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Unrequited love. Sigh.

The subject of countless novels, poems and box office hits. We love the idea of it because we see in the pursuit of it some nobler, self-sacrificing version of ourselves. We see love in its purest form and cling to the tired saying that if you love someone you’ll let them go. As if that makes us feel any better about the situation.

But hey, here’s an idea. Why not do something about it?

Option 1: Just forget about it

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This is essentially the path of least resistance. You know the facts. You know there’s no way around it. Also you’re a dignified and accomplished individual who isn’t going to aim for the lowest denominator (the one night stand) just for some sad, empty rendition of a love affair that didn’t involve you in the first place.

So you take about a week to yourself to do a few things. You drink a little too much. You perhaps cry or rant to a few of your closest friends. You lose yourself in a Parks and Recreation marathon. Feel like crap about the fact that you will never be like Andy and April. Reblog countless sad and cheesy things on Tumblr.

Do what you have to do. But at the end of that one week, look back at all the nonsense you’ve put yourself through and feel ashamed. Now would be a good time to remember that you’re a sensible adult. So you pick yourself up and move on. Because your life is about so much more than some other human being who doesn’t want to love you.

And that is exactly what you do.

P.S. Of course getting over someone is in reality a lot more complex but I promise this is a good start.

Option 2: Plot, strategise and conquer

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We’re going to be really objective about this. I hope you will be too if this is the path you decide to take.

Life can be unkind to those who refuse to settle for the status quo. But perhaps you’re right. Perhaps you love him because you truly have never and don’t think you will ever meet anyone with that precise combination of personality traits. This is isn’t some “we all want what we can’t get” charade. He (she) is the perfect person you’ve always fantasised about in your head and assumed to exist outside the realm of all possibilities.

Prepare yourself for a long hard road ahead. There’s no guarantee that even if this person’s relationship doesn’t work out, you’re next in line. Make sure that you don’t occupy a place in this person’s life out of convenience. Know this person and use it to your advantage. Don’t be there all the time. Allow your presence to be missed. Let’s face it: if this is the path you’re choosing, you’ve got to play the game. Lastly, manipulate the man (or woman) and not his (her) relationship. If you do succeed in breaking them up and he goes for you, it’s more often than not a rebound. And a pity party for two isn’t really what we’re looking for.

A word of caution:

No one knows how long you’re going to have to hang around for, measuring your actions and proving your worth. While you’re doing it, remember this, there are other fish in the sea. Someone better or different may come along and you don’t want to miss it when it happens.

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Like I said, remain objective about what you’re doing. Love makes us do strange things and there’s nothing shameful about that. At the same time, loving someone who doesn’t love you back can do a lot of damage to your self-esteem. Don’t make it any worse for yourself than it already is.

Based on personal observations, people who end up in relationships outside of conventional romantic arrangements tend to end up developing patterns of self-destructive behaviour. This includes women who always end up dating rich, douchey and older men, or those who are always dating guys they have to become mothers to, and of course, those who are perpetually after people who are taken.

While Option 2 is something you can and sometimes even should consider seriously, it can be something that you lose yourself to without even realising. Be honest with yourself. If you know you can’t handle it, go with Option 1, and you might just discover that a love affair with yourself is better than some idea of a man whose only appeal is the fact he exists only in your imagination and is therefore everything that you want him to be.

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