[ First posted 9/14/13 and revised and re-posted, March, 2016]
#Unrequited #Love is for Everyone: What’s Your Story?
With countless songs, stories, plays, poems about the pain and suffering, the noble martyrdom of the person who is rejected—s/he who lives the unrequited lover’s lonely life—everyone knows that part completely. What about the other person, the object of affection? How do those rebuffing love—the REJECTORS—actually feel?
What is the Point of View (POV) of the REJECTOR?
I decided to spend some time learning that role, getting inside the skin of the one who says: “No, I don’t love you that way,” in order to attempt to fulfill every writer’s goal of understanding all my created characters equally well.
I knew the feelings, thoughts, experiences and dreams of the one who is rejected inside and out (unfortunately). What in my past, real or fictional exposure, brings me to the inner story of the one doing the refusing?
- REJECTORS don’t give a damn about the one who loves.
One story, with me as the REJECTOR.
There was a boy in my 7th-grade class of about 350 students who offered to carry my books as he walked me to class He also eagerly awaited me outside our classrooms when his class was the same or hung around nearby to escort me. He was nice and I appreciated the attention. However (nefarious music plays here), I had my heart set on someone else, someone who had no interest in me.
Maybe, I wondered, if the one I was crushing on saw how much attention this boy is giving me, he would realize how interesting I am and turn his eyes more toward me? I ruthlessly and selfishly exploited the boy who was crushing on me without any regard for his well-being or feelings, I am ashamed to admit (almost fifty years later). If I could remember his name, I would try to find him online and apologize. Not only did my encouragement of his attention hurt his feelings by unfairly leading him on, it didn’t work. Not at all.
What I do remember is the situation my ploy created: I was barely giving this nice boy my attention because I was eagerly and pathetically ogling my crush, hoping to win his heart by being appealing to someone else. Horrible. Unsuccessful. Embarrassing to admit, now.
What does this experience teach me about the ways the object of someone’s unwanted affection might feel? It’s possible, unbelievable as it may seem to those of us doing the obsessing, that the target of our love barely gives us a thought. Having his/her own agenda, the only time the rejecting one might even deign to notice the one who longs for our love is in the few moments that person might somehow prove to be useful to our own goals. We who mean “no” sometimes don’t even bother actually to say “no.”
We REJECTORS can be ruthlessly uncaring, unseeing, deliberately unaware and even disdainful of the rejected lover’s feelings.
- REJECTORS grow to hate and/or fear the ones offering them unwanted love.
- REJECTORS pity the ones who hopelessly love them.
- REJECTORS feel responsible, guilty and/or angry when unwanted love is pushing on them.
- REJECTORS can’t view the unwanted lovers as valuable or appealing and certainly not as equals until/unless the situation is reversed or the power balance shifts in some other way.
- REJECTORS are relieved and feel set free when the unwanted love or lover changes focus or departs.
- REJECTORS feel stalked even when the lover is not officially a stalker. Hanging around or watching them, sending messages or calling—even with a legitimate reason—all feel stalker-ish when the REJECTORS already know how the lovers actually feel and what they want.
- If by some miracle or switcheroo the REJECTORS begin to feel interested in the lovers, there will still be all the stones and weeds, the thick undergrowth of past hurts, confusions, assumptions and emotional potholes. Persistent and intense bushwhacking must be done before a pathway to a healthy relationship could be cleared; it may never be possible.
A great post by Gina Stepp on the subject of the impact of being the rejecting person that can help us all develop empathy for and understand the POV of the REJECTORS is Return to Sender: Unrequited Love is Painful for the Rejector, Too
from March 28, 2012
Put your own story in these one or more of these headings.
Use the comments section at http://www.sallyember.com/blog, copying/pasting the heading from your chosen area. Pseudonyms welcomed, especially of the other parties involved in your stories.