As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by infatuation; it's such a strong, mysterious phenomenon, yet is entirely scientifically-explainable.
This Too Shall Pass
I will start this by saying that however deep and impossible your situation feels, you will leave this infatuated state. There will be a day when you can think about this special person without any type of pain or passion. You will remember how strongly you felt towards them while they didn't have the same feelings for you, and it will seem completely crazy that you were so stuck in limerence.
Albeit cliché, the concept that time is the only thing that will make you feel less magnetically drawn to someone who you cannot be with is true. You cannot magic away these feelings, because they are a strong illusion created by chemicals in your brain. Over time, your neurobiology will balance out again and this person, who is acting as a potent stimulus, will no longer inspire the same physiological response in you. Thinking about your situation scientifically helps, as it steers you away from thinking in terms of romance and delusion.
What Is an Infatuation?
Are you currently struggling with huge, incredibly deep feelings for someone that you will never be with? We use the term 'infatuation' (also limerence) to describe the state of being utterly enamored by and obsessed with someone; it is the wildest thing that a human can experience in the sober, baseline state. The invisible pull that you feel will seem so novel and colossal in strength that, if experiencing infatuation for the first time, you will be certain that you will 'never feel this again', and that this person is 'the one'. After all, your body and mind react so strongly and surely to them that it is impossible to imagine a life worth living that doesn't have them at the center of it. This is not the case, as you will experience several infatuations in your life if you are prone to them.
Due to differing genetics and brain chemistry, some people are more prone to entering limerence than others; in fact, some will never experience this roller coaster of euphoria and insecurity. Unrequited crushes are normal and not too much of an issue; unrequited infatuation not only encompasses incredibly powerful attraction, admiration and a general feeling of 'love' towards the subject, but is also agonizing and depressive by nature.
If the infatuated cannot be with the person that they desire, they will likely enter a deep depression and will feel completely out of order for weeks or months, until the feelings fade or they gain closure. Irrational thoughts and misery normally accompany this rollercoaster experience, as well as physical symptoms such as elevated libido and lack of appetite (due to an excess of dopamine in the brain).
Is It a Normal Crush or an Infatuation?
You may wonder how we can define things as vague and fluid as romantic feelings. However, the line between a healthy crush and a problematic infatuation is not as thin as it seems. Crushes can be unwanted and painful, bringing ups and downs into our lives, but a true infatuation blows a crush out of the water. If deeply infatuated with someone that you cannot be with, you will think irrational thoughts such as 'I want to die - X isn't in my life and everything else makes me miserable'.
These thoughts are falsehoods, for the world is so open that you will definitely encounter other people (as well as places, music and even fashion trends) that you find fascinating.
If you are simply experiencing a romantic crush, you will find the person very appealing and may intensely want to date them, but there will be less feeling than there is in limerence - less hormonal influence, less joy, and less crying. The highs will be less euphoric, sure, but the lows will not be nearly as crushing as those experienced in the limerent state.
The difference between a crush and an infatuation is that the former allows you to enjoy the warm feelings and be in control of your emotions, while the latter is extremely unhealthy and causes the sufferer a lot of pain if they cannot be with the person they desire. A crush may feel very strong and you may want to act differently to charm the subject of your feelings, but it will never be as delusional., destructive and fantasy-based as a true infatuation is.
So, how does one differentiate between the two? In short, if you feel so distraught that you cannot be with the person that you are googling for solutions, crying before bed and upon waking, losing interest in activities that you normally love, struggling to imagine a future without the person in your life, you are definitely infatuated and not crushing. If you treat this emotional conundrum as if it were a drug addiction, you will stop feeling this way in a matter of weeks or months.
Why Do People Become Infatuated in the First Place?
Most people go through their lives organically forming healthy 'crushes'; even when not actively seeking a partner, they will encounter a few people a year that will grab their attention and seem irresistible. After all, this is biologically advantageous; we are mammals and are meant to pursue, and eventually reproduce with, those that we deem physically and emotionally intriguing.
Having said this, I will clarify that your sexual orientation is totally unimportant in your ability to develop all-consuming, raging feelings for someone. This level of feeling is just as prevalent between people of the same gender as it is between those of opposite genders. However, we are wired to pursue, bond with and care for other human beings for the sole reason of reproduction and the survival of our species. If someone is infatuated with someone of the same gender, they will experience the same concoction of erratic emotions as a straight person. Neurochemical changes will temporarily dominate your life regardless of the perceived likelihood of the passing on of your genes.
What to Do? Understand That Your Feelings Are Scientifically-Explainable and Never Permanent
The wild array of feelings that come along with any form of attraction may seem intangible and wondrous, but they are caused by altered levels of different neurotransmitters. Focusing on the science behind such a strong human experience is crucial in dealing with the pain that it can cause you.
- Reject dwelling in the infatuation too much. It's incredibly tempting to spend hours writing and lamenting about the subject of your "love", only to enter an even more heightened state of delusion. Even if this isn't your first infatuation and you saw that you got over your last one, remember that, naturally, you will be convinced that this person is the one and that you are ruining your life by missing out on being with them.This is nonsense and is your brain tricking you!
- The best way to avoid falling into this nauseating, fantasy-driven loop of obsessing and fantasising and despairing is to understand the science behind this crazy human experience.
- It is also incredibly comforting to know that unrequited infatuation very rarely lasts for more than 6-8 months, and often will fizzle out incredibly suddenly and much earlier than this. This is because infatuation is neither logical nor grounded at all. It is so, so ephemeral by nature; one day you will look back at this period of your life and it will seem like a wild but distant dream. Trust me on that one.
- However, to break this person-addiction habit and ensure you never, ever cry over unrequited love again, you'll need to dig very deep and be committed to recovery. Your external world is a mere reflection of your beliefs and what you allow to imprint itself into your subconscious mind. By meeting your psychological needs healthily and treating unhealed wounds, you will become completely, 100% immune to infatuation/limerence. Potential partners will sparkle to you, make your heart sing and you'll be able to transition into real relationships with them instead of you manifesting unrequited love and crying spells. I promise you this.
Feeling Something Intensely Doesn't Mean It's Permanent
Don't get confused and think that, just because you feel such strong passion for this person, your feelings will 'last forever' and you will 'never get over them'. For some reason, when us humans experience something intense or profound, we do what no other animals do and we introduce a poignant aspect of eternality to the situation. It's a huge logical fallacy to think 'I feel strongly about X, hence I will ALWAYS feel this way', yet we all do it. Our tragic flaw is, in many ways, that we are aware of time and the future and cannot simply live in the moment and deal with whatever strong feelings we are experiencing as they come and go.
If you think about, a large part of your pain is that you feel that you won't ever have a happy, fulfilled, exciting life without this individual. After all, they've inspired so much energy in you and you haven't felt this way with anyone else before. The truth is that, no, your infatuation will not last long and will certainly not be permanent.
Infatuation has a shelf-life because it is based in the fantasy and reality cannot maintain it. It is such idealisation and irrationality that, once the real world creeps in and you become aware that your feelings are unfounded and inappropriate, they will naturally dissipate. It is for this reason that couples who feel 'infatuated' often become bored after around 6 months. They aren't experiencing that surge of initial attraction or the wondrous mystery that their partner made them feel when they first met, because they were simply infatuated then and didn't really know their partner.
What Does It Mean If You're Prone To Infatuation?
Being a neuroscientist, my attention has been drawn to the fact that those of us who fall into infatuations are 1. prone to this state (experience it over and over again until they learn precisely how to treat the root cause, even if each "episode" feels novel and "different this time"), and 2. we are people who feel things very intensely.
Now, I am aware that virtually every single person on this planet feels certain things strongly and irrationally, but a limerence really is at the top of the scale in terms of intensity, especially since mental illness is usually thrown into the mix. Nearly every single person who I have seen who has fallen into a deep infatuation has been on the spectrum for severe depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD) or OCD (meaning, they could obtain a psychiatric diagnosis for one of these illnesses).
I don't want to scare you; I am a firm believer that we all sit on spectrums for most mental health conditions, and that there should be no fear or taboo enshrouding this type of information. Many of us could be diagnosed with different things and obtain certain psychiatric labels, but I don't think we should strive to do this unless our mental health is affecting our quality of life extremely negatively. However, I do have to tell you: infatuation at its worst is not neurotypical.
If you tend to live your life emptily, only motivated and made to feel emotion by unobtainable people who you think can make everything okay, then you are most probably mentally ill (by society's definition, at least). If your self-esteem was moderately high and you were mainly mentally healthy (no depressive episodes, no propensity to obsession, no episodes of mania) then it is highly unlikely that you would fall into an illusion so controlling as infatuation.
As I have mentioned and will continue mentioning in this article, infatuation is a deceitful trick. It's your brain's way of latching onto something that could, in theory, make you happy and take away all your troubles. For this reason, if you are infatuated with someone, you are not happy with your current life. You might want to tell me "I am happy and confident, this person is just so special/beautiful that I need them", but that statement would be yet another dopamine-driven delusion.
