

        4. Denial, yes. Although the romantic in me believes that sometimes people really are made for each other and the timing is just off. However, I completely agree with pursuing other options, but most fish in the sea we end up throwing back.

        ps. touché = YouTube followers. But I would settle for 1200 tweets and Facebook shares of one of my blogs ;)

  38. M says:

    This is not particularly relevant, but whenever I see ‘Enter Stephen’, it reminds me of the song ‘Enter Sandman’…

  39. Irene says:

    I’ll keep it short and precise:

    a)your way of showing affection didn’t work and you didn’t want to step out your box b)something is missing or c)scrutinising and playing it safe way too long

    That’s why I like this sentence of yours best: “It may be a wake-up call that you need to work on other areas of your life in order to feel truly worthy of someone amazing.”

    Great post!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Wow Irene, you’ve summed up the piece in three short points! Excellent work.

      Thanks for commenting, Stephen x

  40. A says:

    I always feel like the devil’s advocate when reading these things. The truth is I’m pretty positive and upbeat! I have been giving Matt’s (and your) ideas a lot of thought and have responses to it.

    It’s easy to say to like who likes you. But sometimes 1) No one likes you that way! Seriously. Even if you meet a quite a lot of men. So by giving up the crush/unrequited thing, you’ve got no romantic prospect at all at the moment. Yes, you have your life and that’s great. But most women don’t buy Get The Guy to continue to explore their already great lives. Though, truth is, we might have to! It takes time to find the right person. You can still be happy, but yeah, it’s a switch from what makes a person pick up that book.

    2) You don’t always like the people who like you. You can’t make yourself and believe me, I’ve tried. Once I’ve made up my mind romantically I can’t be persuaded otherwise, either. Though I don’t see men trying quite as hard for me (or my friends) as I’ve seen women try for their men.

    I don’t have unrequited loves anymore but I did enjoy them in the past for what they were. It was pleasant for a time and then you move on. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing, even if it hurts at time. Matt says it’s not real love and it can keep you from finding the right person. The truth? There can be a lot of barriers to finding the right person. Getting rid of unrequited love/crushes doesn’t mean you’ll find the right person, either.

    I think you were right with one of your earlier posts. One really has to be comfortable and happy with being alone. Then discomfort from being unhappy that won’t drive you to settle for less than you deserve!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      (1) “giving up the crush/unrequited thing, you’ve got no romantic prospect at all at the moment” – I agree this is hard, but a crush is not really a romantic prospect at all. A relentless focus on a crush is actually probably stopping you from developing a much better romantic prospect. In economic terms, spending time pursuing a lost cause has a large opportunity cost, since you’re not pursuing a good bet somewhere else. So though it might feel good just to have someone you like, hanging in that situation can leave you in the worst of both worlds.

      (2) I think you’ve misunderstood the principle, which is my fault for not expressing it better. What this principle is, is basically a standard. It’s not telling you that you can force yourself to like someone else at all. It is a standard for saying: “In order for someone to be the right person for me, they have to be crazy about me. They have to have to be affectionate, certain of what they feel, and know what a catch I am.” In other words, you have a deep internal standard for what you need from someone else in order to feel that they are the right person. As you say, this is about knowing what you deserve and being comfortable being alone until someone gives you that.

      Thanks, as ever, for your insightful contributions A! :)

      Steve x

      P.S. Can’t say I agree with you about enjoying unrequited love. In my experience, it’s mostly fucking horrible.

      • A says:

        I agree that a crush isn’t a realistic romantic prospect. But it’s nice to have someone to think about romantically. Does it keep you stuck from finding a real romantic possibility? Depends on how seriously you’re taking the crush. If you really think it will turn into something with no evidence of that happening, yes, it can prevent you from finding someone. But if you’re not really looking and are just having pleasant thoughts and interactions with the crush, and don’t really want it to go anywhere but that, I don’t see the harm. It can be very light. It doesn’t always have to be so intense.

        Thanks for clarifying your point! So you have a standard for what you want for people, but you can’t make them live up to it. I was focusing on what I could do. Yes, I can walk away from people who don’t live up to my standard, but I was trying to focus on what else I could do in addition to that. I live my single life, but it is frustrating to keep meeting people who don’t live up to your standard of wanting them to be crazy about you.

        And in the rare occasion where you find someone crazy about you, you’re not crazy about them. You gotta walk from them too. It’s a lot of walking away is all I’m saying.

        I appreciate all of your responses too, Stephen!

        P.S. to your P.S. I’m sorry to hear that! I guess . . . this will be hard to understand but I actually will reveal my feelings and sometimes date my crushes and it becomes more of the heartbreak situation that you defined above in Jenny’s comment. But you know what? Pursuing it and it ending is rough, but to me better than pining alone. At least then I actually get to know the guy. It’s not all in my head anymore. And guess what? Some of those guys really *are* great! Just not for me, sigh. Heartbreak hurts (really hurts) but for me I’d rather know than not know. So my little crushes are light and fade, but the serious ones? I just tell him. :-D And satisfying my curiosity is worth it, no matter how things are in the end. :-)

  41. Mel says:

    I believe truthfully in “Invest emotionally in people who emotionally invest in you”. In relationships or in friendships, I will invest myself only if the other person reciprocates. Though, here what is happening for me right now: very few people genuinely invest in me. Most of my friends are acquaintances and again and again I keep “moving on” because people do not invest or reciprocate. It get really discouraging. Does anyone face a similar situation? Any advices to give it a kick and change such situation?

