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Limerence – Fear of Rejection in Love

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Are you afraid to ask your crush out? You may be madly in love with someone, but the deep fear or rejection or of proposing to them could actually turn out to be something else, a scary kind of obsessive love, called limerence.

Click here to read the introduction: Is it a Big Crush or Limerence?

Limerence - Fear of Rejection in Love

Do you have a fear of rejection in love? Are you afraid to ask someone out? Could it be limerence?

How does limerence work, and why does it make us fear rejection so much that we’d rather keep our feelings bottled up and never tell our crush that we love them?

The fear of rejection in love

In limerence, the fear of rejection in love may be so great that the person may never want to approach their crush, or the limerent, because they are so worried that they may be rejected.

The shyness of the person based on the fear of giving the limerent object an undesirable view can prevent a relationship from occurring even when both people are interested.

People who experience limerence are so afraid that their crush may never like them back, that they actually never ever reveal their feelings, at times, even for years and decades!

The funny thing about limerence is that it is all about the satisfaction of knowing the limerent person exists, and that’s it. As long as this limerent object reciprocates your moves, or even shows a sign of reciprocation, you would walk in the clouds and your life would be a wonderful picture.

The foundation for limerence is not any objective reality but reality as it is perceived, and the dreams in the person’s head.

The person who experiences limerence sifts through and rearranges situations and conversations to give himself or herself a hope that things are turning positive with time. The smallest of positive signs are picked up and endlessly analyzed for meaning. A warm smile, a friendly hug, or a second glance is all it takes to float on cloud nine.

Limerence makes a person oblivious to the fact that there may not be any reciprocation on the part of the limerent person, and this intense form of a crush can be carried quite far before the heartbreaking rejection can be accepted.

The effects of limerence

Limerence can cause several physical changes in the body as well as several emotional changes. The physiological correlations of limerence include trembling, palpitations, weakness, stammering and shyness. Limerence can also cause apprehension and nervousness because of the constant worry that is associated with the limerent fear.

The extreme sensitivity that is heightened by the fear of rejection can lead to lost opportunities as there will be no occasion where the person would even think of making a move to let the limerent object know about his or her feelings of affection.

The feeling of limerence can make a person feel ecstatic at times and deeply rejected at other times. Much like an addictive drug, it is extremely addictive and yet painful where the sensation of limerence is usually felt, in the midpoint of the chest.

Limerence can create a scenario that is extremely topsy-turvy. There would be times when there will be reciprocation and other times when there will only be anguish. There may also be uncertainty and this would only increase the feeling of limerence. Increased limerence can create altered scenarios depending upon the way the person’s crush reciprocates the subtle advances.

Limerence is a very subtle and yet dangerous form of infatuation, because it is so close to what we feel when we are in love, and yet it is nothing like love. It’s never easy to find out whether you are really in love with someone or is it just a casual infatuation, or maybe even limerence. But as long as you know that you can muster the courage and let the other person know what you feel, then there is nothing to worry about. The first and the biggest sign of limerence is hiding one’s feelings for someone.

As long as you keep those loving secrets at bay, you don’t ever have to worry about getting trapped in the wicked form of love that knows nothing but intense happiness and heart wrenching sorrow, the love that is known as limerence.

So if you want to avoid the torture of limerence, avoid secret love stories and confess your love to your crush. It’s the best way to beat limerence, and get over the fear of rejection in love.


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  • July 21, 2010 | Permalink |

    This situation may sound familiar to you. 5 years ago I was madly in love with a girl, but just could not approach her. Every night i woud tell myself that tomorrow I’d definitely let her know my feelings, and concoct new plans for the next day, send her flowers in the office anonymously, wait for her outside her office and pretend to bump into her unexpectedly and all that. No matter how hard I tried I just could not bring myself to tell her that I loved her.

