There are few things more soul-crushingly painful than being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back.
At some point you will find yourself wishing you can just stop loving them. Fortunately, it’s something that can be done, even if it isn’t exactly easy.
In this guide, allow us to help you stop loving someone who doesn’t love you.
Reasons why someone doesn’t love you
Before we get into the things you can do to stop loving someone, it’s important to think about why things are what they are.
Here are the most common reasons:
- They used to love you but now they fell out of love with you.
- They like you but they just want to be friends.
- They’re in love with someone else.
- They tried to win you and succeeded—but they only cared about the win.
- They’re just not in a good place and aren’t in a position to love others.
- They want the benefits of love, but none of the commitment.
Just one of these can put you in a situation where you’re in love with someone who doesn’t love you back, but it’s usually a combination of reasons.
Whatever their reasons may be, one thing is clear: they simply can’t give you the love you deserve…not anytime soon, and possibly not ever. And it’s much healthier for you to cut yourself free from them and find love elsewhere.
Why you should stop loving them now
Time is precious
There’s no assurance that they’ll start loving you just because you’ve been waiting around.
If you keep on fixating on that which you can’t have, you will fail to see that which would have been yours until it’s too late.
It’s horrible for your self-esteem
When the person you love doesn’t return your feelings, you will inevitably think that there’s something wrong with you, that you’re not good enough.
It will absolutely destroy your self-esteem and you don’t deserve that. You are good enough—it’s not you, it’s them.
The relationship will be unhappy and forced
Even if you do manage to have them turn around and start loving you, chances are that there will be friction.
And it’s likely that even then they won’t be able to return your feelings in full. You deserve to be with someone who’s into you as you are into them!
Tricks to stop loving someone who doesn’t love you
Here are some psychological tricks you can use to uproot yourself from your deep infatuation. Some of them may seem silly, but hey, they work!
1) Break the Illusion of your “love story”
The thing with love is that most of the time, you’re not in love with the person themselves, but you’re in love with the idea of who or what that person is—an ideal illusion, one might say.
Breaking that illusion by removing the romantic lens will allow you to see things for what they really are…which is well, nothing much.
It might be hard to grasp the idea now, but your “love story” isn’t as unique or irreplaceable as you might think it is.
A beautiful love story consists of people who are equally in love with each other.
2) Take them off the pedestal
You’re in love with them. You will have thoughts of how they’re just the best, prettiest, or cutest person there ever is in this whole wide world.
The thing is that there are other people better, prettier, or cuter than they are out there. It might just be that you just hadn’t noticed those people because you’re too fixated on them.
So every time you find yourself idealizing them, think of someone who does it even better. It can be a friend, or even a celebrity.
For example, every time you think “they’re the smartest!”, think of Albert Einstein.
There are so many people in the world. You will find someone like them or much better. That’s a guarantee.
3) Put them in a “bad light”
Trick your brain to stop idealizing them by putting them in a bad light.
When you think of them right now, you’re likely going to think of the cute things you’ve done together, or the hurt you’re feeling at being unable to have them.
Change it around. Try to think of them in the most unflattering way you can imagine. Try to think of them farting loudly, or going bald and ugly.
The more you tarnish their impeccable image in your mind, the easier it will be for you to push yourself away from them.
4) Highlight their bad qualities
Try to think of their real flaws, and think of those flaws so hard that they’re the first thing that comes to your mind when you see them.
Like, sure, they’re cute, but they’re also emotionally unstable and can randomly throw your phone across the block when they’re pissed.
Having their flaws front and center in your mind will help stop you from falling head over heels for them again.
A part of you might not want to do this because you want to keep them in your heart, but remember that your goal is to stop loving them. It’s easy to restart your attraction for them when the time is right. For now, focus on yourself.
5) Out of sight, out of mind
The last thing you need is to be always near them and have their presence stick the proverbial knife deeper into your gut.
