Is it a Big Crush or Limerence?


Ever liked someone so much that your crush slowly turned into an obsession? Do you like someone but are too scared to ask them out? It may be a crush or puppy love, but it could also be a dark and dangerous form of love called Limerence.

limerence or crush?

The world of love and limerence

Are you really in love? There are so many ways to like or appreciate a person that love, the word, is really hard to explain it all.

We have the crazy-in-love, the head-over-heels-in-love, the sort-of-in-love, and the am-I-in-love? kind of love.

But there are other darker forms of love, and limerence is one big word that hangs precariously in these shades of love, edging somewhere between liking someone and being insanely mad about them.

What is limerence?

Psychologist Dorothy Tennov, describes Limerence as an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person (the limerent object).

But in simpler terms, limerence is a state of mind when you know that you like someone but yet at the same time, you can’t describe it as love. But you would also be crazy about this person and to the world, you would proclaim this form of affection as a crush.

Limerence is a dangerous feeling that just can’t be explained. Many would have felt it in varying measures of ‘crushes’. A person who is infatuated by a potential limerent medium (their crush) would undergo mood swings and feelings of intense joy and frustrations.

There are times during the heights of limerence when the person could get obsessed over their crush and start fantasizing about them.

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But a limerent fantasy is not the typical fantasy of cuddling or fiery passion. Most of the fantasies involve rescuing them from perilous situations or proclamations of love at dying moments! You look more for gratitude rather than physical attraction in your fantasies.

Is limerence a form of love?

This is the confusing part. Limerence is always assumed to be the same as love, but it is actually very far from it. In love, you want to share the best moments of your life with someone special, but when you’re struck by limerence, all you want is this person’s attention.

Your entire existence is based on the way this limerent object treats you. You feel elated and on top of the world when you are given any sort of attention from this person. But if this person doesn’t reciprocate your advances, you can get really upset and depressed. Limerence is a form of affection that has no middle path. You can either be ecstatic in limerence or miserable in limerence.

Differences between love and limerence

There are a few striking differences between love and limerence, according to Dr. Tennov. See if you’re experiencing any of these, and you may just know whether you’re in love or in limerence!

No physical intimacy!

For an individual who is experiencing limerence, there is no thought given to the physical act of making out. Getting physical with your crush is not essential or satisfying to a person who experiences limerence, unlike a person who is physically attracted to someone.

You want your crush to feel grateful

When you’re physically attracted to someone, you want to be with them, and you most definitely want to get passionate with them. But when you are attracted to someone via limerence, you would create fantasies where you’re the hero or the heroine of your crush’s life.

You offer them a lift when they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. You protect them from someone, when they’re in a fight. You save this person from an accident.  And all sorts of fantasies where the end result isn’t sex or a cuddle, but gratitude.

This can happen to all of us, so you really don’t have to feel awkward about accepting it. Nor should you feel bad that what you’re suffering from isn’t a bad case of love sickness but a strong case of limerence.

There are more signs too that can prove whether you’re experiencing limerence or love.

Read this article to find out the differences between limerence and love, and understand whether you’re really in love or in limerence!

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  • Glen

    I actually have a sex buddy that I’d like to turn into a friend and then a relationship – I wanted to find information on this – we call ourselves friends but everytime we’re together we have sex – we decided to cook dinner together one night – we got together in the afternoon, had sex, cooked dinner and ate, had sex. I’m trying to think of things to do that would take us into publc spaces where we can do things other than sex. We have good conversations; but I want to take the sex out of every meeting and just have some fun. The sex is amazing, but I don’t want this to be all we have.

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  • Sydnee

    I am having troubles with this one boy , and I have fantasies about us kissing and of me being the heroine
    I’m having troubles finding out if I’m in love or limerence
    Is there anyway you could help me ?

  • Selena

    Everything in this article matches, except that I don’t want gratitude, I just want to be with him. Only recently I noticed a physical attraction that went beyond kissing. I can’t tell if I’m in love, but either way, it needs to stop.

