Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.
The latest issue of Vogue has an article on limerence written by Fleur Britten.
I had a good chat with her about limerence, neuroscience and recovery strategies, and I think the key ideas come across well in the article. Obviously, she’s a skillful writer, but I found her description of the limerence trap especially effective:
Except I couldn’t actually handle my crush. My mind had been hijacked – it was like malware had been installed, rendering it capable only of replaying every conversation, looking for signs of interest, or rehearsing future encounters.
I like the idea of limerence operating as a sort of malware in the brain. Perhaps a closer analogy (from a neuroscience perspective) would be buggy code that makes the system unstable… but that’s far less pithy and unnecessarily pedantic. Malware works.
It was also interesting to read her summary of my recovery strategies from the post on how to get rid of limerence (no contact, devaluation, transference, disclosure). Reading it in someone else’s voice makes me realise that (as an older article) it’s a bit simplistic compared to the view I have now. I guess it’s inevitable that as you study any topic in obsessive detail, earlier notions come to seem a bit superficial.
For those looking for more depth, the specific articles on no contact, deprogramming, transference, and disclosure do a better job of capturing the nuance.
The truly definitive approach to limerence recovery is the emergency deprogramming course.
It’s good to see limerence getting more mainstream visibility, and now that it’s been profiled in Vogue, I think it’s safe to say that we limerents can count ourselves among the most fashionable people in the world.
Limerent Emeritus says
LwL has gone mainstream.
I was wondering about the uptick in new posters.
Here’s one for Ms. Britten: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0535/6917/products/imagination.jpg?v=1540860301
Welcome to the club!
“Welcome to the club!”
I have to quote Groucho Marx here. “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
The precise quote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkB5hrxFAmw
But, unlike what he says about the Friar’s Club and not having anything in common with the other members, I think most of us limerents would have a great deal in common. 🙂 We’d know that for certain if Dr. L would start organizing the Limerence Conference we were promised months ago. 🙂
We are in a “forum for the lovelorns.” 😀
Limerent Emeritus says
“🙂 We’d know that for certain if Dr. L would start organizing the Limerence Conference we were promised months ago. 🙂”
Don’t you remember? We’ve been planning it for years, not months.
Well, Dr. L needs to get off his tuckus and start planning! Lining up guest speakers, side workshops, etc. 😉
I volunteer to organize the Saturday night/end of conference dance party.
Dr L says
To be honest, the romantic earthquake that would result from gathering together a group of limerents in one location with a common purpose might be too much for the world to bear.
But we need to be heard! We’ve been dismissed for too long as the whiny, over the top, poetic, can’t-get-over-it types. We will not be silenced anymore! Norma Rae! 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
It’s not like we’re limerent for each other.
I have to figure out how to sell it to my wife.
“You want to go where for what?!…Eh, no.”
I’m with Dr L. A room full of known limerents is a really bad idea.
Limerent Emeritus says
What’s the worst that could happen?
Where’s your sense of adventure?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe–XXB8Mqc (substitute “limerence/limerent” for “comedy/comedian”)
Limerents don’t like other limerents. They like a non-limerent who gives them just enough reciprocity to keep them interested . 🙂
Sorry Marcia, but some of us like limerents, too. And being in a room full of potential LOs might be irresistible. A quick assessment of the room, pick a favorite, shower them with attention… and you’ve easily got yourself a new LE. Who doesn’t love a new LE?
True that such a conference could cure a roomful of limerents through transference. But I doubt Dr. L wants that kind of cure for all of us at the same time. What a scandal! I’m pretty sure Dr. L is the Limerent doctor, not the Love doctor.
The thought of such a conference makes me laugh.
Dr L says
Could you imagine if some fool of a blogger had been irresponsible enough to outline exactly the psychological techniques that LOs can use to deliberately cultivate obsessive infatuation in others?!
