Do you find yourself longing for a person who cannot and will not love you back? Is Unrequited Love something you are familiar with? Maybe you have well-set intentions to never engage with anyone again who is not willing and able to invest the time and effort you deserve. And yet somehow, you find yourself exactly in that kind of situation. No, you are not a failure. This is a natural part of recovery. Today I will be sharing my own experience about feeling the longing for someone I know is not my match but oh boy is my head not aligned with my heart. Read about how I leveraged this experience to actually take a major step toward getting further ahead in my own recovery.
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Unrequited Love: When We Still Want The One Who Cannot And Will Not Love Us Back
Welcome back to another episode of the Addicted to Love Podcast. Today I will be sharing some insights I gained from my own process of recovery, a real-life example of what recovery actually looks like that I have been investigating over the last couple of weeks and months. I think it was an extremely important experience for me to be able to become even more clear and that will allow me to work through the jungle of love addiction on a yet deeper level.
Listening to this show surely gives you all the theoretical know how when it comes to healthy vs. unhealthy love that allows you to set better intentions make smarter choices for yourself so you can find love and relationships that truly fulfill your heart. And yet, while in recovery, you might experience what might feel like a setback but in fact is a major step forward. So stick with me until the end of this episode as I am sure that it will shed more light for you in your own process.
Spending A Night With Your Ex-Lovers Best Friend
I just called an ex-lover of mine, Michele, (not his real name) to tell him that I spent the night with one of his best friends, Carlo (not his real name), whom he sees like a brother. I wanted to be transparent and stand in my integrity as I genuinely care about Michele.
Michele and I shared a couple of beautiful, magical moments together. When I first came to Italy in May, I met him for drinks, and we immediately clicked. On our first date, I moved over to his couch to show him a picture of my previous travels. Without looking at it, he drew me closer and kissed me in a way that made me feel like in heaven. It was for sure one of my two equally best kisses in my life. So passionate and so all-consuming melting me and opening me up in an instant.
During that time, I was basically celibate for a year, recovering from a deeply addictive relationship. I was very clear that I was not to go into another co-addicted relationship. I wanted to focus on myself to become stronger in what I had come to conclude after many years of failed relationships and 3 years of deep feeling therapy. It’s where I went back to the wounds in my life that made me a love addict in the first place.
Michele is artistic, a free thinker and pretty relaxed. We lived pretty close by and for about a month we met a couple of times enjoying blissful orgasmic nights sharing our art (music) with each other, fucking, making love, smoking a little weed and drinking wine – what wonderful carefree moments.
I was very clear to practice non-attachment because I also knew that he was not relationship material. He lives a very independent life and is literally gone when he is not with me. As a recovering love addict that is hard to handle. In the month that we saw each other, that was perfectly fine for me. I went back to doing my thing when he left in the mornings, consciously and blissfully reminiscing from time to time about our magical nights, enjoying the flashbacks represented in shivers going through my body that was still vibrating from deep within due to his masterful skills in bed and the heart-opening space we shared during such nights.
After a month, I moved 3 hours away to a new place near Rome which made it pretty impossible to keep seeing each other as he lives a busy life. However, one night he came to see me spontaneously. I opened the gate for him, my body already exited in anticipation of what will be happening just moments later. I showed him around my new place, and while I took out some Prosecco from my fridge, his hands started to explore every inch of my body instantly. He is a very masculine man with great passion and appetite and an ability to be fully in the moment. He stood behind me grabbing me closer, kissing me everywhere and making me lose my mind in seconds. I trusted him so deeply every time that made it easy for me to surrender to him. His self-confidence in bed (not in a macho kind of way) was very attractive. We fucked on the kitchen table animalistic and wild, full of lust and passion, and he lasted. Always.
After the “first round” we usually sat down, smoked some weed together and had some light conversations until my body longed for more again. When we smoked pot, something shifted in him. His heart cracked open, he started to kiss me differently, to touch me differently and he went from fucking me to making love with me. It was just incredible. That night ignited a subtle change. I know exactly when it happened; He deeply penetrated me for a long time, and I felt so much love for him, for giving himself so fully, for taking me in, for loving me as if there is no tomorrow in that very moment.
At that moment I, as a woman, I want to be able to express my love for the man. I want to say, “thank you for loving me and seeing me so deeply last night.” I saw you too, and I love you for the human being that you are and for your willingness to show yourself and the ways you are willing to give every inch of your being.