If they’re a good friend to you, you might want to excuse yourself and ask for some time for yourself. Set clear boundaries so you can heal and recover faster.
Assuming they know about your feelings, then they surely will understand. If they don’t, they’re not really a good friend. They probably just need you to make them feel good about themselves!
Having some physical distance between the two of you helps you forget them. So do that even if it feels good to just be around them.
6) Stop messaging them
The temptation to reach out to them, to ask them if they ever changed their mind or had begun to feel emotions for you will always haunt you so long as you have a way to reach out to them.
So get rid of those means!
Toss your phone into the nearest garbage bin, or cancel your internet subscription. Or maybe you can just block them on social media or unfollow them.
Of course, this isn’t always an option. If they’re someone who has always been a loyal friend to you, it would be a disservice for you to end your friendship. In this case, you will simply have to exercise extreme self-control.
Besides, cutting contact with someone doesn’t need to be obvious. A quiet ‘unfollow’ or ‘delete contact’ without any grand farewells will suffice.
7) Get rid of your mementos
It will be painful, but you will have to get rid of what mementos you might have, even if only until you’ve gotten over them. Keeping those mementos around will only serve to make it harder and harder for you to move on.
If it’s that important, you can have someone else hold on to it for you until you’ve gotten over them. Hand it over to your best friend or sister.
You will have to deal with it, or otherwise you just can’t heal.
8) Do fun things with other people
Part of getting over someone is to find something to distract you and keep you from thinking about them.
You shouldn’t run away from your feelings, but at the same time you shouldn’t let it consume you.
So go out and have fun with your friends! Go to a bar or watch a movie together—so long as it isn’t romance.
9) Remind yourself of how awesome you are
When you fall really hard for someone, you may lose sight of yourself and forget what it’s like to live your life without them.
So do find yourself again!
What are the things that make you unique? What are your best traits? Think over it deeply.
And when that’s done, find a way to remind yourself daily like putting post-it notes right beside your bed or enumerating those things while you’re in the shower.
10) Turn it into a challenge
We all like a good, fun challenge. So turn this whole process into one!
Try to “gamify” your process of moving on by setting milestones and daily goals like “I didn’t send them a message this week” or “I avoided daydreaming about them today.”
And when you do manage to succeed in fulfilling those goals, treat yourself!
Get a pizza, or a tub of ice cream because you freakin deserve it.
How to heal the right/ healthy way
Once you’ve tricked your brain and uprooted yourself from the mire of infatuation, it’s time for you to try to heal the right way.
This is where the real healing begins. It’s not going to be as the tricks above, but it’s also the part that truly matters. Otherwise you’re only going to relapse sooner or later.
1) Confront your feelings
It’s tempting to carry on and tell yourself “oh, it’s no big deal” or “who needs them?” so that it won’t hurt as much.
But denial—while a common escape for people suffering from unrequited love—is only going to make things worse in the long run.
Your feelings aren’t going to go poof simply because you’re pretending they don’t exist, just as pretending you don’t have a hole on your shirt doesn’t make that hole magically fix itself.
Face your feelings head-on and grieve. Bury your face into a pillow and cry your heart out.
There’s nothing shameful about being in love with someone who doesn’t return your feelings. As tragic as it may be, it’s an experience that most people will go through at least once in their lives.
2) Treat yourself with TLC
As important as it may be to acknowledge your grief, you should also make sure you aren’t getting carried away. Don’t let yourself get stuck wasting away in your room for months, barely eating or bathing!
Treat yourself to a long, hot bath. Breathe in some fresh air. Be with friends and pets and nature.
Treat yourself as if you’re the most important person in the world because at times of grief and misery, you can be your best friend or worst enemy.
Be gentle to yourself as you find your way out.
3) Write it down
Writing things down on paper can help you process your thoughts and feelings better and put them in perspective. It’s been known to help with setting goals. So take the time to sit down at your desk whenever you can. And when you do, write about everything.
