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Are you falling for the wrong type of love?

Are you unable to find real love because you're too busy wrapped up in unrequited love? Every time you see him/her your heart flutters. Just the anticipation of your paths crossing sets your pulse racing and when you're around them, you're filled with euphoria. You think they like you romantically but then again you can't really be sure. But maybe it's just a matter of time before they realise. After all, you're doing your best to create opportunities to be around them. You find excuses to call them and you're ready to drop your own plans should they need you, or suggest just hanging out. Whilst this all feels wonderful, the reality it is that you can't actually share your true feelings with them, it would ruin your perfect relationship, albeit in your head...

At some point in our lives, most of us, well at least 98% of us, according to a study by Baumeister, Wotman & Stillwell, will have experienced unrequited love. In our youth this probably included celebrities, school teachers, class mates and your best friend's brother or sister. Fast forward to adulthood, the potential to devour someone with your unrequited love is still there but the object of your affection is now more likely to be an acquaintance, work colleague or friend. So how and why do people fall into the trap of unrequited love?

When you're single and keen to meet someone and things have just not been working out for you, it's tempting to cross over to a fantasy world to fill the void of a partner & loving relationship. By making someone that you know the object of your affection, it brings a tangible element to your reverie. But in essence, it's a short-term fix for an unfulfilled need, which will eventually resurface screaming to be addressed. However, not before you've endured a degree of disappointment and heartache. We all experience lows when we are out there searching for someone, wondering when it's going to happen and getting frustrated with the knock backs. Whilst our fantasy world can temporarily give us joy & hope and be a great place to escape to from time-to-time, it's not healthy to live in it at all times. You risk losing perspective of reality and opportunities to be in a healthy & loving relationship in the real world.

If you lack dating skills, or feel apprehensive about putting yourself out there into the dating world, sometimes it's easier to look closer to home – better the devil you know. You start developing feelings for someone that you trust and are close too. There is nothing wrong with this, if it is reciprocated. But there is an issue when the other person is not forthcoming. You start analysing their platonic interactions as disguised romantic gestures and perceive it as a challenge to get them to change their feelings towards you. Sadly, there's only one person who's being fooled in this situation, and it's not them. A lack of experience, low self-esteem, or confidence when it comes to dating has probably been encountered by everyone at some point in their single life. Whilst it's difficult to go through these emotions, by substituting a real relationship with a fake relationship, it's not going to solve the underlying problem. It will not boost your confidence, or esteem but likely to have the opposite effect when reality finally hits home. It's only by putting yourself out there to have real dating experiences – the good, bad & ugly - do we learn, grow and gain confidence with dating & relationships.

If you're someone who enjoys drama, or are scared of love, you may choose to make someone the object of your affection knowing deep down inside it's not going to be reciprocated. It's a great way to deflect your own personal issues and blame others for your unsuccessful love life. However, it just takes you even further away from what you deserve – a mutually loving relationship. Instead, it will almost certainly bring you closer to what you believe you deserve - heartache, rejection and disappointment. Relationships are intended to enhance your life, bring you joy & happiness, not pain, sadness or drama. Otherwise what's the point in being part of a couple? Wouldn't you be better off single, or in a relationship with someone else who welcomes and reciprocates your feelings?

When you've been rejected by someone, sometimes it's hard to let go. You may hope that the other person will change their mind, or go into denial mode because you simply can't bear the prospect of being single again. We all heal at a different pace but it's important to start the process sooner rather than later. Without letting go of the past, how can you let the future in? Whilst it's normal to experience pangs of unrequited love, for example after seeing your favourite celebrity on the screen or in a magazine, it's unhealthy if you're experiencing it over a period of time. You're almost certainly cheating yourself out of being in real loving and committed relationship. Although we all enjoy the warm fuzzy emotions & the highs of being in love, ultimately it will lead you to the end of a no through road when it's one-sided.

I will leave you with a final thought...

They say love conquers all, so what's the point in trying to win half a battle, when you can win the war?

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