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Monday, August 20, 2012

Limerence

Updated 12/3/2014 
If you haven't contemplated murder, you ain't been in love. If you haven't seriously thought about killing a motherfucker, you ain't been in love. If you haven't had a can of rat poison in your hand and looked at it for forty-five minutes straight, you ain't been in love. If you haven't bought a shovel and a bag and a rug to roll their ass up in, you ain't been in love. If you haven't practiced your alibi in front of the mirror, you ain't been in love. And the only thing that's stopped you from killing this motherfucker was a episode of CSI: "Oh man, they thorough. I better make up. They might catch my ass."
- Chris Rock
UNREQUITED LOVE... 

Love by itself can cause people to do crazy things [and in some cases... people actually go CRAZY]. Now, try adding rejection in the mix of love... Oh... What a tangled web we weave. To love someone and not have the feeling reciprocated; the feeling of unrequited love is unavoidable, and the feeling is quite devastating. So what’s wrong with experiencing unrequited love other than the fact that it leads to depression, anxiety, and insecurities? Why is it that in order to truly love someone, the feeling must be mutual? You would look a bit psycho cathecting someone who has made it clear that they do not share the same feelings. How about when the feeling is mutual... if you could measure love, how likely is it that you would find two individuals that are in love with each other share the exact amount of love for one another? Love is selfish, is it not? Love is also needy. For one to say love isn't needy, well… that would be specious because love needs love in return. Love needs expressions of love and words of love in return. And without the indication that the love you have for someone is requited, one would either fall out of love or be encouraged to do so.

Limerence, a term coined by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov, is considered as a cognitive and emotional state of being emotionally attached or even obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings - a near-obsessive form of romantic love (Wikipedia 2012). So when you are up late night creeping on Facebook, looking through his/her photos, rereading old text messages or emails, checking your phone to make sure it’s ‘working’ just in case the person tries to call, constantly replaying a scene in your head from your last encounter with the person… or even fantasizing about your next rendezvous... well... Those actions can be associated with limerence. This is a form of obsessing. It may not be quite the fatal attraction but nonetheless, it’s an [mild] obsession. 

The main concept of limerence is that the love is unrequited. You are infatuated with someone who does not want you in return. And being as dysfunctional as humans are, we tend to want something more when we can’t have it. In my humble opinion, limerence reveals more than just your desire to be with someone who doesn't want you. It also reveals the way you feel about yourself. I have been there... consistently day dreaming about someone that I knew I could never have (and its unhealthy to say the least). But what limerence really reveals is the way you feel about yourself. During those times in my life where I found myself infatuated with someone who had shown little interest in me, I would have had to say that I was lonely. I lacked self-confidence. I allowed myself to fall into this land of self-pity where my only rescue from the troubles of my life would come from this single person... this single person that did not want me. 

First and foremost Limerence is, a condition of cognitive obsession. Someone experiencing limerence tends to emphasize what is admirable in their desired partner and tend to avoid any negative or problematic attributes that the person may have. Limerence develops and is sustained when there is a certain balance of hope and uncertainty. The base for limerent hope is not in objective reality but reality as it is perceived. The inclination is to sift through nuances of speech and subtleties of behavior for evidence of limerent hope. The components of limerence include intrusive thinking and fantasy, fear of rejection, hope, physical side effects, and sexuality.
"Little things" are noticed and endlessly analyzed for meaning. Such excessive concern over trivia may not be entirely unfounded, however. Body language can indicate a return of feeling. What the limerent object said and did is recalled with vividness. Alternative meanings of those behaviors recalled are searched out. Each word and gesture is permanently available for review, especially those interpreted as evidence in favor of "return of feeling." When objects, people, places or situations are encountered with the limerent object, they are vividly remembered, especially if the limerent object 'interacted' with them in some way.

[Side note: Tennov suggested that the only cure for being in love is to get indisputable evidence that the target of one's love is not interested.]

I think it's very important to reevaluate yourself, your state of mind, and the person you are infatuated with when experiencing limerence. You could be lonely and longing for someone to be in your life... this person may possess a few qualities that you would ideally want to have in your significant other which may cause you to put this person on a pedestal. You are more caught up with the 'idea of having this person' rather than the reality of things. You get caught up in qualities that this person possess, rather than the person himself/herself. 

I over looked many of his 'bad qualities' because I was so wrapped up in the idea of 'us'.

Regardless if the person’s behavior demonstrates that they do not want to be with you... you begin to filter through their words and actions and cling on to any subtle gesture that would suggest that they may be romantically interested. As aforementioned, it's important to exam yourself during this time and to better understand what state of mind you are in when this is going on. Self-love, self-confidence and your self-respect may need to be fine-tuned. You’re worth it, and if that person can't see it, why continue to waste your time?

