Misuse of term "limerence"

topic posted Wed, September 8, 2010 - 8:13 PM by  Chameleon
Has anyone else noticed this term getting misused a bit lately? Not just on this forum particularly, but around other places? For example, I remember coming across some teenage discussion where a bunch of them were talking about the term limerence - and they all pretty much believed that they were suffering or had suffered from it (because sue liked bobby and couldn't stop thinking about him, etc). But really what they were talking about was normal teenage crush behavior.

I can see how in the description of it, many could interpret it as simple crush like symptoms. Any one else find this annoying?
posted by:
  • Oh yes. Recently, in one of those articles that used the term, they were discussing "limerence" as a euphoric state that the author was wanting to perpetuate in his/her relationship. I laughed alot at the idea... Imagine, this person wanted to WORK at keeping limerence alive? Hell, I'd give 'em mine for free if such a thing was possible. It doesn't work that way, *sigh*

    The quick, run-down description of limerence does sound alot like a crush I guess. And it is bothersome, because crushes are so ephemeral for the most part--and yes, normal. I'd love to be normal. To just have normal crushes, have fun with them, a little heartache, and end up in actual relationships with people you like... It's not a bad system. I feel like limerence has excluded me from all that; I live in a different world and I have no control over it.
    • I've also noticed this. It does bother me--in fact, I get rather irritated when I see the term misused. For me, limerence isn't some light concept to throw around and flippantly claim you have experience with. It's a very serious thing and an experience that I intensely respect; it causes a lot of pain and usually a lot of personal growth. So I'm pretty picky about how other articles/places portray limerence. I want people to better understand what it's really like, and that when we say someone is always on our minds, we're not just being overly romantic/dramatic--thoughts of that person are literally so intrusive that they interfere with our daily functioning and all aspects of our lives. It's a whole different level. To have people conceptualize it as a crush cheapens it and doesn't help our cause.
      • Yes, I agree. I think of it as a disorder. I think there are people that visit this forum that misuse the term as well. A lot of them are either in love or have a crush on someone. I think the amount of people that actually have it is quite small, which makes diagnosing it that much harder. Try finding a psychiatrist who's suffered from it and can offer you some sound advice. Its not romance, like Thinker said. If you see it that way, or want some kind of long term loving relationship, I doubt you have it. There are lots of words that are close to limerence. Infatuation, Adoration, Lust - none of those words sum up limerence. For the most part, I agree with a lot of what the Wikipedia entry has for limerence.
        • "I think of it as a disorder. I think there are people that visit this forum that misuse the term as well. A lot of them are either in love or have a crush on someone."

          I think you are quite right.
      • "when we say someone is always on our minds,
        we're not just being overly romantic/dramatic"

        I think that's what my LO thought... 'She's being melodramatic...'

        When I was talking about my complete obsession, addiction to him,
        not being able to stop thinking of him, etc, it was no sodding joke...

        I was trying to be honest about the way I was losing my mind...
        and at the end of many months of hell, with trips to the nuthouse,
        he said he hadn't realised how bad it had been for me!

        Didn't he take note of what I was saying? No... *sigh*

        *head-desk* Love is a Bitch, Limerence; Quadruply so.
  • JJ
    offline 0
    Figuring out whether or not I really suffered from limerence was something I really struggled with when I first learned about the idea.

    It's hard, first of all, to even recognize that one's own behavior is different from the norm. A person only knows how he experiences the world, and there are, unfortunately, no clear cut ways to make comparisons - it's kind of like the whole "is what I perceive as red the same as what you perceive as red" idea. So, for example, because I experienced these intense "crushes" that would last years at a time, I more or less assumed everyone else had the same thing going on. Only by observing more and more people moving regularly in and out of relationships (which starkly contradicted the intensity I innately assumed should be associated with relationships) and only by experiencing that my behavior around my "crushes" (whom of course I'd now call LOs) never seemed to lead to regular relationships, could I even begin to know that I ticked in a slightly different way than most people.

    Then there is also the built-in ambiguity of psychology, where a person might demonstrate only this or that 'symptom' of a 'disorder' (I use quotes there because I'm not totally sure limerence counts as a disorder). For example just the first paragraph of the wikipedia article on obsessive-compulsive disorder lists five possible characteristic symptoms. Of course someone with OCD probably doesn't exhibit all five symptoms, but does someone with only one of the five symptoms have OCD? What if they have two of the five symptoms? What if they have one of the symptoms, and a slightly different twist on one of the others? Where do you draw the line?

    I certainly agree with the point that limerence is an intense, often painful experience, and the idea shouldn't be too cavalierly applied. However, it's not (for me at any rate) annoying when someone mistakes their crush for limerence. I think forums like these are better when aimed at the larger crowd than the smaller (all the people with at least one symptom, rather than only the select few with five symptoms). That way there's a better chance that a wayward limerent soul out there might accidentally stumble across this and have at least a bit of comfort in knowing (s)he's not alone - or at least that soul can get some help in comparing his/her version of red to the rest of the worlds'.
    • I agree pretty much with all comments and want to second that I had a bit of a difficult time figuring out if I belonged here. When I first thought to describe my feeling as limerence, as I'd heard the word before and recalled it, I felt it fitting but too serious at the point I was in. There are definitely periods where it is more intense than others. I've definitely only had crushes, I've definitely been infatuated, but this has been unlike those things. More like infatuation on steroids.
  • My understanding is that the term (coined by Tennov back in the late 70s) has always been a bit fuzzy and that it evolved through time. I think that when she was doing her original study, she invented the word to describe the "falling in love" phase of typical romantic bondings.

    It wasn't until later on, and after some more extreme cases were examined, that she and others started using it to describe a "disorder."

