Life isn’t really fair. After searching for so long, you finally found your soulmate. The only problem is you can’t be together.
It’s heartbreaking and frustrating, no matter how valid the reasons may be.
The good news is that this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world for either of you. Here are 10 tips to help you through if you find yourself in this position.
1) Understand the reasons why
As much as we like to think that love conquers all, there are just some things that love alone cannot overcome.
If you were to give yourself a chance at getting over the obstacles keeping the two of you from being together, don’t just identify what they are, try to understand them. And when I say understand, I mean it. You have to dig.
Only through truly understanding something can you find good solutions.
Don’t just go “oh, their family just doesn’t like me”, for example. Instead, break it down further. Ask yourself (or try to find out) why their family hates you. Maybe it’s because they misunderstood you or simply don’t know you that much.
Then dig a little bit more. Maybe you’ll figure out that their family is a devout catholic and you’re always wearing punk clothes that could possibly remind them of the devil.
But instead of hypothesizing, here’s a shortcut: ask the person you love directly. Tell them to be honest to you and promise them that you won’t act rashly.
Knowing the exact reasons and understanding why they are the way they are will give you clues on what to do if you truly want to pursue a relationship with them even if things are complicated.
And if you realize that there’s nothing much you can do, it will at least give you peace of mind.
2) Figure out if there’s still something you can do
So let’s say that you have identified the problem and the reasons why it exists. Now ask yourself just how big of a problem it is and if there are solutions.
For example, a reason why some couples just can’t have a relationship is because life took them to different places and one of them doesn’t want to try a long-distance relationship.
Well, this one seems quite easy. You can either convince the other person to give it a try or you can just wait for them if you’re really that in love with each other. You know what can be done.
But it’s not so simple for other cases.
An example would be that they’re in love with you but they’re already in a relationship with someone else. To make things more complicated, they have children and an abusive partner, so they simply can’t leave everything for you.
This case is much more challenging to fix. Close to impossible, even, unless you’re willing to move heaven and earth, and risk the happiness, security, and reputation of everyone involved. Even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll be together.
Figuring out just how bad your problem is would help keep you grounded while you try to figure out if your relationship can still be saved or not.
3) Have a game plan
After learning more about the obstacles that are in your way, and after contemplating about the possible solutions, it’s time to have a clear plan.
But instead of focusing on how you can be together, focus on what’s good for you long-term instead. It’s especially important to zoom out and think of your future instead of just thinking of what feels good at the moment.
Are you willing to wait for them? If so, will it be good for you long-term?
Do you want to keep them around as friends or you’d rather stay away so you can move on properly?
Do you want to fight for your love no matter what because you’ll surely regret it in the future if you don’t?
Whatever it is that you want to do, it’s better to lay it down so you can ask yourself if this is really something that will make you happy long-term.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out what’s the right step, think of the best version of yourself—maybe your future self who’s full of wisdom—what would that person think of what you’re about to do?
4) Face your emotions and let them out
If you’re in this situation, you’re going to feel a lot of things and you’re most likely not going to understand all of them.
One minute, you’re elated because you just feel lucky to have met them, the next minute you want to throw eggs on the wall because you feel so unlucky you can’t have them.
It’s tempting to hold all those emotions in until they disappear, but that’s only going to make you hurt more and send you spiraling if you aren’t already.
A healthier course of action is to face your emotions head-on. Find ‘safe spaces’—people and places where and with whom you can just let all your emotions loose without fear of hurting anyone or getting judged. And then vent all you want.
Take a punching bag and take your anger and frustrations out on it. Bury your face into a pillow and scream and cry. Maybe hire a counselor to hear you out.
Just get all those emotions out of your system so that you can face the reality of your situation with a clearer head.
5) Get some guidance
When we’re in love, we usually can’t think straight and our judgment gets clouded because of all the oxytocin in our brain.
And no matter how independent and stubborn you may be, it’s best to get some perspective and guidance from people who are more experienced than you, especially because most of the time, unrequited love is complicated.
Find someone you can trust and whose thoughts you admire. Ask them how they truly feel about your situation.
If none of your friends are willing to lend you an ear, you can always talk to someone you look up to like a teacher or a priest. And if your troubles are especially troublesome, difficult, or complicated, a professional therapist or counselor might just have the words you need to hear.
Someone has to pull you out from the bubble of infatuation and let you see your situation without frills and drama. In other words, someone who can show you your reality.
6) Stop being addicted to them
It’s a wonderful feeling to be in love, even if you’re in pain. And this is the reason why it can be quite addictive. Put a limit to how much time you spend thinking about your unrequited love or else it can consume you.
You should avoid sitting all day and wondering how you can be together. Obsessing and overthinking can do you no good unless you’re a poet.
