Limerence, teach everyone this word!

8 Jun

Limerence is the most important word/concept that the majority of people in our culture are ignorant of.  It causes so much damage and broken families.  It explains a lot of relationship behavior.  Limerence on Wikipedia  Most people can relate to the word even if they have never heard of it before.  The definition, ““a state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts about the object of interest.”  It’s that state where seemingly unrelated thoughts keep coming back to your new romantic interest.  You CAN’T stop thinking about them.  🙂  I think most people know what that feels like.

Limerence is very powerful and can be overwhelming,even addicting, in some people.  The piece that people don’t understand is limerence doesn’t last.  It’s an inherently transient state of mind due entirely to the newness of the romance.  Unfortunately because we are ignorant of this word and concept there are lots of negative relationship fallout.

Consider Tim, a man married for 7 years who has been faithful the whole time.  All of a sudden he find an attractive woman at work who he has a flirtatious relationship with.  Suddenly he is limerent over her much like he was over his wife when they first met.  He decides to cheat, eventually divorce his wife and then marry the new girl.  Then several years later he repeats the process never recognizing the pattern.  This is a VERY common pattern in our society where people are serial monogamous and have multiple marriages.  The problem is Tim doesn’t understand limerence.  He doesn’t understand that new things aren’t BETTER.  They are just new and shiny.  He doesn’t have a proper appreciation of his existing relationship or the understanding that all shiny things eventually fade.  Tim continues to chase the energy of a new relationship hoping to keep those intense feelings alive which is unfortunately impossible.

When starting out in the poly world people often make the mistake of overvaluing new relationships.  Limerence is an amazing high.  It’s easy to get carried away but to have successful mature relationships you need to balance that energy with the understanding that it won’t last.  Make sure your existing relationships are taken care of with the attention and respect they deserve.  Ideally a person skilled at relationships will be able to enjoy a stable, long term, live in partner with whom they share all the important intimate details of their life while simultaneously having the occasional hot new intense energy filled whirlwind romances.  It’s a great life guys and I hope learning more about limerence and it’s limitation can help us all enjoy a more full life.



2 Responses to “Limerence, teach everyone this word!”


  1. The thing about old flames is… | dear poly - June 25, 2013

    […] read this on limerance.  You can’t even begin to address your issue if you don’t understand limerance.  What […]

  2. Coming Out | Works In Progress - July 26, 2013

    […] Limerence, teach everyone this word! ( […]

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