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

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

courtship persistence unrequited love stalking rejection and comparing accounts 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651–680.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauer, P. J., Stennes, L., & Haight, J. C. (2003). Representation of the inner self in autobiography: Women’s and men’s use of internal states language in personal narratives. Memory, 11, 27–42.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumeister, R. F., Wotman, S. R., & Stillwell, A. M. (1993). Unrequited love: On heartbreak, anger, guilt, scriptlessness and humiliation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 377–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brehm, S. S. (1992). Intimate Relationships. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Chaikin, A. L., & Darley, J. M. (1973). Victim or perpetrator?: Defensive attribution of responsibility and the need for order and justice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25, 268–275.Google Scholar
  6. Coleman, F. L. (1997). Stalking behavior and the cycle of domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 420–432.Google Scholar
  7. Cross, S. E., & Madson, L. (1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122, 5–37.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cupach, W. R., & Spitzberg, B. H. (1998). Obsessive relational intrusion and stalking. In B. H. Spitzberg & W. R. Cupach (Eds.), The dark side of close relationships (pp. 233–263). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Davis, K. E., Ace, A., & Andra, M. (2000). Stalking perpetrators and psychological maltreatment of partners: Anger-jealousy, attachment insecurity, need for control, and break-up context. Violence and Victims, 15, 407–425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis, K. E., & Frieze, I. H. (2002). Research on stalking: What do we know and where do we go? In K. E. Davis, I. H. Frieze, & R. D. Maiuro (Eds.), Stalking: Perspectives on victims and perpetrators (pp. 353–375). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. de Becker, G. (1997). The gift of fear. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  12. Douglas, K. S., & Dutton, D. G. (2001). Assessing the link between stalking and domestic violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 6, 519–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DuBois, C. L. Z., Knapp, D. E, Faley, R. H., & Kustis, G. A. (1998). An empirical examination of same- and other-gender sexual harassment in the workplace. Sex Roles, 39, 731–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunn, J. L. (1999). What love has to do with it: The cultural construction of emotion and sorority women’s responses to forcible interaction. Social Problems, 46, 440–459.Google Scholar
  15. Folkes, V. S. (1982). Communicating the reasons for social rejection. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 18, 235–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frieze, I. H., & Davis, K. (2000). Introduction to stalking and obsessive behaviors in everyday life: Assessments of victims and perpetrators. Violence and Victims, 15, 3–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Frieze, I. H., & Davis, K. (2002). Perspectives on stalking research. In K. E. Davis, I. H. Frieze, & R. D. Maiuro (Eds.), Stalking: Perspectives on victims and perpetrators (pp. 1–5). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Graham, K., & Wells, S. (2001). The two worlds of aggression for men and women. Sex Roles, 45, 595–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Green, S. K., & Sandos, P. (1983). Perceptions of male and female initiators of relationships. Sex Roles, 9/10, 1041–1059.Google Scholar
  20. Hall, D. M. (1998). The victims of stalking. In J. R. Meloy (Ed.), The psychology of stalking: Clinical and forensic perspectives (pp. 113–137). San Diego, CA: Academic.Google Scholar
  21. Haney, C., & Zimbardo, P. G. (1976). Social roles and role-playing: Observations from the Stanford prison study. In E. P. Hollander & R. G. Hunt (Eds.), Current perspectives in social psychology (4th ed., pp. 266–274). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jones, E. E., & Davis, K. E. (1965). From acts to dispositions: The attribution process in person perception. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 220–266). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  23. Koss, M. P., Goodman, L. A., Browne, A., Fitzgerald, L. F., Keita, G. P., & Russo, N. F. (1994). Responses to sexual harassment. In M. P. Koss, L. A. Goodman, L. F. Fitzgerald, G.P. Keita, & N. F. Russo (Eds.), No safe haven (pp. 133–148). Washington, DC: APA Books.Google Scholar
