Limerence is an involuntary and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person. Limerence can often be what is meant when one expresses having intense feelings of attachment and preoccupations with the love object. Limerence is a common emotion characterized by unrealistic expectations of blissful passion without positive relationship growth or development. It is distinguished by a lack of trust, loyalty, commitment, and reciprocity. In the case of limerence, there is more often than not an obsess or and an object of desire, who may or may not be attainable. It can be experienced as intense joy or as extreme despair, depending on whether the feelings are reciprocated. Limerence is sometimes also referred to as infatuation.
Limerence is a state of mind, usually termed “having a crush” ... “infatuation” ... “passionate love” ... “puppy love” ... “romantic love” or “being in love,” but it is important to note that limerence is neither love nor sexual attraction. Love, sexual attraction, and limerence can all exist without each other or any or all of them can coexist together.
Dorothy Tennov (August 29, 1928 – February 3, 2007) was an American Psychologist who, in her 1979 book Love and Limerence – the Experience of Being in Love introduced the term "limerence". During her years of research into romantic love experiences, she obtained thousands of personal testimonies from questionnaires, interviews, and letters from readers of her writing, in an attempt to support her hypothesis that a distinct and involuntary psychological state occurs identically among otherwise normal persons across cultures, educational level, sex, and other traits. Tennov emphasized that her data consist entirely of verbal reports by volunteers who reported their love experiences.
According to Tennov,
- there are at least two types of love: limerence, what she calls "loving attachment", and "loving affection," the bond that exists between an individual and his or her parents and children.
- "A Scientist looks at Romantic Love and call it Limerence".
- Unlike real love or affection, Limerance is all consuming.
" The feelings of a man and a woman caught up in limerence can range from euphoria to misery, from the greatest happiness" to suicidal grief. Yet when the limerent cries out for help, most people wont even acknowledge that limerence exist. Get over it, and "they'll say.. or it'll pass"....
Limerence has certain general, basic components:
- ...Intrusive thinking about the "limerent object" (L.O.)
- ...An intensity of feeling for the LO that leaves other concerns in the background
- ...Acute longing for reciprocation
- ...Occasional fleeting relief from unrequited limerence when vividly imagining some reciprocal action by the limerent object
- ...Fear of rejection that leads to an unsettling shyness in the limerent object's presence
- ...Intensification of limerent feelings when rejected by the L.O.
- ...Acute sensitivity to any act, thought, or condition on the part of the LO that could in any way, shape, or form be interpreted favorably
- ...An extraordinary ability to devise or invent "reasonable” explanations to explain or imagine why even neutral actions by the LO are a sign of hidden passion in the LO
- ...An aching in the chest when uncertainty is strong
- ...Buoyancy (a feeling of walking on air) when reciprocation “seems” evident
- ...A remarkable ability to emphasize any trait that is truly admirable in the limerent object
- ...An equally remarkable ability to avoid dwelling on any possible negative trait ... or even to render that negative into another positive attribute