    It can still be kind of a fuzzy line. There are some cases where you can say that things are just typical romantic love issues (some degree of moodiness, lots of thinking about the other person, some idealization) versus situations where things are completely dysfunctional and out of control.

    One of the criteria people use for determining whether something is a "disorder" is how common it is. If a huge portion of a given population goes through it - it's not a disorder. It's just a fact of life. I think the DSM definition of limerence (as a disorder) requires that he person be over 18. That's not because adolescents are incapable of limerence. It's just the opposite. It's so common among adolescents that it's viewed as part of growing up.

    The other frustrating thing about limerence is that it can arise in such a wide series of contexts. If you look around this board, you'll find lots of people who have very few common elements or issues in their situations. Some are adolescents, some developed internet relationships, some are involved in office affairs, some are dealing with gender barriers, some are dealing with rekindled romances, some are dealing with manipulators or narcissists, some people (almost always women) are involved in full blown sexual relationships with their LOs, but stress over whether they are really loved or are just being "used," some involve fixations on celebrities or authority figures, and so on and so on.

    The one thing that they do seem to have in common is the internal dynamic of attraction + hope + uncrertainty + super-idealization leading to obsessive thought.

    I think it's a huge mistake to think that limerence is just a function of OCD personality disorders. Or the function of any particular kind of personality. Some personalities may be more vulnerable to it, and we may all be more vulnerable to it at certain points in our lives, but the biggest single trigger seems to be communication issues in the situations themselves.

    Of course, what do I know?
    • RD
      offline 33
      Excellent Cap! I agree with you - we are a diverse crowd in here and often the only thing we have in common is the shared (miserable) experience of Limerence as you define it.

      I think limer-brain prevents the sending/receiving of communication that would kill off the limerence. If we all examine one of our tribe member's situation it is often very clear to us what is going on and yet the limerent-one is completely confused and in the dark. Love isn't blind - HOPE is blind... and deaf.

      When my SO discovered this tribe he, thankfully, got bored by it quickly and determined we are a bunch of people having emotional affairs. Until one travels down the Limerent Road it is almost impossible to adequately describe the experience.
      • RD: When my SO discovered this tribe he, thankfully, got bored by it quickly and determined we are a bunch of people having emotional affairs.

        anne: RD,I told only one of my friends about limerence, and he quickly got bored by it and declared limerents a bunch of drama queens whining about falling in unrequited love. I haven't talked to him again about it since.
    • Apologies for critiquing your post, Cap. I agree with the majority of your thoughts when you write, but I'm in violent disagreement about a couple of things here and I suspect that some nefarious person has come along and typed on your keyboard when you weren't looking :)

      "One of the criteria people use for determining whether something is a "disorder" is how common it is. If a huge portion of a given population goes through it - it's not a disorder. It's just a fact of life."

      This is not correct. If we are talking psychopathology, then "disorder" is commonly accepted as those conditions defined in the DSM and ICD (the European equivalent). Prevalence is irrelevant - consider depression for example. This isn't just a semantic difference (otherwise I wouldn't speak up). This goes to the heart of what is wrong with a society that has come to be ruled by what Neil Postman called the mindset of "technopoly" i.e. the belief that society should be organised around what can be quantified rather than how life is experienced by human beings.

      Depression is a good example of this. Depression is a medical word for melancholy, a human experience and fact of life. It's only our modern Western culture which has pathologised it, quantified it and even defined it as a neurobiological phenomenon. But this is not how other cultures or peoples see it or saw it historically. "Disorder" is simply a culturally-mired idea of human experience which has been quantified, pathologised and thus abnegated.

      "I think the DSM definition of limerence (as a disorder) requires that he person be over 18."

      Limerence is not defined in DSM-IV, and is not proposed for DSM-V either. You may be thinking of Wakin & Vo's criteria for their study of limerence, but this should not be construed as a future definition.
      • Unsu...
        Hi everybody,
        I have been hooked on this tribe for a few weeks. and thought i would speak up. I just joined. :)
        by far this thread has been the most informative for me yet. Its a good discussion on what it really is.

        I am still trying to figure it out myself and I feel like i could talk about this forever., hehe.
        but anyways This stood out for me

        "single trigger seems to be communication issues"

        and i like Meowbies elegant post,

        in particular

        "This goes to the heart of what is wrong with a society that has come to be ruled by what Neil Postman called the mindset of "technopoly" i.e. the belief that society should be organised around what can be quantified rather than how life is experienced by human beings. "

        I do believe that society in general has been a major block towards a lot of things that are disorders, but don't necesarilly need to be. If we were more or less structured to help people instead of what can be quantified. I don't feel like i would be here right now. so i guess we are here trying to figure this out on our own. on the side like.

        I can post more, when I figure this out more. but i just wanted to say hi, i feel ya, and i am with ya. for now.

        I went and bought the book on the main picture, "Love and Limerance" It should get here tomorrow. After i read it I will know more about how to fit in here.

        excellent thread. thanks.
      • Unsu...
        So is clinging to it as a pathology instead of as an aspect of humanity enabling the limerence. Is that labeling in and of itself an enabling activity - seems so. It seems if we call it an illness that we render ourselves powerless. Why would we do that? I don't see it as an illness, I see it as having addictive elements, but not an illness per se. Did Tennov see it as an illness? Does she use that term? What about those of us who can move from LO to LS in the same relationship?
        • Unsu...
          "It seems if we call it an illness that we render ourselves powerless."
          thats what i have a problem with. including AA, I could never give in to the idea that i was powerless over drinking, or anything else.
          I think that is the wrong aproach to anything.

