Love or Limerence? Your Guide to Healthy Relationships

Have you ever found yourself obsessed with an intense crush or deeply lost in a sea of unrequited love? Us too. Everyone deserves a relationship built on trust, respect, and genuine affection. But in the age of dating apps and social media, there’s a fine line between infatuation and love, and it can be difficult to figure out which category your relationship falls into when you’re falling in love with someone. Our guide on love, infatuation and limerence aims to untangle healthy feelings from obsessive emotions, help you understand the meaning of limerence and offer practical advice for those entangled in never-ending infatuations.

Infatuation VS. Love

Love is a deep connection that thrives on understanding, trust, and mutual growth. It's a feeling that goes beyond physical attraction, where you truly care and respect each other's happiness. Love is patient, supportive, and committed. On the other hand, infatuation is often fleeting, driven by intense emotions and an idealised image of the other person. It's like a whirlwind that sweeps you off your feet but fades over time. Love stands the test of time, while infatuation can be short-lived. Choose love that nurtures and grows, rather than an infatuation that fades away, and leaves you clinging to a person’s potential rather than who they really are. Here are some examples of healthy and obsessive feelings that may help you identify your relational dynamic with your beau.

Healthy Feelings

Trust: Feeling secure and confident in your partner's loyalty and honesty.

Independence: Valuing your own interests, friendships, and personal growth while still enjoying time spent together.

Communication: Openly expressing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and actively listening to your partner's perspective.

Support: Rooting for your beau, feeling genuinely happy for their achievements and being there to offer encouragement during challenging moments.

Respect: Treating each other with kindness, equality, and considering each other's boundaries and needs.

Obsessive Feelings

Jealousy: Whilst jealously is a completely natural feeling, constantly feeling suspicious or possessive (without valid reason) and not allowing your partner personal space is cause for concern.

Deep dependency: Relying solely on your partner for happiness, self-esteem, or a sense of identity, neglecting your own individuality.

Constant Monitoring: Feeling the need to track your partner's every move, invading their privacy, or excessively checking their whereabouts.

Manipulation: Attempting to control or manipulate your partner's actions, emotions, or decisions to suit your own desires or insecurities.

Insecurity: Again, insecurities are natural, but consistently doubting yourself or your partner's feelings, leading to constant reassurance-seeking or overanalysing every interaction will need addressing.

Remember, it's completely natural to experience a range of emotions in a relationship, but it's important to recognise when those feelings become overly consuming or detrimental.

What is Infatuation?

Infatuation in a relationship is that overwhelming feeling of being completely consumed by someone. It's the butterflies in your stomach and the constant thoughts of them. While it can be exciting, remember to also nurture a deeper love built on understanding, respect, and compatibility.

How long does infatuation last?

Infatuation can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It may seem all-consuming at the beginning, with thoughts of your partner dominating your mind and butterflies fluttering in your stomach. However, as time goes on, this initial infatuation tends to evolve into a deeper, more stable form of love. It’s important to remember that sustaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship requires more than just the initial infatuation. As time goes on, love should grow stronger through shared experiences, trust, communication, and mutual support.

What is Limerence?

Limerence is a powerful and intense state of infatuation or obsession with another person. It's more than just a passing crush - it's a profound emotional and cognitive experience that can consume your thoughts and emotions. When you're in a state of limerence, you may constantly think about that person, fantasise about a potential romantic relationship, and feel a strong desire for their reciprocated affection.

Understanding limerence and your feelings can help you navigate your emotions more consciously. Remember that it's a natural part of the human experience, and many of us have gone through it at some point in our lives. If you find yourself caught in the grips of limerence, it's important to take care of your emotional well-being and seek support from friends, loved ones, or even a therapist who can assist you in managing your feelings.

How to beat limerence

We understand that experiencing feelings of limerence can be challenging, but you have the power to overcome them. Here are some steps you can take to beat those feelings and regain control over your emotions:

Limit contact: Limiting contact with this person may allow you to gain clarity on your feelings and the relationship. If possible, distance yourself from the person you have feelings for. Reduce interactions and avoid situations that may intensify those emotions. This may involve setting boundaries or even temporarily cutting off contact to help break the cycle of limerence.

Focus on self-care: Channel your energy and attention towards self-improvement and personal growth. Engage in activities that bring you joy, pursue hobbies, and spend time with friends and family who support and uplift you. Taking care of yourself may help shift your focus away from limerent feelings. Completely hone in on self-love with bath and body products and sex toys to focus your attention completely on to yourself and boost those feel-good hormones.

Challenge idealisation: Limerence often involves idealising the person, seeing only their positive qualities while ignoring any negatives. Remind yourself of their flaws you may be choosing to gloss over, and critically evaluate the compatibility between the two of you. Remember that a healthy relationship requires mutual understanding, respect, and compatibility beyond mere infatuation.

Seek support: Reach out to your most trusted besties, family members, and consider finding a therapist to discuss your feelings. Having someone who understands and can offer an unbiased, outside perspective can be immensely helpful in processing and overcoming limerence.

Practice self-reflection: Take the time to explore your own needs, desires, and insecurities. Understand that limerence often stems from unmet personal needs or unresolved emotional issues. Reflect on areas where you can grow and work on building a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Understanding the difference between love and limerence can be empowering. It allows us to navigate our relationships with clarity and self-awareness. Recognising limerence can prevent falling into unrealistic fantasies and help to build a more solid foundation for lasting love. Real, genuine love will always transcend the temporary euphoria of limerence and embrace the beauty of a meaningful and enduring connection.