Limerence is a relatively recent addition to the English dictionary. The word was coined in 1977 by an author who was looking for a word to describe someone who was in a state of infatuation. Some people mistakenly use it as a noun to describe someone who is in love – however their is a difference between love and limerence – and if you take limerence to the extreme it can become a mental disorder.
Limerence refers to the state of being infatuated with someone, whether unrequited or not, whereby thoughts of the limerent object of your desire pop involuntarily and incessantly into your head. These thoughts can become obtrusive and are impossible to control. When it reaches the point of obsession and you can no longer function in your everyday life, it can become highly problematic.
The limerent object is like a drug and access to thoughts about them are free and easy to obtain. These thought patterns become well worn within the brain, and they are harder to prevent the longer it goes on.
Limerence can last for a few weeks, months, or even years – the average length being approximately 3 years; however there have been cases recorded of it lasting for decades.
Lingering limerence is a problem for many of us and it is through moving forward and living our lives that we can forget about what might have been. Especially knowing, quite logically, that if it had ever happened between that two of you, then it would most likely have been a disaster anyway! No one can truly live up to the pedestal of perfection that the limerent state has created and soon enough the cracks would begin to appear.
Or maybe I’m just being cynical and making excuses for all of my limerent failures of the past! And for those who know me well, there have been a few.