In the last post, I argued that there is an initiating “glimmer”: a frisson of excitement, that acts as an indicator that a particular person you have just encountered has the potential to become an LO. It seems that there is some sort of blueprint deeply integrated into each limerent’s psyche that the subconscious mind is able to rapidly access, and (if it spots a match) activate the limerent circuitry.
[quick side note: I’m going to be occasionally using unscientific terms like “psyche” and “subconscious” in the vernacular sense that most people understand them, to help illuminate ideas. I am not actually a mind-body dualist – these felt experiences emerge from underlying neuroscience]
An ultrafast connection is made that links all the various pieces of sensory input (physical appearance, body language, scent, tone of voice, laugh etc.) and triggers an response: arousal. I don’t mean here sexual arousal (although that is often present), but physiological arousal – similar to the fight-or-flight adrenaline response. This causes heightened awareness and symptoms of sympathetic nervous system activation (increased heart beat rate, pupil dilation, sweating etc.). In my experience, the nature of this limerent glimmer is distinct from simple attraction. When meeting someone especially beautiful or athletic or famous, for example, one also often feels nervous, tongue-tied and “over-aroused” in their presence. This is different. The glimmer feels more personal, more significant, and more charged with emotional power – as though the atmosphere has suddenly electrified.
How the limerent responds to this spark of recognition is likely to be the major determinant as to whether they progress to limerence. This is the moment to nip things in the bud if you do not want to succumb. An active decision to avoid the company of the potential LO is a wise move. An immediate decision to consider this person a potential danger rather than a potential friend is a useful mental device. This probably sounds a little dreary. Friends are good, but not friends who are going to turn your life upside down the more time you spend in their company. It’s a cost-benefit calculation.
The reason most limerents don’t follow this very sensible advice, of course, is that limerence is a bastard. Just as the subconscious is fast at spotting a limerence match, it is also fast at justifying why it’s a good idea to get to know this interesting person, and learn more about them and their insightful ideas. It’s the same arousal circuitry again, enhancing the salience of the person (making them seem to be the most important stimulus in the environment), triggering nice reward feedback that gives you warm fuzzies when interacting positively with them, and generally making you feel more alive and more motivated to seek that sensation again in the future.
Fortunately, as a species, we have an impressively swollen cerebral cortex, meaning our executive centres can override our lizard brains. The trick is to get the executive to implement good pattern recognition and initiate avoidance behaviour. More commonly the lizard brain persuades the executive to use its impressive powers of rationalisation to construct a pleasing narrative to justify giving the limerence everything it wants.
If you decide to indulge that pleasant reinforcement, you risk escalation of the glimmer to full-blown limerence. Finding the balance is the art. Like any potential addict, you are best placed to determine how much is too much. Many alcoholics swear off booze for good. Not a single drink. Only safe way. Many “social drinkers” convince themselves that everything is fine, and a bottle of wine or two a night is normal. Self-awareness is the heart of this. If experience has taught you that indulging limerence leads to massive emotional turmoil, you should probably try practicing a period of going teetotal and treating the glimmer like nectar-flavoured poison. If you can surf the frisson-wave for the thrill of the ride, then give it a go (and hope you don’t wipeout).
For me: I’ve settled on a strategy of passive exposure. I do not seek the company of potential LOs (and am vigilant about self-serving justifications), but if circumstances lead to an encounter, I try and enjoy it responsibly. Otherwise I might become a humourless misery-guts.
The glimmer, that first inkling that you are interested in another and that may be in you. Limerence aside, it is a beautiful thing.
It can be, but then again, so is “swamp gas,” aka “will-o’the-wisp,” aka methane.
” Wirt Sikes in his book British Goblins mentions the following Welsh tale about púca.
A peasant travelling home at dusk sees a bright light traveling along ahead of him. Looking closer, he sees that the light is a lantern held by a “dusky little figure” [aka your LO], which he follows for several miles. All of a sudden he finds himself standing on the edge of a vast chasm with a roaring torrent of water rushing below him. At that precise moment the lantern-carrier leaps across the gap, lifts the light high over its head, lets out a malicious laugh and blows out the light, leaving the poor peasant a long way from home, standing in pitch darkness at the edge of a precipice.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o%27-the-wisp
Scharnhorst, ““dusky little figure” [aka your LO]” Excellent..
