Maybe you haven’t; it’s not a widely understood, or talked about, concept.
But if you’ve been touched by infidelity in any way, than ya need to read this post!
So where did this weird word Limerence come from and what’s meaning of limerence?
Limerence was born in the 70’s, baby….
- The concept was studied and created by Dorothy Tennov in her book Love and Limerence in 1979.
Tennov studied romantic love consisting of questionnaires and interviews.
She observed a number of frequently common traits she observed with people who thought they were in love.
This prompted her to define the term limerence which encompasses all these shared experiences.
When Tennov wrote of her research and coined the word Limerence , she was describing a number experiences and behaviors others had around the feelings of ‘love’,
which had the potential to become obsessive and problematic. But initially, she also saw that it could even be the start of healthy bonding.
- However, researchers later looked more at the pathological and compulsive side of the spectrum, usually only using the word, limerence,
to describe the negative and mental distressing side of the concept.
There can definitely be a wide spectrum on the limerence scale from mild to very obsessive, so that’s important to know going into this discussion.
First let’s define what limerence means, and then lets list the 15 limerence symptoms and signs you or a loved one is experiencing this.
Here are some general definitions I found on limerence meaning, after researching it.
A. Limerence is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes
obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one’s feelings reciprocated;
but not primarily just for a sexual relationship.
Limerence is considered an emotional state of being emotionally attached to,
or even obsessed with, another person.
It’s typically experienced involuntarily, and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings—a near-obsessive form of romantic love. (source=Wikipedia)
So, in a nutshell, limerence wants to obtain something for itself,
it’s pleasures and benefits;
but true and love wants to give selflessly, which often requires sacrifice.
So let’s look at the 16 undeniable signs of limerence symptoms,
and see if you can relate to any of these or have witnessed this is someone else:
(I may describe the other person as the limerent object or abbreviate with LO for short).
1. A person feels an intense emotional and romantic desire
for another person, typically stronger than a normal crush.
Many feeling ‘limerence’ would usually describe their feelings as being “madly in love”; unlike anything they’ve felt before.
Are you desiring someone so much in a way you don’t remember feeling before?
It can be romantic and/or sexual desires and they can know this, or it can still be a secret within you.
2. You find yourself fantasizing about them often, even how you can be their rescuer.
In the beginning, or before a relationship has even started, you might find yourself fantasizing about the depth of your relationship
with them and in your fantasy you’re thinking about what your future together will look like.
There is such a constant daydreaming about the other person, it’s distracting you from your normal life.
3. Compulsively looking for any signs that they feel the same way for you.
If reciprocity doesn’t happen, you keep fantasizing about them and your future with them,
thinking it will eventually become a reality.
Experienced as intense joy or extreme despair depending on if the feelings are reciprocated.
These 2 posts may be helpful for you at this early stage:
What is emotional affair, is it really cheating? and warning signs of your emotional affair.
4. Feelings of euphoria whenever you’re with this person of your affection.
The connection and feelings while with this person are a high, or euphoric.
This can be felt whether you’re in a relationship with them or not.
This often goes hand in hand with Affair Fog, read the 5 signs to watch for here.
5. You might manipulate situations where you can bump into them somewhere,
so that you both have to communicate.
Many affairs start out when one manipulated circumstances to be with the object of their intense limerence.
They orchestrated events to put them right where their LO would be at that specific time, it’s actually quite common.
6. You idealize them and everything they do.
Good qualities in them are magnified and negative qualities are minimized,
whether only in your own head, or while talking to other people about them.
Red flags are definitely ignored.
Certain Character traits or annoying habits in this person that you wouldn’t have tolerated at one time,
is ignored or overlooked by you now.
7. There’s an obsessive focus on everything they’re doing.
Finding out who they’re talking to or spending time with becomes a daily focus, anything that revolves around them.
Jealousy could play into it here also.
Yet, in an affair, they both realize they don’t really have a claim on the other since they, or both of you, are married.
This often creates a crazy obsession in wondering who else the LO may find to replace you.
8. You believe they’re your soul mate, and you’ve never felt like this before.
People in affairs are known to “re-write history” meaning, they only see and remember the strong feelings they have now,
not the similar ways they once also felt for their spouse. Limerence has blinded them to thinking that only this new person can be their soul mate.
9 You’re experiencing frequent intrusive and obsessive thinking about this other person.
You’re spending more time thinking about your LO than anyone, or anything, else.
They become the central focus in ones mind, often to the exclusion of other people around them. Even spouses or children.
Thoughts like “am I the only one they’ll feel this way with?” plus every song will remind them of the LO.
You might also like to read 5 ways your affair starts in your thoughts.
And the real reason you can’t get over your affair.
10. Impaired functioning and extreme lack of concentration in normal routine.
Unable to think or act clearly without distraction and preoccupation with the LO to an unhealthy point.
Work often suffers and decision making and normal concentration is affected.
