Not every affair has the characteristics of limerence, but many do. And those affairs that do have characteristics of limerence they do not necessarily last for many years or go through all the steps listed below. The limerent affairs that last for years are those where limerence has reached its full peak. Understanding limerence may be important to understanding who your spouse was during their affair.
Limerence is commonly known as infatuation, lovesickness, romantic love, love addiction, or obsessive love. More clinically, by Wakin and Vo (2008) limerence has been defined as “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation from the object of interest.” Limerence is what many people experience when they “fall in love” or have a “romantic relationship” with someone.
Limerence researcher, Dorothy Tennov suggests that limerence is a “certain state that some people were in much of the time, others in some of the time, but still others never in, or at least not yet.”
Dorothy Tennov also describes the following signs of what a person is experiencing with limerence.
- Intrusive thinking about “love object.”
- A longing for reciprocation from the “love object.”
- Based on how the limerence experiencer interprets or perceives the “love objects” behaviors it will significantly alter the limerence experiencers mood for good or bad.
- Limerence experiencers will only have one person they have a love addiction too unless it is in the early days of limerence or it is an experience of fading limerence.
- Daydreaming about the “love object” returning your “love and affection” can cause you to feel relief from the “pains” of this limerent experience.
- People who experience lovesickness or limerence tend to be shy around their “love object” and fear the “love objects” rejection.
- Adversity can intensify the limerence i.e. being broken up by the “love object,” them telling you they don’t like you, finding being with them a challenge can intensify the feelings.
- Individuals stuck in lovesickness find themselves preoccupied with looking for signs that their love is returned, wether those signs are realistic or not.
- When you are experiencing limerence their is tremendous heartache when you feel uncertain about the future with your “love object.” And when you are uncertain if they like you or love you back.
- When an individual does feel like their “love object” likes or loves them back they have a feeling of walking on air.
- When an individual experiences obsessive love, other concerns in life are placed in the background.
- Individuals experiencing infatuation, they emphasize the attractive positive qualities (and even the average qualities) while largely ignoring the negative qualities of their “love object.”