The following is taken from a paper on limerence by Albert Wakin & Duyen B. Vo. This is one of the best recent papers on this condition.

Limerence is an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that are contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation from the object of interest.  Although limerence resembles normative love, it is a state that is necessarily negative, problematic, and impairing, with clinical implications. This description frames limerence as consisting of three functional components: initiating force, driving forces, and resultant forces. Parallels between limerence and substance dependence, and obsessive compulsive disorder are drawn.

Although love and limerence are indistinguishable in the early stages of a relationship, over time, love and limerence exist independently, each uniquely distinct in profile. for our purpose, limerence is defined as an involuntary interpersonal state that involves an acute longing for emotional reciprocation, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and emotional dependence on another person.

Given the interpersonal nature of limerence, the two parties involved are the person experiencing limerence (LE) and the object of LE’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, the Limerent Object (LO). In a love relationship, one often experiences initial intense feelings and reactions, and absorption in another person that tend to moderate over time, allowing for a more stable, intimate, trusting, and committed relationship to flourish.

However, in limerence, these initial feelings and reactions somehow fail to subside, becoming increasingly intense, pervasive, and disruptive, ultimately rendering difficulty in controlling one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Wakin postulates three primary functional components:

1) Initiating Force – pervasive longing for emotional reciprocation
. It is posited that the limerence condition is initiated by an acute longing for emotional reciprocation from another person. Once initiated, driving forces become salient, actively the overall development of limerence.

2) Driving Forces – intrusive and obsessive thinking, constant replaying and rehearsing, acute sensitivity to behavioural cues, strong tendency to over-interpret LO’s behaviours, strong fear of rejection by LO, situational barriers, and uncertainty. The primary driving force is uncertainty that surrounds the relationship and the status of LO’s feelings toward LE. There is an undercurrent of fear of rejection by LO that is reactionary to the ultimate goal of reciprocation. In fact, the limerence reactions tend to dissipate in conditions where there is complete certainty, may it be in the extreme of absolute reciprocation or the other extreme of absolute rejection. However, intermediate levels of perceived reciprocation or rejection are conducive to a pervasive state of uncertainty, thereby driving the limerence reactions. In light of said uncertainty, LE becomes highly sensitive to LO’s  cues with the goal of searching for signs of reciprocation and evaluating success in eliciting and attaining such reciprocation.

LE constantly calibrates and re-calibrates his/her own  based upon the  feedback from LO. As the uncertainty continues and the sensitivity to behavioural cues intensifies, LE begins to  and over-interpret LO’s  and reactions to the point of intrusive and obsessive thinking. LE is constantly preoccupied with LO, frequently engaging in the replay of past encounters with LO to evaluate the extent of LE’s success and in the rehearsal of future events with LO to optimise LE’s chances of obtaining reciprocation. Even situational barriers such as hectic work schedules and other life commitments that inhibit direct access to LO can present as additional sources of uncertainty.

Overall, the driving forces interact with one another to accelerate the cycle to the point where it is increasingly difficult for LE to control his/her , thoughts, and feelings. Again, limerence is sustained and fuelled by uncertainty, a primary mechanism that heightens the hope and the need for emotional reciprocation. This ultimately increases the urgency to resolve the uncertainty by more carefully and thoroughly detecting and interpreting LO’s behavioural cues, while at the same time increasing the acuteness of the longing for reciprocation. This can be seen, then, that the initiating force manifests in the form of driving forces that in turn take on qualities that further reinforce the initiating force; thereby accelerating the cycle and escalating the overall obsessive-compulsive and addictive reactions of limerence.

3) Resultant Forces – fluctuation in mood, feelings of ecstasy, feelings of depression, anxiety, cognitive coping strategies, shame/guilt, and impaired functioning.  LE’s mood becomes highly dependent on LO, spanning from the extreme of ecstasy to that of depression, rendering a distinctive pattern of affective lability. LE begins to feel somewhat out of control. LE may wish and even intend to reduce or stop LE's thinking and behaviour, or even to terminate the relationship. However, because of the involuntary nature of limerence, LE is unable to successfully execute his/her intentions, thereby inducing deep feelings of powerlessness. This creates pronounced feelings of anxiety that are displayed in symptoms that may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, perspiration, chest and/or abdominal discomfort, and feelings of apprehension.

The anxiety may also inhibit normal interaction, causing LE to be clumsy, awkward, and somewhat socially inept. This in turn motivates LE to undertake compensatory behaviour to present him/herself to the contrary in order to The primary driving force is uncertainty that surrounds the relationship and the status of LO’s feelings toward L. There is an undercurrent of fear of rejection by LO that is reactionary to the ultimate goal of reciprocation. In fact, the limerence reactions tend to dissipate in conditions where there is complete certainty, may it be in the extreme of absolute reciprocation or the other extreme of absolute rejection. However, intermediate levels of perceived reciprocation or rejection are conducive to a pervasive state of uncertainty, thereby driving the limerence reactions. In light of said uncertainty, LE becomes highly sensitive to LO’s behavioural cues with the goal of searching for signs of reciprocation and evaluating success in eliciting and attaining such reciprocation.

