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.


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