    And the next thing I get to know is that she’s getting married. Its been some years now and i have gotten over with my feelings. BUT what i cant get over her is the fact that I never did tell her how i really felt. Now i have to spend the rest of my life wondering “what if…”

  • Cabizzle
    February 28, 2012 | Permalink |

    Limerence is a tricky thing…I didn’t even realize I was going through limerence on and off for the past 5 years before a couple months ago. The reason it’s tricky is because it can be of great help to a relationship, or great destruction to a relationship, usually the latter. This is because the one who is limerent is too afraid of rejection to ever tell the limerent object, until it is too late. I’m planning on telling my limerent object about my feelings years down the road when I wont feel like this anymore. The one who is experiencing limerence is so afraid to confront the object of his desire for obvious reasons, stated in this article. “…because it is so close to what we feel when we are in love, and yet it is nothing like love.” Just think about it. If you had these strong of feelings towards someone, and mind you, the one who is going through this often mistakes these feelings for love, imagine how embarressed you’d be to reveal those to the one who is receiving all of this affection! At least for me, I knew that if I ever tried to tell the girl I was limerent towards I always thought she would think I was weird and creepy for feeling that strongly about her before even meeting her. I mean really, how can you possibly tell someone you think you are in love with them, or something close to love, extreme likeness, without ever talking to them before? The one who is limerent is too afraid of screwing up. They are in a do or die mindset, that if they approach their object, they only have one chance. If they screw that up its over, you just lost your soul mate.

    Just trying to shed some more insight on the topic.
    And a word of advice to anyone still going through limerence, with the ability to still approach their limerent object, let the person know how you are feeling! If youre too embarressed to say you feel that strongly for them, then just call it a crush. If you dont, you’ll regret it for a long long time to come.

    I know I did. And I still do.
    Trust me! Just take the chance! If you don’t now you never will, and then you’ll realize how stupid you were when it’s too late.

    Limerence can be a good thing that helps the relationship grow, if you can figure out a way to get it reciprocated. But how is it ever gonna be reciprocated if you never go out and tell the person! Trust me, you probably don’t feel like doing this due to fear of rejection and that you might lose her forever. Well, just let me you tell, if you continue to think that way, they’re NEVER going to know how you feel and you’ll NEVER get your object of desire.

  • Limerent Wreck!!
    April 15, 2012 | Permalink |

    I’m right in the middle of limerence and its turmoil. What I realise is that these intense feelings of attraction towards my limerant subject, are so similar to the pain of breaking up with someone. I’ve had limerence on a couple of other occassions, and its disabling in so many ways. Its so intense, that even in the vicinity of this person, I stumble in every way, followed by irrational analysis of my actions and words. It1s overwhelming…i can’t think straight, and can’t be calm to just say how I feel. Early on when I first met her, it was a brief encounter through a friend. Really brief. Its like some kind of imprinting….I couldn’t stop thinking about her for weeks. Gradually it changed and i forgot about her…till we met again a few weeks ago. Completely floored by the most beautiful face, presentation and intelligence, I have been seized by an almost 24hour daydream, imagining us in deep conversation on art and music, creativity and humour, at the same time as being almost paralysed that i may bump into her in the street….exactly the same scenarios as in a previous separation, with the same angst, shortness of breath, trembling and anxiety of just f**king it all up. One minute, I am determined and clear that I can tell her face to face, or write some supremely worded letter that will capture her and the next, I just want to avoid any possible meeting. And I tell myself that there must be something in this, because it’s different. I wonder that maybe she feels the same…but just be patient and wait for the limerence to pass or subside, so that i can act rationally.Its exhausting. Thanks for the advice Cabizzle…I’m taking it on board…I think the only way i can deal with this is to bare my soul at the risk of looking like an idiot!