Love has often been an experience tainted with impurity. It often came with conditions attached to it. Click To Tweet
To Feel Love For Someone Does Not Necessarily Mean That We Need To Marry And Have Kids
That “I love you” is not meant in a way that I want to marry and have kids with you. It is meant as an innocent expression of the love I feel for you as a human being. Too bad, most of us carry such a fucked-up imprint when it comes to the words “I love you.” Love has often been an experience tainted with impurity. It often came with conditions. Or it came in an overloading over-consuming kind of way where we might have felt engulfed or enmeshed. With such experiences love lost its innocence and it has therefore mostly hurt us. It has taken away our freedom, taken away parts within ourselves that were holy to us. It has changed us and made us afraid so when someone comes and says “I love you” even if that is meant without the attachment of conditions or labels – it is fucking scary. It’s not even so much about saying these words as our actions and behavior speak for themselves.
If I, as a woman, am not allowed to express that and be seen in that and be received in that, a little part of my very essence is dying in that instant. I want to shake the man, wake him up and say: “Can you allow me to love you and adore you because I have seen YOU? Because I am in awe of what you have to give as a man. Because of your beautiful open heart and your exquisite being? Can you stay in the heart-space we created together without wanting to run away? Without getting scared and numbing your own feelings rationalizing them away? I know you felt what I felt, and I deeply wish you would have stayed with it.”To experience love, sex, and romance with someone without labeling it or attaching fear-based conditions to it and instead, allowing the love that flows between two people in such moments is an important practice for love addicts in recovery. Click To Tweet
For me, that night was – again – something I had always longed for. To practice love, sex, and romance with someone without labeling it or attaching fear-based conditions to it but instead, allowing the love that flows between two people in such moments.
When Words And Actions Don’t Align
But what happened instead was that from that moment on something changed between the two of us. Up until today, he says it did not, but I sure perceived it like that. I feel that his words did not really match his actions and that made me feel insecure. In my perception, he was distancing himself in subtle ways. When I came back to his city for 10 days to play at a festival that he organized, he was more distant than usual probably also because he worked days and night during that time. However, I could still not understand it as I thought “How is it possible that you don’t long for me again? How is it that you can afford to let a gift like that be left unused? How in the world does this not matter to you as much as it matters to me? How on earth are you not sneaking into my bed at 3am in the morning when your job is done?”
We eventually had one rather shallow fuck just before I left for my home country but by then things were already tainted with misunderstandings, assumptions, and projections. Not in a major kind of way but in subtle ways. It lost its divinity. I understand that when we met, he did not sign up for working through it with me and find a deeper level of relating as I personally long for with any encounter that I have. I think it’s my deep pisces/cancer nature that always looks for meaning, for depth and for understanding my algorithmic emotional being.
Even though I had planned to return to Italy after a month in Switzerland, the flow was gone. I felt I was no longer invited to go there because somehow, my perceived rejection of him made me feel rejected from the place as well. However, it took one message on Instagram from him saying “hey when are you coming back?” to bring back the flow in an instant. I received “permission” from him. Was I actually lovable? Was I not actually rejected? Did he not actually hate me? (Mind-set of a Love Addict).Am I actually lovable? Am I not actually rejected? Did he not actually hate me? The mind-set of a Love Addict. Click To Tweet
Pretty much right after I found a place and it didn’t take long until he came to see me in my apartment. We had sex, but it did not unfold the way it used to anymore. After him not getting back to me for about a month, I understood that even though I really liked him, his way of relating was not supporting my recovery. It triggered too many old feelings that made me a love addict in the first place. I am adamant in engaging with and choosing men who are willing and able to make me a priority. In my understanding, I was not even asking for much. All I wanted was for him to just send me a text from time to time or call me for a moment while being apart from each other. However, the absence of such little investments from his side left me feeling unimportant. I genuinely believe that the level of time and effort someone invests in you shows very clearly whether you are a priority or not. We are all busy, AND we all have the same amount of time it’s just that we chose to prioritize differently.
Making Healthy Choices Over And Over Again
For this reason, I said to him that I cannot keep doing whatever it was we were doing and, on the sideline, secretly hoping for him to change or find someone more suitable and drop him later. That would not have seemed fair to him or me. I sure know by now that wanting to change someone is surely not love.
