Many times, people find it hard to tell apart a crush/infatuation from limerence and from love. Because all of these romantic states can feel equally intense and have overlapping characteristics. However, there are still major differences that exist.
We will examine some of these differences in this post.
Infatuation vs Limerence
This one is tricky, because alot of the time, infatuation feels exactly the same as being in limerence! They both comprise of: incredibly intense feelings for the person
You cannot stop thinking about them and when you do so, it brings up a feeling of “high”, like you are on cloud nine. And you never want to come down from that high.
But that’s just about the only similarity the both states share. They actually have quite different qualities.
Length of time – crushes are short-lived
We’ve all been infatuated with someone at some point in time of our lives. Whether it’s a crush on the classmate we see everyday in English Lit or the mysterious guy on the bus ride to work, to any number of celebrities or athletes, we’ve all harboured a crush on someone before.
The thing about these crushes is they tend to be rather short-lived. You stop going for English Lit, you take a different route to work or you just found better things to do than chase celebs in your freetime, then these feelings you have for your crush are gonna wane. Or perhaps, they said or did something that made you realise they aren’t as attractive as you once thought, poof the feelings disappear too.
With limerence though, someone can harbour those feelings for their limerent object (LO) for years and decades even. It isn’t as simple as out of sight, out of mind, like it can be with crushes. Limerents can go out of their way to seek out the company and feelings of being around their LO.
Curious how limerent you are and on which part of the healing journey you are on?
Intensity of feelings – Limerence is overwhelming
With crushes/infatuation, the feelings can feel intense at times, but they are bound to fade and they aren’t as persistent or as consistent. If our crush looks our way or speaks to us, we may feel the usual anxiety and excitement – heart palpitations, all giggly, palms sweaty etc.
With limerence though, these intense feelings hit very differently. The person in limerence feel absolutely consumed by their feelings and their emotions towards their LO can be pretty volatile and completely dependent on their LO’s behaviour. These feelings don’t subside very easily as well, and are exacerbated by various other factors, which I talk quite abit about in my book.
Crushes can feel intense at that point in time, but eventually they go away and the person moves on. With limerence though, the feelings are more complex, feel overwhelming and do not subside easily.
Living in fantasy
This is another aspect of both infatuation and limerence that feels similar. Both involve some amount of fantasising of your crush or LO. But as always is the case with limerence, fantasy is taking to the next level.
In limerence, fantasies feed the limerents’ desires. They live off a fantasy of their LOs – some are inaccurate perceptions of how they are in reality (if you are limerent for a celeb), alot of times, it’s fantasising about various scenarios their LOs are in with them.
These fantasies are dangerous and are difficult to die off because after awhile, your mind starts to believe it is true. And, the constant need to get a high from your feelings and thoughts of your LO will lead you to keep feeding those fantasies. It becomes a cycle, a habit and is actually an addictive pattern, like I explain in my book.
Love vs Limerence
Love and limerence are VASTLY different, though to a limerent, their feelings for their LO can feel like genuine love. But love has qualities that are distinct from limerence, it’s actually easier to tease apart love from limerence for that matter.
Let’s take a look at some differences:
Reciprocal vs one-sided
Love is to a large extent reciprocal. Both of you know each other fairly well (in most cases) and are at the very least, physically present in each others lives – you acknowledge the existence of the relationship (for most couples).
Limerence is 100% one-sided. You are the only one living out those fantasies in your head about your LO and constantly experiencing intrusive thoughts about them. Your “relationship” most likely is make-belief and does not exist in reality. This can be a hard pill to swallow for many.
Your LO likely does not know you exist, and even if they do, they are not available to be in a relationship with you.
Self-centred vs sacrificial
Love is sacrificial. I know some people may argue with this, and relationships in modern society are very different, but at the heart of it, love involves sacrifices. It could be sacrificing your sleep to help your partner get through a difficult time, moving across continents to be with them or just going through the usual thick and thin present in any romance.
Limerence is not a least bit sacrificial. It is actually entirely selfish. Whether you are limerent for someone who knows about it and cannot be there for you, or if you are limerent for someone who has no clue that you are – limerence is self-centred because ultimately, the limerent person does expect some form of reciprocation for their feelings.
This is the reason why so many limerents experience emotional highs and lows talked about earlier when their LO behaves differently towards them. When behaviour is positive and indicative of possible interest, they feel their emotions go up but when it’s not, their emotions sink.
Limerence is also selfish because for limerents, their LO usually matters more than anyone else in their lives (including themselves). It’s obsessive, addictive and unhealthy romantic behaviour that usually does not produce the results that the limerent person is pining for.
As mentioned earlier, when you are in a loving relationship, you are there for the person. Physically, mentally, emotionally. In limerence though, their romantic state always involves a significant amount of unavailability. Both emotionally and physically.
Either your LO is living in another country, they aren’t in your social circle/are a complete stranger or they are just not into you at all. Limerence is characterised by a complete absence of the LO from your life, they only exist in your mind and in fantasies.
Strategies to get over limerence
So, given all the qualities of limerence, can you eventually heal from it? Absolutely. I did it all by myself, though it involved a huge amount of work, self-reflection and introspection. There was a need to abstain or moderate my use of social media, and constantly remind myself to not think of the person; amongst other strategies. You need to be absolutely willing to let go of your LO and of being in this state.
If you feel that you need more inspiration and a better perspective to your situation, do check out all the linked articles above as well as my other limerence articles below:
- Relapse: Can limerence come back? 3 Ways to stop it
- What is limerence – a romantic obsession or a mere crush?
- 5 big signs limerence and romantic obsession is ending
- How to cure limerence (2 sets of strategies)
- Limerence takes up an incredible amount of mental space that you could be using to fulfil your life