According to Boquin, limerence and love can start off similarly as a dopamine rush, which is why it can be confusing to spot. But while limerence is short-lived and conditional, real love is fluid and unconditional. When you really love someone, you want them to be happy despite what they can give you. The initial attraction develops over time and eventually reinforces into something substantial and lasting.
“Love is more steady and grounding whereas limerence leaves us with that feeling of being in the clouds,” Boquin explains. “Love is a deep connection that people develop after knowing one another, experiencing life together, and overcoming challenges together.”
Depanian adds that limerence often comes with the tendency to ignore flaws and red flags: “With limerence, you may find yourself hyper-focusing on the subject of your affection (the limerent object) and their positive characteristics to the point of ignoring existing flaws, and directing your intense, irrational emotions towards the idea of what they represent for you instead of who that person actually is in reality.”
If you’re still unsure if you’re in this dynamic, consider it from this angle. Depanian explains that love stabilizes with partners bonding through mutual connection, interests, empathy, and shared experiences. Conversely, limerence is marked by intensity and then rapid destabilization. The projection can’t pull through enough to create a relationship since it’s not a sustainable model for connection. “Love is rooted in connection, intimacy, mutuality, and reality, whereas limerence is rooted in possession, obsession, jealousy, and delusions,” she notes.
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