Sex Roles

, Volume 52, Issue 11–12, pp 839–852 | Cite as

When Courtship Persistence Becomes Intrusive Pursuit: Comparing Rejecter and Pursuer Perspectives of Unrequited Attraction

  • H. Colleen Sinclair
  • Irene Hanson FriezeEmail author


Two hundred forty-one undergraduates described their experiences with unrequited love, both as pursuers (actors) and love interests (targets). As expected, targets and actors perspectives differed. As targets, participants reported being on the receiving end of more unwanted courtship tactics, violent and nonviolent, than they reported using as pursuers. Further, participants in the actor role—particularly men—tended to overreport receiving signals that their love interest was reciprocating, and to underreport receiving rejections. Meanwhile, targets—particularly women—claimed numerous attempts to reject, including explicitly stating “I am definitely not interested in you,” and indicated minimal positive reactions to the unwanted pursuit. Implications of these differences, and others, in perspectives for understanding difficulties in differentiating persistence from stalking are discussed.


courtship persistence unrequited love stalking rejection and comparing accounts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia
  2. 2.University of PittsburghPittsburgh
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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