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Unrequited

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Romantic Obsession

By Lisa A. Phillips
12-minute read
Audio available
Unrequited: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Romantic Obsession by Lisa A. Phillips

Unrequited (2015) is a guide to the human obsession with people who will never love us. These blinks explore how romantic obsession affects both the obsessed and the object of their desire, why some people are more prone to stalker behavior than others and how to deal with the fallout of unrequited love.

  • People who can’t let go of their ex
  • Women who are unsure whether it’s appropriate for them to initiate a relationship
  • Romantically obsessed creatives

Lisa A. Phillips wrote the book Public Radio: Behind the Voices and contributes to the New York Times, Psychology Today and Cosmopolitan. She is the recipient of multiple reporting awards and is a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

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Unrequited

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Romantic Obsession

By Lisa A. Phillips
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Unrequited: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Romantic Obsession by Lisa A. Phillips
Synopsis

Unrequited (2015) is a guide to the human obsession with people who will never love us. These blinks explore how romantic obsession affects both the obsessed and the object of their desire, why some people are more prone to stalker behavior than others and how to deal with the fallout of unrequited love.

Key idea 1 of 7

In society’s eyes, unrequited love is an acceptable pursuit for men, but not for women – unless it’s part of fiction.

When it comes to gender equality, we’ve come a long way; women today face far fewer obstacles than in decades past, and can today become presidents, astronauts or CEOs.

However, they apparently still don’t have the freedom to pursue unrequited love. Society is more comfortable with women being the object of desire and, therefore, pursuit, while leaving the pursuing to men.

In fact, a man’s traditional role in society is very much attached to his passionate, and even aggressive, pursuit of unrequited love. For instance, there’s no end to stories of romantic knights who put their lives on the line to win the hearts of princesses.

On the other hand, when a woman acts this way, society dismisses her as neurotic and pathetic. In the end, it’s considered shameful for a woman to be undesired by the man she loves, and a woman in such a situation would face even more hate if she steadfastly pursued this love, trying to make him desire her.

But why does society subscribe to this double standard?

Well, some people have hypothesized that it’s the result of the supposedly biologically wasteful nature of a woman investing her limited years of childbearing in pursuit of someone with whom she might not have children.

So, unrequited love, at least when it comes to women, doesn’t work out so well in real life – but it does make for some great stories. After all, unrequited love is far more romantic than its reciprocated counterpart.

For example, the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for love translates to a long desire and maybe, deep down, all humans still believe that true love is something that requires the investment of profound energy and effort.

Not only that, but while women who pine after indifferent lovers are scorned in the real world, we actually like stories about the very same thing. Just take Jane Austen’s novels, which often revolve around a heroine who desires a man who does not reciprocate her love. The difference is, in books, the story ends once the love is requited.

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