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!