Are you into a relationship that can be described as platonic, unrequited or one-sided love?
I’ve been thinking lots about it, and decided to write this post.
I’m not a psychologist or have any degree on similar areas. Though I have a vast ammount of experience on the subject, can’t really say the information on this post is valid, reliable, scientifically proven or right in any way. As a 30 year old guy who still has to deal with thoughts like these (do they ever go away anyways?), not particularly hideous appearance (can’t say I’m handsome, but this never stopped anyone from being loved), but with a very particular bad luck on having crushes with people who don’t feel the same (maybe it’s some sort of hidden masoquist side).
Take this as my own educated opinion and nothing else.
It’ll be a very very long post, sorry about that. But in this case, I felt it was best to write everything… it’s a serious subject that can’t be summarized.
note: I started writting this… late 2010 I guess. Took me a while to update, format and publish… but yeah, guess that’s about it.
After thinking much about it, I started noticing connections with platonic love and the Kübler-Ross model which describes the five stages of grief.
Summary - the model describes a progression of states which people go through when faced with grief and tragedy. In the mainstream media it's mostly used for people dealing with terminal diseases (terminal cancer for instance), but the model has also been adopted for big changes in a person's life - like dropping a bad habit or addiction for instance.
Why I used the Kübler-Ross model?
Depending on how much you became involved with those feelings, you’ll mostly have to die and be reborn again.
Those who can’t understand this probably won’t need help, but I’ll explain.
When you go too deep into a one-sided love, you tend to loose perspective of your own life by yourself.
You surrender your plans for the future and replace them with a future shared with who you love.
Everything else in your life has it’s importance diminished, if not completely extinguished.
After all, a future which you imagine – with unrealistic expectations mixed with yearnings and longings that you have for your ideal life – will always be better than reality.
All of your energies end up trapped around something that will never happen.
Usually, people who tends to get into platonic love cases spend lots of time, if not all the time, thinking about the loved one.
If too much time passes, this becomes a routine, a habit, sometimes an addiction, as hard to give up as any drug.
You start creating scenarios of what will happen when she finally recognizes and tells you she feels the same.
You picture a better self by her side and for her, you commit to change the worst parts of yourself when that happens.
It’s a distorted version of yourself that would probably never happen even if the love was mutual.
In fact, when love starts off as platonic and ends up mutual, sometimes the platonic part might also be the reason for a future break up. Simply because the image that you made of that person doesn’t correspond to reality.
Platonic love can sometimes be harmless, and sometimes can be like a terminal disease.
So the radical idea is to kill your former self, give up the life you’ve been living so far, rebuilding habits and routine so you don’t feel tempted to waste more time doing things wrong. Distance yourself, try to learn something from the whole deal and move on.
Easier said then done. It’s a hard choice that will take all your guts, and might feel like tearing apart something that you spend a lot of time working on, being a part of you.
But sometimes it’s either that, or spend the rest of your life living an illusion and trapped with something that will haunt your energy out of you everyday… ’till it ends up killing you.
First and foremost, unlike the Kübler-Ross model, it seems to me that for platonic love cases the steps are not as progressive, or at least not as clear and sequencial. You can have a mix of them at a time.
The main reason is because what’s provoking the feeling is visible and might be someone you just happen to see everyday.
So it’s not uncommon to advance some steps in solving the problem one day, but the next one end up receding.
I’ll adopt a male point of view, but I guess this also works for women and even in some slightly different situations.
With that in mind, let’s start:
It will happen when you realize your love is one-sided.
The whole deal will start not by the doctor telling you have a terminal disease, but instead by the girl you like telling you she doesn’t like you. Or a friend of hers telling you she’s not interested. Or by you finding out she’s already got someone else in mind.
Deep inside you know it won’t happen. What you feel is one sided. But you won’t believe that. You don’t want to.
“She was in a bad mood”
“Playing hard to get”
“If I try approaching her in a different way”
“She just doesn’t know the true me”
“Maybe if I change somethings about the way I am”
This can take quite a while. And those who are in this step probably won’t even be reading this.
But one strategy is put yourself in the position of others. How she and your friends and her friends see the whole deal. Is the relationship even possible?
It’s not exactly easy to dimiss, and after all those beautiful movies of impossible relationships coming to fruition, that always seems to end with “and they lived happily ever after” you might think “hey, this might happen to me!”.
