This post is dedicated to one of my lovely readers who made the kind request to write on the matter. I imagine she is going through a tough time at the moment and its why I pushed myself to get this content out as quickly and as early as possible.
Unrequited love is no doubt one of those gut wrenching feelings that some of us have to deal with, and I wish everyone that is presently going through this ordeal a quick and easy period of healing.
The truth is I do not know or understand my reader’s situation or the nature of the love that isn’t being requited i.e a friendship love, sibling love, lover’s love e.t.c. So my writing and advice would be broadly given to accommodate all forms of unrequited love.
Personally I’ve only ever experienced one form of unrequited love and it’s the friendship love. Also, my friend’s love was mutual at the beginning but the love got lost down the line and it was a very tough pill for me to swallow at the time. The truth about myself is that I feel things very intensely and it can be quite unhealthy. If I love I love fiercely and if I hurt, I hurt deeply and it’s perhaps the reason why I have high walls built around me; to protect my heart. In my 22 years of living, this unrequited friendship love situation happened to me twice. The second time it happened, I learnt from my previous experience and was able to deal with the second loss and heal much faster.
The plain truth is people change. The weather changes, emotions change and our beliefs change. Sometimes you reach a point in life and you realize that this person you used to spend a lot of time with doesn’t really share the same value with you or their energy is something you no longer want around you, even though the story was different in the past. With time you get to learn that not every loss is an actual loss, some losses you experience in life are actually blessings in disguise.
So, dear reader I believe there are two categories to this and there are three stages in each category that you must overcome in order to truly heal and deal with the unrequited love.
The first category is the kind of situation where for example, girl sees boy and develops a crush on the boy but the boy doesn’t share the same feelings. Another example of this category of unrequited love is girl sees and follows another girl on social media, or shares a Korean class with a new black girl and finds that she is drawn to this new girl and feels they could be great friends but the new girl doesn’t share the same feelings. Lets call this category and such people the Star Crossed Lovers Category.
The second category is the example I cited above about myself. So for example girl meets boy and they both develop and share the same feelings but one day, something happens and the boy stops liking the girl and the girl finds herself in a one sided relationship. Or girl A and girl B are best friends but one day, girl B unfriends girl A on all social media accounts and stops talking to girl A and avoids her completely for no clear reasons. Lets call this category and such people the Mutant Lovers Category.
Now that I’ve differentiated between the two different categories, only you can identify which category you rightly belong to. This leaves us with the three stages you must pass through in order to properly heal and they are:
- The Rejection/Awareness Stage.
- The Heart Break/ Acceptance Stage.
- The Moving on/ Healing Stage.
There isn’t much difference between the Star Crossed Lovers Category and the Mutant Lovers Category. The major difference is that if you belong in the latter group (i.e mutant) the period of healing would be a little bit longer simply because loosing something you once had cannot be compared to loosing something you never had.
Also, the stages in each category are more or less the same its just the nomenclatures that I coined differently to best suit each unique situation. So, if you belong in the star-crossed lovers category the three stages you must pass through are called the Rejection Stage, Heart Break Stage and the Moving on Stage.
If you belong in the mutant lovers category then the three stages you must pass through are the Awareness Stage, the Acceptance Stage and the Healing Stage.
So shall we begin?
Before we begin lets engage in a little exercise; I want you to take a deep breath.
Stop reading and take a deep breathe.
I want you to feel the blessed air flow through the pipes of your lungs. Feels good to be able to breathe doesn’t it? It should feel good because the truth is someone out there, perhaps an asthmatic patient or an ICU patient is struggling to breathe or even worse someone out there is inhaling their last breathe as I speak to you right now. I don’t mean to paint a morbid picture in your mind but the first important lesson I want you to understand is that your perception of things and general outlook of life largely influences your happiness and other emotions. So the next time you decide to take a deep breathe or you otherwise become conscious of your breathing, I want you to feel grateful and to imagine you are breathing happiness into your lungs and not simply oxygen. By doing this you’ve gained a positive emotion, which results in your body releasing some endorphins that help relieve stress and trigger a positive feeling in the body.