Even when dealing with uncertainty [rather than unrequited love], remember that love isn't uncertain. So if someone is sending you mix singles, it would be best to walk away from the situation until the person can determine what they want. If someone loves you, it shouldn't be a feeling of uncertainty in the mist of things. From my own experiences, I've learned to not 'read between the lines' when dating (or attempting to date someone). Things should be straight forward. Things should happen naturally. I've always left relationships with a broken heart when I tried to force the feeling of LOVE. Love is not forced, coerced, or confusing, but rather crystal clear.


I must admit, I experience limerence from time to time when I meet someone that appears to be TO GOOD TO BE TRUE [which they usually are]. However, the first step is admitting you have a problem!

9 comments:

  1. First all me this moment to raise my hand and plea guilty. Guilty of the act of being (in my humbled opinion though some might disagree) slightly obsessed, guilty of the thoughts of murder and if I’m completely honest, I am guilty of finding myself being lonely at times. Guilty as charged.


    While not wanting to spill my guts and soul here, I do however want to share my perspectives on the subject matter in the hopes that someone might learn from my experiences.


    When I was younger, I didn’t really understand why there seemed to be a disconnect between men and love or the act of being in love but I may now have some understanding of why that may be the case. Most men like being in control. We like having the ability to make things happen in this world and take charge and for the most part, society almost demands that we be this way. I remember being asked in a class discussion, “What does it mean (in your opinion) to be in love?” I paused to reflect on my then current experience and replied, “Not being able to control how you feel.”


    There were times I felt as if I could carry the whole universe on my shoulders and then there were times I felt like the whole world was crashing down on me. There were times when I felt like a rocketeer in space and other times when I felt lower than dirt. The problem was that all of these feelings strongly depended on what this person did or didn’t do and it didn’t take much for her to be able to change how I was feeling. The “S” on the chest of my super hero spandex stood for Sensitive! There were times when I wanted to be mad and she knew just what to say to make me smile. There were times when I wanted to be happy but I could not eat or sleep. There were times when I just didn’t want to care anymore but the truth was and still remains that I do care.

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  2. What I had to learn was how to love someone. I had to grow and learn who that person is and learn how to care for them perhaps not in the way I want to but in the way that they need me to. That means that if what they need is a good friend, then that’s just what we have to be. Not spend hours talking on the phone with them. Not devoting all of our time and effort to their needs. Not praying for them as if OUR life depends on it (lol), but be a dependable friend that is going to tell them the truth when they need to hear it and a word of encouragement when they need to hear that as well. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Is this just infatuation, or do I really care about this person?” If you love someone for who they are, then love them for who they are and not for what they can do for you or what they can be to you.


    I thought about this as well. Jesus died for us and not out of obligation, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans5:8) Yet I ask how many of us truly reciprocate the love and devotion that Christ has shown us? However, still He continues to be there in our hour of need and bless us with things we don’t even deserve because He loves us! “Because He cares for [us]!” (1Peter5:7) But just as because we don’t show the same love to Christ does not make us a bad person, the one that doesn’t feel the same as we feel about them is not out trying to hurt us or use us.


    What’s even more interesting about all of this is that I have actually experienced both sides of this scenario on a few occasions, which is probably why I share this understanding as I do now. Maybe it was Karma that hit me with the “love arrow” and not Cupid. Regardless, I am grateful for all the experiences that I had because it showed me sides of me that even I didn’t know of and it gave me so much understanding about what love is and what I desire in a relationship.


    This was a very interesting read and I believe that it speaks to its readers on an eye-to-eye level. Its candid nature may remind us of some things we may not want to remember but it offers clarity for those that may need “closure” (for the lack of a better word). The Charlie Brown comic is hilarious!

    Please continue writing!!!

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    Replies
    1. Bruce, I admire your ability to communicate your feelings. I don't think most men can do that, or they chose not to for whatever reason. You blew me away with your statement... Being in love means losing control. This is very true. I don;t think I have ever heard someone say it the way you have said it. But the most important thing is to know where your emotions are coming from.

      The S on your chest stands for Sensitivity? Well, Bruce, that is a beautiful thing. Every man should have a percentage of sensitivity. My father shows his sensitivity and I think that's what makes him so great.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for adding your comments. I really do enjoy reading your writings and I hope you start a blog soon!

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  3. Three limerence episodes over 45 years and still somewhat obsessed with the limerent objects. Good marriage to a person who never was a LO but could have been much much better marriage if I didn't compare it to the limerent experiences.

