When He Doesn’t Want to Love You

by Stephanie C. Lilavois

Surviving a broken heartI remember, with all too much unfortunate clarity, falling in love with someone who did not want to fall in love with me.

That wasn’t a typo.

And as we sat there, amid dirtied snow in a black car parked under a streetlight that illuminated his face as his slightly slanted eyes pleaded with me to understand why he didn’t want to fall in love with me, one of the things that stood out to me is that my parlevous OPI nail polish was chipped.

Because it didn’t make sense. Here, we were coming from a great time watching the game. He told me I looked nice, that my freshly straightened hair was a nice change from my usually unruly curls, and he had kissed me after squeezing the tip of my nose between his middle and ring fingers. Everything was magical.

Nothing made sense about that night. Especially not the way that, two seconds after admitting that he was resisting his feelings for me, he put his hand on the curve of face and pulled me in for a soft kiss. There was no rationalizing that, equipped with the information he had just given me, I climbed the stairs to his apartment, and eventually climbed into his bed. And the fact that this situation occurred an estimated 20 times in the following two years makes me pretty sure of the fact that I am committable.

I’m sure you’re asking why I stayed.

I could attribute it to being a stubborn Leo, and say that it is my nature to stick something out and make sure I get what I want. I could argue that my penchant for seeing something through to completion got in the way of my better judgment.  I could lie and tell you that he was so good to my body that I just couldn’t bear to be separated from that feeling.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was good. But ain’t no one in the world that good.

The truth is, I stayed because I loved him. And I was so sure that, if I kept on loving him with all that I was, that he would come around to feeling the same for me. And so I put all my effort, every good and loving part of me, into loving him. And as seasons changed and his stance remained, I became bitter and nasty—somewhat intolerable.

In my quest to make him love me, I had forgotten that I had to love me, too. As much as I worried about his well being, I had stopped worrying about mine. In efforts to prove my love to him, I had forgotten to prove to myself that I was worthy of love. I let the idea of him not wanting to love me seep into my cranium and convince my mind that I wasn’t worthy of being loved.

And perhaps, the biggest lesson of them all, was that if he didn’t want to love me, I couldn’t change that. Nothing in the world I could ever do would make this man wake up and say “I’m so in love with her.” That was a decision that he would have to make on his own.

So I made the decision to put myself first. To work on my body, pursue my love for writing, and to mend friendships that I had let become broken while I was so busy chasing after him. And once I started loving myself again, it didn’t matter whether he loved me or not.

Because I loved me enough to leave him alone.

  • InkForYourself

    “And once I started loving myself again, it didn’t matter whether he loved me or not.

    Because I loved me enough to leave him alone.” Amen. That says it all. This is so many people’s testimony, in so many different scenarios and forms. As we approach, V-Day, thank you for this reminder.

  • Rosey

    Wonderfully written and spot on.

  • Please Excuse Me

    Great article…I was in a similar situation and I too had to love me enough to let him go.

  • http://fempower.blogspot.com Kadie

    You spoke my heart. Thank you for that. The first line knocked the wind out of me, but the last line filled me with so much contentment.

    I loved a man for 9 years. I cried each time he broke my heart, swore I’d never returned. But I did, again and again and again. It was like his indifference was fuel for my burning love. I listened to each excuse, reasons why he cannot commit .. even dismissed it when he used the “you deserve better” bit. I didn’t care about that, I wanted what I wanted, and what I wanted was him. It took me 9 years and a bucket full of tears to let go. I did it for me … I now know that I deserve better. It took a while to realize that. And while I will always love him, I love me way more. And self-love trumps all.

  • overseas_honeybee

    Wonderful piece full of truth. Co-sign.

  • To close to home

    I almost want to ask the author this man’s name because I feel I know him. I’m where you were and I am praying for the day I love myself more then I love him. Hopefully it won’t take two years…or nine. I do feel myself getting closer to that realization but it’s a painful process. The thought of letting him go hurts like hell even though I know I deserve better. This couldn’t have come at a better time. It gives me hope. Thank you!

  • Rach

    I really needed to read this. i just decided 3 days ago to end such a relationship and I am in P A i N. I can’t sleep, I’m crying, I can’t focus and I’m not yet at the point where I can say no to going back to him if he just asked… This article gives me hope that it can be done.