If you are prone to infatuation/limerence:
- you have a lot of love to give to people, whether platonic or romantic (this is a blessing). I suggest that you utilise this in the healthiest possible way and focus on solidifying strong, platonic friendships. You won't feel the high of infatuation and attraction, but you won't experience the horrible lows either, and you will be immensely satisfied because you'll form close bonds and feel understood by people who want to be in your life for genuine reasons, other than desire.
- as mentioned above, you are probably mentally ill in some way, and could most likely be diagnosed with OCD, depression, anxiety, BPD, or bipolar disorder. Don't let this scare you. A diagnosis would just be putting a label on what you've felt your entire life.
- you will fall into more of these miserable infatuations if you do not treat the root-cause, which is unmet psychological needs and limiting beliefs regarding yourself and your worth. Don't let them shape your months and years, and don't let your life be a string of feelings for different people with you making no advancements in your own life. Even if you don't feel sound enough on a psychological level, force yourself to make friends, to exercise, to work and to read books. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you actually make new brain pathways and *escape* this hell.
- you're very prone to fantasising about ideas, people and concepts that could, in theory, help you "escape" the current life or situation that you are in. Use this to your advantage - it just means that your brain is prone to creating dopaminergic pathways to motivate you. Currently, you're motivated to get this person into your life, but you can use this mental tactic to enjoy other things intensely, like academics, hobbies, pets etc. Become obsessed with another country, and make it your mission to learn the language fluently and move there within the next 8 years. Grab onto something other than a person that sparks your interest and get you thinking "my life would be amazing IF ...", whether it be the idea of gaining muscle at the gym, redecorating your house or writing a novel. Some would advise against this, but I have evidence to prove that it's a healthy way to cope with a propensity to idolising people. Hobbies/pets/languages/exercise won't turn you limerent, so obsess over them instead.
- unless you work hard on yourself to recover from this susceptibility to falling hard and selflessly for people, your partners will never be on the same page as you. They will never love you as fiercely as you "love" them, because they will never be consumed by someone in the way that people consume and fill your existence. This may fill you with sadness but is reality; the fact that you have developed the behavioural pattern of limerence isn't their problem, nor is it something that many people will relate to. Wishing for someone to fall for you in this lovesick, bittersweet way is going to align you with reactive, toxic people who are generally unstable and enmesh with you too quickly.
- the best comes last: you can become immune to infatuation/limerence! You'll need to do a lot of research on how to attack your subconscious mind and alter your brain's fundamental wirings, but it's surprisingly simpler than it sounds and the only path to complete emotional freedom.
Yes, This Is Just One of Your Many Phases!
Live in the moment and deal with any false, irrational thoughts like 'this will last forever'. Every time you think that, correct yourself and remember that you're feeling something very strong and unpleasant, but that's all it is and in no way does this equate to any form of permanence.
You can feel things strongly without them lasting forever! I don't know why we, as humans, struggle with this idea so much. There are so many sensory afflictions that come and go. For example, think of a terrible illness where you're vomiting constantly and can barely walk. You feel like you're never going to feel well again, but days later, you bounce back. The illness is just a faint memory that doesn't even inspire much emotion in you. Similarly, sometimes we come across music that we love and then can barely stand to hear it a month later.
We, as humans, go through many phases in our life. Phases are definitely valid life experiences, but find comfort in their ephemerality! This boy or girl is a phase in your life, albeit an intense one. One day, you will look back and associate them with whatever music you're currently listening to, the clothes you're currently wearing and the way that you feel. That is because those aspects of your life are also a phase. This person won't make your heart skip forever. If you take one thing from this article, let it be that. You won't believe me now, but there will come a time when you don't care who they date, and their name won't even stand out to you in a list. Human emotions are weird, huh?
Remember: You Love Your Brain's Chemicals, Not This Person
Unless you are experiencing a healthy crush within reality (just attraction and the feeling of connection), your infatuation is a result of an unhealthy dopamine reward circuit that your brain has essentially created as a survival mechanism. You are so depressed/unfulfilled/lonely that your brain knows that real life isn't offering much for you in terms of incentive to live, so it creates its own happiness in order to temporarily relieve you from unhappiness, nihilism and lack of focus.
Infatuation is the brain making its own fun through a 'fantasy bond'. Your brain provides you with a sugary high full of wonder and hope and promises for the future, and then when real life doesn't follow the illusion (e.g. when the person unsurprisingly doesn't devote their entire life to you because they have their own life/feelings), you will experience the consequent crash. There is a duality to every strong psychological experience, and what goes up always comes down.
Mocking yourself slightly and realising that your brain is 'glitching' in this way is imperative. Tell yourself, "I love dopamine, not him/her!". If the attraction wasn't there, and you knew their personality inside out, would you still 'need' them? It's almost impossible that you would. You might love them in a genuine, affectionate way, just like some elderly couples love each other after years of commitment, but it wouldn't be delightful and euphoric, nor would it be what you're craving now.
Find comfort in the above. If you find yourself thinking "I've met him at the wrong point in my life, we could have grown old together etc." remember that the romance wouldn't feel like this for more than a few months anyway. Yes, maybe if you had met this man in 5 years time you'd date and then marry him and be happy (in the stable sense of the word, with no thrill), but the truth is that that's not even what you want. You want to be able to act on the passionate feelings that you currently have, and for those to last forever, which is why the supposed "missed connection" is so tragic and hard for you to cope with. The thing is, as I've explained, the sheer concept of living with them forever and feeling this way with them forever is a fairytale that your brain has created.
In short: your brain has messed up here, and is misunderstanding the situation. We are animals at the end of the day, and our bodies function to promote survival, often not bothering about our feelings. If your life is lacking authenticity, excitement and motivation, your brain may work to ensure the survival of your genes by creating its own goals. Don't listen to everything that your mind is telling you and try not to crave the highs that it is offering you!
Neuroscience: What Causes Infatuation?
Understanding the science behind this turbulent experience is crucial, and is the only way to think practically without being nihilistic and numbing yourself to your feelings. This area of neuroscience is fascinating, as it deals with human experiences that seem so spiritual and magical that it's hard to believe that they are caused and controlled by relatively simple chemicals. However, a handful of neurotransmitters control all aspects of your mood and mental health, and therefore can explain every thought and motive that an infatuation will cause you to experience.
1. Dopamine is the 'pleasure chemical', and relates to euphoria, addiction and craving. It can also inspire goal-based behaviour, e.g. wanting to save money to plan an elaborate trip, or, more relevantly, wanting that "perfect life" with someone you have recently met where you two are alone and free, revelling in each other's happiness. When you first fall into infatuation and you cannot imagine happiness with anyone else but this individual, it is dopamine acting... and boy, is dopamine a powerful neurotransmitter! It gives us momentum in life and quite literally drives humanity, but in the case of infatuation, it is a delightful yet dangerous substance.
When noradrenaline is also released, the two neurotransmitters can undergo a reaction and produce not only an elated mood, but also focused attention, hyper-activity and loss of appetite. All of these changes can be witnessed in the "lovesick"; you develop tunnel vision during these biochemical changes. You are greatly inspired by anything to do with the other person, and bored at the rest of the world, for it all seems so dull compared to the object of your passion. While noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter and adrenaline a hormone, the two contribute synergistically to a racing heart and the novel excitement associated with love.
2. Serotonin is low when you are infatuated, which is counterintuitive, as high levels of serotonin are also commonly associated with "lovey-dovey" feelings. In fact, taking ecstasy causes a great release of this neurotransmitter, and depression is caused by low levels of it. However, the infatuated brain shows the same low serotonin levels as someone with OCD, which explains the obsessive nature of infatuation, and hence why you should avoid romanticizing your state and realize that you are essentially mentally ill while in the throes of this level of passion.
3. Adrenaline activates stress responses in the body, and is involved with the physiological signs of infatuation. It activates the levels of other hormones like cortisol, which all activate the sympathetic nervous system in a cascade-like manner, causing trembling, sweating and an increased heart rate.
4. Oxytocin is released during intimate acts, cuddling and other forms of close, trust-based contact. It is slightly different to the others, as it does not directly cause "infatuation". In other words, it does not contribute to the insanely powerful passion that one feels while infatuated. Rather, it adds to the experience by increasing the sweet feelings of trust and fondness. For this reason, it is also extremely important in relationships after the infatuation and hence the craving (caused by dopamine) wears off. If the people in the relationship do not possess adequate amounts of oxytocin (and vasopressin), it is unlikely that the relationship will last once they have passed through the drugged-up stage of infatuation and are suddenly aware of each other's flaws.
I urge you to think about the science behind your feelings, as it will help you rationalise what you feel. Allow yourself to cry but don't let yourself romanticise this 'missed connection', because it was never there in the first place. Your neurobiology has temporarily gone awry and taken control of your feelings, but this level of misery cannot and will not last.
Personality Archetypes and Infatuation
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: What is the INFJ personality type?
Answer: INFJ is known as the 'Advocate', and is one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types.