Get up, get dressed, do what you have to do to distract yourself. Of course, don’t resort to other addictive substances like alcohol. It takes much effort at first, but uprooting yourself from obsessive thoughts will become easier day by day.
Think of it this way. No matter how much you think about them, nothing will change because it’s all in your head. But if you go kick some ass—or do anything, really—one thing might lead to the other that could possibly change your fate.
In other words, thinking about them all day long will do you no good. Learn to monitor your love addiction because it can be as dangerous as any drug.
7) Break the illusion of love
The funny thing with love is that sometimes we can be so convinced that we truly love someone, only to realize that we didn’t after some time has passed.
Attachments borne out of desperation or loneliness, or idealization of someone are things that are commonly confused with love.
If you ever find yourself thinking things like “No one understands me except her!” or “I’ll never find someone like him!”, then you’re probably feeling something other than love.
Maybe you’re just being romantic. Maybe there’s something missing in your life that you think true love can fill.
Look, there are over seven billion people on this planet. The chances that you’ll never find someone like them, or someone who understands you like they do, is basically close to zero.
Besides, if they’re in a relationship with someone else, maybe you can find someone better…someone who’s actually available to love you!
The purpose of doing this is to make your feet land back to earth. Don’t worry, if you really love them, your feelings will remain even if you’re in reality. But if what you have is just pure infatuation, then at least you now know what to do.
8) Don’t force it
Surely at some point, you might have thought “we love each other, so we can do this if we just try!” and decide that trying to force yourselves together would work.
But if they’re married, in a relationship, or their parents will disown them if they get in a relationship with you, you probably shouldn’t!
There’s a reason why you just can’t be together… at least, at this time. And you just can’t keep throwing yourselves at it hoping that it’ll eventually set itself right.
Depending on what exactly it is that is keeping you apart, you might need to grow up a little more or put yourselves in a better environment before you can begin to build a stable relationship.
Most of the time though, all you have to do is wait.
So try to fix any issues that need fixing—if there are any—and just learn to let go. Forcing a relationship that just doesn’t work (for now) is going to end well. If anything, you’re probably going to end up hating each other or putting each other in danger.
9) Don’t try to ruin things between you
You might have been tempted every now and then to make them hate you, or maybe tried finding ways to make yourself hate them to make it easier for both of you to move on.
You might also do it out of desperation. You want to get into a big drama loaded with emotions just to restart the relationship, hoping it will land in a good place.
Don’t be impulsive.
If you do this, you’re cutting them off entirely and, while that might make it easier for you in the present, it will most likely haunt you in the future.
It’s very much possible that the issues keeping you apart now will stop being such a big deal in the future, but if you ruin what you have,you’ve already destroyed your chances of getting back together!
It’s very likely that you’ll find yourself regretting the decision and wondering about what it would be like to reconnect with them in the future, or if you had decided to love each other platonically instead.
This doesn’t mean you can’t cut ties, of course. There are situations where cutting ties would be completely warranted, such as if they were abusive or if they’re dating someone who’s willing to shoot you in the head for liking them.
But if you must cut ties, do it calmly and end your relationship on a high note…to save a little something for later.
10) Figure out their place in your life and keep them there
Just because you can’t be together doesn’t mean that there’s no future for the two of you. After all, if you truly love each other, then you won’t let that stop you from continuing to love one another.
But now that you know it will take years before you have a chance to be together, figure out where to put them in your life so you won’t go crazy dealing with the push and pull of emotions that usually happens when you’re around them.
You don’t necessarily have to cut them off to heal.
You can keep them as a close friend but make sure you both respect each other’s boundaries to make it work. Otherwise, you’re just putting yourself in deeper trouble.
However, if being very close to them makes you miserable because you can’t help getting frustrated that you can’t be together, then find the distance that works for you.
Maybe you can be casual friends but not close friends, and definitely not “best friends”.
And if being distant friends still won’t work, then stay away from each other for a while until you’re both healed. Keep interactions minimal—maybe just send them a message on their birthday. But if even that is too painful for you, then say a proper goodbye to them and start healing.
Of course this doesn’t just apply to real-life interactions. You have to know the distance that’s good for both of you online.
It’s useless if you don’t see each other in real life but you keep talking to each other or commenting on each other’s posts.
It might be useful to discuss this with them so you’re both aware that you’re not doing it simply because you hate them, but because it’s what is best for both of you.
One of life’s greatest tragedies is that even mutual love isn’t an assurance that you’ll be happy together.
Sadly, even though there’s a chance that you can still make things work, you should be ready to accept that things just aren’t meant to be.
Thankfully it’s not all gloom and doom. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And this situation you’re in can be an opportunity for you to learn and grow for your sake and the sake of your future partners.
Besides, love does not have to be romantic, and if you can manage to let your feelings for each other survive as platonic love, then you will have forged a lifetime bond.
And who know, the universe might be kinder to both of you at the right time.
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