And thus the terror ensues when the LO proves to be not the dream come true we once thought they were. The light blown out…for all of us peasant limerents.
I’m very interested in this comment, how do you assess what are “self-serving justifications”?
I’ve settled on a strategy of passive exposure. I do not seek the company of potential LOs (and am vigilant about self-serving justifications)
I remember the first time I saw LO3 at work on my first day. I was at the coffee machine in the office kitchen trying to find a coffee cup in the cabinets. She walked in, opened the dishwasher next to me, and squatted down to take out a mug. I looked down and thought, “Hey, she’s cute, maybe I’ll just say something to her.”
So I asked her, “Excuse me, but do you know where the coffee cups are?” She looked up with a somewhat perplexed and embarrassed smile that told me she was thinking, “Why is this man talking to me?”, as if the idea of a person asking her where coffee cups were in the office was just something you didn’t do. But she just said, “No, I don’t,” and left it at that. I thanked her and thought, “That was a little weird.”
That was it. No glimmer. No flirtation. Just me thinking she was cute at first, not unlike many other women I see during the day, asking her a normal question, and then ending the conversation. With my first two LOs I was struck immediately, just bowled over. I felt nothing for LO3. In fact, she left me with a weird feeling like there wasn’t something quite right with her.
Over the next three weeks I would pass her in the halls and do the polite corporate “smile and hello” that we do with coworkers that we don’t really know. It’s not an attempt to talk, just a polite acknowledgement. But she would walk right by me as if I didn’t exist. Wouldn’t even glance in my direction and certainly wouldn’t utter a polite “good morning” back. I could have been on fire and she wouldn’t have noticed I was there. So I figured she was just rude, and if she was going to do that to me, then I would just ignore her right back. No reason to waste my breath.
A month into the job, my assessment now of LO3 was that she was just some rude young lady who didn’t have the maturity to be in an adult corporate office. In my younger life I had put up with so much BS from young women who thought they were God’s gift to mankind that I just refused to put up with their antics anymore, and LO3 was no different.
A few days after that, I happened to turn a corner and almost ran flat into her. She looked up at me and nervously said, “Excuse me.” Not giving two shits what this stuck up brat thought, I didn’t say anything, I just looked at her like “whatever, go away,” and walked back to my desk
And then… there was a very subtle change in her after that. She still didn’t say anything to me and vice versa, but it was this kind of nervousness in her. It was like her attitude towards me went from “Matt’s just another guy trying to bizarrely flirt by asking where the coffee cups were” to “I want to know why this guy Matt doesn’t like me.”
It was like there was this new nervousness in her towards me that I was expecting to subside over a few days as she came to the conclusion that I was just another asshole she should ignore. But the nervousness didn’t subside like I expected it to.
I started realizing that I had seen this nervousness in women before when they “noticed” me and didn’t know how to act around me. I started realizing… “this young lady… could be interested in me?”
And that’s when this rude, stuck up young woman morphed into LO3.
Soon afterwards I noticed I had this urge to search for her on Facebook… and I managed to keep myself from doing it for two days or so, but the urge became too great to resist. And it’s just gone downhill from there.
Such a long post… it was like therapy to me to write this out and remember exactly how it emerged, especially since it wasn’t the “love at first sight” experience as the previous 2 LOs were.
It sounds like you have a bit of a love/mostly hate dynamic going on with your LO, which can be equally – if not more – intense. I have that with my current (and longest standing) LO, although mine didn’t start at all with hate like yours. Mine has ended in hate, or what I would more accurately describe as “doing everything in my power to deny my feelings for him.” I sometimes think the deep craving us L’s have for reciprocation can be enough to either pick up on extreme subtleties or read into things that aren’t really there. How long has your LE been going on for? Have you had any interactions with your LO since the episode began besides sensing her nervousness? Words exchanged? Eye contact? Eye contact was a huge thing for me as a teen. I lived for eye contact with my unattainable LOs. That was enough reciprocation for me haha.
Oh goody. An article on The Glimmer. I was wondering if one such article existed, and found it by accident when using the “categories” search feature.