Write about how they made you feel, and what makes them so special. The things you like about them, and the things you don’t. Be honest with yourself, too. It’s easy to idealize someone you have feelings for.
Jot down any realizations you might have had, especially those that can help you heal.
4) Don’t rush through your feelings
Time heals all wounds, or so the saying goes. There are some wounds that even time could not heal, of course, so the saying is not completely true. Nonetheless, time is important if you want to heal from unrequited love.
You can’t rush through your feelings, or expect the pain to suddenly disappear just because you want it to. It’s all about shouldering the pain, day by day, until you no longer feel it weighing down on you as hard as it used to.
And even when you feel like you have already healed and gotten over them, you still need to be conscious about time. Because if you aren’t careful, you might just find yourself jumping into a rebound relationship.
5) Don’t think that you can control them
You will have at some point thought that if they don’t love you now, you will make them fall in love with you in the future somehow.
It’s perfectly natural for you to think this way. And in fact, if you watch movies or read novels, you will notice that a lot of ‘romantic’ stories are built around this very idea.
Sadly, life isn’t a movie or a sappy romantic novel. Showering them with gifts and praise might guilt them into reciprocating, but at that point what you’re getting isn’t genuine love.
You can try to manifest and have the universe carry your feelings into their dreams, but if they really have no feelings for you at all then even that will be rejected.
No matter how hard you try to argue, bully, bribe, or persuade them, you just can’t make them feel something they don’t. If anything, you’ll make them hate you instead.
Your actions are the only thing you can control in this world.
6) Keep your emotions in check
It isn’t going to be easy, but you should try to always keep a steady head on your shoulders.
You might want to curse them, the universe, or whatever else is in the way of them being in love with you, but there’s no point in it. If you aren’t careful, you might even end up spiraling deeper into depression and rage.
The thing is that the only person you’re truly hurting if you don’t try to control your anger or sadness is yourself.
Sure, knowing that you’re feeling this way because of them might get some people feeling absolutely awful, but at some point it will become transparent that you’re simply trying to manipulate their emotions.
And at that point you’re going to lose any sympathy you might have had.
7) Don’t let it make you bitter
Facing failure in love is a normal part of life. It might be tempting to tell yourself that you suck, or that everyone of the opposite sex sucks, or the world sucks.
And it might offer you a small measure of comfort. It might even make you feel like you’ve ‘wisened up’ and matured. But in the long run, you’re only hurting yourself and this kind of mindset is the result of weakness, not a sign of maturity.
If you tell yourself that you’re horrible, that you suck, you’ll only crush your own self-confidence before you go very far. And it’s not easy regaining that lost self-confidence.
If you decide to hate the opposite sex—maybe you’d tell yourself they’re all cheaters, or stupid, or uncaring— then the only thing you’re doing is write off any future partners you might have who would treat you better.
8) Find a good mentor
Never underestimate the power that a good company brings to the healing process.
Keeping your feelings to yourself can be incredibly harmful because, instead of letting go of your feelings, you might find yourself stewing in it instead. Drowning.
A good friend can help pull you out should you find yourself stuck in the mire and help you get back on your feet.
But of course, you can’t just pick anyone to be the shoulder for you to cry on.
You wouldn’t want to vent your personal troubles to someone with a loose tongue, or to someone who doesn’t have an ounce of sympathy in their blood.
Look for a friend you can trust with your secrets, or maybe pay for a professional counselor. Maybe do both. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all.
9) Understand that they’re probably hurting too
People don’t generally enjoy giving others pain, and knowing that you must be hurting from their rejection will make them feel absolutely awful even if they tried to let you down softly.
Some people are so affected and hurt that they might even try to find ways to be with you even if they really just don’t feel anything for you.
It’s important to keep in mind that they most likely aren’t trying to hurt you. They might even be desperate to love themselves and hate that they just can’t love you no matter how hard they try.
