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4 Simple Ways to Stop Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You Back

How to stop loving someone who doesn't love you

By Emma RandyPublished 7 months ago 22 min read

You may love someone who doesn't love you back and you feel like the world is ending. Your pain is very real. It has been scientifically proven that rejection activates the same neurons that are sensitive to physical pain. You will not be able to control what you feel, but you can learn to work through the pain of your romantic disappointments to move forward in your life.

Things to know

  • Give yourself time to grieve. Grief is normal. You can't control what has happened, but you can give yourself space, forget about your memories and express your feelings
  • Think about something other than what happened and avoid contact with your ex. Take your mind off of things by making a list of all your good qualities!
  • Talk to people you trust and expand your circle of support. Challenge your negative thoughts, focus on yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Determine when you are ready to move on and go out and meet new people. Motivate yourself to keep moving forward, no matter what.

First thing: Give yourself space

1. Recognize that this pain is normal.

When you love someone who doesn't love you back, it hurts. You have the physical sensation that your heart is broken: the pain of rejection activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your heart rate and muscle tension, among other things. It is natural to feel pain when someone does not love you back. Accept the idea that these feelings are normal so you can move forward with the process.

  1. Rejection in love may actually trigger the same reaction in your brain as withdrawal from a drug addiction.
  2. According to psychologists, about 98% of us would have experienced unrequited love. Knowing that you are not the only one may not help the pain go away, but it may make it easier to bear.
  3. Such rejection may also lead to a form of depression. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek help from a mental health professional immediately:
  • changes in your eating or sleeping patterns
  • feelings of discouragement or distress
  • changes in your usual mood
  • difficulty controlling negative thoughts
  • urges to harm yourself

2. Allow yourself to cry.

There is nothing wrong with crying, as long as it is temporary. In fact, from a medical standpoint, it is better to allow yourself to feel sad than to try to suppress your emotions. Denying or minimizing your emotions (e.g., "it's not a big deal" or "I didn't really like him anyway") can make the situation worse in the long run.

If you have the opportunity, take some time out of your life to deal with this sadness. This will create a healing space for you to take control of your grief. For example: you realize for the first time that this person will never love you back, so you need to take some time to be alone somewhere, even if it's just a 15-minute walk outside.

Avoid wallowing in despair, however. If you don't leave the house for weeks, if you stay cooped up wearing that nasty old T-shirt that you should have burned, you've gone too far. Feeling sad is a natural process, but if you don't try to move on by refocusing on your life, you're not going to stop thinking about the other person and keep loving them.

3. Recognize that you can't control the other person.

Upon learning that the other person is not returning all of your love, your immediate reaction may be something like, "I'll make him or her love me!" This type of thinking is very natural, but also incorrect and inappropriate. You can't persuade, convince, or force someone to feel things they don't feel.

It is also good to remember that you cannot always control your own feelings either. However, you can work to control your responses to such feelings.

4. Take time away from the other person.

To give yourself space to move forward in the process, you may want to think about partially removing the person from your life (but not completely removing them from your life). You may need to take a break from them.

You don't have to be mean or cruel. Just ask them to give you some time to work through the feelings you are having. If the person really cares about you, they will give you what you need, even if it is not the most pleasant experience.

If the person you are trying to stop loving is someone who has meant a lot to you in the past in terms of emotional support, find another friend to fill that role. When you feel the immediate need to talk to the person you are trying to avoid, ask another friend who is available at the time to take over.

Remove that person from your social media contacts or at least hide their posts. Delete them from your phone book so that you are not tempted to reconnect. You don't want to receive constant reminders that this person exists and what they are doing. Otherwise, it will be harder for you to keep your distance.

5. Express your feelings to yourself.

Expressing your feelings rather than bottling them up until they explode can help you accept that you are going through a painful experience. When we experience loss or disappointment, it is natural to have difficulty dealing with these emotions, at least at first. Don't put yourself down because of these feelings or try to ignore the hope that these feelings will go away. Express them honestly and openly.

  • Cry, if you feel like it. Tears can be therapeutic. They may reduce your feelings of anxiety and anger and even reduce your physical sensations and stress. If you feel like grabbing a box of tissues and crying your eyes out, go ahead.
  • Avoid violent actions such as yelling, screaming, hitting or breaking things. It may feel good immediately, but research suggests that using violence to express anger (even towards an inanimate object) can actually increase the feelings of anger in question. It is healthier and more helpful to reflect on your feelings and understand why you feel them.
  • It may be very helpful to express your emotions through creative activities, such as music or art, or through your favorite activities. However, it is advisable to stay away from things that are sad or too related to anger, such as death metal music.

