On Unrequited (Platonic) Love Hurting Worst of All

If you will, imagine this:

You walk into a room so filled with strangers that you begin to plead to any entity that may be listening that your outfit be louder than your personality; that the intricacies of the piece will distract from all the you that just walked in. Whilst silently begging, you fall. Tripping over all your nuances and quirks you fall utterly and completely – harder than you ever have before. Not in the conventional death by embarrassment, bury me in this very spot, “I would like white roses at my funeral” sort of falling; rather, you fall in love with every aspect of a perfect stranger.

Truly, its out of your control; you become so enthralled by them, what you believe them to be, that you forget about the numbing of who you are. Their laugh, charm, and wit have you enamored – hanging onto their every word. Your heart is knocking so hard against your ribs that you may just let it out so that you can show this perfect stranger – perfect in more ways than one – the inner most parts of yourself. 

There is no need to be less you to make anyone more comfortable being themselves because you get this person and they’re the only one left in the room buzzing with blank faces. Wholly and completely you understand them; metaphysical level understanding. The sort of understanding that you get with someone when your souls collide – you know that they were meant to be in your life and you in theirs.

Love at first sight never felt so real as when you fell in love with the essence of your new potential best friend!

“Yet another beautiful interruption, how I love unsuspecting humanity”

Unrequited love. Ah, yes! The topic that’s been plaguing the minds of many a teeny-bopper* for generation upon generation has ceased to end its terror. From Echo and Narcissus to Twelfth Night to The Great Gatsby, unrequited love is a major influence in plenty of literature and mythology and if you’d like to eat your heart out I am sure any of these (and so many of the sort) will do just that. I will not. I would like to bring forth the argument (more so a notion than anything, really) that the pangs of unrequited platonic love hurt too, yet no one is discussing it. 

“Around his slim torso and long arms, the red heathered with white knit is beautiful!”

Every time I’ve fallen in love with someone platonically it has been a completely different experience than falling in love romantically – not to say I have much experience there. I’m able to imagine all the ways that we’ll annoy each other but laugh all the same, the way that we’ll be imperfect together or the way we’ll laugh at a joke that’s moments past its expiration as if we’d just heard it for the first time. I don’t just imagine the cuddles and kisses that come about with romance because when I fall in love with someone platonically I fall in love with a person, not just a great jawline.

“…beautifully, precisely, and delicately sculpted”

With romance and its related hormones, catching feelings** is easy. A cute laugh here, a nicely flexed muscle there and wham, bam, thank you ma’am! – it’s love, it truly must be! This is not due exclusively to age or maturity it’s simply bio-chemistry. It is amazingly simple to convince one’s self that prolonged infatuation is actually love – whatever that is. To a great extent this is to spare our own feelings; to spare ourselves from believing that we have given so many sleepless nights, and daydreams to someone that we know next to nothing about. Except that they’re pretty, of course.

“…walking piece of art, in the least objectifying way possible.”

The fact of the matter is when I, and many people, catch feelings what I’m feeling is actually infatuation and it is fleeting – thus, the word “love” in reference to this is a tad liberal. That being said, to “catch platonic feelings” is not just falling in love with just a cute face or nice abs you fall in love with a personality, a charisma, a beautiful presence. A person with a mind, body and soul.

“…younger, but as painfully mysterious as ever” 

This is why it hurts all the more when those feelings aren’t reciprocated.

“Oh! Oy vey, she must have been so kind”

You’ve committed to painting this person as a rounded character – flaws and all – from the few times you heard them speak or observed how they treat others and anticipated how your lives could blend together. You’re not falling in love with the manic pixie dream person*** that infatuation (aided by a smattering of neurotransmitters) may have created but rather with an entire person. They’re not only created as a character who will make you better or inspire your goals, they’ve been developed into a character comparable to a childhood imaginary friend. It is like crying over a character in a book – it is most frequently the characters that you have seen beautifully developed and characterized as you are able to form a bond with them that feels as intimate as any other friendship you may have.

“They seem like they have nearly everything in common but are worlds apart – fascinating”

However, perhaps this is where the issue arises for falling in love as a whole concept – the anticipation. The laying in wait for someone that does not know you are waiting. The person who you created and the person you fell in love with may be two utterly different people and the not knowing, the expectations, that is where all the heartache lies.

“they’re poetic fallacies, creations of the mind to which you have attributed so much power”

So what to do now? Well, that is for you to determine – I shan’t tell you how to live. I’d like to think that this puts that power in my hands, that I have a minute role to play in the outcome of my wholehearted commitment to a stranger. I know that I will continue to love people and find the beauty in them but perhaps the immensity of emotion (and imagination) that comes with falling in love can be translated into a call to action. I do myself a grave disservice by silently wallowing in the love I feel when I could be out making a new best friend or finding certainty that they really were not meant to be in your life at all. If the worst that they could say is “no” then it is a risk I am certainly willing to take.

“Nothing’s truly black and white, not ever.”