          we have control.
          Just how do we implement it in this society. the way that it is set up. we are instant victims, instead of "instant humans in need of assistance"
          • Unsu...
            Yeah, Free..., I don't really buy that either. I think sometimes it is easier to let ourselves be powerless than to dig deep and do something. I don't want to 12-Step this experience, I just don't!!!! it is funny, but it feels like religion here - being told we are small and insignificant. We are in some ways, in the cosmic sense, but we are also the center of our own universe if we so choose to be and that makes us limitless, boundless.
            • Unsu...
              hey laby,

              you said "being told we are small and insignificant. We are in some ways, in the cosmic sense, but we are also the center of our own universe if we so choose to be and that makes us limitless, boundless. "

              I think a good balance between the two viewpoints every day, helps make a good person. Too much in either direction and the problems start.
              • Unsu...
                I am an obsessive correcter. :)
                I really mean a good "Mix" not a good balance.
                there is a difference, and since tricopath was being so subltle, i thought i would correct myself on that. :D
              • Unsu...
                Hey Freedive - yes balance, mix... I didn't mean the "Awesome Me" as Thinker calls it - when I say we are the center of our own universe I mean that in recognizing that we do have some power to shape our lives (no matter how powerless we FEEL) we take responsibility for our lives. Recognizing one's power is not the same as being a megalomaniac. LOL!!!!! So, just think I needed to clarify that one and distinguish it from the Nothing Hurts Me Awesome Me - I wasn't suggesting anything like that. I do think our potential for deep happiness and deep sorrow is limitless, boundless. As a Buddhist I fully accept that one does not live life without sorrow, but I think we can focus our energy on what makes us feel the most alive. Recognizing our possibilities is not about turning away from our pain and frailty it is about accepting it. Funny that many have come to associate the feeling of being lost, of falling with powerlessness - I don't see it that way at all. I think when we are brave enough to go into the freefall, to say "My life is totally fucked up!" is when we finally start to get somewhere. We see pain as a weakness instead of seeing it as a sign to make changes, to push yourself to grow, to challenge yourself, to rid yourself of toxic people. We hate pain because we have been conditioned to hate pain, but pain is a powerful warning signal - pain protects us.
                • Yes, Laby, I hope I didn't come off as attacking what you or anyone else said--I'm just thinking aloud and trying to further what's been said here. :) I believe you and I are drawing from similar perspectives; I understood what you meant about having the inner power to effect change in our own lives and I identify with a lot of Buddhist ideas. I agree with everything you wrote. From hell arises freedom.

                  Hehe--I know, I used "Awesome Me" as an exaggeration to more clearly make the point. It's more in line with Eckhart Tolle's style and his teachings on the ego. (I'm not a megalomaniac, I promise! :D) To me, it seems that his ideas on the ego are very close to Buddhist ideas of nonself. What I was really trying to get at was this implicit, unexamined idea in myself that my mind could solve my problem. I kept unconsciously searching for the way out, trying to come up with something, believing that if I tried a little harder, I could do it and get myself out of the pain and limerence. But there was a serious flaw in this: my mind couldn't solve the problem because it *was* the problem. It was *creating* the problem. And this goes back to the Einstein quote we've mentioned on here a few times, about how problems can't be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them. I eventually had that felt realization.

                  It was only after I started admitting how powerless I was that I also started to see how ridiculously arrogant our own minds can be. They think they can control everything, they think they know everything, can judge everything. We all do it, hell. (Taking "Thinker" as my name is proof of my own identification with my mind.) But one of the huge gifts that limerence gave me was the ability to see how feeble my mind really is. Limerence came and conquered my mind so quickly and thoroughly--I was on my knees and at its mercy. But my brain still wanted me to think that it could figure everything out. "Awesome Me," my awesome mind, you know? Like I said, it's only in hindsight that I realized how arrogant my own mind was, thinking it could keep battling against limerence and win. Got taught quite the humility lesson. And like you say, it's only when we stop battling and start moving *into* the freefall that we get somewhere. :)
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    "I'm not a megalomaniac, I promise! :D"

                    I am thinking i knew what you meant. lol

                    You didn't come across arrogant to me. :)
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    LOL Thinker! No, I didn't think you were attacking me at all! I just had a good laugh at myself because I could see how saying "being the center of one's own universe" could sound like an incredibly ego-centric thing to say. I hope I've explained my thoughts better here now. :-) Oh, I certainly was not suggesting that you were a megalomanic, BTW - how funny - stuff gets screwed up when you don't have face-to-face!

                    I like what you said here:

                    But there was a serious flaw in this: my mind couldn't solve the problem because it *was* the problem. It was *creating* the problem. And this goes back to the Einstein quote we've mentioned on here a few times, about how problems can't be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them. I eventually had that felt realization.

                    Yes, we create our own problems by thinking them. I agree with this. So much is about perception. I chose to leave my situation. Instead of seeing it as being treated as a goddess - with this man sacrificing himself before me - I chose to see it as someone who was in great pain and wanted to lose himself in me. I received a lot of "rewards" for staying, but I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. I couldn't be on the receiving end of that kind of adoration and, in the end, I felt like I wasn't even there. I will have to post my story. I feel a bit sensitive as I am more LO than LS although I think there were times when I felt like an LS. I'm not sure this is the place for LOs? It took a lot to get myself free of this person. A lot and I just don't want to find myself back with him out of compassion. It is hard to see someone you care for in pain. So hard. I loved him, but I don't think he ever really loved me. He deified me. So, to the outside observer he was so attentive, but in reality I think I saw his humanity much more than he ever saw mine. I don't think he wanted to see me as human. I know that sounds totally crazy. Ha, my story is coming out in bits and pieces. I think I feel the safest telling it this way.
                • Unsu...
                  "I think when we are brave enough to go into the freefall, to say "My life is totally fucked up!" is when we finally start to get somewhere. "
                  me too, thats why i chose freedive for my name. I've been feeling like i am in a freefall lately.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    Love the name Freefall. My tagline is something like finding compassion for myself for loving while falling downhill. :-) I get it.
                    • Unsu...
                      "while falling downhill" lol

                      I get it. :)

                      sounds like a good name in itself. old school like :)

                      <<<Hi I am "while falling downhill"

                      hello there,, I am "while crashing to the ground"

                      nice to meet you.>>>

                      • Unsu...
                        so ya guys and gals,
                        i got the book and now i am afraid to open it and read it.
                        its just sitting there reminding me of things i wish i didn't do.
                        and if i open it, then i will find out that i am just a obsessive compulsive person
                        who will never find peace, even by reading about why it happens,.
                        because there is no hope even if i know whats happening to me.
                        I will continue doing it, and reading about it doesn't help anything at all.