  • OJ

    Sorry, but the last part is malarkey. Look up Limerence on Wikipedia and you’ll see that while people in state of limerence often fantasize about their limerent object, they tend to reject far-fetched fantazies and are drawn to the likeliest and most probable ones.

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  • Ellla

    ive recently discovered I suffer from Limerence after doing a search online with the keyword “obsession of people.” I recognized at a young age my attraction to one girl in particular and my only explanation for it was, “there’s just something about her.” Meanwhile, I got her phone number from the class roster, I found out where she lived and rode my bold by her house, I called her number and asked for people who didn’t live there. Once she smiled at me in the hall, and I played it over and over in my head. I asked my friends who knew her flippant questions, so no one would know yay I craved any kind of info I could get my hands on. One year I sat next to her in class and I couldn’t even look at her, I was paralyzed by fear. She was so close, too close! She must have thought I was weird cuz I could barely pass papers her way. I circled her face in my year book and marked every page she was on. I was 13. There was just something about her, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. The same thing has happened with a couple people in my life since. But right now those sane feelings are plaguing me again with a girl at work. The same shit! She smiled at me and said hi the other day and I turned red and ran away. I have had relationships that were fine. I’m in a relationship right now for crying out loud, and all I can think of is her! Her smile. Her hair. I know her license plate number and o look to see if her car happens to be anywhere I am. I follow her on pinterest. I’m not 13 any more, maybe kissing her would be nice, but I really day dream about taking road trips with her, making her my bestfriend. Being with her and laughing. Having her look at me. And knowing that I am the one that made her smile. It’s fn maddening, I think that will never happen. If I ask her to lunch she will think I’m some kind of lesbian. When it’s just that feeling in the pit of my stomach; there’s just something about her…

  • hit_me_you_die

    @ Ella, OMG i have the same experience too wow, really. minus the plate # and stalking info..but seriously, i have the same feeling. i just want her to be her best etc…. are we normal? it needs to stop.

  • Skeptic

    I disagree with the characterization of limerance as “dangerous” and “the dark side of love” – makes it sound psychopathic more than anything. As OJ said above, the limerant fantasies are not all that far-fetched, although they may in fact be completely unattainable in real like.

  • Steve

    I’ve definitely suffered from limerant obsessions over the years. My fantasies tend to involve some unlikely circumstance bringing us together. Most often this fantasy is that we have sex and she gets pregnant, and then we have to decide what to do with the child, and then we decide to keep it, and then we find out that we really do love each other and live together as a happy couple with beautiful children. Seems to me that qualifies as limerant, but maybe it’s just an extremely overdeveloped fantasy. What do others think?

  • regret

    if only this article had come out some years ago…

  • michaelstarvin

    I know for sure that I suffer from limerent obsessions for over 10 years now i believe. My LO shines more than anyone else ever will and could. I fantasize about doomsday scenarios about me risking my life by trying to protect and save her. I even have dreams that i can’t locate her no matter what i do or how hard i try. this is a miserable state and i wish i could snap out of it but i cant. I believe that Limerence could be a real mental disorder similar to OCD. I don’t actually believe im really in love because there is no sense in all of this. i just believe that im sick and need immediate medical attention. I’ve tried therapy but it didn’t do me any good.

  • Dan

    My case is extreme….a limerant relationship that spans 35 years. I formed an attachment to a lover some 35 years ago, and after we broke up and moved on with our lives, i never got over her, and i never could figure out the nature of my relationship with her. But i thought of her constantly – hundreds of times a day – for 30 years until a reunion four years ago. Since then, our relationship has turned completely sour, as our circumstances dont allow us to pursue any relationship as we are both married.. I finally found out about limerence through a therapist, and dropped the term on my ex lover. She hasnt spoken to me since, thinking she will be the one that establishes no contact. But she does not realize i cannot ever let her go, i cannot move on. I only want her to be in my life in any form she can give, but i fear the worst – that she will reject me yet again. If i dont get over this it is going to take my life.