The Safety of My Unrequited Love

I was head over heels for him, and then found out, months later, that he was in a relationship.

So, once I fell hard for a teacher. He was only my teacher for a summer, but he had such charisma, and mystery, and a sense of humor, and his voice was commanding and most of the girls in my program found him attractive. I think even the guys who weren’t gay were kind of in love with him in a way. He was just confident, not too much older than us, yet, he was our teacher, and we didn’t know much about his personal life. Plus, he never invited any of us to his shows. We found out he was in a show accidentally and we went to see him. What a talented man! There is nothing, I love more than a talented man, which is why it’s dangerous to fall for artists once you see them in their craft. It’s an illusion! No one is more beautiful than when they are doing something they love.

Anyway, I was head over heels for him, and then found out, months later, that he was in a relationship via his engagement! I was devastated. Utterly crushed. LOVE DID NOT EXIST! I wrote poems, song lyrics about a love that was one sided. And it wasn’t one sided because he didn’t love me, but it was one sided because he didn’t know I loved him. Did I love him? I think I loved who I thought he was: his education, his talent, his looks, and his personality. Not him! But, when my heart broke over his announcement, only my texting friend and I were destroyed. Our friendship began over our obsession for this teacher of ours. HOURS AND HOURS OF TEXTING.  Our hearts broke over this imagined relationship, but our hearts broke privately. And oh man did it break, but that’s the safety of unrequited love.

One of the greatest things about unrequited love is you don’t have to make it official when you break up. You know those couples you see on Facebook who always seem happy or constantly talk about one another all the time? Eventually, you notice, that it stops and you’re not sure if it’s because they have decided to keep their relationship more personal or they broke up. I guess only close friends would know, but I digress.

Unrequited Love: Falling for Someone Who Prefers the Opposite Sex

Unrequited love: am I like the girls I feel sad for?

So, one time, I fell hard for a guy. Relationships were only a concept that existed in fairy tales as far as I was concerned.  But, one day I met a guy who I thought was interested in me, and I decided if he asked me out I would say yes. We were always excited to see each other. We always spoke whenever the opportunity came, and I thought maybe something would happen.  But then he would say let’s hang and then not follow through. Or he would go days without texting, and I thought to myself: am I like the girls I feel sad for? The ones who settle for crap boys who don’t treat them well just because I wanted something to happen so badly?

It turned out he was gay!

He was attentive and interested in me as a friend! He cooked for me, invited me to things, said kind things about me. And I thought this was the behavior of a man interested, but it was the behavior of someone who liked me as a person, albeit semi sucky friend (cuz you don’t keep flaking on people!) That was strange, and devastating. Here I was, ready to believe that romance was not something that only belonged in books, movies, and songs and I fell for the wrong person.

I wanted him so badly to be bisexual before the idea of dating a bisexual guy was a stretch for me. It showed me that I was willing to give up anything I stood for just to try love. And I felt sad for myself. As a serial single person I thought I was strong in who I was. The minute someone showed genuine interest I wasn’t who I believed I was. It’s amazing how feelings can change your convictions.

Convictions, perhaps, are circumstantial.

Back to the safety of unrequited love: if you fall for a gay guy your friends don’t have to know, and you can feel like an idiot privately. Now, I’m afraid that if a guy shows interest in me it’s because he’s gay. There are three guys I call friends and I assumed they were all gay. Just found out one wasn’t, at least that’s what he has us believe, and now I’m curious if I’ve just assumed that about the other two. The way I’ve seen these boys is who I’ve decided them to be. The one that I am currently interested in could easily be gay. But, I have no idea if it’s just my preconceived notions. Now I feel bad that I could fall for a gay guy twice.

I should be able to tell the difference between a guy who is kind and a guy who is gay. My toxic experience with men in my life have eclipsed my ability to trust.  I FIND THEM ALL SUSPICIOUS!

Pros and cons of unrequited love when it comes to a man whose sexuality you’re not sure about?


  • You have a great, kind man in your life
  • No one has to know you fell for a guy who could never fall for you


  • If you ask him sooner than you don’t have to waste your time falling for him
  • You don’t have to live in uncertainty
  • You could sleep better at night
  • You could move on with your life
  • You could stop beating yourself up
  • You could stop being a victim

The cons outweigh the pros! Perhaps, unrequited love is not safe at all. It’s very dangerous to the psyche, the soul, the heart. What if I lived my life open and honestly? What if I loved freely? Maybe I’d be happier. Maybe I wouldn’t be hiding pieces of who I am. I believe living partially in secrecy affects one wholly.

I don’t believe in the safety of unrequited love anymore.  I’m about to quote John Green so please forgive me, but “It hurt, because it mattered.” Love or feeling anything comes with vulnerability and it can hurt because it matters.