The glimmer, as a concept, fascinates me because I think if we can get to the root of the glimmer, we can probably understand what limerence is all about.
Personally, I experienced my first unambiguous “glimmer” when I was 17. I had a very sheltered childhood and wasn’t exposed to a lot of outside influences such as TV and non-Christian books, music, etc. So my theory is the glimmer is an emotional attraction as much as a physical one, and is possibly inspired by people who remind me of my parents. Alternatively, the glimmer could be narcissistic. (Am I emotionally attracted to people who remind me of myself?)
Freud would probably agree with the notion (indeed pioneered the notion) that boys marry their mothers and girls marry their fathers, metaphorically speaking of course. Certainly, I’ve been attracted to women who are similar to my mother. (Mummy issues much?) I think as we deal with issues relating to our families of origin, the glimmer we get from these particular LOs becomes much less potent. However, this is just my theory on the matter. Other people may have other equally valid ideas.
One possible implication of this theory is you shouldn’t be too offended if someone rejects you romantically – maybe you just don’t remind them subconsciously of their own parents?
Once I was on a blind date and at dinner the fellow said “Oh my goodness! You have the same profile as my mother! And we didn’t have a good relationship!”. After dinner we stopped by the home a couple I am close friends with and my date proceeded to make friends with the husband of the couple. He asked to talk to him privately and proceeded to WEEP about his bad relationship with his mother.
Needless to say, there was no second date.
I am not sure what Freud would have made of that!
@Jaideux. Oh gosh, that is so funny. Maybe it works in reverse too! Maybe there’s an anti-glimmer people can give off! Haha!
Awkward date for you, though!
Just out curiosity, did you pull the string on what that profile was?
How could you not pull that string?
LO #2’s parents were pieces of work, especially her mother. When I started watching “The Sopranos,” Tony’s mother reminded me of LO #2’s mother. LO #2’s mother had all the charm of a North Korean prison guard. In the 5 years we crossed paths, I don’t remember that woman ever cracking a smile or laughing. LO #2 had an affinity for cheaters and allegedly got pregnant by a married man.
LO #3 was a clone of LO #2 but I don’t know anything about her parents. She was a nurse and claimed that she’d gotten pregnant from some married doctor. Things can be a lot easier to deal with if you’ve seen it before.
LO #4 told me that someone had told her she had “daddy issues.” As she opened up to me over time, it was pretty clear that she did. LO #4 had an affinity for Narcs. I don’t think she ever met a Narc she didn’t try to rehabilitate. She could have been the poster child for “trying to get it right with the wrong people.”
My parents had a dismal 0-5 track record for marriages. Toss in my aunts and uncles, it becomes 3-12 maybe worse. Extrapolating that, my “glimmer” is an unhappy woman with lousy taste in men. My father knew a lot about women but had marginal taste in them.
So, if someone had floated one like what the guy told you over the plate, I think I would have swung for the bleachers. I don’t think I could have helped myself.
@Scharn. I just assumed Jaideux’s blind date was referring to his mother’s physical profile i.e. the outline of her face. The physical similarity sent him into tears. Of course, as you point out, “profile” can also mean a person’s psychological history. Either kind of profile would be fascinating I guess if resulting in a glimmer.
@Sammy and Scharny,
It was my physical profile. I turned my head to the side and he gasped and then explained why. He reassured me that he thought it was a very nice profile, but that it was identical to his mum’s which was problematic. I was polite, but my shields went way up and we went over to my friends after dinner and while he was weeping about his mommy issues in the back room with the husband, the wife and and I were in the front room with a drinkie, marveling and laughing at how I had, once again, got myself into yet another bizarro dating mishap.
@Jaideux. I thought that’s what you meant. However, Scharn’s abstract interpretation of your story delights me too. Haha! I.e. might limerents get a glimmer from people who are emotionally similar to parents? Or, possibly, do we learn “how to love” from our parents (and must unlearn any dysfunctional patterns of behaviour they may have instilled in us)?
