Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Falling Madly In Love - Limerence in full flight?

She wrote: "I am madly in love with him! I am totally obsessed with him! He lives in my thoughts constantly, day and night. There is never a moment when he is not filling my mind. The only way I can describe how I feel is:  'I am madly in love with him'".

Are these feelings normal? Is this state of mind natural? Does everyone experience such intense romantic attraction when they "fall in love"? Have we literally gone "mad"?

The saying 'falling in love' already suggests that something happens to us, beyond our control, when these romantic "love feelings" stir within us. It is as if we are taken over by some force, which possesses us and creates feelings and thoughts that totally consume our lives. We become totally absorbed by the presence of this person, and our entire lives are overwhelmed by the intensity of feelings we are now experiencing.

The relatively new term "limerence" is used to describe a "state of being in love" which creates scenarios in our lives which make our love lives almost unbearable and at times unmanageable. The pathway of limerent love, although similar to romantic love, can ultimately become destructive and intolerable.

The real difficulty of super-charged or over-charged love is its uncontrollable intensity. Rather than being simply captivated by the person to whom we feel attracted, we are captured and controlled  by our own overwhelming intense feelings and thoughts. Our equilibrium is disturbed.  Rather than enjoying the awakening of sublime romantic feelings, we find ourselves at the mercy of  a myriad of unwanted emotions which make us anxious, uncertain, insecure, fearful and on 'knife-edge'.

It seems the more madly we fall in love, the more unsettled we feel. In many ways we enter into the unexpected experience of "grieving love" or "anxious love"! Rather than having sublime feelings we end up with sorrowfulness and uncontrollable anxiety.. Once that happens, it is the sorrow and anxiety which takes us over, and the deeper they are, the more intense and urgent is the need to have them soothed. Love offers us hope. Romantic love seems to promise us the potency of sublime feelings, deep pleasure and happiness.

If we have deeper sorrowfulness and anxiety embedded in us as the result of early childhood experiences, where our loving attachments to our parents were compromised or destroyed, we are more vulnerable to massive disappointments when we discover how romantic attraction later in our lives fails to deliver the really loving and nurturing relationship we need.

This is particularly true when the person of our heart's desire doesn't feel the same about us, and acts indifferently towards us and worst of all, rejects us. Romantic love thrives on reciprocation. When each of us feels similarly and we both respond openly and enthusiastically to each other's love-interests and advances, mutual attraction becomes all-embracing joyful attachment.

Grieving love occurs when our deep feelings for love get in touch with even deeper feelings within us of sadness and loss. Deeper than the promise of pleasure we hope for in romantic love, we, instead, experience within ourselves a much deeper sense of sorrowfulness and anxiousness. This unexpected and largely unknown discovery, can catapult us into believing that somehow the person to whom we are "romantically attracted" has the potential to make us feel happy and secure and will hopefully ameliorate the deeper layers of sadness and anxiety at the heart of our being.

We become "limerent" when we overly express in all sorts of ways, our dependence on our potential lover to meet, match and manage our deeper need for "soothing security" which is due to insecurities and sorrows often left over from our childhood.

Limerence helps describe and explain the nature of this type of emotionally super-charged love. It attempts to explain what happens to us when we "fall madly in love" under such circumstances. It also describes the ways we find ourselves behaving when we encounter these strangely intense, unwanted and intrusive feelings. Limerence can offer us insight into ourselves which may help us to live with more awareness  of our deeper agendas and therefore better equipped to traverse the journeys of romantic attraction with all their potentialities and pitfalls .

When limerence occurs we may feel our love is contaminated by a whole array of unwanted emotions which invade our lives and  leave us feeling like victims in distress rather than lovers celebrating a joyful relationship.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is romantic love different to limerence?

The words "Limerence" and "Romance" are not necessarily interchangeable but they are definitely related. The word 'romance' has been in the love lexicon for centuries and is well known and accepted as a legitimate expression of love or 'being in love'.

Romantic love is used to describe the intense feelings which develop between people as part of the attachment and attraction each person has for the other. These romantic feelings are usually most intense when the initial attraction occurs and are usually sensual, pleasurable and exciting when expressed in a happy and safe and "approved" environment.

This romantic attraction may last for months or years, and may be not even be expressed openly, but may be hidden from the person of our desires. Having a 'crush' on someone, or being attracted to another person is not uncommon, even when already in a relationship.

So is there any difference between romantic love and 'limerence' when we first 'fall in love' or experience a real attraction to someone?

Although 'attraction" is a universal occurrence nevertheless we all experience it very personally within our own feelings and thoughts. It is essentially a deeply private awakening which manifests itself psychologically and physiologically in ways which have a familiarity for us all.

 In other words there are patterns of behaviour which occur across most of our lives, although the expressions of our behaviour will be determined by our culture, our upbringing, our circumstances , our values and beliefs and so on.

How we act out our attraction will depend on many things. It is largely decided by what we feel we have permission to do and what we feel we are prohibited from doing with these awakening sensations. We will explore in future blogs what is means to have "permission" and "prohibition" in our lives.

Most of us deal with our attraction according to the conventions and expectations of our society and people around us. The rules of romance are still in place as Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" witnessed for her era.

Limerence occurs when we feel this romantic attraction very very intensely. As the level of intensity increases so does the depth of limerent feelings increase. The feelings are normal, it is the intensity of them which becomes the issue for us.

Limerence can be described as over-charged or super-charged romantic love.