I started off with that little breathing exercise because my aim with this post is not to make you feel an immediate emotional shift (habibi the emotional shift you seek is not going to happen today or tomorrow). My aim is to try and make you have a mental shift (which I hope can be achieved by the time you reach the end of this post). The mental shift is what will later cause you to have an emotional shift. I know you are hurting right now but do not fret about your feelings and your heart; allow it to do its thing. What we are going to focus and work on is your mind and thoughts. We are going to push your mental muscles and reset the way it thinks and re-navigate your thoughts. May Allah swt make it easy for you.
Now, let’s go through each stage together.
The Rejection/Awareness Stage
So whether or not this is your first or tenth time of having a star crossed lover in your life, the fact remains that at this stage someone has freshly rejected you or denounced your feelings. The circumstances of how this became known to you doesn’t really matter because the truth is you feel embarrassed, exposed and vulnerable. If your emotions were a cocktail right now it would taste very sour and confusing. Whether you were bold enough to let your star-crossed lover know how you felt or you had a third party try to arrange things between you two, you will feel like an open wound. You had planned and hoped things would work out the way you wanted but they didn’t.
You’ll agree with me that there were only two possible options; either the person liked you back or doesn’t. Emotionally you are already biased because you feel something for them beyond your control but there’s something you have control over and it’s your mind. Right now it appears you’ve allowed your mind to be biased as well by placing a little too much hope that the person would like you back. It’s completely natural and human for you to do this. A wise person once told me that the expectations we place on things and on people (which aren’t met) are what hurts and disappoints us, and its not really the people or the thing we didn’t get. Do you understand this? This wisdom changed my life because it taught me to learn to reasonably manage my expectations.
If you acknowledge that this has happened to you, you don’t need to play the blame card or go on a self hating/regretful trip. No. Far from it. All it means is that next time (in order to avoid going through this stage) be sure to manage your expectations and not allow your mind to be biased; give enough room in your heart or cushion the floor well enough to the point that if someone pushed you down you don’t feel hurt. Instead you land on a soft bed of pillows which you had earlier kept in store in case you might need it. If someone rejects your feelings or says no to you, imagine the ‘no’ as an incomplete sentence.
What do I mean? If a guy for example say’s to me ‘Hasiya I don’t like you’ or I pushed a friend of mine to ask the boy that I liked if he had feelings for me and the boy responded with a fat no, what will I do? I will swallow my pride and remind myself that his ‘no’ is an incomplete sentence that I would help complete. “No I don’t like Hasiya”….and I will finish the sentence by adding ” and i’m not allowed to like her because the truth is her greatest happiness lies with someone that isn’t me and she will realize it soon. She may like me now but there is someone out there that she hasn’t met yet that she will like even more and the companionship I can offer her cannot be compared to the companionship that the other person can give her and soon enough she will realize it.”
If you want to get cocky with however you decide to finish their sentence you can add things like ‘she’s too good for me and how could I handle all her pengness and blah blah.” The crucial point i’m trying to make is your star-crossed lovers rejection of you only serves to point and direct your heart towards another path that its supposed to follow. That’s all. it’s nothing to do with you. Don’t even flirt with the idea or thought that something is wrong with you. As human beings if we were to have all other humans of the opposite sex lined up in a room standing in front of us and we were told to guess who our partner is, we would have NO IDEA. However, we have to start somewhere and that’s by engaging with someone and it’s not until we engage with them that we would start to draw the lines to determine if they are the one or not. Our prayer is not to engage or be drawn to someone that is toxic for us or a waste of time.
So don’t get hung up on this stage. You liking them was a gamble in the first place because you don’t know how things are going to end up with them…all you do is hope without having any form of guarantee that things will be good and will last with them.