I have not taken my advice yet, “ I give very good advice, but I seldom follow it.” Bit of Alice in Wonderland there for ya, but I digress. It might take me two years, but I’ll get there. I hope in 2017 you and I could live our lives out loud! No more hiding!

Love and Obsession: How to Tell Them Apart and Leave One Behind

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel great.

Scenario One: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing.  When you wake up, you already have a message from him saying that he can’t stop thinking about you either.

You’re in new love!

Scenario Two: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing, and hope you’ll see him soon.  You feel like your connection is so strong, you’ve just got to be together.  You think you’re in love.

You’re not.  You’re obsessed.

Obsession and unrequited love can seem extremely romantic, and are frequently romanticized in works of fiction.  Love stories like The Princess Bride, Pretty in Pink, Edward Scissorhands and The Notebook all have love stories that originate in one-sided obsession. In many films, this single-minded pursuit is rewarded by the return of that love.  In real life, that could happen, but more frequently it does not.

Music is rife with obsession- in Late Night, Maudlin Street, Morrissey (the OG romantic obsessive) says “I could list the detail of everything you ever wore or said or how you stood”- Stevin Merritt’s The Magnetic Fields lets a girl know that he’s just a fan who remembers every dress she ever wore.  Pretty much all Evanescence songs are about obsession or stalking.  Look out for fans of that band.

If you’re not loved back, obsession can lead to unhealthy attachment, stalking, or just profound unhappiness as the obsessed person refuses to let go of the object of attachment, perhaps believing that they have no power to do so, and missing out on other possible partners while they are blinded by their pursuit of one.  In the circular logic of obsession, the obsessed person will sabotage new relationships to self-fulfill their belief that they can only be happy with the object of their obsession.  “SEE, THERE IS NOBODY FOR ME BUT CARLA!”

Real love is much more practical than people think- attraction is magical and capricious, chemical in many ways, but in the day to day, love is something two people make together with words and deeds, because they are attracted to each other and care for each other, and it’s not something you can do with yourself.  Like the tango, it takes two.  If you say to yourself, “If only they knew how much I loved them…” you can stop right there.  You’re not in love, you’re obsessed.

I’m Not Really Obsessed, Am I?

Sometimes the slide from normal crush to unhealthy obsession feels gradual, and you might not even notice- but if you’ve been interested in a person for a while, you’ve made your interest known, and it’s not returned- it’s time to back off and try to leave that idea behind.  You’re not in love, because you don’t really know this person.  You’re imprinting on some traits you like and filling in everything else with information of your own making.  You’re in love with an idea of them, and that person you think you love likely doesn’t exist.

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel good.  If you know someone cares for you and you don’t feel the same way, you feel pity and guilt and can feel like a failure for not feeling the same way.  If you’re obsessed with someone who doesn’t care for you, it feels like you’ll never care for anyone else.

A friend of mine was telling me about going to a wedding of a woman he was obsessed with, and how he thought it was important that he go and support the bride, even though it made him want to collapse as he stood in a room of happy people watching her pledge her eternal love for another man.  He spoke about his feelings for her, the length and depth and passion of those feelings, and it would be easy to assume that she was an ex lover, but they had never been anything more than friends.  This didn’t keep him from feeling betrayed, from being miserable, and from cutting other dating pursuits short because they failed to measure up to her, his impossible goal.

OK, I’m Obsessed.  How Do I Get Out?

You might think that you’re stuck obsessing over someone, because they’re perfect for you and WHY DON’T THEY SEE THAT?, but you control your own mind and thoughts and feelings.  You do!  You can let go of obsessive thoughts and feelings and make healthier choices.  Try the following:

  1. Distance yourself from the object of your obsession, don’t go to places you know they are, don’t stop by their coffeeshop, etc. etc. If you’ve been stalking them on Facebook (which is sort of like an obsession machine in of itself), consider hiding or blocking them until you feel more clarity.
  2. Don’t feed your obsessive thoughts.

Humans love being sad, or feeling sorry for ourselves- it is pleasurable to scratch that itch that makes us miserable.  We also love being in love, and sometimes obsessive thoughts can feel like that, you can get a little shot of endorphin thinking about them. What if you see them today? Will they pursue you?  Etc.  But you do control your thoughts.  Your thoughts are made by you.  When you start thinking about the object of your obsession, try to let it go.  Replace it.  Have a thought or phrase handy ready to replace it, like a mantra.  It can be something or nothing, it can be a nonsense phrase- just have something ready to reset your unhealthy thought cycle.

  1. Distract yourself- with a new hobby, book, or activity.  Go to the gym and concentrate on yourself.  Don’t let idle thoughts go to the person.

Think of this as practicing good mental hygiene, keeping your brain clear- you’ll be amazed at how quickly you retrain your brain to stop dwelling on one person- and one day you’ll see them at the Trader Joe’s and be surprised at how ordinary and non-magical they seem!  You’ll be more open to meeting people who like you back, and whom you can find something real with.