In the end, it’s important that you respect one another instead of trying to point fingers and make someone out to be a villain. There often aren’t villains in real life, just victims.
10) Don’t play the blame game
You might be tempted to blame them for not trying hard enough. Or you might be tempted to blame yourself for falling for them in the first place.
But the reality is that you really just have no control over the people you fall in love with and, in the same vein, they have no control over not being in love with you.
Who knows. Maybe they did try to love you as hard as they could, but just couldn’t no matter what they did.
Don’t let your friends get into this as well. Your friends might want to paint them as a villain, tell you that they “didn’t deserve your love” in the first place.
While their intentions—giving you emotional support—might be noble, it’s not fair for them to do this. Try to thank them for the sentiment, but ask them to leave that other person be.
11) Don’t try to change yourself just to put yourself in their radar
When the person you love lets you know that they don’t feel the same way towards you, you’ll probably try to think about what it is you don’t have. You might even think that you’re broken simply because they didn’t return your love.
Don’t do that. Stop yourself every time you think something like “they’re into nerds, but I’m just not smart enough” or “I am not buff enough for them.” Just because they aren’t into what kind of person you are doesn’t make you any less worthy of love.
Who knows—there’s someone out there who wants you exactly as you are.
That’s not to say that you should let yourself be if you legitimately have problems that affect your relationships with other people as well. Things such as a short temper, or excessive laziness.
Do fix any personal issues that you have, if you can. But do it for yourself, to make yourself a better person, and not to impress someone else.
12) Don’t self-sabotage
Stay away from alcohol and other vices. Don’t do stupid things just because you can’t have what you want.
Alcohol can help you forget your problems for a while, and it’s often thought of as a refuge for people who are tired and emotionally broken. But it isn’t a cure and, worse, it smacks you over the head with a hangover the morning after.
It can also make you dumb things that can make things much worse for you. Like giving that person you’re in love with a drunk call, or getting a bit loose-lipped at the bar.
Worst case scenario is that you get into drunk driving and get yourself killed!
Look, you’re already broken-hearted. Don’t hurt yourself some more.
13) Keep your heart open
The thing with love is that we never truly stop being in love. You can’t just care for someone that deeply and then write them out of your life entirely. “Moving on” is less about getting rid of love, and more about accepting it.
And, of course, finding someone you care for more than them.
You shouldn’t just jump into a new relationship after getting rejected, of course. You don’t want a rebound relationship. Date other people only when you’re ready.
What you do want is to keep your heart open so that when someone else comes knocking, you can accept them and take them in with all your heart.
And it’s then, when you find someone to be with, that your unrequited love will fade into the background.
14) Remind yourself that you deserve better
You deserve to be with someone who can love you as much as you love them!
When you have that in mind, it becomes obvious that thinking of—and most especially obsessing over—a relationship that just isn’t going to work out is only going to be bad for the two of you in the long run.
Because then they would have to try hard and pretend that they care about you as much as they know you deserve, and still you won’t receive as much love as you are worth. They might even think you’re too clingy.
Love must be reciprocal, or otherwise it’s a waste of your time… and theirs.
15) Focus on yourself and your future
After spending so much time with them occupying your thoughts, it can be hard to think about what you’re supposed to do now.
And the answer is, of course, to think of yourself.
Focus on doing things to help yourself get better, to put yourself in a better place, and to have fun.
You’re starting over. Imagine what kind of life you want, where you want to live, who you’re going to be with, who’s not them, of course—someone much, much better!
Anything is still possible!
Don’t worry too much about love. Just be the best version of you that you can be, and you’ll eventually get the love you deserve.
It’s not easy when your feelings aren’t reciprocated, and getting over it isn’t the easiest thing to do.
But if you love yourself, it has to be done.
Don’t be a slave to infatuation. Don’t waste your time.
ENOUGH of all that!
Instead, focus on creating a life that’s ready to welcome the right person for you—someone who’s truly, madly, deeply in love with you.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
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