Search icon

What Triggers Limerence? 8 Possible Causes and How to Get Over It

The term ‘limerence’ was introduced by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in her book Love and Limerence – the Experience of Being in Love. Limerence is the state of being obsessively attracted to someone to the extent that you start stalking them or fantasizing about them day and night. [1]  

How does having a limerence make you feel? Is it worth it if you confess your feelings to your limerent object? We are going to look at the triggers of limerence and look for ways how to end it. We will also try to understand the difference between love and limerence.

Key Takeaways 

  • Limerence is not the same as love. It is a state of obsessive attraction with your LO (limerent object).
  • Limerence triggers can range from anything from unmet childhood needs to a connection with the LO to the reaction of the LO.
  • To get rid of limerence, you should give importance to self-care, concentrate on your personal goals and try your best to control your mind. 
  • If everything else fails, and you cannot control your limerence, you can visit a professional therapist who can help you fight your limerence.

What Triggers Limerence?

Certain factors can trigger your limerence. Read on to know what they are. 

1. Unmet emotional needs

Limerence can be triggered by unmet emotional needs. If you have been in a relationship where you were not loved or respected, it can result in you feeling unloved or empty. The lack of emotional reciprocation from your partner can result in intense emotions, which can trigger your limerence. 

Not only the relationship with your romantic partner, but your relationship with your primary caregivers in your early stages of development can also result in attachment needs, which can later result in developing limerence quickly.

The lack of love in your current and previous relationships can make you feel lonely even when you are with your partner. It can trigger limerence and the person can even get involved in emotional cheating with their limerent object as they feel the LO’s presence can heal them.

2. Sexual desires in your head

For a limerent person, obsessive thoughts happen in their head, which is triggered by the physical or sexual attraction towards the limerent object. Not only physical appearance but LO's admirable qualities, dressing style, voice, body language, etc., can also result in limerence.

The romantic attraction, heart palpitations, and the intense desire to be constantly near your limerent person; all happen within your brain. If there is a genuine connection and an obsessive love between the two people, it can be difficult to be apart.

Your brain gets a sort of love addiction towards a person so much that thinking about your love interest gives you pleasure, and soon, this habit becomes a compulsion. Soon your romantic infatuation reaches a length where your brain drives you into a person-addiction.

3. Mystery

Looking through a keyhole couple being intimate

Most of us want some thrill in life and hate a boring and monotonous life. Meeting someone who seems different from others and about whom you do not know much can trigger limerence. You get an intense feeling when you see this mysterious limerent object as you see them as unique and special.  

The unrequited limerence can lead to secret passion towards a person who is a mystery to you, and you might try maintaining emotional reciprocation with the person of your desire. The mystery factor in the person would compel you to know more and more about this person. This behavior can lead you into person-addiction and limerence.

4. The stage in your life

The situation and stage in your life when you meet your limerent object can be the cause of limerence. When we are in an emotional state or at a stage where we are looking for love, there are more chances that you will experience limerence. This is because limerence gives a pleasant arousal, which is what most people desire when going through a difficult phase in life.

It is true that our brain decides if a limerent object would have a powerful grip on us but the stage in which we are in our life decides if we would chase after our limerent object.

5. Resemblance with the past partner

Limerence can get triggered when you meet someone who resembles your past love interest with whom you shared unrequited love. It can also get triggered when you meet someone who resembles your ex-partner or has certain character traits similar to them. [2]

You would subconsciously want to change whatever bad happened with you in your past relationship, which is why you would experience a strong desire to be with this new person, which can result in limerence.

6. Power dynamics

A strong need to be with someone you consider superior to you can trigger limerence. This person can be someone who is in an authoritative or higher position than you or someone who is richer or smarter than you. The power dynamics work by you wanting the attention of the person who you think is unattainable.

Here, the limerent person is seeking validation of the specific person by trying to gain their attention.

7. Shared experiences limerence

Shared experiences can also trigger limerence. If you experience a life-changing event with someone, it not only brings you closer to the person but also triggers limerence. The sense of knowing each other and feeling a connection can lead to limerence.

8. How the limerent object reacts

The limerence can either turn into obsessive behavior, or the limerent episode can end depending on how the infatuated love is responded to by the other party. If the LO either rejects or accepts the limerent person and there is no doubt about their feelings, the limerence dies away. 

It is normal to want one’s feelings reciprocated; however, if the LO does not give you a clear answer and leaves you hanging, it can result in intrusive thoughts, which can lead to limerence.

Moreover, in some cases, the LO is responsible for the limerence of the other person as they intentionally try to seduce and manipulate the limerent person for their own needs. 

Limerence vs Love

Couple smiling out in the field

The key differences between limerence and love are that while love is based on true feelings and emotional connection, limerence is all about lust and fantasy. Moreover, when you are in love, you will love that person with all their faults, but as you reach the later stages of limerence, you no longer see the LO as someone who is perfect.

