Limerence vs. Love: What Is It And How To Tell The Difference

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Limerence is often considered the early stage of love, but it can be difficult to differentiate between limerence and love. Limerence is a state of mind that causes you to have an intense desire for someone. It’s characterized by obsessive thoughts about the person you are interested in. You may feel restless when apart from this individual and experience sadness when they are not around. This feeling can cause your moods to change drastically depending on how they act towards you or what they say during conversations with them. However, limerence is typically short-lived as it’s dependent on external factors such as time spent together or proximity (Gottman). Love, however, tends to last longer because it becomes more grounded in reality over time.

What Is Limerence?

Limerence is a state of mind that causes you to have an intense desire for someone. It’s characterized by obsessive thoughts about the person you are interested in. You may feel restless when apart from this individual and experience sadness when they are not around. This feeling can cause your moods to change drastically depending on how they act towards you or what they say during conversations with them.

Limerence vs. Love: What’s The Difference?

To understand limerence, it’s crucial to understand the concept of attachment. John Bowlby proposed attachment theory deals with how humans form bonds with others to regulate their emotions (Gilbert). Gilbert’s article further explains that through physical contact and interaction, we can develop emotional bonds and a sense of trust.

Although limerence can be considered the early stage of love in a relationship, it is not always easy to differentiate between limerence and love. And although this feeling may seem like an important factor in long-term relationships, most people will experience limerence at some point in their lives. However, as time passes, you start to see your feelings for a person as more grounded in reality. This means that when things don’t go well with them or do something wrong, there won’t be the same extreme emotional response (Gottman).

Another difference between these two emotions is that while you are experiencing genuine limerence, you will tend to idealize the object of your affection. You may have fantasies about the future together or imagine what your life would be like. Limerence tends to believe that it is possible for their lover to love them in return and is hopeful that this can happen (Gilbert). However, one of the ways that you will determine whether your feelings are limerence or true love is by looking at how willing you are to set boundaries with the individual. With a sense of genuine love, you may be more likely to sacrifice things such as time and effort, but not if it jeopardizes your own well-being and happiness (Kreider).

For example, let’s say you have a friend that spends every night getting drunk after work. You know they come home stinking of alcohol because they often ask if you can drive them home. Although you may love your friend and believe in doing things for other people, this can negatively affect your life. In the case of limerence, you’d probably let them drive home drunk every night because you don’t want to lose this person who makes you feel so alive. However, if these were feelings of love, then there might be some boundaries to make everyone happy and healthy.

Limerence vs. Love: How To Tell The Difference

Luckily for us, we are more likely to fall into limerent states when it comes to new relationships than long-term ones (Gilbert). This is because a level of uncertainty goes hand-in-hand with these types of relationships. A relationship that is new and exciting could be the cause for your heightened emotions.

To differentiate between limerence and love, you have to look at whether or not this individual makes you feel happy overall, even when they are not around (Kreider). If their presence doesn’t make a huge difference in how you feel, then it’s likely just feelings of limerence. Another way to tell if you’re experiencing limerence is by looking at how much control you have over these feelings (Gottman).

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If someone has caught your attention so strongly that it feels like an obsession, then chances are this might be more about limerence than anything else. By examining past experiences with people who made us fall in love, we can notice how the feelings felt so much stronger than those associated with limerence (Gilbert).

Limerence is characterized as an intense and obsessive state of mind in which you fixate on a person or thing. You may find yourself wanting to spend hours thinking about this person at work or even during your free time. This type of obsession creates significant uncomfortableness for the individual who experiences it (Gottman). However, it’s important to understand that not all fixation on another person will be a sign of true love. Limerence isn’t concerned with whether or not the other party likes them back. Rather, it focuses primarily on fantasies and idealization of what their life could look like with this person (Gottman).

This is one of the reasons why limerence isn’t always beneficial for you. While it can make you feel as though your world has been turned upside down, it’s important to realize your own health and happiness should be more of a priority than whether someone else feels the same way about you. If falling in love gives you butterflies in your stomach or makes your heart race, then chances are you’re feeling limerence. Love typically comes from building trust and sharing similar interests over time.

If there were no clear boundaries between two people, partners would live their lives based on their partner’s expectations rather than developing a sense of self-worth apart from another person. Relationships that are filled with limerence can cause one partner to feel suffocated by the other. This could lead to a lot of resentment if they constantly put their partner’s needs above their own (Gilbert). If you spend a lot of time thinking about someone else and lose yourself in fantasies, this is usually more a sign that you’re being affected by limerence than love.

When determining whether or not what you’re feeling towards someone else is actually love, look at how much control you have over these feelings. When it comes down to it, there’s no way for anyone to tell you what true love feels like since everyone experiences love differently. However, if your emotions start becoming so intense that your daily life begins to suffer, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate. You should also be able to tell the difference between the type of love you feel for your family as opposed to somebody else that makes your heart race (Cole).

Research has shown that limerence is more intense in situations where there was physical attraction first. When searching for a partner, people look at different characteristics across various categories – such as physical attractiveness — which helps determine how much they want to pursue them (Gilbert). The greater the number of positive attributes about someone, the more likely it is for limerence to develop. For true love to form over time, individuals need to give each category its proper attention so they can ultimately decide whether or not this person has what it takes to be in a long-term, committed relationship (Gilbert).

Looking at past romantic relationships can help you determine whether this is actually love or something related to limerence. If someone makes you feel like your world has been turned upside down from the moment they come into your life, then chances are this is more about limerence than anything else. Love comes with accepting one another for all their flaws and mistakes and supporting them when needed. It gives two people the opportunity to grow, both individually and together (Cole).

