As we already discussed in a previous blog post, limerence is the name given to the condition people experience when they experience lovesickness, infatuation, obsessive love and addictive love.
What a typical limerence experience looks like as described by Dorothy Tennov. Each step listed below builds on top of the other:
- The experience of limerence begins at a specific recallable point. Typically the moment is when eye contact is made with the “love object.” The “love object” is someone the limerence experiencer is physically attracted too or the limerence experiencer feels like this person is interested in them that is enough to induce limerence.
- Thinking about the “love object” becomes pleasurable, with a feeling of freeness and focus on the positive attributes of the “love object.” At this stage it is possible to have more than one potential “love object,” because it is the beginning of the relationship, and limerence hasn’t hit its full peak yet.
- Potential reciprocation from the “love object” can be euphoric, there is a persistent review of “love objects” positive qualities, replaying interactions and increased focus of one’s own relevant attributes.
- Romantic love or love addiction increases where obstacles exist or when the person experiencing limerence doubts their “love object” feels the same way about them. It is important to recognize that eventually even when the person experiencing limerence does notice the possibility of negative attributes about their “love object” the feelings of “love” do not slow down for them. During this stage attempts are made to improve physical appearance and/or any status in order to increase desirability and there is an increasing fear of rejection.
- With doubt and hope about having their love returned, thinking about the “love object” can reach 100% of their time for the person experiencing limerence. This can lead to feelings of euphoria or despair/depression. This deep thinking about the “love object” can be interrupted by activities that helps the person experiencing limerence feel like they are more desirable to their “love object.”
- When and if the “love object” loves back the feelings of lovesickness stabilizes until the next period of uncertainty. Intensity can increase again once adversity is perceived by the person experiencing limerence.
Limerent episodes on average have a minimum duration of 1-3 years to 7 years, with a few dissipating within 6 months and some lasting decades.