Goodness me, life is busy. I’ve been spread a bit thin of late, trying to manage too many things at once, but (as is the way of such things) the grind is finally starting to pay off, and some knotty problems are getting solved. First up is a new community space on the site.
I’ve been planning this for a while as a private forum that people can use to discuss all things limerence, away from the prying eyes of the world. It’s been great to see all the comments livening up the posts (and please do keep them coming!), but it’s tricky for commenters to keep track of the conversational threads that blossom unexpectedly, and also remember which post which conversations started under. And some folks do have understandable concerns about being too visible to Google, so are hesitant to join in at all.
Well, setting up a members only forum turned out to be more complicated than I expected, of course. But… it seems to be working now.
That said, there is still scope for errors and likely troubleshooting ahead, as it’s a bit of a Heath Robinson set up with plugins mounted on plugins and all sorts of API information flying back and forth.
But I’m pretty sure that we now have a functional members only discussion forum that is invisible (or at least unlisted) to search engines. Sign up here!
Why I’m doing this
The goal is to provide a private space for people to have conversations, share ideas, express their hopes, and help each other cope with the vicissitudes of limerence. There’s no charge, but you do have to register with an email address.
As time goes on, I’ll add more stuff, turning the forum into a fully fledged community section, and maybe have some members only content and free downloads and that sort of thing. We’ll see how it builds, and how useful it turns out to be.
But for now, we have a start. Early adopters, please jump in!
First of all, thank you, Dr. limerence, for this site.
Here is my comment: I know it’s been written on other posts here, but is it really possible for an LO who is a non-limerent to actually experience an LE? I am not asking if the LO can be interested in the limerent or even fall “in love” with the limerent. But can they experience limerence? Can a non-limerent ever truly experience the intense feelings of limerence that a limerent does? In my experience, the answer is no. A strong crush, an excitement over the attention from the limerent, maybe, but not having an actual LE because the LO is a non-limerent at heart. Wondering what other people have experienced.
I suppose the truth of it is that we can never know what someone else is really feeling. Limerence does seem to be a common experience that lots of people relate to and can confirm as closely similar to their personal feelings – but even more people will confirm that they don’t (or haven’t) experienced it. Probably best to take them at their word.
Scharnhorst did once start a conversation about whether people are non-limerents, or “not limerent yet”. I suppose it is possible that given the right circumstances, anyone could become limerent, but I think the consensus view would be that it is a minority of people that are prone to it and experience it more than once in life.
Do I sense that lurking behind your question is the hope that a limerent might be able to “turn” a non-limerent LO, if they found the right triggers? I think it’s what a lot of us hope, but it seems like wishful thinking to me…
“Do I sense that lurking behind your question is the hope that a limerent might be able to “turn” a non-limerent LO, if they found the right triggers? I think it’s what a lot of us hope, but it seems like wishful thinking to me…”
Oh, yes. It was devastating to learn I had completely singled him out and was ready to jump over the cliff and not care about the landing … But he ran right up to the edge of the cliff and hiked it back the other direction. I’m not sure which is worse — someone not liking you at all or someone liking you to an extent … but not enough. Or not enough to jump over the cliff with you because they either don’t feel as strongly about you or would never feel as strongly about anyone.
I’m going to be a bit cheeky here….a non-limerent by definition is someone that does not experience LEs isn’t it? So while non-limerents fall in love, suffer from infatuations and experience intense romantic feelings just like anyone else, they do not become intractably obsessed with object of their feelings, or experience the neuro-chemically driven person addiction with the constant fantasising, objectifying and intrusive thoughts that defines an LE.
But isn’t the feeling of being “in love” neuro-chemically driven? Doesn’t being “in love” imply person addiction? Some relate it to being high on drugs.
Yes I agree, “in-love” and limerence are closely related, maybe subtly different flavours of the same thing. I think it is down to what defines an LE. For me it is the existence of uncertainty/barriers and the degree and the persistence of addiction, obsession, intrusive thinking and the anguish the LE causes that makes it an LE and the sufferer therefore a limerent.