  • lj
    July 5, 2012 | Permalink |

    This is so awful. I am in this boat. I have a boyfriend, a little over a year now. I also, one month ago met my best friend’s other best friend (who I will call A). We only hung out twice, all together. And from that second time, I could feel this attraction. I didn’t say anything to A, because I wasn’t going to go there and thought I was probably just being silly and that he didn’t like me. He was moving to Colorado in three days and that was the end of that. But when he got to Colorado, he went out of his way to find a way to speak to me. And it didn’t take long for me to find out he was feeling the same thing I was. And as much as I wanted it to be a crush, I could feel it turning into more than that.

    I couldn’t wait to talk to him, I couldn’t wait to learn more things, I couldn’t wait to smile, just a wonderful thing. But I was in love with my boyfriend, I could see us going through the rest of our lives together. But sometimes when I was with him, I would still think about A and talking to him.

    I say this in past tense, but it is really happening today. This is now. And I don’t know what to do because I do want to get to know A because I believe that there isn’t just ONE person in this huge world that you can fall in love with. Yet I feel disgustingly guilty because I know my boyfriend would never ever understand.

  • Limerance-ing on a stranger?
    July 23, 2012 | Permalink |

    Glad I’ve found a name for this feeling, I knew it was more than a crush, because it takes up so much time and thoughts. This is my story of being in this/that boat.
    Basically I went for a course of phsysiotherapy, on the off chance it would sort out a non painful issue in my leg. On opening the door I saw this really fit guy, and I was so surprised I could barely speak. When I went back again he was still working there (thank god he was not the phsyiotherapist) and then what I know realise was my limerent feelings were unlimited. After about two months of trying to walk past, I’ve now realised its futile, as because “the object” is such a stranger, I WILL look weird/be rejected if I approached, as I have no innocuous reasons to do so. So right now, I think I am over it, cos I am not thinking about it constantly….however saying that here I am on this website looking it up! What does that say? I am hoping I will forget about it once I know more prospective guys, if not I don’t know what toI’ll do. Making up a fictional ailment to get back into that waiting room may be, a little far fetched. However I’ll probably end up losing track of him, hopefully.
    Good luck to anyone experiencing these feelings, and remember there are so many people in the world, chances are there is someone just like the object of your feelings that you will have a genuine honest chance with out there :)
    Personally, I’m pretty hard to creep out, so I think I’d love it if some guy randomly approached me lol. For the record, I am averagely (saying above will sound conceited) attractive, just don’t get out much since single sex school.

  • DC
    August 18, 2012 | Permalink |

    I’m just learning about this concept and I guess that this applies to me…

    I met Lori about five years ago where I work. I was married at the time but she seemed to brighten the room with her smile every time that I walked in. I was immediately attracted to her but didn’t let it go any farther than that. I divorced about a year later and began dating. After a few months I finally asked her out and we met for coffee. I had a good time but was still a little off from the divorce and I guess that she sensed that so we spoke afterwards and she thought that it would be best if we were to remain friends. I immediately moved on and eventually got into another relationship, and she actually came back and asked me out a couple of times but I had other commitments. I saw her every day and liked her more and more, to the point of thinking about her every day. I had a couple of long term relationships over the past four years but never could put her out of my mind so I guess that is why I could never commit to the other person. About eight months ago she transfered to another location that is a few miles away, I was relieved and hoped that I would finally be able to put her out of my mind. No such luck. About three months later I was going to be down at her location for a meeting and emailed her asking if she wanted to do lunch and catch up and she accepted. During lunch I asked her if she was seeing anyone and she said yes and I left it at that. Later that day she emailed me saying that she would like to hang out after work some time as friends if I were interested and I accepted. A couple of weeks later we met for pizza and had a great time. As we were leaving she said that the other thing was over and that she would like for me to call her. We went out for several months and it was the happiest time of my life. She told me that she hoped that I was going to be the one. During the heat of passion about three months in I told her that I loved her, she said that I needed to slow down so I did and kept my feelings to myself from then on in. At that point she pulled away and we only dated once a week. We went to cape cod for a long weekend and at the end of that I asked her if we could start seeing more of each other once we got back. I guess that was the wrong thing to say, she pulled back and said that I wanted more than she could give and we needed to get some sleep and we would decide whether or not we could continue in the morning. At that point I asked if there was someone else and she became furious and said that it was over. That was two weeks ago, I have reached out to apoligize but to no avail, she says it’s over. I feel horrible, never had such strong feelings towards a woman or went through such a hard breakup in my life and I am 50 years old. I am trying to come to terms with it but can’t seem to give up hope that I can get her back. Am I destined to pine over for the rest of eternity? Very depressing…