My glimmer happened completely online over messenger. It was like we left this dimension and met in some place beyond time and space. After that encounter I had a kundalini awakening. My whole world turned upside down and I cried in fetal position for 8 days straight. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I felt completely insane. He had reciprocated his feelings to me, but there was adversity in that he was still married. He ended up not responding to me for some time, and then came back… and we did that dance for awhile. We would get close, he would push me away. In February of 2020, I went to see him and it was the most magickal experience of both our lives. Then, things got more complicated with his divorce and we ended up getting into an argument and he ended it. That was 6 months ago. I still think about him constantly. There are periods where I don’t think about him as much, and I was able to find fulfillment and happiness in our separation by doing what I love. I feel like I have learned and grown so much from having had this experience, but like… I still believe he loves me and make excuses for why he hasn’t contacted me in 6 months, and still day dream and hold the vision of us being together. Which, mostly makes me feel delusional and crazy… but also persistent and not one to easily give up on people I love. I’ve never loved anyone like this. It’s so beyond this world. It feels like destiny, like fate, like… yeah.. I’m sure we all feel that way though…. sigh. So like, if he could just confess his undying love to me now that would be great. Ok, thanks.
OK but – he was married. From the start. What was he doing online, h’m?
That’s not an adversity – he had a commitment.
Married men who search out women aren’t trustworthy, period.
You were most likely manipulated my a narcissist.
I’m sorry. I hope you can unwind the limerence.
I don’t think all married men who have affairs are narcissists. Some of them are truly unhappy and suffering possibly from any number of other disorders.
I had what you had (met online and felt the same you did).
When I disclosed that I am starting to feel something for him, he excused himself and literally disappeared from the face of the earth. It felt literally as a mental breakdown for me. Very, very painful process.
Few months later I learned he was married with 3 kids. Which came as a blessing in disguise, as I could finally let go. It took me some time. One year further an I am still not completely over it, but I am good on the way.
Him disappearing was because he was married, not because of me or something I said. He did it probably because he didn’t get from me what he wanted, not because of empathy or consciousness or any other altruistic feeling. Although it still hurts and Im fighting intrusive thoughts of injustice being done to me on daily basis, in general I feel like I dodged the bullet.
Just re-read this article. I wonder – does the physiological arousal of limerence engage a different part of the brain to mere sexual arousal? From the article, it sounds like physiological/limerent arousal must have a strong emotional component for the limerent. I.e. the LO must awaken some deep emotional response and not just be somebody easy on the eyes.
I’ve certainly felt nerves in the presence of beautiful people of both sexes. It might be a wee bit difficult to distinguish “fan-girl, fan-boy” response from limerent arousal if LO happens to be very attractive. If LO isn’t spectacularly attractive, I guess it’s easier to identify them as LO or potential LO material.
The more I read about limerence, the more I think that maybe I’ve only had one LO, that is to say, only one limerent episode that involved the deep emotional response. The other experiences were “false alarms” in a way. I’ve felt really happy around tons of other people, for example, but I think that was just friendship or physical attraction or sexual/emotional chemistry minus limerence. Limerence really is a very specific thing, a special kind of animal. It would be a mistake every crush for a limerent episode.
I don’t know about my executive brain overriding my lizard brain. But I know I want to learn from past mistakes/very painful experiences. I know I don’t want to repeat very painful experience. Avoiding pain isn’t noble. But I guess it is a form of self-control.
Sometimes I feel like I used up all my limerent emotions on First Love, for want of a better term. A kind of “all passion spent” phenomenon. Having been through limerence once, and not having had it reciprocated, I don’t think I have much appetite to go through it a second time. I think my brain is “burnt out”. Can a really bad experience serve as a kind of inoculation against further episodes?
“From the article, it sounds like physiological/limerent arousal must have a strong emotional component for the limerent. I.e. the LO must awaken some deep emotional response and not just be somebody easy on the eyes.”
I think you hit the nail on the head. There’s a deep emotional component to limerence. I’ve had crushes on people and got over them pretty quickly, whereas the LE just hung on.
But I don’t agree with appearance being a deciding factor in picking an LO (or the LO being less attractive). I mean, the LO certainly can be less than spectacular looking, but I think limerence transcends appearance. An LO taps into your psyche. It’s a very hard thing to explain to a non-limerent because physical attraction is so tied in to physical appearance for them.