Question: Why do I choose to date men 7 to 20 years younger than me?
Answer: Interesting topic, but unfortunately little is known about the psychology behind our sexual/romantic preferences. Afterall, we are still unsure why certain people are gay (as in, whether it is down to genes, environment or a combination of factors).
I won't try and psychoanalyze you and claim that your preference is due to childhood problems etc., but you might want to see a counselor to see if the answer is deep in your subconscious somewhere.
It might just be that you find the look of younger men attractive, or it may be that you desire to be more powerful/sociable/earn more money than your partner, hence you prefer to be older.
Question: I see the poll and I'm intrigued that, the rarest of types - INFJ (only 2 or less % of the population) has the leading 21 % of the votes in infatuation. Does this mean that every person of the INF type (it's 40 % for INFJ and INFP combined in this poll) is prone to infatuation?
Answer: MBTI is really just a way to categorize personality types and is descriptive, rather than scientific. However, it does seem fairly accurate and reflective of people's traits, strengths, and inclinations. I, therefore, believe that we can consider 'NFP' a real disposition that most likely has traceable neural correlates e.g. genes that affect neurotransmitter modulation and transmission. It seems likely that the vast majority of 'NFP'-type people are prone to turbulent inner experiences and infatuation.
Question: What is the INTJ personality type?
Answer: The 'architect' archetype.
© 2017 Lucy
Alice on July 31, 2020:
Lucy! I'm so grateful for all of your articles, your work really opened my eyes.
It seems like I finally recovered from this guy. I realised that he is not that great and not at all my soul mate and that I was infatuated not with him, but my imagination of him. I got a bunch of new interests and friends over the last couple of months. But sometimes (especially when I wake up and try to fall asleep) my mind wanders towards him and creates fantasies of our life together. After that, I feel completely heartbroken and can't concentrate on anything.
What do you advise me to do about it?
MJ on July 06, 2020:
Many thanks Lucy, very insightful.
The infatuation typically kicks in for me when i see the other person becomes unavailable, while in fact when we were still dating i was never too enthousiastic about them.
I recovered from infatuation a couple of years ago when i realized the other person wasnt that great and actually still had feelings for me. It made him uninteresting/unattractive to me. Now, years later, when i learned that he has finally moved on and got settled im constantly thinking that i need him. It feels so strange to be falling in and out and in love again with this person...
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on July 05, 2020:
@Shah Great to hear from you again, and to see that you are reaping the rewards of commitment and hard work. However, keep in mind that just because you are no longer attracted to certain people does not mean that you have 'overcome' infatuation. In order to become completely resilient to the condition, you must do the necessary psychological work too.
Otherwise, you are unfortunately highly likely to fall for a similar person in the future, fall under their spell and experience more months/years of pain. Dealing with the psychological components that make us obsess over people to an unhealthy degree allows us to meet these people and see them as NORMAL beings. Attractive and interesting, yes, but normal humans who could never submit us to months of crying and delusional thinking.
Your progress is really wonderful and I don't want to take away from that. However, I am reminding you of the above to ensure that you are also ascertaining WHY you initially fell for people who could only provide you with unrequited love. How did these people make you feel?
Do you think that you would become infatuated with them again if you met them for the first time now? Much truth is revealed by the answer to this question. If your answer is not a clear 'no way', then you have not correctly treated the psychological wounding and unmet needs that let you fall for the illusion in the first place.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on July 05, 2020:
Hi Blala, thank you for sharing this insightful and astute reflection.
You are at a very important place in your journey towards recovery right now, because you are now entirely cognisant of the fact that limerence is pathological and a hindrance in your life. There is no stepping away from this revelation, nor can you naively sink back into the cycle of limerence bliss and pain, for you are now a self-realised suffer of limerence.
However, you, like everyone else at your stage, are dealing with resistance. Your human brain wants to protect you from change, so considering leaving behind 'person addictions' may inundate you with fear; if you do not get buzzes of dopamine from these people, will you ever reach the heights of euphoria again? Is it possible to feel inspired, safe and whole without an out-of-reach individual occupying a place of prominence in your life?
I promise you that it is, and my mission is to teach people how to a). cure infatuation permanently and b). work WITH their neurobiological tendency for falling into this intensity of unrequited love.
You see, you are capable of strong emotions and passion that few people you know will ever taste. When these facets of yours are directed towards a person who cannot love you back, the result is limerence/infatuation, but when we treat the root causes and alter the subconscious mind so that we are IMMUNE to the very people we used to fall to, we win the game. We transition into a magical new reality where anything is possible.
Please check out all of my free online content over at NeuroSparkle.com - I perceive that you are ready to comprehend limerence from a biological, psychological and spiritual perspective and to recover.
Sending you positive energy!
shah on July 04, 2020:
its a bit funny and weird. of course not to offend anyone. i happened to see two of my former crushes. i wondered what was that in them i use to like them. i couldnt recognize them at first. then i recalled that these were the ones whom i use to like now they are completley out of my mind and memory.
Blala on June 29, 2020:
This article is truly liberating. Just knowing that there's such thing as infatuation and Why i keep falling into it, seemingly torturing myself over and over - while it doesn't make it go away right now, I feel relieved. And hopeful! I KNEW there was something 'not so normal' about my crushes; and close friends would be impressed (some even jealous??) by intensity of my feelings.
"It's your brain's way of latching onto something that could, in theory, make you happy and take away all your troubles. For this reason, if you are infatuated with someone, you are not happy with your current life."
This is the truth I really don't like to acknowledge :\ Really need to re-read this. Because usually i feel like i'm at mercy of whether my 'crush' chooses to show me attention or not. Even if they don't wanna be with me, I live off small bits of attention here and there. Usually this affects my productivity, other relationships and projects. I seem to be like a leaf blown around by the wind!
Last time this happened, i asked myself why i'm not enough for myself and decided the best way to be enough for me is to develop appreciation & love for myself first, before I do someone. It is helping but the moment a person i'm infaturated with contacts me, I feel hopeful (delusional..) again. Meditation has been helping with it a bit, but I'd like to be fully free from it. Excited (& a bit terrified) to make new pathways and to change my ways!
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on June 04, 2020:
Hello, Andrew! If you are experiencing all-consuming episodes over and over again, this is a hot red warning sign that you need to rewire your subconscious mind.
You see, this severity of infatuation is the reflection of unmet needs and psychological wounding. If you learn to treat your brain like a computer and change what OCCUPIES your subconscious mind, you will never experience another infatuation again.
This is not normal love, nor do you need to experience it - emotional freedom lies on the other side of this. If you'd like to discuss this further, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Andrew on June 04, 2020:
How long would Infatuation usually last? days? weeks? Months? Years?
If it's happening for more than a year and repetitively, does it mean that the person is in serious trouble?
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on May 27, 2020:
Exactly, Shah. But in order to cure the behavioural pattern of limerence/infatuation and avoid future episodes, a rewiring of the subconscious mind is necessary. Refer to my website for more posts, linked in my profile.
shah on May 26, 2020:
we have crush on film stars also. there is an actress whom i had crush. within few years she began to look not so beautiful hardly 2 - 4 years. i saw her some old videos when she was attractive. now i dont find her attractive in old videos also. this shows how crush fades away and wipes out the person from your mind with time.
shah on May 24, 2020:
we have crush on film stars also. i like one actress who was very attractive. within small time she looks not so good and repulsive. I saw her old videos when she was attractive and wonder why i was attracted to her and what is so great in her. so crush and infatuation is a like balloon which will make you feel good but when the balloon burst same is crush. the same person you will feel repulsive.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on April 29, 2020:
Very true, Sethu! I'm glad it's helped you see things with a healthy dose of clarity.
Sethu on April 29, 2020:
Thanks for this, really needed it
Its hard that you sometimes wish dreams were a reality :(
Ali on March 31, 2020:
Really needed thiS read.
shah on March 09, 2020:
correct there was time when i was so obsessed with them now i feel how foolish i was and regret i ever liked that person . just assume if food is kept and someone spits in that its of no use tis value becomes zero same way infatuation you will regret you ever considered this person as your idol
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on March 09, 2020:
@shah Neurochemically speaking, this occurs because the person is no longer a 'trigger' for the release the feel-good neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. We revert back to seeing them as a normal individual incapable of inducing sexual or romantic attraction in us.
We sometimes feel repulsed when reflecting on our feelings; it is uncomfortable to remember that you once desired this person so much when they now seem regular and 'alien'. Psychological factors including shame, embarrassment and regret at idolising this person will magnify this shift in stance, in such a way that you will not only be neutral to this person but will be horrified to remember that you were EVER infatuated with them.
shah on March 09, 2020:
i want to ask you one question that once crush or infatuation fades we completely lose interest in that person and they became repulsive to us.what could be the reason the person whom we adore.