“For me it is the existence of uncertainty/barriers and the degree and the persistence of addiction, obsession, intrusive thinking and the anguish the LE causes that makes it an LE and the sufferer therefore a limerent.”
Understand what you are talking about.
In a twist of fate, this has been fittingly established on my LO’s b-day.
@Marcia. Have you read Dorothy Tennov’s book “Love and Limerence”? If not, try to get your hands on a copy – it’s a fantastic read. And I believe this is exactly the conclusion she (Tennov) reaches at the end of her book. Many, many people never experience limerence at any point in their whole lives and yet they have happy and enjoyable dating relationships, love, sex, etc. Limerence is a sublime (and sometimes nightmarish) experience. But not everyone experiences it.
In fact, Tennov discovered that a female friend of hers (called Helen in the book?) hadn’t experienced limerence and yet had had fulfilling relationships with men. Helen didn’t seem to know what limerence was. This triggered Tennov’s interest in the subject – to explore more deeply how humans fall in love. More research is needed of course, but limerence does seem to have a strong genetic basis. (It might be a biological trait passed down in families).
A distinction can be made between a never-limerent and someone who’s just not limerent for a particular person. For example, a gay man may become limerent for several males during his lifetime, but never feel limerence for a female partner. Does limerence explain sexual orientation? If so, sexuality is truly “all in the brain” and not in the body or the genitals. Gender (in the form of biological sex) seems to be a key determinant in who we become limerent for.
Think of the social implications of this: a gay man wouldn’t feel shy or nervous around a strikingly beautiful woman but may become tongue-tied around average-looking blokes. A lesbian wouldn’t have much trouble bonding with men as equals (in the workplace, etc), but might struggle to concentrate around an attractive female co-worker. Oh, the irony, eh?
Tennov suggested same-sex limerence is much more intense than opposite-sex limerence. She was writing in the 70s and I wonder if she made this observation because until fairly recently discrimination meant there were more “obstacles” to consummation for gay people and limerence is “strengthened through adversity”? Gay rights have progressed considerably in Western countries in the last two decades. I wonder if gay and straight people now experience similar levels of intensity regarding limerence? I.e. comparable levels of adversity?
I believe that anyone who has experienced limerence finds it such a powerful emotional experience that they eventually seek out an explanation, regardless of whether the LE was a blissful or a painful experience. Although, in cases of mutual limerence, the couple may be so happy and feel their mutual desire is so natural and organic, they may just assume their experience is the norm.
I am still confused as to what is this “romantic love” that non-limerents supposedly feel. Is it just a mixture of friendship and physical attraction? Without wanting to sound rude, it seems like a really watered-down version of limerence. But I guess a limerent person would compare everything to the limerent high, right?
I’m glad you’re getting so much out of this site. I am too – limerence is such a fascinating topic because it intersects with so many other fascinating topics! What are your thoughts on a non-limerent never having LEs? Do you feel that maybe it’s a bit of a tragedy (for both parties)? I think your own life experiences are compatible with Tennov’s findings, and your judgement is sound. Non-limerents probably find their interactions with limerents loads of fun. But no, they won’t suffer in a limerent way e.g. rumination, intrusive thoughts, etc.
Thank you for your detailed post.
“More research is needed of course, but limerence does seem to have a strong genetic basis.”
Do you think people who have addictive personalities are more prone to limerence?
“I am still confused as to what is this “romantic love” that non-limerents supposedly feel. Is it just a mixture of friendship and physical attraction?”
Me, too. I have only had one long-term relationship with an LO, and when the limerence faded (and it did), that is exactly what I felt — I was having sex with a friend. But not even a close friend. I had closer platonic friendships with people who really knew me and understood me.
” Without wanting to sound rude, it seems like a really watered-down version of limerence. But I guess a limerent person would compare everything to the limerent high, right?”
Yes, everything else but limerence feels tepid.
“What are your thoughts on a non-limerent never having LEs? Do you feel that maybe it’s a bit of a tragedy (for both parties)?”
They are probably a lot happier. Bounce back. Get over romantic disappointments faster. Find a much larger pool of people as potential mates.
