Limerence, a term coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in her book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, has Early in a romantic relationship, it can be difficult to distinguish love from limerence. In , before we knew about "the love drug," psychologist Dorothy Tennov Thus, we understand that limerence can refer to an obsessive relationship in. In the beginning of a relationship, the love-struck, or limerent, couple is Symptoms of Limerence (Tennov, )Intrusive thinking about the.
One begins to follow a calmer, more rewarding path that feels good to both partners, while the other intensifies and stops feeling good to one or both partners over time. Limerence is smothering and unsatisfying and cares little about the other person's well-being. Securing the other person's affection takes precedence over earning their respect, commitment, physical intimacy or even their love.
In healthy relationships, neither partner is limerent.
They are in love, but they do not struggle with constant, unwanted thoughts about their partner. Rather than pursuing reciprocity, the couple bonds through mutual interests and enjoyment of each other's company.
In most relationships where limerence is an issue, one partner is limerent and the other is not, according to Tennov. These relationships are unstable and intense. If both partners are limerent, the relationship typically fizzles as quickly as it sizzled.
Experts disagree about the likelihood of limerent relationships evolving into affectionate, long-term commitments. While some may grow into healthy, mutually gratifying relationships, others end in rejection and disappointment. Limerence lasts longer than romantic love, but not usually as long as a healthy, committed partnerships.
Limerence and the Biochemical Roots of Love Addiction | HuffPost
By Tennov's estimates, limerence can last a few weeks to several decades, with the average being 18 months to three years. The duration depends whether the individual's affections are requited. When requited, the feelings may persist over many years. When unrequited, the feelings typically dwindle away and eventually disappear, unless the object of their affection sends mixed signals or physical or emotional distance prolongs the intensity and uncertainty e.
When Love Becomes an Addiction For reasons we don't yet fully understand, not everyone experiences limerence. People who do may experience it only once and then move onto a healthy relationship, or may fall into a lifelong pattern of obsessive relationships. People can become aroused by the thought of sexual partners, acts, and situations that are not truly desired, whereas every detail of the limerent fantasy is passionately desired actually to take place.
Limerence sometimes increases sexual interest in other partners when the limerent object is unreceptive or unavailable. Limerent reaction[ edit ] The limerent reaction is a composite reaction — that is, it is composed of a series of separate reactions.
These reactions occur only where misperceptions meet adversity in the context of a romance. Only if the limerent object were to be revealed as highly undesirable might limerence subside.
Limerence and the Biochemical Roots of Love Addiction
The presence of some degree of doubt causes the intensity of the feelings to increase further. The stage is reached at which the reaction is virtually impossible to dislodge. This adversity may be superficial or deep, internal or external, so that an individual may sometimes generate deep adversity where none exists.
Also "romance", as it were, need not be present in any genuine way for a limerent reaction to occur. The course of limerence results in a more intrusive thinking pattern. Then, under appropriate conditions of hope and uncertainty, the limerence intensifies further. With evidence of reciprocation real or imagined from the limerent object, a state of extreme pleasure, even euphoria, is enjoyed.
Thoughts are mainly occupied with considering and reconsidering what is attractive in the limerent object, replaying whatever events may have thus far transpired with the limerent object, and appreciating personal qualities perceived as possibly having sparked interest in the limerent object. At peak crystallization, almost all waking thoughts revolve around the limerent object.
After this peak, the feelings eventually decline. Fantasies are preferred to virtually any other activity with the exception of activities that are believed to help obtain the limerent object, and activities that involve actually being in the presence of the limerent object. The motivation to attain a "relationship" continues to intensify so long as a proper mix of hope and uncertainty exist.
Limerence - Wikipedia
Limerent duration[ edit ] Tennov estimates, based on both questionnaire and interview data, that the average limerent reaction duration, from the moment of initiation until a feeling of neutrality is reached, is approximately three years. The extremes may be as brief as a few weeks or as long as several decades.
When limerence is brief, maximum intensity may not have been attained. According to David Sack, M. In turn, a limerent may only experience a single limerent episode, or may experience "serial" episodes, in which nearly one's entire mature life, from early puberty through late adulthood, can be consumed in successive limerent obsessions.
Human bonding Once the limerent reaction has initiated, one of three varieties of bonds may form, defined over a set duration of time, in relation to the experience or non-experience of limerence. The basis and interesting characteristic of this delineation made by Tennov, is that based on her research and interviews with people, all human bonded relationships can be divided into three varieties being defined by the amount of limerence or non-limerence each partner contributes to the relationship.
With an affectional bond, neither partner is limerent. With a Limerent-Nonlimerent bond, one partner is limerent. In a Limerent-Limerent bond, both partners are limerent. Affectional bonding characterize those affectionate sexual relationships where neither partner is limerent; couples tend to be in love, but do not report continuous and unwanted intrusive thinking, feeling intense need for exclusivity, or define their goals in terms of reciprocity.
These types of bonded couples tend to emphasize compatibility of interests, mutual preferences in leisure activities, ability to work together, and in some cases a degree of relative contentment.
The bulk of relationships, however, according to Tennov, are those between a limerent person and a nonlimerent other, i. These bonds are characterized by unequal reciprocation. Lastly, those relationship bonds in which there exists mutual reciprocation are defined as limerent-limerent bondings. Tennov argues that since limerence itself is an "unstable state", mutually limerent bonds would be expected to be short-lived; mixed relationships probably last longer than limerent-limerent relationships.
Some limerent-limerent relationships evolve into affectional bondings over time as limerence declines. Tennov describes such couples as "old marrieds" whose interactions are typically both stable and mutually gratifying.