Limerence

General discussion about relationship issues.
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Mysteria
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Limerence

Postby Mysteria » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:09 pm

Recently in a discussion about love on a different forum, somebody introduced the idea of using the word limerence to describe the idea of falling in love, in order to differentiate between that kind of "love" and other forms of love. Although it is a little bit of a dry read, I liked the idea, but I think there are a few problems with the way it is defined, most glaringly that the limerent object is always a "potential sexual partner."

What I want to know is, how closely have your own personal experiences matched the description of limerence?

In my own experience, as previously mentioned, I have not always considered the limerent object to be a potential sexual partner, because at one time I was with a fellow asexual. I also do not really experience the extremely negative moods associated with it. I do get a little discouraged and anxious sometimes, but never to the point of despair. I experience intense highs, but the lows are just little dips in my usual calm. I also seem to recover from relationships that didn't work out a lot faster than most people do.

I also found it interesting that, if I recall correctly, one of the reasons that Dorothy Tennov decided to investigate this in the first place was that she discovered a naturally non-limerent portion of the population--could this be close to what we refer to as "aromantic"? I think there are some differences in the terms, but would any of you aromantics care to point them out?

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Mr. Paradox
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Re: Limerence

Postby Mr. Paradox » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:42 am

Thank you for this. We sorely need a word more specific than love or romance, and this is an intriguing one. The idea of "intrusive thinking" that characterises limerence seems very close to the OCD-like symptoms from the studies I mentioned in this thread. I sense parallels.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

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ghosts
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Re: Limerence

Postby ghosts » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:52 pm

I completely forgot about this word, so thanks for bringing it up! I think this is sort of what I was going for in Mr. Paradox's thread on family stuff. Limerance seems to be more of an infatuation rather than a type of love, like "romantic love."

How have my experiences matched the description of limerence? I'm not sure. I get crushes, sure - and some of the basic components that are listed I've experienced to an extent. But nothing that's hardly that intense as described, so I guess I'd say that I don't really experience limerance all *that* much. ::shrug::

I'd be hesitant to describe limerance as a kind of love, or that it's what "falling in love" is like, but that's just me - I'm not sure if Tennov feels that way. Have I fallen in love? I suppose I have with one person in particular, although I guess I haven't ever bothered with the term all that much. But rather than a sudden, intense feeling like some have described, it's something that's evolved over a number of years into something quite comfortable, and that's still evolving. It was never anything that hit me all of a sudden.

And just to mention - I'm neither romantic or aromantic... I just don't bother with those terms right now too.

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Emmarainbow
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Re: Limerence

Postby Emmarainbow » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:59 pm

I don't think that I've ever exerienced limerance... never with one person in mind, anyway. I've desperately sought out exceptance of a group, but not reciprocated love of an individual.

Hmmm. I still tend to label myself as 'romantic' though - I certainly desire a relationship, but I've never unconsciously gone for someone. Hmms.

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Mysteria
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Re: Limerence

Postby Mysteria » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:34 pm

Mr. Paradox - Yes. I think it's just two different ways of trying to logically explain the same thing, based on different research methods.

Emmarainbow wrote:I don't think that I've ever exerienced limerance... never with one person in mind, anyway. I've desperately sought out exceptance of a group, but not reciprocated love of an individual.

Hmmm. I still tend to label myself as 'romantic' though - I certainly desire a relationship, but I've never unconsciously gone for someone. Hmms.

Now that you mention that, that's another thing that's a little different for me--I don't really care if the feeling is reciprocated or not. Maybe that's why I don't experience the negative moods; I'm happy just being friends with the object of my affections. Of course, being really good friends with someone IS my ideal way to love, so I suppose it's a moot point.

As for aromantic vs. non-limerent, what I'm thinking the difference in the two terms is, is that aromantic is more relationship-oriented, and non-limerent is more feelings-oriented. It's kind of a difference in semantics, I suppose, but I have never quite understood whether the "aromantic" label was supposed to refer to lack of interest in relationships entirely, or lack of the "falling in love" feeling, because people seem to use it to refer to both.

ghosts wrote:I'd be hesitant to describe limerance as a kind of love, or that it's what "falling in love" is like, but that's just me - I'm not sure if Tennov feels that way. Have I fallen in love? I suppose I have with one person in particular, although I guess I haven't ever bothered with the term all that much. But rather than a sudden, intense feeling like some have described, it's something that's evolved over a number of years into something quite comfortable, and that's still evolving. It was never anything that hit me all of a sudden.

I used to think kind of like that too... I experienced a similar "comfortable evolution" kind of falling in love when I fell for my ex, although it was perhaps a bit different, as I do think there was a degree of limerence that became involved after we reached a certain level of closeness. At that point I doubted very much whether "falling in love" could happen in a matter of months... Now I know that at least for me, it can, and it's very different from just a crush. YMMV.

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ghosts
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Re: Limerence

Postby ghosts » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:49 pm

Right, I'm not saying that it's not possible to "fall in love" after just a few months - but I feel as though that is less likely to happen, because love seems to take awhile to grow. But I think some people may mistake some feelings, such as limerance, perhaps, as falling in love, when it might not be *quite* that.

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spin
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Re: Limerence

Postby spin » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:10 pm

Can you develop limerent feelings for someone you already love?

I feel like love grows from familiarity. I sort of believe that you can't know someone very well and not love them--whether you like them or not. On the other hand, and (mutual) limerence might help foster love by creating or strengthening familiarity.

(This is really interesting, Mysteria!)

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Mysteria
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Re: Limerence

Postby Mysteria » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:43 pm

Ghosts - Yeah, I see what you're saying, and I agree. Like with Romeo and Juliet--it's fairly common to mistake infatuation with something deeper, because it feels like it is, at the time. I guess the people who do experience that sort of thing just have to learn from experience.

spin wrote:Can you develop limerent feelings for someone you already love?

I feel like love grows from familiarity. I sort of believe that you can't know someone very well and not love them--whether you like them or not. On the other hand, and (mutual) limerence might help foster love by creating or strengthening familiarity.

(This is really interesting, Mysteria!)


Glad you find it interesting. :)

In my case, at least, I did develop those feelings for someone I had already grown very close to in the years that we had been friends, and really more than anything else, it was that closeness that sparked the limerent feelings. I already loved him, but it turned into a very different kind of love... "Limerence" is the closest approximation, but it was really that mixed with something else, which I have no word for.

What you're saying about familiarity reminds me of Data's definition of "fondness" from Star Trek TNG: "I have grown accustomed to your sensory input patterns." Limerence can certainly speed up that process, by making you pay much closer attention to the limerent object than you otherwise would.