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What Is One-Sided Love? 20 Ways to Cope When You’re Not Loved Back

One-sided love has the power to destroy you if you stick around too long. It’s time to understand that you deserve better and have so much love to give. 

one-sided love signs ways

Love isn’t always wonderful. Sure, it’s supposed to be, but what if the person you love doesn’t feel the same as you? Or, what if you’re in a relationship with someone and you think it’s going well, only to realize that you’re always doing the giving and they’re always taking? In that case, you have one-sided love.

Love is wonderful when it’s balanced. However, an unbalanced relationship can be nothing but drama and pain. We all want the fairytale idea of love, but in all honesty, does that even exist? Love has its ups and downs whether it’s going well or not, and even if Hollywood wants us to believe differently, love is pretty hard.

But, if you’re in it together, it’s worth it, right? So, what do you do if you have one-sided love? [Read: 12 hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

What is one-sided love exactly?

One-sided love is essentially love, but only from one side. It means that you either love some who doesn’t love you back or you’re with someone who doesn’t love you as much as you love them. As we said before, it’s totally unbalanced.

One-sided love is commonly unrequited love and is met with pain and loneliness. We know, it sounds bad and it is because it hurts. One-sided love can also be when you pine for someone who is in a relationship. You aren’t over your ex, but they moved on. It is when you are happy in your relationship, but your partner is ready to leave.

Pretty much, if you haven’t realized it already, one-sided love sucks. [Read: A guide to help you move on when you aren’t loved in return]

Do you have one-sided love?

Sometimes we do not even realize we have one-sided love. Love, as we know, can be blind. We can see things that are there or even things we wish were there. It can be so overpowering we think it conquers all, but when you’re the only one in love, it is not quite that simple.

You know you have one-sided love if the person you love is in a relationship or has made it clear they aren’t interested. But sometimes, it is not so easily seen.

You could be in a relationship but be so in love that you don’t see they are moving on without you. You could love a friend, but when they don’t love you back but you keep hoping. One-sided love often feels like rejection, but other times it is the uncertainty that keeps you going. [Read: Understanding what unrequited love really is]

If you’re not sure if you’re dealing with this painful phenomenon or not, here are a few signs that the love you feel is utterly one-sided.

1. You’re the one who does all the running

If you’re always coming up with date ideas, or you feel like you’re always having to try and force fun in the relationship, perhaps you need to consider whether it’s one-sided love or not. Relationships should be a case of give and take.

2. You find yourself unhappy more than happy

When you think of your partner or the one you’re pining over, do they make you happy or sad? You’re supposed to be far happier in a relationship than miserable.

For sure, no relationship is full of happiness 100% of the time, but if you spend more time crying or sad than happy, there’s something not quite right. [Read: Why am I so unhappy? 8 changes that will change you for good]

3. They’ve made it clear they have moved on

If it’s your ex you’re pining over, have they made it very clear that they’ve moved on? Maybe they’ve told you or you’ve seen that they’re with someone else.

Don’t kid yourself that they’re harboring feelings for you on the sly – if they really were, they would tell you. Your love is one-sided. [Read: What are the signs your ex has moved on? 15 clues to know with complete certainty]

4. You feel like they’ve “checked out” of the relationship

Does something just not feel quite right? Do you feel like they’re not really there mentally or emotionally? Sometimes it can be that someone just “checks out” of the relationship and the whole thing is slowly dying in their mind.

They are ready to move on, but they’re not ready to tell you yet. In that case, you’re experiencing one-sided love because everything has changed for them. [Read: He doesn’t love you anymore – 16 signs he’s losing interest in you]

5. They just treat you like a friend

Unrequited love is painful. It’s even worse when it’s very clear that you’ve been friend-zoned. If they’ve made it very clear that you’re a dear friend to them and nothing more, it’s time to turn your attention elsewhere and try to overcome your feelings. [Read: How to escape the friend zone – 13 actions that make you desirable]

How to cope with one-sided love

Facing one-sided love is not easy. The steps and tips may sound simple, but getting over one-sided love takes time and patience. Maybe even a few tears.

But, you can do it. And soon enough, you could even have two-sided love – it’s nothing less than you deserve.

1. Be brave enough to face it

The first step towards moving on is to admit it to yourself. No one wants to think about it. We do not want to admit we are in love with someone who doesn’t return those feelings.

But, once you realize and admit to yourself that the love is fading from their end or that it’s unrequited love, you can take the next step.

You won’t pine and dream about what-ifs. You can feel the bad stuff and move on. It’s not going to be easy but by feeling the pain, the future becomes clearer. [Read: 18 critical signs of a clearly unhealthy relationship]

2. Share your feelings of one-sided love

Tell the person who you love how you feel. If it is an ex or a friend, let them know. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it will clear things up. It can also provide you closure.

Let them know you need time apart if that is what you need. Share how you are feeling. Who knows, the love may not be one-sided love after all. And if it is, you can finally release that build-up and move on.

3. Look at the positives

Try to look on the bright side. We know with one-sided love, it can feel like there is none, but there is. You know it is one-sided love so you can move on. You deserve to be with someone that loves you back.