G G on March 06, 2020:
Thank you for sharing the science. I found it to be completely on point. I had my first psychotic episode. Lab tests discovered that I had an abnormal excess of dopamine on one side of my brain and a deficiency on another side of my brain, which led to positive and negative psychotic symptoms. All the while I was "madly" in love with two people I know and in my head, I was being raped by spirits who were tapping into my energy. My serotonin levels low too and had trouble sleeping.
After I recovered, I notice the habit of falling for people I had missed chances with, or simply can't be with. So lust is a really just mental illness.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on February 26, 2020:
WONDERFUL, Shah. I'm so happy that you've come back to share this with us all. :)
shah on February 26, 2020:
writing after long time. everthing mentioned in the article is correct. when i got infatuated during intial period i thought this will never end.
now after infatuation has faded i feel how much foolish it was for me to think this way. time heals infatuation. everything is same even if that person comes back i dont have any feelings for them same person whom i use to cry for.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on February 24, 2020:
Thank you for the lovely comment, Nancy!
Nancy R on February 24, 2020:
This article is fantastic—well-written, helpful, and clearly from any author who is both very smart & ver compassionate.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on February 10, 2020:
However hard it is, you must fight these feelings and power on with your studying. See them as a pathological blanket of unwanted, triggering sensations, and do whatever you can to stop that blanket smothering you. This truly does have an expiry date, and I promise you that 'future you' will be relieved beyond belief when you manage to achieve good grades for yourself.
Good luck! Feel free to reach out through email (the contact option on my profile) if you would like some more personalised help.
bukola on February 02, 2020:
Initially,he's my crush.but with time he became my boyfriend and I love him.
but recently,hes not around and am really thinking about him about his absence
I can't really focus on my studies.
what should I do o
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on January 30, 2020:
Thanks for dropping by, Dia! I'm really glad you've found some relief.
dia on January 30, 2020:
you really gave it to us straight, this was damn good and helpful! A damn wakeup call!
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on January 09, 2020:
Thank you for the lovely comment, Lalit! I'm sure that this mindset will change everything for you.
Lalit Chadha on January 09, 2020:
Wow! Just plain wow!!! I was undergoing an Infatuation right now and almost have driven the person off me by doing that!!! This is so critical piece of information for me when I am just stepping out of my closet, and things could go wrong easily. It’s so liberating to believe that it is the chemicals working up in your brain and that what you believe to be, is never going to be in the first place. And that it is primarily the animalistic survival instincts at play! Really Awesome.. thank you so much!
Vindaloo on January 05, 2020:
Thank you very much for posting this. This has helped me tremendously, as I have been living with what I would refer to as a strange and very strong “vicarious crush” on someone for a while now (I am a married man). However, I suspect this is really infatuation/limerence because I have the physical symptoms you describe and a sense of pining away for the person in question. This all relates to a woman who is super-keen on a male family member, yet he isn’t nearly as interested in her as she is in him. I hardly know this woman, but I can’t stop thinking about her. I think she is absolutely incredible and adorable, and I cannot understand why my relative wouldn’t move heaven and earth to be with her. When it looks like she might have a chance with him, I feel happy and satisfied, but when it looks like nothing will happen, I start to feel a deep longing for her on a personal basis. I put this down to being so drawn to this woman on so many levels that I want her in my life in some capacity. Even though I recognize I cannot have her for myself, at least someone close to me could have her and we could have some type of relationship. I love my wife and don’t want to leave her and I would never cheat on her. It is very difficult to get over this, but you have provided me with some tools to help get through this phase. I believe this infatuation is happening because I am experiencing several challenges in my career, family life and marriage, and I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis (depression is a possibility). It is like this woman is the canary in the coalmine for me, but I need to focus on my life and marriage and divert my attention elsewhere.
Mari on December 09, 2019:
Thank you so much for writing this article. This is exactly what I needed to read. I've been experiencing these intense infatuated episodes regularly since I was very young, probably around 13 years old (am now 25), and most recently in an episode with a coworker that has gone on for 6 painful/euphoric months. It's like there is a part of me, the rational part that sees clearly, screaming out that, no, this man is NOT the answer to all of my troubles in life, being with him will NOT make my life pure bliss forever, he is NOT the only shot I will ever have at living a meaningful and fulfilling life that I'm throwing away by not pursuing him... but it's all so incredibly weak compared to the intoxicating rushes of dopamine from thinking about him or imagining how perfect we would be together. The fact that I'm already in a committed relationship with a wonderful partner while experiencing this, and trying to deal with being pulled in two opposite directions, and the shame of having strong uncontrollable feelings for someone else, has made things extra difficult.
I also appreciated the mention of mental illness and sensitivity to strong emotion, and I think that has contributed a lot for me. In particular I think the beginning of my infatuation coincided with the start of a manic episode that just threw fuel into the flames. I KNOW that this will fizzle out, like it always has with every other guy I've been infatuated with, but sometimes it gets hard to keep believing in that truth and I return to my fantasies for relief.
The good part of all of this is that I've realized a big driver of my current infatuation is the guy's interesting hobbies and adventurous nature that pulled me to him initially. It seemed like we wanted a lot of the same things in life. My life already felt empty and inauthentic and I was sure he could make it interesting and meaningful again. I've started reconnecting with some of my own hobbies and goals as part of the effort to get out of this doped-up brain hamster wheel and I've found that it really helps. The things I thought only he could do for me in a relationship, the experiences I thought would be meaningless without him, I can do for myself. All of them. So I can attest that striving to make advancements in your own life is powerful and healthy for someone in this situation (and, really, everyone else too).
I will send thanks to the universe for whatever combination of google searches and related links it was that brought me here. Your writing is powerful and it has helped me today.
Lou on November 07, 2019:
So since I have depression and am prone to infatuation, I should focus on developing plutonic friendships and steer clear of romance? Hey thanks a lot. Glad I have so much to live for. Think I'll go slash my wrists now to celebrate.
chris1729 on November 05, 2019:
Lawks! I could have done with this article 30 years ago! And I assumed it would be American, but you're in Leeds, where I did my degree and PhD!
Anyway, enough of the stalking ...
I've always been prone to limerence/infatuation: it's very interesting, now that I'm out of that stage of my life, to look back on these phases with a detached and dispassionate eye.
I said I wished I'd seen this article thirty years ago but, the truth is, it would have been wasted on me: I wouldn't have listened.
When I've a bit more time, maybe I'll give my 'infatuation' story. It is actually something I still ponder from time to time - I usually shake my head and smile to myself.
I'm glad I found this article.
Baxter on November 02, 2019:
Lucy, the most crucial tools for ALL science include a sound mind, good imagination, and the willingness to see things from various angles, or in other words, the ability to consider and explore various possibilities. No amount of training in medicine, psychology or in any other scientific discipline can compensate for a lack in any of these areas. Logic and reason may not be the panacea for all life experiences, but it helps you to know when there are contradictions in reasoning. It helps you determine if you are being deceived.
I respect people with imagination, and the capacity for reason, and for rational thinking. The branch of mathematics called Boolean Algebra identifies and outline the fundamental laws that govern determinism, cause and effect, or logic. One should not blindly trust the opinions or ideologies of anyone, any profession, or any institution, where these fundamentals principles of reason (natural laws) are lacking, or obscured with medical jargon, egoism and arrogance. In these days rational thinking is fundamental to Computer Science which is the driving force that will completely revolutionize the human experience. Rational thinking and logic should be taught to everyone, beginning in grade one, or even kindergarten.
Most things in life are not that easily measured. The real world poses many challenges and restrictions, so professionals extrapolate, fill in the unknowns with their experience, training and biases. Because of this, many professionals take liberty to call themselves scientists when one trained in logic and Computer Science can see reasoning laced with glaring contradictions and shortcomings.
When it is apparent these fundamental tools of science, and basic laws of reason are being obscured, or not being properly understood, discussed, or deployed then opinions, ideologies and declarations should not be blindly trusted. Truth is determined by experience, and observation, and best described by some form of measurement. This is what science is. The best way to arrive at facts are through reason, not through the dictates of esoteric training, jargon or authority.
You declare as some kind of authority that “Every possible feeling and state and disorder within the human emotional gamut has a traceable, albeit complex, neural correlate (i.e. neurological basis)”.
Your assertions sounds reasonable, but is it really helpful, and is it really true? How can one even prove this? Even if it were is true, does that view identify the cause of the emotions, or is it just the effect of something originating from elsewhere, even potentially unknowable sources?
I see no possibility to ever measure or tabulate this correspondence, anytime now or in the foreseeable future, though I know there are some attached to such lofty fantasies. Even if it were possible, that still doesn’t identify a cause. Logical scrutiny and the ability to process things from different angles makes me very doubtful of your assertion.
It certainly is not one-to-one correspondence between emotions and neurological processes. It seems many potential neurological process can lead to a thought or emotion, just as there are numerous computer algorithms that may solve any one particular problem. There are many, many more unanswered questions and possibilities that one can consider.
