You May Not Be Aware of These Common Limerence Triggers

While limerence can feel exhilarating and euphoric, it can also be all-consuming and distressing.

Limerence, sometimes referred to as love addiction, is an intense feeling of infatuation and attraction to someone. A typical incidence of limerence goes through four stages.

So, what triggers limerence?

Six Factors That Trigger Limerence

Often described as “a crush on steroids,” limerence can be triggered by past relationships and unrequited love, among others.

triggers of limerence

Here are 6 factors that may cause an acute onset of limerence:

1. Unfulfilled emotional needs.

Unmet emotional needs can leave us with a gnawing sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. These can trigger an intense desire for emotional connections.

You may also have unresolved emotional wounds from the past. (Well, who doesn’t?!)

When these wounds remain uncared for in your current relationships, they can make you feel lonely in a relationship. These feelings of being neglected or unloved can be typical triggers of limerence.

This emotional incompleteness may lead to infatuation with a person that you think can heal you.

You see them as “heart doctors” who can fix your emotional hurts with the validation and affection you crave so much.

You may even forget that true fulfillment comes from within, and relying on someone else to fill the void inside you may open you to further emotional turmoil.

2. Physical attraction.

One of the most common causes of limerence is physical attraction. The trigger could be the target’s beauty, fashion sense, voice, or body language.

When you’re physically attracted to someone, it can be tough to resist the intense feelings that come with it.

Often, it’s not just their appearance, but also the way they talk, make certain gestures, pronounce certain words, or carry themselves in unique ways that makes them irresistible.

When two people have all-embracing chemistry, it can be hard to discard the pining to be together.

Although physical attractiveness fades with time and is not enough to sustain a healthy partnership in the long term, it is a surprisingly common trigger for limerence and romance.

Attraction based on physical attractiveness is unsustainable.

3. Novelty and mystery.

Novelty and mystery can trigger limerence too.

This might happen when we are intrigued or awed by an unfamiliar side of the person of our desire.

When you encounter someone who is charmingly unfamiliar, or mysterious, or just seems different from anyone you have met before, it can spark your curiosity and trigger limerence.

The novelty factor can make it seem like you are about to experience something unique and unusual. So, getting to know them more appears exciting and tempting.

The mystery factor can also create a sense of intrigue and thrill. It makes you eager to learn more about the hidden side of this person of desire.

As you try to unravel their mysteries, you may get increasingly obsessed and infatuated with them, leading to limerence.

4. Similarities to past relationships.

Limerence can also get triggered by similarities to past relationships or unresolved feelings from previous experiences.

We may find ourselves drawn to someone who reminds us of a past love interest or has similar qualities or the looks of an ex-partner.

In some cases, we may even be seeking to complete our unfinished business from a previous relationship.

Or we could be trying to recreate positive experiences from the past.

These subconscious desires to fix our past “mistakes” and repair our emotional machinery can push us to form limerence-laden relationships.

5. Power dynamics.

Power dynamics can play a crucial role in triggering limerence.

When we see a person in a position of authority or perceive someone as unattainable, it may seem like an exciting challenge to make them fall in love with us.

A perceived power imbalance can lead to a strong desire for that powerful person.

  • A boss or a teacher who you see as unattainable may generate feelings of challenge and thrill for you, the limerent person.
  • Someone who is highly attractive, ultrawealthy, or well-respected can also produce an uneven power dynamic that can trigger strong desires and limerence in you.

In either case, the limerent is seeking validation and worthiness by trying to win the “unattainable” person’s attention and affection.

It’s like “taming the wild horses”.

6. Shared experiences

Limerence can be triggered by shared experiences and emotional connections, such as going through a difficult time together or experiencing a significant life event.

Shared experiences can often initiate a strong bond between two people and trigger limerence.

When two people share a unique experience, such as going through a challenging or life-changing situation that is similar to what the limerent person went through, it can trigger limerence.

The sharing of intense emotions and vulnerability of these experiences can spark a sense of closeness and intimacy, which can fuel feelings of limerence.

Moreover, the shared experience often gives the person a sense of familiarity and comfort of the known, leading to an increased attraction towards the other person.

What causes limerence?

Limerence may be motivated by feelings of low self-esteem, envy, boredom, or physical attraction. Some other causes like pre-existing diseases may drive some people to want to “tame the wild horses.” Limerence is often marked by obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals, but it is possible that they were already dealing with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What makes the limerence worse?

Limerence could get worse if the other person is knowingly triggering you just to boost their self-esteem. They may unintentionally send you mixed signals. Physical hurdles, such as the person of interest moving to a new geographical location, could be another cause. Similarly, an emotional barrier like discovering they are already in a stable relationship can worsen the situation and turn limerence into a fierce and toxic desire.

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

Final Words

Not everybody who has these triggers will fall into limerence.

And limerence can affect different people in different ways. Some may get out of it on their own when they realize that limerence is not a healthy or sustainable emotion.

If your limerence gets in the way of your daily life, please seek help from a professional counselor or relationship expert.

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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — 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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