I think it’s safe to say we’ve all seen at least one movie that follows this trope: boy meets girl, boy and girl become best friends. Girl loves boy but won’t say anything, just drop subtle hints for 90 minutes until she tries to move on and he swoops in with some grand proclamation and there’s a happily ever after.
There’s something very gag worthy about the notion of that happening to real people but it does happen. It’s true, I’ve been the star of my own unrequited love story too many times and I want to talk about it a little.
I’d consider myself a commitaphobe. Whenever a committed relationship is brought up or proposed I get selective hearing: monogamy? girlfriend? being yours? I don’t understand any of those words buddy, I gotta go. Someday I’ll examine it as a flaw but for now I’ll chalk it up to being smart, we don’t cuff these hoes ladies!
Anyway despite my aversion to all things attached, I’ve found myself more than a few times falling in love with very unattainable people. These situations all usually started the same way, I’d befriend someone who I had no inkling of attraction to and then one seemingly insignificant moment happens and I decide they’re my person and I’ll make them see it. Wanna guess how many times I succeeded?
Before I tell this story I want to verify this is 100% true and 1000% cringey, I apologize in advance for the thirstiness. I was a freshman in high school and for the most part a loner. I remember how we spoke for the first time like it was yesterday. He sat behind me in math class and I didn’t pay him any mind until the day I passed back a paper and it stuck him in the eye. The loud “shit” caught my attention and when I saw him clutching his eye I felt compelled to apologize. He made a joke I probably wouldn’t have laughed at had I not felt bad. When I saw him later in the week in hall, he introduced me to his friends as “the girl that tried to blind him” and that day sealed my stupid hearts fate.
I was obsessed and I think I’d have gotten over it had we not talked after the fated paper incident but the universe hates me so we became really good friends. As close as you can get to people in high school anyway, we had inside jokes, I was merged into his bigger group of friends and I had hug privileges. At a base level my brain was pleased with that, but my achy and starved heart wanted it all. It wanted everything and whatever came after that. My heart was a damn fool.
I became analyzing every interaction we had for clues; convinced he was madly in love with me and just couldn’t say it. Was that a flirty wink? Did he tap me instead of calling my name so he could touch me? Did his hand try to cup my ass when we hugged? I was going mad and doing stupid things, like turning down dudes who were actually feeling me. I’m sad to say I pined after him all the way until senior year… when I moved on to his best friend. What a time.
This is just one of many instances where I put it all on the line for a guy who could never love me back and I knew that from the beginning but continued with my fixation. Now anyone who knows me understands that I look at nearly everything through an analytic, scientific lens to better understand myself, my feelings and my environment. So when I had continued bad luck in love, I did some research. A lot of people have been in an unrequited love, its a popular theme in literature, pop culture and history. Psychiatrist have studied it and come up with 3 reasons we tend to fall into this trap.
- Perceived value of the relationship
- Perceived probability of the relationship
- Benefits to the self of loving the other person
I don’t think I fall neatly in any of these categories but I have a theory why this happens to me. In all of these situations I was never under the impression I’d end up with these guys, there was always some sign in the beginning that hinted the relationship would be platonic. I saw those signs, I just didn’t care because it was safe. Allowing yourself to “fall” for unattainable people means the only one who can hurt you is yourself. As I said earlier, I don’t like commitment so fawning after people who would never ask that of me is comfortable. Add in knowing you can’t be rejected by someone you love from afar and it seems like the perfect solution for a lonely heart.
Luckily I’ve avoided it recently, the last time I fell into this trap was a few years ago when I was in love with a guy I worked with. To this day I’m convinced we’re soulmates who just missed each other in this lifetime. Win, if you’re reading this, I’m waiting for you. I’m focusing my energy now on loving myself and getting shit done. Now I ain’t saying I’m off limits, (I’m just saying I’m here for a good time not a long time).
Honestly I think there’s something very selfless about loving someone and not expecting anything in return, maybe its stupidity, I thought so before it happened to me. I can say all of those days spent going over interactions, freely giving smiles and hugs and time, pining, taught me something; I didn’t realize how much love I have to give until it flowed freely with no replenishment necessary. That’s a gift in itself.
So back to the original point, is becoming a cliche a bad thing? I don’t know, if art imitates life then it’s safe to say for every cheesy PG-13 rom-com, there’s twice as many people wanting someone to want them back. It’s made me wonder if I’ve been on the other end of someones love and if I made them feel valued in some way. I read a quote about unrequited love that I feel is fitting.
You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.Anonymous
Let me know if there’s been an unrequited love affair in your life. How’d you cope? Do you regret having loved them? I want the tea!