carla35December 19, 2007

Limerence: I found this term interesting and was discussing it on a different thread. I thought I should start a new thread just for it instead of hi-jacking the other thread.

continued from: A sexless marriage thread... this was my last post in response to tenderchihchi's comments on the subject.

But, and I guess, this is what I don't understand... limerence itself seems like a fantasy infatuation obsession thing... with no real basis for true love. Not to say true love can't can always evolve. But, really, though, what Romeo and Juliet experienced was probably not real love (at least the way I know it).. they barely knew each other. It was more of an obsession. And, the forbidden fruit, so to say, is a powerful thing too...

I have experience heavy crushes (with fantasy thoughts and even hints of obsessions) and those good pangs of beginning love where you feel you can do anything, don't eat, don't sleep, etc.... but I see and know them as such (crushes and chemical reactions) so I am not sure how limerence would differ from any other heavy crush or new relationship feeling...

I guess the length of the crush, the hard to attain concept, the obsession quanity, and the fact that you generally keep it to yourself may be different. Maybe I experienced degrees of it, but I can't help but think I would have to tell my 'crush' within a normal time period... and then, if not reciprocated, my feelings would fade and I would move on.

And, am I the only one that had never heard of this term before? For some reason, it just seems very interesting to me and I'm surprised I had never heard it before since it does seem to describe the type of relationship in many 'love' stories (Romeo and Juliet, etc).

Have you experienced it? Anyone else here?

Here is a link that might be useful: Limerence

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found this site for people who suffer from limerence. Apparently there are a lot of people out there with it. There are some very interesting articles about the pangs of unrequited love as well as personal stories. I will place the link below.

I'm pretty sure I have experienced it to some degree. I believe I felt this way for my DH. I do not believe that he did, though.

I realized it after a couple of years and it thereafter made me feel sad. I was the adorer and never felt it was reciprocated.

At times a limerent person can wind up married to a non-limerent person and it works out. Eventually limerence fades out.

Sometimes a limerent person hooks up with a non limerent who fakes limerence. Although they may like and be attracted to and want to be with the limerent person they cannot sustain the level of exuberence needed to fake limerence.

I think I am the type of person who would not be able to enter into a relationship without those feelings no matter how good a catch a person was.

If it were ever to be an option for me, I don't think I would proceed unless the same level of feelings were reciprocated. I would run for the hills first.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Experienced it just once- it was really awful- I felt as though I were possessed, did things I couldn't believe after I came to my senses. Hope never to fall under that again. It was bad.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

= romantic psychosis. Any normal person has been there at least once....and remembers it.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

But where do feelings cross the line from a normal obsession/crush that almost everyone experiences into limerence? It's more than just calling a guy you like at 1:00 in the morning or breaking up with the guy you're pinned to to date someone you barely know, right? That's just a big crush...Or, is that it? I guess I could have been there 20 X 20 times, or not at all because I think almost all passionate relationships have at least a touch of romantic psychosis to them. Then again, I've never actually had to take medicine or see a shrink to get over anyone or had a restraining order filed against me - maybe that's the difference- LOL? I'm just not drawing a line of distinction.

Is it mainly the unrequited thing... or mainly the time span of having these feelings for years, if not sometimes decades without acting upon them?

What'd you do so out of your senses scarlett; and how did you come out of it? Or, are you never really completely out of it... How do you feel now when you think of your limerence... still a little crush, or more like a resentment?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Movies like He Loves me he loves me Not (French)and fatal Attraction portray "erotomania" very well. In the first one heroine invents romance with the guy who barely knows her. In both movies erotomania (I think it is a medical term for romantic obsessions) makes people so crazy they don't stop at anything.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think "limerence" is another word for describing a really big crush that won't let go.

Limerence is not love in the sense of a long term relationship although it can grow into love. It is not the same as having a sexual attraction to a person. Although sexual attraction must exist for limerence to take place.

A limerent person will not necessarily stalk the object of their desire and do not want to hurt them. The limerence will ebb and flow with various ups and downs varying in intensity depending upon the reactions of the desired person. Two people can be limerent towards each other and waiting for the appropriate time to reveal their desire. They can then unite and limerence may continue to increase and then slowly decline. One of the partners may lose limerence for the other first. Or, they can remain that way towards each other forever.

Limerence is not the same as erotomania or stalking although the person stricken may also be experiencing limerence.

It is just plain Nuts!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please excuse the long, probably uninteresting story that is to follow:

I have been experiencing limerence for the past three years, though I didn't know it had a name (other than "crush" or "infatuation") until this evening.