As an analogy, the cause of the neurological footprint can be a lion scratching on a victims door, wanting to eat him. The trauma will no doubt, as you said, leave ‘traceable, albeit complex neurological correlate’ (if there were even a way to reliable measure it). But that position completely ignores the obvious causes, one rooted in basic common sense. There is a lion scratching at the door. The most logical conclusion would be to find a way to remove it. To discern cause vs the effect is crucial to negating the unwanted emotions and obvious danger. Removing the lion, not ‘detachment’, is the most reasonable ‘solution’.
To even discuss, consider, measure, tabulate, postulate, medicate, debate on the persons body chemistry or to discuss neurological or psychological processes and talk him to death with psychotherapy on how ‘detach’ with thoughts or drugs is short sighted. This perspective seems almost idiotic to a rational mind, but is essentially what psychiatrist are in the business of doing.
They for the most part have no tools to remove the lion or deal with the cause, so they prescribe, as you recommend, ‘detach and medicate’. They have built a whole science around that philosophy, but it’s purpose is line the pockets of the psychiatrists and pharmaceutical and insurance industries, while ruining the lives of it’s naive and powerless victims who lack the mental tools to process what is actually happening. The ideology is also and industry and one should also take that into consideration.
If one is spiritual, like I noticed another poster here, you could be confusing that person, not helping them and rendering their experience meaningless. I see no need to dismiss possible causes that may stem from metaphysical origins.
Your position is worthy to consider, but has not helped me to process my emotions or change my feelings. I don’t think it is always helpful to see these things as a neurological sickness. These feelings are obviously a result of millions of years of evolution. I’m not so quick to dismiss them on the opinion of a stranger on the internet with gaping holes in their reasoning who may have other motives and who in a couple years with ever expanding knowledge may be proven to be mistaken.. There are a variety of different takes I have read on this. None have caused me to believe anything definitive.
To take your assertions further, shouldn’t rational thoughts have a ‘traceable neurological footprint too? Is Mathematical understanding just a neurological process, as would seem to be be implied from your chosen ideology? What about mathematical algorithms, or equations, or abstract concepts that one might think. By what method or reasoning, arguments, logic, training, description or explanations can you say that may lead me to the belief that these are also just neurological processes and you have the ability to determine this?
How can someone not adequately trained in Math even begin to identify all the possible relationships. How can you even have the capacity to know? Why is it that a computer can simulate rational decisions? Your assertions are hazy, can be doubted, and easily logically argued and contested.
Psychology and psychiatry are often just ideologies, religions, that have little little to do with real life problems. They are just industries masquerading as science. Go to five different ones and they will say five different things. To have agreements they just write the rules politically derived in a book, to be conveniently looked up followed. Of the many psychiatrists I have met, none have exhibited the capacity for rational thinking, processing abstract concepts, or independent thinking. This seems strange to say having a background is logic and Computer Science.
Often their assertions will not endure logical, or even experimental scrutiny. I do not challenge it’s potentially usefulness, but considering political factors, corruption and deception. I see far more harm being done than good.
There’s much money to be made by the drug, medical, psychiatric, insurance, and other supporting industries by promoting this ideology. It’s not based on rational, but it’s functional basis is in politics, more so than science. It’s a deception. There’s a far greater harm being done than good. Ways are being developed be developed to expose these shortcomings. The medical profession is laced with deceptive practices, all kinds of fraud, and employees that are trained mostly how to look -up things or just follow instructions. Thy are all just doing jobs to make money and have no will or capacity, to change or even comprehend how they fit into to a greater system. They have no capacity to even seriously consider the real damage this ideology causes on real people. I can see your rational shortcomings.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on November 01, 2019:
Every possible feeling, state and disorder within the human emotional gamut has a traceable, albeit complex, neural correlate (i.e. neurobiological basis). Of course, 'descriptive' sciences like psychology are also beneficial in understanding the human experience; whether you choose to investigate the biology underpinning your feelings is up to you.
Decompartmentalising and pathologising minor mood fluctuations is unnecessary and a slippery slope, but in the face of extremely painful states such as unrequited love, doing just this allows you to view your situation from a detached point of view and heal.
I hope this clears things up.
Baxter on October 31, 2019:
Lucy, this is only your ideology. If you are claiming this to be only a chemical imbalance then then what is being measured, how are you measuring them, and what units are being tabulated to prove your assertions. I’m reading elsewhere, other so called professionals say these things can go on for decades and you have no evidence having a this pathological view has really helped anyone yet. Science and proof to me are numbers and so far I haven’t seen you show any. Before you act so confident, I would like to see some numbers and the methodology you are using. As far as I can tell Psychiatry is a psudo-science.
Richard on October 29, 2019:
I really, REALLY needed this read right now. I am struggling with limerance with a friend right now. I am gay and he is straight (married with kids). I have struggled with this before, and is described in this piece, I have no doubt that there is depression or OCD figuring into this.
My situation is compounded by the fact that I am experiencing this while living in a foreign country, a conservative one, at that. Men and women are often socially separated, and men here are much more tactile with each other. I think between that and the fact that I am foreigner and feeling pretty lonely, it has been hard to bear.
This really helped put things in perspective for me, and I feel a little bit better. I just don't know what to do because this man is a genuinely nice guy. When I first met him I had a crush, which I could manage. But things got out of control when I got to know him. Right now, I still want to be his friend, but I don't know how I can be around him and manage my infatuation.
I agree wholeheartedly with the drug analogy, because I feel like socializing with him would be the equivalent of doing cocaine while I'm trying to quit it. My instinct tells me to stay away until these feeling wears off.
But by the time it does (I'm giving myself the whole 8 months to get over him), it will be time for me to leave and go back to America. Thus blowing my chance of even developing a healthy, platonic relationship with him. But this sounds like the "missed connection" trap that my brain has set for me.
I really don't know what to do, but if nothing else, understanding the chemical aspect of infatuation makes a lot of sense and it will help me rationalize my feelings a little better.
Thank you so much for this.
Meh on October 27, 2019:
Thank you for this article. I've been struggling with limerance/infatuation for a coworker and it took me a long time to figure out what was going on and nearly ruined my marriage. I look back at some of my relationships before marriage and realize I had this problem back then too, I just didn't know what it was and thought it was love. Luckily I married someone that I actually do love and was never limerent for, but now I realize that I'm prone to this and will need to keep on top of it going forward.
Knowing the biochemistry behind limerence is helpful and helps me realize that my brain is just fucking with me and these feelings aren't "real". This is also the first article that discussed other mental illnesses in relation to limerence, which is helpful to me because it relates it to my problems with depression and OCD and helps me get my head around it.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on October 09, 2019:
Deconstructing the human experience in this way need not be depressing. It is beautiful, magical and miraculous that surreal feelings, good and bad, all have a traceable biological basis.
If you feel that spirituality provides you with alternate models of the world that you prefer, there is nothing wrong with that. However, I have written this article for people who desperately want to rid themselves of strong feelings for someone that they cannot be with. Unrequited love ruins lives when it drags on unnecessarily, and taking a clinical stance is the way out of the suffering. It goes without saying that being so analytical is unnecessary when you're enjoying sustainable, safe human company and happiness.
Ok on October 08, 2019:
This has destroyed my meaning of life. I feel love for other people, yes I am mentally ill and feel called out, but this feeling I feel for others right now has made me feel like life is worth living but this article has put this feeling of meaning into nothingness. I now feel that my only escape from my existential problems has been shattered and I can never feel meaningful again. The love I feel for others means nothing and the feelings are all lies. There are other things I enjoy but now I feel as if I more overly lost the feeling of meaning and enjoyment of life if these feelings don’t mean anything at all. If all I feel is just put into science it makes me feel even more meaningless.
Syed on September 20, 2019:
How do i recover from this pain??
Its really really hard to digest that i was infatuated. Please suggest some tips
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on August 25, 2019:
Congratulations Shah, thanks for checking back in with us!
shah on August 25, 2019:
my infatuation has completely ended i feel like strong storm had arrived which will never pass in the intial months of infatatuation now i feel empty as if brain was pressed by powerful force i was not able to live life thought end of the world had coming thanks infatuation faded and ended
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on August 11, 2019:
A stable partnership with the right person is absolutely possible, and your underlying propensity for falling into infatuations may lie dormant for years. However, it's important to be aware that you will still be prone to developing infatuation/limerence, and may struggle with future episodes that render your long-term relationship temporarily 'dull' to you.
This is why engaging the higher parts of your brain and avoiding impulsivity/acting on a whim is necessary for a purposeful life when infatuation kicks in, especially if you choose to have a family. For some, reducing the 'delightful' feelings of a new infatuation to pure neuroscience and remembering that they are transient is sufficient to steer them away from a derailing infatuation. Others possess a more obsession-prone neural makeup, and require therapy and a more stoic attitude/no contact in order to return to normality.
Brida on August 11, 2019:
My question is: Are those of us who are prone to infatuations capable of real authentic love? Will we ever be able to love and be loved healthily and genuinely and get married some day? Or are we doomed when it comes to love because of our many illnesses?
