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Oluseyi Adebiyi: The Thing About Unreturned Love



Maybe I was destined to forever fall in love with people I couldn’t have, Maybe there’s a whole assortment of impossible people waiting for me to find them. Waiting to make me feel the same impossibility over and over again.” – Carol Rifka Brunk, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Growing up through the years, I’ve never really been caught up in love, well, except until recently. I remember clearly my secondary school days in FGC Ijankin, Lagos, where it turned out that for my entire six years sojourn I never really had a close female pal, howbeit dating anyone. This was perhaps a function of many things; a key part of it being that I was for most part of my stay, that random dude who never really fitted in. Going through University, not much really changed – although I had at least transformed from that random dude. In between these periods of my life, however, there remains one phenomenon that has never ceased to amaze me – how many people love people who never love them back, only to as well be loved by people who they do not love.

A few days back, a friend of mine complained bitterly to me of how he was being stalked by a lady he had previously known during his service years. According to him, all through his NYSC, all that they ever shared was a couple of casual conversations. However, after NYSC, she never stopped to track him, with calls, SMS, looking out for him on Facebook, ending it all with getting his BBM Pin.

While we laughed at his stalker lamentations, the conversation switched to another lady whom he had liked all through his University days and still fanned a flame for, but who never returned his love advances. It was there and then that the mystery of unreturned love began to hit me, because it was something I could as well also relate to. Around the world, stories abound of people who have gone as far as suicide as a response to unrequited love. Only last week, I heard on radio how a young youth corp member committed suicide because a lady he thought he loved returned from her trip to her hometown with an engagement ring. According to reports they had a good chemistry during their NYSC orientation camp and as a sharp guy, he had begun to harbour thoughts for her, only to be surprised by a wedding ring.

I really do not have a problem with not being loved back by the ones we love, because in truth there’s still a need for many other factors to fall in place, to make a complete love case. What is, however, quite disturbing is how some people choose to use other people’s love/likeness for them to their selfish advantage. We all have at least one person or the other who we know admires us so much and would readily go any length to impress us. Instead of helping them manage their expectations, many of us choose to keep them tied to our apron springs.

Sometimes I try to imagine how many people around the world are caught up in this web of unrequited love. Really, would love have been any easier if it was as simple as “As I love you I love you, oya talk your own” or it’s the ones who choose not to love us that push us till we meet the very ones who love us as though we were everything.
As we go into this new week, in search of the golden bucks, I raise a glass with every other person around the world, who has found him/herself in love with another, who never loved them back. Cheers to the ones who never loved us, for they also help us keep hope alive.

I have to admit, an unrequited love is so much better than a real one. I mean, it’s perfect… As long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless possibilities” – Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Stockyimages

Oluseyi Adebiyi lives to write and writes to live. He studied Agricultural Economics at Obafemi Awolowo University and currently works with a financial services provider in Abuja. His interests are as diverse as they come. He often tweets from @seyiakano, IGs as same and blogs periodically at" while providing strategic input for @johntripodmedia and @unabashedafrica on a volunteer basis.


  1. Wunmi

    March 10, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Cheers! I fell you.

  2. Sky Blue

    March 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Experiencing unrequited love for the first time ever and it’s no fun. I’m usually the one not feeling the other party and now I know how it feels. I met a guy a couple months ago and I was feeling him, however, he had a girlfriend, so I decided to unlook. Fast forward to about a month later and they broke up. We’ve been communicating since, and I absolutely love our rapport. His sister told me he had a crush on me when we met, but he’s yet to mention anything to me. I guess I should be patient, but it’s doing my head in! :(.

    • Sugar

      March 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      And if he dosent mention anything concerning dating you or show interest in been in a relationship with you, dont assume! Dont build castles in the air and start fantasizing both of you together, a man that wants to be with you wont waste time in letting you know his intentions.. dont be left shocked when he eventually introduces his girlfriend to you.

    • Sky Blue

      March 12, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Sigh… Thanks for the reality check.

  3. Broken girl

    March 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the article! It’s a crazy thing tho to fall In love with the wrong guy/girl. For the first time in my life I met a guy that I really really love and I felt like oh this is it! But I guess I was wrong, now I feel like am the one forcing everything. It’s really painful because he is the first guy I genuinely like/love. I hope one day I will meet the right guy.

  4. @edDREAMZ

    March 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Making sense…..

  5. cherie

    March 10, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I can actually relate so well. I have a male friend no
    w who literally adores me but I just like his company as a friend. I wish I could love him back and ease his pain but am so in love with my bc. how sad!!

  6. Nkechi

    March 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Not everyone will like you but you also have to be careful about your attitude around those you love so much. A very influential woman married her husband because he was the only one who didn’t treat her like a god and I am not saying he didn’t treat her well. The message in the article is not new. My brother in law liked a girl so much even though she didn’t do as much to win his love like the other girls. She’ll actually eat the food they cooked. That’s life. If you are a true Christian just pray that the right people are attracted to you, attraction from wrong people can be extremely fatal even if you like them.

  7. kriss

    March 10, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    The one who loves me and the one I love aren’t the same person. How do you even choose? I wish these things were battery operated. Just take out the batteries and not feel a damn thing

    • Lovee

      March 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

      My darling. The one who loves you is the one you should pay attention to and be dedicated and committed to make it work with that person. Forget the one you love. Only if you love the person enough for the both of you.

  8. D

    March 10, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    LONG STORY ALERT!!! But I have been wanting to ask this question and I feel this topic gives me the opportunity to do just that. So what he author mentioned people liking you and you holding on to them for selfish reasons…uhmmm… A friend of mine, yes o she is a friend because despite her flaw I am about to put out here, I know she gots my back, she is one of those people that you can’t say something bad about me when she is there, she will become my voltron. I have seen first hand what Nigerians guy will do for fine gehs and we wonder why this girls will lead you on and hold on to you for selfish reasons, my girlfriend is not Nigerian and does not reside in Nigeria but I have seen married 9ja men act like “mugu” with this girl. One left his wife in Nigeria brought his children yonder to “shop”, grown ass kids too. One is even in college and asked that this girl come and meet him and his kids so he can introduce her (We both said to ourselves introduce her as what???). Yet this girl has never done anything for him, she needed minor surgery she called “mugu” (someone she had not spoken to in almost a year) “mugu” sent his friend to give this girl money. Another met her on Friday by Monday he was buying her ipad and louboutin…I mean who does that??? Infact when you go to certain stores some of the sales girls advise ladies looking for men to spend money on them to hook up with Nigerian men because “they are always willing to spend money” . My question is why do the need to throw money at things or people and then complain that women are materialistic or out to get you for your $$$??? because my own father is way too cheap for that, my brother likes investing too much to do any of that, I even consider him cheap too. Hubby better not try that rubbish but really I need to understand because yes ladies will string you along when you are spending like it is no man’s business. The thing got so bad this friend learnt the song “chop my money” .

  9. Ifemelu

    March 11, 2015 at 3:06 am

    ladies…ladies…listen! I have been there. Chai! Cried over a mothertrucker and got really down because of him. I then sat down and asked myself, “Ifemelu* Ifemleu* Nwa mummy! Is it you that this fool will use to play football”? I said, “mba nu!” So, after working on myself for myself by myself, i know now what exactly i want in a man and god punish devil if i settle for less! Honestly, maybe it is because i really freaking love myself but i am too damn lazy to love a man that will not love me back. Forget all that modest stuff, i am a fine baby ghel! I am not lowering my standard for any man. I am going to live my life to the fullest, be a good person and just do me. The devil is a what? A LIAR!

    If you are feeling down, cheer up! The best is yet to come. Just be the best version of yourself. TRUST ME!

    • Geeeee

      March 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Ifemelu, Ifemelu Nwa Mummy…lol,I love that, thats d spirit geh..