*Teeny-bopper (n.): A young teenager who is enthusiastically devoted to popular music and the current fads (Merriam-Webster)

**Catch Feelings (adj.) to begin to like someone(romantically), usually unexpectedly. (Via Urban Dictionary)

***Manic Pixie Dream Person (n.): a character who “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young [people] to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures” (Via Tv Tropes)


REMINDER: My goal is not to minimize your, my, or anyone’s teeny-bopper feelings. Love is love at any age and in whatever way you experience it. Feel what you feel, ladies & gents, please do not allow me to get in the way. 🙂

Author’s note: The lines in the bolded, italicized, header font were excerpts from a journal of observations and inferences I have made about people and human nature. I thought they would fit nicely into the blog as they show the spectrum of things someone may be very well thinking about you. 😉

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4 thoughts on “On Unrequited (Platonic) Love Hurting Worst of All

  1. *How interesting is it that you chose to write about love! The thread of sentimentality lives on (and admittedly, I think it is rather beautiful). Thank you for sharing this blog with us; it is thoughtful and emotional – striking a rare balance – making it something worth treasuring.

    Just know this, I love your voice, Ibukun, and I will always support your writing!


  2. Dear Ibukun,
    I find that I’m always in awe of your manipulation of paragraphing structures and syntactical structures after I read your marvellous writing. There’s always a unique feel to your structures in that they exist for distinct purposes. Furthermore, I’m never able to find a pattern that will allow me to anticipate certain parts of your writing – for this piece particularly, I was endlessly waiting for the cheeky one-liner that would bring an end to your analysis on the pangs of platonic love. Your writing is unpredictable; this is why I’m able to experience strong emotions from readings your writing. I find that emotions are much more heartfelt and sincere when the individual experiences an unexpected event, although this observation was drafted primarily from my own experiences, so it may be biased. Nonetheless, I wish to emulate this aspect of your writing in particular because I feel that drawing out the emotions of another person through stylistic structures is a skill at which you excel.From what I’ve read of your various writing pieces, I’ve discovered that you have a great capacity to be empathetic with your audience. This ties in with what I mentioned earlier about your ability to draw out the emotions in others – you convey your own emotions just as well as you understand the emotions of others. From what I’ve read of your various writing pieces, I’ve discovered that you have a great capacity to be empathetic with your audience. This ties in with what I mentioned earlier about your ability to draw out the emotions in others – you convey your own emotions just as well as you understand the emotions of others.

    I’m glad that you classified a distinction between a romantic love and a platonic love because I wanted to have certainty over how you defined your writing topic. Your definitions added clarity and they were simple enough for an inexperienced rookie (like me) to follow without losing the feeling of melancholy that is associated with the lack of reciprocation in a love interest. Your definitions didn’t make it seem that platonic love was a level lower or a level higher than romantic love – I feel as if you established them as being in different categories, which negated any attempts by my brain to equate them. This is something which I feel that you’ve improved immensely on from the beginning of the year – nicely done! You complemented this ability really well by beginning this piece with a narrative of an individual stumbling into a room.

    When you “catch platonic feelings” you fall in love with the idealized version of a person, or at least that’s my interpretation of it based on my limited exposure to platonic love. It’s as you say: “anticipation” coupled with unrealistic “expectations” results in heartache. In my opinion, this heartache is much harder to get over than heartache you can get from a romantic love interest because in you invest part of yourself into a platonic love interest. This is why platonic love seems to have a pure nature to anyone who’s under its influence: you’re really just falling in love with how you idealize the person. Sometimes, however, the idealisms are drawn from truthful encounters with the love interest, yet this idealism grows to become unrealistic as well (for me). As you idealize them and imagine all the wonderful moments of laughter, joy, sadness, and love, you interject your own values into the idealized projection of your platonic interest. Personally, this is why platonic love is the most dangerous love of all, particularly in the harshness of the rejection. A strategy to mitigate this feeling of hurt would be to keep your idealism of the individual as closely tied to reality as you can, but that’d take away the majority of the appeal of a platonic relationship, wouldn’t it?

    If I had to offer an area where you would improve this already-marvellous piece, it would be to end with the same narrative that you started. You could have the character in focus acknowledge their feelings, or perhaps feel a sort of discomfort at having experienced the quintessence of platonic love. I felt that the early narrative fulfilled its role as an introduction to the topic, but it created an expectation in me that the conclusion would end in the same way. I understand that this suggestion might seem contradictory with what I’ve said earlier about your writing being unpredictable and drawing out raw emotions as a result of it…but I’m a sucker for circles. Naturally, there are times where I’d want my expectations to be fulfilled, but I will acknowledge that your current ending drew the resolution to follow in your conviction to take the risk of being answered “no”. This is only a suggestion that I feel MAY improve your writing, but it’s heavily biased and your piece also functions well as it is. The purpose of the suggestion is to allow the potential for improvement, that’s all.

    Overall, Ibukun, you’ve greatly exceeded my expectations in your ability to think as an individual. Your insightful ideas have a tendency to consistently have an inspirational nature to them, and they motivate me to want to grow as an individual. I’ve grown immensely as a person by reading your writing, and for that, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to recompensate you adequately. While your writing has developed at an astounding rate, it’s your ability to think and empathetically convey your thoughts that has never ceased to amaze me. Thank you.


    1. Dearest Rehman,
      Thank you so much for your kind words!! I am so grateful that you took the time out of your day to read my blog and chose to leave such a meaningful comment. I so appreciative of your motivational words and will think of them fondly whenever I find myself in a funk.

      I am so happy that you enjoyed the blog – that’s usually the goal! Thank you also for sharing your insight; always happy to see the conversation furthered. I agree with you that attempting to stop idealizing your ~love interest~ would perhaps negate their appeal so hurting is all part of the process – ugh!

      I like the idea of ending with a narrative also. I would have NEVER thought of that; I too like full circles so I totally understand the appeal. 😉

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. <3


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