  • fuchsia

    Thank you for this honest and uplifting article. V-Day can be hard for the lonely but keeping things in perspective so that we can move on and open our hearts for those who will love us is very important. It definitely starts with loving ourselves first.

  • QoNew

    Can I just flip the script here? Maybe it wasnt really him you loved. Maybe it was really you whom you loved too much and how dare he not love you back? Sometimes I feel us ladies can really think the world of ourselves and we cant understand why others dont think the world of us in return. We effortlessly reject men who may love us or like us without giving it a second thought. We never assume that these men are comprimising their own feelings of self worth in their affection and pursuit of us, even when it goes unrequited. Why cant we take the same approach? It isnt the serious when soemone doesnt love us. It isnt that serious when we dont love them back. Obviously no one likes to be rejected but we dont have to make it some referendum on ourselves when it happens. Its really a small part of life. We shouldnt get some worked up. We do however because its a lot easier than reading a book or going to the gym.

  • Roses

    Preach my Leo sister! I am sooo going through the same thing now. I had to take a long hard look (and stop being stubborn) at the complete picture…It stings at first, but I know I will feel much better because I’m not running myself into a brick wall! Thanks for this article, deeply needed it…

  • http://nocturneadagio.blogspot.com LainaLain

    “In my quest to make him love me, I had forgotten that I had to love me, too.”

    I can’t stand when so many women don’t open their eyes to that fact. It’s a bit heartbreaking to watch them in mid-chase. Not everybody learns from their mistakes, and sometimes they do it all over again. Then it ends up becoming a cycle.

  • MsQuita

    MMMmmmmm mmmmmmmm….. This right here feels like it came from my own diary. It took me three years to let go and it was soooooo hard. But it was also very neccessary.

  • OSHH

    “Because I loved me enough to leave him alone.”
    Lesson learned for me as well, albeit the hard way and I paid in tears and anguish but I got thru and am better for it.

  • Vee

    Because I loved me enough to leave him alone.

    ^5 nuff said.

  • Amber R.

    I believe everyone’s experience is wholly individual and yes, for some (myself included) love is not easy and it is a big deal. I am numero uno commitment phobe so when I get involved with someone, it is a grande deal because I do not like vulnerable. There is no “my love is so big, you need it”, mine is more “I’m giving you myself so love me, please.” I can read and go to the gym everyday, that’s not a problem and I’m glad you are not one to fall to the strong-hold of this “love” phenomenon, but by saying it’s not a big deal invalidates a individuals experience.

  • Ms. Pillowz

    Brava!! This is a fantastic article. Very well written, engaging, and it truly spoke to me and my situation, although I didn’t end it, he did. However, I found that all of the things that I was doing for me before we got together I had let fall by the wayside while we were together.

    Now I’m using this time to get myself back on track and working on my behaviors and my emotions about things, so that I don’t lose myself the next time around.

  • Amber R.

    All the comments agree with the writer and I do agree with the writer to the extent. I had a similar experience and after a few years, I was finally able to quit the madness. It wasn’t due to self-love because if you really knew me, you’d be amazed at my low self-esteem/lack of confidence. I stopped because all the lies he told me were finally revealed by “friends”, distance and separate lives played apart. I can honestly say I loved him, though I hate to admit I was so stupid. I don’t think loving yourself will always make you realize you don’t need to be in a relationship and there are other factors that contribute. In conclusion, self-love isn’t always the solution to every problem. ….maybe awareness helps, too.
    Sorry about the diary post peeps.

  • Arie

    I actually feel this comment. For those of us who are confident about what we have to offer, we end up in these situations thinking ‘Surely the light will come on eventually. He has to see how great I am.’ But unfortunately, it rarely happens. And we end up heartbroken with battered self esteem. It does all come back to being honest with ourselves and not settling.

  • OSHH

    I feel this, I was lied to also, from the gate, about fundamental things. I was deceived willingly by him, I was mistreated and I too felt stupid at times and just blatantly disregarded, and uncared for. I got tired of the rollercoaster and emotional abuse, cause to me that is what it was ,so I did have to love myself enough to leave it alone for good, accepting what is and what ain’t and forgiving not only him but myself for my part in being there in the first place, knowing he wasn’t exactly right, I just didn’t bargin for how wrong it would turn out to be.