Sarah on August 06, 2019:
This describes my feelings perfectly. The only difference being that the object of my infatuation got into a relationship with me, 5 years on after so many different and painful examples as to why we were so incompatible, we are split (my choice this time) and i still hold this "ideal" of him in my head that he could never offer. I am still infatuated but i am not nearly as irrational as i was, i know i wouldn't be truly happy with him... I will miss the phenomenal sex though!
Elly on August 05, 2019:
I don't have any of the mental diseases you listed, but I do have ADHD which I think is 100% directly linked to why I feel infatuated for some people in a way that many of my friends don't ever experience. ADHD is caused by too low dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, so it would make sense that infatuation causing an increase dopamine is addictive for the brain. One symptom of ADHD is hyper-focusing on things that fascinate you, so I always attributed my ability to become infatuated to hyper-focusing on a person.
anonymous on July 21, 2019:
I always thought I was falling in love with every tv charter
Alison on July 01, 2019:
Hello! As I am going through the rollercoaster of emotions that come along with being infatuated with someone, I have realized that it is not in my best interest to think about this man as often as I do, so many things remind me of him. I even go out of my way to make him happy even though there is no commitment. We are friends, we have went on a few dates and expressed how we feel about each other but he lives a few states away and we feel a relationship would be challenging right now until he comes back in a year. I feel too infatuated for comfort and want to have “control of my mind” again if you will. Do I tell this man I need space, due to my intense emotions? Or do I say nothing and distance myself anyway? I’m not sure how to handle this in a healthy way for myself, and a potential relationship in the future.
Hailey on June 09, 2019:
I can’t. stop. obsessing over my crush, and it HURTS me when I am reminded of how irrational it is to believe I’ll ever be with him. I like him, but he doesn’t like me, and he often disrespects me. “He’s not worth it.” That’s what they all tell me. What most don’t understand is the relationship me and my crush had in the first semester. First of all, we had ALL FOUR classes together and second, we have a complicated frienemy-like relationship. We’ve shared many laughs and I have countless memories of us getting along. But he thinks I’m annoying and a stalker and claims to hate me because I took my crushing too far, by making weird jokes and following him around. I find it impossible to get over him, probably on account of the fact that I don’t want to.
shah on May 06, 2019:
lucy you didnt answer my question is that why extremely attractive person becomes completely repulsive once crush or infatuation ends infact normal person looks much better as time passed please advice i am looking for this answer since many years.
shah on April 25, 2019:
why it is so that the person whom we have crush or infatuation becomes repulsive and unattractive once crush or infatuation fades. why is it so that we are so desparate to see the person becomes completely replusive and we want to get rid of them despite they may or not even know us . i have obeserved this in all crushes and infatuations i had.
ConstantlyCongested on April 15, 2019:
As others have said, thank you so much for your extensive analysis on infatuation/limerance. I had no idea what I was going through until one of my friends mentioned that my feelings sounded like infatuation and then I googled the term leading me to your writing. It's kind of scary how accurately your descriptions match my symptoms. On to my question...
I know my situation is not unique and is most definitely infatuation/limerance, but what should one do when the person they are infatuated with keeps wanting to be friends and hang out??? I know that the object of my infatuation is not interested in me romantically (they keep going back to dating an ex), but they often go out of their way to hang out with me after work/work functions. I don't want to tell them I'm infatuated (and essentially mentally unwell), because we work at the same place. But I also feel bad blowing them off because I do believe they are lonely and truly looking for a friend. I know I can't be that friend while I'm infatuated...what should I do?
Miranda on April 03, 2019:
I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. This may have just changed my life. As someone who tests as an INTJ with ocd symptoms that flare up during intense stress. This article really helped me for the first time associate my infatuation with my stress. At the same time of being uncontrollably ‘head over heels in love’ with someone who I wasn’t even in contact with anymore. I was also under an intense amount of work and life stress. I was noticing ocd symptoms becoming more pronounced which I attributed to the stress but didn’t even think that the infatuation was also a symptom, because I deeply felt/ thought I had found ‘the one’. This has taught me something extremely valuable and is now something to look out for when I am not managing my stress well. I feel a newer almost freedom. (While also wanting to text the object of my infatuation and inform them of this new discovery/ which I won’t do). Thank you.
KallieOmalley on March 20, 2019:
This is a pain to post to. I poured my heart into a post, thought it posted, and I can’t get the email verification you require to work. I’m not a tech expert and what you are requiring is too hard. Very disappointed.
test on March 15, 2019:
sample post to see if this works
thickspike on March 10, 2019:
I'm really troubled by the reassurance that this will pass. I've been in this state with one person for almost 20 years. I haven't seen, or had any contact with them in more five years. Yet I still feel the same and think of them every day. Every day I hope chance will be that I meet them again one day. I'm not so confident these feelings always come to an end.
Phil on March 03, 2019:
Hi Lucy. You just saved me. This post could be the single most impactful on my whole life. I just exited one unrequited limerence with a coworker, and within a couple months of wrenching myself out of that one, slipped right into another, with a separate work mate. The first secret obsession I chose to end after I worked out how damaging acting on the feelings would be for the other party, who is in a long term relationship. I simply accepted the plain logic that if I truly care for them, I'll not interfere, but rather just love them platonically as a good friend. It has worked out superbly, we get on fantastically, and I am perfectly willing to enjoy her friendship without feeling the missed connection. The new one is different. She's single, far as I know, and has actually shown minor signs of requited attraction. This makes it really hard. I have two really wonderful advantages though: 1) I love science, 2) I had a the incredible good fortune of stumbling into your article. I can add your above writings (your knowledge & personal experience) into my toolkit for dealing with life. I can even still romantically approach this woman, if we are remotely compatible. The difference is that I'll come from a place of caring, and aim at developing a healthy friendship. Thanks to your words, I don't have to face the catastrophic plunge into the black abyss that I was probably headed toward. I can discard the suicidal thoughts and just be happy. I can even benefit from the energetic bursts of self improvement I've been experiencing :) I can channel my obsession into my target career of data science that I'm about to begin studying for. You're a gem, Lucy. Your cool, scientific approach to the problem is similar to Allen Carr's easy way to stop smoking, which recently ended my 25 year cigarette addiction literally overnight from a 1-day workshop. Simply accepting the subtle facts is all the foundation one needs to turn a neurological nightmare into a positive learning experience. So what if I'm mentally ill? If I can use it for good, then what's the problem? Once you know that feelings are associated to chemicals, you can manipulate the chemistry with activity, like exercise, or diet, or many others. THANK YOU LUCY.
Rachel on February 27, 2019:
Wow firstly i would like to say what an amazing article. Its soo well written and has helped me over the last few months more than you'd ever know. So thank you for this piece of gold!
So i was (am) limmerent for a guy who lives on my street. I see him every day walking his kids to school as he.is a stay at home dad and im a stay at home mum. Our kid's are also friends. We confessed that we developed feeling for each other and text each other quitea bit until he decided that it wasn't right due to us both being married. So everything stopped. I see him quite a bit as he lives on my street... that i can not change.
So after he stopped contact my whole world fell apart. Deep down i always knew this was an infatuation but i couldnt stop it. Im happy at home and he really isnt my type at all. Im not sure in reality he's even someone id ve attracted too. Anyways i hit rock bottom ended up suicidal and on anti depressants. So now im in a much better place but the only problem is when i see him i go right back to limmerence and i hate it. Please can you help me to overcome this last hurdle of seeing him in person. Avoidance is not possible. There are no tests or social media communication anymore...
LS on February 24, 2019:
Did you get my direct message as i needed your advice i love your article and i think your the only one who can help.. was sent over a week ago. X
SL on February 24, 2019:
Hey lucy i sent you a private message a week ago and i was wondering if you recieved it as im desperate for your advice. Xx
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on February 22, 2019:
I'm so glad, thank you for commenting! I absolutely have experience with limerence and am extremely prone, in addition to being from a science background. I absolutely believe that you need to have experienced these feelings in order to be able to help others deal with and rationalise them.
Actually, I am planning on writing about my experiences when I have time in the next few months. I completely relate to what you have shared - limerence has put me through abject depression and intense euphoria too, far stronger than that experienced when grieving a relative or on MDMA, respectively.
Limerence makes you question things very deeply and think very spiritually. Even though you want to recover, taking the required steps feels wrong. You feel that you're surely "meant" to pursue this stimulus, because your brain regards it as so salient. Nothing has ever felt quite as real and enticing.
Limerence completely colours your life, but it's important to remember that it passes and that, one day, this person won't even stand out to you in a crowd.
Sure, they might stand out if you genuinely do have a connection, in the sense of "this is one of my people", but the feeling would be fondness. It wouldn't be this euphoria and energy. Equally, if you ended up in a relationship, there would just be warm fondness and stable love 4 years down the line. THIS wouldn't last, and, hence, this isn't something that you can let derail your life.
Captain Bigglesworth on February 22, 2019:
I'm sorry that the one of the previous commenters found your article unhelpful- in time I hope they're able to see the wisdom in your words.
