Limerence is a state of intense and obsessive romantic infatuation. It is a strong, exciting emotion that people feel on the first meeting with a potential love interest. People often confuse limerence with love, but it is different from love. Love is unconditional, fluid, and encompasses a deep connection, which continues to grow as the relationship progresses. Love enables one to care for and endure setbacks and life challenges together.
Limerence is short-lived and conditional. It is an initial attraction that lacks substance, which gradually fades away. People who are in limerence view their partners through subjective lenses. They act according to their infatuation towards their partner and dismiss any red flags. The limerence caused them to have weak boundaries.
There are three stages of limerence:
1) The first stage is infatuation, fuelled by an intense desire for connection and emotional bonding, regardless of how the other treats them. A person in the first stage of limerence would conclude that the other person is "the one", which leads to an intense desire for a romantic connection though they just knew each other.
2) The second stage is crystallisation, and this is the stage where limerence peaks. As the relationship builds and solidifies, the person at this stage becomes increasingly fascinated by the other person. They do not hesitate to defend their partner and minimise or dismiss any red flag, even if it is obvious. Their focus is to protect the limerence.
3)The third stage is deterioration, and this is the stage where the infatuation and strong emotions start to fade. People at this stage of limerence begin to recognise the less desirable character or behaviour of the other person. There may be frequent arguments as the idealisation fades.
Limerence is quite similar to love at first sight, so it can be challenging to notice the difference as both limerence and love begin with a sense of being attracted to some. However, despite the similarity, there are signs that you may use to assess if what you feel is limerence or love at first sight. Sign that you are in limerence include:
Being overly infatuated such as started thinking about the future, even though you just met the person
Ignoring the flaws or making excuses for them
Seeking their validation desperately
Feeling emotionally dependent on the other person
Thinking obsessively about them throughout the day
Spending less time with family, friends or on hobbies or interest
Neglecting own needs for the other person
Recognising if your relationship is a limerence or a love is essential, as limerence can lead to multiple negative consequences. The stronger the feelings of infatuation, the higher the possibility of unmet emotional needs and healthy boundaries. The intense emotions and obsessive thoughts can also affect your sleep, eating habits, stress levels, and performance at school or work. It can even affect your relationship with other people in your life. Take steps to slow down and recognise the signs and root causes of the limerence. Unprocessed childhood attachment trauma or emotional neglect often triggers limerence. Processing the attachment trauma with a professional counsellor or psychotherapist will help you build healthy self-worth and appropriate boundaries, leading to secure attachments.
Restoring Peace Counselling and Consultancy provides counselling and psychotherapy for children, individuals, couples, and families. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or WhatsApp us at +65 8889 1848.
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