“Non-limerents probably find their interactions with limerents loads of fun. ”
Why do you say “fun”? How is the interaction with a limerent any different than with a non-limerent if a non-limerent doesn’t have an inkling what limerence feels like?
@Marcia. Thanks for your thoughtful response.
Yes, I do think there is some link between limerence and having an addictive personality. Maybe both are somehow connected to OCD?
I say “fun” because, let’s face it, limerents put an awful lot of energy into pleasing and impressing LOs. Also, in a case study in Tennov’s book, a non-limerent LO said this is what he felt when he was with his limerent partner. She left him in the end. He couldn’t meet her emotional needs. He didn’t “love her enough”. But while they were a couple, going on dates, etc, he couldn’t believe how much fun they had together. She was possibly more pleasant to be around than the other women he’d dated thus far.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest limerents might have some mating advantages over non-limerents i.e. I think some limerents develop very winning personalities and give off an aura of physical attractiveness, even if they’re not objectively good-looking. This is especially true during the chemical high of limerence – you can see something in these people’s eyes and faces when they believe they’re loved, a light shining from within. Maybe “mania” makes people more exciting and attractive? And limerents are, after all, suffering from a form of mania in the early stages.
If a limerent interprets sexual activity with LO as emotional reciprocation, they are probably going to be the most enthusiastic lovers LO has ever met. This might be thrilling to an LO who hasn’t felt desired in that way before. Basically, I believe limerents put more effort into wooing their partners because of the biological rewards/penalties involved. Non-limerent LOs can be relatively lazy and still end up with devoted companions!
“Yes, I do think there is some link between limerence and having an addictive personality. Maybe both are somehow connected to OCD?”
I have relatives who were addicts and I used to think I had escaped that gene … but then I now realize the limerence is a form of dopamine-seeking behavior.
“If a limerent interprets sexual activity with LO as emotional reciprocation, they are probably going to be the most enthusiastic lovers LO has ever met. ”
When I first read your paragraph about limerents trying to please their partners more than non-limerents, I thought, “No, I don’t do that.” But then I read the paragraph about sex … I definitely do that . To be honest, though, not every guy liked a passionate, limerent lover. Some were freaked out or uncomfortable. It’s a whole lot of heat and intensity aimed at someone, especially if you have been waiting for a long time to be with him. It’s kind of like — Fasten your seat belts. I’m coming at you! 🙂
An Interesting debate…..I can relate…..my intense sexual enthusiasm was definitely part of my appeal to my SO during our first 2 years! But sadly the sexual complacency he learned from this gradually choked my desire for him in the years after my LE wore off.
Also agree about the euphoric phase of limerence making you attractive although I find charismatic people who are confident and have high self-worth but are non-limerent also give off a similar aura of attractiveness.
@Sammy I was interested in the Tennov example where “He couldn’t meet her emotional needs.” and he didn’t “love her enough”. I don’t think this is just about limerence but also about how people go about getting their needs met. Through investing in personal growth over time, I have developed the skill of meeting a lot of my own emotional needs by giving compassion, comfort and love to myself, and by being my own private and very enthusiastic cheer-leader. This might sound weird to some but this is a skill anyone can learn and it really builds your resilience and happiness levels. I don’t often require someone else to actively “meet my emotional needs”, although I really love, and deeply appreciate it when they do.
“An Interesting debate…..I can relate…..my intense sexual enthusiasm was definitely part of my appeal to my SO during our first 2 years! But sadly the sexual complacency he learned from this gradually choked my desire for him in the years after my LE wore off.”
Were you still sexually interested after the LE wore off? I have only been with one LO long enough to get to what I call “the other side” of the LE (when it wore off), but once on that side of the fence, my interest diminished from a level 10 to about a level 2. I think that had a lot to do with not only the mania wearing off but the fact that I could actually see him clearly and … didn’t really like him that much.
“I am still confused as to what is this “romantic love” that non-limerents supposedly feel. Is it just a mixture of friendship and physical attraction? Without wanting to sound rude, it seems like a really watered-down version of limerence. But I guess a limerent person would compare everything to the limerent high, right?”
