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False Forms of Love: Limerence and Its Alluring Lies

With much dismay in his voice Ronald said, “Three years ago I was sure I was head over heels in love with my wife, Helen.  About a year ago that all-encompassing feeling just seemed to evaporate.  I don’t know what happened.  Something must be wrong with me.  We have tried to rekindle our love but nothing we do works.  It is not anything Helen has done wrong.  She’s the same.  There’s not anyone else.  This can’t be how love works, can it?”

The answer to Ronald questions is “no” this is not how healthy, real love works but it is typical of a form of false love called limerence.  Limerence is thought to be one of the significant causes of breakups and divorce.  In the beginning it often starts as a nearly imperceptible set of feelings of mild attraction which can grow into enormous intensity making people think they are very much in love.

Then two to four years later the limerence process winds down causing all the ‘in love’ feelings to start fading out and closing down.  Sometimes this happens quite rapidly.  Once in a great while limerence can precede the development of healthy, real couple-love if a couple works at it, but usually not.  Sometimes the condition runs its course in less than the usual two to four year long duration and sometimes lasts longer than that average.  Two people can become limerent with each other simultaneously, sometimes it’s one person who is limerent and the other truly in love, and sometimes just one person is limerent and the other has no reciprocal feelings.

Limerence feels great in the early stages but if the couple (where one is in a limerent state and one truly in love) marries and have a child the person truly in love eventually is likely to be terribly heartbroken and their life possibly severely damaged, while the limerent person’s former ‘love’ feelings are just gone.  The limerent person is highly likely to become limerent again and again, possibly leaving a string of heartbreaks behind, sometimes along with several negatively effected children.

With Ronald we went through a checklist of limerence symptoms:
1.  Experiencing intrusive, interruptive, obsessive thinking about the supposed loved one mixed with, but not limited to, romantic and passionate desire interfering with practical living, clear appropriate thinking and functioning

2.  Having acute longing for another’s reciprocal feelings of desire and focus of attention to the point of disrupting sleep and effecting appetite

3.  Having a strong emotional dependency on another’s reciprocating positive regard, sexual desire and approval with frequent over-interpretation and mis-interpretation of another’s perceived relationship related words and actions, and severe feelings of rejection and agitation when experiencing anything undesired occurring in the relationship

4.  The inability to be strongly interested in, attracted to, or love-involved with anyone but the person one is limerently focused on resulting in neglectful treatment of children, family, friends and sometimes self

5.  Unreasonably strong fear of rejection, sometimes at a nearly incapacitating level in the early stage of a limerent attachment, sometimes accompanied with uncharacteristic shyness, awkwardness and fear of doing something which will ruin the developing limerent relationship

6.  Anxiety about losing another briefly, relieved with intense fantasy of romantic and sexual union with that person

7.  Intensification of romantic connecting desires and efforts when meeting adversity or opposition to the relationship

8.  Actively over-interpreting another’s perceived positive responses and characteristics with strong down-playing of that same person’s more ordinary and negative actions, traits, characteristics, words, etc.

9.  Physical pain in the center of the chest, shallow breathing and physical nervousness with a sense of dread when any small, medium or large insecurity or uncertainty about the relationship occurs

10.  When small, positive input from the person one is limerent about occurs an over-reaction of ebullience, sense of buoyant ‘walking on air’ and exhilaration results during the early stages of the relationship

11.  A general lessening of acting responsibly or fairly to others, decreased carrying out of obligations, duties, etc. and a decrease of attending to goal achievement with a distinct decrease in functioning with necessary awareness of others beside the person of limerent focus

12.  A tendency to interpret the supposed loved one’s negative actions as somehow positive or give them excuses, acceptance and even high approval, and an avoidance or denial of perceiving their destructive and dysfunctional actions

13.  High, unrealistic adoration at first, later fading and disappearing

14.  Intensive pleasure when together, and intensive anxiety when separated or when the supposed loved one is around possible competitors, later fading to indifference and even annoyance

15 .  ‘Tunnel vision’ focusing on the supposed loved one and little else, plus blindness to all else of importance, later turning into a blindness to the supposed loved one’s developmental growth, changes and new ways of being themselves

Having at least seven of these symptoms is sufficient to qualify for being seen as probably in limerence and not really in a true, healthy love state.  Ronald, as he evaluated himself, had 10 of the 15 symptoms listed here.  It was then that he really went to work on learning and understanding the characteristics of healthy, real love.  His wife Helen did the same  (see the Definition of Love series listed at left).

