Unrequited love can haunt us for years. There’s something tragic yet deliciously romantic about it. It is something great romantic writers and poets have poured their hearts into.
Here’s how Wikipedia defines the state: “Unrequited love is a feeling of attraction which is in no way mutual between two people, and only goes one way. The admired may not necessarily be aware of this one way attraction.”
Nancy, a 44-year-old married high school teacher commented on our dating blog about her real life experience and knows that special pain of nrequited love…
She may be married but she’s never forgotten a man she met in her early thirties. He was a musician,” she says, “and a very talented one at that. I always felt our souls were made of the same stuff. We met through a friend and shared a love for the same kinds of music. He used to make cassette tapes for me – I still have them. The music he chose for me was perfect. I loved every song. I’m happily married now and life is good but he still crosses my mind and I dream about him every few months. He moved suddenly in response to a family emergency, and went back to his home city, which is about 400 miles from where I live. He went without saying goodbye. I always had a feeling he liked me too, but it was not to be. I don’t let it get in the way of my life today, and if he turned up on my doorstep with a single red rose, I’d tell him, ‘Sorry, I have a husband’. But you know, that’s never stopped me from day dreaming, just every now and then, that he will indeed turn up on my doorstep.”
Writing in The New York Times, Daniel Goleman explains a study by Western Reserve University psychologist, Dr Roy Baumeister: “The experience of unrequited love – not just a minor crush, but an intense, passionate yearning – is virtually universal at some point in life. Dr. Baumeister and Sara Wotman, a graduate student, found in a study of 155 men and women that only about two per cent had never loved someone who spurned them, or found themselves the object of romantic passion they did not reciprocate.”
The research revealed that not only is it a near universal experience, but the person doing the rejecting (assuming, that is the person even realizes that he or she is the object of someone’s unrequited affection) often feels just as much pain, if not more, as the one who is being rejected.
Scientists in the U.S. and Australia have discovered also that when our heart breaks it affects the same area of the brain that is involved with actual physical pain – this will come as a surprise to few serial heart breakers.
It hurts…but it is the stuff of great literature.