Depression from Unrequited Love (5 ways to heal)

This blog post will detail depression from unrequited love. The article will also outline the types of unrequited love, its signs, its side-effect, and how to manage depression that may stem from it. 

Depression from Unrequited Love

Almost everyone experiences unrequited love at some point in time in their lives. Although some individuals deal with it better than others, some individuals become depressed as they cannot come to terms with it even after a while. They might be extremely sensitive to rejection and start experiencing depressive symptoms. 

Types of Unrequited Love

Unrequited love can occur in several ways. Let us understand the types of unrequited love, which are as follows:

  • Unavailable People
  • Prior to a Relationship
  • During a relationship
  • After a breakup

Unavailable People 

You may love people you have never seen in person before or is unavailable. Teenagers are likely to have feelings for celebrities, which can become problematic when in excess. For instance, their moods may change depending on the celebrity’s social media activity or the content that news channels cover. Further, their ability to form secure bonds with people who are available and interested can diminish.

Prior to a Relationship

Some individuals may fall in love with somebody available but are unable to express your feelings for them. You may be worried about ruining your friendship or feel they may not reciprocate how you feel, and they will reject you.

While some come to terms with it and start letting go, others continue to pine after them and might even turn obsessive and depressed. 

During a Relationship

Sometimes, even while in a relationship, you may feel like your love is unreciprocated by your partner or vice versa. There is a possibility that you and your partner may want different things and are not on the same page. Such dissonance can cause insecurities in the relationship to the point that it is detrimental to one’s psychological health.

When one partner feels like they are putting in much more effort and feeling or expressing more love than their partner can lead to self-doubt, unworthiness, pessimism, trust issues, and even depression or anxiety. The individual may start engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors, including self-harm. 

If you are experiencing anything of this sort, you must speak with your doctor or a mental health practitioner. In case of self-harm or suicidal ideations, contact the national suicide hotline.

After a Breakup

Sometimes, relationships end because one partner does not want it to continue. It is not always that both partners decide to end it on mutual grounds. Some individuals are unable to deal with their partners ending the relationship. It is usual for people to grieve the loss of a relationship and associated things like support, partner, and emotional connection.

Moreover, it is common for you to feel more attracted to an individual or find the relationship more appealing after they break up with you, a concept known as “frustration attraction.” You may get stuck in the thought that you will get back together at some point in time, which prevents you from moving on. Such a type of desire can lead to you engaging in unpleasant behaviors, like incessantly stalking your ex’s social media or even harassing them. 

Indications of Unrequited Love

It is crucial to understand the indications of unrequited love to recognize them early on and prevent adverse effects, such as developing depression, and finding ways to deal with it.

  • Unreciprocated Effort
  • Feel Undermined
  • Idealize Them
  • No Physical Interaction
  • Feel Anxiety

Unreciprocated Effort

If you feel like you are putting in a lot of effort into expressing your love for the person only to be on the receiving end of indifference, it is a sign that they do not have feelings for you. You try to find ways to meet them, but they keep taking rainchecks. However, you see them hanging out with other friends.  

Feel Unappreciated

If you feel like they are taking you for granted, chances are your love is unrequited. If you feel unappreciated, you need to re-evaluate your romantic decisions and work toward moving on. 

Idealize Them

You put the one you love on a pedestal and feel like there is nothing wrong with them. No matter how that individual treats you, you find reasons to pardon their behaviors. According to you, they can never do anything wrong and are perfect. 

Unrequited love entails “frustration attraction” almost always. The fact that you (think) you can never attain them makes them much more attractive. You tend to look past their flaws. When two partners genuinely love each other, they accept the other for who they are – imperfections and everything.   

No Physical Interaction

If you try to place your hand on them and they move away, or if you try to hug them only to receive a handshake, chances are they are not interested in you. If there is no physical interaction whatsoever, it is highly indicative of unrequited love. 

Feel Anxiety

Thinking about them fills you with anxiety, wherein you continually question their interest in you, read into everything they say or do, and fear rejection. If all you feel is anxiety and not joy, you are possibly pining after somebody who is not into you. 

Moreover, even the mere thought of dropping it and moving on could bring on a sense of existential dread in you. If you cannot even think of letting go even when you are fully aware that it will not happen between you two, you are stuck in the vicious vortex of unrequited love. 

What Is the Side Effect?

Unrequited love can result in dangerous side effects, the most prominent of which is substance abuse. People tend to self-medicate with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, cocaine, and other illicit substances to numb their pain. 

Although it may bring temporary relief, it is detrimental to their psychological and physical well-being in the long run. If anything, it worsens your problems. 

How to Deal with Depression from Unrequited Love

  • Seek Professional Help
  • Is It a Pattern?
  • Open Up
  • You Are Not Alone
  • Accept Your Reality
  • Engage in Your Hobbies and Interests

Seek Professional Help

The ideal way to deal with depression from unrequited love is to seek professional help. A therapist, especially one with expertise in relationships, can allow you to cope with the feelings of unreciprocated effort and affection. They will teach you healthier ways to deal with emotional distress. 