  • joe
    September 14, 2012 | Permalink |

    OK.Here’s my problem.I am a musician in my late 50′s.married.I joined this band in March,and the 42yr old female singer(married) began talking to me.senitve type texts,about a band member she wanted to dump.She confided in me.Later she said,you’re so senitive,and I appreciate you.Well,cupid slung an arrow.I fell in love with her.Aftera few month’s she confronted me,and asked,”Are you in love with me?”.I freaked.and told her I must go.later,I wrote her.told her I have to quit the band,for that reason.She begged me to stay,saying she could help me.Since then,she is on my mind all day,all night.The other night,after practice,I confronted her.I told her I have feelings for her.She bristed it off,said its just infatuation.I so in love with her.I can’t help myself.Please help me,someone

  • craig
    October 24, 2012 | Permalink |

    Previously in life, I have had the same problem with asking someone I like to go out.
    I would sit and go over and over it in my head, the idea if being rejected by someone so awesome to me. What I realized is, if I express myself, and I am rejected, then, really, nothing is lost because the person I liked didn’t have any feeling for me in return, so nothing was lost. If i am accepted………think of how awesome that would be! You have EVERYTHING to gain, as well as the other person might be relieved that you said something about the attraction, because mabey they wanted to say it, but couldn’t.
    So thats what I do now, despite the consequences…life’s too short!

  • Briana
    November 1, 2012 | Permalink |

    Hey. I believe this is my second time going through limerence. Horrible,right? This guy looks similar to the first guy which is probably why I’m at it again, unfortunatly.

  • Minnie
    November 14, 2012 | Permalink |

    Now I know that I have been experiencing limerence for the last five years and it scares the hell out of me. I have all the symptoms, causes, etc. even the psychological ones. Everything makes so much sense.
    I was in limerence with my best friend for four years. I was completely infatuated with her but I never told her this because I was scared it would ruin the connection we had. She is a very affectionate person and in the beginning this confused me unbearably.
    We go to different universities now, so I don’t see her as much anymore and I think about her a lot less. Over the summer before university started, I began to lose interest in her, but I think this was my subsconscious preparing myself for our separation… I don’t know.
    But now I am in limerence with someone else. Someone who has similar qualities to my previous limerent object but who is also very different. I think she secretly knows how I feel but if I confront her about it she’ll still run a mile and if I don’t, I’ll be trapped in this web forever… One obsessive crush after another. A vicious cycle. Fuck my teenage brain!
    “Without love you’re only living an imitation, an imitation, of life”

  • Anarchy
    February 28, 2013 | Permalink |

    I’m experiencing this as we speak. Long story short there is a girl that I work with. I’ve met her in 2011 when she first started. I’ve never looked at her in this way ever. Fast forward to 2012 I started working around her more.

    Now I have limerence and a crush. I’m not in love I do have some strong feelings for her. I recently asked her if she like to go out she told me she would let me know for sure. I feel like asking her again. However I don’t like asking someone over and over. She’s single so I figure now is the time to go for it.

    My problem which has been a problem for most of my life. When I meet a girl that seems interested or someone that I like I never tell them. This is actually the first time I’m attempting this. I do want to go further and see what happens. I experience the following symptoms butterflys nervousness and even shyness.

