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  • Writer's pictureAubrey Harris

Are we Confusing Limerence with Love?

Limerence is a phenomenon coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov describing a profound romantic infatuation, obsession, and desire for reciprocated feelings.

It sounds just like the experience of falling in love. However, limerence differs in its involuntary, relentless, and compulsive nature.

Limerent individuals experience fixation, intensified emotional responses to rejection and conflict, overemphasis of partners' positive characteristics, a minimization of their flaws, and a deep desire for exclusivity.

This comes at the expense of autonomy, the ability to maintain other relationships/friendships, and personal well-being.

Limerence happens in three stages:

Infatuation: Feeling that the potential partner is special and an unconscious desire to be worthy of their love. This entails thoughts about one’s partner nearly every waking hour, coupled with stress, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and addictive behaviors.

Crystallisation: Believing that the potential partner is the solution to all of your problems. This is characterized by denial of any of the partner's flaws and incompatibility with you and a voluntary delusion to avoid loss.

Deterioration: The eventual realization of loss and disappointment that the object of your fixation is not who you convinced yourself they are.

Childhood trauma, developmental issues, exhaustion, and lack of stimulation are all prerequisites for falling into limerence.

Limerent types are often obsessed with the potential of what a person has to offer and addicted to the idea of unattainable love.

This results in hopping from one love intoxication to the next, developing a codependency.

The chemical experience of falling in love is magical.

It allows us to share our flaws and choose to still like one other through genuine safety, communication and reciprocity.

Limerence does not allow for real connection. It enforces an idea of all consuming, toxic infatuation that leads to hurt and disorder.

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