  24. Kunda, Z. (1999). Social cognition: Making sense of people. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kurt, J. L. (1995). Stalking as a variant of domestic violence. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 23, 219–230.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Palarea, R. E., Cohen, J., & Rohling, M. (2000). Breaking up is hard to do: Unwanted pursuit behaviors following dissolution of a romantic relationship. Violence and Victims, 15, 73–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Leary, M. R. (2000). Affect, cognition, and the social emotions. In J. P. Forgas (Ed)., Feeling and thinking: The role of affect in social cognition. Studies in emotion and social interaction, 2nd ser. (pp. 331–356). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Leary, M. R, Springer, C., Negel, L., Ansell, E., & Evans, K. (1998). The causes, phenomenology, and consequences of hurt feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1225–1237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Logan, T. K, Leukefeld, C., & Walker, B. (2002). Stalking as a variant of intimate violence: Implications from a young adult sample. In K. E. Davis, I. H. Frieze, & R. Mauiro (Eds.), Stalking: Perspectives on victims and perpetrators. (pp. 265–291). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. Lowney, K. S., & Best, J. (1995). Stalking strangers and lovers: Changing media typifications of a new crime problem. In J. Best (Ed.), Images of issues: Typifying contemporary social problems (2nd ed.) (pp. 33–57). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  31. Malamuth, N. M., & Brown, L. M. (1994). Sexually aggressive men’s perceptions of women’s communications: Testing three explanations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 699–712.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Mechanic, M. B., Uhlmansiek, M. H., Weaver, T. L., & Resick, P. A. (2000). The impact of severe stalking experienced by acutely battered women: An examination of violence, psychological symptoms and strategic responding. Violence and Victims, 15, 443–458.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Muehlenhard, C. L., & Rodgers, C. S. (1998). Token resistance to sex: New perspectives on an old stereotype. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22, 443–463.Google Scholar
  34. Mullen, P. E, Pathe, M., Purcell, R., & Stuart, G. W. (1999). Study of stalkers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1244–1249.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. National Institute of Justice. (1993). Project to develop a model anti-stalking code for states. Washington, DC: National Criminal Justice Reference Service, #144477.Google Scholar
  36. Pryor, J. B., & Whalen, N. J. (1997). A typology of sexual harassment: Characteristics of harassers and the social circumstances under which sexual harassment occurs. In W. O’Donohue (Ed.), Sexual harassment: Theory, research, and treatment (pp. 129–151). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  37. Rose, S., & Frieze, I. H. (1993). Young singles’ contemporary dating scripts. Sex Roles, 28(9–10), 499–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sillars, A., Roberts, L. J., Leonard, K. E, & Dun, T. (2000). Cognition during marital conflict: The relationship of thought and talk. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17, 479–502.Google Scholar
  39. Sillars, A. L. (1998). (Mis)understanding. In B. H. Spitzberg & W. R. Cupach (Eds.), The dark side of close relationships (pp. 73–102). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  40. Sinclair, H. C., Borgida, E., & Collins, W. A. (2002, June). Exploring the antecedents and consequences of courtship persistence. Paper presented as part of invitation to participate in a symposium on “Stalking and Courtship: Classifications and Social-Personality Predictors” to be presented at the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues conference, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  41. Sinclair, H. C., Chan, A., & Borgida, E. (2003). The thin blue line between love and hate: Stalking myths, romanticism and legal outcomes. Paper presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association conference, New Orleans, LA, March.Google Scholar
  42. Sinclair, H. C., & Frieze, I. H. (2000). Initial courtship behavior and stalking: How should we draw the line? Violence and Victims, 15, 23–40.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Spitzberg, B., & Cupach, W. R. (2001). Paradoxes of pursuit: Toward a relational model of stalking-related phenomena. In J. A. Davis (Ed.), Stalking crimes and victim protection: Prevention, intervention, threat assessment, and case management (pp. 97–136). Boca Raton, FL: CRC.Google Scholar
  44. Stillwell, A. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1997). The construction of victim and perpetrator memories: Accuracy and distortion in role-based accounts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 1157–1172.Google Scholar
  45. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (1997). Stalking in America: Findings from the national violence against women survey. Washington, DC: National Criminal Justice Reference Service.Google Scholar
  46. Tjaden, P., Thoennes, N., & Allison, C. J. (2000). Comparing stalking victimization from legal and victim perspectives. Violence and Victims, 15, 7–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations