Why am I so obsessed with unrequited love stories, both in fiction and in real life?
It’s honestly kind of annoying. Throw a character with an unreturned crush into a piece of media I like and I’ll ruminate on their situation more than is strictly comfortable at times, fantasizing and pondering (and writing fanfiction). Tell me a story about your own unrequited crush and, if we’re friends, I will be fascinated to know all the little details you’ve picked up over the course of your fixation.
And of course, when I myself have an intense unrequited infatuation going on… Well, in a way, I become the truest version of myself, but in another way, I become absolutely sick with despair and can’t focus on much else.
If you’d asked me a few years ago why these storylines haunt my brain, I’d probably have tried to argue that everyone is into unrequited love stories, or almost everyone, anyway – that they’re inherently interesting and heart-rending. But I’ve done more psychological digging these past few years than ever before, and I no longer think that’s the case. I think there are clearly established reasons these tales always grab my attention.