Are You in Love, or in Limerence?

A (very smart) friend introduced me to the term "limerence" the other day.

As soon as I looked the term up, I knew I had to learn more.

Simply speaking, limerence is  

...an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated.

Um...wow.

So, basically it's a crush...

...but it's the kind of crush where you feel like you might die if you're not crushed on back.

Yup. I'm pretty sure I've been there.

I remember the baby-faced guy where I have never been more miserable being "in love" with someone in my life. (Hurt so good?)

I remember the blue-eyed athlete in college where I sobbed uncontrollably after he told me he wasn't interested in dating me (don't worry, I held it together until I was alone).

I remember that one celebrity that I had naughty, naughty dreams about, and felt SURE we were MFEO, like 4 EVA, even though we'd never met (and never will).

Of course, my examples are probably not as extreme as some (and, uh, I do try to hide that crazy as much as possible). Most sociologist and psychologists say that limerence is closer to obsessive-compulsive disorder than anything else.

This archived article from Time says these are the signs of limerence:

...pressure in the chest (literally "heartache"), an acute longing for reciprocation, fear of rejection, drastic mood swings, the growth of passion through adversity, and intrusive thinking about the LO, or "limerent object."

Limerance also doesn't start out too intensely, but rather comes in waves, usually with the limerent thinking of the limerent object about 30% of the time in the first wave, and only moving to 100% obsession in wave two.

So, you know, there's a little inspiration for you.

Either way, I sometimes find that it's helpful in life to figure out what's really happening in a romantic situation. If you're in a spot where you're feeling a little over-the-top about someone, you might think you're in love, but you're really in the beginning stages of limerence.

In other words, figure out if you're being crazy or just romantic. If there's really hope, or if you're just hoping there is.

It's a fine line, to be sure, but an important one, nonetheless.

And that, folks, is your deep thought for Monday.

Here are the telltale signs of limerence: pressure in the chest (literally "heartache"), an acute longing for reciprocation, fear of rejection, drastic mood swings, the growth of passion through adversity, and intrusive thinking about the LO, or "limerent object."