Read any advice column and there are endless posts by people who want to convince their beloved to love them back. Either they wonder where their relationship went wrong and how they can convince their ex to love them back or they’re in love with someone from afar. Well I’m here to give you the cold hard truth about love, you can’t force it. As much as you might wish you could, you can’t make someone love you.
Say anything…as long as it’s “I love you”
Movies romanticize unrequited and/or lost love. They make the relentless pursuit of love seem so romantic, even more so if that love is hard won through trial, tribulation or outright rejection. The plots are usually wound around one of more of the following ideas:
- The timing simply wasn’t right
- There was some major misunderstanding that threw everything off course
- One of the lovers momentarily lost their way and just needed to be reminded of who they love
- Someone loves another from afar, but they have never made their feelings known
Whatever the story, one person is in love and the other is not.
Why won’t you love me?
Love is a feeling. Feelings are a personal emotional state. You can’t force someone to have a feeling. Either they do or they don’t. You can’t tell someone to be angry, hurt or happy. And really, why would you want someone who has to be convinced that they love you?
What you do want, is someone who values who you are, enjoys your company, wants wholeheartedly to be with you and loves you because that is simply how they feel. I would frankly be a bit wary of someone who can be convinced that they love you and would be concerned if they were loving you for the right reasons. Are they loving you because it’s what they truly feel? Or are they doing it because they feel obligated in some way to say that they do?
Love should be given freely and without coercion or convincing.
Here are a few things to try if you’re in love with someone who’s not in love with you:
Love from Afar
Let’s just get this one out of the way right now. If you are in love with someone, the only way you’re going to know if they love you back or have feelings of any kind towards you, is to tell them how you feel. You may need to adjust this advice and abandon it all together depending on their relationship status. But if you are in love with someone and see real potential in the relationship, talk to them about it. There is no other way to find out their feelings, unless you simply communicate how you feel.
Be really clear about how you feel and why you feel it
If you’re in love with someone and are positive that the two of you should be back together, really ask yourself why you feel that way? Are there solid reasons why the relationship really worked? Also consider any roadblocks that caused the breakup. Make sure that you are pursuing this relationship for grounded reasons and not just a romantic whim. Write out how you feel and read it over a couple of times so you’re really clear about what you want and why you want it.
Express yourself calmly and clearly
The one huge caveat to this next item is if for some reason they’ve asked you not to contact them. Don’t risk causing them undue stress or a restraining order for that matter. Odds are nothing will sway them anyway and you need to respect that.
If you are still on speaking terms and are crystal clear about why you love this person and want to renew a relationship with them the next step is to clearly, honestly and rationally express to them how you feel. Write it out if that helps, but the important thing is that you understand your feelings and express them clearly.
Be a good listener
Once you’ve let object of your affection know your feelings, respect their response. You’ve had your chance to say how you feel it’s now their turn to respond however they respond. This is the part you have no control over and have to learn to be OK with, regardless of the outcome. There are no guarantees that you’re going to hear what you want to hear or get the kind of closure that you want. If they want to be with you great, if not respect their feelings.
If you’ve messed up in some way (cheating or lying for example) admit where you’ve made mistake, truly own up to your actions and also realize that they might not be ready to hear it. Broken trust can be very hard to mend.
If after all this it doesn’t turn how you hoped, give yourself some time to heal and learn from your experience. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in an emotional dead-end of sorrow and forever lament the one that got away. If you’ve stated how you feel clearly, honestly and calmly and they don’t return those feelings, there’s nothing more to be done but learn from it and move on.
Return to sender
When your love isn’t returned it can be a hard thing to accept. But if you’ve done all you can, then it’s time to move on. As you can see the suggestions above are more about you getting a clear picture of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. It’s more about you and how you handle relationships, then it is about them.
You can’t make someone love you. Love is not an emotion you can force someone into feeling. There are much better ways to spend your energy then to keep pursuing someone that doesn’t want to be pursued. Holding onto an old relationship will just take up emotional space where you could be working on yourself and eventually looking for something new. Put that energy towards becoming the kind of person that attracts love into their life, with no coercion or pressure.
Cija Black is a love expert, author, blogger, online educator and host of the “Love Bombs” podcast. For more information about Cija, the books, class or podcast, visit modernloveguide.com