What is Requited Love? (+3 Extraordinary Theories)

In this guide, we will discuss “Requited love”, what it means, some synonyms, what the opposite of requited love is, how the theory of unrequited love seems to explain this, how we can deal with unrequited love and some requited love quotes.

What does Requited Love mean?

Requited love means love that is reciprocated. When we love someone and there is a reciprocity of love from them, that may then be referred to as requited love. 

Requited love may be the start of a reciprocal relationship or can be an ideal one, if you understand its importance and try to make it so.

Requited love: A deeper dive

We could understand requited love, as the love that is reciprocated. When we love someone we expect reciprocity of the feelings and emotional investment and we expect this to be the case ideally.

This is because a reciprocal relationship is or can be an ideal one, if you understand it’s importance and try to make yours like it.

However, sadly the result isn’t always as expected and here we could have the opposite situation which is unrequited love.

If we analyze the meaning, from the Cambridge Dictionary, “to give or do something in return for something given to you or done for you.”

Yet we have again the word “reciprocity” implied in the definition. Moreover, we can mention some synonyms related to the word, such as:

  • Another
  • Give and take
  • Mutual
  • One another
  • Reciprocation
  • Return
  • Two-way

Moreover,  according to vocabulary.com, requite means “to repay or return” and they explain how, “To requite something is to return it. However, saying that you want to requite a gift means that you want to give something in return for it — not that you want to return the gift to the store for some quick cash. Requite is often used in the context of love; if you requite someone’s love, you love that person back. Requite can also be used in a negative sense. Someone who wants to requite an injury wants payback for it.”

We usually have an intense desire for the person who we love to love us back, sometimes we may get the feelings reciprocated from that special someone, and sometimes we will end up with unrequited love.

When we love someone and they love us back, it can make us feel so happy but when they don’t, it can make us feel miserable, worthless, frustrated, disappointed, etc.

This is completely normal and here we will take a look at the theory behind unrequited love and how we could deal with unrequited love.

The theory around unrequited love

Love can be a complicated topic to talk about, and many people have experienced at least once in their lives what it means unrequited love, what it means to fall in love with someone whose feelings may not be equal or reciprocated.

We have felt the pain and being hurt, but are there ways to deal with it?

Yes, there are but first, let’s see the three main reasons proposed by Aron, Aron, and Allen in 1988:

  • The perceived value of the relationship. We feel unrequited love because we see our potential partner attractive and how valuable it can become to us. This is what we can call a “crush” on someone, where we basically see them perfect, no flaws whatsoever.
  • The perceived probability of the relationship. This relates to the thought of the possibility of having a relationship with someone we feel attracted to. In many cases, when we are in a friendship and we start to get mixed signals, it is easy to get confused and think the other person may be interested in us too.
  • The benefit of enjoying the feeling of being “in love”. We could be “in love” of the idea of being in love and how that makes us feel and not necessarily because we are “in love” with someone. In short, we fall in love with the idea of love itself rather than a real person.

Moreover, as mentioned by Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D. from psychology Today, “Aron, Aron, and Allen (1998) tested whether personality differences made it more or less likely for someone to experience unreciprocated love. The researchers looked at attachment styles—whether each individual felt secure in relationships, was anxious or ambivalent about their potential partners, or tended to avoid real relationships altogether. The results indicated that the people who felt anxious about relationships overall were most likely to experience unrequited love. This was especially true for unrequited partners who seemed exceptionally desirable.”

How can I deal with Unrequited Love?

As we have discussed, when we have a “crush” on someone or when we feel we are in love with that someone it is simply because we assume on the basis of a few charming outside details, for instance, attractive, smart, talented, popular, etc., that makes the person we “love”, perfect.

However, this intense and long-lasting feeling is due to the fact that we just haven’t got to know them properly but only superficially and what we are able to perceive from them at a first glance.

This means that in order for you to get out of an unrequited love situation, get to know the person better, and know their flaws.