I have been married for several years, and though it has generally been good, there are areas in which I have been unsatisfied and which have led me into long periods of despair.

Then, a little over three years ago, a young woman began working at my job. She's about five or six years younger than me, and single. I was in charge of most of her training, and we became fast friends. I enjoyed her humor and intelligence, and still do. We used to eat our lunch together every day. Like clockwork, she would stop by my cubicle and we would walk together to the cafeteria. Our conversations were always about movies, music, etc. and we laughed a lot.

After several months, she became friends with a new girl at work, and immediately began spending much less time talking to me. She stopped walking to the lunchroom with me, and pretty much all our communication stopped, which was amazing in a way since our cubicles were right next door to each other. Although I had been aware of feelings for her before, they intensified when I began to feel the void of her friendship and conversation.

Every day became agonizing to me, to come in to work and hear the girl who used to be my friend laughing and chatting with everyone but me, while any conversations we had were now stilted and awkward, as if she didn't want to talk to me at all and was only being polite (she is a very kind girl, and I imagine would never tell me to get lost). I began to think about her from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, and the only times I felt I could breathe easily were days when she wasn't at work, or on weekends.

The situation caused me to fall into a long and very dangerous depression, which resulted in a rather serious Internet affair with a girl who I think acted as sort of a substitute for the one I couldn't have. I also considered suicide on a daily basis. The summer before last, I reached what I felt was a point where I no longer wanted to live or to die. I just wanted to waste away and was constantly fighting back tears.

Anyway, after a while I began to feel somewhat normal again. My relationship with my wife began to improve in many ways. But this girl still holds me in some sort of grasp, and sometimes it flares back up again (usually due to a dream, or when she actually speaks to me). I'm not sure I will ever get over her, and I still feel an emptiness in my life that I think will only go away when my wife and I finally leave this place and I switch jobs.

In other words, I'm kind of trapped. If I were more ambitious, I would quit my job and go somewhere else, but I actually like what I am doing, and I like the place where I work.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lonely guy,

I am sorry to hear of your situation. I have to say though that no matter how much you like your job, if you are experiencing depression and have thoughts of suicide, I would seriously consider switching jobs. Plus it just can't be good for your marriage. It seems like too much temptation to handle.

It sounds to me like your 'girl friend' probably realized the 'crush' you had for her and decided it best that you end such a close friendship considering you are married.

Hopefully, your life and thoughts will get back to normal sometime soon. I actually ordered a book about Limerance a while ago but it wasn't exactly what I expected it too be (not as deep and detailed as I was hoping for and very dated) so I never really read it. Maybe I'll dig it out and see if I can't find anything that may be of use to you for getting over this girl.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This happened to a friend of mine, though not as severely as it seems to have taken Lonely Guy. She developed a strong, persistent crush on a married man of her aquaintance. She is a loving and faithful wife and did not act on the crush, taking pains to avoid the man. But it stuck with her for months and was very painful. She felt and I agree that the Limerent Object was successful in areas where her husband was less so (her husband, though handsome, kind, intelligent and attentive, is not well paid). The Other Guy represented the kind of life that she thought she might have and now is not likely to. She actually talked to her DH about the crush (not sure I would, at least not in so many words) and over time it faded.

I had a bout the other day, not of limerence, but of pure Envy. I was pecking around blogs and ran into one that really made me turn bright green for about four hours, woman about my age with a house that is more beautiful than my house, living in the actual country whereas I am obliged to live in town, married to a man who is as darkly handsome as my own husband, whom she herded through medical school and residency so that she now enjoys her house, husband, children and country setting in a position of financial ease and high social standing. Whew, was I jealous! Even though I am quite psyched about my own husband, children, and house, and to date my husband's faithful efforts have kept the wolf from the door, I had to kinda struggle with it.

Then I reminded myself she doesn't have daughters and I got over my jealousy :) Seriously, though, there is always someone better or worse off --- it does seem to be about allowing yourself to mourn what might have been nice but isn't, and warmly embrace what is good that is.

Today a patient told me how he developed MS 6 months after his marriage. He offered his wife a divorce-- "I figured that was a good time to clear out." She declined, and 48 years later, though he is bedbound and has multiple medical issues, she is taking top-notch care of him. And it's not just the manifest excellence of her character: he is a dear and lovable man.

Anyway, in reference to Lonely Guy, I do think that your painful crush was not so much about the perfections of the girl at work or your wife's shortcomings, but about some other feeling of loss or lack inside. Best wishes to you.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you carla35 and demeron for your kind words and advice.

