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.




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