Here’s The Bitter Truth About Unrequited Love

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It’s not real love.

And I know, I know! Some of you are shaking your fists and telling me I don’t understand. The way you feel is SO real. Absolutely. 100%. You can feel it in every fiber of your being. How dare anyone tell you this isn’t real love? You just know it.

I get it.

I’ve said the same damn thing.

I’ve done everything short of preparing a PowerPoint presentation to prove, YES, this is love. Obviously, I’m in love.

Real love, though? I’m talking unconditional, safe, wonderful, ever growing love? That’s a two-way street. There’s no way it can blossom into its full potential if only one person shows up to tend to it.

When someone doesn’t return affection, the chance at love stops right there. It wilts into something else. Something that can feel just as powerful as love. And that, my friends, is infatuation.

At the height of both my greatest love and maddest infatuation, I found many similarities. So much so, I finally understood why it’s so easy to mix these two up. They’re related.

Infatuation springs up when love is shot down.

Infatuation is what happens when your ego and heart enter a bar fight. Shame hides out in the corner, waiting for it to all be over soon. Unrequited love sits idly by, snickering.

I’m not downplaying how difficult and painful loving someone who doesn’t love you back can be. It’s torturous. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy – if I had any.

The unrequited know how horribly gutting an experience it can be. It will break one day, expose every insecurity, every veiny vulnerability.

But you need to remember, this is not love.

Not to say you don’t care. Not to say what you feel is somehow less important or valid. Not to say you aren’t allowed to grieve and hurt and mourn for what you hoped would be.

When love is real, it will kiss you back. It won’t leave you questioning your own worth.

When love is real, you won’t have to beg it to stay. It just will. It’ll stay.

So no, unrequited love isn’t real love. It’s dirty, unreliable infatuation. We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a rite of passage. Who knows?

But eventually, love will bloom. And you’ll finally see what I mean.

Unrequited is not the same thing. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ari Eastman is a poet and the author of the book Bloodline.


Bloodline is available as a physical and electronic book. You can buy it here

About the author

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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