The 4 Stages of Limerence: A Rollercoaster Ride of Emotions

Have you ever been utterly infatuated by someone, feeling like you’re on cloud nine and unable to stop thinking about them?

That’s limerence—a state of intense romantic attraction that can feel overwhelming and all-consuming.

Did you know that there are 4 stages of limerence that people may go through?

The 4 Stages of Limerence

Limerence: An involuntary romantic infatuation with another person, especially combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated.

4 stages of limerence
“If limerence is returned, the feelings intensify and the couple ends up ignoring their friends.”

Let’s explore the four stages of limerence and the emotions that come with them.

Stage 1: Crush

The first stage of limerence is the crush stage.

This is the initial phase when you start to feel attracted to someone and can’t stop thinking about them.

You might feel a rush of excitement when you see them or talk to them, and your heart might race at the mere thought of them.

Some of the emotions that you might experience during this stage include:

  • Euphoria and excitement
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Obsessive thoughts and daydreaming
  • Increased energy and motivation
  • Restlessness and insomnia (sleeplessness)

If you’re in the crush stage, it’s important to remember that this is just the beginning of your limerence journey.

Try to enjoy the excitement and get to know the person you’re crushing on, but don’t let your feelings get out of control just yet.

[Are you aware of these limerence triggers?]

Stage 2: Infatuation

The second stage of limerence is infatuation.

This is when your feelings of attraction intensify, and you start to feel like you can’t live without the person you’re infatuated with.

You might start to idealize them and put them on a pedestal, thinking that they’re perfect in every way.

Some emotions you might experience during this stage include:

  • Intense longing and craving
  • Increased anxiety and insecurity
  • Heightened physical and emotional sensitivity
  • Fear of rejection or abandonment
  • Fantasizing about a future with the person

During this stage, it’s essential to be mindful of your emotions and recognize that they might not be entirely rational.

Take time to evaluate your feelings and consider whether they’re based on reality or just your imagination.

Stage 3: Frustration

The third stage of limerence is frustration.

This is when reality starts to set in, and you realize that the person you’re infatuated with might not feel the same way about you.

You might start to feel disappointed, rejected, or even angry at the person for not reciprocating your feelings. Interestingly, narcissists are known to react with narcissistic rage when their advances are spurred.

Some emotions you might experience during this stage include:

  • Frustration and disappointment
  • Anger and resentment
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Obsessive thoughts and rumination
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy

During this stage, it’s critical to practice self-care and focus on your own needs and goals.

Remember that your worth isn’t defined by someone else’s feelings towards you, and try to move on if it’s clear that the person you’re infatuated with isn’t interested.

Stage 4: Resignation

The fourth and final stage of limerence is resignation.

This is when you start to accept the reality of the situation and move on from your infatuation.

You might still feel some residual feelings of attraction, but they’re no longer overpowering and don’t consume your thoughts.

Some emotions you might experience during this stage include:

During this stage, it’s important to reflect on the experience and what you’ve learned from it.

Limerence can be an intense emotional rollercoaster, but it can also be a valuable learning experience that helps you grow as a person.

The 4 Stages of Limerence (and the affair).

Is limerence the same as love?

No, limerence is a state of intense romantic attraction that can be temporary and based on idealized perceptions of the other person. Love, on the other hand, is a more profound and more lasting emotional connection based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding.

Can limerence be unhealthy?

Yes, limerence can be unhealthy if it interferes with your daily life, causes excessive anxiety or depression, or leads to behaviors that are harmful to yourself or others.

How long does the limerence last?

Limerence can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the individual and the situation.

[Do you know the differences between love and limerence?]

Final Words

The 4 stages of limerence can be a wild ride of emotions, from the initial crush to the final resignation.

Knowing these stages and the emotions that accompany them can help us negotiate limerence safely.

Limerence can be a valuable life experience provided we keep things in perspective and do not let our emotions overwhelm us.

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Sandip Roy is a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).

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