People sometimes ask why does limerence exist?  The thinking goes something like this.  Mother nature invented or evolved limerence so that two people will become strongly bonded together, for two to four years, which is just enough time to get a child started in life.  Then their feelings for each other will fade or turn off, so that they will end their relationship and go looking for others to temporarily mate with and, therefore, mix the gene pool.  This is one of mother nature’s ways of ensuring genetic variety and improvement of the species, along with contributing ultimately to the survival of our species.

It is thought that most limerent people start to ‘fall out of love’ when after two to four years they either don’t have a child or a child has been born and is on the way to growing up.  Of course, this automatic shutdown of strong, positive feelings for the supposed loved spouse or mate often brings about great emotional, relational, familial and social disruption.  This is especially true in a society that has made little or no allowances for this kind of relationship phenomenon.

“How does limerence work” is another question often asked.  The thinking about that goes more or less like this.  Certain brain chemicals are stimulated when a suitable, potential baby-making partner shows up in one’s environment.  These brain chemicals compel a primitive drive mechanism which makes a person driven to temporarily but intensely ‘mate’ sexually, emotionally and relationally with another.  It is not just sexual, in fact sex can play a very secondary role in the limerent process.

Once started the cultural messages about ‘falling in love’ support the process.  Then two to four years later, on average, the brain chemicals automatically start shutting off and fading out which causes feelings toward the supposed loved one to also fade.  This false-love state then disappears and eventually the couple parts, or the limerent lover goes secretly looking for a new romantic interest.  Sometimes the other partner looks elsewhere first because they feel increasingly unloved.

What can be done about people being in limerence instead of doing lasting, real, spousal love?  There is a group of people who say nothing can be done about this.  Another group says nothing should be done about it, and they tend to like repeatedly having limerence experiences because, at the start, they feel so good.  Hopefully they have learned not to marry and not to have children with someone they have a limerent attachment to.  They seem just enjoy the euphoria, the passion and the sexuality, and usually they end it quickly when the time comes for it to be over.

Others say education is what must be done so people can make better, well-informed choices about love and love relationships.  Others counter this by saying all this is far too much under the control of mother nature for anyone to be able to do much about it, except help people when their relationship has come apart.  There are those who say good, healthy breakups and divorce counseling, post divorce counseling, and co-parent guidance counseling to handle the aftermath is the best that can be hoped for.  There are those who have advocated time-limited marriage laws.  A larger group suggests that people should live together for two to four years before contemplating marriage, and that this should be considered by a lot more people.

There is a lot more you can learn about limerence.  This false form of love was discovered during a very good research effort conducted by Dr. Dorothy Tennov.  She coined the term limerence and wrote ‘the book’ on the subject which is called Love and Limerence, published by Stein and Day.  I heartily recommend this book to those who want to know more.  There are, of course, websites dealing with this topic and some therapists who are experienced in working successfully with limerent effected clients.

Ronald and Helen went into very helpful individual and couple’s counseling which made for a healthy divorce and post-divorce recovery.  They also learned how to avoid repeating their limerence mistake and how to go toward growing healthy, real, spousal love.  Now six years later both are in healthy, real love marriages and have children, and they are doing very well.

As always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Can you tell the difference between healthy, real, spousal love and Limerence?  To check this out you might use the material in the Definition of Love series entries and compare them to the above 15 Limerent symptoms listed in this entry.  Forewarned can be forearmed!

False Forms of Love Series
False Forms of Love: Limerence and Its Alluring Lies
False Forms of Love: Meta Lust
False Forms of Love: Shadow Side Attachments
False Forms of Love: The Devastating IFD Syndrome
False Forms of Love: Unresolved Conflict Attraction Syndrome

Previous Comments:

