Most questions that I get from customers during the course of my day have something to do with unrequited love. Wanting someone who doesn’t want you is super common, and I get it.
It’s a crappy situation, and I’ve been through it myself. In my early 20’s, I had several make-up, breakup, dead-end, unrequited love affairs that were painful enough to make me desperate to figure out how to stop wanting someone who, despite my cutest, best efforts—would never want a relationship with me.
Maybe you can relate.
I used to believe in movie love, the kind where no matter what kind of abuse the subject of our hero’s love dished out, they would keep coming back for more.
In real life, this is called masochism and a really hard road. On the silver screen, it’s LOVE, spelled in neon, flashing capital letters. I embodied the Meatloaf song, “I Would Do Anything For Love.” Good ‘ol power ballads. Anyhow, I digress.
Movie love incorporates devotion with suffering, persistence and drama.
The romantic comedy wouldn’t be quite as entertaining if people simply coupled up, coped with boredom, sexual frustration and various ups and downs, until one of them threw in the towel after five years because they developed feelings for Barry in accounting.
No interesting epilogue, no fireworks. One person simply leaves for Barry, and the other person licks their wounds for a while, gets back on the horse and copes with some dead-end relationships until they eventually settle down with a nice brunette in the suburbs.
In the movies, the torments and trials are always met with heavy desire from at least one of them to keep going despite the distance, pain, or lack of encouragement. No circumstance is too dire for love to overcome. I fancied myself as one of these romantic characters, one for which love would never falter.
And that mistaken devotion, my friends, used to get me into SO MUCH TROUBLE until I learned something very important that I want to share with you today.
But first, let’s talk about the time I traveled all the way to South Africa to chase after a man.
This ill-fated voyage took place AFTER he told me two days before my flight that he had just met someone else and wanted to be “just friends.” Did I cancel my trip? Did I fly there anyway but skip seeing him and venture off alone?
Nope. Not me. I stayed with him for THREE WHOLE WEEKS, indulging in the delusional belief that it was still, somehow meant to be.
Spoiler alert: We haven’t spoken since.
And, this experience was just one of the many reasons why I completely understand the desire to work, strive, force, cajole and pine over relationships that are already dead or clearly doomed. Hopeful is in my DNA. And, it’s why if you’re going through the awful situation of wanting someone who doesn’t seem to want you, I can SO relate with you.
This one lesson will save you from so much embarrassment, devastation and heartbreak. It’s simple but not easy. Let me say this in the most crystal clear way possible:
You are number one. You must walk away.
No matter what, you are number one.
Read it, believe it, and say it with me:
“I’m number one.”
From now on, you are your first priority no matter what. This simply means that no matter what is happening you’re your relationships, you look after yourself first. If you feel crappy, you make a change. If you’re told “no more,” you walk away and let the other person wake up day after day without you around.
Being your own number one means doing whatever it takes to let go of any attachment that isn’t serving you.
You have to show yourself mercy, because the person you’re trying to strive for, date, be with, and/or get back together with sure as hell isn’t going to. They’re going to be off with Barry in accounting. They’ve ALREADY decided for whatever reason that you aren’t it. You’re old news. And the more you argue with them and try to change their mind, the worse you’re going to feel about yourself. Also, their reasons for leaving DO NOT MATTER.
Now, I’m not saying, “dump the person you’re with” or “refuse to work on a relationship that has slumped.” I’m saying that if you’re in sickening place where you’ve been dumped, left or ignored, if you’re being thrown crumbs, it’s time to mentally divorce yourself from that situation, choose to love yourself first and let go. Wanting anything other than reality is simply a recipe for more heartache.
From now on, only be loyal to people who deserve it. This means you.