On Wednesday I talked about how unrequited love is a great plot line when handled what is, in my opinion, right. Today, let’s talk about it handled wrong.
There’s this pervasive problem in the media today with love. And a major part of that issue is entitlement. Everyone loves a good underdog gets the girl/love hate/friend to lovers plot line, but the plot line becomes problematic when it’s so common people start to perceive it as the norm. Consequently, person A will like person B who does not like person A. Rather than taking a hint, person A gets frustrated that person B isn’t following the correct social script. They’re supposed to love them back. The hate is supposed to transform into love. If person A just does enough, says enough, changes enough, offers enough, surely person B will see their real value and love them back.
That’s a horrible place to be in for Person A. Believe me, as someone who has been person A in a friendship where I really, really, really, liked the guy and he just never saw me that way, it sucks. It’s a major blow to the self esteem, you find yourself wondering why you’re not good enough. You obsess, you over focus, and eventually, it can destroy what was a great friendship if you don’t get ahold of yourself and move the frick on.
But I’ve been person B too, and while being person A was devastating on an emotional level, being person B is terrifying because we are taught, above all things, to be nice. There’s not a nice way to tell someone you’re not interested when they aren’t listening and are super sure they can change your mind if they just do xyz. Meanwhile, you’re living in fear that person A’s frustration will turn into outright resentment. People literally die because they didn’t like someone back. Stalking is a thing, largely due to this misconception that showing enough devotion will = Person B waking up one day and realizing they really did love person A all along. Friendships are ruined and people are left feeling used because of this pervasive myth in our media. Heck, as person B you start to doubt yourself because of that media. Shouldn’t you give person A a chance? Are you being mean or cold hearted by not going against the way you feel and just going with it? It’s a mind– you know what, I’m a YA author, so I’ll watch the language.
Anyway, the best thing person A and B can do for themselves is to remember that stories are the ultimate form of wish fulfillment. They reflect not just the way the world is but the way we want it to be. Of course in a perfect world, the person you love always figures out they love you back. But in the real world, loving someone does not equal them loving you. And that’s okay. They don’t have to. And the sooner both sides of the equation realize that, the happier all parties involved will be.