Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back: How to Get Over Unrequited Love

In light of Baz Luhrmann’s 'The Great Gatsby' premiere, we take a look at the brain in love—and how to move on when love is unrequited.
1 / 2

Great Gatsby Daisy unrequited love

Remember the first time you fell in love with someone who didn’t want to be with you? The total high when he looked your way and the gut punch of his cold shoulder? The agony of unrequited love gets Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant treatment in a new movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, in theaters now.

In the story, Gatsby and Daisy, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, are teenage sweethearts separated by the war. Daisy has since married a rich, powerful man, Tom Buchanan, and Gatsby is doing everything he can to get her back. He becomes a self-made millionaire, buys a house across the water from hers and throws lavish parties hoping to see her at one of them. He finally does rekindle the fire, only to have his heart broken again when she won’t leave her husband.

Gatsby is disturbingly obsessive, but his response to lost love is a heightened version of what we all go through. It’s a natural, chemical reaction.

When we are rejected or ignored by someone we love, our brains shift into autopilot. Our reptilian brain turns on—the part of the brain that’s pure instinct, beneath logic or emotion.

Read Gaslighting: You’re Not “Crazy” — No Matter What Your Partner Says

In the brain of a scorned lover, three major regions light up. First, the reward system. It makes you crave and desire the person and focuses all of your attention on getting them. Second, an area of the brain that measures gains and losses makes you much more willing to take risks. And third, a region linked to emotional attachment makes separation painful.

“When you’ve been rejected in love, not only are you engulfed with feelings of romantic love, but you’re feeling deep attachment to this individual,” says anthropologist Helen Fisher in a 2008 TED talk on the brain in love. “Moreover, this brain circuit for reward is working, and you’re feeling intense energy, intense focus, intense motivation and the willingness to risk it all to win life’s greatest prize.” In other words, you—like Gatsby—are obsessed with winning this person’s heart.

The rejection we feel when our love is not returned causes huge emotional turbulence and even physical pain. But against all odds, we stay hopeful. The mere possibility that the person we love might one day love us back keeps our attraction alive.

Up next: How to get over your unrequited love.

follow BettyConfidential on... Pinterest

Read More About...
Related Articles...

7 thoughts on “Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back: How to Get Over Unrequited Love

  1. I had a very hard time believing in love magic spells so i felt strange even clicking on any spell site. The term love spells seemed silly to me normally but after seeing Priest Ajigar's e-mail on a trusted blog, it made a great deal of sense. I literally thought there was no way I could have my lover back. Well, after contacting Doctor agba he gave me a lot of confidence and told me he would help me bring back the man I thought I had lost forever in just 48 hours. It was very surprising how my lover started calling me to tell me how much he missed and can’t live without me after Priest Ajigar had helped me cast a very powerful spell. I count myself very lucky to have ever found Priest Ajigar's email and to have even had the courage of contacting him for help.Priest Ajigar didn’t tell me exactly what I wanted to hear like 99% of other spell casters will do. He was very sincere with me, this was what really shocked me and made me believe he was real. Thank you so much Priest Ajigar for your marvelous work. His e-mail is(priestajigarspells@live.com) just so maybe you need a good and sincere spell caster.

  2. "The mere possibility that the person we love might one day love us back keeps our attraction alive." – This hoping thing has been a torment. It does make moving on really hard. I am still moving on from unrequited love. I have been successful initially. But when the time comes that you have adjusted without communication with the person, that person just suddenly pings you and lets his presence felt again. He's my friend and it's just hard to ignore him when he's actually trying a conversation. So, I had to communicate and set my limits. My heart just keeps on feeling it back again. It's terribly frustrating.

Leave a Reply

");iw.close();var c=iw[b];} catch(e){var iw=d;var c=d[gi]("MarketGidScriptRootN3628");}var dv=iw[ce]('div');dv.id="MG_ID";dv[st][ds]=n;dv.innerHTML=3628;c[ac](dv); var s=iw[ce]('script');s.async='async';s.defer='defer';s.charset='utf-8';s.src="http://jsn.dt07.net/b/e/bettyconfidential.com.3628.js?t="+D.getYear()+D.getMonth()+D.getDate()+D.getHours();c[ac](s);})();
top of page jump to top