Is It Love or Limerence?

At the risk of turning this space temporarily into a women’s magazine, I decided to write about the concept of love versus liminerence. What is limerence you may ask?

Limerence, not to be confused with limine, is a term coined by American psychologist, Dorothy Tennov, in her 1979 book, Love and Limerence – the Experience of Being in Love. And yes, before you ask, yours truly has, in fact read it, for a college Psych class.  You didn’t think I’d pull a word like “limerence” out of my ass, did you?

Basically, limerence describes the emotional state that one feels involuntarily when attached to or obsessed with another person.  It can be a sexual relationship, but primarily, the condition is characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings from the L.O., or limerent object.

Limerence should not be confused for a crush, puppy love or infatuation as it goes much deeper than physical attraction. It basically involves intrusive thinking of and extreme sensitivity towards the L.O.

Uh, I think you’re talking about codependency, PF.

Hold up.  Not necessarily.  Codependency can last years and involves an excessive caretaking manner to the extent where it negatively impacts other relationships and quality of life.  Limerence is usually a temporary deal.  Although reciprocity from the L.O. can make limerence that much more intense, it is not necessary as the quality of being limerent enables the individual to see qualities in the L.O. that may not exist.  Turns out unrequited love is a tremendous turn on for those in limerence. In codependents, not so much.

At its fundamental core, limerence is an addictive type of behavior that is often misunderstood and/or dismissed by those who have never experienced it. It is usually written off as a ridiculous fantasy as in the kind found in romance novels.

But how do you know if you are one or the other or just out of your farcking mind?

If you conduct a little recon on the web, you will find a lot of articles written about the topic, but this is a quick test you can run through to give you an idea as to your condition.

Please Note >> Like everything else in life, your mileage may vary (YMMV). The test referenced above is more opinion based than scientific. I shouldn’t have to remind you to not to base your existing relationship upon either my thoughts or the links I cited in this piece, but, nonetheless, I wanted to include a disclaimer just in case you’re the type of person who believes everything s/he reads on the web!

In the meantime, I’m going to go enjoy some limerence music. Rod Stewart knew a thing or two about it 1984.

By the way, Tennov’s book is still in print if you’re interested in reading more about the subject matter.

Happy limerencing!

[PLEASE NOTE that the link to the test referenced above has changed from the date this story was published.  Contact the owner of that site for more information.  -PF  2/27/2012]

©2011 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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2 Responses to Is It Love or Limerence?

  1. THREE says:

    OK that’s an uncommon question. Usually they all ask “Is it love or plain lust?” But hey, some people in love end up concluding that it’s often the idea, or state of being in love — having that someone who is “yours” — that they’re after, not necessarily the loved one. (Or L.O. :p )

    It could be anyone. Not necessarily a certain someone you’d been after for years, or months (now THAT just might be “love”) — just someone you can grab and call your lover, your other half — I’ve seen this behaviour in some friends, jumping from candidate to candidate and flirting their asses off until they finally, um, land/ them XD — kinda funny, kinda sad (when seen from the viewpoint of people like me) because it makes one think “Oh, it’s not really me s/he’s after, is s/he. Anyone could’ve done.” — But hey it works for them, and sometimes turns out better than expected.

    Oh well, love (or whatever you wanna call it) holds different meanings, and meaningfulness, to different individuals. All they can do is make the best of it, whatever works for them. 🙂

    • THREE says:

      [ehh… made an HTML boo-boo… wanted to close the italics tag after “land” — paragraph 2, line 5, word 9 — damn, I can’t edit my comment]

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