For my mutant lovers, I understand nobody really enjoys changes; especially the ones that feel like a loss. It may be that you were very happy with this person and perhaps had no fall out or troubles in the relationship. Things were sailing smoothly and all of a sudden you encounter a crash and things are sinking quickly. Personally, I strongly believe that when it comes to relationships things don’t always have to spoil or get irreparably bad before you realize you need to end or change it. This wisdom was what helped me to get over the second friendship I lost. I believe if both of us were to continue to benefit one another, we would have remained friends till date.
So, if you are at this stage you start to notice that your mutant lover is switching up on you. They have less time for you. The conversations you have are empty and nowhere near as fulfilling as they used to be. They come up with all sort of excuses and sometimes they just disappear. You no longer feel welcome in their life and you start to feel like some kind of intruder. To type that hey message is a struggle and you hesitate once more before hitting send. At this stage you become aware of the little and big things and must receive the signs for what they are; big queues of the nearing of an end of the relationship.
The Heart Break/ Acceptance Stage
It does not matter which category you belong to because at this stage you feel the hurt deeply…the stronger the emotions you have for them the more pain you will feel for them. You know you are at this stage when a little despair starts to creep in. Can you really move past this hurt? Can you heal? Can you find something similar again? The pain feels endless. However, at this stage you must learn to own your heart and not let it own you. Are you the owner of your heart or is your heart the owner of you?
For my mutant lovers you must have tried everything to figure out what went wrong for the sake of closure. Closure is something that is very important to me and I find that I can never really move on, unless I have received some closure. If the person really mattered to you and you guys were as close as you thought, you would have asked questions, tried to reach out, tried to make amends and fix whatever was broken but you find that all your efforts meet a dead end. You may not agree with how things have turned but you must accept it for what they are or better yet what they have become.
To truly heal at this stage you NEED to welcome the pain and not run from them or deny them. Feel the anger if you need to. Cry if you need to but if you do cry, make sure you damn well cry to the point where you feel like you have no more tears to cry for the person in the future. You are allowed to grieve because you’re human. Express your feelings in writing or sing, paint or scream them. Just find an outlet for the emotions. It’s important. What you don’t want is to store the emotions within you. It’s very toxic to your mental and emotional well being. As you near the end of your grieve, you will start to feel a little numb, and your energy feels drained and depleted. However you choose to grieve, I strongly advice that during this stage you give yourself a time-frame to go on the emotional cleansing.
A week is a reasonable time to get the emotions out. You’re not rushing yourself to heal and neither are you wasting time sulking too much (when the other person is enjoying their life). Please don’t misunderstand me; grieving at this stage doesn’t mean that after a week you will be over them. No at all. Grieving at this stage is just a time for you to express and utilize your emotions. Similar to a position of when you’re happy, you use your positive emotion and cheerful mood to get things done or to go out and spend time with your friends or you find that you’re simply inclined to the mood of trying something fun and daring. In a similar vein when you are sad you are inclined to do certain things like to cry or to lock yourself up in the room and to finish a tub of ice-cream by yourself or to go boxing. It’s okay to do any of these but you must limit yourself.
Alhamdulilah as a muslim, you have so many gems to assist you during this period…reminders in the Quran not to get yourself depressed, or to go on a self destruct mode simply because you’ve lost one thing and you fail to recognize the million other things you have. I’m sure you still have other people (or pets) in your life that you love and feel protective of.
When you get to this stage just remember Allah’s word in the Quran where He stated:
O Prophet! Say to whoever is in the hands of the captives: If Allah knows [any] good in your hearts, He will give you [something] better than what was taken from you, and He will forgive you; and Allah is forgiving and Merciful.Al-Anfaal [8:70]
What great news! How wonderful it is to hear that Allah says He will replace whatever you’ve lost with something better and ON TOP OF THAT He will forgive you for some of your sins that you didn’t even seek forgiveness for at the time just because of this loss you’ve experienced. This is a sign of Allah’s love for you. Now tell me can you really call what you’re going through a loss? As Muslims we believe every loss to be a good thing so don’t worry and not allow what your heart is presently feeling to confuse you nor should you give into despair by listening to shaytan.