Not sure I agree with that Sammy. My SO is a non-limerent but he experiences love as intensely and passionately as the next person. He just doesn’t get all obsessive about it, his feelings build more gradually and they are for the real person not a fantasy. I find that limerence can be an obstacle to love as the intensity can make you so shy and awkward around LO that it is hard to initiate a genuine relationship.
” I find that limerence can be an obstacle to love as the intensity can make you so shy and awkward around LO that it is hard to initiate a genuine relationship.”
Being shy around the LO is actually is a more genuine reaction (and one you can’t control) because, in most social situations, our behavior is carefully regulated. We know how we are supposed to react and what we are supposed to say, almost as if by rote. You can’t do that around an LO. They render you closer to authenticity.
“They render you closer to authenticity.” I guess we are all different…for me an LE does the opposite – I find it hard to be natural, relaxed and completely myself around an LO. I once deliberately avoided having a relationship with an LO because I just couldn’t visualise myself ever feeling comfortable with him and therefore we would never develop a real close bonded connection. It would have been all hormones and desire without the banter and friendship.
“I guess we are all different…for me an LE does the opposite – I find it hard to be natural, relaxed and completely myself around an LO. ”
That’s how I am, too. But that response is real. I can’t hide the fact that I’m nervous and cover it up with what you wrote below … banter. I find it exciting to be around someone who makes me feel out of control.
“It would have been all hormones and desire without the banter and friendship.”
But isn’t that what an LE is? If I wanted banter and friendship, I’d hang out with a friend. 🙂 It’s funny you write that because I’ve had platonic male friends who thought I was interested in more because I was so relaxed around them. When, really, I saw them the same as a female friend.
Not all LEs are like that – for me, my best one was tempered with warmth, trust and friendship. He is now my husband.
You say you like that “out of control” feeling….but what is your end game? That thrilling “out of control” feeling is not real love to me. Are you looking for a satisfying long term relationship or just short term narcotic thrills? What if it must be a choice between the two extremes, or a mid-way compromise – which would you choose?
I must add that the thrilling “out of control feeling” is rather fantastic nevertheless 🙂 I would sooooo love to experience that again too. But it isn’t real and it never lasts.
“You say you like that “out of control” feeling….but what is your end game? That thrilling “out of control” feeling is not real love to me. ”
I would agree. You can’t really love someone who you don’t know and who doesn’t know you.
“Are you looking for a satisfying long term relationship or just short term narcotic thrills? What if it must be a choice between the two extremes, or a mid-way compromise – which would you choose?”
If you asked me a few years ago, I would have written something long-term. But I don’t think I really was because I put feeling overwhelmed by the person as a top priority. As for now, I don’t really know. My last LE was such a train wreck. I don’t trust my own judgment anymore.
@Allie. “My SO is a non-limerent but he experiences love as intensely and passionately as the next person. He just doesn’t get all obsessive about it, his feelings build more gradually and they are for the real person not a fantasy.”
Thanks for the insight, Allie. Maybe time is the ingredient I’m not factoring in? If what you’re saying is true, maybe “love at first sight” is a good thing to stay away from!
I’m a bit worried about the private forum, as I don’t entirely understand it. Will I see that people have posted but only have access to their comments if I join, or will it be two seperate places with two separate conversations going on at the same time? Will the comments be attached to a particular blog post? I’m not particularly techno-savvy!!!
No-one can see anything posted in the forum unless they are registered and logged in. So all the conversations are separate from the comments section on the public site.
The slight tech headache for me is that the forum software requires registration to the LwL site which runs on WordPress. That’s not a big problem, except for the fact that your user profile on the forum will then determine the name displayed in the comments on the public site.
But, if you register with a valid email, you can use whatever name you like for the username and display name, which will be displayed in both private and public sections.
Hope that helps clarify (?!)
[You can see why this took me a bit of time to figure out…]
Anonymous Limerent says
First of all, I am extremely grateful that this log-in feature has been established. I have wanted it for a long time.