  •           Anon
    November 19th, 2014 at 11:02 | #1
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    My ex girlfriend had Borderline Personality Disorder. The word limerence would be a massive understatement for what I went through!
  • JG
    March 3rd, 2015 at 11:24 | #2
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    Anon, that is terrible. I was once in a similar circumstance. The only thing worse than limerence is being limerent over a person with Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder or with Sociopathy. I would not wish that on anyone. How do you cope?
  • bk
    April 13th, 2015 at 10:17 | #3
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    I had this experience too. For the past three years I was (and still probably am, to some small extent) limerant over a person whose behavioural patterns are characteristic of Narcisissm or Sociopathy. Being limerant over someone who then manipulates and abuses those feelings, and triangulates using other relationships, literally torturing someone because their mental state allows it – well, let’s just say it was the worst, most damaging thing that could possibly have happened to me. If I could go back in time and lose both legs in a car crash rather than experience this, I would, without a second’s hesitation. In those years I lost everything – my job, home, everything I own beyond a suitcase of clothes, my well-being and self-esteem – and did things in a constant effort to keep this person engaged that harmed me immensely. But the emotional devastation has been so much worse. Before this happened I was a stable person with stable relationships and (perhaps significant) no real great love story. Now, I’m in therapy and have trouble holding jobs and some days I still spend in a state of overwhelming feelings of loss and sadness. It’s hard to explain, it’s not like other kinds of depression – it’s like I have totally lost all sense of place or meaning in the world, and the feelings of abject misery are constant and intense, rather than flat or subdued. And this is well over a YEAR on. I don’t know of any way to get over it except time and the support of those few that have experienced something similar. It’s not something I would ever have understood, except for having gone through it. It’s like nothing else and nothing like the end of a ‘normal’ relationship.
    • Franki
      July 3rd, 2017 at 00:41 | #4
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      Its been 9 years and despite the pain and torment he put me thru, i still dream of him… Sometimes they are ‘perfect’ and others are like reliving the nightmare… But as i recall the dreams as waking up, i remember exactly how i felt emotionally. My heart racing, hands sweaty, enamored…. I hate to love him. I try to convince myself hes haunting my dreams, but i know its my brain being lonely and needing that surge of “love” and my body becoming chemically dependent, so to speak, on the rush. He doesnt deserve the time or energy, but one cannot control their dreams or random thoughts, and in turn pisses me off to no end. Its a vicious cycle because of it i havent had a real relationship since. I am left numb towards anyone and awkward out of fear of being hurt again. I have loved 1 other since him, but he clearly stated that he didnt feel the same way. Its painful, and very lonely on this roller coaster… Now i have a word to put to the problem. Cheers and good luck!
  • bw
    June 1st, 2015 at 12:24 | #5
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    BK. I experienced the same situation you did. There is hope! You will get stronger! Read all you can! There are support groups! I found a great one on Facebook. Being in a community of people that understand the devastating effects of Narcissism and Sociopathic disorders is really important. You are right when you say others that have not experienced this will not understand. Do self-care! You will get stronger and better!
  • batman
    June 6th, 2015 at 05:36 | #6
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    I think I may be in limerence. I have tried but it seems I can’t think more than 50 % rational anymore. This disease has adversely affected my social behaviour, my confidence and has also made me paranoid. I have read somewhere that LIMERENCE IS ALL ABOUT US ! I have accepted that. Also that there can be a triggering factor for this. In my case, it was the frequent glancing, but once during my minor project viva, there was a long gaze. I couldn’t take my eyes off, and I don’t know why she didn’t. I could not keep track of time and when my project partner shook my arm, I felt so many things break inside me. I took my eyes sideways and was all teary, I can’t explain why. From that day onwards, I felt this feeling was reciprocable. But alas, through continuous research, I have found it can’t be.. because sadly ITS ALL ABOUT ME. Limerence is like magic! It hurt me to the very core, but still I can tell the feeling was truly divine. I have done some research on love and related stuff and don’t find it appealing. I can’t and won’t fall in love ever, because its not natural, its acquired, although it’s pretty good for company though ! But those still haunt me.
  • batman
    June 6th, 2015 at 05:37 | #7
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    * those eyes
  • brightonrock
    July 24th, 2015 at 04:15 | #8
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    I have been/still am limerent over a narcissistic person, it really is the worst possible combination ever. This has gone on over ten years and resulted in him suddenly abandoning me after almost daily contact for ten years so as any other person suffering with limerence can imagine, this has caused me unimaginable distress. I would wholeheartedly recommend the website limerence.net It has excellent advice and a helpful forum. I would also recommend reading ‘Love and Limerence:Harness the Limbicbrain by Lynn Willmott & Evie Bentley
