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Limerence is a term coined by American psychologist Dorothy Tennov. It is not the same as the concept of infatuation. Compared to infatuation, limerence is longer-term and more similar to the kind of intense mental attachment that a mother may have for her child (Wilson 2019).[1]

According to American relationship coach Lee Wilson, limerence could also occur between a person in a stable relationship with another person outside of the long-term relationship.[1]

In a limerent fantasy, every detail is passionately desired actually to take place.[1] Limerence is considered to be much more intense than simple infatuation or sexual arousal.

Origin of term

In 1979, the term limerence was coined by American psychologist Dorothy Tennov, which appeared as part of her book title Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. The concept had evolved form her work during the mid-1960s, when Tennov had interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.[2]

Limerence is not exclusively sexual. It has been defined in terms of its potentially inspirational effects and relation to attachment theory. It has been described as being "an involuntary potentially inspiring state of adoration and attachment to a limerent object (LO) involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair, contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation".[3]


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, Lee. What is limerence? April 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Tennov, Dorothy (1999). Love and Limerence: the Experience of Being in Love. Scarborough House. ISBN 978-0-8128-6286-7.
  3. ^ Willmott, Lynn (2012). Love and Limerence: Harness the Limbicbrain. Lathbury House. ISBN 978-1481215312.

External links