Without these adaptive mechanisms, there is an increased risk of you to engage in self-defeating behaviors. You are also likely to be consumed in this unrequited love and let go of genuine opportunities to meet somebody interested in you and right for you. 

Is It a Pattern?

Try to recognize if unrequited love is a pattern with you. Sometimes, individuals tend to fall in love with people who do not love them back. It could stem from an insecure attachment as a child with important authority figures, such as your parents. These figures might not have been reliable or responsible or provided you with a sense of comfort. 

If there is a pattern, it could come from trying to find someone who would fill these abandonment issues. However, you end up falling for people who reinforce, not resolve, the problems. Therefore, you end up affirming your abandonment fears instead of finding refreshing experiences. 

Open Up

Talk to people whom you can trust and are supportive of you without being judgmental. It could be challenging to talk about unreciprocated affection. However, it eases your pain, and you understand reality better when you open up. Talking to people who understand you and your problem can be beneficial. Moreover, you can also try journaling your thoughts or use other creative outlets. 

You Are Not Alone

A study found more than 50% of Americans have loved people who have not loved them back at least once. Therefore, do not assume that it is happening only to you and start blaming yourself. You might feel self-doubt, sad, and even embarrassed that someone does not love you. 

Remember that it happens to almost everyone, including ones that you might deem flawless. If somebody does not have feelings for you, that does not mean something is wrong with you. People do not want to get into a relationship for several reasons, including not being ready for commitment, incompatibility, or cannot afford to be in a relationship at that moment. When you realize these things, you can start feeling better.

Accept Your Reality

A study in 2003 showed that emotional pain, particularly rejection, hurts the same way that physical wound does. When you are physically injured, you acknowledge the reality and your pain and work toward healing it.

Similarly, when you are in emotional distress, you must accept your reality. Show yourself compassion and allow yourself to heal.  

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

This blog article allowed us to understand depression from unrequited love by touching upon the types of unrequited love, its signs, the side-effect, and how to manage depression that stems from unrequited love. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Depression from Unrequited Love

How do you let go of unrequited love?

You can let go of unrequited love by practicing a few things, such as:

Understand the stages of grief and allow yourself to grieve;
Avoid contacting them for a while;
Let them know you need space;
Seek professional help;
Try not to “bump into them”; and
Remind yourself of your positive attributes

Can unrequited love cause illness?

Unrequited love can cause illnesses like depression, psychological distress, physical pain, and even disease. People who have experienced heartbreak or other emotional trauma are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular problems.

What makes unrequited love so painful?

Unrequired love can increase oxytocin and dopamine, which are feel-good hormones, when you realize you have feelings for that individual, thereby making it incredibly painful when compared to mere infatuation being unreciprocated. 

Is unrequited love legitimate?

Yes, unrequited love is legitimate in that the feelings are genuine and real. However, the person they hold so much love for is most often somebody they want them to be, a figment of their imagination. 

Is unrequited love harmful to your health?

Yes, unrequited love is harmful to your health. One cardiologist explains how people who are experiencing unrequited love fall in love repeatedly. Falling in love is different from being in love. The former increased your heart rate, while the latter soothes your heart rate. When your heart rate is frequently up, it could shorten your lifespan, making unrequited love dangerous for your health.

Can you remain friends with someone you love, but it is unrequited?

Yes, you can remain friends with someone you love, but it is unreciprocated by them. The situation may be challenging, but you can continue your friendship when handled carefully and with maturity.

What is genuine love supposed to feel like?

Genuine love is supposed to feel like stability and safety. There is a sense of security, and when your partner is away, you miss them, but you are not insecure. Instead, you wish them well and are happy for them and their exposure. If you ever feel jealous, you feel comfortable talking about it to them. 

Why does unrequited love feel like one of the worst experiences?

Unrequited love can feel like one of the worst experiences because it entails feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and heartbreak. 

Why does love hurt?

Love can hurt because social and bodily pain is related. The brain regions, namely the anterior cingulate cortex, involved in physical pain processing, also play a role in emotional suffering. When your expectations are being met, you feel happiness and joy. The moment they stop being met, your attention is drawn to the gap, which causes pain. 

Between women and men, who fall in love more quickly?

Women tend to fall in love twice as faster as men. However, men are more likely to say the words “I love you” more quickly than women. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

Barth, F. D. (2015, February 07). 6 Ways to Get Past the Pain of Unrequited Love. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201502/6-ways-get-past-the-pain-unrequited-love.

Bloom, J. (n.d.). Have You Broken Your Own Heart? The Talkspace Voice. Retrieved from https://www.talkspace.com/blog/broken-heart-heal-mend-how-to/.   

Brown, J. (2020. September 16). Signs of unrequited love (and how to deal with the pain). Ideapod. Retrieved from https://ideapod.com/unrequited-love/

Tyrrell, M. (2019, July 20). How to Handle the Pain of Unrequited Love. Uncommon Knowledge. Retrieved from https://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/blog/how-to-handle-the-pain-of-unrequited-love

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