carry a torch for

carry a torch for

Also, carry the torch for. Continue to feel the pain of unreciprocated love for, as in Jane has been carrying the torch for Bill for at least a year. The torch in this term alludes to the heat of love or passion. [1920s]
See also: carry, for, torch

carry a torch for somebody

  (old-fashioned)
to secretly love someone who does not love you Graeme's been carrying a torch for Linda for years.
See also: carry, for, torch