As for myself, your article is the first article I stumbled upon when I got limerent for a coworker about 6 months ago (I'm a married man btw). I went through the initial euphoria, we hit it off really well, she'd been through all sorts of relationship issues and was currently single. I was of course the knight come to rescue the damsel and that's where the limerence began. It totally blindsided me and came out of nowhere. In 20 years of marriage this is the first time it has happened so intensely, though I've had several crushes before. My last serious LO was back in school, but that's a story for another day.
You can guess the rest of this shipwreck of a story- the last 6 months have been pure hell mixed with the occasional highs. I've had the support of two close friends in whom I have been able to confide. There are days when I've been nearly driven insane because the lows reached a low I wouldn't have thought possible. I've been through lots of other tough situations in life (like nearly losing a dear family member to cancer) but I'm ashamed to say that nothing has brought me as much grief as limerence has. Sometimes I've swung like a juiced up pendulum through the extremes of euphoria and depression in the span of one day, and most of my nights have stretched out in a limerent reverie driven insomnia. At work there's been an inability to focus on work when she's there, because I "feel" her presence intensely.
Anyway, the point of all this was to tell you that I just love your article and I love the empathetic way in which you have written this. That line about not letting infatuation defining our months and years just totally resonated with me. I'm definitely at an age and phase in life where limerence can't be allowed to derail my plans.
Your article is one that I keep coming back to again and again (along with the articles on livingwithlimerence.com), and some days, these are my only fallbacks to ensure I stay sane, along with the ear of my friends.
After having gone through a particularly rough patch last week, I'm now at a stage where I'm trying inculcate mindfulness and meditation as regular practices (on the advice of a good friend) and am also trying to find my happiness in little things.
So please Lucy, don't stop writing on this topic, I would love to see more articles in the same empathetic vein as this one from you! I know you mentioned going through these life experiences yourself (and that's what lends authenticity to your article, maybe you could dwell a little deeper on those and talk about the things you did to speed your recovery- assuming it's not too personal to put out there).
Thank you from the bottom of my limerent heart for writing this.
KC on February 21, 2019:
Thank you so much for this article. It helps me more than you'll ever know.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on February 11, 2019:
I am very sorry it made you feel this way. However, the purpose of this article was to shatter the painful illusions that plague sufferers of limerence/infatuation; it's too easy to fall into thinking that you're missing out on being with your soulmate etc., and this causes intense grief and depression for many people. Focusing on the science behind these powerful feelings that often seem "spiritual" can be amazingly healing.
I do also believe that knowing that OCD-thinking, depression and an addictive personality are prerequisites to this phenomenon can be very useful and enlightening. It can make all the difference in steering you away from trying to date this person, and towards realising that they are just an OBJECT upon which you are projecting their own wounds. They are solely an archetype that a primitive part of your brain believes will "save you" from life and your troubles, and they are very replaceable. Not special, magical demi-gods that would complete your life.
Thank you for the honest feedback, though. I plan on writing more positive articles on limerence, and the way that being prone to this obsessive type of thinking can also make you more successful and productive in general. There is ALWAYS a duality to mental health traits. Just as psychosis can lead to amazing creativity, being prone getting infatuated probably means that you have the strong ability to fixate on a goal and accomplish it.
I, personally, believe that a lot of my academic, social and fitness-related success stems from my moderately-neurotic personality and my inability to detach from goals once I have set them. It caused me a lot of pain when I used to suffer from serial limerences, but also made me competitive, productive and driven in college. It gives me a real eye for detail, and is completely merged with my ability to analyse social situations and read people like books. If I wasn't capable of these things, I wouldn't have experienced the horrendous, all-consuming limerences that I have lived through. There's a bit of positivity for you!
I hope you do feel better soon. You are absolutely loveable and capable of a beautiful life, but it'll take unwavering strength and resilience when faced with these "special people" who trigger that glimmer of infatuation in you. It's hard, and can shatter you over and over, but as long as you pick yourself up and keep the bigger picture of your life/friends/work in mind, you'll be just fine.
ash on February 10, 2019:
sadly, this article hurt me more than it helped. I get the need to be sobered up, but this made me feel like fucked up, i’ll, and unloveable. And while i understand that this was my perception of it, if this article is meant to help people like me prone to depression, to insist on mental illness this much felt like scratching a wound already opened. I hoped for insight and clarity yes, but definitely not triggers.
anyway, food for thought.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on January 24, 2019:
Thank you for reading and commenting!
L on January 23, 2019:
I’ve struggled with this multiple times, and every time I think it will never end. Thanks for this article. Many articles regarding infatuation are so blunt that they make me feel... crazy, for lack of a better word. This was honest, but didn’t make me feel bad about myself. Science is fascinating, and it’s something I like to remember when I don’t understand why I feel such strong irrational emotions.
Lina on December 06, 2018:
Dear Lucy, thank you so much for this article. I've been suffering from this since I was 6 (!) years old. Only recently I started to suspect that maybe I have a mental illness of some sort as these feelings are so bizarre and strong that it can't be normal. Your article felt like you are speaking directly to me as all points described are so accurate to what I'm going through. To look at science behind all this madness is definitely sobering and refreshing. And it's true, being an emphath doesn't make it easier as well.. Just again, a big thank you for this information.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on November 28, 2018:
This is a beautifully-written and very informative comment. It is true that some degree of bipolarity (whether mild or diagnosable bipolar disorder) is often implicated in infatuation. Those of us who can experience those unbelievably intense, euphoric highs of limerance are, by definition, prone to some degree of mania. You seem to have achieved a state of heightened self-awareness and acceptance of your propensity to developing these feelings, and that is imperative in learning to live with a limerance-prone brain. Best wishes, Lucy.
Mark G. on November 27, 2018:
I've been experiencing limerence since the end of June. I'm bi-polar and I'm a pariah living in a big city. The infatuation emotion is so intense, it's believable to think this person is really thinking of me now. The source of the limerence is unknown and explainable. It was hatched in my consciousnesses. The result of these feelings were miserable. These awful feelings are now fading out. The person was a doctor. She wasn't particularly attractive, she was very cold, had no personality, and didn't help me much because I didn't have health insurance, yet I became infatuated with her. I finally realized that she was not a very good doctor, and she did not care about people, but I was blind-sided with this horrible feeling of being taken as a hostage. I enjoyed reading this article. It was helpful. I surmised it was probably related to my mental illness. I've experienced limerence before many times in my life. This time it was very intense. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but the human mind builds these fantasies and chooses the bad mate that can last for a few months without our consent. If you are experiencing it now, it will pass and the other person has no knowledge of your experience. It is and act of a self mental malfunction. It will pass!
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on November 26, 2018:
Thank you for the useful link!
Christina on November 14, 2018:
This article is so great. I already sent an email to the author, but does anyone recommend any other reading on this subject? I have a bipolar I diagnosis (with elements of psychosis/mania) and want to explore the issue of infatuation and its connection to my illness further. About two years ago, I had a manic episode in which I communicated with my professor "telepathically" and fell madly in love. Fast forward and the obsession faded, but just recently it has flared up, worse then ever. I already made a bad impression on him back then by sending an inappropriate/flirtatious email. Now, I'm thinking about contacting him again, but I don't want to embarrass myself. Yet I am thinking that maybe he is "the one," and that if I don't try, then I will go to my grave with regret. I think he is the most perfect, cute, sensitive and intelligent man on Earth. I dream of being with him. Ugh, I would do anything to get past this.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on November 13, 2018:
Thanks for commenting, so glad you enjoyed!https://hubpages.com/my/hubs/comments
Foxtrot on November 13, 2018:
This is an incredible article. Thank you for this detailed study. And the survey at the end is SUPER interesting. For example, I'm an INTJ (called the "Mastermind" and the "Architect" by some) and it's served me well through life because I'm good at making cool, calculated executive decisions devoid of emotion. I went to great schools, I'm a business owner, etc. Yes INTJs are SO MUCH MORE LIKELY to become obsessed and infatuated with someone quickly based on the survey responses compared to other "T"s. Fascinating!
snowlock64 on September 16, 2018:
Thank you so much for this. Just reading this has helped me immensely. Is it possible that just knowing or learning about what is going on in my head chemically can help? I noticed a sharp downturn in my obsessive thinking about the object of my infatuation soon after reading this article. It made me realise that my brain had glamoured me. Fooled me even. Its very clever at doing it. My LO (limerence object), if thats what it is, is a straight male co-worker, half my age. What I don't understand is why my brain would even think this was a starter. When it was clear to me from the very beginning that my feelings were never going to be reciprocated. No matter how many times I tried to argue this point with myself I just didnt want to listen.
I know I am not out of the woods yet but this gives me hope that I soon will be. It's exhausting and scary.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on September 09, 2018:
@Sharon Kline Hi! Yes, of course you can - I'm very flattered :)
Sharon Kline on September 09, 2018:
Lucy, Thank you for your article. I have an upcoming presentation at a local college on healthy relationships and love vs. infatuation. I have heard about the chemicals released during infatuation and I found your article very helpful. Would it be ok to use some of your information in my presentation?
