“And then there’s another kind of love. The cruelest kind. One that almost kills it’s victims. It’s called “unrequited love.”
I had never heard of the term “unrequited love” until I first saw The Holiday when it was released in 2006. I was watching tonight and the intro caught my attention in a new way. I reckon that adultery survivors know unrequited love. “These years that I’ve been in love have been the darkest years of my life, all because I’ve been cursed with loving a man who does not, and will not love me back.” Does that resonate with you?
Adultery is a one-sided affair. One partner unilaterally changing the rules. Trying to love a spouse that’s committed adultery and they’re unrepentant, blame-shifting, denying the whole thing even when confronted with evidence, is loving someone that does not and will not love you back. Your love story started with falling in love with each other. Then suddenly you realize you’re the only one still there. You’ve stayed in love alone.
Unrequited love is not reconciliation. It is however, keeping yourself in something that you know isn’t good for you.
Adultery was never part of God’s plan for us. Divorce was never a part of His plan for us. I’d also wager that His desire for you is not that you’ll enter or stay in unrequited love. Unrequited love is not the usual hardships and conflict that come with marriage. Financial uncertainties, work changes, illness, kids, managing a household are all things that make marriage hard at times. They’re all things that will likely add one stress or another on your relationship. They might make it harder to love your spouse in that moment. As the judge says in What Happens in Vegas, “there are days when I want to light her [his wife] on fire! But I don’t because I love her.”
Unrequited love doesn’t work through those challenges. Unrequited love is completely one-sided. One person completely checks out. Lack of repentance and blame-shifting from the cheating spouse is unrequited love. You cannot restore anything with unrequited love. Unrequited love only has one person. Restoration takes three: you, your spouse and God.
“A mighty pain to love it is,
And ’tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain.”
― Abraham Cowley