Even if you think you've read everything there is to know about how to fall in love and how to stay in love, there's always more to discover. And going deeper when it comes to how we discuss and define love is a great way to celebrate it more.
Limerence is a mental state of profound romantic infatuation, deep obsession, and euphoric longing," psychologist Reena B. Patel explains. Limerence is very fantasy-based, explains Patel, and comes with an "unnatural" level of intensity.
Conversely, love is a bit different, Patel says. Where love is unconditional, limerence is more of an infatuation, or a "deep crush."
As Patel outlines, some signs include: Only focusing on certain traits of a partner "Not only that, but the person will make these traits bigger and more important than they are in reality."
Ignoring any baggage that one may bring into a relationship. Being consumed with thought and a longing for the person so much that it becomes hard to get through your day-to-day activities. "The thoughts become a fixation and obsession.
Limerence starts out similarly to being in love, beginning with an infatuation and attraction stage, says Patel. This then turns into an addiction in which the unattainability of the person only makes them more alluring.
This stage of limerence includes addictive type behavior, thinking about the other 24 hours a day, stress, heart palpitations, stomach anxiety, and even intrusive thoughts," Patel says.
In case all of the above hasn't already convinced you, Patel confirms that, yes, limerence is unhealthy. In fact, Patel notes that the stages and symptoms are similar to those seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder,
explaining that there can even be somantic symptoms associated with limerence, like loss of appetite, loss of sleep, loss of friendships, and healthy family dynamics. "It becomes an unhealthy obsession," says Patel.
If you think you're experiencing limerence, Patel says to ask yourself a few questions: Is it a one-sided relationship?
A licensed therapist will be able to help you pinpoint what is triggering your feelings, as well as come up with a plan to get you to cut ties with the person and rediscover yourself.