  • Shiken
    July 26th, 2015 at 11:07 | #9
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    So limerence is false love? What makes it false? That in doesn’t last long?
    What validates love -or any other feeling- is not how long it lasted but that you felt it, and it felt very real to you. It stirred from inside you, touched you to your very core, it was very intense, overwhelming, all-consuming. It doesn’t matter if it lasted for 6 months or 5 years or two decades. What matters is that it happened. It is not inferior to long lasting love, and you shouldn’t dismiss it as folly. People who experienced it will never forget it because it can be more real to them than anything else. How they say it in films and books?… it made you feel alive.
    And if it is not reciprocated, it is still love nonetheless.
    The article lost its credibility to me when it tried to explain limerence as mother nature’s trick to get two people together for the purpose of having kids. Please…..
  • nobody
    August 9th, 2015 at 16:50 | #10
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    i went through this same thing. and i used to say the exact thing “i’d rather have a horrible illness than feel this way” but i ended up developing chronic fatigue and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, because i was so emotionally damaged by body ended up breaking down and i take it back haha. (recovering!) but I wanted to tell you, bk, that this is truly the best thing that could have happened to you, though i know it’s difficult to see now. someone brought all of your secret doubts and fears to the top, and it’s your job now to do some deep self study and to learn who you are, why you would succumb to these lies you’ve been fed and live around them. god did not create you to continuously resort to another for self worth AND emotional stimulation, that which you do have in common with the “sociopathic” person, an individual who really is just as damaged as yourself, but who does not know him or herself the way you WILL know yourself and therefore needed you just as badly to maintain their own sense of self and self worth, but without understanding why. and how pathetic is that…but really, what is any person’s self worth? who can truly know his or herself without knowing the one who created them first? And god IS able to provide you both the anchor that you crave and the emotional stimulation, he did make your brain, after all, in that exact way, for a grander purpose than obsession. you have been allowed to suffer, to be stripped of everything, in order to see the things that are real and the things that matter, and you are already on the right path in your quest for find answers. unlike that fool who wronged you, let him or her continue down their path of destruction and ignorance. you keep going and keep your chin up, wherever you are with it now. there is a light at the end of the tunnel, believe me.
  • Michael
    September 3rd, 2015 at 21:44 | #11
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    I believe the limerent suffer with no relief and deserve our compassion, having lived with a sufferer – my 61-year-old wife has been limerent for 18 months,. Her Love Object is her first boyfriend. I believe we have been caught in a perfect storm. She has abandonment issues (mother died when she was 8, father alcoholic, me a workaholic, emotionally unavailable and lately my depression has caused problems with our business) and she has love addiction making her believe in Prince Charming and happily ever after. The catalyst to her limerence was her boyfriend finding her on social media and her mother insisting that we celebrate her 60th birthday. I was shocked at her sudden change in behaviour and I worried about her stability. To stay close by and keep an eye out for her safety (it turns out the boyfriend suffered a major depressive illness a year or so before the looked her up, has an alcohol challenge and anger management issues, and has unresolved issues arising from the fact that she dumped him when they were 17 years old). I gave her affair my blessing, hoping to be there to catch her when she falls through the cloud she’s on. That’s the background of my question which is this: Is the only course of action I can adopt or are there intervention strategies I can trial?
  • thewife
    September 24th, 2015 at 02:17 | #12
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    I am married to someone that suffers greatly from Limerence and probably other disorders. I am desperately looking for a support group that can help me cope with this. 2 days ago I flipped out when I discovered the depths of my husband’s disorder and the actions he has taken to communicate with his object, the changes in his behavior, his lying to me, etc. Needless to say my flip out was a demand for him to leave the house and go to his parents house. So far he has not reached out to me. I didn’t say do not call me. I feel uncomfortable calling his parents house. They never liked me and if he is or isn’t there either way that sure is a horrible conversation if they answer the phone. He may have gone to his object’s home for all I know. After I kicked him out I discovered more about his relationship with her and he she lives only 3 miles from our house. He has her address as he has mailed her gifts over the past 15 months of their relationship. She is single. He does not have a cell phone. I have no support by family or friends and am very lonely and freaked out for myself and him. I love him so much and it hurts like hell. Thank you.
  • Shiken
    September 25th, 2015 at 05:21 | #13
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    So your wife’s mother died when she was 8 years old but now she wants to celebrate her daughter’s 60th birthday???