Maybe being with them would have hurt your self-esteem or affected your job or your family life. Try to look at the good things that have come out of this. [Read: How to find yourself when you feel like you’ve lost your way]

4. Take off those rose-tinted glasses

The person you love is easily blurred. You see their best qualities, but not their worst. You overlook the things that would drive you nuts if you were together.

Focus on the things you don’t like about them. It could be that they text and drive, eat with their mouth open, or that they are a player. Focus on those things and you’ll soon see them as just a human being, flawed and not perfect. [Read: How to be perfect in everything you do and lead a fulfilling life]

5. Vent and get out all of your frustration

Reach out to family and friends for some support. Your friends are great at perking you up and letting you know you are better than this. They let you get it all out and cry, but then they distract you.

They uplift you and tell you the best things about yourself. And soon you will focus on that instead of the rejection of one-sided love.

6. Focus on the facts, not your doubts

When love is one-sided, we focus on why. We think about what we did wrong or what we could have done differently. What if we were taller or thinner? What if we made more money or were funnier?

Get rid of those negative thoughts and think about the facts. If they want someone that isn’t you, it isn’t because you did anything wrong, but that you just weren’t meant to be. [Read: What I learned from the man who did not love me back]

7. You’re allowed to be sad if you’re struggling with one-sided love

Let it all out. Cry. Eat ice cream and lay in bed for a weekend. Your feelings are completely valid. Maybe the relationship ended long ago or there never was a relationship. That does not matter.

If you love them, that is a strong feeling to face. Feel all those feelings, even the bad ones.

8. Unfollow them and cut all contact

Do not dwell on their current status, who they took a photo with, or if they like your photo on social media. That is all pulling you back into the vortex of one-sided love. Sometimes, the recipient even does this on purpose to keep you on a leash in a sense.

Don’t let their social media presence keep you hooked. Mute them and move on. [Read: Why do narcissists ignore texts and do the selfish things they do]

9. Appreciate those who do love you

It can feel like you suck when you have one-sided love. You feel unworthy, but take a step back and look at other parts of your life.

Yeah, maybe you aren’t lucky in romance right now with this one specific person, but you have amazing friends and family and a cute dog or cat. You have plenty of two-sided loves in your life that deserve your attention. [Read: Authentic ways to express your appreciation and gratitude]

10. Focus on yourself and have some fun

It’s time to distract yourself. Go out and have fun. Try new things and go on adventures. Go dancing or bowling or rock climbing. You never know who you might meet or forget.

By focusing on yourself, you’re nurturing the most important relationship of them all – the one you have with yourself.

11. Turn your attention to your other goals

Instead of thinking about your one-sided love, think about that promotion. Think about remodeling your kitchen or making a new recipe every week.

Set goals for yourself outside of a failed romance. Not only will this distract you, but it will also boost your confidence every time you achieve a goal. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

12. Work on your confidence

Remind yourself that you are worthy. You are awesome. Just because this one person doesn’t share your feelings doesn’t make you any less amazing.

We are not right for everyone and everyone is not right for us. Do things that bring you confidence. Dress up just for you. Buy yourself a new lipstick or a pair of jeans. Celebrate yourself.

13. Know that you deserve to be loved back

Drill this into your brain – you deserve someone to love you as much as you love them. You do not want to put your effort into one-sided love. Know that you deserve the same appreciation and care that you give out.

This is not about what you think you want, but what relationships are formed on. You want a healthy and happy relationship and deserve one. One-sided love is not that. [Read: How to lose feelings for someone and let go of the might have beens]

14. Don’t try to change yourself when overcoming one-sided love

Do not alter who you are to meet someone else’s expectations. Sure, you can always better yourself, but don’t change your personality, style, or beliefs to be with someone.

Love is when you can be yourself around someone and they love you for it, not in spite of it or because you try to please them. Remember that this one-sided love is not better or more important than finding someone that loves you for you. [Read: How to get out of a toxic relationship with your dignity intact]

15. Rethink what you’re looking for

And what you are attracted to, for that matter. You might think you have a type, but every time you date within your type, what happens? It doesn’t work out? It’s time to think about what you actually find attractive and perhaps date outside of your regular type.

Rethink what you go after. Jump out of your comfort zone and date other types of people. You never know who is on the horizon.

You can’t free yourself from the grips of one-sided love unless you make an effort to change things. These steps will help you but don’t assume that it’s going to happen overnight.

Give it time and allow yourself the chance to heal slowly. [Read: Dating expectations – Type A versus type B personalities]

Life on the other side of one-sided love is always better

One-sided love is no different to a breakup of sorts. You’re breaking up with the idea of something in many ways and that can be just as painful.

Allow yourself to overcome your negative emotions and heal from the hurt. Once you start to see a change on the horizon, know that your dating future can only be better.

[Read: 14 powerful ways to unlove someone in no time]

One-sided love is no fun. What makes love so amazing is both people in it together. But if you think you have one-sided love and see these signs, you can get out of it. Start by making that decision, and use these steps.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...