                        oh oh oh. :S

                        I will read it, but i already feel like i am gaining a lot of knowledge from your first hand experiences
                        than i will ever get from a book.

                        i guess i like live interaction better.

                        but i am resigned to open the cover eventually.

                        maybe tomorrow. :)
          • Freedive: This touches on my ambivalence about the AA approach. One problem I have with it is the all-or-nothing approach, but it's also the language of powerlessness. The idea of recovery as a "spiritual" (i.e. existential or experiential) process is very appealing to me though. I think adaptations of Twelve Step by writers such as Robert Burney may correct some of these problems.
          • Dear FreeDive,

            Perhaps you have the 'power' idea on too flat a plane. You can make the claim that everything from pneumonia to cancer are controlled -- to at least some degree -- by human choice. Sometimes that is even a bit true at early stages.


            I come from a large family of drunks. Some had no control over anything. Some, like Dad, had control over everything -- except booze, God bless him. We are part North American Indian and just about every Aboriginal mixed race or First Nations family has the same stories. Apparently, for many North American Indians, alcohol addiction is extreme after just a few drinks. We lack an enzyme to properly digest alcohol. It may have something to do with our tendency to both kinds of diabetes.

            Armed with that knowledge, many of us avoid alcohol almost entirely. Although it may not work on a logical plane, AA, or programs very much like it, are the ONLY ones that I have seen work with long term alcohol, crack or opiate addiction. This is based on the experience of our own family and friends, not some thesis.

            In some things, human beings don't have very much control.

            What we DO control is the range of our response to things --for example, we can choose to be content and most of the time, we will be. Although many become victims -- for a while -- of a host of things, in the long run, some choose to overcome or defy the evils that made them a victim in the first place.

            My Dad used to say that 'anyone who is taught that they are a victim is condemned to always be one.'

            Power has so many more dimensions.

            • Unsu...
              My Dad used to say that 'anyone who is taught that they are a victim is condemned to always be one.'
              Thats exactly what i would say about it. but you know, I am in it , so don't listen to me hehe. :)
              Power has so many more dimensions. I actually went through AA for two years.
              I am glad it helps people. no matter who.
              I just realized it wasn't for me, thats all.

              "In some things, human beings don't have very much control."
              Yes, i am sorry if i sounded like everything was in our control.
              I am a victim, I am aware of the bigger picture.

              I spent time with first nation peoples, when i lived in arizona.
              and i have to say they are the best people in the world to me.
              and i wouldn't hesitate to make alcoholism go away if I could.
              I want to, and i think about it, even though i don't live there anymore.
              but I have the same blood, and I think about it. no offense intended.

              maybe the early stages are what counts most in fighting it,.
              or anything for that matter. I havn't been sick in ages,
              while everyone around me gets sick all the time.

              • The concept of power in limerence is very interesting to me. It seems that our thought process associates Disorder/Addiction --> Powerlessness --> Victim.

                Surely we can admit that we *are* powerless to a large extent during limerence, whether or not we consider it a disorder? I fail to see how the label has anything to do with whether or not we have power, because calling it something doesn't change the experience itself. What other people might say I "have" matters ten times less than what I know I'm experiencing. For some, limerence might be a disorder, but some of us may see it as an addiction, and still others may think it's natural. At any rate, we are not a Victim unless we agree to be one; I'm sure we could call limerence a disorder without taking on the role of a victim.

                I can't speak much on AA and Twelve Step programs, but I think it is very important to acknowledge that a part of us is powerless. There is ample proof in limerence for this statement that "We do not control our minds, our minds control us." Surrendering to that lack of control is not an admission that we are victims, it's a simple, humble recognition of the great force we are dealing with. It's not our fault that this has happened--it was out of our control--but we have to deal with it anyways, like most other things in life. There's no need to make it into a victim experience.

                In my experience, it's been infinitely more helpful to turn towards my own frailty, rather than away from it, where I'd believe that I, Awesome Me, could still figure out a way to fight and "beat" this thing. Eventually I took off the blinders :) and realized, "Hey, Thinker, you've been going in circles with this for years. If Awesome You hasn't figured out the magic formula for sanity after all this time, what makes you think you'll be able to do it any time soon? Come on now. I know you're in denial, but deep in there you know it's time to change things up. Let's try a new strategy. Let's sit down for a sec and admit what's really going on here: that you're desperately, helplessly flailing around on some godforsaken search for love/answers/cures and your life is basically in pieces. Let's allow you to really feel all of this pain without hating yourself or life or limerence or anyone else. Without trying to figure out or control anything. Without trying to *do* anything except sit there. Is it possible?" I had to knock Awesome Me down several pegs and bow to limerence (and pain), acknowledge how powerful it was and how destructive I was under its influence. For those of you who have read Tolle, this was essentially an exercise in deflating the ego and the mind.