But I don’t really understand – is it just the same thing but I don’t have to sign in every time I comment? Or is there/will there be a forum section that I am missing? And will I get an email to tell me when someone replies to my comment?
While I am very happy about this, I don’t think the explanation of the new feature has been very expansive.
While I’m commenting, I had a dream last night that I think might be me trying to tell myself something: there was a very steep hill of road that had flat sections followed by vertical sections, and a lot of them, like stairs I guess. It was a very long way down and people who drove fast down it (so they ended up bouncing down) were arrested. This road was in the air; either side was just sky with no ground, like some sort of game.
In the dream, it was a Friday night. Someone with no face who I don’t know (but was obviously my friend in the dream) convinced me that we should have a good time on a Friday night and drive down it fast. I got into the car and we did just that. I was in the back seat with my eyes closed the whole time. While this happened, police said they shouldn’t chase us because it was a Friday night and we were just having fun, but they chased us anyway. I don’t find this significant, but I’ll add it in anyway, for the sake of clarity.
Of course, we ended up bouncing too high and the driver couldn’t control the car, so I opened my eyes to see the car bouncing right off the side and into the abyss. Obviously, I would have died after that, but I just woke up instead.
So, yeah. Even though it didn’t involve my LO, I feel like it may have been me telling myself from within that I am being too reckless, careless and confident that my LE is pretty much over, and if I keep going the way I am (I do keep looking at her) I will spiral into a full-blown LE again. If anyone has any thoughts about my dream, whether I’m right or wrong, or whether I missed anything, it would be greatly appreciated.
It may be worth noting that on Friday night (the previous night) I had a dream that I somehow saw LO’s calendar and when I saw that on it was ‘move away’ (house-wise) I got really horrified. It was the first time I have EVER manually woken myself up from a dream. And I physically can’t wake myself up.
Hi Anon Lim,
See comment above to Janesays – the forum is a totally separate section of the site, which can only be accessed by registering, and then logging in.
But, when logged in, the display name you choose in the forum will also be the username shown for comments on the public site. I haven’t been able to figure out a way around this (except for setting up a totally separate site, which is a bit of an expensive option), but you are able to set the name yourself on the user profile page.
Hope that helps explain things!
As to your dream: yes, it does sound like your subconscious is warning you against sliding back down the slope into obsessive rumination about your LO. Best to avoid that spiral…
@ Dr. L,
I’m still a little confused – so there is a username AND and display name? Can I just choose to make them the same as each other? When I started the registration process, I saw where it had “first name” and “username” listed. I don’t really want to use my real first name, so can I just put “B” on both of those?
I’m sure it will all make sense once I register, but I wanted to get it right the first time. Thanks,
Hi B. Yes, the username and first name and display name can all be the same. It just gives a bit more flexibility if you find a username has been taken already (they have to unique), or you would rather be known by something a bit more human than an email address 🙂
I’ve been using an old work address that I, naively, thought was just mine to post and ask questions, but i just got my sign in forwarded to me by my old partner! I guess my work emails are being forwarded and she didn’t want me to miss something I needed. Awkward. Can i be removed from the forum at my old email address and Re-sign up at my current address? I sent the question privately to you, DrL, but I’m sure you’re drowning in the startup right now.
Hi Janesays. I did get your message, but the reply failed because the email address you sent from gave a error for me.
Drop me a new message by contact form (or direct email) with the email address you’d like to use, and I can change your forum details.
@Sammy writes: “And limerents are, after all, suffering from a form of mania in the early stages.” This is very interesting because I hadn’t heard a connection made between limerence and mania before. When I experienced my first LE as a teenager, and subsequent bout of depression following it, I was given a possible diagnosis of bipolar disorder. After taking antidepressants for many years, and finally ending them, I had another LE. However, maybe because I was able to keep this one to myself, there was no reference to mania that ever came up, instead anxiety and mild OCD. I wonder if some people who are given a bipolar diagnosis are actually just limerent? I understand the connection between limerence and OCD, but I feel the connection between limerence and bipolar has been less articulated, and I’m curious to learn more.
