Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You

Loving someone who doesn’t love you has got to be one of the most disappointing love-life problems out there. The only way it would be worse is if you and the person you love were together for a while and then he or she fell out of love with you.

In either case, you want or need the person you love to love you. The problem is he or she does not no matter what you do or say.

The hardest thing to do in a situation like this is walk away. However, walking away is precisely what you need to do. Anything else will end up hurting more in the long run.

Let’s start by talking about the things people commonly do that result in more suffering than necessary.

Let’s start first with the more ‘passive’ approach to the problem of loving someone who doesn’t love you. You could try solving this love-life problem by ‘waiting’ for  him or her to love you. The assumption here is, since you are in relationship with this person he or she should or will eventually love you. Unfortunately, the chances of love happening are reduced if love is not there from the beginning.

This is not to say love can’t show up at some future point after getting to know each other for a while. The point is it’s unpredictable. You could wait and nothing happens. The relationship remains in the same state it is in now and you’ve wasted a lot of time.

Plus, waiting for someone to love you has a bit of ‘low self-esteem’ in it, if you think about it. The degree of self-sacrifice is immense. Waiting for love implies a willingness to live without love in a relationship with an indefinite end date to the self-sacrifice you’re making.

A more active and even aggressive approach to this love-life problem involves trying to ‘force’ him or her to love you. This particular approach disregards the fact that love cannot be controlled. Some people find this difficult to accept. Love has a mind of its own, so to speak.

It comes and goes when it sees fit. Love comes from a place inside of us that is beyond manipulation. If you are trying to solve this love-life problem with control and force you’re in trouble. It’s bound to end badly.

First and foremost, people don’t like to be controlled. There is bound to be resentment if not resistance or rebellion. Freedom in a love relationship is one of the vital conditions for love to exist and grow. The chances are even less likely that love will appear when the conditions in the relationship are less than free. Making your partner love you, as an objective in a relationship, will only lead to misery, potential abuse, and eventual breakup.

When the level of frustration hits the roof because you are loving someone who doesn’t love you, one common solution is to ‘pretend’ you don’t love him or her. This involves acting like you don’t care. The point is it’s acting.

People who pretend in situations like this are often embarrassed about being so vulnerable. This kind of love-life imbalance seems to put all the ‘power’ in the hands of the person who isn’t loving back. In order not to look bad begging for love, you’ll simply pretend to not care.

This is not really a solution. It simply puts off the problem. There may even be a secret plan to wait for love to come under the surface of the pretense. The point once again is, the problem of unrequited love is not solved. The real solution lies somewhere else.

So what is the real solution to this love-life problem of loving someone who doesn’t love you back? In the first paragraph of this post I mentioned the need to ‘walk away.’ When you find yourself in a relationship with someone you love who doesn’t love you, it’s safe to say he or she is there for another reason besides love. It could be security, sex, companionship, or a million other things. The point is, it isn’t love. Will you always love him or her? Maybe.

In a love relationship, the love part is not under your control, the relationship part is. The principle is, if you can’t have something you want, at some point you have to go get something you can have that you want. So what’s involved in the psychological experience of walking away? Walking away is another way of saying ‘letting go.’

The only way for us humans to let go of something is to allow ourselves to grieve the loss of what we wanted. But you might say, how can you grieve the loss of what you wanted when you never got it? Good point. What you’re grieving is the desire for it, the fantasy of getting it. That’s what you will let go of.

Now grief is only possible if you accept that you can’t have something you want. Then the feeling of ‘loss’ comes up and sadness and hurt are the emotions that indicate grieving has begun. Tears are common when grieving commences.

You should never block grief because you believe it’s weakness, or craziness, or some other negative thing. Grief is natural. It is required to heal the heart and it happens when love leaves or is denied. When you allow grief it tends to be an easier experience to have and it doesn’t last very long.

When you block it is gets sick and ugly and can turn into symptoms. Remember after the grief you’ll be ready for love again. The gift you get at the end makes the experience worth the effort.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. T. Jordan


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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.


  1. BlackHat on July 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and net and this is really frustrating. A good website with interesting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

    • Dr. Tom Jordan on November 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Yes we do have a newsletter. We are ramping up for workshops in 2013. Please subscribe here: https://lovelifelearningcenter.com/blog/
      Enter your email in the subscription box and you will be in the loop.
      Thank you for your interest. Love-Life Learning Center

  2. Al Del Vechhio on December 21, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Very well said.
    The toughest thing is to let go.
    Why, oh why….

    • Dr. Tom Jordan on December 22, 2012 at 2:48 am

      I certainly agree, that is the toughest thing. I think it’s because we can ‘attach’ ourselves to people because they remind us of something or someone we’ve known. Someone who was supposed to have loved us and didn’t do a very good job of it. Letting go is like letting go of what is familiar, which is always harder. Some people even hang on because they are trying to ‘change’ a lover. An agenda with a lot of history I’m sure. Thanks for coming by Al. Hope my blog continues to be of use to you. Dr. J.

  3. Littletasmania on December 22, 2012 at 8:19 am

    You can walk away but letting go might not be possible when you can see your lover’s face on your child…these blogs are wonderful to read.

    • Dr. Tom Jordan on December 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Yes….”when you see your lover’s face on your child” leaving will be problem. We get stuck on the feeling that it’s better to have an ‘intact’ family at whatever cost. Personally, I think sometimes the cost is too great. I have often thought about the difference between staying and leaving a relationship when children are involved. There are pluses and minuses on both sides. Even though, sometimes it is better to leave and have that peace of mind and home so that the kids are not always exposed to chronic unhappiness or worse. Then Dad and Mom can parent the kids from different places and have their own individual lives. This doesn’t guarantee their happiness but at leave it will cut down on the bad feelings the children are exposed to. Staying together for the kids can end up hurting everybody. My critics might say you are hurting the kids by encouraging a parent to leave the family. I say parenting is a commitment you can keep in or out of the house. And that means, a parent could be in the house and not be much of a parent. Thanks for your comment. Hope to ‘read’ you around in the future! Dr.J.

  4. Lostmyway on February 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Never had a relationship like the one I had before. Lasted for almost two years and then we broke up. Now coming April it will be two years since the relationship.
    Try to forget all the things that we had share and created together but it just seems so hard for me. I let a few of my friends and family know about me coming out just so that I could forget and move on. Receives good words of encouragement and time they sacrifice for me, appreciate it, but that didn’t help me either.
    In the relationship, it was not me who at first encourage things to be serious, but when he shows that its turning into one, I really really fell in love and then everything just blew up in my face.
    He stills sometimes wish me on my birthday, giving me hopes but then walks away. Tries chasing him back but he turns cold again. Which always make me feel worthless.
    Right now I just want to forget everything but it’s just seems so damn hard. My head is saying no but my heart is saying otherwise

    • Dr. Jordan on February 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Thank you for your comment. When you love someone or desire someone and he or she is ambivalent, there is always a measure of pain that results. Hope alternating with disappointment is like re-injuring a bruise on the heart in the same place over and over again. Sometimes you have to go through this experience a little before your self-preservation instinct kicks in and you realize you have to leave. Walking away and staying away when you know you are in love with someone who is no good for you is one of the most difficult things to do in this life. The good news is, if you can accomplish this and save yourself from repetitive heartbreak, the gift you get is ‘wisdom.’ That wisdom will help you to avoid this kind of situation again whenever possible in the future. The important thing for anyone’s love-life is not to waste to much time on unavailable ambivalent people. Thanks for using my blog. Dr.J.

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