It’s that time of the year again, a holiday for new couples and long-time lovers to spend time with each other and celebrate their everlasting love. According to Erich Fromm, love is defined as the “union with somebody, or something outside oneself under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self” (Fromm, 1981, p. 3). He believed that love involves sharing and communion with another, yet it allows a person the freedom to be unique and separate. In short, love can make people become one yet remain two. Moreover, there is no doubt that being in love is one of the most satisfying feelings that we get to experience on earth.
But have you ever had an experience of loving someone who doesn’t love you back? It sucks, right? Even though you did everything you can to show that person how much you like them,in the end, your feelings are left unreciprocated. But why are we attracted to people who don’t show any interest in liking us back? Is it because Cupid is losing his edge and keeps on missing the target, or that he forgot to bring enough arrows to hit the person that we like? Is Cupid that stupid? Or maybe he just wants us to suffer in love. Whether you believe in Cupid or not, at some point in our lives, many of us have experienced an unrequited love. Another question that I would like to ask is why do we keep on wanting that particular person even after they turned us down?
According to Fisher et al. (2010) regarding their study on reward, addiction, and emotion regulation systems, they suggest that the reason why rejection gets us hooked is that this sort of rejection stimulates parts of the brain associated with motivation, reward, addiction, and cravings. On the other hand, Brogaard (2016) postulated that the reason might have to do with our perceived value of the other person. If the other person doesn’t want us or is not available for a relationship, their perceived value rises. They become so “expensive” that we cannot “afford” them. Evolutionarily speaking, it would have been an advantage to mate with the most valuable mate. So it makes sense that we become more romantically interested when a person’s perceived value increases.
In the pursuit of love, sometimes we tend to forget that we are enough and valuable because we tend to value the other person more than ourselves. Maybe that’s fine in some cases where the feelings you have for each other is mutual. However, in cases wherein the feelings are not mutual, that would be self-destructive. To avoid a possible heartache, we must learn to value ourselves more and know our worth as a person. In the process of finding love, we must remain grounded in self-worth and self-respect for us not to lose ourselves in the process.
Brogaard, B. (2016, October 31). Why We Can Get Obsessed With People Who Don’t Want Us. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mysteries-love/201610/why-we-can-get-obsessed-people-who-dont-want-us
Feist, J. J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of Personality (7th ed.). USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Fisher, H. E., Brown, L. L., Aron, A., Strong, G., & Mashek, D. (2010). Reward, Addiction, and Emotion Regulation Systems Associated With Rejection in Love. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104(1), 51-60. doi:10.1152/jn.00784.2009