Limerence - Article series
Limerence - Article series Part 1 - What is this thing called limerence?
Limerence - Article series Part 2 - Subdefinitions of Limerence
This is part 3 of my series of articles on limerence :).
Part 3 - Subtypes of Limerence
Although Tennov stated in her work that she could not identify any subtype of limerence, her own argumentation seems to be inconsistent in this part of her research.
Different itensity levels of limerence
Tennov identified hope and uncertainty as the main factors for the intensity of limerence. According to her findings, high hopes and high uncertainty therefore yields in maximum intensity.
It has to be noted however, that there are many more factors playing a role in the level of intensity.
Those can include, at the most extreme, mental disorders, an already established form of social anxiety, unrealistic hopes into relationships in general, projection of own desires onto the LO, mental activity in regard to LO - and so on.
It is possible to categorize limerence into several very rough categories dependent on its intensity:
Severe limerence, with (almost) pathological symptoms:
Sometimes the intensity of limerence can be so strong that is hard to separate from a real mental disorder, as the individual is unable to function at his everyday tasks, seems to be bipolar (extreme dependency of mood on the interpretation of LO's behavior) and physiological functions are severely affected by the symptoms of limerence. At its most extreme an individual can lose consciousness, suffer from heart palpitations or have severe problems with his/her metabolic system.
The individual suffers intensely from the intrusive thoughts as his conscious mind tries suppressing the intrusiveness more and more. It becomes an internal struggle of relieving emotional tension and increasing physical pain when thinking about the LO.
High intensity limerence:
Similar to the condition of severe limerence, the individual still has to think over 90% about his LO or something derived from his LO. The physiological symptoms are far less severe. Relief is only brought by limerent fantasy or positive interaction with the LO. The mood dependency is still intense. The limerent perceives the LO to be at the center of his very being, giving him his sense of life and justifying his every action. The individual is able to function normally at everyday and simple tasks but has severe difficulties focusing on complex issues and problems or paying attention to anything for long.
The symptoms have not reached a state which necessarily make the individual uncomfortable or make him forcefully realize the negative effects of his state of mind. This is usually the peak in “healthy” limerence. The individual is thinking about his LO most time of the day, but is able to focus on complex issues for a certain amount of time. When the limerence is perceived as positive, the individual has an incredible amount of energy and motivation, especially in regard to his LO or behaviors which are interpreted as making the limerent more favorable for the eyes of the LO. Awareness and sensitivity are highly raised especially in regard to the LO. When limerence is perceived negative, as in cases of “unrequited love”, rejection and/or loss of hope, the individual focuses all of his thoughts on how to achieve the limerent goal of reciprocation of feelings, assuming hope is not completely destroyed. Emotions and feelings are heavily amplified.
When reciprocation seems evident the individual has the feeling of “walking in the clouds”, when rejection seems evident he/she falls into deep despair.
He or she might experience a lack of sleep and a loss of appetite, along the common “symptoms” of limerence. This is compensated by the heightened energy and awareness levels.
This category might describe the transition between low levels of limerence and intense limerence. The level of involvement with the LO – virtual or in reality – increases in accordance to the mixture of hope and uncertainty. The limerent may experience a variety of the symptoms of higher-intensity-limerence but at a lower level. The individual is usually able to focus on complex issues at will and suppress the intrusive thoughts when unwanted to a large extent (the longer the suppression the more intrusive the thoughts become). Still, the limerence is highly exclusive at this intensity. Other potential LOs are automatically disregarded as possible LOs before even entering consciousness.
The LO is perceived as “the one”.
Low levels of limerence:
At low levels of limerence limerence is only perceived as such when the individual is aware of its negative aspects, such as after coping with unrequited love, limerence or a limerent break-up.
At low levels of limerence the LO is not (yet) perceived as “the one”; other potential LOs are consciously processed. The intrusiveness of thoughts is low, the LO (or associated situations or memories) only enter the conscious mind from time to time, mostly when the limerent feels stressed and longs for emotional support.
According to Tennov’s findings; in a positive sense, limerence enters the life of the individual slowly and pleasurably. Her interviewees see this as the last chance of “fleeing the scene” before the reaction becomes irreversible. A special someone is (often a sudden realization) seen in a new, positive light.
At this level it is possible for the mind to transfer limerence from one LO to another.
Those categories are only "subtyping" limerence by its intensity. The course of limerence seems to always be the same, hence Tennov stated that there is no subtype of it.
I also have to add that this is based on my personal, admittedly not-very-scientific, research, Tennov and other researchers only broached this topic, so I'm open to improvements and suggestions :).
Feel free to comment !
The next article will be a collection of topics which in some kind deal with limerence here on PerC.