I've noticed (even today) that she acts very uncomfortable around me, while she is very easy-going with other people. When we're supposed to work together in close proximity, she seems to want to avoid it.

I have taken that as a sign that there is no hope for us to ever be friends again. It makes me very sad. I really wish I could be something in her life, anything. What some people don't understand is that I haven't chosen to feel this way toward her. It's not like I'm looking to be unfaithful to my wife. But I can't escape from how I feel, and it creates this giant gray cloud over my entire life.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have a brain to govern your emotions. Use it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From what I've read, limerence is involuntary and can't really be controlled by your brain.

I've tried to find some more info for the OP but haven't really found much to help. The author who coined the phrase limerence talks about it, but it appears has not come up with any solutions. After more research, she has decided that the average limerence length is closer to 3 years, not the 18 months she originally reported - but of course, those are averages.

After watching "The Tudors", I'm pretty sure limerence is what Henry XIII had for Anne Boleyn. Ended quite nicely too if you recall - NOT.

Anyway, I did find this one article and read some other stuff I found interesting. I orginally had thought that limerence may be a form of Obessessive Compulsive Disorder. It looks like it is being linked to some mental disorders and/or chemicals in the brain.

Maybe someone here who has experienced limerence can give you some ideas on how to ride it out. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've read quite a bit about limerence and wanted to share how it relates to my life. I've been in a serious relationship for six years, but cannot stop thinking about an old friend of mine. My partner's happiness means a great deal to me. I could not live without him. I say this not because of codependence, but because I truly love him.
This brings me to the subject at limerent object. I became pretty attached to my best friend's entire family...particularly her brother who is my age and shares similar interests. Although we had a mutual connection and feelings for each other, we never acted on those feelings. We were outgoing and open as friends, but very shy and nervous whenever an intimate situation would arise. It sounds weird, but I always thought of him as my first love.
I moved away, he dated what seemed like a hundred other girls, and then one day he called. After five years of "crushing" on each other we decided it was time to take a step. Finally! We both relocated to be closer to each other. The first time I saw him (after what I like to call our long distance phone courtship) was heaven. We couldn't take our eyes off each other, then everything started shifting back to the awkwardness that had always existed.
I finally got him alone and kissed him for the first time (yep, I had to make the move). He started trembling uncontrollably. This still is the sweetest, most memorable moment of my life. It was like everything that we both wanted for such a long time was in grasp.
Two days later his ex-girlfriend announced her pregnancy. I was devastated, he was a wreck, and I felt for his ex. I moved further away than I previously lived to escape everything. We later learned that she was already pregnant before their short-lived relationship began, but by then she had really become pregnant with his child.
In trying to avoid him, I rarely visit his family whom I love dearly. I long to see him and dodge any chance of seeing him all the same. I have "ached" for him, but do not wish to intrude on his life. His mother once told me that there would never be another girl that could make her son feel that way, and that he had told her about the trembles. She said we were soul-mates, if ever were such.
I'll go a few months without thinking of him, but something always sparks and leads me back down memory lane. Vivid memories of so many moments I had with him takeover my daily life and inhibits me from functioning normally. Sometimes it takes weeks to shake them. These intrusive thoughts are completely involuntary and sometime distort how I view my current relationship.
Although limerence and love are distinct, I feel like I ride a thin line between the two when it comes to him. To me he will always be "what could have been." I do feel that our feelings back then were mutual. I now long for reciprocation not of his love, but of his thoughts...I know that doesn't seem to make sense. I want to know if he thinks of me as much as I think of him, and how those thoughts have affected his life. Knowing would not change my current situation, but maybe then I could have some type of closure. Or not. :-)
Sometimes it feels like I'm "in love" with two men. It's insane. I try not to burden my partner with all of this, but I am honest with him. I would never act on these thoughts, nor would I do anything to jeopardize my relationship with him. I love him without wanting anything of him. He knows me better than anyone and loves me for who I am. I couldn't have asked for a better companion, so why is it so hard to let go of the past?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Limerence is involuntary in the sense that we cannot help what we think or what we feel for others. But I do agree with asolo that we need to "use our brains to govern our emotions." Although we cannot help our feelings, we can choose how we react to those feelings. The intensity of emotions coupled with uncertainty or lack of reciprocation from the limerent object could lead to despair. We have to use better judgment to keep us from acting in a negative fashion towards others or ourselves. I feel that most people have experienced limerence at some point in their lives. Allowing common sense to guide us in our actions could be the difference between longing and stalking.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just read the article submitted above. Psychology is attempting to categorize this condition as a mental disorder. I think, probably, because of how disruptive it can be. Not just to the sufferer but their object of desire as well.

