Guiao-Alvarez: The pain of unrequited love

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HAVE you ever experienced loving a person who cannot love you back? Or caring for someone but not to the point of having a relationship with that person? Also, how do you tell a person gently that you cannot love her or him back the way they wish to?

Just recently, I spoke to Joy, a female client who is in her 50s and now married to a good and loving husband. We were talking about her anxiety disorder and it just happened that she started sharing about her great love Gerry back when she was younger at 18 years old.

She shared that she knew how Gerry, her best friend, cared about her but cannot just return her love the way she wants it to. With her permission, I would like to share about her one great love, which was sadly unrequited.

“We were the best of friends; we were in the same school during high school”

They were very open to each other; they can talk about anything under the sun. Joy completes Gerry’s homework and Gerry does her art projects. At night, they talk over the phone until midnight and they even have nights of sleepover and usually talk about Gerry’s crushes and it pains her because she was never on the list.

“I sent him love letters but he never knew it was from me”

Joy sent Gerry love letters secretly through registered mails. And Gerry was very curious about it. He would share how beautiful and poetic the letters were and wished to know who the secret admirer was. Joy cries in pain every time Gerry would send a letter to his crushes copying all the content of her letter. She even was the courier sending these letters to Gerry’s love. It pained her.

“I was drunk, and I told him how I am madly in love with him”

But secrets can’t be kept forever. At one time, when they were drinking at the beach to celebrate their high school graduation, Joy was not able to control her emotions. She finally told Gerry how she loved him and for years it was her that sent him love letters secretly. Gerry was silent and for weeks after that, they never talked about it.

“He kissed me then said goodbye”

But the day came when Joy found the right time to talk to Gerry. The way he looked at Joy was killing her. She said how she wished him to love her back. She was crying and pleading for his love. But he remained silent and then just kissed her goodbye. By then, she understood that Gerry could not feel the same.

After that night, Gerry did not ever contact Joy. Every time the phone rings, she prays it would be him, but days and years had passed, never did he communicate to her. There were too many questions unanswered – “What was it that Gerry wanted and why did he leave her hanging?” Oh, how torturing is to fall in love with your best friend whose affections lie elsewhere.

Almost 32 years had passed and, just recently, she finally saw Gerry in their reunion. But until now, although she is happy with her husband, she said that she can still feel the pain and shame due to unrequited love. Sometimes pain caused by great love still aches and the memory of that love remains. I guess unrequited love does not die, it is only hidden in their hearts still wounded.

As James Ingram sang, “I do not have the heart to hurt you, it is the last thing I want to do. But I do not have the heart to love you, not the way you want me to.” This is a very painful song.

But today, I am enlightened that we should not perceive or call people who have unrequited love "napag-iwanan," devastated or unhappy because one great true love, although unreciprocated, has its rainbow too.


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