How to Deal With Loving Someone You Can’t Have

Sad man.

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Loving someone you can’t have can take a large emotional toll on you and your mental and even your physical health. Longing to be with someone who is unattainable is both heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching, and this type of emotional turmoil can feel unrelenting at times. And while you may think that all hope is lost since the person you care for so deeply isn't an option, it’s important to recognize the five key ways to deal with loving someone you can’t have so that you can move on the right way.

1. Work Through Your Feelings

When you love someone you can’t have, you may try to bury your feelings deep inside so you don’t have to deal with the hurt that the reality of the situation has caused you. It may seem easier to push down and hide these feelings of grief, disappointment, and longing that you're experiencing so that you don't have to face the pain. However, being able to work through the loss and hopelessness that you may be feeling is an important step when you’re in love with someone you can't have. For example, whether this person broke up with you, moved across the country, or is in a relationship with someone else, taking the time you need to acknowledge your feelings and deal with your emotions are crucial parts of the process of moving on for the better.

2. Focus on Yourself

When’s the last time you did something nice for yourself? Rather than spending your time thinking about and obsessing over this person you can’t have, try to focus on the other person who actually deserves your love—you!

By pampering yourself and practicing acts of self-love and self-care, you can put your energy and focus to better use by working to improve your own life. When you make yourself a priority again, you’re taking a major step in dealing with loving someone you simply can’t have. For instance, by treating yourself to a massage, signing up for a Pilates class, or taking piano lessons, you're making far better use of your time than wallowing in the sorrow you feel over an unattainable love.

3. Make Time for Friends and Family

Concentrating on your happiness and your mental and physical health are key when you’re desperately in love with a person who simply isn’t a possibility. Instead of spending time alone and shutting out the world around you, now's when you should surround yourself with the people in your life who care about you and your well-being. Your friends and family can offer great support, guidance, and love, and by being around people who exude positive energy and have your best interest at heart, their optimistic outlook can help to reshape your own mindset as well. Their experiences can also help you to put your current situation in perspective, as you're likely not the only one who’s had to deal with and handle the realities of lost or unrequited love. Your friend and family networks can be a great resource and provide you with key insight and direction when it comes to moving on and letting go. 

4. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

When you love someone you can’t have, it’s not uncommon to be mad and frustrated with yourself that you’re not yet over this person or that you still love him or her in the first place. But the healing process takes time, and rather than being upset or fed up that you can’t immediately shut down your feelings for this other person, you should be proud of the fact that you took a risk by putting yourself out there at all.

While it's okay for you to still have feelings for this person, you have to make your peace with the situation and accept the reality that you’re not with him or her or going to be with him or her in the future—and this can take time. You should stop being hard on yourself if you're not entirely over him or her since this kind of transition isn't going to happen overnight. 

5. Don’t Give Up on Love

If you’re in love with someone you just can’t be with, one of the most important takeaways from this type of situation is to understand that you will find love again. While you may think that falling in love with someone again isn’t in the cards for you, this simply isn’t the case. Think about it—if you can love someone so deeply whom you can’t have, just imagine how much you can love someone you actually can have in the future.

Rather than giving up on love and feeling as though you're going to be alone forever, you should look forward instead of backward and get excited about meeting the next person who will capture your heart. While it wasn’t meant to be with the person you're currently in love with, you should take to heart the fact that you will love again.