It surely could be terrifying to the desired person if the limerent sufferer loses control. Even just briefly! Especially if the person was unaware previously. It could almost seem like an attack!

I was once stalked by a man of around sixty years of age. I will never understand/know what I could have done to trigger this man's wrath.

If a person thinks that scaring the life out of another person is romantic then they are total and complete lunatics.

I will never forget that experience.

And, I will forever after be on my guard!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Warning: Really long post!

I used to think I had limerence, but what I have might be something else.

I get these huge, horrible crushes on men I've never even talked to, or only talked to once or twice.

Then I try to assign meaning to every little thing they do, like where they sit, whether or not they are looking at me, and so on.

But the thing is, once I develop one of these crushes, I am not able to look these men in the eye.

Seriously. I have one of these little "problems" right now, and I would come closer to jumping out the third floor window than spontaneously going and talking to him. I'm so afraid that he'll think I'm an idiot or that I'll say something stupid or that I'll find out he won't like me the way I like him that I go out of my way to avoid him.

I only go to the grocery store when I know he won't be there, because I thought I saw him there once. I walk out of my way to be sure I won't pass him.

Yet at the same time, I want to see him! I want him to like me. I simultaneously want him to look at me (because I want him to like me) and do not want him to look at me (because I feel that I am too ugly and if he looks at me, he would only be disgusted).

I have been like this for years and years. Ever since I can remember. Needless to say, I've never been in any sort of romantic relationship.

The worse case of this occurred about four years ago. I had been obsessing over this guy for a year, and finally, I got one of my friends to ask him to go to prom with me. He accepted, but I was still so damn frightened that I continued to avoid him, still couldn't look him in the eye, and so on! So eventually he changed his mind, of course. Even after he dumped me, it took another year for me to get over him. But THAT little heartbreak was all my fault.

I really do think this is some type of mental disorder. I do my best to control it. I don't stalk these guys, I don't stare at them or do creepy things, but I can't quit thinking about them, I associate them with everything. I think that sometimes they pick up on my bizarre behavior, maybe the way I run away from them and the way I can talk to anyone but them, but I make a conscious effort to not be creepy. I am never angry at them, but at myself. Frustrated with the situation, maybe, but I've never had the urge to do anything to them, except run away from them.

The Wikipedia page on limerence says there is scientific research that limerence is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. I can believe it. I have tried everything you can think of to get over these crushes. I've popped myself on the wrist with a rubber band whenever I thought of them (I quit that because my wrist got swollen and started bleeding and it looked like I was self-harming), I've tried to make myself develop a crush on someone else, I've told myself I don't care, I've written out every detail of it in my diary, I've made a point to not acknowledge it in my diary, I've prayed, I've made elaborate plans of what to do, I've tried to think of something else whenever they enter my mind.... None of it has worked.

I haven't ever discussed this is any depth with another person because I am too embarrassed. I know darn well this isn't normal. I know there's something wrong with me. I don't have any friends I really trust with this, so it's just this big problem I keep bottled up or whine about in a diary or on a blog.

I was very depressed last year (the limerence issue didn't help matters out any, but it wasn't the root of the trouble) and talked to a counselor, but I didn't bring this issue up. I couldn't. This is too near to my heart to discuss with anyone, though I obviously don't mind pouring my heart out to a bunch of strangers online, haha!

Sorry for the long post. If anyone else who is reading this suffers like this, too, first of all: I AM SORRY. I know how miserable it is, especially when you have other problems in your life. And second, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not the only one who feels this way, not the only one who has suffered and come home and cried because he was talking to some other girl. Or because she was flirting with some good-looking guy. I'm right there with you.

I hope that someday, I will be able to get past this, or that maybe I will become good friends with a guy and mutual love will develop out of that, because the way I am now, the normal thing is not going to fly.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jane (especially) I really feel for you. I know you know you should have fessed up to the therapist as this is clearly the centre of the issues you're experiencing.

I agree (as a lay person) that it sounds like a form of OCD and it's interesting to see a name put to this phenomenon.

