I fucking hate that word!
It scares the shit out of me!
It scares me so much that I almost deleted my previous “Word of the Day” post about it.
Quite a while ago.
Because I’m pretty sure that limerence had me firm in it’s grasp.
It scares me because it means I might not feel the way about TC that I think I do.
It scares me even more that TC might not feel, about me, the way he thinks he does!
It makes me doubt my self and my heart. Which, honestly, to this date, have not been very reliable counsel anyway…
So, I thought I should take some time to overthink and overanalyze the hell out of this until we’re all confounded.
Sound like a plan?
What Is Limerence?
Limerence, a term coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in her 1979 book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, has been described as “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves an acute longing for emotional reciprocation, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and emotional dependence on another person.”
… … …
Love vs. Limerence
Early in a romantic relationship, it can be difficult to distinguish love from limerence. One begins to follow a calmer, more rewarding path that feels good to both partners, while the other intensifies and stops feeling good to one or both partners over time. Limerence is smothering and unsatisfying and cares little about the other person’s well-being. Securing the other person’s affection takes precedence over earning their respect, commitment, physical intimacy or even their love.
In healthy relationships, neither partner is limerent. They are in love, but they do not struggle with constant, unwanted thoughts about their partner. Rather than pursuing reciprocity, the couple bonds through mutual interests and enjoyment of each other’s company.
In most relationships where limerence is an issue, one partner is limerent and the other is not, according to Tennov. These relationships are unstable and intense. If both partners are limerent, the relationship typically fizzles as quickly as it sizzled. Experts disagree about the likelihood of limerent relationships evolving into affectionate, long-term commitments. While some may grow into healthy, mutually gratifying relationships, others end in rejection and disappointment.
Limerence lasts longer than romantic love, but not usually as long as a healthy, committed partnerships … … … The duration depends on whether the individual’s affections are requited. When requited, the feelings may persist over many years. When unrequited, the feelings typically dwindle away and eventually disappear, unless the object of their affection sends mixed signals or physical or emotional distance prolongs the intensity and uncertainty (e.g., one partner lives in a different state or is married).
excerpts from Limerence and the Biochemical Roots of Love Addiction by David Sack, M.D.
I am just as lost and confused as last time!
It seems like such a fine line. There’s even this section here:
Signs of Limerence
Although it can be difficult to objectively evaluate the signs of limerence when you’re in this altered state, Tennov identified the following core characteristics:
• Idealization of the other person’s characteristics (positive and negative) – no
• Uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts about the other person – maybe, it depends. I thought that’s how love starts off.
• Extreme shyness, stuttering, nervousness and confusion around the other person – not any more than would be expected
• Fear of rejection and despair or thoughts of suicide if rejection occurs – I always have fear of rejection. No thoughts of suicide.
• A sense of euphoria in response to real or perceived signs of reciprocation – I thought that this is how love is supposed to feel
• Fantasizing about or searching obsessively for signs of reciprocation (“reading into things”) – no
• Being reminded of the person in everything around you – no. Seeing things that I would like to share with him: yes.
• Replaying in your mind every encounter with the other person in great detail – umm… Of course? I’m not going to see him for 2 more months.
• Maintaining romantic intensity through adversity – LOVE DOES THIS!!!!!!!!!!! Am I wrong?
• Endlessly analyzing every word and gesture to determine their possible meaning – no
• Arranging your schedule to maximize possible encounters with the other person – of course we do! We live 19 hours away from each other. We need to coordinate our schedules in order to get together. But I do not go to the extreme of not going roller skating so I can talk to him, if that’s what this means.
• Experiencing physical symptoms such as trembling, flushing, weakness or heart palpitations around the other person – isn’t this how love feels?
OMFG! Some of that shit is totally ambiguous!!
Does this mean that I can’t tell the difference between my love addiction (limerence) and actual fucking LOVE!?!?
I always thought that most of those “signs” listed are simply how love is supposed to feel!
So, I looked some more to find something that might actually help me feel better.
I think I was successful.