Limerent Emeritus says
You’re looking at this all wrong. Think of it more like Jane Goodall. You [or someone] would have the opportunity to observe limerents in the company of other limerents. Maybe Ms. Britten could cover it but we’d know she’s watching us.
“Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives” – https://janegoodall.org/our-story/about-jane/
Think of what you could learn!
When I was on my first submarine in 1981, the Admiral in charge of all the Pacific Fleet subs rode rode our sub. At dinner, he remarked that there had been no valid psychological studies done on submariners at sea because once they knew they were being watched, they went out to screw up the observations. I believe him. There are a lot of really smart, really creative, and really bored people on a nuclear sub who like nothing better than messing with someone’s head for sport.
I don’t think you’d have that problem.
More like Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoon.
Limerent Emeritus says
“Sorry Marcia, but some of us like limerents, too. ”
So the LOs you’ve had have also been limerents? How did you know that? I don’t think I’ve had one that was a limerent.
” Who doesn’t love a new LE?”
I don’t. I don’t want another one. And two things have to happen, for me, anyway, to have an LE ignite. One, I have to be in a certain psychological frame of mind/place (which I’m not right now). And, two, I’m triggered by a specific personality type — irreverent, impish, a little inappropriate. Haven’t come across anyone on this site who fits that description.
Limerent Emeritus says
“…irreverent, impish, a little inappropriate. Haven’t come across anyone on this site who fits that description.”
Seriously? Maybe not the last one but the first two? At this point, I’m the most irreverent poster on LwL. Even Meatloaf said, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
I’m crushed… 🙁
Inappropriateness aimed directly at me, is what I meant.
Like when Scarlett thanks Rhett for the gifts he brings her (they are not married yet), saying he is being kind. He responds, “I’m not kind. I’m just tempting you. I never give anything without expecting something in return. I always get paid.”
Limerent Emeritus says
I grew up outside Chicago. I know exactly what Rhett meant. One family friend called me “the best 5yr old con man in the city of Joliet.”
As Mike Royko put it, “Ubi Est Mea.”[ “Where’s mine?”]
Mike Royko. I haven’t heard that name in years.
I used Rhett Butler as an example. I can’t post the exact things my LOs said to me that pushed my buttons. They’re too specific … but much more clever than “you have a nice butt.” 🙂
Dr. L, you are right that it would be irresponsible to
“…outline exactly the psychological techniques that LOs can use to deliberately cultivate obsessive infatuation in others.” Sorry.
Marcia, I think you and I experience limerence differently. I’ve never experienced it with someone who didn’t already show interest in me. And of course I don’t know if they are experiencing attraction or limerence (I hope it’s just attraction), but either way it is what feeds my limerent beast. I know my weakness, and I do not belong in a room full of people who I know are vulnerable to limerence. It’s like asking a drug addict to pick up your narcotics on the way home. It’s a bad idea. But, seriously, if you and the others can pull it off… oh, I would love to be a fly on the wall. The thought of that conference amuses me.
“Marcia, I think you and I experience limerence differently. I’ve never experienced it with someone who didn’t already show interest in me. And of course I don’t know if they are experiencing attraction or limerence (I hope it’s just attraction), but either way it is what feeds my limerent beast. ”
I am the same way. I have never become limerent for someone who didn’t show interest. But with my maybe 6 to 7 LEs since high school ( I don’t count high school), I don’t believe one LO was a limerent or at the very least limerent for me. So I don’t think I’m personally susceptible to other limerents. They were attracted and interested but not limerent. There’s a big difference.
Marcia, you have me wondering. How can you be so sure that your LOs weren’t limerent? And why do you assume that you wouldn’t develop limerence for a fellow limerent? I’m just curious. I noticed that you have a specific type and you need to be in a specific mindset for your limerence to kick in, but I don’t see why the LO couldn’t be a fellow limerent if your other criteria were met. Maybe I’m missing something.
“How can you be so sure that your LOs weren’t limerent?”