  • Adrienne

    Love this post. I agree with many of the comments, too many to include. This post speaks so much of OUR truth. We sometimes don’t want to admit that we LOVE that way and that hard! Thanks I really needed to see this TODAY.

    *loving myself more than him!*

  • Deedee

    Ahhh…I identified with every word in this article. From the first to the last you spoke an EXACT experience that I had with a man for two years. But accepting that there is nothing you can do to make the man you love love you back is such a painful realization. However moving pass it and refocusing on the things you left behind when you jumped head first off of the bridge into your obsession with him is refreshing.

  • http://www.one3snapshot.com ceecee

    This is a very moving post. I think experiences like this helps you be more appreciative the next time your in love and it *is* returned.

    @QoNew, I don’t know if it’s because men and women are wired differently but it seems like men bounce back quicker from unrequited love faster than women do and not because women think the world of ourselves. Besides a healthy dose of self-confidence is necessary so you don’t slip into low self-esteem.

  • Brittany

    Beautiful, totally relatable story. Thank you!

  • MzNyta

    “Nothing in the world I could ever do would make this man wake up and say “I’m so in love with her.” That was a decision that he would have to make on his own”.

    Being aware of reality can take time once you’ve fallen into the arms of (what seems like) love. But understanding what love is and how it wouldn’t maliciously hurt you attributes to you loving yourself more than anyone else can. Love yourself, enjoy being with yourself, and your positive energy will attract people who can’t help but love and appreciate the love you have for yourself.

    Great article. Great timing. Great year to share our greatness with those who appreciate, want, and deserve it.

  • Jade

    This article spoke absolute truth to my heart. I was in one of these situations and it broke me more than I thought possible. Luckily, I was moving on with grad school and had to physically leave ending this relationship for good. I used to hate myself for loving him so much, I partially agree with QoNew above, it has something to do with ego- “All this good over here, I’ll wait for him to realize he loves me”… and he won’t. I love that you’ve found peace in the situation and love in yourself, I have too. Just don’t be afraid to love again, once you’ve found yourself, love yourself enough to never lose yourself.

  • QoNew

    @ceecee

    I cant speak on men but my guess is that they are more gaurded with their love and underexposed . Women arent very guarded with thier love and are over exposed.

    I dont think self love has anything to do with confidence. Sociopaths love themselves, and are probably very confident but also terribly disturbed. I think confidence should come from will and love should come from accomplishments. I dont think we should necessarily “love” ourselves on GP. Its a bit auto centric (to qoute a word I just recently learned.)

  • QoNew

    @Amber R.
    @Arie

    Thanks for the comments. I didnt think they would go over so well. I was the same way. I thought how dare any man reject me. Im so cute and know lots about hip hop and I got a donk. Lol… silly me.

  • http://www.kimberlytmatthews.com Kimberly

    Oh Gosh! I have soooo been here! And I am NOT a Leo. Free now…better now! (tweeting now!)

  • CD86

    Okay, I guess I will try submitting my comment for the THIRD TIME!

    I don’t believe our astrological signs dictate our personality or actions. I mean, I am a Leo myself and about 98% of the Leo traits do not fit who I am. I think who we are comes from how we were raised (nurtured) and our environment. Or, maybe me being born early I was born under the wrong sign. My personality is more of a Virgo than a Leo.

    Anyway.

    I cannot grasp how one can will themselves to NOT love a person. I guess for me, it’s easier to say that since there is no one who I love and I don’t feel a moral obligation to love and care about someone simply because they are related to me.

    Another thing is – I sometimes am glad that I have not experienced love because from the articles and comments I read on Clutch to me hearing people complain about their relationships, it seems that people use relationships for nothing more than to gratify their ego and give themselves something to do.

    *Post my comment!

  • Chadra P.

    I love this article! I think we have all been there. It’s like a rights fo passage for women. You find strength in recovering your broken heart and realizing that the first love is self love. Its a hard lesson to learn without having the experience.

  • CD86

    Okay, I guess I will try submitting my comment for the THIRD TIME!

