It appears that I reached many people when I described how it felt to be single for 18 years (and update: it's almost 20 years now), but perhaps I can reach even more people when I explain the feeling when it seems like nobody *ever* likes you back. It's tough and it sucks. Maybe people feel this way about you. Or maybe you're in the exact same position that I am. Whatever end you're on, I'd imagine that you could relate or understand in some sort of way.

It's always fun to like someone new. We all love to fantasize about this new person, tell our friends (or enjoy the sneaky satisfaction of remaining cryptic about it), give him the Instagram follow (but you can't be the first to like his pictures so you wait to be the 23rd), get his phone number (and try *extra* hard not to text it too often), and gaze at a fresh face in class or at our activities.

We get that rush of happiness when he likes our Instagram pictures or when he answers our texts or when he views our Snapchat story or when he makes any type of effort to speak to us.

It's all fun and games. Until reality creeps in and so do our doubts and realizations that he probably doesn't like us back.

And I understand that feeling. We get left on open or read with no follow-up and freeze in our tracks. We see him flirting with someone else and our stomachs churn. And, worst of all, we find out he is in a relationship with someone else and we can feel our hearts physically sink. We begin doubting and hating ourselves and questioning our own intrinsic worth.

In the prolonged time I've been single, I've felt these feelings over and over and over again. And sometimes people can undermine the pain because it isn't a real break-up from an established boyfriend. But we still feel the breaking of our hearts and like our feelings are valid.

It's safe to say I've had to take many Ls in the relationship department, and I continue to take Ls, so I can (probably) relate to what you're feeling.

I've been explicitly told, "I don't like you back." I've tried to break down the touch barrier, but it would build itself back up stronger than ever. I've felt led on only to discover that the person was seeing someone else all along. Even today as a (nearly) 20-year-old, my doubts set in, my flirting efforts are either too strong or not strong enough, and I receive telltale signs that my fantasies will stay fantasies.

And you probably have been in similar situations or perhaps taken different Ls. And you feel ugly. And you feel unlovable. And it sucks.

But you're not. Please don't let it break you.

If you wouldn't place your self-esteem in the hands of the stranger at the bus stop, you shouldn't place your self-esteem in the hands of any one guy. Both the stranger and your love interest are individuals and don't deserve that kind of power. Some situations are not meant to be and that doesn't make you any less beautiful or amazing of a person. Everybody will only have one truly happy ending regardless of who they are. So muster up the strength to move on, and realize that perhaps the happiest endings require the most loss and heartbreak to get there.