Since the beginning of time, authors have written books about love. Falling in love, falling out of love, making love, loving love—the literary world is head-over-heels for love. Strip away the flashy symbolism from half the books ever written, and you're left with a love story. But, good books come with complications, and more often than not that love is unrequited.
Unrequited love is a garbage emotion. It's frustrating, because you can't properly be in love with someone without their full participation. But you also can't. stop. thinking. about. them. Crushes bloom into infatuation. Initials are doodled on notebooks. Tears are shed, Nutella is eaten straight out of the jar, Facebook profiles are stalked. Unrequited love is awful (and also kind of a little bit fun).
Pining over someone isn't ideal. But, despite what Snape has to say on the matter, unrequited love isn't forever. In the end, your crush will eventually reciprocate your feelings, and you'll realize that they're a actually huge tool. Or you'll meet someone you like even better, and who actually likes you back. Or you'll realize that being single is actually pretty great.
When you're in the throes of unrequited love, however, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (especially when you're hooking up with the disinterested object of your affections—that never ends well, trust me). So here are some literary quotes from characters and authors who get exactly what you're going through:
1. "Love Jo all your days, if you choose, but don't let it spoil you, for it's wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can't have the one you want."
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
2. "There is nothing so mortifying as to fall in love with someone who does not share one's sentiments."
― Georgette Heyer, Venetia
3. "Unrequited love is so boring. Weeping under a blue-black sky is for suckers or maniacs."
― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic
4. "Two Cures for Love Don’t see him. Don’t phone or write a letter. The easy way: get to know him better."
― Wendy Cope, Two Cures for Love
5. "I'm chasing you. I'm going to chase you until you give this a chance."
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
6. "'Twere all one That I should love a bright particular star And think to wed it, he is so above me. In his bright radiance and collateral light Must I be comforted, not in his sphere."
― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well
7. "The half-life of love is forever."
― Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her
8. "To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have—to want and want—how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again!"
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
9. "She hardly ever thought of him. He had worn a place for himself in some corner of her heart, as a sea shell, always boring against the rock, might do. The making of the place had been her pain. But now the shell was safely in the rock. It was lodged, and ground no longer."
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
10. "I know that’s what people say—you’ll get over it. I’d say it, too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you'll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him."
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
11. "Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way?"
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I've Loved Before
12. "'After all this time?'"'Always,' said Snape."
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
13. "I won't telephone him. I'll never telephone him again as long as I live. He'll rot in hell, before I'll call him up. You don't have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I am. He knows I'm waiting here. He's so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you."
― Dorothy Parker, The Portable Dorothy Parker
14. “Can't you just like a girl who likes you back?” “None of them likes me back. I may as well like the one I really want.”
― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
15. "You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself."
― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
16. "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."
― Charles Schultz, Peanuts
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