Deconstructing Love #4: How To Love Someone From Afar

Hello Tingly readers! This is the weekly Deconstructing Love column where Aaron Zhu, our guest writer, and I will be deconstructing quotes or answering questions on love and relationships — Please feel free to send in your own quotes and questions by emailing me at

In this week’s column, we’ll be looking into a combined matter of the (clouded) mind and the (troubled) heart:

“What is the right mindset to have when trying to love someone from afar?”



Love someone from afar? Alright. Have you read or watched “The perks of being a wallflower?” There’s this quote I still remember: “It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”

See. Don’t love from afar. Come closer. Show them your love. Get to know the real them. I actually wrote a piece myself some time ago about why I would never have crushes again and it’s for the same reasons: Loving someone from afar is loving your own projections of them, not who they actually are as a person.

How do you know who they are to love if you don’t actually interact with them? Also, what’s the point of loving from afar? Is this some kind of emotional masturbation — Excuse my language? I think life’s too short. Don’t entertain unrequited love — it’s a waste of energy.

If you find yourself in this situation when it’s too late, either try to communicate your interests or move on. You deserve reciprocal love and you will have it.  



I think we have all experienced situations where we couldn’t have who we loved or it just didn’t work out. For example, breakups, crushes, or unrequited love. I remember years ago when a 22-year-old Taylor Swift gave her fan some advice on unrequited love. She wrote: “I want you to remember that what you are doing is selfless and beautiful and kind. You are loving someone purely because you love them, not because you think you’ll ever have your affections reciprocated. You are admiring something for its beauty, without needing to own it.”

The girl that sent the question wasn’t a creep. She was just an ordinary girl who felt an attraction to a boy that she couldn’t have, so she loved him from afar. I believe that is a beautiful thing. The number of people who we will genuinely admire and feel attracted to is very scarce; we only meet a handful of people with whom we could genuinely fall in love in a lifetime. Therefore, those feelings are not to be taken for granted. We should appreciate the world for causing us to experience those tingly feelings, whether or not it’s reciprocated.

So how does loving from afar actually play out in reality? Well, in terms of an innocent crush, it’s nice to feel an admiration towards someone. This may not necessarily translate to craving a relationship for that person; sometimes, a slight connection is enough to experience fulfilment. On the flip side, what if the situation revolves around a breakup?

I always say breakups may happen due to so many different reasons outside of love. It seems fitting to use the example of Ariana Grande and Mac Miller to explain this concept. It is quite clear that the absence of love was not the reason why they separated. Moreover, they remained friends the whole time after the breakup.

The truth is, they were still very much loved each other, but there were other factors keeping them from having a prosperous relationship. (Hate to say it but it had to do with Mac Miller’s drug addictions, rest in peace Easy Mac.) Therefore, the only option they had was to love one another from afar, and I believe there was a lot of value in doing so.  

We tend to cage our definition of love due to unrealistic expectations. For example, we might not believe it’s true love unless commitment or marriage is involved. However, that slight little connection you have with a crush can very well be a sign of real love. In many situations, loving from afar may be the only option, especially when the two people simply can’t live in harmony. It happens, the combination of love and relationship compatibility is very rare, that is why we should learn to love without expectations.

Loving someone from afar doesn’t mean waiting for them or projecting your desires onto another. It is an admiration and gratitude towards someone amazing, that is all. No expectations, no insecurities, no games. It’s saying, “you’re amazing, and I’m glad you exist” with no ulterior motive.  



Hah, I guess the answer really depends on how we define “love” then. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what it is we call “love” as long as we feel it ourselves, right? In terms of the right mindset to have, like Aaron said, drop expectations, or give without expecting to get back. Finally, I hope whoever is in this situation could find acceptance and peace in their heart while transforming the loving from afar into positive energy for themselves.

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