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.
[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]
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