  10. TeeCee

    March 11, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Ever since i attained adulthood, like clockwork, i have ALWAYS fallen in love with guys who end up not returning the love…it usually starts off with me living my life and minding my business and not actively searching for love…and then this dude who’s got all the specs id love to have in my man sauntering in.. “chyking-mode activated”, spewing poetic words of love and being like ‘i-like-you-a-lot-and-I’d-love-to-know-you-better-cos-you-have-all-the-qualities-i-want-in-my-woman’…fast forward this with time, something goes wrong along the line and the initially indifferent woman has fallen hopelessly in love with the dude and doing the loving from the friendzone with the love unreturned…yup… the man finally has decided that u are better off as his best buddy/confidante/companion/go-to ‘guy’ and not as his lover/one-and-only-woman…you loving him and going the extra mile to show love to someone who doesn’t return d way a woman would want to be loved by a man she loves truly whilst watching him showering all his love and attention on another woman…wishing you could trade places with her..irony is that whilst you are pining away for this dude here…there are other dudes out there loving u who u have absolutely NO feelings for..such has been and still is the story of my life..unreturned love s*cks and HURTS!!!! *emmm sorry if my comment is a lil bit long..shows that the unreturned love wey i dey get/face dey pain me gaan…lol*

    • Stella Bee

      March 11, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      hey lovie…maybe u shld just watch it…maybe u just tend to do too mush wen u finally fall in love…u have to be careful not to bore d person…i realised even someone who loves you wants his space and doesnt want to feel like ur stalking him or something…warm hi

  11. TeeCee

    March 11, 2015 at 5:25 am

    *doesnt return the love the way* #typo #sorry

  12. sunshine

    March 11, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Story of my life right now.

  13. Hmmm

    March 11, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I faced this situation with someone who has been on my case off and on for bout 6 years now. It can be a real painful situation for both parties. I understand even more for the person who is visibly in love. Love should be beautiful and as natural as possible. The tingles will fade but some element should be there.
    Sometimes you can clearly see how the one who loves you is a good person with a bright future. With no real emotions for someone how does anyone genuinely say I love you, or receive a kiss.
    We can often take such people for granted or have all sorts of emotions around such people. A part of u doesn’t want to hurt them another doesn’t want to lead them on another wants to be available as a friend.
    Hopefully it all makes sense someday

  14. derhmy

    March 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

    ‘that random dude who never really fitted in’……..the expression to ‘fit in’ remains the same wether in present or past tense so it should have been ‘that random dude who never really fit in.’….i had to go to word reference to check that one….i learnt sth new today and thought i should share #nohate

    • Oluseyi Adebiyi

      March 11, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Thank you Derhmy, comment noted, lesson learnt. Good eyes you got, spot on.

  15. Jefka

    March 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

    most young and middle aged people have stories to tell when it comes to unreturned love.
    i have plenty.
    bt, i v come to realise that it is becus i dont love myself enough.
    i have taken a break, vnt dated in a year now, i am setting my standards, and working on myself to be become the woman i would luv to be with if i was a man.
    pls people, let go of such people, live a good life and work for the best things.
    the right man or woman will locate you.

  16. ajagbe adeola

    March 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I can relate to this, the pple we love don’t love us back, the one who love us, we don’t love. Brings me to decide that eventually, i’ll end up with ones who loves me more than I do him. I want a man who is all over me, that way, I can love him cos he first showed me how to love him by loving me. But again, we don’t decide who we love sometimes, it just happens….talking about finding love in the hopeless place. Love is a beautiful thing, I have experienced it before, and I so want it to happen again. # wink#

  17. Nike

    March 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Story of my life.
    It’s really heartbreaking.

    Been with this guy over a year now and I just feel he got tired along the way. I’m not even sure if I should end it or keep trying. The confusing part is, he’s not always been this way, in the beginning he made me feel like the only girl in the world. Now, it’s just different.

    • jenni

      March 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      iv been here gurl. eventually he broke up with me. i creid for two years and picked myself up. i never thoight i will be over him but here i am today. i can smile again. Sit him down and have a frank talk with him, if u no see any changes please walk out before he does it for you. you will heal! afterall its not marriage yet.

