Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D.

Me Before We

Longing for a Person That Can’t Love You Back

Are you desperate for more of what is becoming less and less?

Posted Oct 18, 2014

If you are in love with a person with whom you have a friendship/sexual relationship, who is kind, compassionate and a "good friend", but is unable to reciprocate your adoration, it can be extraordinarily painful to navigate that relationship in a way that is not consuming for you. It’s hard not to feel as if you are losing yourself. In order to be "in" it and keep it alive, you continually infuse life into the relationship, if you can call it that, by having to compromise your well-deserved longings for more. You try to convince yourself that you are okay with less in return, just to keep the connection. You may pretend it is not so, but this experience levels you and shatters you over and over. You become more confused about what you deserve and can have in this or any potential romantic relationship for that matter. It also heightens the desire, the incentive, the overwhelming "need" to win over this person once and for all so that your self-esteem will be "restored."

Over time, when this person you adore may care deeply for you and your wellbeing, have sex with you at times, but for whatever reason cannot reciprocate the extent of your romantic feelings, it can start to make you feel crazy.

Why? Because being in love and continuing to stay devoted to "the greatest person in the world," when it is unrequited eats away at your self-esteem and self-worth. It starts to seem as if something must be wrong with YOU, because no matter how easy, effortless, and accommodating you try to be, you cannot get more than the emotional scraps this person is willing to provide. The worse your feel, the more stuck you become. It becomes harder and harder to believe or even feel hopeful that something more reciprocal exists somewhere in the world for you. You are squeezing water from a stone because you are thirsty, as if there is no other water to be found because you have lost perspective that compromising yourself to get those scraps is such a painful disservice to you.

What is happening is that you are falling into an abyss of emotional addiction. Unfortunately, when addiction is to a person, they do not stay still and allow you to control your need to break the addiction. It becomes even harder and can sap even more time from your valuable life because you ARE being fed in some way.

Understand that this person you love, no matter how much they care, CANNOT make this better for you, just like a drug may temporarily ease your longing but is bad for you in the long run. The emotional backlash that you experience later makes you more willing than ever to keep coming back for more of what is becoming less and less.

For now, just expand your awareness that this may be your experience and know that you are not alone. It is hard to be strong and not seek your drug when the withdrawal makes you promise things that show just how much you are losing yourself. You only have one life. You cannot rely on the person who is inadvertently contributing to eroding your self-esteem to build it up for you.

You deserve more.


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