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December 05 , 2010


Women and Romantic Obsession


The summer Lisa A. Phillips turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn’t return her feelings. She became obsessed, following him around, calling him compulsively, and talking about him endlessly. One desperate morning, after she snuck into his apartment building, he picked up a baseball bat to protect himself and threatened to dial 911. Her unrequited love had changed her from a sane, conscientious college teacher and radio reporter into someone she barely recognized—someone who had taken her yearning much too far.

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In Unrequited, Phillips explores the tremendous force of obsessive love in women’s lives. She argues that it needs to be understood, respected, and channeled for personal growth—yet it also has the potential to go terribly awry. Interweaving her own story with frank interviews and in-depth research in science, psychology, cultural history, and literature, Phillips describes how romantic obsession takes root, grows, and strongly influences our thoughts and behaviors.

Going beyond images of creepy, fatally attracted psychos, male fantasies of unbridled female desire, and the platitudes of self-help books, Phillips offers compelling insights to help any woman who has experienced unrequited obsessive love and been mystified and troubled by its grip.

“An ingenious hybrid of memoir, case study, scientific inquiry, and intellectual history not only of unrequited love but of Love, full stop, with a capital L.”—Washington Post

“There is no cure for the pain of rejection, although researchers are working on it. Until then, Phillips suggests we ‘honor passion by confining and using it instead of letting it diminish us.’”—Chicago Tribune

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