If you're human, then you've probably, at some time in your life, experienced the cruel touch of rejection. It happens to the best of us. It usually doesn't have anything to do with how you look, your occupation, or the car you drive. More than likely, it happens because the relationship is not a good fit. It may have shown signs of potential, but not what it took to make it to the finish line.
The pain of unrequited love runs deep. As much as we want to believe in the romanticism of unconditional love, "I love her, no matter what! She's the love of my life," it doesn't hold water. Loving someone who doesn't love you back will get old real quick.
Rejection causes actual physical pain. You may actually feel like your heart is breaking. Not only will the pain reverberate throughout your body, but the deep psychological pain will seal the deal; salt on the wound, if you will. You may start to doubt your worth. Old messages that you weren't good enough may start to resurface, causing you to feel that it is actually true; that you aren't worthy of love. You might start to think that there will be no other love like the one you just lost. All these doubts will plague you and chastise you until you become a shadow of your "in love" self.
I have great news for you! If you've just lost your love, you may not be ready to read this, but you should because it will give you hope. If you've suffered a loss and survived it, congratulations! Be an example for those who haven't quite made it yet.
1) It's not the end of the world
First off, if your love is not returned, as painful as that it, know you're going to be OK. Someone leaving you doesn't mean you're not worthy of being loved; it just means that for the person who left you, you weren't the right fit. As much as we want it to, love doesn't always last. It's not necessarily a reflection on you.
2) Grieve the loss
No matter what, that person was significant in your life and their absence will be felt. Acknowledge your feelings. Don't stuff them down, or numb them with alcohol, food, shopping, etc. If you don't allow your feelings to be felt, the recovery will take longer.
3) Surround yourself with supportive people
Who are the people who love you most? Reach out to them. Their support is more important now than ever. It's more than likely that they have gone through something similar.
When I was in my mid-20's, I fell in love. He was the love of my life, or so I thought. I would have done anything for this guy. And then one day, he disappeared. Although I didn't know the term at that time, I had been ghosted. He told me he was leaving town, but that he'd call me, let me know his new location, and come back in six months to start a life with me. Well, that never happened. The not knowing was the worst part, and I cried my eyes out for a long time. But then guess what? I got better and better; met new people, and eventually met my husband to whom I've been married for 32 years.
I look back now and think, Thank God he never came back. You may not be ready to say that, but in time you will, trust me.
The whole time, however, I had friends around me who cared. I talked to my family ad nauseam, and they listened and supported me. They helped me get through that dark period. I did and you will too!
4) Avoid keeping track of your ex
As tempting as it is to see what they are doing now that they've moved on, don't. That will just prolong the grieving period. What good will it do to see their single relationship status, or who they're taking out for coffee? That information will do nothing but cause heartache.
5) You cannot be friends
Your ex may say, in good faith, "Let's be friends. I love you, but I'm not in love with you." That's fine, but you don't have to keep getting your heart shredded. You're not ready to be friends. And you may never be. If you want to be friends, you may be harboring a secret wish that he'll fall in love with you all over again, or realize that he's made a terrible mistake. While that can happen, it rarely does.
Being rejected attacks your sensitivities. It makes you turn inward and lick your wounds; it makes you doubt your worth and your lovingness. Give yourself time to understand that this is but one small portion of your life. Think of all you've survived up to now. You can do it again.
It takes time, but eventually you'll be able to see past the hurt and start living your life anew. Go on a journey. Explore who you are without that person in your life, and re-invent yourself, if need be. One person leaving you doesn't define you; it just opens up another door. When you're ready, you'll go through it.