5 Relationship Experts Share Powerful Insights on How To Walk Away From Someone You Love That Doesn’t Love You
“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”
~ Mandy Hale
If you’re certain that your feelings aren’t reciprocated, then walking away may be the kindest thing that you can do for yourself.
- One-sided relationships negatively affect every bit of you: your body, mind and spirit. They are punishing.
- You won’t get your legitimate needs met in a one-sided relationship, for example the need to be loved, appreciated, respected and emotionally supported.
So how do you walk away – that is, in addition to moving your feet in the direction of the door?
- Accept that you are valuable and deserve better. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve experienced or what you’ve done or not done in your life, you are deserving of unconditional love. No question about it.
- Know what you need and desire in a relationship. Take time to consider which are your healthy, legitimate needs and desires. Write them down. Unreturned love shouldn’t appear anywhere on the list. Being clear about these will make the walking away at least somewhat easier, because you will recognize that little of what you need and desire is being fulfilled in this relationship.
- Allow the people who care the most about you know what you are doing and why so that they can give you their loving support. No need to suffer in alone and in silence.
- Get professional assistance to get you through the “before, during and aftermath”. Part of your work together should include preparing for the wholesome, reciprocated love you deserve. For example, I wouldn’t be surprised if being in unequal relationships, where you’ve done most of the giving, is a pattern in your love life and not a healthy one. A professional helper can assist you to change that pattern.
Of course, in the short-term, walking away will be more than uncomfortable, even painful. But, in the long-term, you will see that it was a wise and loving action that you took on your own behalf.
You keep hoping, right?
That he’ll see the real you. That you’ll be able to teach him to love. That he’ll get over his past relationship hurts. That he’ll see how much you love him. That he’ll become more able to express his love.
How long are you going to wait for these miracles to happen?
A guy’s liking you doesn’t always turn into love, no matter how much love you pour into the relationship from your side. His lifelong habits don’t suddenly change. People often date—sometimes for long periods of time—someone who really isn’t marriage material.
Do you really want a man who is always out of reach? Or who is always retreating, or holding back, or just not available emotionally? People don’t suddenly change who they are.
Walking away from someone you love but who isn’t loving you back can be the hardest thing you ever do. It takes courage, determination, and an amazing amount of self-esteem.
Here’s some tips that can help.
Stop thinking his not loving you has anything to do with you.
Too often women have a tendency to think that if a man you love doesn’t love you back, it’s means there’s something wrong with you. It doesn’t. We all have our preferences and personal patterns (whether we know it or not) about what feels comfortable and compatible. These are ingrained by our upbringing, culture, and personality preferences. You have nothing to do with those things in another person. AND you can’t change them in someone else.
You can’t make a man love you.
Who we love or don’t love is the result of a mysterious combination of factors. Something inside our brains gets triggered, and it’s often un-explicable. It doesn’t matter how you dress, whether you like to camp as much as he does, or how much you try to please him.
Despite all the romantic movies where the woman wins over the man, it just doesn’t happen in real life. A man doesn’t love you just because you try to please him. He may stick around longer to get more of what he wants, but it doesn’t make him love you.
Focus on what YOU really want.
Right now, you think you want him, but honestly if he isn’t loving you back HE IS NOT MEETING YOUR QUALIFICATIONS. Love is a very strong and motivating emotion and it can make you overlook the fact that he really isn’t meeting what you want.
If you can’t say that you’d be happy with him JUST THE WAY HE IS RIGHT NOW, then it won’t work anyway. Better to let go now instead of when you’re sharing a house, a car, and kids.
Get busy with other people and activities.
This guy has been taking up a lot of your time, so when you walk away, you’ll suddenly have a lot of time on your hands. Go back to those friends and things you used to enjoy before he came along. And, get involved in a new project that really captures your energy and interest. It’ll make the transition easier.
Don’t analyze what went wrong.
Typically this kind of relationship examination ends up focused on mistakes—either yours or his. Instead, turn your attention to what you learned about yourself. This is a non-judgmental exploration. For example, I learned that: I tend to only remember the qualities I like in him and ignore things I don’t like. I lose awareness of what I really want. I try to convince myself that he’s what I want—at least some of the time. I get afraid to be on my own again.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with who you are. You are you. And you’re looking for the person who will love you just the way you are. That can be difficult if you don’t already accept and love yourself. When you accept yourself, you’re more spontaneous, happy, interesting, and energized. Who wouldn’t love you then?
Don’t settle for second best.
