Jade Small
Jade Small
February 1, 2024 ·  3 min read

What It’s Like to Be in Love With Someone You Can’t Have (And Let Go)

Have you ever been in love with someone you can’t have? Perhaps an ex-partner we struggled to let go of. Or even a friend who we have held onto because we love them, despite them being toxic and not loving us back. Maybe it was a high school crush that just was not into us, although that is less extreme than being fully in love with someone who does not love you, too.

A person doesn’t know true hurt and suffering until they’ve felt the pain of falling in love with someone whose affections lie elsewhere.

Rose Gordon, Her Imperfect Groom

Being in love with someone you can’t have

Unrequited love (one-sided love) is a feeling that nobody deserves to have. It’s painful, to say the least. Loving someone who no longer or does not or never did, love you back. It can be very difficult to accept that it is not going to happen or that it is over. Often, we find ourselves daydreaming that they may change their mind. This only creates a false sense of hope and a cycle of sadness and more pain. This is not healthy for you or your relationship. It is the very definition of a toxic environment.[1]

Woman Crying

By putting all your effort into being in love with someone you can’t have, you miss the possibilities that wait for you. And you are missing the chance of meeting someone who WILL love you back.

Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is like hugging a cactus. The tighter you hold on, the more it hurts.


Read: According to Buddhism, There Are 4 Aspects To A Perfect Love

Why it’s so hard to let go

When you love someone, it’s a difficult situation when you have no choice but to let them go. But why is it so hard? Why can’t we just let them go and move on? It is human nature to not like change, to want to hold on to things and situations. Certainty is a human need that drives many decisions we make. And by letting someone go, we are entering a world of uncertainty and change. And, the funny thing is, even if you are unhappy in your relationship, that certainty is what keeps you with them. Even if it’s only a small amount, it’s enough to cling to in fear of change and the unknown.[2]

Woman Holding Her Head

Unrequited love does not die; it’s only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded. For some unfortunates, it turns bitter and mean, and those who come after, pay the price for the hurt done by the one who came before.

Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischief

Remember to put yourself first

Loving someone who does not love you back can lead you to a very dark space mentally. Humans are thought not to lose hope, to fight for what they want. But, how is this helping you? You can not force love. You can not force anyone to love you. Love should not be a sacrifice. You do not have to change yourself in the hope that perhaps then, they will love you back. Do not humiliate yourself or forget your self-worth. If it hurts, if they are hurting you, it’s not right. And as soon as you let go, you open the doors to freedom once more. If you are in love with someone you can’t have that means you are putting yourself second. Remember that you are more than worthy of real, mutual love.[3]

There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.

Shannon L. Alder

Keep Reading: Japanese ‘Wind Telephone’ Lets You Talk To Your Lost Loved Ones


  1. How to let go.” Tony Robbins. Team Tony.
  2. Stop Fighting for Someone Who Doesn’t Love You.” Exploring your mind. June 10, 2020.