It would be a mistake to mistake every crush for a limerent episode I mean. **
If there isn’t that deep and deeply personal emotional response to a person the nascent connection must be something else, but not limerence, as all the right parts of the brain haven’t been engaged.
Not sure why my LO engaged my brain in an emotional way. Confusing!
Totally! I have had crushes too so I know the difference! Currently on LO 4 myself and I can say they are quite different feelings- with crushes it’s not usually a spiritual experience for example – and it doesn’t usually result in my finding some way to get the person into my life at any cost! I currently am trying to get LO4 into a relationship with my best friend so that I can be closer to them. How messed up is that! Haha
Thank goodness I read this blog. LO#1 lasted for 12 years and I only found out last year that he was about to get married. So I tried online dating only to find other LO candidates and finally landed on LO#2. I like the other post I read about focusing on the shame (NO MERCY!) – because it helps contraindicate the good about both LO’s – thing is they’re both decent guys and are good friends so it’s really painful and perplexing and I feel like I’m losing my mind. I keep telling myself why do create such stories in my head? Am I doomed to be alone forever if I keep this up? I’m 37 and have never been in a serious, committed relationship. 🙁 Glad to know I’m not alone or losing my sanity but Limerence definitely mirrors that.
Hi Delle, and welcome to LwL!
I am a lifelong limerent and I also found this made it much harder to get into a long term relationship when I was younger as I get incredibly shy and flustered around my LOs making starting a relationship with them virtually impossible. In the end, my first long term relationship was with someone I did not have an LE for – they were really into me and I think that made it much easier to relate to them in a normal way. I fell deeply in love with them in the end, but in a normal way as the relationship developed.
I am pretty convinced that focusing on shame is not a helpful strategy for dealing with an LE and will only succeed in making you more unhappy. Think of limerence as an addiction. Making yourself feel bad is good way of amping up your mind’s drive to obtain a big dose of its favourite drug – LE contact or fantasy. And what have you done to be ashamed of? Accept limerence as an aspect of yourself that is absolutely fine… you are a day dreamer and there is nothing wrong with that. Try to chip away at the addiction, focus on some self-love and trying to live a full purposeful life despite the LE. Creating alternative sources of happiness is a better cure than shame. Not so easy but there are many many gems strewn across this site that will help you.
Wishing you well.
Oh, that glimmer. The hyper-focus where I noticed the veins on thier hands, the scent of them, the beads of sweat that appeared on their brow (were they limerent, also? I’ll never know). I remember it like it was yesterday and every time I access the memory I flirt with losing myself to rumination.
Yeah. Thank Bob that’s over. That was THREE YEARS OF MY LIFE.
I choose to believe that I would not be where I am today without LO and my LE. I wouldn’t know I could actually become addicted to another person and I’d still be fumbling around in the darkness .
You don’t know what you know till you know it.
I’ve only just learnt about limerence, even though I’m onto LO3. LO2 was over 10 years ago and went on for a few years. I swore that if I got in that situation again I would cut off all contact with the guy. This one is a strange one as it happened over a few zoom work meetings with a man over the other side of the country, so it sort of doesn’t seem real, BUT That glimmer was there though. with the look in his eye, his smile, his voice all hooking me in. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, but of course that doesn’t mean he’s single. It would be very unpro just to contact him. These meetings went on over a month and ended 2 months ago, but the feelings are just as strong. I doubt if he’d given me a second thought. I can’t remember everyone I’ve had zoom meetings with over the last year! I live alone, have been working from home a lot during covid and have anxiety: none of which helps the situation! Though going out and seeing friends recently hasn’t really lessened it, it just makes me think I’d rather see him instead of them. Bad I know! Especially as he’s not even someone I’ve seen in real life. I can’t help thinking I’d like to though….
Interesting. There was a guy in a zoom class I felt was focused on me. He was super nice, cute, smart, and married.
I never reached out to him, nor crushed on him, mostly since he was married. And he did not have the glimmer in my eye.
But he repeatedly reached out to me, tho strictly in the guise of helping me.
I also noticed that sometimes his wife would also join the zoom class with her own link (and with her video and off and silent) tho she was not in our class. That confused me, until I realized she might have been watching him.