Well, for example, two of them were single and available. So was I. One wanted to meet up for sex for an hour a week. And that’s it. One wanted to date casually. “I want to take it slow” was what he said. Do those guys sound limerent to you? Another was married. We were having an affair. I broke things off. During the affair, he said he didn’t want to leave his wife. Called me after the affair was over to say they were working on things. He reappeared months later. She was no longer in the picture … and now his attention was focused on me. Does that sound like he was limerent or that it didn’t work out with her and now he was exploring what he thought of as a second option?
“‘And why do you assume that you wouldn’t develop limerence for a fellow limerent? I’m just curious. ”
Well, limerence develops when there are barriers. So if you have two limerents who fall for each other and there are no barriers, it’s not really limerence as there’s nothing to stop it from developing. Now, what could happen is I become limerent for a limerent who is not available. But I have a tendency to become limerent for a push-pull, hot and cold dynamic. I think another limerent, even with barriers, would be too effusive and emotive for limerence to develop for me. I could be wrong. It’s just a gut feeling.
Marcia, you make a really good point. I see why it probably wouldn’t happen except if one of you is unavailable.
And I see why you are uninterested in a new LE. The types that trigger limerence in you are no good. You have good self-awareness. Thank you for being so open about your experiences.
I feel fortunate that my three Limerent Experiences were with really good men (well maybe not the first one, but at the time he seemed genuine). All three were married and conflicted about their feelings for me. Which is how I experienced it, too. I’m happily married and baffled about my tendency towards limerence. I haven’t figured out yet why I do it. Maybe I’m a junkie for the dopamine hits? I don’t know. My husband loves how it sends my libido through the roof. Maybe that’s why I do it.
My first LO was a teacher in college who intentionally seduced me. That LE lasted 17 years and it was dormant at times.
My second LE was a former coworker who I’ve been in contact with for more than 20 years. He was a genuine friend. One day he hypothesized that his wife’s low libido was due to his undesirability and I told him I think he’s desirable. I was trying to be a good friend and ease his suffering. Big mistake! It sent both of us into a confusing emotional head spin. I really don’t know why something so innocent triggered limerence in me. It triggered something in him, too, but obviously I can’t speak to that. I can only say that his behavior toward me changed and his best friend said some things to me that implied there could be mutual limerence between us. We both went no contact off and on because we both wanted to be loyal to our spouses. It got so weird.
The second LE was a year ago and it’s what brought me to LwL. I was desperate to get rid of the intrusive thoughts. I avoided transference at first because I didn’t want to endure another Limerent episode, but nothing else was working. So, when my current LO started paying attention to me I decided to lean into it. I thought I could transfer, and then get out before the dark side of limerence kicked in: the miserable intrusive thoughts. Of course I didn’t want to hurt my new LO at all. He is a really good person. So I decided to be extremely attentive to all communication from him. I thought that would eliminate uncertainty. I had figured out the dangers of disclosure to LO, so I knew I wouldn’t go down that road. Unfortunately, he disclosed his attraction to me. He was just trying to make sense of his feelings and protect both of our marriages. That disclosure happened in June. We are still very much friends. And we are still very committed to our SOs.
That is my story. Thanks for sharing yours.
“I feel fortunate that my three Limerent Experiences were with really good men (well maybe not the first one, but at the time he seemed genuine). All three were married and conflicted about their feelings for me. ”
I mean, I guess it’s better to be limerent for someone with some character and some basic level of compassion for you, but at the end of the day, limerence is still an impossible situation that causes a lot of pain, no?
” I haven’t figured out yet why I do it. Maybe I’m a junkie for the dopamine hits? I don’t know. ”
Well, that’s the key. To figure out why you do it. I have, after reading this site for a while, finally understood why I become and the type of person that triggers it. My strategy (if I even have one) is to avoid the other side … I work with almost all women, I hang out with women. So far it’s working. 🙂 (Of course, I can’t do it forever.)