Add to that the extra guilt one might feel for having an affair, and the lack of concentration and
inability to function normally is heightened.
11. Anxiety and self-consciousness becomes a stress.
The anxiety could stem from worrying about what they think of you, whether you are in a relationship with them or not.
Self-consciousness about whether they will like you, or continue to like you is a daily struggle,
even if you’re in an affair with this person.
Fear of rejection is strong. Particularly when in an affair,
because there’s a common knowledge that the affair can end quickly if news of it gets out.
12. Severe mood swings.
The extreme emotional highs when the other person responds and is interested, and extreme lows when they express disinterest or just ignoring you.
A person experiencing Limerence is constantly assessing the feelings of the other person to be sure they feel the same in return.
Affairs only emphasize mood swings as one can feel euphoria when with their affair partner, and guilt when alone.
13. You believe, or constantly tell yourself, you can’t live without them.
Just the thought of living without them in your life sends you spiraling into depression.
You have an overwhelming desire for their daily attention and affection
and the thought of living without them is unimaginable.
Read the 11 lies that sabotage breaking off the affair.
14. Strong sexual desire for the Limerent Object
This is not just a school crush, the sexual desire for the object of your Limerence is strong.
If both are in an affair with each other, the secretive and sexual aspect of their relationship fuels their Limerence.
15. Physical symptoms can be experienced in Limerence.
physical symptoms when around or in contact with the LO are common, such as heart palpitations and possibly even dizzy and sweaty.
16. Normally well reasoning people who now disregard logic, previously held values,
and reputations to pursue their L.O.
Many careers were destroyed, previously held values broken and marriages ended because of limerence.
Otherwise intelligent people will throw it all away in pursuit of the person of their obsession, even beyond reason.
So, how do these 16 Limerence symptoms apply to affairs?
- They are very often present in one or both people in an affair creating a “limerent relationship”.
In other words, a relationship based not on the self sacrificing, unconditional type of love that’s long lasting.
A limerent relationship is usually an affair that has many of these 16 characteristics. Is this a good foundation for a relationship?
- They often believe their affair partner is their soul-mate, even believing they have ‘never felt this way about their spouse’.
But what is often happening is they are rewriting history and forgetting their previous strong emotions
they felt in the beginning of that relationship. That is one of the limerence symptoms.
- If you make life-changing decisions while in this limerence state of mind, you risk losing a lot. Limerence eventually fizzles out.
If you’re still in the affair, or having contact with your affair partner,
you’re not thinking clearly and still in the affair fog that limerence creates.
Once that fog lifts and limerence fades, what will your life look like? Serious questions to think about.
Do you relate to any of 16 undeniable signs limerence symptoms?
If you’re the betrayed spouse, do you recognize these limerence symptoms in your spouse?
A quick look at the brain chemicals behind this limerence:
The flooding of brain chemicals of dopamine, and dropping levels of serotonin are what fuels limerence.
But they can’t continue in that elevated state forever.
Dopamine spikes, flooding the brain with feeling good chemicals; while serotonin drops, which often helps fuel obsessive behavior.
But it will eventually stop.
It’s unsustainable for very long.
The average length of limerence symptoms and feelings lasts between 3-36 months,
depending upon whether they were in an affair and the feeling was mutual or not.
In other words, is there just one person having obsessive feelings toward another or are both in the affair with each other?
Dr. Joe Beam states: “An interesting phenomenon that typically occurs in limerence is that one partner becomes limerent more quickly
than does the other. During the first stage, the slower partner pulls away because of guilt and other feelings, only to be pulled back by
the other partner who already is fully limerent. In the last stage, the partner who became limerent the fastest also typically falls out of
limerence the fastest.
Now the roles reverse: the partner who entered limerence more slowly, also exits it more slowly and begins to
pull the other partner back into the affair.”
“Limerence exists to bring people together, not to keep them together,” Beam says.
It always ends, and when it does, so does the affair. Sure, one may ask whether it is possible that
‘affair limerence’ could be replaced by true love, once the limerence ends?
The answer seems to be, “yes, it’s possible, but highly unlikely.”
This is because the seeds of the affair were planted in soil that was thoroughly poisoned by lies, deception, and mistrust.
Precious little can survive long-term in that kind of ground.”
Are you are in an affair and identify with any of the signs of limerence,
or you’re on your way out of the affair and the limerence symptoms are subsiding?
Comment below, even anonymously, and share your thoughts because it always helps others to know they’re not alone.
If you’ve ended your affair, or considering breaking it off,
you might like to watch me talk on my video on How To Deal With Triggers and Withdrawals.
If you’re the unfaithful wife, read more here because there is a path for help.
Are you the hurt husband, trying to make sense of your wife’s infidelity?
Read more here for betrayed husbands, because we have a whole section to help you as you process through
this difficult time.
Also, it might help to watch my video interview with my very own husband as he shares his perspective of
the infidelity 12 years ago.