What is unilateral love?

One-sided love is a common phenomenon that, at some point in most people, we come to experience. It is an emotional, physical (or both) affection towards a person and that this does not correspond to our feelings.

One-sided lovecan manifest itself in multiple wayswhether it is excessive admiration for a famous public figure (such as a singer or athlete), or for people close to us, but who do not express our emotions.

Note: One-sided love can even reign in romantic relationships, where one person prints effort, dedication, and love to maintain the relationship, while the other person does not.

Characteristics of unilateral love

As we said, unilateral lovecan take place in different ways. They can be light physical or emotional attractions to another person or even become true obsessions.

It constitutes a non-reciprocal feeling

Reciprocity is essential in any interpersonal relationship of any kind. By nature, when we give or do something for someone, we want something back.

Note:This is not necessarily something physical or material (financial remuneration), but it can be something emotional. Being genuinely grateful for your action and receiving back part of that love that it provides.

In unilateral love, there is no such reciprocity. The person gives her love and does not receive it. An example of this is listening to someone while he vents about her problems and afflictions.

However, when the roles are reversed (the receiver becomes the sender) and the person is ignored, it becomes a show of one-sided love.

Usually occurs in adolescence

The prevalence of unilateral love during the second decade of life is high (particularly during adolescence), as shown by certain surveys (1)

To highlight: A possible explanation is due to the immaturity or inability of adolescents to manage their emotions, producing feelings of attachment and desire towards others, despite not receiving any kind of affection in return.

Erik Erikson (2) explained, in his Theory of development , that during this stage of the life of the human being (called identity vs. lack of identity), the individual deepens his search for who he really is, his desires, ambitions, fears and insecurities (3)

This sharpening of his own identity, and if he feels identified with who surrounds him, can generate those feelings of unilateral attachment, where the individual feels identified and understood by the other person.

It can become an obsession

Being attracted to someone with whom you only have a friendship or just an acquaintance, but you do not have the courage and emotional strength to express it, is something completely normal.

Important: When these emotions sharpen over time and the other person becomes the axis, where all your thoughts and actions revolve around him, it becomes a problem.

This obsession can become pathological and affect the emotional state of the person, leading to depression, dependence and feelings of inadequacy.

It is usually based on physical and affective needs

Providing a specific reason why one-sided love develops is difficult. However, in certain cases,there may be one or more identifiable causes that ultimately explain these one-sided feelings.

Among these is the desire to be loved or appreciated by another person. During the first phases of the psychosocial development of the individual, virtues must be acquired that strengthen the person’s self-concept and self-esteem.

When this does not happen, emotional dependencies,depression, anxiety and much more are generated. The person seeks to be accepted, as it is, by another. It doesn’t matter what it costs.

Note: They also occur in toxic relationships where, despite the abuse and mental manipulation, the person fervently clings to the relationship, fearing abandonment or loneliness.

In extreme cases it triggers emotional and psychological disorders

Returning to the previous point, when the root of unilateral love derives from a lack or emotional dependence, this leads to greater emotional disorders, even pathological.

If a person obsessed with the other is rejected, it can trigger attacks of anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety and even self-destructive behaviors (substance abuse, suicide, etc.) (4)

The person manifests real pain

In many cases, the mind reigns over the body. This is especially true in acute emotional states, where what we feel manifests itself physically.

To highlight:Headaches, loss of appetite, loss of energy, generalized depression and pain in any part of the body. Chronic stress is capable of triggering a series of harmful physiological responses to the general state of the individual(5) .

It is usually an unconditional love

In many of these situations, the other person does not return, in one way or another, the feelings granted.

The reasons may be lack of interest, emotional manipulation, or simply not aware that your actions show no interest in the other person’s emotions.

can last a long time

This kind of emotional affection can last days, weeks, months and even years. Psychological obsessions with other people do not disappear spontaneously.

Some require therapeutic helpto build the emotional conviction and self-love to let go of those lingering emotions. Therefore,do not hesitate to seek psychological help if you consider it necessary.


How to face one-sided love to overcome it?

The feeling of not being loved despite giving love leaves a bitter feeling in our being. It makes us feel alone and insufficient, unable to meet the other person’s standards.

However, this is not a permanent state or one that has no solution. There are therapeutic tools and strategies to grow as a person.

accept reality

It may seem like a very simple answer to this emotional dilemma, but overcoming unrequited love is, at the end of the day, accepting the current circumstances and moving beyond them.

There are no set steps to follow to achieve this, nor a guide or manual. You will find suggestions and recommendations, but they are only small guidelines, not a definitive solution to your emotional situation.

The character that dictates whether or not you use these tools is you. It is not an easy solution and you will have to go through different phases to achieve acceptance.

Get to know the person you love

Just like you are not perfect, no one is. Neither is the object of your unrequited love, he is a complex person, with virtues and strengths, as well as weaknesses and imperfections.