“My husband loves how it sends my libido through the roof. Maybe that’s why I do it.”
So other posters have written similar comments. I guess the theory is … it’s ok where the oven is heated up, as long as the cooking is done at home? Idk. I personally wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that as the spouse. Being riled up by an LO seems to be quite different than being riled up after a Chippendale’s show. Because an LO is such a specific person who the limerent actually develops feelings for.
“My first LO was a teacher in college who intentionally seduced me. That LE lasted 17 years and it was dormant at times.”
That does not sound like someone with some character if in fact you were college-aged and he was, I’m assuming, quite a bit older.
How do you know that limerence are slowly going away? Recently I experienced a negative event where I was deeply upset by my LO and literally felt like something died inside. I felt betrayed and lonely. My perception of him changed.
“How do you know that limerence are slowly going away?”
Ooh, ooh, ooh. Maybe I can answer this question!! Or at least throw out a few interesting ideas and suggestions? 😜
I think it is absolutely possible for limerence to end abruptly if the LO does something that the limerent finds abhorrent, unforgivably rude, intentionally hurtful or offensive – something that proves that the LO has bad character, something that destroys the idealisation or proves that the initial idealisation was misplaced. For example, if your LO turns out to be racist, and you the limerent have very strong moral objections to people who espouse racist views, then the LO’s objectionable views might be enough to end the obsession outright. 🤔
If, on the other hand, we’re talking the physical symptoms associated with the slow fading of limerence, then things can get pretty darn interesting…
Um, speaking from personal experience, when one’s brain stops dumping out massive quantities of dopamine in response to this person or in response to fantasies about this person – trust me, you’ll know. It’s like … waking up from a trance. The emotion will be gone. The desire to think about this person constantly will be gone. Your life won’t revolve around one person anymore.
The brightness and sharpness and vividness of your experience of life will become (temporarily?) muted, unfortunately. This “toning down of colour” is an illusion, however. It’s merely the contrast between limerence-fuelled existence and everyday existence. Eventually, you’ll find things that excite you again. 😉
When limerence begins to subside, you won’t feel “high” all the time, but only high occasionally. More and more infrequently, as a matter of fact. Limerence kind of “dies” in waves. As a limerent, you have essentially been on a psychedelic drug trip, without even knowing it. When you come down off that high, you’ll know. The crazy-making fog in your brain will clear. You won’t be in pain anymore. However, you’ll also stop believing another human is the secret to your happiness and fulfilment in life. You’ll lose the pain, but you’ll also lose the joy. It’s a real deal with the devil – whatever you choose, you’re going lose something. 😆
I noticed that even after most of my physical symptoms faded e.g. racing heart, intense shyness, sweating, heightened libido, etc, one physical symptom remained, and that physical symptom was difficulty breathing. Basically, I still had trouble breathing whenever I was around the person I was attracted to, or around someone who reminded me of that person, although I wasn’t obsessed anymore.
When I found myself having trouble breathing, I simply sat still, pushed back my shoulders, opened my chest cavity, and gave myself permission to take deep breaths. I allowed myself to acknowledge that was I was feeling was arousal – not sexual arousal per se, but rather, whole-body physiological arousal, which I think is a key characteristic of limerence. 🤔
The last physical symptom to disappear I’ve found relating to fantasies about LO was not shortness of breath, but rather, the famous and extremely embarrassing “trembling”. I used to get involuntary trembling in my lower abdomen/upper thighs and sometime calves whenever I was physically around my LO. And I’ve realised recently that I can still induce this symptom in myself merely by fantasising about LO. (I don’t go out of my way to fantasise about LO, by the way. The only reason I was thinking about my LO recently was that I found myself editing some old creative work which my LO evidently inspired).
If you’ve had a real problem with shyness or social awkwardness due to limerence, then a reduction in these symptoms is probably a good sign too that limerence is on the wane. If you’re chatty and care WAAAY less about what other people think of you, you’re probably on the mend.
