Ahhh relationships…No matter what gets people through the therapy door, relationship-related challenges are often what keep people in the room – whether it’s our family relationships, social or work relationships, or our intimate relationships.
Our intimate relationships, in particular, can be so beautiful, and also a source of such angst – particularly when we are with someone who we may know is not the right fit for us, or who isn’t as invested in us as we are in them.
When they just aren’t that into you
We often intuitively know if someone is as “into us” as we are into them – but often we ignore these feelings. We may hold out hope that the person’s feelings will change or grow, we may try to convince ourselves that we don’t care as much as we do and can keep it casual, we may blame ourselves for not being ‘good enough,’ or we may excuse their behaviour by becoming overly empathetic to their plight to ‘figure things out’ at the expense of putting our own needs far below theirs.
Moving forward from unrequited love
When relationships are not mutually beneficial, it’s important to understand the reasons why and take steps to move forward emotionally. So, what can you do to move forward?
- Look at the reasons you have allowed yourself to remain so engaged in this hurtful dynamic. Why did you allow them to establish the on/off nature of the relationship when clearly this wasn’t what you wanted? Why did you remain with them – or go back to them – even though you knew they weren’t in love with you the way that you were with them? And why do you continue to allow them to engage with you now, despite the hurt you have endured? In my experience, this first step of self-reflection is the most important one – and the one that can lead to the most growth.
- Assert your position and gain control back. Likely, this is going to mean ending all communication with them. Express why you are ending communication with them – writing a letter or an e-mail may allow you to explain the impact they’ve had on you. Draw on trusted supports in your life to help keep you accountable – for example, agree to text a best friend when you have an urge to see or connect with the person who you know isn’t giving you the love you need.
- Stick to moving on and allowing yourself to be open to meeting someone who can provide you with the kind of love you deserve. Make a firm promise and commitment to yourself – and stick to it. It may be hard but remember – your intuition about your own needs and whether or not this person can meet them won’t fail you.
Good luck with moving on and finding the love you deserve!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published as part of a Globe and Mail “Ask the Psychologist” column authored by Dr. Samra, and has been edited and updated.
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