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Unrequited: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Romantic Obsession

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  313 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Blending memoir, literary exposition, and revealing case studies, Unrequited is a powerful, surprising, and empathetic cultural and psychological exploration of one-sided romantic obsession.

The summer Lisa A. Phillips turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn’t return her feelings. She soon became obsessed. She followed him around, called him compulsively, and
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Harper Paperbacks (first published January 27th 2015)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  313 ratings  ·  75 reviews


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Clelia
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the perfect book to read on Valentine's Day, when I was a roiling mess of loneliness, longing, and self-hatred. I've never read much on this subject, but I needed to. A compassionate, companionable, insightful book for anyone wanting to understand why love/lust makes them feel so thoroughly insane.
Charlene
I have read so many disappointing psychology oriented books where the authors claim to be experts but rely on bad studies and have a generally poor ability to engage in critical thinking. This book by phillips was, without question, better than a lot of what I have read about narcissism and obsession.

Phillips uses her own experience as an obsessed stalker type to examine why women become obsessed. She provides incredible references to literature (at times I felt like I was back in some of the b
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Melissa
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a well-done and non-judgmental book about unrequited love. I definitely think it would be helpful to any women currently suffering from romantic obsession. I'm not currently having that problem, but I have in the past, 4 times to be exact, starting in high school. I think this book would have been great for me to have read during any of those obsessions, but even now that I'm post-obsession and I have a great long-term boyfriend who I'm sure loves me as much as I love him, I was glad to ...more
Marie-e
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost everyone has been through a relationship breakup. While some bounce back easily after an ending and go on about their lives with better understanding, others seem to get stuck on an obsessive path. Those folks may resort to stalking their love interest, retaliating in ways intended to hurt them, or engaging in other forms of undesirable behaviors.

‘Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession’ by Lisa Phillips, gives both sides of the relationship exposure and clarity. It deeply delves into t
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Z
Well and thoughtfully researched; the author provides historical perspective on obsessive love in literature and popular culture, as well as medicine and psychology. The section on brain science (the feeling of ‘reward’ and pleasure) was particularly interesting. The personal narratives of both the women involved in obsessive love and the objects of their affection vary in length but each story makes its point. Educators or group discussion leaders could use the author’s examination of sexism an ...more
Natalie
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lisa A. Phillip’s Unrequited blends well-researched case studies with her own very personal story in this nonfiction/memoir that grapples with the power of obsessive, unrequited love. Phillips approaches this subject with both sympathy and frankness: while she empathizes with “the unwanted woman,” she never coddles; unlike many dating books, she examines the difficult nuances of both being the unwanted lover and the beloved. She details how both male and female stalkers are treated. Most impre ...more
Rosanna Leo
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an author of romance novels, I picked up Unrequited from a research perspective and was not disappointed. Ms. Phillips has penned an interesting volume on obsessive love, interspersed with very brave snippets of her own story and stories from other women who felt the sting of unrequited love. Fascinating and well-researched.
Sean Beaudoin
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really smart and interesting take on relationship dynamics. Obsession is such a relative term, and Phillips mines it for many original and startling insights. Very well studied and researched. This book should be read immediately. I've already bought two copies.
Claire Handscombe
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and important. Why aren't more people talking about this book?
Sabrina
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen
2.5 stars. I don't think it's worth reading too closely unless you are currently in the grip of a romantic obsession and need some misery-company (it is very skimmable). Otherwise, here's the TLDR: When it’s not creepy or violent, romantic obsession is often seen as noble in men; for women, it’s usually seen as pathetic, at least until it hits “psycho bitch” levels, at which point it’s considered crazy (Fatal Attraction). That's unfair to everyone because it demeans women at multiple levels and ...more
Peacegal
3.5 stars --Female stalking is a phenomenon that we rarely hear about. However, the author, a reformed stalker, has collected numerous fascinating stories on the subject. Not all of the "unrequited" relationships were of a romantic nature, and not all involve men as the target. All involved bizarre behavior that often left the perpetrators stunned by what they had done.

