Unrequited

I have a friend whom one could describe as being unlucky in love. I think I see the reasons for it; I’ve mentioned them to her before, but it tends to fall on deaf ears, usually because I fall into the same traps.

Touché.

One thing did strike me, though, about a recent social media post — and the subsequent comments — regarding a first date. She had enjoyed her evening with this man, but apparently he did not feel the same way. Instead of stringing her along for a few weeks before ignoring her hoping she’d get the point, he told her he had a nice time, but he wasn’t interested. She lamented her dating woes in a short post, the crux of which was that he was missing out. Subsequent comments by her friends referred to it as “his loss.”

My friend has a lot of love to give and will be a wonderful girlfriend or more for someone one day. Since when, though, did this all become a competition? And aren’t there more constructive uses of our energy than to pass off our own feelings of loss to the other person?

Dating is hard, and it comes with more than its fair share of insults, broken hearts, and just plain icky-ness. I’ve definitely been guilty of my friend’s folly in the past, but the truth is that in my efforts to build myself up after a painful blow, I end up missing the truth of the situation.

Love — willing the good of the other for the other — is an act of the will. Romantic feelings are emotions over which we have little control. That first date showed my friend more love than she realized. In that regard, she, and all of us, should focus on what we’ve gained rather than what the other is losing. Rejection never feels good; its sting is especially sharp when romantic feelings and attraction go unrequited. There are always lessons to be learned, however, from these experiences.

I’ll let you know what those lessons are once I figure it out myself.

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