    • Meah

      March 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      No one can tell you what to do but you. I”ve come to realise that often times, our gut tells us what the truth is but we are too scared to accept it so we ignore what we truly know and keep working hard at a sinking boat. This happened to me as well; really great in the beginning i sometimes had to pinch myself. Fast forward to a year later and the simple things he used to do with ease became a chore. We went from him coming to my place straight from an 8 hour trip “just to see my face” to not seeing him for two weeks in the same state because he’s busy. I knew it was time to let go but the thought of calling it quits made my stomach hurt physically. I finally made the decision this year and cut things off. Has it been easy? no, but i feel like a burden has been lifted off my shoulder. And trust me, working at a failing relationship alone is a burden. Moral of my story? search your heart Nike, you already know the truth. Just steel yourself and take the plunge.

    • Abby Scuito

      March 11, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      @our gut tells us what the truth is but we are too scared to accept it so we ignore what we truly know and keep working hard at a sinking boat”…..thanks so much for this quote. In my case he confessed heaven and earth how he loves me and will do the world for me. Thing is….I didnt feel the same way for him, I mean…I like the guy but I just dont “LOVE” him. My gut keep telling me to get out, not to make it hard for me and him. Finally God gave me my big break, at the first fight we had I just let everything out. He felt like I betrayed him, but am blunt to the extent where I told him everything right from the start. I said to him “…I told u cus I dont want nobody to think I hold their future happiness. Ur mom is still living, mine is not? I dont want nobody’s mother to start slapping the ground for me and cursing me”……he still mad but it ok, it happened 4months ago, so I guess hes over it now since he traveled to have some fun (which idk why he called me to let me know) but it’s cool. So us trying u hang on to something u know its NOT gonna work is like calling on to all kinds of sickness to come and have sit for ur body.

  18. Chimfulumnanaya

    March 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Yes it is happens, but I keep wondering why we fall into this trap.

    This 2015, me and unrequited love, mba nu!!. It cant happen. I had my fair share of it last year, majorly because I was trying to date within the confines of my tribe. See me trying to make the relationship work. Valentine 2014, gift I didn’t get ohhh, I was still there loving like a goat that I was.

    I relocated to England and thought this dude will improve , for where that was the worst. Dude works in one of the major telcos, to call for where?, skype nko..story for the gods. On my birthday all I got was Happy Birthday Girl!!!. chaiiii!!! Nanya see your life. Current le boo, loves me loads , treats me like a princess, makes all the effort not minding that he’s a Phd student and so busyyy.

    Unrequited love is nothing but punishment. ~My 2 rupees.

  19. Pipi

    March 11, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    “We all have at least one person or the other who we know admires us so much and would readily go any length to impress us. Instead of helping them manage their expectations, many of us choose to keep them tied to our apron springs”. Now see this is where I have a problem, with people who do this. You know quite alright you aren’t feeling the person then you keep them always running back to you instead of you to cut them off so they can find someone else! Lai lai! U nor go gree. No you need them to feel good about yourself (where else would you find someone to love you mumushiily with ur flaws) …. Very very selfish. Remember that other person has a life and also remember that’s how crimes of passion start… So if today you know u tying some to ur apron string please cut them off (i know u would say I have done everything but they wouldn’t still go) ehen…. When u still pick their calls and call them when you need to feel good about yourself! Not to forget collecting gifts and etc from them! The thing is mr and miss I love you! Love me back is going to read very huge meanings to your every action. Your good morning is “hey lovely you make my day brighter”. Long story short cut them like cold turkey gbam! And that’s for their own good! And u stringing them along playing nice is wickedness

    • Pipi

      March 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      So you know people string partners along for years playing the he/she loves me, I will learn to love him/her. Please if you are a situation (I won’t call it relationship) where you think you are doing your partner a favor by dating them…. Leave them alone let them find someone who would enjoy loving them and they loving the person back. It’s not complicated IT IS SELFISHNESS! ……