LE constantly calibrates and re-calibrates his/her own behaviour based upon the behavioural feedback from LO. As the uncertainty continues and the sensitivity to behavioural cues intensifies, LE begins to over-analyse and over-interpret LO’s behaviour and reactions to the point of intrusive and obsessive thinking. LE is constantly preoccupied with LO, frequently engaging in the replay of past encounters with LO to evaluate the extent of LE’s success and in the rehearsal of future events with LO to optimiSe LE’s chances of obtaining reciprocation. Even situational barriers such as hectic work schedules and other life commitments that inhibit direct access to LO can present as additional sources of uncertainty. Overall, the driving forces interact with one another to accelerate the cycle to the point where it is increasingly difficult for LE to control his/her behaviours, thoughts, and feelings.

Again, limerence is sustained and fuelled by uncertainty, a primary mechanism that heightens the hope and the need for emotional reciprocation. This ultimately increases the urgency to resolve the uncertainty by more carefully and thoroughly detecting and interpreting LO’s behavioural cues, while at the same time increasing the acuteness of the longing for reciprocation. This can be seen, then, that the initiating force manifests in the form of driving forces that in turn take on qualities that further reinforce the initiating force; thereby accelerating the cycle and escalating the overall obsessive-compulsive and addictive reactions of limerence.

LE’s chances of obtaining reciprocation. Since LE's behaviour is continually re-calibrated, LO’s responsive feedback is correspondingly altered, resulting in more uncertainty and anxiety, ultimately perpetuating the overall cycle. LE’s increasing preoccupation with and absorption in LO becomes such that LE withdraws from and neglects other aspects of his/her life, resulting in his/her functioning being impaired. However, since LE is unable to successfully reduce or stop his/her thinking and behaviour despite the desire and intention to do so, LE is confronted with deep feelings of shame and guilt. To reconcile the cognitive dissonance that involves remaining in a relationship despite evident discomfort and distress, LE is likely to cope by cognitively justifying the overall experience by placing greater emphasis and importance on the relationship. This further increases the acuteness and urgency for emotional reciprocation, thereby reinitiating the entire limerent cycle and subjecting LE to a type of self-entrapment.

 

Comments   

+3 # Jade Li 2015-10-06 22:49
So here's a big message to anyone who even thinks they might be a Limerent Object (LO): KNOCK IT OFF & STOP MINDFUC*ING US! It's cruel, mean, inconsiderate and sinful to flirt with others just to get your own ego stroked! You are possibly causing major PAIN for another person when you are evasively on-off flirtatious.

(We need an ANGRY emoticon here Website Admin!)
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+3 # David 2015-10-07 05:58
Thxs Jase. I once gave this paper to a colleague, training to be a psychotherapist, that had been an LO to another peer. Upon reading it, she realised what she had put this other person through, purely for her own narcissistic supply. She felt huge remorse and guilt. I think if our LO's knew how much of a mind-fuck limerence is, they would think teice with the game playing. then again, most of its unconscious and in my experience our LO;'s find it hard to take personal responsibility for their their contribution to our limerence.

Ultimately though, limerence is our issue and we are the ones that need to work on our own shit. We don't needs our LO;'s for that. They are just the teacher that appeared when we were ready for the lesson.
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0 # Kaylin 2015-10-11 15:31
Holy shit. Never knew there was a term for this but it looks like I've got a lot of reading to do.
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-1 # Crystal 2015-11-16 23:46
OMG!!!! So there is actually a term for this!!!! WOW!

Omg thank you SO much for this article and this website! For YEARS I've been suffering from this, and never even knew that it was a "condition"! I just figured that every woman has "crushes" on guys like this. Smh...

Now that I take a step back and I'm reading all of this information on limerence, I'm now seeing that it is indeed NOT "normal", and I'm dong my best to read up some more on how to get rid of this merry-go-around. Thankfully, after a HUGE case of limerence years ago, I finally started to realize that I never want to be so attached and infatuated with someone who doesn't reciprocate feelings ever again! I learned my lesson BIG time.

But I still find that I suffer from this (albeit to a lesser degree), so now I'm just trying to figure out what to do. Thank goodness for this site. It's been a HUGE eye-opener! It's almost scary because it describes me EXACTLY on the nose. :D
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0 # David 2015-11-17 08:13
Hi Crystal

I remember that ah ha moment when i realized what i was grappling with had a name. Its been a gateway to much growth, mostly hard fought. Many of us suffering from limerence come an an acceptance we have psychological issues that need addressing. Check out the forum - there is good support there.
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0 # Crystal 2015-11-18 19:51
Thank you so much David! I appreciate the feedback. :-)

Yes, I'm wondering too if it's a psychological issue that's causing this as well. I don't think it's a deep one (because otherwise I FEEL perfectly fine), but I think that because of my childhood upbringing (especially due to my father), I don't love myself as much as I SHOULD. I never got any POSITIVE validation from him. His love was very conditional, he was strict, emotionally unavailable, overbearing, harsh spankings, and living in that environment really messed up my self-esteem growing up. :(

I NEVER doubted that he loved my sister and me, but it was just hard living w/him. :sad:

Btw, where is the forum located on this site?
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0 # David 2016-01-07 08:49
Quoting Crystal:


Btw, where is the forum located on this site?


Try the link at the top

http://limerence.net/forum/
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0 # David 2015-11-18 20:50
Try the link at the top

http://limerence.net/forum/
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0 # Crystal 2015-11-18 21:07
Nevermind....I found the forum lol! :D
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