Limerence: The obsessive need to be loved

Love is the force that moves the world. Most of the people have fallen in love or will never fall in love in life, and with it they will experience a lot of feelings related to the person they are in love with. There are many ways to love, mostly positive.

However, in some cases we may find that what started out as a love affair can lead to obsession. This is called limerencia or limerenza.

    What is limerence?

    It is understood as limerencia al ‘ mental state characterized by an obsessive need to be reciprocated with love by a person object of esteem on the part of the one who suffers from it.

    In limerencia, the person who suffers from it has intrusive thoughts with the loved one, their well-being and the desire for correspondence that occupy a considerable time of their daily life and which lead them to ignore any other concerns. There is also a very intense fear of rejection, As well as shyness in his presence. Usually, it is idealized to the person object of desire, as well as to exist feelings of euphoria in his presence.

    This craze for obsessive features lasts for years, if not decades. Somatic symptoms may also appear, such as tachycardia and palpitations, tremors, pupillary dilation, sweating, flushing of the face, problems with hunger, stuttering and restlessness (all of which are typical elements that occur with falling in love).

    This state of mind has great repercussions on the daily life of those who suffer from it. More precisely, it is not uncommon for them to reduce their social life and isolate themselves gradually by focusing his thoughts on the person at the origin of his obsession. It also influences their work and school performance, making it difficult to concentrate and reduce productivity. The subject usually spends a large part of their time thinking about the loved one and what would involve a possible ideal relationship with them.

      Differences from usual falling in love

      In fact, limerencia strongly resembles a normative craze, with most of the characteristics mentioned so far being considerably similar. However, the truth is that limerencia it has features that make it stop being a craze as such and it looks more like obsessive-compulsive disorder (in fact, some authors classify it as such).

      First there are the recurring and intrusive thoughts mentioned above, although to some extent they can be common in some fads. Likewise, the extreme limitation can lead to the implementation of predatory, persecuting and harassing behaviors towards the person one says to love. In limerencia, too, the need prevails to guarantee the affection of the other regardless of the respect, privacy and commitment the other person needs.

      Although initially the welfare of this one is tried, it can come to the point of causing him damage. This whole act or action of the person who is the object of desire can be interpreted as a sign of loving correspondence. It is also not uncommon to change your own personality to adapt and imitate that of the other.

      Although sometimes it is identified with the call evil of the loves, the truth is that the limerencia has a relevant difference with this: in the limerencia it exists some degree of obsession with the other person and the desire to be reciprocal, to be able to modify interpersonal behavior and to centralize behavior, thinking and the emotional sphere around the person in question.

      Before whom does he appear?

      This mental state can occur with people you know or even there may be cases where he appears with people he has never seen physically and with whom there has been no contact (eg, through photographs).

      But limerencia does not have to occur only in cases where there is no relation between the two people. It is possible that the person object of the desire arrives to have a real couple relation with the person with limerencia (either before or after the appearance of the problem), although in these cases the obsessive characteristics tend to remain and tend to carry to relationships of dependence and idealization.

      Ways to fight it

      Limerence is a problem that can lead to deep suffering both for the sufferer and for the object of their desire. Fighting it can be tricky, Especially when the subject is unaware or does not want to make any changes.

      In some cases, the time and reflection that they do not have and will not relate to the desired person and / or the visualization and awareness of the flaws that he / she has also decreased the level of idealization. and obsession with her. however, in many cases some sort of psychological intervention would be required.

      An example might be, given the obsessive characteristics of limerence, employees with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Working with exposure with response prevention can also be helpful an analysis of the behavior and motivation of the person is necessary, Which makes him feel the need to be rendered by this human being as he attributes it.

      Cognitive restructuring is also useful, both for beliefs about the other person and beliefs about yourself or what a relationship entails. Finally, emotional expression (as long as it is not used as a constraint) can also be helpful.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Tennov, D. (1998). Love and Limerence: the experience of being in love. 2nd Edition Scarborough House.

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