To stand out:Establishing contact with the other person, socializing with her, will help to discover who she really is. If he is the kind of person who deserves your feelings or he is not.

However, this can be difficult for many. The idea of unrequited love, at a distance, is comforting to some.That way, they won’t risk being rejected or ridiculed for their emotions.

However, holding on to these feelings will only undermine your happiness and your self-image as a person.

Limit contact with that person

If you want to get over the breakup with a partner who didn’t love you enough or didn’t reciprocate your actions and feelings, avoid communicating, as much as possible, socializing with the person.

As extreme as it sounds, constantly interacting with the person will only bring your emotions for him or her back to the fore, preventing and even retarding any progress in overcoming these one-sided emotions.

avoid idealizing

It is frequent that unilateral love results from the idealization of the person, as a representative of a set of aspirations, virtues and qualities that you expect from another person.

In others, an ideal. You don’t see the other as he really is: a person. Different and, at the same time, similar to you and many others.They are not perfect beings, incessantly denoting their qualities as emblems.

Also experience anger, sadness, frustration, joys, harbor hopes and, like you, we can be dominated by our emotions and act irrationally.

Important:Getting to know the person will help you dispel the illusion of perfection and idealism. In a way, it will help you discover the other person and what you really want in them.

Do not despise yourself

In romantic relationships, where the efforts of one partner are not appreciated by the other, it is common to run into these situations.

Note: The unvalued person genuinely believes that they deserve this treatment or belittles their value as an individual by not leaving a relationship that is not worth it, for fear of loneliness and feelings of abandonment that they may experience.

In other circumstances, it occurs because the person does not consider themselves good enough to meet the standards of their object or person of interest.

don’t stop your life

Don’t let these feelings become obsessive and devote every thought to the person. No matter how much affection you feel, you cannot allow yourself to make that the center of your life.

Important: Remember that, before that person, there were others in your life: family, friends or acquaintances. You have hobbies and interests that you can continue or adopt new ones, pursue your academic or work projects and much more.

socialize with others

Isolating yourself and focusing on your love object or person will only drive everyone else out of your life, who will feel that you don’t appreciate them enough. This in turn causes a vicious cycle where the person experiences sadness at having lost those close to them.

If you want to outdo the other person, socializing with others is a good alternative. Social interactions are known to be able to elevate a person’s mood, as well as reduce the risk of diseases such as depression.

Do recreational activities

Activities such as reading, exercise, meditative practices such as yoga, orTechniques are excellent examples of activities that divert your attention from the other person.

In addition, These activities promote a healthy lifestyle by making you more aware of your physical and mental integrity.They make you make decisions based on your health and not based on those unrequited feelings.

Focus on your goals and objectives

Building short, medium and long-term goals are important to build a future for yourself. It’s okay to set big goals, butwhat will keep you focused and on track in a good direction are the small daily goals that add up.

Within these small or large goals, build objectives. These can be small actions (stay focused on your work for an hour without any distraction, go jogging, draw…) that allow you to meet your goals.

Tip: Think of goals and objectives like this: goals are the locations we want to get to, goals are the vehicles we use to get there.

Do not make changes if it is not for you

Changing to please the other person or to start noticing you are not sustainable attitudes in the long term, nor are they healthy, from an emotional point of view.

Any change you make in your life should be for you. To improve as a person, recognize your limits and work on them. If you really have a weakness that you want to improve, don’t change for that person.Change because it will make you a better you.

Seek psychological help if necessary

Resolving and overcoming conflicts of an emotional and psychological nature is not easy. There are multiple resources on the web that suggest you do this or that, but if you reallyfeel that this problem absorbs you more every day, we recommend going to psychological therapy sessions.

The psychologist will provide you with the necessary tools to advance in this arduous recovery process, will resolve your doubts and, in general, will serve as a great guide and valuable adviser.

Key takeaways

  • One-sided love is an emotional, physical (or both) affection towards a person and that this does not return our feelings. It can manifest itself as excessive admiration for a famous public figure or close people, and it can even be present in love relationships where one person puts effort, dedication and is ignored by the other person.
  • Among its characteristics is that it is a love that is not reciprocal, the person gives his love and does not receive it. It also usually occurs in adolescence, which is that stage of immaturity or inability to handle emotions and this produces attachment and desire towards others despite not being reciprocated.
  • One-sided love can become an obsession and in some extreme cases it can trigger emotional and psychological disorders, among others. That is why it is important to know how to recognize it and find ways to deal with it on your own or with the help of a psychologist.
  • To overcome it, we recommend that you accept reality, that is, accept the current circumstances and find a way to overcome them. Avoid idealizing, that other person, like you, has her defects, remember that no one is perfect. Don’t belittle yourself and don’t make changes if it’s not for you. Value yourself, the moment you start doing it, others will too.

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