  • Shiken
    October 2nd, 2015 at 04:18 | #14
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    Why cling to someone who obviously doesn’t want you and made it clear on several occasions? This is something I will never understand. If he wants to go, open the door for him and wish him luck. By clinging onto him you will just embarrass yourself. Btw, I don’t believe he doesn’t have a cellphone.
    Do you have kids with him?
  • Michael
    October 13th, 2015 at 18:04 | #15
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    Shiken, I am sorry. My mother-in-law is my wife’s step-mother. Her birth mother died when she was 8.
  • B
    December 6th, 2015 at 20:52 | #16
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    I strongly disagree with a great deal of this.
    If we are often limerant, the problem obviously lies within us, not our partners.
    So are we supposed to keep searching for “the One”?
    If we are with someone and their are no red flag issues, I believe real love can be CULTIVATED after infatuation fades.
    I don’t think the answer is to always bolt.
    Just my experience 🙂
  • LPS
    January 20th, 2016 at 08:25 | #17
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    I’m a psychotherapist and I found this article to be simplistic, and I imagine perhaps unhelpfully so to some people. I think maybe the core disagreement that I have with the piece is the seeming lumping together of limerence and projection. One can be in limerence and not be projecting all one’s hopes, dreams and needs onto that person. I do agree that if one is doing the latter, and one is unable to transition out of that through dialog with that other unique, subjectively sovereign human being, as well as with one’s own vulnerabilities and inadequacies, one can get into real difficulties and not discover a “true” loving process. I think sometimes too that those with anxious-preoccupied adult attachment styles are more prone to projection and probably often choose partners with dismissive-avoidant styles, setting up destructive dynamics. Although difficult, these are not impossible to work through and to find loving ways of being together in wonderful, mature relationship. Relationships are extremely complex and the dances we dance in them are coloured by all kinds of factors and difficulties. Love is so worth the effort, whether starting in limerence or otherwise!
  • Ignis
    February 28th, 2016 at 19:14 | #18
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    Hearing all of your stories is indeed heartbreaking. However, it is comforting to some degree seeing that I am not alone. Like all if you, I have also been hurt. Unfortunately, I have had what appears to be many limerent ex’s. I have experienced multiple heartbreaks, but the one from last year completely shut me down for several months. I still am not fully healed.
    It began a bit reckless. He fell head over heels for me in an instant, or at least thought he did. His obsession made me feel uncomfortable and I almost left him. I stayed because I was infatuated by him. I believed we were kindred spirits, which made me feel less alone. I have major depression and anxiety alongside NVLD. I suffer from many phobias, and Philophobia is among the top. I want to get close to people, yet fear it so intensely. I take years to open up to people.
    Anyway, I was hesitant to trust or love him right away. In retrospect, I now realize I handled it normally. He was obsessive and swore he loved me and that he’d never leave my side. He made many outrageous claims as I was dangerouslying close to running away from him. He was showing too many signs of my limerent ex’s. I wasn’t familiar with that term up until now though.
    Regretfully, when I finally let my walls come down he randomly lost interest. Looking back, I do recall him talking about losing the spark.
  • Viv
    March 27th, 2016 at 06:58 | #19
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    My husband started an affair after 21 years of marriage. We both have experienced limerence throughout our marriage. I have starved myself in those instances. I think he has as well. Recently, a single woman (50) wanted my husband. I am 43, husband, 44. She is unattractive and desecrate fora man. My husband and I both were going through midlife crises. She knew it and befriended me to get close to my husband. I am from Tennessee, but live in Stockholm, Sweden, where my husband is from. Now my husband is living with the LO, has sued me for divorce, is selling our house, and has signed my 16year old daughter over to me, requesting that we move back to the states, so he can be happy. I have cried, begged, and pleaded, for six months. How do you suppose our situation will look in four years?
  • Silas Barr
    June 14th, 2016 at 15:20 | #20
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    I am showing the symptoms of limerence, but, I can’t accept it, I feel like I really do love her!!!!
  • Maddox
    June 29th, 2016 at 11:39 | #21
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    Sir, I always get skeptical when someone uses the term “healthy relationship”, because what might be healthy and desirable for one person could turn out to be the wrong way for another. We choose our individual lifestyle, and we choose our lovestyle.
    I would not want to live in what you define as a healthy relationship because it would bore me to tears. I don’t want to get so familiar with anyone as to fart in front of each other — this concept may stem from another time where people had no choice.
    Today I can pick and choose … and I choose limerence and a passionate affair over something that sounds like a lifelong prison sentence. Please be tolerant enough to accept the simple truth, to each their own.
  • gyoza
    October 26th, 2016 at 13:40 | #22