  42. Alexandra says:

    Awesome article Stephen!!!!

    I am SO guilty of doing this but now I’ve done it so many times it’s impossible not to have mastered the art of self awareness by now .These days I know exactly why I did it, what I was missing from those situations, and why I didn’t believe I was worth so much more. For me, it all comes down to self esteem and self approval. Now, I am way more interested in being at peace with myself than trying to proof to somebody I am worth their while.

    This topic has the potential to be so dramatic and could run our entire love lives to the verge of madness. After being a “victim” of unrequited love countless of times, I cannot look at this subject with a perspective other than of fun and irony. I even came up with a silly phrase to remind myself anytime I have to deal with rejection that it’s not going to be the end of my world and that it’s a natural part of this process. My saying goes like this:

    “Some will, Some won’t, So what?, MOVE ON!!!”

    And then I am back to being my unique, happy, and exciting self that wants to meet and make as many connections as possible in one day.

    I really enjoy the way you write. Can’t wait till the next article.

    Much love,

    • Mandy says:

      Hi Alex, I liked your comments about how you deal rejection, “Some will. Some won’t. So what? MOVE ON!!!” I love the saying and I am going to try that trick. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thanks so much Alexandra :D

      Love your quote – has such a simple and easy-going air to it. Love that you reached that point of self-awareness and have taken the whole thing more lightly. It’s a really inspiring attitude.

      Love back,

      Steve x

  43. kikolja says:

    Bravo!!! *slow clap for that one*

    This is my favorite article by you yet!
    Too bad, there must have been a Stephen Hussey on Pushkin and every other suicidal chap earlier in the days.

  44. Anna D says:

    Great article!
    And I was one of those people in the audience that balked at the line, “Make it a rule to only like those who like you back. If you can do that, you’ll never go wrong.”
    That was one of the lines that really stuck after the seminar and helped me let go of a man in my life that didn’t deserve me. It holds true in friendships and business relationships too!
    It does come down to self-worth and we all deserve the best and need to believe it and make choices that are congruent with those beliefs.
    We all want love. It could come in many forms and I want something real not something imaginary and fake.
    Looking forward to sharing my madness with someone who deserves it! =)
    Keep on spreading the word! Great content Stephen and Matthew!!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Love that Anna – I know,, right? When I first heard the line initially from Matt I was like “Huh?” – but then I realised how much easier it made it to let go of bad situations that don’t fulfill our needs (and yes, definitely applies in other relationships too!).

      Thanks for this, glad you are enjoying the blog! Keep spreading the word for us too ;) x

  45. Kathryn says:

    Anyone who has read English at one of our great British Institutions cannot have escaped the notion of unrequited love. From an early age we are fed the notion that love needs to be painful, dramatic, emotions swinging from high to low to be real.
    It is incredibly easy when we fall hard for someone to add imaginary qualities to ones they already have making them into a living, breathing personification of all we’ve ever dreamed about. It’s powerful.
    I really like your rule and shall make it my mantra. I’m looking forward to coming to the next event in London : )
    Great article Stephen, it’s so important to have healthy relationships in our lives.
    Kathryn x

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thanks so much Kathryn. Yea, those British romantic poets really like the painful unrequited love stuff, don’t they? We’re crazy for it. lol

      I appreciate the kind words, Stephen x

      • AspieCatholicgirl says:

        Can one think about all those unrequited love stories from the perspective of the sought-after person? It really changes the way one sees some stories. Think of the annoyance of someone you don’t feel anything for following you around, and of the pain of being forced into situations where you have to to reject that person over and over again.

        Thinking of things from the perspective of the other person (the person I was one-sidedely in love with) was the biggest thing that helped me get over my own un-requited love story. After I did that, things got better, and he ended up becoming my platonic male best friend!! A win-win ending.

      • Emily Shepard says:

        To add to that, though, there’s the experience of reading something and seeing your own emotions echoed and amplified in the experience of a character…and if unrequited love is your thing, it’s the most wonderful thing to meet someone in literature who sounds and feels as pathetic as you do. :D

        I remember reading Uncle Vanya for the first time and feeling SO much for Sonya, with her hopeless love for Dr. Astrov, and very protective of her. Especially as played by Brooke Smith in Vanya on 42nd Street. ( She is so giddily and luminously in love and at the same time so heartbroken, and I thought, story of my life.

        What I love so much about that play is that everyone is MISERABLE. Everyone is in love with the wrong person, or alone and sad, or trapped in a bad marriage, or floundering in the mire of life and death. Yet somehow what happens is you (or at any rate I) get to feel what the characters feel but then step back and say AT LEAST I am not stuck spending the rest of my life managing my pompous dad’s estate while he gallivants off with his young wife who has stolen the heart of the man I love.

        It’s the public service of art: the characters live in misery so that the rest of us can appreciate our own lives more. :)

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