How would you define “love”? Take it a step further and ask yourself how you would define “true love.”
Contrary to Hollywood’s portrayal of love, true love isn’t a feeling – though feelings are included. True love is commitment, friendship, and intimacy. What most people think of as “true love” or being “in love” is actually a scientific phenomenon called limerence.
Limerence is a word defining the state of being madly in love and it was coined by Dorothy Tennov, PhD, in 1977. A large amount of research has been done by Helen Fisher, PhD, and her colleagues on the concept.
Basically it’s that intense rush of emotions, desire, and even border-line obsession that we feel for a new romantic partner. It is a euphoric sensation that has no comparison and someone experiencing the chemical rushes associated with it will often say that they “have never felt this way before,” when describing their feelings for the other person.
In the Disney movie, “Bambi,” the wise old owl calls it being “twitterpated.”
The strength of limerence subsides in a few months or up to a few years and usually completely ends. It is then that commitment, friendship, and intimacy that have developed in that time, hopefully, take its place. So people who are, as some say, “addicted to love,” are addicted to the chemical highs of limerence. Listen to the wise owl from Bambi explain it in the video below:
When Limerence Fades
If “enough” commitment, friendship, and intimacy failed to develop during the highs of the limerence stage, people often say that they, “fell out of love.”
If your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend has left you for someone else or broke up with you and is now in a rebound relationship, it is likely because the limerence phase with you faded or ended. If they went to someone new, the pull to that other person is likely caused by, you guessed it, limerence.
The good news in a rebound relationship is that it has the potential to end fairly quickly. This is because one or both of the people in it begin to feel its artificial, rushed nature. Your ex will be used to the time-developed closeness and connection that they had with you that simply can’t happen with this other person right away. This makes you look more attractive – especially if you aren’t chasing your ex or begging for him/her to come back to you.
If you have given your ex the space they requested and are allowing them to truly experience the breakup they said they wanted, they likely remember the feelings they had for you during the limerence phase of your relationship. This remembering is due to a form of separation anxiety that they likely will experience while being away from you if you have done what I describe in my other articles which is to use the no contact rule.
That’s how you combat limerence. You let your ex see that they had more than just the highs of newness with you. They had commitment, intimacy, and friendship in addition to romance that we often associate with limerence. So the best way to overcome limerence is by allowing your ex to fully experience the breakup. They don’t get to have you as a romantic partner. They don’t get your presence or communication with you. This leads your ex to be curious about why you aren’t reaching out. Why you aren’t begging them to come back to you. They then wonder if they have lost you.
This fear of loss – fear that they might have completely blown it with you – can reignite limerence toward you. Fear of loss is actually part of what fuels limerence. The other person, seeming easily attainable and constantly present, will likely seem less attractive and feelings for them will ease. You are the one who is scarce now and the fear that your ex, hopefully, feels because of that could cause the obsessive desire of limerence to return for you.
You just need to stay back and let your ex come to you without allowing yourself to react to their rebound relationship (at least not where they can see or be aware of your struggle). Take it one day at a time, knowing that you don’t have to get your ex back right now in order to get them back. When you are doing the right things, time is on your side.
To get my help on your specific situation and a tailored roadmap to getting your ex back, schedule a private coaching call with me.