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    Shiken, what you described is not love though. True love isn’t time limited. It is not jealous or insecure. It is not needy but the opposite: it is giving. It necessitates work and self-sacrifice and deep concern for another person’s well being. It also has an element of loyalty. Limerence isn’t completely not love, it often evolves into true love in mature individuals, when they realize there’s more to feeling attracted to another person. For me, limerence stage was great for what it was, but the real treat was when real love started, when I know I can come home and there’s someone who’s completely got my back. That said, you need to work to build towards that stage.
  • gyoza
    October 26th, 2016 at 13:45 | #23
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    Sure, but what you perceive to be healthy for you wouldn’t necessarily be healthy for your partner or your children (if you bothered to have any). Whenever you’re in a relationship, it’s a team’s game, no longer your own life, but a united group of lives that are effected. Also, what might seem good to you during one stage of life might not be good at other stages. Long lasting healthy relationships precipitate stability, support and emotional security in later life, usually with prosperity of family. You leave multi-generational legacies behind. That might not be you cup of tea or ever be your cup of tea. Not everyone has to do that. I’m only saying that as it’s something to consider.
  • Maria
    October 27th, 2016 at 12:51 | #24
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    I could use some advice please. I am fairly confident I am in Limerence. Here is my story.
    In 2015 by chance a man and I became attracted to each other at first sight. I had tried off and on from the first time we dated to pull back because he had disclosed first that he was not ready for a relationship, timing, etc… and ultimately that he had met a woman (married) 7 years ago who over time have created a strong bond between themselves. He feels he loves her, and she told him he was very special to her. We dated for about 4 months but he cut it off because my feelings were getting too strong and he realized this and told me he did not want to hurt me. I feel they are both in Limerence themselves. I feel this relationship is not going to work out for them and I know it sounds bad because I know I am in Limerence over him but I still want to be with him and feel that we may get back together if it does not work out with their relationship. Is this a realistic expectation? Our paths have crossed a few times and at one point he told me he did want to keep seeing me but that again, he wants to see if it is going to work out. Sigh! Who am I fooling? Myself.
  • eb
    December 7th, 2016 at 11:09 | #25
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    I’ve come to realise I’ve been in limerence over one person for possibly over 2 years, I have been with my boyfriend for almost 6.
    He’s a friend of my boyfriend, there was a group of us who used to hang out and drink together.
    When it started it wasn’t so bad because I expected it to go away. It sounds really ridiculous but I think it all started with a dream I had about him. In the dream we met at a train station and he held me, it felt wonderful. We’ve all had plenty of romantic dreams so tried not to think much of it but it changed the way I saw him from then on.
    My boyfriend ended up moving into a share-house with him and another friend and that’s when things got worse. We were spending more time together and my infatuation became intense.
    The guilt was equally as intense because I love my boyfriend, my feelings for the other guy made me incredibly confused about my relationship. I began to doubt it’s authenticity, how could I love two people at once?
    Nothing ever really happened besides a lot of flirting, I figured I can’t control my feelings but I can control my actions (for the most part) but when we began to sit too close, the knees touching, the hands touching, extended eye contact. I got scared. One night everyone else had gone to bed and we stayed up watching TV, he put his head on my shoulder. I thought my heart was going to leap out my chest, I was equally thrilled and terrified. I rested my head on his. I relished the moment because I knew I’d probably never get to see him from that angle again. The show finished, I got up, he woke up, we turned everything off and I went in bed with my sleeping boyfriend.
  • MT
    December 13th, 2016 at 03:59 | #26
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    I don’t believe all of these situations are limerance. I believe a lot of them are just cheating and people having affairs on each other. Self diagnosis is not always good and some are looking for a reason to find hope and justify others actions. If after 20 plus years of marriage your husband has left you it doesn’t mean he is limerance it means he cheated and moved on and it’s time for you to move on as well. Sometimes we must except that not all relationships work out even when you’ve given all that you have, I’m sure we’ve all experienced a failed relationship we may have been the cause or perhaps our partners nevertheless we have to push forward and live because the one who has moved on is living their life with no worries about you. prayer and time really does heal. I wish the best for all of us in these heart breaking situations.
  • Yr Mom
    December 29th, 2016 at 21:15 | #27
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    What is the difference between any of this and how you feel when you first fall in love? Are you supposed to only be like gee whiz I hope I can iron this man’s shirts one day? Let’s sit next to each other in a restaurant and not speak for forty minutes.
    Seems like a word that originally had a meaning but has since jumped the shark. Now it’s just a word people use to pathologize the sad but common experience of having an affair.