You deserve to have someone who truly loves YOU, without you having to convince or trick them into it. When you feel truly loved, you can speak your mind, share your inner most feelings and thoughts, and know a sense of relaxation and security that is a solid foundation. Don’t settle for less.
Work on having a great life, not finding the right guy.
When you really like who you are and the life you’re living, then you’ll feel more confident and happy. Then, even if you’re still waiting for Mr. Right, you’ll be enjoying yourself in the meantime.
If you are in a relationship with a man whom you love dearly but he does not reciprocate that same love for you, you have a very difficult and painful decision to make… do you stay with this man despite the pain you must feel knowing he does not have love for you? Or do you walk away which is also very painful to do.
Consider these few things when making your decision:
1) Ask yourself how much time you have already invested into developing a bond with this man?
- Have you only recently met a few weeks or months ago? Have you been together for one year or more? If you have been together for less than 6 months, maybe you can put in a little more time into the relationship. But make sure to have a conversation with your man, asking him about his experiences with love and how he defines love.
2) Ask yourself whether or not you are willing to invest more time into this relationship?
3) How does he treat you?
- Does he treat you poorly? Is he rude, mean or inconsiderate towards you? If so, then it does not matter how long you have been together, you do not have to put up with this negative behavior.
4) Has he told you that he thinks he may never be able to love you? Or is he hopeful at the prospect of loving you?
Either way, if you stay or if you leave, it is a very difficult decision to make. You are basically deciding to either be patient and wait for him to love you eventually or you are leaving and will need time to heal from a broken heart. Make sure that you take your time making this decision and you have had many thoughtful conversations with your partner prior to making such a decision.
Jackie B, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.wordpress.com
This topic is a bit hard (read embarrassing) for me.
It awakens a painful and embarrassing part of my past that I’m going to share with you. I kind of stalked a guy when I was younger. Probably not criminal stalking but just the same… He was a waiter at a restaurant that I used to eat at with my girlfriends on a pretty regular basis. I however, became a daily diner, trying to get him interested in me.
I cringe now at how pathetic I must have looked to him (and everybody else!). I was obsessed. I didn’t really know this man. He wasn’t very friendly and although my friends and I had had a drink or two with him and some of the other wait staff, that was the extent of it. I finally stopped when the first Christmas card I received that year was from that restaurant-pathetic.
When I look back on this sad experience, I’m struck by how little I knew about this man.
I knew he was attractive and that he worked. That’s about it. Almost all of my attraction to him was based on my own projections. His identity was the result of a complete fantasy that I had created in my own head.
I have had other men in my life who didn’t like me as much as I liked then. Not fun! That experience was the worst, but not entirely unique. A lot of my clients have found themselves in the painful situation of wanting someone who doesn’t really want them. When you’re with someone who’s not really present for you, you can’t actually know that person. You are basing your affections on who you want him to be or who you think he could become. That’s pretty risky gamble.
Besides not knowing him, the imbalance in the relationship will eventually take a big hit to your self-esteem.
As long as you are seeing him you are constantly being rejected. Fantasies really can take on a life of their own. Relationships have to be grounded in reality. Reality doesn’t exist in your head. It’s a co-created experience with an interested and willing partner.
One other thing- if you wait until you feel like leaving, you’ll be stuck for a long time.
This is a situation where you have to listen to your head, not your heart. You may feel painful loss but you have to make a clean break to begin to heal.
In the words of the great and wise Bonnie Raitt, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t…”. Find someone who appreciates you and can willingly reciprocate your affections.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
The reality is that you have to move on from this relationship and find a guy who really loves you, someone who thinks you’re special and puts the effort in to show you what you mean to him. You deserve that and so much more! But how do you leave?
You leave for several reasons:
- You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t feel about you the way you feel about him. It makes the relationship one sided and you will be working too hard to convince him how great you truly are.
- You will feel too insecure in the relationship, not knowing if he wants to leave you for someone else.
- You may find yourself walking on egg shells, because you don’t want to cause conflict, which would give him an excuse to leave.
- You are experiencing disappointment, frustration and even anger that your expectations are not being met.
- You are not being treated the way you want and are noticing that curt, cruel and even abusive comments are becoming more frequent.
For all these reasons, it would be easy to walk away from this relationship, but only if you are lead by your intuition and not your heart.
Your heart may be hurting for the loss of companionship, intimacy and maybe friendship, while your gut is saying he is not the right man for you. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between the two, but by examining these valid reasons, you could logically understand that you deserve better and that some other guy would love you, if you are open and receptive.
Give yourself that opportunity, since being in a one-sided relationship is not the best formula for longevity and commitment.
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