                This isn't a victim mentality, this is the mentality of someone who stopped subconsciously thinking that they (their mind) could out-maneuver, out-control limerence and stopped resisting the scary idea that they might be powerless. Does this mean you enable limerence? No, powerlessness doesn't function as a convenient excuse/justification, in the same way that an alcoholic wouldn't say, "Well, I'm powerless, so I have to accept/might as well accept this drink being offered to me." A limerent can't say, "Well, I'm powerless, so I have to act/might as well act on this impulse to fantasize or have contact." Knowing you are to some extent powerless just means you recognize what is really happening and you do what you can to deal with those urges constructively. When you do act out your limerence, you can compassionately own what you did, because you did do it, while still recognizing that you are in a compromised state. I understand there is a fine line here in thinking, and I hope this is somewhat clear, because I think it's important. Sorry to be so long-winded. :)
                • Unsu...
                  I like your post here thinker.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    "Let's allow you to really feel all of this pain without hating yourself"
                    thats what i have been thinking lately about my Identity in and of itself. and how it is never too late to change things up.
                    I think giving up negative feelings about yourself "of the past", is the only aproach that allows someone to really change.

                    I "think" "know" this is important, as well. i agree

                    "When you do act out your limerence, you can compassionately own what you did, because you did do it, while still recognizing that you are in a compromised state."

                    going by what i have read here, and what i feel. it seems to be a continuouse state with lots of breaks in it. like it hits at any moment. so therefore i can feel like i own it, even though i will be right back in it at any moments notice? and i feel compassion for
                    myself after it happens?
                    • Feeling compassion for myself and not beating myself up has been a very hard lesson and I'm terrible at learning it. To accept that this is really happening to/in me is difficult. I want to undermine myself as if that will make it not real and that will make it not matter. But it is happening, it is wrecking me and no matter how hard I try to hide it or bury it in denials it will not go away. To even begin accepting these feelings as legitimate and that I'm not at fault or inherently bad for it has been a significant lightening of the burden I'm carrying. It still sucks, but not as much!
                      • Unsu...
                        I've been doing that for over 11 years now. and i just found this tribe a few weeks ago.
                        i had no idea that limerence even existed.

                        I have a hard time with that too, but that is what i have been thinking a lot about it latley. I am trying to look at that.
                        maybe thats why i ran into this tribe?
                      • Unsu...
                        Maybe you don't need to have compassion for yourself, before you stop hating yourself.

                        "Let's allow you to really feel all of this pain without hating yourself"

                        thats what i was talking about having a hard time with. I hate my pain. maybe i shouldn't? but i don't know exactly how yet.
                        • Unsu...
                          I used to feel that the pain was too unpleasant or I was afraid to feel the pain fully, but it did not help.

                          Give it a try to feel your pain completely without resistance and to let it speak to ourselves, actually the pain subsides a lot more.

                          I highly recommend the book "The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection" by Raphael Cushnir. I find his emotion connection very practical and helpful for me.
                • Unsu...
                  Hi, Thinker, I completely agree with you.

                  Acknowledging our emotions and all parts of us is more liberating than fighting one part of us using another part of us. No part is better or worse. Let them be in peace, and they give us peace.
        • Laby wrote: "Did Tennov see it as an illness? Does she use that term?"

          No, Tennov *never* considered limerence a "disorder" or "illness". She was very careful not to pathologise it. She invariably used words like "condition", "state" and "experience". And she never varied her definition, which was concerned primarily with cognitive preoccupation and hypersensitivity.

          "It seems if we call it an illness that we render ourselves powerless."

          I couldn't agree with you more, Laby. Pathologising human experience walls us off from parts of ourselves and distorts how we view the rest of our life.
          • I view it much more in terms of a status than a condition. It was difficult for me coming to the tribe in the first place because of the common description of it as if it's a mental illness, the implication that this is our damage. Maybe we're damaged, but limerence isn't the culprit but the symptom of something bigger, maybe just our human condition.

            To put our feelings in physical medical terms twists it all into something that not only are we personally powerless against, but that we can take the right pill to cure. That's not how medical problems work, but it's the mindset we fall into. If you have a condition, you need to avoid things that make it worse, do certain things that improve it. You're still responsible for your condition, you still have to live with it. We don't want to live with these problems but throw pills or whatever at them and never think on why or what we can do to make life better. Having feelings or being human and rickety is much too inconvenient.
    • Unsu...
      Well it seems a slippery term to me. I am an LO, but I was also at times an LS in this dance. I think people in pain look to find solutions in terms so holding on to limerence makes us feel more human, more normal and less like freaks. Truth is we are all freaks in the end! If I had to define it, I'd say limerence does differ from crush in its intensity and duration. It turns your life inside out - you risk your life for it, for its perceived rewards. A crush is all fluttery feelings, limerence is like having a heavy weight laid across your chest - being pinned and not being able to get up.

      Cap you said this:

      I think the DSM definition of limerence (as a disorder) requires that he person be over 18. That's not because adolescents are incapable of limerence. It's just the opposite. It's so common among adolescents that it's viewed as part of growing up.

      Ahhhhhhh, this makes me think. So if Limerence is only applied to those over 18 could we consider lim as a state of arrested development in adults -are we still juvenile in some respects in how we love? Are we babies in the bed? I wonder. I was blown over by my LS treating me like a goddess - at first luxuriated in it, then as I grew up some. I came to see it as somehow false. Turning me into a goddess put a glass shield between us and made me feel unreal, preserved Snowwhiteish. He needed that shield because coming so close scared the life out of him.
  • "Any one else find this annoying? "

    No I don't.

    It was difficult to me to find this tribe. I think that time now is to spread the concept, misconceptions, to discuss, discover new behaviors beside limerence, infatuation, unrequited love and so on.

    Limerence should hit the fan.

    Lady Linn and her Magnificent Seven - Love affair
    • Hmmmm, I suppose I find it annoying when a word is misused in general because I'm very passionate about word precision and applying concepts correctly :D but misusing "limerence" still gets me, more than usual. Like I said, I think it is because limerence is much closer to me than other experiences. It was so powerful.