  • Keik
    January 11th, 2017 at 12:54 | #28
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    I agree wholeheartedly with you! All love relationships start off with infatuation. When my husband and I first met, we were gaga over each other. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop thinking about each other. Over time those feelings subsided and just developed into natural love. This whole nonsense of “limerence” is just another word for infatuation and breaking it down as if it’s some kind of special mental illness is academic bullshit.
  • Keik
    January 11th, 2017 at 12:54 | #29
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    P.S. We have been together now for 15 years.
  • Keik
    January 11th, 2017 at 13:03 | #30
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    @Yr Mom
    Yr Mom: Your comment made me laugh and laugh! That is awesome! 🙂
  • Janet
    January 21st, 2017 at 17:47 | #31
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    How do you get rid of limmerence is what I would like to know? Some of it is pleasureable, and some of it is just too painful, and serves no logical purpose, in the end. I think if the object of it has personality disorders, it’s like the perfect storm or should I say torture device. You know it wont work and they abused your feelings and vulnerability, but yet you still can’t let go and feel in different like you know you should. You end up feeling like you’re addicted to the pain, because even when you get away and move on, reminders and people connected to them still dredge it up again, if they come crawling around to report back to them. I just ignore this flaw in myself lately, and live with it at this point. I’m pretty darn happy overall, and so it could be worse. Its just weird though as I wasn’t allways like this. Usually I get over things in a normal period of time. Maybe at some point of time the wrong person at the wrong time, taps into your worst fears about yourself, and they’re able to inflict a ton of damage, and you’re tied to that person because of it. Even when you don’t want to be anymore.
  • Ron
    February 7th, 2017 at 17:00 | #32
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    I have come across a funnily tragic case study of sorts on blogger. It’s called Limerence In The Age Of Terror.
  • Aiden
    May 6th, 2017 at 21:16 | #33
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    Limerence is very real, and I have been limerent multiple times with multiple guys. It goes so far beyond infatuation, so far beyond being enamored. It feels like being completely in love by Universal ordinance or “soul connection,” even without much knowledge and foresight about the other person (in my cases). It is debilitating in its obsessiveness.
    The “Mother Nature’s genetic variety” relative to having children isn’t an appropriate reasoning for someone like me, who is limerent for men, being male. Anyhoo, I appreciated the information and especially the list.
    But, what is the proper term for one suffering from limerence? Limerent is an adjective, but would it also be the descriptive noun? (i.e. “I am a lemerent.”) Just curious. 🙂
  • Paul
    May 21st, 2017 at 15:57 | #34
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    I am having the same experience and feel like I am currently in peak limerence, it is really is the most excruciating and disturbing experience I’ve ever had. The worst part is the intrusive thoughts and fantasies which I just can’t turn off even when I am at work. I just really hope that this will subside before I risk losing my job because I can’t focus. I’ve known my limerent object for about 18 months now and though I’ve only recently read about limerence I can see I’ve been experiencing pretty much all all the symptoms in the list at the top of the page.
    Even though rationally it’s clear to me that my limerent object is completely unattainable and not interested in a relationship with me, she has a husband and a child not to mention a boyfriend as well as children in another country and yet I can’t can’t seem to get rid of the projections and fantasy. I’m also aware in some way that she is stringing me along and possibly getting some form of enjoyment from my attempts to make a connection and gain reciprocation – her messaging replies are never more than neutral. I even tried to get her to reject me in her messaging but she won’t.
    I’m going to try total no contact – no more messaging to gain her attention, no more visits to the shop where she works. Any thoughts on this way forward? I know it’s not possible to ever forget her but I need to get some perspective and reduce the limerence as soon as possible.
    • Mark Pedzinski
      June 25th, 2017 at 10:21 | #35
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      Paul me too am suffering from such similarities… Mine continues… 🙁 she’s married, 14 year old son. Her husband suspected but is unsure. She claims she split up after her claim her husband hit her. She appears to be BPD! Best thing to do is break contact move on… I don’t know how far you came to accept all her situation, bf too? BPD has two destructive behaviours.
      Anyway, this isn’t my only limerence… Like my 3-4th lifetime. Jayne, Lisa, Ashley, Now Jennifer… My first married one. But, by no means should we expect more than boundaries. It happened between you and I… Something is keeping it going… Could be her talk… Love and miss yous. . I’m explosive mean to mine when she fails a plan…
      Like these past 11 days, like I fight 6 days…. Sad for 2… And there’s a younger woman interested in me, who’s been showing more true… My 3rd limerence… Obviously I’m on my 4th.. like I can’t go back on previous. Like the feeling, drive, motivation is dead? Idk. But, it’s always a previous limerence I friend, on a friend basis.