The one week I give myself is a stretch but it frees me of all other pressure and guilt. If somehow you find yourself buried in a very deep hole of love, give yourself a week to dig yourself out of it, otherwise you will be buried and killed by this emotion (which was once upon a time good but has become bad and its your job to not let it harm you more than it already has).
So remember this stage is just a cleansing period, a cleansing of the tears, anguish and pain you feel are stored inside you. Don’t fight the tears in the name of trying to be a ‘strong girl’ or a ‘strong guy’. If you don’t let the emotions out at the time they need to be, it will be transferred into something or someone in the future and believe me that situation will be uglier.
The Moving on/ Healing Stage
Great its time to get your ass back up! Let’s bring out the checklist of the things you’ve done and not done. Have you accepted things for what they are or what they can’t be? Check. Have you missed the person and their companionship? Check. Have you felt hurt and alone? Check. Have you given yourself a week to emotionally cleanse yourself of the negative feelings and thoughts? Check. Are your eyes sore, throat dry and fists bruised? Check.
Okay so it’s time to bring light back to your eyes habibi. Don’t you miss the feel of the warm sunlight on your skin? It’s time to clear the clouds and let the sun peak through. That emptiness you feel in your heart aren’t you hungry to fill it back up by doing the things you love?
Now that you’ve spent a whole week cleansing yourself and ridding yourself of all the negative emotions you MUST get rid of anything and everything that will remind you or put you back in the state you were a week ago.
That friendship bracelet or pendant you have, get rid of it. The gift the person gave you as a token of their love give it away (unless its some ancient relic or painting worth $500,000 or a Maserati I mean you wouldn’t want to be disrespectful). I’m kidding do whatever you need to do for your emotional well being (so long as it doesn’t harm someone else). Only you have control over your emotional well being. If something you have of them only causes you to smile or reminds you of a good memory then keep it. You must take the good and get rid of the bad. If what you have of them is something like their jumper and it reminds you of their scent and how much you miss them and want to cuddle them and your thoughts start whirling again you have to get rid of it. It’s hard (especially if you are a hoarder of things) but you must get rid of it in order not to start a vicious cycle of re-experiencing the previous stage. The good job you’ve done so far would only be in vain. Delete that song that ties you emotionally to them. You need to start disconnecting yourself of the things you can, it’s the only way you can fully move on. Mentally and physically you are no longer tied to them. All you will have left are memories of them and that can only fade by you making sure you create great new memories. Spend as much of your time creating new memories in order not to dwell or hold on to the old memories.
How can you create new memories? Get your ass back up! Keep yourself busy with work. Make new friends. Try new adventures. Learn new skills. Listen and fall in love with new music. There’s so many things you can do. The aim is to grow into a new and better version of yourself. Someone your old friend or lover doesn’t know or have access to.
If you follow them on social media unfollow the person if you have to. Some people see this action as a petty thing to do but why are you caring what people think? Did they feel the hurt you felt? Where were they when you were hurting and couldn’t sleep and all they could mumble was I told you so or just pull yourself together? Is it now you will give them the chance to dictate the actions to take for your well being. You must move forward and do what you have to do so far as its reasonable and within your control. You can’t ask your other friends to stop being friends with them because you are no longer friends with one person in the group or they are your ex.
If the guy you like is in your workplace or class just try and stay clear of their path. I know it seems impossible to do so but set some boundaries for yourself. Don’t get too close to them and limit the greeting and conversations to what needs to be said. It gets easier with time and trust me you’ll be fine. You’ll be more than fine. Just keep working on you to be the best version of yourself; emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially and be rest assured that this person will be the least of your problems and a good history topic to discuss in the future maybe.
Now that you’ve reached the end of my post, I hope my aim at the beginning has been achieved and I have been able to help you a little. It’s not easy but believe me it’s right up the top of the list of the things you can do.
May Allah bless you and make your period of healing easy and faster than you can imagine.
If you have any requests of some other thing you would like me to write about, please feel free to comment down below and In Sha Allah I’ll get through all of them.
Catch you in my next post In Sha Allah!
Ma salam x