      I think what some of you have brought up about the misuse actually being helpful and introducing you to the term is very interesting, and I wouldn't deny that learning the term could lead you to more information. The problem for me comes when people don't take the time to actually notice the nuances and think about the term...they can then perpetuate false ideas about what limerence means and touch others with that misinformation. Limerence is so little-known that I would hate for some misinformed people to hear of the term, use it around, and start irreversibly affecting how it is popularly perceived (although I think this is happening already). Does anyone else think this may be a possibility, or am I paranoid? I mean, it's entirely possible.... ;)

      Tangent! Sorry guys! :DDD
      • No matter what you call it, it is very hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it. Most people tend to filter things through their own experiences (and God knows I'm no exception).

        So I can see how it is kind of frustrating to have the word "co-opted" to describe very minor aspects of the phenom, or completely different things.
    • Jango: I think that time now is to spread the concept, misconceptions, to discuss, discover new behaviors beside limerence, infatuation, unrequited love and so on.

      anne: How do you see the concept getting spread?
  • I have mixed feelings about the misuse of the term. On one hand, I like the idea that there may end up being some awareness as to the condition, but it annoys me that many think it is just a "crush" condition. Outside of my fellow LE members, I've only told one person about my limerence and that is a friend of mine that I've known since my LO and I met. I tried to explain the feeling to him, but then I settled on trying to put it in terms a non-limerent could understand:

    Limerence is akin to an extreme form of infatuation combined with an addition to the feeling of hope. Unlike infatuation, limerence is consuming and the limerent often becomes obsessive and displays hypersensitivity in any dealings with the limerent object. For the limerent, the object is highly desirable, but for whatever reason - unobtainable or believed to be so. A limerent will desire the object of their limerence, but will not act upon that desire for fear of rejection or loss, in essence making an otherwise obtainable object unobtainable. For the limerent, any sign of affection or rejection by the limerent object will be greatly amplified and leads to feelings of euphoria or crushing despair. Such signals may or may not be intended by the limerent object, but the hypersensitivity of the limerent towards the limerent object makes even the most innocuous actions carry meaning in the mind of the limerent. The severity of the condition lies in the emotional turmoil experienced by the limerent and the obsessive behavior the condition fosters; with constant detachment, daydreaming, and manic-depressive mood swings as a few examples of associated symptoms in affected individuals. A limerent will also conjure any form of rationalization to explain the actions of their limerent object.

    Love has no bearing on limerence, though when the two are mixed for the same object, the effects of limerence may become amplified. The act of self denial combines with the feeling of love to create an unrequited love, which may lead to severe depression in some individuals.
    • Drez, that's one of the best descriptions of limerent I've read (or, the best description of what I personally understand limerence to be).

      It's important to differentiate it from love, I agree. I've been in love before without limerence. I've been limerent without love. And I've experienced both at once. They're seperate things, but easily confused sometimes.

      The thing that confuses me a bit is when people speak about being limerent in a relationship (I think Tennov wrote about this didn't she?). I don't quite get this. For me, it seems limerence is sustained by a combination of hope, uncertainty and lack of communication. How could limerence continue in a relationship, when you know your feelings are reciprocated?

      I think that article that was posted here recently, where the writer was talking about trying to keep limerence alive in her relationship, was actually more about "New Relationship Energy" ...

      "Another related term is limerence, a state of intense romantic desire which can vary from longing to intense joy or despair, and conveys the sense of infatuation and unreason, described by Dorothy Tennov in her book Love and Limerence.[6] While New Relationship Energy is described in published accounts as mostly positive and enjoyable feelings which people are reluctant to see fade, limerence is described by Tennov in her book as a generally unpleasant oscillation of misery and intoxication whose sufferers wish to be rid of. New Relationship Energy is often functional in establishing intimacy and emotional bonds, while limerence is seen as dysfunctional and without value. New Relationship Energy almost always occurs to significant degree in sexual or romantic relationships, while significant limerence is experienced in only a minority of relationships. Perhaps the most striking contrast is that Tennov describes limerence as an essentially unilateral feeling fueled by secrecy and uncertainty and which in all but a few pathological cases dissipates as soon as mutuality of feelings or lack thereof is established. By contrast, New Relationship Energy is usually mutual and thrives on reciprocation. Limerence also carries no implication of contrast to longer established relationships."

      I can see why people would get NRE and limerence mixed up, but to me, they're completely different things (and I can say this having experienced infatuation, limerence, NRE and love for the same person). I suppose a strong limerent high is like NRE, but the highs are usually quickly replaced by lows again, whereas with NRE it just gradually fades over a long period of time.
      • Unsu...
        "Drez, that's one of the best descriptions of limerent I've read " I agree thats why i joined in this discussion.

        Drez said "For the limerent, the object is highly desirable, but for whatever reason - unobtainable or believed to be so"

        His description remindes me, one of my LOs in the past after years of friendship only, told me Hey "you always seem
        to go for the girls you know you can't get" <<<she was talking about herself as one of those girls>>>>

        I denied it of course. but never forgot she said that either. I wonder if i really do do that on purpose for some reason.
      • Unsu...
        you make some excellent points too tricopath,
        I am blown away by the subtleties of the differences you are describing.
        very astute observations. :)
      • I'm glad that you approve of the description, as it is the most objective description I could muster based on my own personal battle with limerence. The final paragraph of my post was something not addressed in L&L, but is an account of my observations within this group and of my own personal experience.