Love, obsession and your brain chemistry
Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and the founder of Chemistry.com, told me on the phone that although Tennov’s work had influenced some of her own early writing, she herself had never adopted the term “limerence” because it simply describes classic, standard romantic love, and she did not feel the need to assign another name to it. Fisher went on to say that infatuation, obsession, and all the excitement of early love has been described the same way throughout the world for centuries. And what’s so bad about obsessive love, anyway? “If you’re not obsessed, you’re not in love,” Fisher asserts. “Early intense romantic love is an obsession.” And that obsession continues because it feels great!
Limerence strikes both genders, and it’s often accompanied by both physical ailments and a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure centers. This early stage of romance goes much deeper than a nonchalant crush… Fisher confirmed that limerence increases when there are barriers to the relationship, such as rejection. Being rebuffed requires the dopamine system to work harder to generate its rewards. While [you] laugh about [your] past, in actuality, this behavior was probably rooted in an overdrive of brain activity caused by these dismissive partners rejecting [you].
7 ways to distinguish love from limerence
How do you know whether your heart thumps for true love, or you’re hopelessly suffering from the limerence that Tennov describes? Here are some signs to help you spot the difference:
- Love supports your personal happiness and sets the stage for you to connect with someone who is similarly at peace.
Limerence seeks control over your partner in an attempt to make this person dependent on you.
- Love means give-and-take between two people exists.
Limerence connotes an unrequited infatuation by just one individual. When those feelings are not returned, some people become self-destructive. One woman described her limerent feelings as “insanely mad,” leading her to thoughts of suicide.
- Love consists of a healthy non-attachment wherein two people pursue their own rich interests and then reunite to share their experiences with each other. In The Path to Love, Deepak Chopra makes these distinctions: “Non-attachment” is a state of freedom that shows caring; the more non-attached someone is, the more that person can love another. (This contrasts with “detachment,” which implies indifference.)
Limerence exhibits an overwhelming sense of “attachment,” which Chopra calls a form of dependency. Yet, according to Fisher, in early love, that dependent connection is a common one.
- Love means honest communication between two people.
Limerence involves game-playing and manipulation.
- Love involves flexible gender roles that may be contrary to male and female stereotypes.
Limerence upholds the antiquated roles of feeble, swooning women and aggressive macho men.
- Love involves having healthy sexual closeness and physical intimacy with your partner.
Limerence omits any sexual fantasies, because its prime goal is to attract the L.O.’s [Limerent Object’s] attention and nothing more.
- Love is a true partnership in which each person supports the other.
Limerence positions someone to become a crush’s savior. The aim is to become the hero or heroine for which the L.O. will be eternally grateful, then granting that partner the ultimate reward of you sticking around afterward.
excerpts taken from Is it love… or limerence? by Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.
Ahhh… That feels so much better! Those points seem more clearly defined. I can work with that…
- We do not, in any way, want to control each other. I have already experienced a man being “dependent” on me – I don’t like it. I don’t want it.
We have already discussed this and both of us want to “support [each others’] personal happiness” – that is what will bring us mutual satisfaction.
- Yes – give and take. We’ve also talked about this. Both of us recognize the possibility that we might not end up “together forever” and the fact that, once we spend even more time together, we might not even be compatible.
- We are still new, so this is a tough one… But TC has given me my freedom (Tuesday night while we were talking on the phone, actually) and I have given him his freedom as well, so I guess we’re doing okay not becoming dependent on each other (I know, we’ll have to wait and see on that one). Plus, one thousand miles separates us… That should help to quell the “overwhelming sense of attachment”. However, it could result in some hysterical bonding when we’re actually together. Hmmm…
- As scary as it is, we are being honest with each other. I hate games and manipulation.
- We are two individuals putting together our puzzle. If a piece fits, we will put it there; if it doesn’t fit, we won’t force it.
- OMG! With TC, I want to experience every single type of intimacy that exists!!!
- I think this circles back to #1 – we want to support each others’ personal happiness. We will help build each other up and be there to support each other when we fall. To be clear, IN NO WAY do I want him to view me as his savior!! And, I do not want him to be mine. To me, that’s scarier than being vulnerable!
I haven’t committed myself to feeling any sort of way towards TC yet. We’re brand new and, I *can* admit, there is some limerence going on. But, me being me, I want to be able to define it and move on.
I think I did okay.
And then there’s this…