I always replied to his messages in the briefest and polite way, if at all. I did not want to encourage any of it.
I like him as a writer and poet, and if he were single I’d be interested. But since he’s married – I will not even flirt.
I think that it’s correct as others have said, that “the glimmer” is an emotional response. Not biological or physical (although it becomes very physical with all the neurochemicals that get involved).
My understanding of this is that this person represents and touches something in us that either is related to needs that have been unmet for a long time in us, most often since childhood. They can be things like feeling seen, heard, understood, accepted, loved etc. This person either meets that need, or represents a promise of that need being met. Sometimes it’s as simple as the LO likes me, had feelings for me, first, and that really hits a feeling of being seen, lovable, important desirable, etc. Maybe there’s not much about the LO I really like myself. Maybe I don’t even think of whether this person is someone I would like to be with. The only thing that makes me feel that LE is that the LO wants ME, and that’s enough, because I have a deep, unmet need to feel loved (coming from emotional neglect in childhood, and no real person will ever be able to fill that need if I don’t do it myself first, by loving myself, as I would have if I had felt loved in childhood). So it’s just a fantasy of someone finally filling that void.
Or, it’s related to traits that attract us, because we lack them in ourselves. Like someone being really warm, friendly and open, when I would want to be like that, but I am emotionally repressed, cold and distanced, and maybe I blame that on my marriage and my spouse, when I’m reality it’s a trait that’s part of my personality, developed in childhood because of emotional neglect. So when I see this in my LO, I imagine they will make me feel whole.
Or it could be traits that remind me of a caretaker that I really craved love and attention from. Or someone I am drawn to “help” or “fix” because they have the same issues as a caretaker had. Like, I know some people who have been in limerence with guys who were drug abusers or alcoholics etc, because they had a father who was. This lasted until they fixed themselves, the wounds from childhood, and became aware of these things.
I absolutely believe LE is highly curable when we stop thinking these people are a biological match and “made” for us. And start looking within to heal the wounds and lacks in us that attract us to them. We must meet our own needs and become aware, and then we will begin feeling attraction for people who are good for us. And these attractions will be slower, calmer and much more healthy. That’s when we can build healthy relationships instead of fantasies and idealised relationships. And we can stop getting involved with LOs who will most likely turn our lives into nightmares and often into very toxic relationships. And/or ruin other possibly good relationships in our lives.
I’ve only recently discovered the word “limerence” and that it describes me completely. I’ve had many LOs, looking back, and discovering there is a word for it is both reassuring and horrifying. Long story but…i have a friend who has confessed to me that she has had this effect on people more than once. What she is describing is multiple people who were limerent for her, over a span of many years – men and women – without using that word. She does not know why she has this effect on people. These limerents get to the point where they do confess their feelings, and she tells them never to contact her again. She is either 1) a narcissist who can somehow sniff out the limerents and get them hooked or 2) is some kind of chameleon that knows just the right way to make an emotional connection that limerents find irresistable! Has anyone else experienced such a thing??
My most recent LO (whom I’m STILL trying to get over after four years) is one of those chameleon types, I think. Adorable but not quite beautiful enough to be intimidating, she excels at getting really into whatever the person she’s into is into. And that feels very validating–until she’s done with you and on to the next person. She’s quick with a sarcastic quip and asks a lot of questions, yet rarely answers deeply in response. I’ve come to believe she doesn’t have nearly the depth I envisioned. She was also a millennial (about half my age) and so a big text-er. All that texting was new to me…and kind of like crack. (So true that limerents are particularly turned on by the written word in social media: the asynchronous aspect and chance to overthink every line, which DrL talks about this week.) I think now our 3-mo “relationship” really was mostly just some 10,000 texts and a whole lot of reverie in my head. I did confess my feelings and I wish to god she had told me never to contact her again. But alas, that is not what happened. She confessed to having the same feelings (although I doubt now that was even true). We had a couple of brief physical encounters and I think that’s what has kept me still even thinking about her. That and the fact that I do still see her around and I don’t have any possibility of the consuming excitement of a new relationship to distract me. This is what happens when you are middle-aged and in an often-lonely 20-yr marriage. At least, this is what I keep telling myself. Over and over and over…
Be glad your friend is just a friend.