      To answer your question, playing hard to get, coy, will help… But, then is the fear if your not there, not supportive, what’s the object doing to replace you. Remember, they aren’t single. I’m only 3 months in mine, but more information comes to light, perhaps, mine has a bf too? Lol. Mine is an infp personality… Which 75% woman get affected by their feeling side. My advice to you is balance yourself out with someone else. A friend! Another gf, doesn’t work obviously. Tried a gf for 5 days kinda approach, me and her decided friendship is best. Me and friend is progressing. Breaking away, I love my friend Ashley. Like my 3rd limerence. And, I wasn’t committed to her last year. While I’m committed to my 4th limerence this year. But, Jen is OK I date Ashley. I’m honest with Ashley.
    • Nikki Barnett
      August 24th, 2017 at 01:34 | #36
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      @Paul , as a woman I can tell you that she is absolutely stringing you along because she can. You show her she can by continuously doing all the things that make her feel what a person does that is wanted and she hasn’t had to do anything but give a simple seeming mundane reply. This isn’t to say she is a bad person when the fact is that any one of us are capable of it on some level as so with being with someone who goes so far above and beyond that you lose respect and intimately could end up emotionally abusive without ever having or having since that kind of character or personality. If you want her attention stop dropping yours at her feet for her to pick and choose when you’re worthy of notice. She WILL get in touch with you! I want to tell you to play your cards right but you have to be realistic. If she was experiencing mutual attraction you would absolutely know as we all reciprocate when we do. That being said even so you wouldn’t be able to have the relationship you obviously are in need of emotionally. Too often people don’t think about the fact that our intimate relationships are as special as they are because we don’t have that connection that often in life. Yes, we all have ppl we’ve dreamt of and crushes over but that connection you feel with another that connects with you too. You will miss out on that woman if you don’t stop spending time allowing this woman to distract you from someone that will give you a feelings thousands of times stronger than what you think you’re feeling by giving you the attention and love your disrespecting yourself to get. Be patient and stop looking in that direction or she will walk right past you.
  • Pamela
    October 5th, 2017 at 17:19 | #37
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    I’m shaking my head at this. As I see it this is the normal infatuation stage of love. It’s supposed to be intense. This is what makes you bond with someone. It’s like the romantic form of the parent/child bonding people get when they hold their new baby. It doesn’t remain that intense, it’s not supposed to. If you marry, you’re supposed to expect the intense part to fade, but there should be feelings of affection deepening in the meantime. By the time this intense feeling fades, the deeper bond of family, from having lived with someone a couple of years should have replaced it.
    • Gerald
      December 24th, 2017 at 11:01 | #38
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      Thank you, Pamela! I’m pretty sure ‘limerence’ is NOT in the Diagnostic Service Manual (DSM 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5). If it is, please show me! The DSM 5th edition (notice psychology too has evolved) is the diagnostic tool used in the psychological field to aid in diagnosing mental health issues and is used by trained professionals. After reading both Dr. Cookerly’s article, documentation and a bulk of the comments here it appears to me that the article is another misguided attempt to shed light by villainizing our emotions further estranging us from ourselves. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that limerence, or ‘in love’ feelings, are the true sign that we’ve found our ‘true love’ and quite often becomes part of what has become known as ‘the relationship escalator’, i.e. you notice you’re attracted to someone, you befriend each other, you notice your attraction grow, you begin dating, you fall in love, become ‘boyfriend’ and/or ‘girlfriend’ and so on (even the breakup or divorce has become so frequent that they too are part of ‘the relationship escalator’ in my experience and observation).
      Limerence is the clinical name for the ‘in love’ emotion and experience. While I do agree that if that’s what someone is basing their relationship on, and many people do ‘end it’ when it when the ‘in love’ experience diminishes, it doesn’t give a relationship very much resilience. However I would not villanize the emotions associated with our ‘in love’ experience. There are behaviors which I believe we can be more aware of that diminish our relationship’s resilience, such as possessiveness. Possessiveness may show up as feelings. However it’s a behavior based on the belief that something belongs to us.
      There certainly is nothing false about an emotion. However having expectations that lay unexplored and unnegotiated based solely on emotions can be devastating to a relationship. There are many books out there and there are some well written resources. I’m just a relationship coach. I encourage your exploration and evolution.
      Great blog, Dr. Cookerly.
  • AnaV
    November 12th, 2017 at 10:45 | #39
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    Dear Michael,
    I am reading this in Nov 2017.
    How are you doing?

  • Spot
    December 29th, 2017 at 08:50 | #40
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    Limerance sounds like Love Addiction.
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