So, I did. I sent him a text and said what I had to say, and I chose myself first. The practice of saying NO is a practice love addicts have to get really good at. For the longest time we said YES too many times only to figure out later that that YES did not lead to us feeling met in our needs. And that is where I learned another lesson that I had touched before but dropped only then deeper into my consciousness (of a recovering love addict):
Because you know it is no good for you. You can be in recovery from love addiction, understanding all the theory behind, making better and more healthy choices AND yet at the same time, you will still experience feelings that are not yet in alignment with the choices you make on a mental level. You can have many well-set intentions about what you want from love and romance and still find yourself in the same situations, attracting the same guys BECAUSE your system that has been wired wrongly for years and years has first to become congruent with your mental level. How will that happen? It will happen over time when you get really good at saying no, at waiting, at risking not to be loved for what seems like ANOTHER 1000 years. Even though your system is starving from all the years of absence of real love, of love that has your longings and needs, and desires fulfilled. You have to keep feeling the pain of the lack of all that you long for. Just because you long for someone does not necessarily mean you have to take action. When you do that, and you stay with that longing and the pain it brings to you until it is felt enough, and you start adjusting your behavior, your choices and your intentions, then over time love will be just around the corner. However, it cannot come to you if you keep BEHAVING the same old ways and if you keep tolerating things that don’t really make you happy. You get what you tolerate, and if you keep doing what you always did, you will keep getting what you always got.
A Half-Full Cup Of Water Will Only Remind You Of How Much More You Actually Want
This is the phase of drought. You are looking for water that nourishes your body. You feel you have been thirsty for ages and that half-full cup of water is just in front of you. But drinking it will only remind you of how much more you actually want of it and then leave you thirsty again. If you keep walking, at some point the calm, reliable pond will appear and invite you to sit by it and drink from it without fearing that it will ever be empty.
So, then I met Carlo, one of his best friends at a party and for some reasons that night (I have seen him twice before), I found myself in his arms in my bedroom. His heart was naturally open at all times through the night until the very next morning and throughout the next day as well. I was able to let his nourishing energy in very deeply without having sex. Just cuddles and kisses and yes lots of sexual energy but without an idea of having to go anywhere with it but instead stay present in that bedroom looking into each other’s eyes. It was a delight.
I called Michele the day after and let him know “I spent the night with Carlo. We did not have sex, but I really enjoyed the closeness, and I wanted to let you know and understand how you feel about this.” He answered: “Carlo is like my brother. I am glad to know that you are with someone who is good. We shared some truly magical moments, and we both know that we move on”. The last sentence stings heavily in my heart remembering my longing for him to actually turn around and say: “You are important to me. I do want to keep having these magical nights with you. No, I cannot afford not to see you anymore and soak in the magic we share”.
Natural Stages Of Recovery
This is the road of recovery. That drink will always be so tempting. You will keep feeling the longing to have just one more shot. And that is okay. It takes time to recover, and no one demands from you to be “over it all” right away. That is the very reason why I keep saying I am not recovered, I am in recovery. I will always have to make healthier choices for my heart consciously and at the same time grief what I long for so deeply. These are mostly just feelings, old feelings. What we are actually trying to get is the magical, pure love we never got in the form we needed it from our primary caregivers. Of course, they loved us to the ability they could, but most of our parents were not loved like that themselves, so they weren’t able to love us the way we needed to be loved either.
For this reason, it is normal to want the person who cannot and will not love you back the way you think you want to be loved. It is normal to strive to get the love we never had. It comes to a point where we do not actually even see people who would be able to love us in the way we need to be loved. Because we are recreating that early imprint over and over again: We try to get love from someone who is not able to give it to us the way we need to have it.Often, we do not actually even see the people who would be able to love us in the way we need to be loved. Click To Tweet
And every time you consciously go through these experiences, with an ever-increasing awareness, with your consideration of the fragility of your heart, respecting and feeling what lies in there, you are one step closer to finding true love that lasts.
Practice Makes Mastery
That is what I am doing. I am just practicing all of it. I am deeply feeling my heart. Speaking my truth over and over again. The truth is always well received. So, did Michele hear my truth when I called him on the phone to let him know that I spent the night with a close friend of his. When he said that “we shared some truly magical moments and we know that we move on” is something I needed to hear to let go even more.
Too often we might mistake these feelings of still wanting the one person who cannot give you what you long for as a sign that it must mean something more, maybe true love. Trust me that this is nothing more than your system being too used to function in old ways, in ways that feel most common for you. It is what you have known all your life. Do not let that fool you. Going for unrequited love is the behavior of a love addict. Instead, risk to not be loved for another year. Align your emotional level with your mental level, stay with the pain and your feelings about not feeling loved or not having the love you are looking for since what seems like an entire life-time. It’s the only way real and lasting love will come into your life. I have every faith in that.