If you find yourself questioning whether or not what you’re feeling towards someone else is true love, answer these questions:

  • Does this person make me want to be a better person?
  • Does this person want to spend time with me, not because I make them happy but because they genuinely enjoy it?
  • Do they make me feel like I’m not good enough?
  • How often do I think about them?
  • Can I live without this person?
  • Does this person accept me for who I am?
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If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you’re probably dealing with limerence versus love. If there’s no trust or communication between the two of you, it could be that your feelings are more about infatuation than anything else. It can be difficult to distinguish which one you’re feeling until it over because they both leave a lot of uncertainty in your life (Cole). Limerence is typically short-lived, while true love occurs over time when people have developed a deep emotional connection and know each other well.

When falling in love, it’s very common for people to wonder if their feelings are reciprocated by somebody else. While we all want to believe that love will be returned, it’s not always the case. The idea of reciprocated love is basically what keeps us going and believing in a happy future together. It can be difficult to know when you’re reciprocating limerence instead of true love because they have similar characteristics (Cole). For example, people who are feeling limerent towards someone else tend to have thoughts like:

“He/she must really like me if he/she agreed to go out with me.”

Is there any chance this could turn into something meaningful?

It’s hard for me not to think about this person all of the time!

While these types of relationships may feel real at first, there will come the point where you need to take a step back and look at the whole picture. The longer you continue to engage in a relationship that’s going nowhere, the more you lose yourself along the way. This could also make it hard for you to have a successful relationship with somebody else — especially if this person is still on your mind (Gilbert).

If you realize that what you’re feeling towards someone else isn’t love but something different altogether, try not to let it control your life because many other people out there would love to be happy with you. You don’t want feelings of infatuation or limerence to hold you back from finding true love – which comes from accepting each other for all their flaws and supporting one another during difficult times, like through life-threatening diseases. Love isn’t all that hard to find; it’s when you start believing that somebody is “the one” only to realize later they’re not; that’s when the hard part comes (Cole).

The people in your life should be there because they like spending time with you and want to know everything there is about you. Being self-aware can help because if someone makes you feel this way without constantly being around them, then chances are these feelings could last a lifetime. If love happens to you right away with another person, it doesn’t mean that it will continue feeling that way forever. The road to lasting happiness with another person typically takes time (Gilbert). True love starts as something exciting but then turns into a solid foundation that you can always come back to in the future. It’s possible to find someone who is perfect for you, and as long as you make an effort in giving love completely, it will be returned.

It’s not fun knowing that there are so many wrong people out there, but it’s even worse if one of these wrongs turns into true love. If this happens to you, remember: nothing worth having ever comes easily (Nelson). Holding on to somebody who doesn’t respect your time or feelings may seem tough but realize how much better off you’ll be on your own without them. Don’t let fear of being lonely keep you from recognizing the truth when it arrives in front of your face (Gilbert). Whenever life feels like it’s getting a bit too boring and you feel the need for excitement, take a step back to think about whether or not what you’re feeling is actually real. You can’t force yourself to fall in love, so if you want somebody who loves you just as much as you enjoy being around them, then wait until they come along (Nelson). Give your heart time with someone special. You’re worth it!

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Can Limerence Turn Into Love?

Limerence is characterized by the constant longing for another person and imagining a future together. Limerence is not love, but can it turn into true love? Love is not always mutual, and if you are feeling limerent towards someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you, it’s best to move on instead of holding onto the hope that things will change.

On the other hand, you could be reciprocating limerence and don’t realize it because there are so many similarities between their characteristics (Gilbert). The main difference between these two feelings is that while people who have experienced real love tend to stick around when times get tough, those who are in relationships based on something else usually don’t.

Although limerence could evolve into love in the future, true love can only come about if both parties involved recognize and accept their feelings for one another. Love is based on mutual respect and acceptance instead of just pure physical attraction or a feeling of longing (Gilbert).

Limerence is not impossible to turn into real love, but it will never truly be known till then. The best way for this transformation to occur would be to accept whatever made you feel limerent towards someone else. Once you understand what makes them so special, it’s possible to develop a strong foundation together that can last forever (Nelson).

How to Stop Limerence?

Limerence can be compared to addiction in some ways. This feeling is all-consuming, and it may feel impossible to get rid of. If you’re in a limerent relationship, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to get out as soon as possible (Gilbert). Although love isn’t easy, taking care of yourself should be one of your top priorities, and leaving this relationship behind will allow you the chance to find somebody who actually deserves your love.

The only way for real feelings of love to form would be if both people involved like each other enough to spend time together outside of their daily lives (Gilbert). On the other hand, some don’t truly understand what being in a healthy relationship entails. Hence, they enter into this relationship because they’re feeling lonely or need help moving on.

It’s not easy for someone to care about you that much unless they know what it feels like to be in love, and if your partner doesn’t understand these feelings, then there might be a reason why he/she doesn’t feel the same way as you do (Gilbert). People who have experienced real love tend to stick around when times get tough, so if your partner has already left, then it’s possible that being with them never really had anything to do with love at all.


Although limerence can be compared to love in many ways, the main difference is that while both feelings can bring you happiness, only real love will last forever. Limerence is a strong feeling of longing and craving for someone else’s attention (Gilbert). Although it could eventually turn into something more meaningful or evolve into a lasting relationship at some point down the road, this transformation depends on various factors such as how much time was spent together and whether there was any mutual respect between both parties involved (Gilbert). Many people find themselves experiencing limerence towards others. Still, they don’t actually know what to do with these feelings, so they often end up wasting their lives trying to figure out if they could even expect any change to occur within their relationships.

Just because you’re feeling limerent towards someone else doesn’t mean that you have to end up being with them for the rest of your life. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, there’s nothing that can be done, so it may just be time to move on (Nelson).

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