The more we know someone, the less they would ever look like they are the miracle solution to our problems. 

When we stop idealizing someone and putting them on a pedestal far away from people like you or me, that is when they keep being the object of our desire, what we can’t have is in sum what we want.

However, when we see through it and realize they are just like anyone else, the passion can never withstand too much exposure to the full reality of that person where admiration and infatuation transform into something else.

As indicated by The School Of Life, “the cruelty of unrequited love isn’t really that we haven’t been loved back, rather it’s that our hopes have been aroused by someone who can never disappoint us, someone who we will have to keep believing in because we lack the knowledge that would set us free.”  

Subsequently, we will need to do the exercise in our minds and use our imagination where they would eventually prove how irritating, rude, or any personality trait you actually won’t be compatible with.

This is called being human, and we are not saying that everyone at some point will disappoint us but rather how imperfect we are and how we should stop idealizing people.

Requited love quotes

Here are some requited love quotes (to meditate on) from goodreads.com:

  • “Some people will hate you for not loving them.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana.
  • “We are way less likely to love someone just because they love us than we are to hate someone just because they hate us.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana.
  • “It was in looking up at him her aspect had caught its lustre – the light repeated in her eyes beamed first out of his.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Villette
  • “I’d rather be in danger with you than be safe without you.” ― Fuyumi Ono, The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow
  • “It is our desire, not need, to be loved (back).” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
  • “Love changes everything. I never suspected it would be so. Requited love, I should say …” ― Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  • “I was perhaps moreover a little the dupe of that illusion of lovers that the beloved object must, somehow, respond, that an extremity of love not only merits but compels some return.” ― Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head

Why is this blog about Requited love important?

As we have discussed, requited love means loving someone and being loved in return (reciprocated), which would be ideal.

However, as we said, there may be plenty of times where we ‘fall in love’ with someone who doesn’t actually reciprocate our feelings. This is completely normal and it happens to anyone in this world.

Moreover, what can we do when this happens?

Simply stop seeing the person as the perfect human being, as the person that has everything going on.

When we stop idealizing people, we see that they are just human beings, like you and me. 

In addition, instead of being ‘in love’ with someone, we could be ‘in love’ of the idea of love and how that makes us feel. So remember it is not necessarily a person but a feeling.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Requited love

What does Requitted mean?

Requited means, 1a: to make a return for: repay. b: to make retaliation for: avenge. 2: to make a suitable return to for a benefit or service or for an injury (merriam-webster.com).

Subsequently, in terms of human interactions, it means when someone reciprocates our feelings. 

Is unrequited love really love?

Unrequited love may seem like real love to you since you are the one experiencing love, doesn’t matter to you if the other person doesn’t love you back.

Your love for the other person feels good even if it is not reciprocal.

However, it is important to evaluate if it is a matter of attachment or infatuation and not real love.

What is the feeling of one sided love?

One sided love is the feeling of loving someone who doesn’t feel the same way for you, it is not reciprocal.

In summary, one sided love can be referred to as the infatuation or attraction you can feel for someone, but you could feel disappointed, sad, frustrated when the person you love doesn’t love you back.

What causes unrequited love?

Unrequited love can be caused by the perceived value of the relationship, meaning the potential partners seem so attractive and valuable to us, we think an actual relationship might be possible and the benefit of loving that person (the feeling). 

What does requited love mean?

According to the Cambridge dictionary requited means, “to give or do something in return for something given to you or done for you: Requited love is not enough to sustain a long-term relationship. Reciprocating”.

This type of love is ideal since both parties are reciprocating each other’s feelings and emotions, but we see in practice that it is not always like this.


Dictionary.camdridge.org: “requite”

Goodreads.com: “Requited Love Quotes”

Vocabulary.com: “requite”

Nicholson, J. (2016, Sep.) How to Bounce Back From Unrequited Love. Retrieved from psychologytoday.com.

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