6. Realize that it's better to let these feelings pass you by.

No matter how wonderful the person you love is, you will never be happy with them if they don't love you. Idealizing someone is very easy, especially if you've invested a lot of energy in falling in love with them. Take a step back to look at reality (without being cruel or judgmental) to gain some distance from this tragic, unrequited feeling of love.

  • It may also be helpful for you to think about aspects of this person that may have led to this complicated relationship between the two of you [How to Fall Out of Love With Somebody] .
  • For example, it is their extreme social anxiety that makes it absolutely impossible for this person to give you the validation you need in a relationship.
  • Studies even suggest that accepting negative feelings about the other person may help you get over the disappointment more quickly.
  • However, don't fall into the trap of saying terrible things about the other person in order to feel better. Instead of helping you heal, this type of thinking may make you even more bitter and angry.
  • Feeling rejected contributes to a temporary lowering of your IQ, whether you believe it or not. If you are having trouble dealing with your feelings rationally, accept that it will take some time to get back to "normal".

7. Avoid blaming.

Just as you can't control falling in love with the other person, they can't control falling in love with you. If you are blaming them for their friendliness or thinking that they are being cruel by not loving you, you are not being fair to them. Also, harboring such resentment will not help you heal your heartache.

You may well be sad that this person doesn't love you, but don't blame them. And don't let your friends blame her either. They may try to blame them for not loving you. If they do, thank them for their support, but tell them that "it's not fair to blame him or her for something that is not their fault. Instead, try to help me move on.

8. Get rid of the memories.

You may want to cry at the thought of getting rid of these memories, but know that this is an important step in the healing process. These memories may make it harder for you to forget, and that's not what you want!

As you go through each item, think about the memory associated with it, and then imagine putting that memory into a balloon. When you get rid of the object, imagine the balloon flying away forever.

If you have items that are in good condition, consider donating them to a thrift store or giving them to someone in need. Imagine all the happy memories the new owner can build with that new sweater, teddy bear, CD... and let these new associations symbolize the transformation that is happening in your life.

Second thing: Apply short-term fixes

1. Avoid getting drunk and calling or texting the other person.

You may feel desperate when you meet the other person, especially at first. Your willpower should be enough to get you through when you are in your normal state, but we all know that under the influence of alcohol, our judgment is impaired. If you berate the person for not wanting to love you while you're intoxicated or yell at them about how broken your heart is, the situation could quickly become awkward for both of you. It may even ruin your chances of developing a genuine friendship with her later on. If you think you might be doing something you'll regret later, ask your friends for help.

Give your phone to your friend (preferably the one designated to drive), with firm instructions not to give it back to you, no matter what excuse you use to claim it.

Delete the other person from your phone book. This way, you won't be able to call or text them.

2. Find distractions.

It's almost impossible not to think about something, but it's quite possible to divert your thoughts to another subject when you start to ruminate. Whenever your memories resurface, distract yourself by thinking about something else, doing another activity or thinking about a project.

Call a friend. Pick up a good book. Watch a hilarious movie. Build something. Do some gardening. Do math. Find something that keeps you busy long enough to get the other person off your mind. The more you get in the habit of not thinking about that person, the easier it will be.

A handy trick is to dedicate a certain amount of time to thinking about that person. It doesn't have to be too long, 10-15 minutes will do. When you realize that thoughts about this person are lingering in your brain, you will say to yourself, "Not now. I'll come back to you later. When it's time for that appointment with yourself, allow yourself to think about that person. When the time is up, move on to other thoughts and activities.

3. Be aware that unrequited love can also hurt the other person.

When you feel rejected, it can feel like the only thing that matters is the pain you feel. However, research suggests that the person who can't return your love probably feels bad too. Most people don't like to cause unhappiness to others.

Knowing that the other person might feel terrible about not being able to give you what you hope for might give you a sense of purpose. Usually, just because someone wants to be mean doesn't mean they don't love you back.

4. Make a list of your good points.

Because of the rejection, you may feel that the devaluing thoughts you have about yourself are justified. Don't allow yourself to believe that you don't deserve to be loved just because that person doesn't love you back. Studies have shown that when you believe you deserve to be loved, you get over past rejections faster and handle future ones better.

Write down all the great things about yourself that come to mind. If you have trouble finding them, ask a friend for help.

Express love for yourself in relation to these things. For example, "Maybe right now I'm not feeling strong, but I'm great at roller derby and that's something I really like about myself.