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  4. Hey Shelley, I hope you still read these comments because I could really use your advice. I see a lot of wisdom in your words, and I'm in a situation now where I am really struggling to put my life back together. I would appreciate your help. Please.

    I recently traveled across the country by car to explore and experience new things, and to pursue the calling I felt God had for me: to write a novel. Unfortunately, when I set out, I had just come out of a severe bout of depression and was reeling. So when I went out on my own, I was very vulnerable and made a lot of mistakes, often hiding Christ's light in my life for fear of not being accepted by others of different walks in life.

    I am 27 years old. I have lived a pretty clean life, by the standard of many, though I know myself to be a sinner and a broken man. But on this trip, I really made a mess of things. By hiding Christ's light in my life, I began to do things I knew were wrong. I had my first drink (I don't believe drinking is wrong, but I refrain from it for many reasons, and this was a huge deal to me because I was sinning against my conscience). I began dating around on my travels, having brief physical relations with women, though I never had sex. And I overall began to break down spiritually.

    By the time I made it to Northern California, where I am now, I had dug myself into a deep hole. That's when I met someone special. We spent a week together, seeing each other every day, but I did not feel any sort of limerence. We liked each other, and things were going well until I made a terrible mistake.

    This woman is a believer, though she never really embraced a life dedicated to glorifying God. I began to think that we might be able to make something long-term happen, thinking we were somewhat equally-yoked at the time because of how far I had fallen. But just a week into our relationship, I decided to give myself to her physically. I have only ever been in two relationships prior to this. I was saving myself for marriage. I feel guilt-ridden.

    It was not her first time, but it was mine. And ever since, I have felt like limerence is described. I can't focus, can't sleep and I am sick to my stomach unless I am with her. I am scared to death that this condition is going to blind me to our compatibility for each other. I also told her I don't want to continue our physical relations, which she is understanding of, but sometimes I think that I want to continue with it because I hope it will end this feeling.

    She wants to be with me, and she is willing to devote herself to learning more about God and walking with me as we both try to recover spiritually. She has been caring, patient, and so understanding. But I still feel this way. And on top of that, I constantly worry that our relationship won't succeed. And it would bury me if I knew I had to sever a relationship with the first person I ever gave myself to physically.

    I am just in pieces now. I can't focus on my writing. I did join a church that I enjoy here, and am trying to put into place some activities with the church and in my personal life that will keep me pre-occupied so I am not always thinking of her. But I am just struggling a lot. Please, if you have any advice, I would appreciate it.

    Part of me wants to push her away. And I am afraid that I might, if only to escape my turmoil.

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    1. hey unknown . How has it been going? i dont have much advice to give you but I think that you should follow your heart . Love is an amazing thing . At your age due to your celebency you have passed on many relationships. Saving your self for marriage is like saving yourself for the person you love . Its 2016 . We are all sinners and we are not perfect but u can try to be the best person you can be. If u meet someone who you think is the one . Give them a shot . dont hold back. Our days on this earth are limited , or push her all the way away because i dont think it will work . You can try to be just freinds but communication is key . Shes caring , she wants you ,She is trying. It takes two to tango . two to love . comprise. Humans are ment to have intimacy . I believe in god and i dont glorify him as much as i should . I cant tell you whats right or wrong . But i know that god loves us enough for us to be humans , for us not to be perfect and experiment all aspects of life. Trust your heart pray on it and my advice would be to give it a try and see what happens . You dont really know until you try. Maybe this is all part of your novel. The wisdom you can get from this experience can be life changing either way.

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    2. also if you respond i have a problem of my own that maybe u can help me with

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  5. hey unknown . How has it been going? i dont have much advice to give you but I think that you should follow your heart . Love is an amazing thing . At your age due to your celebency you have passed on many relationships. Saving your self for marriage is like saving yourself for the person you love . Its 2016 . We are all sinners and we are not perfect but u can try to be the best person you can be. If u meet someone who you think is the one . Give them a shot . dont hold back. Our days on this earth are limited , or push her all the way away because i dont think it will work . You can try to be just freinds but communication is key . Shes caring , she wants you ,She is trying. It takes two to tango . two to love . comprise. Humans are ment to have intimacy . I believe in god and i dont glorify him as much as i should . I cant tell you whats right or wrong . But i know that god loves us enough for us to be humans , for us not to be perfect and experiment all aspects of life. Trust your heart pray on it and my advice would be to give it a try and see what happens . You dont really know until you try. Maybe this is all part of your novel. The wisdom you can get from this experience can be life changing either way.

    ReplyDelete

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