“i have a friend who has confessed to me that she has had this effect on people more than once. What she is describing is multiple people who were limerent for her, over a span of many years – men and women – without using that word. She does not know why she has this effect on people.”
If only we could interview her! Not to berate her or anything, but to understand why some people are just glimmery. 😛
It sounds like she wouldn’t be able to tell us why she glimmers for multiple people – she doesn’t know herself.
Personally, I think the chameleon idea has potential. I had an LO who told me he was a chameleon – he changed his personality based on who he was around. The longer I knew him, the more similar to me he became, despite the fact he harshly criticised me for many traits I had he supposedly didn’t like in the beginning. It was confusing to say the least! I never knew where I stood with him.
I think some people might be chameleons simply because they haven’t figured out who they are as people yet. There’s nothing malicious about it. I think chameleons have yet to establish a strong sense of their own identity, maybe behave codependently in friendships, and this comes across as mixed signals.
This reply is a bit late lol but I recognise that quality oddly enough in myself. Since I was a child I’ve been the object of someone’s affection at some point. Then the crush fades and they move on. However the issue for me is that when I discover that someone has developed feelings for me, I then turn them into an LO! It’s not a good thing. I’m 43 now and it still happens with men I meet of different ages. I’m married so it’s not good for me to develop feelings myself. Nothing ever comes of it but I hate the angst that occurs for the brief time that it’s happening. And yes, I do possess the chameleon ability to morph into what they want me to be. Mostly because I’m still trying to figure out who I am myself. I have mental health issues too which are being addressed but sometimes it seems like that attracts limerents along with the way I look, which I have been told is very attractive. Add to that a flirtatious personality and it’s disaster all around for everyone! Thank God my husband understands and knows I wouldn’t actively do anything to jeopardise our marriage.
the glimmer! god! it’s so tantalizing and fascinating and exciting!
just discovered limerence (the Marginalian, anyone?) and glad
to have found this site.
I recognized the glimmer of my current LO immediately and even without knowing anything about the concept of limerence yet I knew she was like a terrible drug I was helpless to resist and that she would ruin me. of course I went ahead and tried to negotiate a friendship. of course it didn’t go well. but then I became entangled with her (young adult) kids. and it all dragged on for so much longer… and now I’m on NC with them all and hoping desperately the limerence will finally fade away.
but that glimmer, man.
it’s like a damn freight train.
I am so so grateful to this site for your help with dealing with my previous limerent episode. It took almost four years, but I do finally feel truly free. The book was invaluable.
I also appreciate this article about the glimmer. Managed to apply the brakes sharply before heading down the road back to limerent madness!
Limerent Emeritus says
How’s your son doing?
I would like to know what you ( author) mean by if you do encounter an LO, you try to enjoy it responsibly. It would help me to know what you mean by that. Can you elaborate?
I mean: can you use the limerence energy for more productive and healthy purposes? I elaborate on the idea a bit more in this post, but the basic idea is that limerence can be a source of energy and motivation if you can manage your emotions effectively. But, it is like riding a tiger…
Limerent Emeritus says
But, if you choose to try and ride the tiger…
Interestingly, “Why Am I So Down On Limerence(2020)” has over 3 times the comments, 209 vs 65.
