“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” – Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

It’s a fairly universal desire to be loved and show love to another. We see it in the movies and on television. We read about it in books and express it in songs. The joy of being in love is something that many people dream about and search for, but for some the quest for love is not all plain sailing. The pain of unrequited or unreturned love is an experience many of us encounter at some stage before eventually finding that perfect fit. In fact, social physiologist Roy Braumeiter records that 98% of us experience this kind of heart-break at sometime. Teenagers seem to be especially susceptible to developing feelings for those who are either unobtainable or uninterested but in truth the agony of one-sided affection is something that can appear at any age.

The good news is that just because the object of your affection (or obsession) doesn’t feel the same way as you do, doesn’t mean you need to be trapped in your heartache. There are a number of things that you can do to cope with, and even get over, unrequited love:

Accept the truth of the situation

Sadly, just because you have feelings for someone doesn’t automatically mean they will be on the same page as you. If you’ve found that your feelings aren’t returned the most helpful and mature thing that you can do is accept the reality of your circumstances. Continuing to believe that they may change how they feel or holding onto hope that isn’t based in reality will only cause you more hurt and stop you from moving past your disappointment.

Take a step (or ten) back

Creating a bit of distance between yourself and the focus of your feelings may feel like you’re depriving yourself of oxygen but it’s more than just a good idea. It’s easy to become addicted to being around the person you’ve fallen for, even if they don’t notice that you exist, but that only feeds the problem. Following your crush’s every move on Facebook, Instagram and all the other social media platforms won’t help you heal and you’re more likely to become something of a stalker. Keeping a bit of distance between yourself and the other person will help you find other things to occupy your thoughts and time.

Get a reality check

It’s extremely easy to fall in love with the idea of someone, as opposed to who they really are. It’s entirely possible that the person you have fallen for is not the real them but a version that you have created in your own mind. No one is perfect and the object of your affections has their own flaws and problems just as you do. Make sure that you haven’t elevated them to a level of perfection that no one else will ever live up to.

Keep going

Rejection hurts. Feeling like you’ve been passed over is never an easy thing to accept. Sometimes all you want to do is curl up in a corner and escape from the world but the best thing you can do in those situations, is keep going.   Go out with friends, embrace distractions, surround yourself with people who care about you and remember that life goes on. One person not returning the feelings you have for them will sting for a while but they are only one person. You don’t want to miss out on all the other wonderful things in life just because they couldn’t return your love.

What becomes of the broken-hearted

Feeling like your heart is broken can be a very lonely place to be. It’s easy to wonder if anyone knows what you’re going through or even cares about your pain. The Bible tells us that God see us when we are hurting. When we have a broken heart, God is right there. He is more than just a shoulder to cry on. He is there to heal the hurt and put the broken pieces back together, if we let Him. By opening our broken hearts to Jesus we can find healing and love like we’ve never imagined.  All we need to do is ask.