“According to Greek mythology,
humans were originally created with four arms,four legs and a head with two faces.
Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts,
condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
― Plato, The Symposium
I started this article with this quote because I think it is the most beautiful ancient explanation of the amazing things love makes us do. So amazing that Zeus did not even imagine it to be likely, one would presume since it was his chosen solution. Why then is it that when we feel the rejection of that possible, yet unfortunately wrong, lid to our magic marker we feel so devastated?
For the remainder of this article I would like to take Plato’s words as truth and explore with you how this will spin a tale around ‘Unrequited Love‘.
I presume there are only a few lucky souls who have escaped the soul destroying experience of being rejected by that special someone. Lets take a step back and analyse the parts of this ‘not so magic carpet ride’.
- You love someone
- They don’t love you back
- You still love them
Now I am well aware that this is an overly simplistic view yet for this article it will suffice, after all I am not writing a book.
The first ingredient is the love you feel for another being.
You love someone
Right story books, movies, poetry, music, and many other media will try to convince you THE way to fall in love is to see someone from across the railway station platform and instantly see your 4 perfectly beautiful children running before your eyes while he holds his coat around your shoulders whispering in your ear ‘I love you dearest wife of mine’. Contrary to that, the statistics show that most people fall in love with someone that they have known for a while. People only report falling in love quickly about 1/3 to 40 percent of the time (or so says the internet). Of course, this varies from culture to culture. Falling in love happens differently between cultures but it does occur in most cultures.
The weirdest part in this is that in almost any relationship therapy book, love is described as a two way street where both partners work at a relationship. Don’t mistake it for Platonic love, unrequited love is a passionate desire to have this other person as your life partner, the other half of your whole. Socrates made a clear distinction, in Plato’s “Symposium”, where he explained the two types of love or Eros—Vulgar Eros or earthly love and Divine Eros or divine love.
I personally think unrequited love can never be this divine love that does not stems from desire. The way you love when not loved back is based on desire, a pull to a certain person, making it erotic love.
So to move on to the second part of this trilogy, the other person doesn’t love you back.
The other doesn’t love you back
In this journey I already concluded that the desiring love that is felt for another person. I would like to introduce the word infatuated here on purpose. I would also like to state this is tale is about love that was never answered, not a falling out of love scenario which hugely differs. This infatuation feels like love, hurts like love and convinces the afflicted it is love. When unanswered, the rejection felt is like being denied a privilege already earned. In the mind, the person loving has determined this is their other half, whether this was due to mixed signals or misinterpreted signals, or childhood innocence. There are a legion of reasons why someone gets infatuated with another being, these change over the course of a human life time. As a youngster popularity can be a big draw for infatuation, being ‘in love’ with the popular kid in class or a pop star. Later on in life, well meant friendly gestures can get misinterpreted for signs of affection, we can fall for looks, money and all the reasons that don’t speak to Plato’s 2 halves of a whole.
It has been documented that two important characteristics, kindness and intelligence, are extremely important in the process of falling in love. Attractiveness, physical or other, is not connected to these things. These two attributes are things that people learn about someone from knowing them over time. Intelligence is important in all aspects of life, especially in love. But kindness is the strongest indicator for a successful long-term relationship.
You still love the other
Love is never more keenly felt than when it lacks what it loves, notably if it is unrequited. However, it also always has tremendous strengths to draw on, and so whether bravely, impetuously, intensely or intelligently it never ceases to seek what it loves, which it can only regard as beautiful and true. The lack of a relationship prevents the infatuated person from forming a realistic image of the other, creating an even more ideal creature that must be the one.
Unrequited love can only end when the person who loves, takes of the rosy glasses and see the other for who they are. And granted there might be cases where even then you can love someone, but it should open the eyes to see a relationship with someone who does not love you truly would be a disappointment rather than an achievement.
If one loves another, yet the subject of the affection has declared to have no love for the other, should this be called unrequited love or unrequited infatuation? From Plato’s point of view, which might surprise you, love or infatuation pretending to be love is so strong that it can have a hold of you. Break this hold if it is unhealthy, don’t read signs but let love be requited
“You see, love is energy.
The soul is a huge vast place,
and lots of it is dark,
and it’s full of energy and power,
and this can be bad,
but it can be good,
and that’s the work,
to change bad energy into good,
when we desire good things
and are attracted magnetically by them.”
One sided love is like a flower in the dark, never getting sunlight to grow and blossom. It will continue to use up all the nutrition out of the soil to never come to bloom. Love needs reciprocation to become a good energy. So pursue but know when to give up and most of all love for the right reasons.
If I were to write a book I would title it “The One Key Question: What Do You Love?” Get love right, and life will be as right as it can be too.