What we will explore in future blogs are the reasons for this intensity, how these feelings manifest themselves, how they influence our behaviour and what strategies we can use to help "control" our feelings and responses.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Limerence or Love? Emotional dependency

Many people who "fall madly in love" experience lots of intense feelings and awakenings. In fact, most of us during the early phase of romance experience an heightened awareness at all levels of our lives. But falling in love is essentially an emotional experience which for many can be so intense and 'out of control' that we feel we are going crazy.

This emotional intensity for many people when experienced for the first time is brand new territory or uncharted waters. Deep within our emotions are feelings we may have never encountered before. The sheer intensity of the attraction we have for the 'other person' can be sensationally ecstatic or deeply disturbing, depending on our circumstances and our individual life journey at the time.

For many of us, our emotional needs can be almost insatiable, and our dependence on the other person to meet those needs can be overwhelming for both of us. Usually when emotional dependency occurs with such intensity, there are underlying reasons which have very little to do with the person to whom we are romantically attracted.

The deeper reasons for this may seem unfathomable . Why is this so? Because we are being pushed around by urges, desires and feelings which are often associated with insecurities and sense of abandonment we may well had experienced when just a small child many years ago!

Our childhood should have been a time when we felt secure in the generous and loving nurturing of our parents. The attachments we developed in our infancy needed to be dependable and secure. If this did not happen then our sense of abandonment with all those underlying insecurities, would cause us to be gripped with unresolved fears and intense anxieties, all needing to be ameliorated and tenderly nurtured and healed.

No wonder our early life experiences of abandonment are expressed so urgently as emotional dependency in our adult life. Inside of us lives a very frightened child who needs to feel secure and loved. The person to whom we feel romantically attached awakens our unresolved emotional fears and we begin to depend on them to help us feel better.

The child's need to be securely loved when not met, become the adult's desire to have this pain soothed by our new found love. Secure love is the basis of a healthy child's development. If that didn't happen in our early life then our adult relationships will be filled with the unfulfilled  longings of a distraught child. Any child is dependent on nurturing caring parents for love. That dependence still remains within us because we didn't receive it when we were young..

If you are feeling emotionally dependent in your relationships, you can be pretty certain there is a child inside of your life needing to receive extra attention!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Limerence - Living with obsessive thoughts

The word "Limerence" is used to describe how we feel when we are 'madly in love'.

It is not unusual or abnormal. In fact, it is universal.

However it does have a surprising intensity which may cause our thoughts to be totally obsessed with the person who becomes the focus of all our thinking.

We are all attracted to other people, whether they be of the opposite sex or the same sex. Attraction is natural and important in forming friendships and relationships. The word "chemistry" is often used to describe that special attraction we feel for some people.

In fact, if we don't feel 'some chemistry' occurring between us, attraction can fade pretty quickly. But when attraction does occur, the chemistry in our bodies literally changes and we become 'switched on'.

Now some of us stayed so 'switched on' that we have no off button, and we become totally obsessed with the person who becomes the focus of our infatuation. We just can't get them out of our minds. All our thoughts are built around them and we develop an acute inner longing for them.

A woman described it this way:

I've never been this way about anybody. I don't want to be this way about him. I become furious with myself because I can't make it stop - I have no control over it. I know I don't want to have anything to do with that man but I can't stop my thoughts about him.

Since that eyes locked moment two years ago - we've interacted and I tried hard to keep my feet on the ground. He has made comments and his actions suggested that the feelings were reciprocal (I know I didn't imagine this).

I actually wish he didn't - because then I could continue thinking that it was all only in my head. 

A man described it this way:

"The feelings of longing became so intense, that I just thought about her all the time. These were not just ordinary thoughts, like thinking about my friends. These were "super-charged" thoughts, loaded with intense feelings which were so strong my whole body felt possessed. There was a sense of heart-ache as my body longed to satisfy the intensity of the love-feeling I was experiencing.
The obsessive thoughts were based on the heightened awareness I was experiencing throughout my body.It felt like my whole body was thinking about her. Not just my mind but every nerve cell in my body. I was totally saturated and overwhelmed by her. I lived in a state of total distraction from which there was no escape, except into her arms."

Obsessive thoughts usually occur when we think or feel something is unresolved. We may not even know this initially. Maybe we experienced a deep loss when we were a child, which no one recognised and we were left wounded and in pain, needing to be loved and healed. But it didn't happen.

Then someone appears in our life who connects to us and who awakens the wounded feelings which we long to be healed. The possibility of 'love' and attention become so strong that our wounded heart, whether from a recent or old wound, seeks the most powerful remedy known: love.

That special person becomes the one to do this for us and we start to build all our hopes and dreams around them. The need is relentless and our focus becomes obsessive.

You are not alone. This is a universal experience for thousands of people!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Limerence -were you ready for this?

Were you ready for this?

 Suddenly, unexpectedly, without warning you are thrown into this "crazy state" where you just can't get him (or her) out of your mind!

 You feel elated, sensuous, charged up, suddenly alive...as if your a light bulb switched on. There is now someone in your life...a gorgeous guy, a beautiful girl who has awakened in your emotions and feelings you never knew existed.

You are literally "switched on"!!

 Welcome to the state of "limerence".

 Maybe a new place for you, but an old place in the story of romantic love. Thousands have been there already. You are not alone!

Read the poets,listen to the operas, hear the lyrics of the love songs. It is now your turn. You are tuned in to something momentous, something exhilarating, something universal, something personal!

 Maybe this is your first time you have ever felt like this: deliriously happy, exciting new energy, a sensuous awakening which has to be satisfied, ameliorated.

 A thirst needing to be quenched, a desire needing to be fulfilled an addiction needing to be subdued. You are not alone! All around you this is happening!

Limerence is everywhere.