Third thing: Start to heal

1. Avoid memory triggers.

If you hold on to your memories of the other person, it will be hard to get over this unrequited love. Avoid listening to that song or going to that place that reminds you of the wonderful times you had together.

  • A memory trigger can be anything: seeing a picture of that person in your Facebook news feed, hearing a song that you associate with a good time you had together. It could even be a smell (like the smell of apple pie, if you've ever done an apple pie competition together, for example).
  • If you find yourself facing a memory trigger, which you certainly will, it's a good idea to accept that memory and then move on. Don't dwell on the feelings that will inevitably come up. For example, if you hear the song you associate with your love on the radio, you can turn off the radio or change the station. Accept the feelings of sadness and regret that are coming up, and then turn your attention to something positive or neutral (what you are going to eat tonight, that trip you are planning).
  • Know that you don't need to avoid these memory triggers for the rest of your life. For now, you just need to facilitate the healing process and these memories make that process more complicated. When you have moved on, these memory triggers may still remind you of the other person, but it will be less painful.

2. Talk to someone.

It is a good idea to let go of the emotionally difficult aspects of your healing process. If you hold on to these emotions, it will be harder to let them go in the long run. Find someone to talk to about how you feel and what you are going through.

  • Make sure you confide in someone you trust. For example, a friend who won't try to speed up the healing process or a family member you can call when things aren't going well. You may also want to talk to a therapist, especially if it's an ongoing love affair that you're really struggling to deal with.
  • If you don't want to or can't talk to someone else, you could write down how you feel in a journal. The advantage of this is that you will be able to keep track and see your progress, which will provide evidence that it is possible to overcome unrequited love.
  • It can be very helpful to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing. You could ask them how they overcame the problem.
  • People who have been there before can really understand the problem. You will need to say less by confiding in them and they will understand you more.
  • Don't share your experience with people who have never experienced such pain, especially if they make fun of you for it. Don't take it the wrong way, they can't understand because it's something they've never experienced.
  • Develop your spiritual cultivation (with God or any other super power), as your spiritual strength could prove to be a huge advantage in becoming more resilient in difficult times.

3. Strengthen your support networks.

Disconnecting or isolating yourself socially is collateral damage in rejection of any kind, but especially in love. Maybe you can't have the relationship you dream of with this person, but that doesn't stop you from strengthening the other relationships in your life.

Studies show that interacting with people you love can speed up the body's healing time. And since emotional pain often manifests itself physically, spending quality time with loved ones can certainly help you overcome that unrequited love.

It is especially important to have fun, as this reduces anger and helps you feel positive. Laughter is truly the best medicine: it releases endorphins, natural mood-enhancing molecules, and can even increase your body's ability to tolerate pain. So go see a light movie, share a karaoke with your friends, bounce on a giant trampoline... Have fun, laugh and learn to heal.

4. Challenge your unhelpful thoughts.

Some thought patterns may sabotage your healing process and get in the way.

Tell yourself that you can live without the other person and that they are not perfect. You are perfectly capable of falling in love with someone else.

Tell yourself that people and situations change. What you feel now is not what you will feel later in life, especially if you are in the midst of a change in how you feel.

Don't feel stupid or guilty about how you feel. Be proud of yourself, it happens to everyone, and you have the strength to overcome it.

5. Take it as a learning experience.

No one wants to be heartbroken. However, if you can see this disappointment in love as a learning experience, it will be more than just a bad time in your life. You can use it in the future as a positive force.

For example, try to find things to honor about your experience. You've bared your heart and this person doesn't want it. But you showed bravery and courage to be vulnerable! We can't connect with others and experience deep emotions like joy and love without being willing to accept our vulnerability.

Try to see how often this happens to you. Some people often fall in love with people who reject them, especially when they are insecure and their emotional attachment to their parents was fragile as children. If you have fallen in love with someone who rejected you more than once, you may be choosing people in your subconscious who are replicating the same problem you had with your parents. Perhaps you should talk to a therapist about this.

Tell yourself that through this experience, you are learning to gain self-confidence. Rejection is not the most pleasant way to hone these qualities, but if you focus more on moving forward rather than wallowing in the situation, you will grow. 37] You may even gain insight into your emotions and needs.

6. Change your habits.

Studies show that doing something new, like going on vacation or even changing your commute to work, is one of the best ways to break old habits and replace them with new ones.

If you can't do this to any great extent, make several small changes. Visit a new part of town. Try a new place on Saturday night. Rearrange your furniture. Join a new music group. Learn a new activity, like cooking or rock climbing.