        I am one of the people described in the final paragraph - my LO and I were once best of friends and I fell in love with her while taking the lead role in comforting her after a break-up with a boyfriend. I wanted to make sure she was over him before I took my chance, I didn't want to just be a rebound, so I waited a few weeks. The night I was going to tell her was one where I was picking her up teaching a 1-on-1 violin lesson at a local music store, but that plan got derailed when she mentioned how she was hit on at work and that it upset her because she wasn't ready to move on... I buried the notion to tell her and decided to wait longer. About a month passed and she started back up in her classes, we still talked nightly and spent all our free time together, so I always got the inside info on how things were going. Turns out that a guy that she had just met a couple weeks earlier when classes started came to her and told her he loved her and it freaked her out. She explained that having someone just suddenly tell her they love her without any lead up freaked her out and that when she cuts ties with people when freaked out like that. Now, combine those two things I mentioned - I was already hiding my feelings from her and the last guy to tell her freaked her out, freaking her out could mean losing her... ... ... Well, I sure as hell didn't want to lose her, so I decided that rather than just coming out and telling her how I felt, I would give signs and gauge her reaction so that I didn't catch her by surprise... In July of 2004 I realized how much I loved her, in August I decided to give her more time, in September I had the fear of loss. I had the object, I had the hope, I had a reason to hold back... It was then that my limerence for her began. I could continue about how my experiences led to my conclusions, but I've hijacked this long enough - for an idea, just imagine the hell of a self created unrequited love.
  • Sid
    offline 0
    For people who have suffered through it and realize that instead of choosing to sit by and merrily daydream about your LO, you're forced to come to terms with sudden, unprovoked obsessive thought over a person who you realize you may not even KNOW well enough to feel this way about... Yeah, it's fairly annoying to see crushes termed as limerence, or to see the word described as meaning a very strong crush. It's more like a mental disease than a crush, as it slowly takes over everything you do.
  • "I can see how in the description of it, many could interpret it as simple crush like symptoms. Any one else find this annoying?"

    No, it doesn't annoy me at all -- I definitely had limerent feelings when I was a teenager.

    I have no proprietary feelings towards the experience of limerence and don't feel any inclination to judge the quality or validity of anybody else's experience of it.
    • I do not mind anyone else expressing their thoughts, ideas, etc. on limerence so long as they are actually experiencing limerence. I feel offended when people claim they have limerence or know what it feels like, but they don't. This kind of makes sense to me; it's similar to how I feel when people think that because they kissed (or even had sex with) a member of the same sex, they are now bisexual, and know what bisexuality is. This is a fairly common assumption in the straight community and one which many bisexuals feel offended by. In reality, that is not the bisexual experience; just because you kissed or had sex with that someone does not automatically make you bisexual or give you any understanding of bisexual culture. It's a misrepresentation/stereotyping of bisexuality, and many of us resent that because it causes damage to our community and its popular perception. Several other myths are also out there about bisexuality that have been perpetuated by misunderstanding.

      This is how I feel about limerence--if some people misrepresent us and our experiences, I think it has the potential to do a similar damage.
      • I simply don't think it's my job to judge the validity of anyone else's limerence.

        Also, if someone is attracted to members of both sexes and has had sex with members of both sexes but isn't familiar with bisexual culture -- how does it make him/her any less bisexual? What if someone is bisexual in practice but far too shy and private to ever join a bisexual community? Are you only officially bisexual once you subscribe to "Anything That Moves"? "I'm offended" is not really a valid argument.

        I simply cannot understand the proprietary stance some folks take on various life experiences. For example, apparently even though I don't have kids and have had myself sterilized towards that end, I'm not CF enough for some people because I wouldn't mind dating someone with a child so long as I liked the child. My response to that is, ahem, I've never given birth and I've had myself snipped. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck -- 'nuff said.

        I do not mind anyone expressing their thoughts and feelings on limerence, full stop. Not being that person, not being privy to his or her thoughts, it's not for me to decide how authentic that person's experience is.
        • I understand what you're saying, and I don't think we ought to go around judging, at least not in the negative sense of the word. But I don't think we should simply take people at their word, either. There are guidelines, there are "symptoms" of limerence and trends within the experience, and to ignore those and just accept anyone's word/proclamation of limerence without analyzing it...I don't understand why we would do that. What if that person has incorrectly applied the label?

          I can be clearer about how I think: this in itself (mistaken identification) is not what is offensive, it's people who flippantly throw this term around without understanding it or looking fully into what limerence is. Limerence is a heavy burden for anyone to carry, so when I see someone flippantly talking about it, it leads me to think they've identified with the term because they believe it somehow sounds uber-romantic or glamorous, and they do not understand the gravity and suffering that is also present. Limerence is almost never something you go around telling people you have, and especially not in a proud way--an observation that is borne out by the members of this tribe. I feel offended because their portrayal of limerence denigrates or trivializes my own and others' experiences, and I feel frustrated because people who are misinformed have the potential to do damage. I think that's a valid point of view.

          Very simply, I guess this all boils down to the concept of "this person does not speak for me." Why would the Black community want a White person to speak for them and their experiences? One of the reasons that can be so offensive is because it may be a mockery of the real suffering that Black people in America endure throughout their lives--something a White person may intellectually understand, but never truly understand because they are not Black. People get touchy about these identification issues because there is a lot of suffering and life-changing or life-defining experiences tied up in them. These experiences can be so integral to a person's life and/or how they view themselves that a misrepresentation by someone else feels like a slap in the face. It feels like someone else (who likely hasn't had a similar experience to yours) is telling you or others who you are and what you've experienced. And when you perceive that a person seems to be trivializing your suffering and your experience, or misrepresenting it, such as in the limerent example, you can see why people might be offended.

