The first word that comes to mind when you love someone who will never love you back. Empty. Void. Blank. Pointless.
Because that’s exactly what it is.
It’s like eating junk food when you’re not even hungry because you’re sure, so sure that it will satiate you. That it will make you happy. That it will give you some sort of sense of satisfaction, of contentment. But that feeling never comes and you’re left just sitting in front of what is essentially, a waste, with nothing to show for it but a mess you’ve done to yourself.
It’s an uphill battle where there’s nothing waiting for you at the top. A marathon with no one else at the finish line. It’s fighting every day with bloody knuckles and an even more battered heart hoping that someone will be there to make everything worth it, everything okay, and realizing that you’re standing alone with absolutely nothing to show for yourself and your struggles, responsible for picking up the pieces of your own emotions solo.
Because metaphors aside, there’s not really anything good or at the very least, fulfilling, that comes from falling in love with someone who you know deep down will never truly love you back.
It’s purposeless. It’s empty.
It leaves you completely hollow.
Loving someone, really truly loving someone, who cannot and will not love you back isn’t something that will make you stronger. It can teach you a lot of things, but make you stronger? Not really. No matter which way you paint it, whatever beautiful embellishment you try to put onto your own cliché unrequited love, there’s not really a life lesson to take away from the situation.
Because the number one thing you learn when you love someone who doesn’t love you back?
It’s that sometimes, love really isn’t enough.
Loving someone, and continuing to love someone who will not love you back isn’t brave. And it isn’t strong. While there is something to be said for having a big heart and having the capacity to give pieces of yourself to people who don’t, and don’t deserve to, appreciate you, holding onto them when they aren’t holding back isn’t brave or strong or good.
Because deep down, truthfully, that’s what loving someone who you know will never love you back really is. It’s dousing your core in gasoline, handing someone else the match to see what they’ll do, and setting everything on fire yourself when you realize that they’re indifferent about what does or does not happen. And the longer it takes you to realize that that’s the case, that you’re responsible for your own entire wreckage, the longer it will take you to scoop up your own ashes and rebuild yourself when you finally come to your senses.
That’s what trying to fill yourself with someone who doesn’t truly love you is.
It’s empty. It’s unfulfilling.
It will do nothing but frustrate you, fail you, and leave you standing there with nothing but the remnants of a you, you don’t even recognize in your own hands.
Because that’s the cost of loving someone who does not, and will not love you back.
You won’t lose this person who you’ve idealized, who you’ve loved unrequitedly. You won’t miss out on “what could’ve been” and you won’t fail to jump onto a train that was maybe heading your way. You won’t find yourself grasping at the fingertips of anyone else, because the only person you will have failed to truly hold onto is y-o-u.
So what does it honestly mean to love someone who doesn’t love you back?
It means losing you, losing yourself. It means letting go of things that may be actually tangible, and favoring something you will never actually hold close. It means putting a fantasy in front of your own reality, fragments in front of your own wholistic life.
Loving someone who will not love you back is quite simply, a waste of your precious, precious time.
So what do you do? What do you do when you find yourself sitting there, attempting to justify and make sense of someone else’s ambivalence and your own inexplicable need to love them when they haven’t asked it or earned it?
You let go. You move on.
No matter how hard it is, no matter the struggle. No matter how much you want to cling to them, and no matter how much you feel like you love them.
You have to let them go.
Because in letting them go, you know who you’ll get to hold onto instead?
And that’s the only thing you’ll ever really need, anyway.