Would someone even consider it happening? Did she even give a real hint of having feelings for you? Remember that acting friendly isn’t the same as corresponding your feelings.
Sometimes you’ll just find out that she treats you like any other friend, and everytime you thought something was going on it was just your mind playing tricks.
Maybe you’ll notice it was just you going after her all the time, she never even looked at you in a different way.
It is harder when she considers you a really good friend, or if she is very considerate to all her friends.
Try noticing the difference between how much you dedicate yourself to that feeling, and how much she does.
Are you always the one calling, sending e-mails, telling how much you like her, etc? She doesn’t tell you straight, but she also never told you she didn’t like you. That difference is key to understanding it’d never work out anyways. And given how much you like her, entering a relationship that would be this uneven or bound to end soon, you might consider it’s for the best that it never happens at all.
Once you understand that, then maybe you’ll go to the next step.
It’s never gonna happen and you know and admit it. But now you’re frustrated and angered by spending so much time and effort thinking that somehow it would all work out.
“Why is God making this to me?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
“Everything goes wrong in my life, fuck the world”
“My life is a living Hell”
As long as you know how to, it’s actually good to vent your anger.
But it might come in different forms, and might affect your life considerably.
For instance, you might vent your anger towards friends, the loved one, yourself or some higher instance like God, destiny or whatever.
It might not be fair, but if you manage to blame her for “fooling you” or something like that your platonic love can even end here.
After all, how can you love someone you hate? Well, ok, sometimes it happens.
But usually, you’ll end up blaming yourself.
And not only you have to be careful not to take that anger too far, but also you’ll have to watch yourself not to loose friends, family or sanity over it.
This is one of the stages when things can go very badly.
For instance, people with personality disorders can go violent, people that are too angry at themselves might try something drastic – like suicide – and so on.
After a while you just realize shit happens. It’s not your fault for falling in love, it’s not her fault for not falling in love with you.
Sometimes friends could’ve warned sooner, but either you didn’t tell them how much you liked her, or she didn’t make it clear about her feelings.
Which is normal by the way… you know, it’s kind of a confortable zone not to express extreme emotions. Exactly why it takes a lot to say someone you love him/her, or hate him/her.
Also, since love sometimes isn’t something that happens instantly, we can never tell for shure.
I particularly don’t believe in love at first sight. Physical attraction yes, a feeling that he/she might be the one, ok. But love comes after you’ve known someone quite a while. Platonic love usually happens because you idealize a person that might or might not be that way. Think Photoshop not only for appearance, but also for personality and other stuff.
An exhausting step, then comes another.
You’re not angry anymore. Still, you’re not completely over it. So you know she’ll never love you, but you might accept something else instead.
“If I truly love her, watching over her happiness is good enough”
“I’ll just settle for the closest position I can”
“Having her close at times is better than nothing”
It’s a trap lots of people in this situation ends up in. You know what I’m talking about.
The Friend Zone.
It’s a bargain that might look good at first.
You’ll still be close to the person you love, you’ll be able to spend time with her, she cares about you in some way, and the agony of not knowing what’s happening to her will be less of a bother.
You care about her and would do anything to please her. You’d die defending her, and one day she might end up loving you somehow!
Don’t be fooled though, your mind is playing tricks on you again.
Analyze the situation. Is it realistic to think she’ll ever change her mind?
Weight that against the odds of her finding someone else she really likes. Will you be able to cope with that?
Do you really think you’re the only one for her? If you do, why didn’t she go after you?
Also think of the time of your life you’ll waste with those expectations, stuck with that idea that will dominate you every day and every hour, the chances you’ll waste of finding someone else.
The Friend Zone is a trap not only for it’s consequences, but because while you’re with her you’ll feel like you’re on a relationship. One that is far more monogamic than normal relationships, because you won’t be able to turn your eyes to other girls.
How much more you’ll have to cry over something that’s not there, how bad you’ll feel for lying you feel ok being just a friend, how regretfull it’ll become once you loose that bet with yourself?
The bet you’re making here is like winning the lottery. You bet all your energy, time, possible relationships and you’ll let your feelings be hurt and trampled over everytime she hooks up with another guy. And then you’ll either end up very badly when she gets in a stable relationship with someone else, or – the very unlikely winning scenario – she’ll end up with you because, well, you’re what’s left. Which puts you in a relationship that’s completely off balance and will likely lead you to a life of misery and pain.
