Shelf Help: 'Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession' - Pacific Standard

Shelf Help: 'Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession'

Nearly 30 years have passed since Glenn Close, spurned paramour of Fatal Attraction’s Michael Douglas, expressed her wrath by boiling the family bunny.
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Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession
Lisa A. Phillips
Harper

unrequited

Nearly 30 years have passed since Glenn Close, spurned paramour of Fatal Attraction’s Michael Douglas, expressed her wrath by boiling the Douglas family bunny. Love remains strange, and this frightening exploration will scare many readers off it. The author is one of hundreds of women whose one-sided love affairs, recounted for this book, robbed them of dignity and self-control. One says she “felt like a live wire the electric company had yet to shut down.” Another slammed her own face hard into a concrete floor to frame her love-interest for abuse. Phillips explains the psychology and biology of extreme love—not so different from OCD or addiction—and notes the damaging tendency to excuse stalkers if they are women. (Men and women stalk at similar rates, and with similar rates of violence, but men report the stalking less often.) Most of the unrequited lovers in this book are eventually cured, some through behavioral therapy. Not all their victims can be as forgiving as the author’s ex-boyfriend, who meets her for coffee. “You must despise and hate me,” writes one obsessive. “Do you also pause to pity?” —Graeme Wood

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