Unrequited | Lisa A. Phillips

Summary of: Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession
By: Lisa A. Phillips


Immerse yourself in the world of ‘Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession’ by Lisa A. Phillips, as we explore society’s double standards when it comes to women and unrequited love. While men’s passionate pursuits are celebrated, women who exhibit the same behaviors are often labeled as neurotic and pathetic. Through the lens of biologically-driven behaviors and societal pressures, we will delve into the realms of limerence, goal linking, and the power of unrequited love as inspiration for creative endeavors. Join us as we investigate these shared experiences and challenge the stereotypes surrounding romantic obsession.

Double Standards in Pursuing Love

An analysis of gender inequality in pursuing love and society’s perception of unrequited love in women.

The book summary explores the double standards that exist in society when it comes to pursuing unrequited love, particularly for women. While society has made significant progress in gender equality, women still face limitations in love and relationships. Women are expected to be the objects of desire, while men are encouraged to pursue their love interests aggressively. This traditional role is deeply embedded in society, which deems a woman as neurotic and pathetic when she behaves like a man in pursuing love.

The book delves into why society subscribes to this double standard and attributes it to the biological demands of limited childbearing years. Society frowns upon women pursuing unrequited love because it’s deemed a waste of their reproductive years. Unrequited love isn’t practical for women in real life; however, its portrayal in literature and media romanticizes it. Classic novels like Jane Austen’s depict women’s hopeless romantic pursuits, but the story always ends once their love is reciprocated.

The book highlights how society still struggles with gender inequality in the pursuit of love and how gender roles still dictate how people should behave in relationships. The book raises awareness of this double standard and calls for changes in societal perceptions regarding love and gender.

Love Obsession

Love obsession can be traced back to the Middle Ages and was initially a sign of honor for noblemen. However, it became a shameful sign of weakness when women started showing the same symptoms. Limerence or relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder is a modern diagnosis that describes the dependent state of unrequited love. Love activates the same neural reward centers as cocaine, making people feel euphoric and energized. This feeling is highly addictive, making people crave their loved object more and more. Romantic obsession may be a means to achieve a higher-order goal, such as self-worth or finding companionship.

The Truth About Gender Roles in Romantic Relationships

Society’s perception that men pursue women exclusively in romantic relationships is a fallacy. The hormonal and neurochemical changes experienced by both genders when they fall in love are identical except for testosterone levels in women that increase and decrease in men. The same study conducted on undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 showed that men and women initiate relationships and court each other using similar approaches. Obsessive love, which is motivated by the natural inclination to bond and attachment for offspring production, is not only caused by biological factors but also by traumatic childhood experiences such as physical abuse or neglect. Such negative experiences could lead to an anxious attachment style that seeks intimacy and affection while obsessing over relationships.

The Dark Side of Unrequited Love

Unrequited love can lead to destructive behavior. This book explains how such love can turn into an obsession and why some people become stalkers. The delusional behavior of an obsessed person is often an extension of their own narcissism. They fail to understand that their obsessive actions are more harmful than loving. Such behavior can lead to a masochistic personality with a low self-esteem as the person tries to cope with their unfulfilled love.

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