The Four Stages of Limerence: Understanding the Science Behind Intense Romantic Infatuation
Limerence, a term coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, refers to the intense romantic infatuation that people experience in the early stages of a relationship.
It is often characterized by intrusive thoughts, intense emotions, and an almost obsessive desire to be close to the object of one’s affection.
But what exactly causes limerence, and why does it fade over time? In this article, we will explore the four stages of limerence and the science behind each stage.
What is Limerence?
Limerence is an intense romantic infatuation that can occur in the early stages of a relationship. It is often characterized by intrusive thoughts, heightened emotional responses, and an almost obsessive desire to be close to the object of one’s affection. Limerence is not the same as love, although it can be a component of love.
The First Stage: Intrusive Thinking
The first stage of limerence is characterized by intrusive thinking. People in this stage may find themselves constantly thinking about the object of their affection, even when they are supposed to be doing something else. They may also experience a range of physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and butterflies in the stomach.
The Second Stage: Heightened Emotional Response
The second stage of limerence is characterized by a heightened emotional response. People in this stage may experience intense feelings of happiness, excitement, and euphoria when they are with the object of their affection. They may also experience feelings of jealousy, anxiety, and despair when they are not with their partner.
The Third Stage: Obstacles and Doubt
The third stage of limerence is characterized by obstacles and doubt. People in this stage may begin to doubt the strength of their feelings or the possibility of a future with their partner. They may also experience external obstacles, such as disapproving family members or geographic distance, that make it difficult to maintain the intensity of their feelings.
The Fourth Stage: Resolution
The fourth and final stage of limerence is resolution. In this stage, people either come to accept that their feelings are not reciprocated or the relationship moves to a more stable and less intense stage. This stage can be difficult for people to navigate, as they may experience feelings of rejection or loss.
Why does Limerence fade?
Limerence fades over time for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the intensity of the emotional response that characterizes limerence is difficult to sustain over the long term. Another reason is that as people get to know each other better, they may begin to see each other’s flaws and imperfections, which can diminish the intensity of their feelings.
How Is Limerence Different From Love?
Limerence is often described as a component of love, but it is not the same as love. Love is a complex emotion that involves feelings of attachment, intimacy, and commitment, whereas limerence is characterized by intense romantic infatuation. Limerence is typically short-lived, while love can endure over the long term.