          Just to clarify about the bisexual issue.... I don't mean to say that someone has to be well-versed in bisexual culture or integrated into the community in order to identify as bisexual, but there is this popular trend in American youth to experiment with someone of the same sex and then almost brag about it/call yourself bisexual because of one (or a few) experiences. What I was trying to say is that bicurious (or questioning) is not the same as bisexual. Doing something with a member of the same sex simply for attention, without actually feeling an attraction, is by definition not bisexual. This is how bisexuals become known as people who are "just experimenting" and "can't make up their minds" and "will sleep with anyone" and are "just going through a phase" and "aren't monogamous" and so forth. The vast majority of bisexual people do not fit these stereotypes, it is the people who mistakenly identify as bisexual (when they might actually be questioning or curious) who help keep these ideas alive. I'm not saying people do it on purpose or with malicious intent, but that's what has happened, and therefore the meaning of bisexuality is diluted. Many people, gay and straight alike, do not think real bisexuality even exists, especially male bisexuality.

          I'm on a college campus, so maybe this problem is magnified. There are girls who will claim to be bisexual (having danced/kissed/whatever with a girl at least once before) in order to get a guy's attention. Guys (and girls) generalize and believe that's what bisexuality is. If I need to be clear with a guy that I'm bisexual, invariably one of the first responses I will get is something--joking or not--about having a threesome, which is obviously deeply offensive, because it's a sexual objectification and I know I've just been stereotyped. As a joke it's not so bad, but I would still feel negatively about it and probably check in with the person to make sure they understand that that's a stereotype. (It's like meeting a Jewish person and asking if they work in banking....)

          Does that all make sense? I'm sorry I rambled...whenever I get interested in something I tend to go on about it....
          • Yeah, being on a college campus will magnify issues of sexual identity big time. There's also a tendency to politicize the personal as well.

            There are people out there who have had relationships with both men and women, but would never publicly identify as such because they don't like the "More Bi Than Thou" judgmental attitudes they often run into from people who tell them they aren't bi enough because they aren't familiar with XYZ slang or jargon, or aren't on this or that message board, don't read the right magazines, or don't have the right t-shirt or whatever. Why be so strict about "You aren't bi unless you've met THIS criteria, determined by US!" That's what country clubs do.

            I self-identify as a childfree-by-choice person myself, but there are CF communities and social groups that I'll stay away from because I'm not CF enough for some ("What, you'd consider a potential relationship with a childed person!?!") and too CF for others ("What, you oppose a motion to allow parents to join our No Kidding! chapter?!?!"). So how about I just don't sweat what any of 'em think and just go be happily CF with just DH or with a select group of others who actually do "get me." I simply don't want to have to play anyone's "More CF Than Thou" reindeer games.

            This is why I think it's a mistake to get too proprietary of various life experiences, including sexual orientation, limerence, childfreedom, insert human condition here. If we take it upon ourselves to judge the validity and authenticity of someone else's feelings, you can very easily make that person feel invalidated, and isn't Tribe Limerence supposed to be a support board?

            We don't own the concept of limerence, after all -- we just feel it, and have to deal with all the repercussions therefrom.

            I for one would be quite upset if someone was to tell me that my experience of limerence was not authentic or valid enough -- I should hate to see such a great board devolve into a lot of "More Limerent Than Thou" value judgments.
            • I fully agree. Trying to play this game of, "No, MY limerence is more correct than YOURS!" strikes me as foolish--that obviously can't be measured and we can't get inside other peoples' heads to know exactly what they're feeling; we only know what they are able to outwardly express. That's not at all what I'm suggesting, nor am I suggesting that Tribe should exclude people that don't meet some specified criteria for the limerent experience. I agree that everyone, limerent or not, is welcome here, and that this is a support group where I hope people do not feel judged. I'm not disputing any of that stuff, and it's probably important to clarify that I wasn't referring to anyone in Tribe with my examples, no worries. I promise I don't go looking through posts saying, "Well, so-and-so definitely isn't limerent....hmmmph *upturned nose*...the nerve of them to be here! What is Tribe coming to?!" ;-)

              I've been trying to speak specifically to circumstances where someone has actually misapplied a label according to its definition. In those cases, there is no judgment or superiority complex...the person simply doesn't meet the requirements of the definition. It's not meant as a judgment, it's merely the truth according to how we define/classify limerence. There may be small differences in the way limerence is expressed in each person, but it has a certain shape and general feeling that we all recognize; we all share the experience. For instance, the vast majority of us had a big "a-ha!" moment when we stumbled on the term "limerence," and I think that's a huge indicator that someone is indeed limerent. It's not the only one, and it's not an indicator that everything is contingent on, but it can be one of the big indicators and a common experience.

              (Side note: I could not claim to be more bi than someone...LOL I don't even know how that would work!)

              For me this whole question is not about someone being more or less of something, experiencing it correctly,'s about whether they *are* something at all, according to whatever the definition is. Once we see multiple expressions of the person's experience and story, we can get a good idea of the nature of it, or whether they are really experiencing limerence. Like you, I wouldn't want someone to say that my experience of limerence wasn't valid or authentic--but if I wasn't actually experiencing limerence (based on what I've said versus what limerence looks like) then their correction is completely appropriate. There's no need for judgment, just redirection. But I'd hope in the first place that I did a close reading of the concept of limerence, and seriously thought about the implications, before jumping to the conclusion that I was limerent...

              I'm no fan of country clubs and I've hated cliques all my life. I'm behind what you said 100% and I'm glad you said it...I've certainly never been that person who knew all the pop culture shit and was into the latest thing. Social hierarchies sometimes look like a foreign language to me, I just don't get them. I couldn't agree with you more if I wanted to. I too think it's crap when people say someone isn't good enough, and avoid those people like the plague. I'm sorry people can't always accept you in the CF community. There is a similar type of divide in the asexual community--I identify as an asexual bisexual but that doesn't mean I absolutely refuse to do anything sexual with my partner (on the contrary). But some asexuals shun/argue with anyone in the community who engages in sexual behavior. This sounds like what is happening in those CF communities you mentioned; I'm not asexual enough for some and you're not CF enough for some. It sucks, but like you said, life goes on and we can be happy with people who do understand us.

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