This is my first post but I’ve been using this site as a lifesaver for almost a year now. Thank you all! I too am interested in this topic, I’m awaiting my confirmation email to get into the private forum (it’s not come through!) so I can write more freely. I was recently diagnosed with BP after commencement of an LE but have experienced mania in a non-LE manner too. But I too think very deeply about the connection between L and BP. Hope to chat more in the private forum soon!
Hi Angela, and welcome.
You might need to check “promotions” or spam folders for the confirmation link, as these autoemails sometimes get stuck. If you still can’t find it send me a message through the contact form and I’ll follow up.
Hope to see you in the forum soon!
Dr. L, would you mind clarifying what are the differences between and the uses for “username” and “display name” as shown in our account profile in the forum? Any cautions for what we enter in these fields during registration? What is the impact of allowing a user to change their “display name”?
I’ve literally just this second posted a note on the forum!
Your display name will be what is shown publicly throughout the site. This should be the username by default, but it’s worth doublechecking. So if you register for the community, set a display name, and then post a comment while logged in, the comment will show your display name.
When you are logged in, there should be a note “Logged in as [display name]” just above the comment box on any blog post so you can tell for sure before hitting “Post Comment”.
Song of the Day: “I’m Still Standing” – Elton John (1983)
A little inspiration to start the week.
This song came out the year I started dating LO #2. I liked it then but 5 years later, I came to appreciate it.
I guess my age is showing because I got totally confused on how to join the new forum…I tried to sign in, it said I would get a confirmation email, but it didn’t arrive. I did this twice, so now I’m totally list……..suggestions?
Did you check your Spam folder?
Hi Scharnhorst…yes, I did, nothing there. But Managed to get in now that Dr. L. Logged me in.
Some confirmation emails do seem to be going astray! There’s always a risk that they go into spam or promotions, but some don’t seem to arrive at all.
I’ve now registered you manually, so try logging in again.
Thank you Dr. L. it worked this time….
Sorry i just needed a space that i can expréss my feelings, i have suffered limerence for someone recently for years, i started NC and i felt better, i needed to realize that this was not possible at all. I started pshyquiatral medication for depression and I believed this helped. However recently I met another person, he just treated me nice and touched nicely my finger (i know It Is so pathetic) so I can return a pencil. I felt he did not rejected me in any way and i felt so happy. Now limerence again. So stupid, i want to stop, i want so badly to be loved and to experience affection that i pray god just for one opportunity, i am a single mom i work 12 hours a day, i feel that i am not young anymore . I want to die. I know that love has to be reciprocal, i would do my best, why dont i healed fast enough? Why god Is not listening me? Just one chance
I got to stage 3 and gave in. I had two months of progress. I am so disappointed in myself. I am also an alcoholic so the relation of this to a relapse is abundantly clear. Now the old obsessive thoughts are back and I’m lying to myself that we could be “just friends” someday. I have not been able to keep him blocked again. I know that there’s still this hope inside of me that he will text me and miss me and then everything will be better.
He’s explicitly told me that he does not want contact with me or to be a part of my life. Continuing to contact him (which I’ve done over the past few days) feels like harassment at this point, but I feel like I can’t stop. It does not help that our relationship has always been on again off again, with him coming back every time I start to pull away. That obviously didn’t happen this time and I think part of me was hoping it would when I reached back out to him. It does not help when he says things like, “I’m not ready for us to start talking again.” and “I’m not talking to you right now.” These things feed the hope. He said he would talk to me in three months.
I know I should just end it and not keep holding onto little bits of hope, but the idea of never seeing him again is devastating. I did some work and realized that he isn’t even the type of person I want to be with, but letting him go seems too hard. I’ve realized that it is his love for me (that he gave and then took away many times in our relationship) that I crave.
I have a compulsive need to seek his approval and relieve my anxiety. I ruminate on how his feelings have changed and beat myself up over the things I’ve done. These are actually bad things too- like name calling and breaking into his house when he didn’t want to talk to me. The best way to sum up our relationship is, the morning after I broke into his house he was going to file a restraining order against me and by that evening we were having sex. Why do I have this idea that I can change and this can work out still? I know this is insanity.