Friday, 11 June 2010

Unrequited love

Unrequited love is a painful business. You pine away secretly (or not so secretly) while the desired person shows no interest in you whatever.

I didn't meet Jenny till I was 34, so I had had plenty of time to yearn in vain. Fortunately the yearning usually fizzled out harmlessly, but it did become obsessive once or twice - notably with G.

It was worse when I was working with someone, and every day they were churning up waves of desire. Just a friendly greeting or a passing remark would get me so steamed up it was all I could do to concentrate on my work.

I would keep on hoping that sooner or later this dazzling woman would be equally smitten with me, but I was constantly disappointed. I would ask myself what she didn't like about me. Were my clothes unfashionable? Was I too gloomy? Was I boring? Was I a noisy eater? I never found out of course. It could have been anything.

What I was always afraid of was that some mischief-maker would divulge my private passion to the person concerned, who would be convulsed with hilarity at the idea she could possibly fancy ME. "Nick? You must be joking? He's so eccentric."

I would keep telling myself that such fruitless longing was absurd and I should be looking for other, more responsive women. But I would still be drawn inexorably to the woman who ignored me, the one with that indefinable attraction.

It was a great relief when eventually my love was reciprocated and I could put those frustrating cravings behind me. And I could stop making a fool of myself.


  1. I tend to think that these crush things we get are more about who we think a person is, than who they are. It's like falling in love with a fantasy.

    And sometimes (now) i can just have fun with having a crush.

  2. Meno - Maybe sometimes it's only a fantasy-based crush, but other times you're seeing the person accurately, it's genuine attraction, but they're just not as interested in you as you are in them.

  3. Oh this has happened to me so many times, Nick. In a couple of cases I found out they were interested in me too but totally afraid to ask me. Others didn't even notice me.
    And like Meno says, sometimes it is the whole fantasy thing, their real selves would prove a bore.
    And sometimes, well there is a total click and that is wonderful.

  4. Oh, hell yes. Now you've got me remembering some of mine. Oh boy, was I obvious at times.

    I always feel a bit more alive, though, when I've got a nice crush working. Puts a spring in my step!

  5. www - What a shame when both of you are too nervous to share your feelings with the other! That's when a go-between could come in quite handy.

    Megan - So what's a crush and what's genuine attraction? You could argue that if it's a genuine attraction you'll approach the other person straightaway and it's either yea or nay. But if you do nothing about it, then it's really just an unreal crush.

  6. Nick, you have bared my soul! Would you believe it, that it still happens?
    In India, there are some unpleasant developments in the recent past arising out of unrequited love, in the form of acid attacks on women who spurn advances or proposals.

    On the other hand, I am currently counseling a young lady who is besotted with a young man who is engaged to be married to someone else. This young lady is going nuts knowing that he is out of her reach.

    Human beings are funny.

  7. Ramana - I remember you talking about the acid attacks before. At least the British don't go that far. I wonder if the impending marriage actually fans her desire in some bizarre way? The lure of the unobtainable and all that.

  8. Happy endings are all too rare in those scenarios - hooray for reciprocation!

  9. Tattytiara - Indeed, agonised frustration is more likely than a happy ending. But happy endings can and do occur sooner or later.

  10. Kylie - Not only painful but hard to end the pain. Telling yourself it's a pointless longing doesn't necessarily stop it.

  11. Kylie - I think you're trying to win the contest for Shortest Comment Ever.

  12. Kylie - It's not the winning that matters, it's the taking part.

  13. I suspect we've all been there.

    "Unrequited love's a bore
    and I've got it pretty bad.
    But for someone you adore,
    it's a pleasure to be sad." (Mamas and Papas)

  14. OH yeah . . .my problem completely although these days I manage to fall in love with men far too young and too far away so unrequited yes but painful, no. I can flirt outrageously with no repercussions. You are lucky to have Jenny tho Nick. Match made in heaven that one. And clearly worth waiting for.

  15. I always approach. Eventually. So far no one has taken me up on it, though...

  16. Secret Agent - I'd forgotten that one. It's true, the sadness can sometimes be strangely pleasurable.

    Baino - Oh well, never give up hope, somewhere out there is your new soulmate.

    Megan - At least you take the risk of approaching, you don't just keep it all bottled up inside. Maybe next time....