    I don’t believe our astrological signs dictate our personality or actions. I mean, I am a Leo myself and about 98% of the Leo traits do not fit who I am. I think who we are comes from how we were raised (nurtured) and our environment. Or, maybe me being born early I was born under the wrong sign. My personality is more of a Virgo than a Leo.

    Anyway.

    I cannot grasp how one can will themselves to NOT love a person. I guess for me, it’s easier to say that since there is no one who I love and I don’t feel a moral obligation to love and care about someone simply because they are related to me.

    Another thing is – I sometimes am glad that I have not experienced love because from the articles and comments I read on Clutch to me hearing people complain about their relationships, it seems that people use relationships for nothing more than to gratify their ego and give themselves something to do.

    *Post my comment, please!

  • StillFiguringOutLife

    I love this article! It hits home to so many hearts because it is the truth. We have to love ourselves first ladies before we can truly love someone. In other words, a man you plan to share your life with should provide the equal amount of love you give to him.

  • lostluv224

    A much needed read for myself. I’ve been so out of it recently because of a failed relationship. I love that man with everything in me & i know he loved me just as much BUT i was so lost in the relationship that i couldn’t tell if it was me he loved or who i was becoming FOR him. I stopped hanging with my friends, stopped doing things i enjoyed ( like poetry, pottery painting, etc) because he wasn’t interested in them. It all started to take its toll and i had to walk away to gain some of ME back. I laso started to resent him for not noticing i had made all these changes strictly for him.

    Some days are good now and some are bad. I miss him beyond reason BUT i could no longer let my love for him overpower the love i had for myself.

    Sometimes you have to just allow yourself to walk away.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Very well written. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • pinknik

    3 months ago, which isn’t a long time to begin with, this was me. I’m still dealing with it but I’m a lot better now, I’ve grown. The only difference was that he was in love with me just as much as I was with him. After a little over a year we had found the love that each of us had been searching for in past relationships. But because of certain circumstances, he let what we had go. We planned to spend the rest of our lives together, we were faithful and supportive, we were in love; in all its essence and glory and he let it go. When we were together I felt like as long as we had love, that’s all that mattered. We could face the world and anything life had to throw at us, and it would make us stronger. I look back and think about how silly I was to fall so deep into someone that I lost my sense when we separated. Today I still don’t understand how he could so easily turn his back on what we had, but I guess it’s not for me to understand. I still believe that love conquers but just not all. Next time around I won’t fall as hard as fast.

  • MK

    @CeeCee, I don’t believe men heal faster, it seems as if they do, but in reality they don’t watch carefully and see how hard it is for a man that has gone through something similar to trust in another woman again or to fall in love again. Us women, yes we suffer, it takes us time to heal, but then we bounced back and are ready to love again, not so for men.

  • OSHH

    IMO and as I have learned love is not about what others can do for you(ego included) but rather what you can give to that other person, really without looking for anything in return. Love is a choice to look out for other person’s well being no questions asked, to do what is in the other person best interest. Now when you have two folk doing that for each other, along with shared values and a committment to making it work, there is no way you can lose.

    With all that being said, you have to have some balance, some outside interests, and do not make any person or relationship an idol, or let it consume and cause you to lose your identity. Healthy realtionships require these things.

  • Whatever

    I was in a very similar situation. Although I know he loved me very much I still felt like because I gave so much without expecting anything, he was demanding even more. I had to walk away because I felt like it was a lack of respect.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    We just need to tap into rationale more, as women. Period. That way there won’t be a billion stories like this same one permeating folks’ lives and eating through their already shot self-esteem.

  • Jen

    Congratulations. You dated a narcissist.

  • Callie”s Muse

    “In my quest to make him love me, I had forgotten that I had to love me, too” …(sings’ softly)”silly of me to think that you could ever love me like the way I love youuuuu” … … … oh…sorry, I got caught up in the moment. dang woman, you hit it on the head!!!!!

  • Thismixedchick

    Absolutely one of the hardest lessons ever to learn. It’s like you wrote my story right down to being a Leo lol. Lots of Bonnie Raitt singing I can’t make you love me finally got me outta that funk. Lesson learned was either you love me or you don’t but in the end nothing I can do will change your heart because it is yours. Second lesson learned was love myself enough to recognize this and move on accordingly. I confess to every so 4 years or so why but it restrenghtens my love for me. You live and dammit hopefully learn.