In between these examples, Phillips periodically takes us on a fascinating trip around the human brain to understand how alarmi
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Kathleen
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was well-done. Author Lisa Phillips writes empathetically (and from some personal experience) about women who fall into a self-destructive pattern of romantic obsession. At the same time, she refuses to give them "a gender pass" and explains how one way she got over her strong (and not shared) romantic feelings for "B.," was by imaging that a man was acting the same way she was.

Personally, as a single woman I stayed away as soon as I realized I was an "unwanted woman," and, for that reason
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Carol
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I chose this book by mistake as someone recommended a novel with a similar name. Regardless, I read it and found it very interesting to see how women who were aggressively pursuing men over the years are treated very differently than men doing the same. It was an interesting study.
Jami
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So fascinating, and the way she blends pop culture with exhaustive research and her own story is admirable.
Gabriela
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2017
This book presents us with an unusual subject matter: the female romantic obsession, its historical and cultural causes, as well as its vivid, numerous depictions in pop culture. It contains examples from the everyday life (based on the author's own experiences) presented in an non-judgmental way and compares the treatment of "romantically obsessed" women with their male counterpart. It's really interesting to read how each gender receives totally different treatment, how people of both genders ...more
Emi
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed the thesis of this book.
*spoiler*
This book posits that romantic obsession, often viewed as damaging, ugly, and useless, can and should be viewed as a catalyst for growth. It states that the ideal a person projects onto someone is often something they are striving for, and can gain knowledge and experience in their pursuit of the object of their desire.

If you are looking for a handbook to get out of or prevent this situation, this book is of no help, except to assure you tha
...more
Nora Last
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been on reading kick about relationships, romantic love, attachment and trauma. I found Unrequited both thoughtful and educational; balancing the author's personal narrative with anecdotes from her practice and empirical studies. This is certainly worth reading if you experience intense emotional attachment (or limerence, or obsession), although perhaps unnecessarily gendered at times.
Julene
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Having started and then put down this book several times, I think I've finally figured why it doesn't spark my interest: it's meant to be read by a woman in the midst of an unrequited romance, especially if she's leaning heavily towards The Crazy. It would've read better as a series of essays - it lacks flow, relies heavily on unsupported arguments and historical examples repeatedly used out of context. *le sigh* Well, you tried!
Dawn
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing that you wouldn't expect but puts our obsession for love in perspective and makes any woman who has gone through this experience feel confident that others feel the same way. Kind of redundant yet reinforcing.
Irene
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The subject of this book was quite interesting, and I did take some valuable insights out of it, but overall I didn't like its approach.
Rocambole.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It is very cheesy but good.
Halley Sutton
Some interesting insights.
Zsofi Borsi
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a lot. A mix of a memoir, self-help and cultural analysis. Would recommend it to anyone interested in the psychology of (unrequited) love.
Meg
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am going to buy a copy myself so i can highlight all the bits i need to remember. this is an amazing book. thanks lisa a phillips
Mariana
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hat off to Ms. Philips for daring to share her story, and for compiling a clear, enriching book on the topic of romantic obsessions.
Tara
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know, I knew I was going to like this book, and I did! It covered many areas of the experience of unrequited love. I feel the author is spot on. Glad to have read it.

Megan Davis
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book delivers everything the title suggests and far more. I highly recommend it and wish I had come across it years ago.

Fascinating, educational, inspiring, and helpful.
Haeri
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each chapter of this book starts with the memoir of the writer's obsessive past with her ex and how she romanticized or didn't realize the extent of her own destructive doing to both herself and the ex. Along with her own story, the book consists of the in-depth interviews with women who have experienced unrequited obsessive love varying in extent. The topic of the book ranges from the actual purpose of unrequited love as a mirror to one's desire, the physical and mental agony an unrequited love ...more
Melissa
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it was recommended by the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators and as a lover of that show, I clearly wanted to read anything they find inspiring. If you love reading TVTropes and analyzing many literary and real life examples on the same theme, this will be passably interesting to you. While I think it has some good points around the historical and literary differences between male and female unrequited love and the associated behaviors, once the point is made, everything else is ju ...more
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