PDS Logo, the Tree of Life
PDS Logo, the Tree of LifeClose
Go Back

How to Beat Limerence


Reading time:

6 min


Published on:

Wed Nov 01 2023


Last updated:

Thu Apr 25 2024


Written by:

The Personal Development School

How can you beat limerence?

Well, consider this...

Are you completely head over heels for someone you’ve only just met? Do you find yourself daydreaming about your future together? Do you have situationship?

You might think it’s love – but it could be limerence.

Learning the signs of limerence, understanding the downsides, and learning how to overcome it can be a helpful tool for personal growth, the recovery process, and becoming a more securely attached individual.

With that in mind, here’s your guide to how to permanently beat limerence.

What is Limerence?

Limerence is extreme infatuation: a state of being obsessed with another person with an intense desire to reciprocate feelings.

The powerful feelings of limerence are met in a person's fantasy, as their reality is not meeting their emotional needs.

The difference between true or romantic love and limerence was coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in the 1970s.

She summarized that those who had encountered trauma in childhood were more likely to experience limerent thoughts and feelings later in life.

Limerence comes from early childhood, especially if the person has a tough, negative, and unsupportive upbringing. Unmet needs of connection, emotional support, and validation causes the person to develop patterns where they fear abandonment and intimacy.

This leads to patterns where the person projects their insecurities and unmet needs onto potential love interests, as there is a belief that the person will fulfill those needs and solve all problems. This unconscious response leads to limerence.

In terms of attachment styles, it's more common with insecure attachment styles, particulary anxious attached people.

The issue is that sometimes people can’t tell if they're in love or limerence.

Here's how you can tell.

What are the Signs of Limerence?

Being able to tell the difference between true love and limerence is essential.

Here are six signs that you might be experiencing the latter, not the former:

Obsessive thinking of the person.

A common trait for limerent obsession. This doesn’t just include thinking about them all day but also making life choices around their needs or wants (such as choosing their favorite music or what to wear around them).

Extreme longing.

You might experience a deep sense of sadness and frustration that you can’t be with the person, whether that's a trusted friend, colleague, or another partner. It gets to the point that you might feel actual pain as you’re in an intense emotional state.

Extreme fear of rejection or disconnection from this person.

The underlying feeling is that you fear being rejected by this person if you do something wrong around them. You wouldn't be doing that if you're in love with someone as they would accept mistakes from you.

Fantazing the reciprocation.

Do you daydream about your future, marriage, children, holidays, and all these fantasies of where this relationship can go - despite not forming a proper relationship with this person? This is when you fantasize about the emotional reciprocation, and it can lead to overwhelming desire and strong emotions.

Putting the person on a pedestal.

This is when you believe the person is untouchable and can do no wrong. You crave their affection and intimacy. But it's not them that's amazing; it’s a reflection of your lack of self-belief and confidence.

Obsessive behaviors.

Over time, you begin to take more "controlling" obsessive actions, including always calling, clinging to them, and trying to control the person and your life. In some cases, this relates to compulsive disorders, such as OCD.

What are the Downsides of Limerence?

The issue with limerence is that there are two sides to the coin: feeling euphoria and excitement around forming this fantasy relationship can be great. The other side is that it can destabilize relationships with ourselves and our lives.

Here's how limerence can negatively impact you:

Self-abandonment. When you constantly think about the other person, you’re not present in your own life. Due to a lack of self-awareness, you tend to put yourself second, lowering your self-worth and self-love. This can lead to anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, and hopelessness.

Obsessiveness. You become so obsessed that it destabilizes your social life, social groups, family relationships, marriage (through infidelity or affairs thanks to feeling “romantic love”), and career.

They don’t work out long-term. This intense feeling makes you become obsessive and controlling, so you end up pushing the other person away.

Destructive actions follow. As mentioned above, your obsessive behaviors make you do things you don’t normally do, causing issues within the relationship – and leading to it not working out. Which, in turn, impacts your emotional well-being and mental health.

girl with limerence

How to Beat Limerence

Address and meet your subconscious needs.

When you’re in a limerent state, it’s because your emotional needs are not being met in your reality. The person you've obsessing over is highlighting traits that you want for yourself. Ultimately, they can't give it to you.

You have to identify those needs yourself and work to build healthy habits to meet them.

These strategies include setting up a time to check your feelings and needs, encouraging and complimenting yourself more often, and reassuring yourself you can do it. This is the kind of support that The Personal Development School offers as part of our All-Access Pass.

Express our repressed traits.

You must acknowledge and practice the repressed traits you love from the person. It’s an essential part of the healing process.

For example, suppose the other person is assertive and strong. In that case, you now have to express and practice those traits in a consistent manner (as mentioned in the advice above) to help get your needs met.

Developing a subconscious comfort zone.

You have to find a comfort zone in how you treat your feelings and needs.

This will take to develop. You'll have to find your own mental zone where you can express your needs comfortably to yourself and others.

Developing a secure attachment to yourself will help you find this comfort zone naturally.

Setting boundaries.

Setting healthy boundaries when limerence arises with a person is extremely useful. You have to put a pause and think about your intrusive thoughts and actions when around this person.

Set up physical boundaries (so you don’t bump into them), thought boundaries (think alternative thoughts on the person), and emotional boundaries (don’t attach your feelings towards them).

The more often you do this, the stronger your boundaries will become, helping you focus on yourself, not them.

Challenge the equilibrium.

When you have limerence, you only see the good in that person. But you really have to consider the traits you were attached to and the downsides to those traits; it’s about gaining valuable insights into the real individual. It’s almost like grieving the situationship.

Find out the person's flaws to see who the person is. An example could be financial instability. Do they spend money without considering your future? That might clash with your beliefs and approach to finances, challenging your positive perception of them.

Then, look at the benefits of letting this person go. See how better your life could be without them being around you. It might feel painful at first, but as time passes, you'll focus on how great your life could be without them.

Take the First Steps to Beating Limerence

Remember – beating limerence might seem challenging, but it can be done. You just need the support, guidance, and tools to help you get there.

The best place to start is by searching and signing up for our Overcome Limerence and Extreme Infatuation to Increase Your Self-Esteem course. We can support you through it so that you can find love with yourself.

Share this Article


Let's stay connected!

Get personal development tips, recommendations, and exciting news every week.

Become a Member

An All-Access Pass gives you even more savings as well as all the relationship and emotional support you need for life.

Mockup of PDS courses on the student dashboard.

Top Articles

27 JUN 2023

How to Overcome Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Style

Does the thought of commitment make you cringe? Yet, deep down, you crave the closeness and connection of a romantic relationship?

If you nodded yes to or recognized these patterns in your partner, ...

27 JUN 2023

How to Overcome Fearful Avoidant Attachment Style

Do you crave intimate connections – only to withdraw if someone comes “too close”? Maybe you prefer to leave before someone can leave you?

If so, you might have a fearful avoidant attachment style. ...

31 AUG 2023

8 Ways to Heal a Fearful Avoidant Attachment Style

People with a fearful or disorganized attachment style typically experience some form of childhood abuse or trauma in the form of emotional, physical, or most commonly, verbal abuse. Luckily, healing ...