Frida on August 23, 2018:
This is hands-down the best post I have ever read about infatuation - so much so that I've even bookmarked it and printed it out for future use (as I'm sure this will happen again). I found your article a few months ago whilst being enveloped in the midst of an unrealistic and painful infatuation...three months have gone by and all intense feelings have all but disappeared. The science behind it is really interesting as it is essentially (as you have mentioned) nature's way of prolonging the human race. Infatuation is a very peculiar rollercoaster of which I am certain that I will ride again at some point - but this article proves - there is never a forever thing.
Courtney on August 21, 2018:
A lot of what you said makes perfect sense to how I've been feeling recently.. I'm just unsure on why it's happening. Mainly because i was talking to someone online for a couple of months, who i had already suspected to be a fake user..with that being in the back of my head i entertained it while investigating to figure out who i was actually talking to. I finally found the woman whose pictures i had recieved from this user, contacted her and confirmed she was infact not who i was speaking to. Yet now i find myself obessing over the real woman and I'm not sure why when i was never speaking with her and everything i "knew" of her was false info. Extremely frustrating, i was unaware i even cared to this extent.
Saikat on August 20, 2018:
This is the closest someone described my feelings. Also the bar here shows INFPs more prone to infatuation! Just add low bank balance and a draining job in a toilet economy with what you've described. Are the escape routes you offered be the same?
Jessa on August 07, 2018:
I find this article very helpful for me. Its the very thing that makes me realize if there's really something wrong with me because from time to time i tend to fall in love easily with different guys but which is just a superficial feeling of infatuation, which caused me too many miseries but now i come to understand I dont have to be serious of all that I feel coz its just my brain playing on me, I dont certainly need them to complete me, theres more than that. i became more aware of my feeling and that I am not alone. i usually used to think it so very seriously and it doesnt really mean that I love them. Now I am very careful of my feeling and the feeling of disgust from my self is no more because form time to time I would always fight and say 'Its happening again? What am i doing but right now i fully understand this tricky feeling
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on August 03, 2018:
I'm so glad you've found my article helpful! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your story :)
ABC on August 03, 2018:
Thank you for a very insightful article on this phenomenon. I go through the same situation, being severely obsessed over another male i met online. the symptoms I undergo are very typical - lack of focus, prolonged state of nervousness and sadness, listnessness, diet and sleeping irregularities.
To disclose, I have been diagnosed with depression in my early 20's (I am 38 now) and would recall going through this in about 2-3 instances in the past (twice with the same sex, once with a woman).
i am reminded of how i recovered from serious bouts with infatuation, it has always helped when i focus my energies back on self-care activities (exercise, proper diet... basic self-pampering), AND physical disconnection with the object of infatuation. what i feel i have not fully done is building quality platonic relationships, i have remained quite anti-social and reclusive.
your article has been most helpful, and it has given me a renewed sense hope for recovery and normality. all the best to your work, and i wish all reading this article because of the same situation the happiness and wellness they deserve.
A. on July 05, 2018:
I definitely am depressed. I think the sadness of losing a child never goes away. I am an extremely high functioning depressed person. Most people that know me wouldn't even know that I'm depressed. I am very accomplished, very fit and dress attractively most days. I have a lot of friends and I am part of a really beautiful community. I have started a nonprofit organization, I work full time and take on more roles than most people can manage. However, there is a deep sadness within me all the time. I just keep going to despite it.
About infatuation, I have been thinking about your article more since I read it this morning. I think that the world can be so disappointing, people can let you down. Believing that there is one perfect being helps us to keep having faith in humanity. That is why are civilizations have created the Dalai Lama, the Pope and the great Sages of the Jewish faith. Those highly idealize people give hope that there is pure goodness with in us, though we may not access it, it helps to know that the possibility for purity and greatness exists within us.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on July 05, 2018:
@A, I'm so sorry to hear how much you are suffering. While infatuation is affecting you negatively, I can sense that your bigger problem is depression and believe you should speak to a trained psychologist. There is hope and future peace/happiness for you, I promise - you'd be amazed at how psychotherapy can transform your thought processes. I believe you'd benefit greatly from it, and remember, you're worth it.
@Bhargavi, thanks so much for the comment! I'm delighted and flattered that you have enjoyed my article. Infatuations can be extremely hard to deal with during studying (and since you're young, they will probably be especially intense!). Just remember that everything passes and try your hardest to enjoy the non-romantic aspects of life as much as you can during your studying/exam periods, e.g. chatting to friends, listening to music and exercise. This should make the infatuation naturally lessen in intensity, until it fades entirely over time :)
Bhargavi on July 05, 2018:
This page is outstandingly amazing.!!! ... Being a student.. I really do need to Concentrate on my studies...but my infatuations have hampered me to a large extent... I'm still repenting at my loss... Still... Whatever happens....Happens for the good... Perhaps life wanted me to analyse it properly and learn a lesson for myself... Yeah... I'm heeding towards my goal now... I'm trying my level best to improve myself and keep myself way more away from infatuations.... Thanks tons for this article... really feeling a lot relaxed.... Thanks again ❤
A on July 05, 2018:
Thank you for this article. I can't be sure if it's mental illness but I've had a pretty hard life. As a child I was abused and I think infatuation began when I was a teen. It seems to be a way of coping. I have had the fortunate or unfortunate experience of being able to conquer my infatuation. I was married to one for 11 years. You're right about the six months. By then I was already pregnant and about to give birth. We went on to have two more children. I am 40 now. We are divorced and my middle child passed away very unexpectedly. The pain was unbearable. Very shortly after, I developed an infatuation. I tried to stop but living is so painful, it gives me joy to see my infatuation, speak with him and since he is unavailable there is pain too. I have no choice but to keep living. I have two other children and I could not hurt them or the people that love me by leaving this world. I get to see this person all the time and it's in a professional context. Right now it's hard for me to feel anything. I can't really enjoy most activities. I work and fill my schedule as as much as possible. I exercise everyday. I'm doing everything that I can to stay healthy. This person is intelligent and magnetic. I got a huge pleasure when I'm in his presence. I enjoy fantasizing about him. He is happily married and I know that I facter much into his life. Plus, my life has been so hard that I think I would bring a negative energy to his. I don't think he'd be better off with me. I am pretty sure that nobody would be.
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on June 23, 2018:
Yes, this is exactly true
shah on June 23, 2018:
i will say that infatuation is period in which person lives in imagination which are fuelled by brian chemicals once chemicals are over infatuation ends
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on June 22, 2018:
I can't really give a brief answer to a question like this, but you've given me the idea to write an article on the topic in the next few weeks!
shah on June 21, 2018:
plz answer my previous question
Shah on June 20, 2018:
One question why crush infatuation once they end the person we like suddenly becomes repulsive and unattractive I mean why we lose interest in them plz tell
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on May 13, 2018:
Lovely comment, really accurately describes the innocent bittersweet feelings that infatuation involves! Thanks for sharing :)
AJ on May 13, 2018:
I'd been of fan of this band and i met the members for the first time, i'm bisexual but have never experienced this amount of infatuation with a female before. i was drunk and asked one of the other members if she's into girls which i'm sure was repeated to her.
She was so sweet to me and of course i did the usual, found her music social media pages and sent a message saying i really enjoyed the night and i was looking forward to seeing her perform again next week, and i asked if she would teach me singing (she's local to my town, posted a facebook status asking if anyone wants singing lessons and i'm also a musician so technically not creepy)
it's been a day, she's been online and hasn't responded so i just feel like i've made a fool of myself and made the situation worse because i ruined the fantasy by confirming that she is not into me, and probably thinks i'm a creepy person.
Either i'm totally overthinking this situation or i'm right
so long story short, infatuation is the actual worst.
Megan on May 06, 2018:
Lucy, thank you so much for writing this. I feel a million times better about my infatuation with my coworker who is also a friend of mine (and only sees me as a friend). To see it like a drug addiction is exactly what it feels like. Before I read this article, I have told someone I'm very close with I needed to get my daily dose of him. I love looking at this in a scientific way which makes me feel less ashamed and guilty BECAUSE he is my friend/co worker. I've been infatuated with him for three months now and I hope very so I will get over this. I'm mentally and physically exhausted. Thank you again.
shah on April 28, 2018:
when i first got infatutated i felt great energy gathered in me i felt on the sky in both infatuations for 4 - 5 months during when infatuation is at the peak i felt depressed when i couldnt see them and when they ignored me when i didnt saw them for long time my infatuation got ended
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on April 26, 2018:
Yes, i agree. Now you can move forward.
shah on April 26, 2018:
the person has gone to other place 160 kms away incidentally that place is my orginial hometown no way i can her meet her now will this distance help in getting rid of infatuation
Shah on April 25, 2018:
The person whom I got infatuated has left nearby place I will never a her again I think it is good what do u think if I see her she will ignore me its good she has left
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on April 25, 2018:
Haha, I definitely don't believe in angels, sorry.