Ann Hoffman says
I’m stunned. To the point I’ve been laying on the couch reading this article and comment thread, and I’m practically paralyzed. But my hands are shaking. I’m an INFP, by the way. There’s a name for what I’ve been experiencing my entire life. It was never a term used in 4 yrs of therapy. I’m in the midst of a LE right now. I met this person on a zoom call as a physician treating a serious disease that took 2.5 yrs to diagnose. Had two long Zoom (40 mins-long by current health care standards) calls with him in early August, then met him in person mid treatment. It was electric. Glimmer, indeed. He’s not particularly handsome, but he is brilliant. In our previous calls I’d been able to make him giggle, which charmed me. And took away some of the fear of what I was going thru. But that initial meeting. It was like we’d always known each other. We were finishing each other’s sentences. The connection was instant. I could barely look at him because I feared he’d see it. In the middle of our discussion of what was happening in my treatment, he looked at me and said, “I really like talking to you.” To which I replied that I really like talking to him as well. That was in September. We continue to have zoom telehealth meetings. I’m obsessed. Thinking of him 24/7. Sexual fantasies. Social media stalking. Of course, he’s married. Though he’s no longer wearing his wedding ring. We’ve had odds bonding things come up. i.e. – we recently both lost a parent, on the same day. I have enough emotional intelligence to know I’m not going “there” with a married man. I won’t start an affair. (Thank you years of therapy for that boundary, and female sexual appliances.) He recently gave me his cell phone and said I should call him any time I needed him. Not using it other than to acknowledge his text. I’m keeping up all my social activities, within the bounds of Covid, and I’ve discussed it with a couple of friends, so I’m not keeping it a secret. The odds of this being anything permanent are tiny. There are days I feel crazy. I’m so grateful to have found this resource. I feel I’ll just have to emotionally ride this out thru my treatment and monitoring while trying to maintain my regular life. Thank you for writing about this and offering this forum. Big sigh.
Aaaaaah, Ann – I feel your pain/pleasure, haha. I am 40 and I only recently discovered this concept within the past few months. And I have been reading about psychology and self-help stuff for 20 years?? Why did we not know about limerence?? I am sending you good energy and strength. Your LE sounds magical/hellish lol. Awareness is the first step to…. something? I’m an INFJ myself.
I’ve experience this “glimmer” like love at first site. At first I think it’s normal but I realized recently how obsessed I’ve become with my LO. I can’t focus my attention away from them and always find myself trying to look for him. I also realized that I always have the urge to talk about him so often that I think my friends have noticed my obsession. My friend is actually the person who introduced me to the limerence concept which fits me perfectly.
My glimmers are almost always the same, but my most recent was quite obvious. My LO was the new kid who mysteriously hadn’t been coming to class for the first few school days and I didn’t pay attention to it. But the day he first came… I just got a odd feeling about him. I learned over time how shy and quiet he was and he seemed so mysterious that it infatuated me. Over time, I realized how I always looked forward to seeing him and how I always wanted to be involved with him.
I no longer have class with him but I became so obsessed about being close to him I make every excuse to try to get near him. I feel like it’s unhealthy and now that I’m aware of this obsession, I’m trying to reverse it but I feel so emotionally connected to him that I can’t help be fascinated by him and constantly have him on my thoughts.
And now that I think about this. I don’t think he’s my first LO. Is it normal to have multiple LO’s and trying to actually seek new LO’s out? I usually find myself trying to find new LO’s when my obsession or limerence for them has ended.
Allie 1 says
Hi Madi. I really can relate to what you are saying. I think shy introverts make good LOs because they leave us plenty of scope for us to project our fantasy person upon. So of course the person you obsess about, and feel connected to, isn’t really them, it is the custom-tailored version you have constructed in your mind.
The constant thoughts are the worst aren’t they? If only there were an off switch!
Once the LE is on the wane, I think it is pretty normal for the mind to try and replace the neurochemical buzz from the previous LE with another. I can feel that urge myself currently but I know that it would be a mistake to allow it. I must find other healthier ways to fill that void. A life of being in and out of limerence is a life spent lost in daydreams, not truly living, and missing out on opportunities for real human connection and fulfilment.
“…missing out on opportunities for real human connection and fulfilment.”
I think fulfillment is a really strong word. How many things in life reach that level? To me, that implies a soul level, where a person is really excited by something or deeply satisfied, which I think why limerence seeps into the little cracks and gaps (or gaping holes 🙂 ).
Allie 1 says
I think I get what you mean. I think it is a mistake though to believe that fulfilment only comes from large, powerful, intense experiences, such as love and limerence. Of course these experiences can fulfil us completely in an almost effortless way but are so very rare. With the right frame of mind, you can experience fulfilment briefly many times per day from small inconsequential but lovely moments. But you have to be looking for them, and paying attention to the here and now. For me, limerence eclipses those moments completely so I don’t truly notice them or take the time to fully absorb that mini hit of pleasure. Before my LE, I used to actively do this and I did feel relatively content and fulfilled in life, even though everything was not exactly as I wanted it and some needs went unmet.