  • If it was not me it would be funny
    April 16, 2013 | Permalink |

    I had never heard of limerence before today. I hoped by reading many of these articles that I would find a cure. I had no such luck. The sole recommended cure would seem to be a confession of the infatuation, which is not possible for me, and I will explain why later. Anyway, I have always considered myself a bright fella, and that by knowing that these intense feelings are a kind of mental disorder, I hope to control them. And to tell the truth, I have known without reading these articles that my infatuation is unhealthy and have tried to act properly.

    Here is my problem, I am twice the age of my infatuation, I am her boss, and I am married and she is single. I have never cheated in my 15 year marriage, and before this sickness, I would have never considered cheating but the urge is great. In truth, my marriage has never been good, I caught my wife cheating 3 years into the marriage and stayed for my child. She has not cheated since but I have never been happy with my situation. I have a history of womanizing before my marriage; I am quite good at getting a woman to like me, so even with my obsession I know how to overcome the mistakes that would lose the girl as well as the confidence to get the girl.

    So here is my situation in a nutshell. I cannot risk losing my high paying job by dating an employee. I know the hazards associated with this kind of relationship. I do not want to lose access to my child. I will not leave my child; I must be there for my child. I know in my mind our age difference would doom any chance of a healthy relationship. I do not want the stigma of being the guy who dumped is family for the young hotty nor do I want to subject the girl to all the ugly attention from being a home wrecker. But I see her every day and want her badly. I have rejected all her advances. I am dying inside and now I have put her off so much she has stopped trying so hard. I am jealous of any male who talks with her. I hope time will kill these feelings but in the meantime only my moral compass and intellect keeps me from her. Or perhaps, this too is an illusion. I believe I represent limerence at it sickest.

  • vanse
    July 26, 2013 | Permalink |

    @If it was not me it would be funny –

    Close quarters is killing you – do everything you can to transfer her or yourself. Kill the child within.

    Confessions and confrontations are one thing, best for those who are relatively free.

    Despite your better judgement it seems like your feelings and impulses have you in their grip – the best tactic is to retreat.

    Why would you tempt your willpower in such a costly manner? You will lose eventually.

    No Contact is the second tool, with the decision to cease feeding your fantasies.

    From the office environment pov it’s almost a conflict – you can’t work with that person directly anymore.

    Save your soul man.

  • Rich
    January 17, 2014 | Permalink |

    I’m very late to this forum..but so glad I found it. I had never heard of limerence prior to this. I am working very hard to clear my self of its affects. It has been two years. The woman twice or three a year gives me her full undivided attention…but only at parties. I thought she may be toying with me…but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It didn’t seem like she was doing to taunt me. Limerence appears to be it. In part it is my delusion and her overwhelming attention. I can’t tell her about my feelings..I work with her and I can only image the grief we would get. I think gradually working my way away from her is my solution. Always open to other ideas or solutions.

  • La Vie Est Belle
    April 14, 2014 | Permalink |

    Shit happens – and apparently twice in my case.

    Ten years ago I had my last proper relationship, which I ruined primarily due to me being limerent and showing all the symptoms and behaviours that I have since learned are associated with limerence: obsessive thinking, over-interpretation of even the slightest actions and utterances of my then girlfriend, excessive and pervasive fear of rejection, living in a fantasy world of what if’s and focusing on perceptions rather than facts.

    Unfortunately today where I am still single at 39 I am realising that I have for nearly five years been limerent again – completely infatuated with my boss at work with whom I have a great platonic relationship. The thought of her – who is married – roams in my mind constantly and it inhibits me completely and disrupts my normal life.

    I know – having read up on this subject – realised that this is all about me and not her, something that is also making me even more reluctant to share my feelings with her.

    That I think is the worst aspect of limerence, that it is so so difficult to share with anyone. I am sick scared that I will be viewed as a psycho, a stalker or just as plain weird. That is why it is great to have learned of the concept of limerence and to have a conceptual frame for understanding its nature, symptoms and implications.

    Unfortunately it has gotten so bad that I have been on sick leave for four weeks now and I am afraid both to go back to work and afraid of losing my job.

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