Avoid making drastic changes unless you're sure you want to do them. This is when people decide to cut off all their hair or get a tattoo. It is best to wait until the first phase of healing is complete before making these kinds of changes.

7. Find yourself again.

You've gotten caught up in loving someone else and may have forgotten what it feels like to just be yourself. Healing from heartbreak is a good time to find the person you really are, beyond your feelings for another person.

Work on your personal growth. Don't change something about yourself just because someone else didn't like it. However, if there are aspects of yourself that you want to develop, go for it. Learn a new language. Work on a new gym routine. Take up flamenco guitar.

Develop the things that make you unique. While you were spending all that time obsessing about the other person, you left out some important aspects of yourself. Get involved with the people and things you left behind while you were too busy with your unrequited love.

Resist the urge to personify this rejection. It's tempting to think that the other person rejected you because you weren't handsome/intelligent/passionate enough. Learn to avoid this type of mistake to reduce the emotional impact. This will also help you avoid "fixing" yourself in order to win that person's love. Remember, it is not up to you.

8. Get out of your comfort zone.

Try new things to get out of your daily routine and do things that you don't associate with the person you are trying to forget. This way, you'll be so busy with these new things that you won't have time to obsess over them.

Getting out of your comfort zone has other benefits as well. Too much comfort is known to reduce a person's motivation to make changes. It takes some uncertainty to transform some things in your life.

Learning to step out of your comfort zone also makes it easier to deal with uncertainty. By taking (controlled) risks and challenging yourself, you can more easily accept your vulnerability as a fact of life and you will be less likely to be emotionally destroyed the next time something unexpected happens.

If you fall into the idea that you are responsible for the rejection, you may never try again. Taking risks, even small ones, to get out of your comfort zone will keep you from getting stuck in a shell of fear.

Fourth thing: Moving on

By Drew Colins on Unsplash

1. Know when you are ready to move on.

There is no specific time frame for moving on from heartbreak. Everyone has a different pace. However, there are some signs that you are ready to move on from the person who wasn't interested in you.

You start to notice what is going on with other people. Very often, when we are grieving, we are a bit self-focused. When you start to care about what other people may have done, it means you are on the road to recovery.

You stop wondering if it's the person you love calling you every time your phone rings (especially if it's a number you don't know).

You stop recognizing your own experience in songs and movies about unrequited love. In fact, you begin to expand your repertoire to include things that are not just about love or the pain of loving.

You stop dreaming that your unrequited love will suddenly become reality, that the other person loves you and has in fact always loved you.

2. Avoid relapse.

Even if you are ready to move on, relapse is always a possibility if you are not careful. It's like taking the stitches out of a wound too soon. Healing is slow, but you are not yet ready for a hard workout.

Avoid doing things with the other person again or letting them back into your life until you are sure you won't slip again.

If you do relapse, don't overdo it! You've already done a lot of work to overcome your grief and that work will pay off. Failure is natural and if you give up right away, it will be harder to succeed in the long run.

3. Return to the world of the living.

Go out, meet new people, flirt and remember how delicious that feeling of meeting people is. You definitely need to boost your confidence and at the same time, you will meet new and interesting people. Every time you meet someone who is in some ways better than the person you are trying to forget (better looking, funnier, smarter, more down to earth), take note of it. It will give you some perspective.

You don't necessarily need to start looking for a new relationship. Just enjoy the presence of new people around you.

Be very careful about the rebound effect. This is sometimes what doctors recommend, but it will only work if you are emotionally ready to handle it and are clear with yourself and the other person that it is just a rebound effect. Don't fall into the trap of making the person fall in love with you while you're still thinking about the one you're trying to get over.

4. Stay motivated.

It's not easy to forget someone you love! Every step closer to forgetting should be celebrated. You should also remember that just because that person doesn't love you back doesn't mean it won't happen with someone else.


  • Realize that you deserve someone who treats you the way you treat them.
  • The love must be reciprocated. Otherwise, you will waste precious years of your life waiting for something that won't come!
  • Learn to love yourself before you try to fall in love.
  • Don't hesitate to start over.
  • Set goals that are easy to achieve, so you will communicate with others and realize that you can succeed.
  • You can ask the person how they feel about you, but you can't force them to love you.
  • Take time to analyze your life and take care of yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you can attract other people.


  • Don't start a relationship without love. You may think you'll be able to convince the other person that love will come with time, but it's frankly unlikely. You won't be happy and this situation is not fair to either of you.

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About the Creator

Emma Randy

Sharing the best self-improvement tips and personal growth ideas that will help you build a fulfilling life.

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