Despite their rejection, most pursuers said they still held a soft spot in their hearts for those who had spurned their love.
The experience of unrequited love — not just a minor crush, but an intense, passionate yearning — is virtually universal at some point in life. Dr. Baumeister and Sara Wotman, a graduate student, found in a study of 155 men and women that only about 2 percent had never loved someone who spurned them, or found themselves the object of romantic passion they did not reciprocate. Their findings will be published later this year in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Despite the eventual heartbreak that is the destiny of the unrequited lover, by and large the incidents revealed that there was often more unhappiness on the part of the person pursued than on the pursuer.