  20. funmilayoo

    March 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    When it comes to romantic relationships, I now love from a point of ‘love for myself’. That is for me to love you romantically, you have to love me and SHOW IT!
    As for the ones that love me and I don’t feel the same way about them. I avoid leading them on. I tell them straight up “I don’t love you like that and cant be in a relationship with you”.
    For the ones I love and they don’t love me back. I always let them go as soon as i realize the feeling is not mutual. No time to waste time. I believe love is a decision and if you don’t choose to love me, why should i waste time with you. #IKeepWalking

  21. AdeT

    March 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    As sad as it may seem, peeps that have experienced or is experiencing unrequited love should call themselves to order. I have not been in this position – thank God. And I hope never to be as I believe that loving someone is a choice you make. I also believe that if you love someone and they don’t reciprocate the feelings, you let them go and if they truly belong to you, they will find their way back (if you’ve not already moved on). Peeps should just love themselves enough to understand that their love/affection is precious and should not be wasted on peeps who do not appreciate it and take advantage of it. Also guys, when someone says NO, they actually do mean NO. Don’t force yourself on people especially when they tell you they don’t feel the same way. You know the phrase “You’re like my sister/brother” or “I see you as a friend” or “You’re my best friend” etc. Take the cue and MOVE ON. And for guys who take advantage of people that love them, you know what they say “karma is a bitch” cos what goes around ALWAYS comes around.

  22. Holarshuga

    March 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    nice article! im indeed a victim of dis buh tank God for God

  23. Solumkenenna

    March 12, 2015 at 12:44 am

    The key is first to love yourself no matter what. Get up, dress good, dab that perfume and be confident. If they love you back fine , if not, they should go and die #inOshiomole’s voice.

    The truth is whoever will love you, its not by loving them and all those niceties. I really suffered in 2014, maybe I was just loving the wrong dudes who weren’t even willing to make an effort and no be say them fine ohh.

    Fast-forward to this year, I don’t know where God fished out this le boo out from ohh. Did I say he treats me special, like really special?. I have a small hip and my friends normally yab me , that I cant wear jeans without belt oh. To think this small hip is what is tripping le boo is too funny. Loving yourself is what is key biko, don’t stress it, if you love them and dem no return am, just free them biko.

  24. Tru

    March 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Love is COMPLETELY overrated.

  25. ashabi

    March 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Hmmn lovely piece.
    I wonder which hurts most…having an unreturned love or being with someone who claimed to love you back just to later find out that he never did but was in love with someone else…
    As for me, my conclusion about this whole love thing is that I just have to love myself for who I am whether someone else does or not…I owe ‘me’ that.

  26. Keke

    March 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Unrequited love…*deep breath* someone said something about knowing when something is wrong, truth is you would know and it’s easier to walk strong, and be positive, fantastic things happen to fantastic people, I just left a very painful situation, I was head over heels and hey it didn’t work out. So I just walked away, it’s been hard but I’m alive, I’m laughing and living..hoping for the beats being in a relationship all by myself.

  27. The Thinker

    March 19, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I think the only thing I saw in this article is the fact you went to FGCL Ijanikin!!

  28. Personal Signature

    March 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life prov 4:23

    Your heart is your life. If your heart is captured/gotten, everything about you (including your thinking faculty) is captured

    Guard it with all diligence

  29. smiles

    March 26, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Right now am in one and i even put it in my morning prayers so that the feelings will die. i met someone and along the line our feelings started building, he`s so caring and has a beautiful heart, the sad thing is that he has a girlfriend and have been dating for two years now but he told me that the girl careless about him and she always tell him “you re for keep, but i want to have fun”.
    we talk like almost everyday and when my phone is not connecting i ll get sms from him saying “hope you re fine, am worried”, he tells me how much he ll love to be with me, spend the rest of his life with me, he will like me to be the mother of his unborn children. But, a very big BUT. he can`t broke up with her and when i try to let go he keep hiding under my skin. the sad story is that am madly in love with him and i want him to go but still want him around. please what can i do? how do i move on?

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