I Like Him, He Likes Her. Now What?

Flickr / Cameron Russell
Flickr / Cameron Russell

I’m in love with someone that can never love me back. I have fallen for someone that can never fall for me the same way. Most people would say to move on. Some would call me pathetic. Others may think it’s sad. These things are true, yes. It is also true is that there is beauty in this. Beauty? Where? I can hear you asking. How can there be beauty in something that is by definition, sad? How can there be beauty in something that breaks your heart? These were questions I, too, asked myself. But then I realized there is nothing more beautiful.

Every day, we base our actions off of the return: What’s in it for me? We spend most of our lives preoccupied with the pay off. What we get, how we get it, and who gives it to us. We’re all guilty of it, myself included. You’re going to be hard pressed to find someone that does something without expecting anything in return. I’m not saying that this is bad by any means. I’m simply saying that we are hardwired as humans to seek a reward. When we do something nice for someone, we expect him or her to return the favor. When we compliment someone, we expect to receive one in return. When we love someone, we expect him to love us back. But what if he can’t? Here in lies the beauty.

I hear your questions bubbling up again… (Where is the beauty?) Stick with me. Loving someone is very difficult to do. In order to love someone, you must love all the parts of him. You have to love the way he make you laugh and makes you mac and cheese at one in the morning because he knows you’re stressed out and doesn’t yell at you for spilling beer on his floor, but you also have to love the way he can be immature and difficult and pick fights over little things. See where I’m going with this? If you love someone, you have to stick around for all of it: the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, if it’s so much work, why do we do it? Why invest ourselves? Here’s the answer: because normally, they love us back.

I say normally because usually when someone is this invested, they’re in a relationship. They stick around for someone else’s bad because that someone sticks around for theirs. And then there’s me. And probably many others: invested, devoted, and in love with someone that can’t reciprocate. Some see it as rejection. Others, as a loss. But not me. I see it as one of the greatest opportunities.

When we feel this strongly for someone, without receiving the same love in return, it’s teaching us how to love. This is one of the most important lessons we will ever get. It’s teaching us how to give a part of ourselves to someone without expecting a piece of him in return. I’m not saying let this person walk all over you or disrespect you. I’m saying go ahead. Love them like crazy. Learn how to be there for someone fully and completely. Learn how to take every piece of someone and find something lovable. Practice being there for someone unconditionally. These are not things that come easy. They are skills that must be cultivated and perfected.

When someone loves us back, these are easy to do. It’s easy to love the person that loves you. It’s hard to let yourself feel this way about someone that doesn’t feel that way about you. Do it anyway. Let yourself feel. Let your emotions run their course. Being able to care so deeply for someone is one of the most beautiful things on this planet. When you care about someone, you want the best for him. You want him to be happy, even if his happiness lies with someone else. This is, I promise you, the hardest part: realizing that what makes him happy makes you happy. When you can share in the joys of someone’s life, even if you didn’t cause them, you’ve done it. You’ve learned to love.

In the end, we don’t need someone to tell us they love us. We need to show people we love them. By showing this love, we cultivate relationships. In the grand scheme of things, knowing how to be there for someone is all a relationship really is. Once you can do this, you have a relationship. It’s maybe not the ideal relationship. It’s maybe not what you’ve always hoped for, but it’s a relationship nonetheless. It’s a relationship that will last because it is built on deep feelings of acceptance and love for someone, without expecting anything in return. It is these kinds of relationships that set us up for the main event. It’s these relationships the build our resume, so that when the time comes and we find “the one,” we can love them with our whole entire hearts because that’s what we’ve taught ourselves to do. TC mark

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