You start off thinking maybe this time will be different. Your feelings caught you off guard, so naturally, this must be love. You read somewhere that this is how it’s supposed to happen. Your emotions consume you, but in the end, you’re left heartbroken.
You keep falling in love with people who don’t love you back. Continuing to pursue these relationships causes you to miss out on connections with people who care about your wellbeing. In the end, the entanglement causes more harm than good. The beauty in this is that at heart, you’re a romantic and are capable of impacting people’s lives with your love. Sometimes our love isn’t received. Here are five reasons you keep falling in love with those who don’t love you back.
1. You’re not in love
You like the idea of the person. You like the idea of what they represent in your life. You love how they make you feel. You love what they can do for you. You visualize how they fit into your future without taking the time to understand the role they see in yours. You romanticize them, even though you’re not compatible.
Love is a decision. Love is an act. Love accepts people as they are but hopes to see them reach their highest self. Love is sacrifice. Love is patient, kind, and long-suffering. Love doesn’t hold grudges, quickly get mad, or envy. Love is calm. Love comes softly over time. Sometimes we confuse love with lust. Lust is a strong sexual desire for someone, which can short circuit the brain. Most often, our love is conditional. We’re all just trying to figure this shit out.
2. You keep recreating the unhealthy relationships that make you feel comfortable
If you had an estranged relationship with either one of your parents, your ideas about love might be misplaced. Your parents didn’t have to abuse you or be alcoholics to impact your views on love. Some parents did the best they could, but they couldn’t know everything. They had to figure out their own emotions and didn’t have the tools to navigate yours, making you feel invalidated. You began to compensate for this perceived lack of worth by people-pleasing or becoming incredibly selfish. Relationships that leave you with constant rejection subconsciously make you feel safe. Why? Because you have to work to get love. Having someone love you just because feels dull. Too easy. Instead, you want passion and pain.
3. You don’t love yourself
You desperately grasp for the love of others because you don’t love yourself. Instead of focusing on wounds in your life that need healing, you attach to others as a distraction. Most often, when we get the person of our desire, we sabotage the relationship. We engage in behaviors and thought patterns that hold us back from getting what we desperately want: love, belonging, and meaningful relationships. Sabotage looks like acting indifferent towards the person you love, looking for attention from other people while in a relationship with the person you love, or not showing up for them in a meaningful way.
4. You’re scared of being vulnerable, losing control, and intimacy
You’ve built a rugged exterior. At the back of your head, you want to love but don’t want to get hurt. There’s always a risk that the people we love will leave us. Loss can happen through death, growing apart, or having different life paths. Most likely, you’re scared of vulnerability, losing control, and intimacy. You attach to the people you like quickly. You open up too soon or open up to the wrong people. In love, you must grow and develop trust.
5. You like the feeling of falling in love, not of being in a relationship
You fall for people who don’t love you because you love the chase. You want commitment, but you also want freedom. These conflicting ideas stem from avoidance and thoughts about being undeserving. You’re avoiding the uncomfortable feelings that arise when you sit alone with yourself. You use love the same way we use alcohol, food, drugs, or pornography—to medicate. Love can be rewarding, but it’s more than a quick fix. It’s a decision. You’re not going to feel like being loving every day. How will you cope? As you become more comfortable with yourself, you’re able to embrace the thought of commitment and receiving love.
How do you break the cycle of loving people that don’t love you back?
You work on creating secure attachments by:
-learning how to self-soothe
-learning more about your attachment style
-loving yourself first instead of looking for validation from others
-aiming for progress, not perfection
-comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not other people
-exploring hobbies and interests
-loving people who love you
-journaling your thoughts
-forgiving yourself for anything you feel shame about
Secure attachments are relationships where you aren’t always anxious about your partner leaving you. They are relationships where you aren’t afraid of emotional connection and intimacy. They are relationships where you and your partner maintain some degree of individuality. They are relationships where you don’t feel frantic but calm and supported.
You keep falling in love with people who don’t love you back because you are afraid to receive love. You’re fearful of receiving love because some part of you believes you’re undeserving. Some part of you thinks life must be hard. You’re avoiding the self-work that you need to do. To break free, work on uncovering your trauma and loving yourself first. You deserve good things. It’s a gift to be a person who loves.