The sooner you realize that, the less you’ll suffer with the next step.
The pits. The bottom. Lowest level. This love is one sided, nothing else will come close to that, and you know you can’t pursue that anymore. You wasted time and energy that are never coming back.
“I’ll never fall in love again”
“My once in a lifetime chance is gone”
After all those things considered, all the time and energy you spent on something you now know that isn’t going to happen, all the expectations and plans going down the drain, all the frustration, anger and shame for what you have done, it’s only natural to be depressed.
This is the step where people commit suicide. Not for show, not out of desperation, not a call for attention.
You feel useless, hopeless, empty and dead inside.
Hopefully, you didn’t scare away all your friends on the second step because you will need them here.
And if you don’t have reliable friends, it’s all the more difficult to deal with it.
If you do have, depend on them, go after them, try to spend time with them… it’ll be easier on you, and they’ll understand.
If you spent too long a time with that platonic love, it might be a step that will take a long time or something very strong to overcome.
It all depends on how much you changed, your thinking process and your expectations about your future, and how strong those things became.
Because it can get very bad if, for instance, you stopped looking at other girls because of that feeling.
Or you lost perspective as an individual when it comes to your plans about your future.
Before knowing the girl, you imagined your future self as having a successful career, having money to spend on several hobbies, healthier, stronger, more social, not afraid to show some personality at times, etc.
But then she came, and all those plans became insignificant. If you have her love, nothing else matters.
It’s hard to switch back, but if you can’t think of anything else, it’s worth a try.
Remember: it’s the bottom of the pit. The only way you have is up. It’s hard to go up again, and you might fall several times… but you have no other choices.
Try reminding of what made you happy before. Try picking and rebuilding those things up.
If you can come up with something new, and still has enough willpower to go after it, that might be the way.
Sometimes you have to set goals and go blindly after them no matter how much you suffer, no matter how hard it seems at first.
Nothing is harder to forget than someone you love, have loved for a long time, of loves too much.
And it’s likely that you’ll never truly forget.
But try finding ways of not thinking of her every day, every minute of your waking hours.
This is also why you have to cut loose all ties that you had with her.
Out of sight, out of mind… at least after a while.
And she’ll understand. If she sees you as a friend, even if you have to explain it to her, it’ll not be too hard to understand that even if she’s not to blame for that platonic love, the best thing is to keep away.
In fact, for people who are the object of love, know that the best thing is not to feel pitty. Don’t try turning a person who has a platonic love for you into a friend. You don’t want a friend that you’ll only hurt, right? Be sincere, no matter how hard that is, for you or for the other person. The worst part of platonic loves is anxiety, the “what ifs” and not being certain if there’s a chance or not.
If there’s absolutely no chance, just say so. May be kinda harsh at first, but it’s what is needed to move on.
Sacrifices will have to be made.
You suffered a lot, went through all the confusion and hardship, had friends to support you or found out by yourself a way to deal with it. Feeling prostrated all that time, there might be a chance to stand up straight once again. So you accept that it was a platonic love, might even consider how ridiculous and absurd your thoughts and acts during the whole process were, and convince yourself that you have learned through that and has a chance now to move on.
“It was a nice dream that ended in a terrible nightmare, but now I must wake up”.
It’s not that you are necessarily ready to love someone else. But you finally accepted the entire situation.
That’s how hard it is to understand what you’ve been through.
But with other goals in mind, and hopes of becoming someone else, starting anew, you get prepared for the closing of this chapter in your life.
One of the things that might do it for you is right by the end of Damien Rice’s The Blower’s Daughter lyrics. Pay close attention.
Now that you read all this, it all sounds easy, right? Wrong.
You see, while writing I have myself all over those steps.
Not only my feelings are mixed up, I also still can’t see any progression, so I came to write this feeling that not only it might help someone else, but most important, might help myself.
Some people will never have to deal with platonic love, but there are no boundaries or defined classes to those who will be affected.
Doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, what skin color you have, sex, education, age or whatever.
Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s so hard you just can’t deal with it anymore.
Don’t feel ashamed for that, tell friends you can trust about it, write, confess, let it out.
And best of luck!
http://www.outofthefriendzone.com/letter.html (take this one with a grain of salt, ok?)