Hope at least some of these insights may have been helpful!! 😛
Sammy, thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer. Your insights are really helpful. I experienced limerence first time in my life and I was going mad, I was not able to control my mind, my emotions were all over the place. It was love at first sight, the moment I saw his face I blacked out for a second, the same very moment I lost my personality, my true self. For looong months I’ve been struggling with this obsession and the thing is that it is or was (not sure past or present) mutual. But after that negative event something has changed, I still want to be around him and talk to him, but I am no longer obsessed. I don’t mind not to see him, I don’t get upset if I don’t see him on a regular basis. I really like the peace and quietness of my disordered brains, lol. That is the big thing that has changed – FINALLY, I FEEL PEACE. I am not constantly anxious anymore. But what I am really scared of – that full blown limerence will come back. Is that possible? What are the chances?
I’m glad that there seems to be more coverage of limerence these days in the mainstream media. The problem is, however, in my humble opinion, that the concept might be misunderstood, sensationalised, or oversimplified. Not necessarily by writers, who I’m sure are doing a good job. But by naive and especially younger readers who wish to put their own spin on things… 🤔
For example, some people might confuse limerence with just a very strong crush and think it romantic or glamorous, even something aspirational, when it’s actually not that great overall. Limerence might be seen as “sexy” when it’s actually a very complicated psychological phenomenon – a mixed blessing, in the best of times.
My understanding of limerence as a “survivor” is that it’s something that has an amazing beginning – naturally, we drift (or sprint) toward its glittering promises of eternal joy – and then it can turn … very weird indeed. 😆
Something that personally has helped me de-romanticise or de-glamorise limerence as a concept is that I really wouldn’t want someone in my life “reading into” my every word and gesture. That probably would feel oppressive after a while. I mean, who really wants to feel like they’re “under constant surveillance” while they’re just going about their everyday life? 😉
Even manic pixie dream boys and manic pixie dream girls (i.e. people who end up as serial LOs due to their enchanting contradictions and incredible personal magnetism) presumably do the same humdrum things that the rest of us mere mortals do. (Just my slightly grumpy two cents on the subject). 😜
I wouldn’t want to be the LO of me either :). When I’m limerent I’m so clearly in love with a fantasy person who I refuse to see as a fantasy and insist is real. It would feel really uncomfortable for me if someone was certain he/she was in love with me and I was just as certain (rightfully) that I’m nowhere near to being the person they feel I am.
Wonderful. It’s pretty amazing to see trained professionals in psychology have a blank face when confronted with this word. I hope more and more people become trained in how to treat this crippling condition.
In Vogue indeed. Finding this site has been a God send. My story is the same as many:
* Unresolved issues in my marriage.
* Sexless marriage
* Stress in professional life
* Financial issues
Hence, I was ripe for Limerence. I met my LO searching for a sugar baby and/or started as an arrangement/mistress for pay (Glorified prostitution). I graduated to this after the unfulfilling chase to ease pain through prostitutes. I’m starting to believe some ladies in the pay for play world are very familiar with the theme of Limerence while no knowing the actual name. And purposely execute to produce limerent subjects.
Once my feelings for the LO grew unexpectedly. I was like “what is this?” She’s, in so many words a “Prostitute.” Yet I’m developing feelings.
Long story short Dr. Google led me to the Limerence channel and WOW. That’s me! This was a month ago. If nothing else, I know what I have now. That’s been comforting in-and-of-itself!!
And, the more I research and study LE I’m almost convinced that my LO has been purposely and intently manipulating me into my limerence with all the classic signs of being my slot machine and jacking up my reward system; love bombing; unpredictable; etc..
But yes, my mood regulation is definitely the easy of fix of illicit sex and chasing my LO. Now that the LO chase is more pain than pleasure I gotta get over this thing.
Now LE is apparently about to go mainstream it will be interesting to see the impact.