Jane, you sound like a really nice person - I wish you would consider going back to therapy, and go into it boots and all. You can get past this, I believe virtually everyone can benefit from some sort of therapy, but in your case particularly.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's a brain chemistry thing but apart from pharmacological-type treatments, we need talking therapy for this sort of thing because we have to break that mindset.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jane, Totally agree with pbj,and you sound so compassionate to be saying you re miserable, but telling others with the same problems you re not alone..You also seem very intelligent and have a grip on whats going on with yourself, but listen to pbj and give therapy another try...Maybe the strangers on the internet can help urge you in the right direction...Best of luck

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you Carla35 for posting this thread!!! And, to all the others with insights!

You will never know how much this has helped me. I have been soul searching for the last several months as to why I am totally besotted with one of my bandmates. We really only get-together for rehearsals and gigs (which is not all too often anymore) but this is enough to start the magic.

After the last time I saw him, I cried almost non-stop for 3 days. I thought it was because I missed him so badly, and knew I wouldn't see him again soon enough. I see now it's the loss of a dream.

My husband is in the band as well, and admires the OP and considers him a friend. In fact, they have many similiarities - went to Ivy Leauge schools, had the same major, had the same type of career. HOWEVER the one big difference (to me) OP is stable where my husband is not. And, perhaps, I miss/lost the dream of stability I had when I got married.

You would have to be blind not to see the intensity between OP and me. OP has described the experience as being on a roller coaster ride.

OP is married as well. Neither of us have children to worry about. So, I fantasize of what could/might happen. Neither OP or I have any desire to dishonor our spouses. But the adoration between us is unmistakable!

Needless to say, husband is upset/confused by all this. He knows it wasn't like one day I woke up and said..."Forget you, I think I'll fall in love with a fellow musician....."

Since all this started,however, husband has been much, much, nicer to me. He used to pick and start arguements over the most insignificant things. WHAT!! YOU TURNED OFF THE COMPUTER??!?! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!!?!? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN OFF??!! WHY??? Ad nauseum. This made daily life very stressful for me.

Now he treats me like a queen, and doesn't take fits at the little things I do (or don't do).
I guess he thinks he could lose me to OP. And you know men - they like to win no matter what.

The information on limerance has been liberating for me!! I know it's unfair to be pining away, just marking time, until the next time I see OP.

And, if the Universe wants OP and I to be together, then it shall be. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime, neither OP or I engage in any dishonoring behaviour, although we'd really, really, love to!

And the knowledge of limerance helps me in the process of letting him go, (with love).

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hm. The universe has less to do with your choices than you do - you make choices that bring you closer or further away from a situation. ie, remaining in the band. And, by the way, this 'limerance' has less to do with your 'chemistry' than it does to do with the problems in your marriage.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hogwash. I didn't join the band because he was in it, and I am not going to quit because he's in it.

It's either fated to be or not, regardless of the choices we make!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"didn't join, not going to quit" is faulty reasoning, but okay.

Fate is not going to determine your outcome, you are. Your choices will lead you down one path or another.

From one musician to another - there are lots of great bands out there, and if you are in love with a band member and that is hurtful to your husband, well this is not a matter of fate, this is a matter of self serving behavior. If "everyone can see" the chemistry, that is cruel to your husband.

You're being foolish. You're having an emotional affair, and that's every bit as destructive and problematic as a game of touchy touch. I'm sure the band is fabulous and all that, but having been in multiple bands myself, there's more out there. Unless you're in the Stones or something.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"It's either fated to be or not..."

Well there's a load of crap to begin any discussion with!

Don't forget to check your signs and see what Nostradamus has to say, too.

You have a brain, babycakes. Please use it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is very real. The posting by "lonelyguy 1976" sums it up pretty well. It is the situation where you cannot speak your mind for some reason or another that sets this up. Hence a bigger problem in Victorian times. And a problem in work situations. The Little Mermaid by HCA (not disney) is another story example of limerence. It has been interesting to read all of your responses. I fell into limerence because I was fascinated by the energy obtained from it. I had felt that energy before but never tried to use it. I suddenly felt I was capable of doing anything! And I found it to be a great motivation for creativity in writing. So I rode the wave. Til I got lost at sea and found myself looking for any substitution. I've never had hard-core addictive drugs, but this must be the natural equivalent. It is helpful to know what it is...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 4:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Getting a little help from your spouse
Well, the holidays are here and as usual, I'm worn...
Help and advice needed - to divorce or not to divorce?
I could really use some outside advice and perhaps...
Marriage lacks intimacy - I'm lonely, hurt and frustrated
Hi, I am really grateful for finding this forum. I...
I don't think my husband likes me anymore
When we first started dating he always wanted to be...
My wife says she loves me but should I believe her?
Hi. I know my situation might seem odd but here goes......
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™