Breaking Hearts: The Two Sides of Unrequited Love

Overview

Throughout history, unrequited love has inspired ballads, arias, poetry, drama, and literature. Almost always, however, the tale of the "star-crossed lovers" has been told from the point of view of the heartbroken pursuer. This illuminating new work explores unrequited love from both sides--that of the aspiring and eventually brokenhearted lover, and more unusually, that of the beloved, unwilling rejector. Based on systematically collected first-person accounts, Breaking Hearts shows how radically different and ...
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Overview

Throughout history, unrequited love has inspired ballads, arias, poetry, drama, and literature. Almost always, however, the tale of the "star-crossed lovers" has been told from the point of view of the heartbroken pursuer. This illuminating new work explores unrequited love from both sides--that of the aspiring and eventually brokenhearted lover, and more unusually, that of the beloved, unwilling rejector. Based on systematically collected first-person accounts, Breaking Hearts shows how radically different and often contradictory the two experiences actually are.

Blending scientific research with vivid narrative, the book utilizes current psychological theories about relationships, interdependence, attachment, and communication to provide careful analysis of the sometimes amusing and often heartrending stories people tell about their love lives. The central focus is the subjective experience: what it feels like to love someone who does not love you in return, and what is it like to be pursued by someone whose attentions you wish to discourage. Demolishing past theories about human fulfillment coming from loving or being loved, this valuable counterweight to traditional studies explores the other, darker side of love to show that it is the mutuality of affection that is crucial to happiness.

Explores the contradictory views of the experience by the rejected lover and the rejecting beloved.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Engagingly written, BREAKING HEARTS offers an insightful and broad-ranging theoretical analysis and a careful empirical documentation of the heart breakers and the heart broken....It captures the drama of breaking hearts without sacrificing the rigor of the scientific enterprise.'
--Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., University of Virginia

"This book is a rich and enlightening account of the experience of unrequited love, and should be of interest not only to scientists who study close relationships, but also to the general public." --Caryl E. Rusbult, Ph.D., University of North Carolina

"The topic of unrequited love is an intriguing one that has caused much interest lately since the film, Fatal Attraction, and the several cases of stalking that have received public attention. This book offers the first systematic attempt to uncover the patterns of unrequited love and it is a good example of what a psychological analysis of important social issues can contribute to their solution." --Steve Duck, Ph.D., University of Iowa

Contemporary Psychology

"Often I found myself swept along by the charming, fluid style in which the book is written....In short, the authors are highly successful in creating a book that will appeal to a wide audience....This book makes a significant contribution to the literature."--Contemporary Psychology
Behavioral Science Book Service

"For all who've ever loved and lost, and for all therapists who've worked with lovesick clients (or their fantasy objects)."--Behavioral Science Book Service
Booknews
Based on systematically collected first-person accounts, this fascinating work explores unrequited love from both sides--that of the aspiring and eventually brokenhearted lover, and that of the beloved, unwilling rejector--showing how radically different and often contradictory the two experiences actually are. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898621525
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/5/1994
  • Series: Emotions And Social Behavior
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 541,958
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author


Baumeister received his PhD in experimental social psychology from Princeton University in 1978. Since then, his research career has taken him to the University of California at Berkeley, to the University of Texas at Austin, to the Max-Planck-Institute in Munich, Germany, and to Case Western Reserve University, where in 1992 he was awarded the Elsie B. Smith Professorship in Liberal Arts. The recipient of an American Psychological Association award for his first book, he has authored over 100 publications and numerous articles in professional journals and scholarly volumes.
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Table of Contents

1 The Psychology of Heartbreak 1
2 Perspectives on Unrequited Love 19
3 The Emotional Crossfire 51
4 The Ups and Downs of Self-Esteem 81
5 Guilt, Justification, Morality: Struggling with Right and Wrong 105
6 What Actually Happened? 139
7 Lessons Learned and Mysteries Glimpsed 171
8 Conclusion: The Two Sides of Heartbreak 195
Appendix 217
References 225
Index 233
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2011

    HIghly recommended

    People who are experiencing unrequited love (UL), students of psychology, or anyone interested in empathy either professionally or personally should read this book. There are not many books available in this genre -- a thoughtful, careful review of a problem that people find themselves in -- and certainly few that are this well done.
    The main strength of this book lies in the idea that UL is a painful situation for TWO people, not just one. The book further supports this insight with a thoughtful presentation of an "in the trenches" study of young people who were experiencing UL as graduate students between 1989-1991. The book was published within a few years of the study conclusions which is reasonable. Professor Baumeister has a strong reputation in his field, and he and his co-author are transparent in their methods and findings. The authors state that the vast majority of people (based on this particular study) experience UL, and I believe the proper interpretation of this finding best keeps in mind that not all UL experiences are at the same level. It may be that the majority of UL experiences are of brief duration and lead to 'only moderate' distress. I happen to have a bias in that my experience lasted about 7 months and was beyond description in its' impact on my life -- difficult is an understatement. One weakness of the study/analysis is its' limited "generalizability", i.e. application to the wider body of people experiencing UL. Clearly young graduate students represent just a piece of the human pie who experience UL. As a result, the book does raise more questions perhaps than it answers. In sum, it is a carefully written (and reassuring) source of insight into the substance of UL. Reading it helped me deal with the most painful (emotionally and physically) experience of my life. Thank you Dr. Baumeister!

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