  • Rw

    Its like I wrote it, can’t even get thru it without crying, had to link it to my google+ so I’d always have it, its so painful, it’s what I’m going thru

  • Jen

    Thank you for sharing your story… I was meant to read that. I came out of the same type of relationship and somewhat about to enter another one. As a Leo, I can relate to wanting to have that person in your life and them not really wanting the same thing. I feel a bit stronger and notice the patterns, about to kick this new mister to the curb…

    Thanks Again,

    Jen

  • M12casey

    This article sounds a lot like me too, except that I haven’t moved on yet. I have been seeing this guy for a little over two years and we’re not even in a relationship and never have been, it’s more like friends with benefits. We hardly ever go on dates, we don’t see each other more than once or twice a month most of the time (even though I would love to see him more), and he has never even told me that he liked me (and I have told him that I care about him many times). I hate that he wont care about me the way I do him but I just haven’t found the strength to stop going back. I can’t help but feel that he would want to be with me if only he gave me a real chance although I know this is foolish. The couple of times that I did attempt to end it, I knew full well that if he asked me to come back or even showed the slightest bit of interest I would go back. And of course I did.

    He told me that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship and that that isn’t going to change anytime soon, yet I still drive to his side or town and get into his bed when he asks. I know I have to end it before it goes on for more years, but haven’t found the strength yet.

  • Jahmella

    I’m a little unsympathetic toward this issue of “loving” somebody that doesn’t love you back. The truth is both parties were getting some type of need met, regardless of “love” being a factor. This article is not about loving yourself first because clearly that is what you were trying to do by trying to get somebody to love you. We throw around love because it looks good and noble. No, you were not in love with somebody who wasn’t in love with you. You settled for somebody that was good enough because you thought you had the ability to change them. Our pride allows us to live a lie and call it truth causing us to believe we are doing the right thing. I do understand thinking I have the ability to change someone. I do sympathize with the shock that comes when I realize that there is nothing I can do to change somebodies feelings. These are the things I do understand. But don’t call your pride/ego love. This situation is an illusion of love. Loving somebody is accepting them as is, even if they don’t love you back. In order to avoid situations like this be in touch with reality. Be honest with yourself in the beginning.

  • Jahmella

    I agree with you Oshh, love is not about what somebody can do for me. This thinking is called selfishness disguising itself as love; the “how do I benefit” mentality allows a person to love based on how they want to be loved and deceive themselves into thinking that they are truly loving someone.

  • anna

    I couldn’t write it better myself. Everything you wrote it’s me right now. I wish I could have the strength to end it. God bless you .

  • tt

    YES !!!! that song touches the soul and everything you’re going through, she is singing about

  • sarah

    hmm is he the same guy?? because i have doubts on him and a long history with him. ive been with him for 8months only. yup.

  • http://littlebigjournal.wordpress.com lelittle

    Knowing that I am not going thru this alone and many who had been here came back with positive stories really help me… Thank you for the author and the ladies who left the comments, it’s beautiful and inspiring.. Wish me luck… :)

  • http://saidahali.tumblr.com Saidah Ali

    Jesus. Why does he have to tell you he loves you? He clearly keeps you around. Unless you’re “husband hunting,” why not leave well-enough alone? You like him, he likes you, the sex is good, you get along… I mean, what do you really want? Three little words? Seriously?

    Either move on, or be happy. I suggest being happy. He sounds like a cool guy.

  • http://gravatar.com/tomed Miss Moj

    This article was simply beautiful. Thank you.

  • mo

    The matter was not because he didn’t love her but she hasn’t find love of herself yet. When it is so, it seems that love has to continually be a romantic event because she hasn’t find the meaning of love for herself yet. Another situation could be that she could be saying that throughout all this time that he loved her but still couldn’t satisfy her because she hasn’t find love herself yet.

  • this one girl.

    this was beautiful. exactly what im going through except i still cant let go of him. im so happy for you.

  • becky

    Thank you for this article…exactly what I needed to hear! Bless you

  • MM

    Wow. This is me…down to the curly hair. Great description of him pulling you in for the kiss…three years and counting–I have to give up.

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