Shah Rukh Khan epitomized it in that widely popular film Darr! We all remember his fanatical 'KKKK Kiran' call, don't we?

Do you find yourself in the same situation? Is there a face in your mind that pops up anytime and all the time? Are you losing sleep over when to meet that face next? Are all your waking moments being spent thinking of that face, that smile, and those eyes? If yes, you have caught something called limerence?

Never heard about it? Well in this blog we will deal with limerence and how it is not love.

What is limerence?

Coined in the 1960s, by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, limerence is an all-consuming, involuntary state of obsessive romance. In other words, limerence is the cognitive and emotional state of fascination with someone. It is a voluntary phenomenon and includes a strong longing for reciprocation of feelings of the person afflicted with it that is limerent. This type of fatal attraction involves compulsive thoughts, fantasies, and longings to form and maintain a romantic relationship with a particular individual who is called the Limerent Object.

Tennov introduced the term after conducting a thorough study with more than 500 individuals whom she interviewed on the subject of love. Social psychologists have ever since done comprehensive research and study on limerence and found a powerful evolutionary basis in the phenomenon. Experts feel that limerence is integral to human neuropsychological software, and people rely on it for finding partners. In fact, limerence can ideally be great to start with as it can help one fall in love and establish a strong bond.

However, the idea remains a widely controversial one in psychology, as some psychologists refuse to recognize its legitimacy. Interestingly Tennov feels that those who have not experienced limerence are devoid of the experiential pedestal which is imperative to understand the existence of limerence. Only the experienced ones are capable of knowing their sheer power and efficacy.

The key differences between Limerence and Love are:

The main aim of a limerent is having the feelings reciprocated; sexual intimacy which is the primary drive in love is generally missing here.

Unlike love, there remains no chance that the limerent is unaware of facts regarding the Limerent Object — limerence happens even when flaws in the desired person’s character are well known.

Unlike love, Limerents are less bothered about the desired individual’s well-being and are more concerned about winning them over anyhow.

Also unlike love, limerence leads to compulsive study of the behaviours and actions of the desired object.

Limerent doesn't see the individual as who they are in real life and envision them as flawless, exemplifying perfection. Under the influence of limerence, many build a dreamy state of mind and only muse over being together with the crush and spending the entire life together in perfect harmony.

Contrarily, love involves an intense and extremely real connection with another individual. Love happens over time, after dating an individual for quite some time and with collective experiences. Most importantly, love sees the objects of interest as whom they truly are — flaws included.

Limerence can be just a passing phase and can abate soon. However, if the obsession continues for a longer period, then it can become distressing and bothersome as it can affect an individual or a couple’s life.

Here are some native ramifications of limerence -

  • Staying away from work in order to spend time with the crush

  • Productivity getting hampered at work due to lack of concentration and obsessing on the next meeting with the crush

  • Ignoring family and near ones to get into a fantasy world with the crush.

Limerence in the time of Social media:

Mental health professionals feel that social media has the potential to facilitate limerence. As it makes it easier for a Limerent to see new pictures of their objects of desire every day on platforms like Instagram; and know about their state of mind and about their important life events on online communities like Twitter and Facebook.

That said, some psychologists believe the opposite to be true. According to them the total exposure of a person’s life on social media everyday helps in mollifying the obsession and in realizing the banality of the individual’s character. They also believe that access to limitless potential partners in social media also helps in controlling limerence.

If you are experiencing such an obsessive attraction, it could be limerence. Put your best foot forward and make an appointment with a psychologist and share everything you feel. A couple of therapy sessions are all you will need to regain sanity.

Be the Shah Rukh of DDLJ and not of Darr!

love or obession?