Although limerence outwardly looks like the person is in love, in reality, it is not as giving and as free as love but is filled with obsessive thoughts, which can often have clinical implications. 

While in love, you are happy to be in the company of the person you love, when it comes to limerence, you see the other person as someone who will fix you and save you. As a result, you start depending on them a lot and cannot imagine living away from them.

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool will do just that and pull up any hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more to hopefully help put your doubts to rest.

When in love, you grow with the other person and ensure that you both learn things from each other, but when experiencing limerence, you forget everything about yourself and try to be with your LO no matter how bad they are for you. [3]

In love, even if you ignore small negative qualities of a person, you at least see them, but in limerence, you become completely blind to the person’s negative traits.

If you have completely forgotten about yourself and only think about the needs of your LO and are obsessed about them, then it is limerence, not love.

How to Get Over Limerence?

Although studies have shown that it is possible to treat limerence using a cognitive behavioral approach, the tips below can help you get over it and regain control of your brain.

1. Self-awareness 

The first step to take when looking to overcome limerence is to accept and recognize that you are experiencing limerence. Understand that getting over limerence might be tough and challenging but it is still possible to do. So start by being completely honest with yourself, as until you do this, you will not be at peace with yourself. 

Accept yourself as you are and accept the mistakes you have made regarding the LO. 

Understand that limerence and attachment anxiety are related, and your limerence could be the result of your anxious attachment style, and to have a healthy relationship, you would have to develop a more secure attachment style. 

Tell yourself that you have an obsession and all you want is an all-consuming relationship, which gives you a high, but it is not necessarily the right thing to do. 

2. Identify your triggers

Try to find out why you constantly get the desire to think, talk and be with a particular person. Once you find out what triggers your cravings, you can look for ways to avoid them. Doing this will help you limit your obsessive thoughts to the object of your desire. Once you identify your triggers, you can set a goal for yourself and slowly try to change your behavior.

3. No contact

If you have a LO that you desire then the best way to let go of your limerence is to cut off all contact with this person. 

Sure, applying the strategy of going no-contact requires discipline but can be possible if you see LO as a ‘danger’ to your well-being. Cutting off contact with your LO means letting go of all the communication whether it is through social media or through mutual friends. 

4. Focus on self-love

Rather than getting your moods dictated by your LO, focus on yourself and do things that you love, like, going out with your friends, exercising, etc. To get over the unrequited love, do things for your personal growth and well-being

Channel your energy on pursuing your goals and on your own development. Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally by having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting rough sleep.

5. Psychological deprogramming

Try to change how your brain works by tricking it. By the final stage of limerence, you have paid attention to your LO to the extent that you only see good things in them. The reason behind it could be your attachment style, where you have based your self-esteem on how your LO treats you, and there is always a fear of rejection in your mind. [4]

To get over your obsessive thoughts towards your LO, try to sort of devalue them. While you might have seen only the wonderful qualities in your LO, use this time away from them to ponder over their negative qualities, which you might have ignored in the early stages of limerence. 

Think about their annoying habits and give yourself reasons to end the limerence.

6. Try to find out the root cause of your limerence

Try to find out if your limerence gets activated by a particular type of person or if it is based on your deep psychological vulnerabilities like low self-esteem or lack of closure in your previous relationship. Once you find out the root cause of your limerence, start working on your obsessive behavior.

Remember that limerence is about you, and a LO is just a catalyst. If you leave your current happy relationship for your LO, you not only lose someone who loves you, but you also deny yourself an opportunity for growth.

7. Try to find a distraction

If everything else has failed and you are still in all-consuming unrequited love with your LO, it is best that you find a new, less toxic LO for yourself. Of course, this is when you are single, but if you are in a relationship, try to revive your relationship by trying new things with your partner. 

Spend your limerence on someone who deserves it. However, even with your romantic partner, do not jump into things and keep challenging intimate boundaries till you are completely over your first toxic LO.

8. Give yourself time

There is no quick fix to get over the limerence, and the whole process will take time; however, it will fade away with time. Keep trying to stop fantasizing about your LO and give yourself time to heal.

9. Try to control your mind

Girl pulling her guy's arm

See limerence as a beast that is in your head, and as it is impossible to fight it physically, you need to fight with your mind. You can do it with small acts that help you take control of your brain, like challenging yourself not to fantasize about your LO for at least half an hour or controlling the urge to send them a message. 

Celebrate these small wins that you have over your limerence and slowly make the tasks more challenging. With these small fights, you will soon get over your limerence.

10. Confess your feelings

If your LO is a decent person and you think you can have a happy relationship with them, it is best to confess your feelings to them. Sure, doing this would not be easy as there is always a fear of rejection, but it is best that you take your chance.

If they feel the same about you, good for you; however, if you get rejected, it would end your limerence. Confessing your feelings might be difficult, but after you have been honest to yourself about your limerence, it is time to be honest to your LO.

Of course, things are different when you are already in a romantic relationship or your LO is in a relationship. But if you have decided to end things with your partner in order to be with your LO, you should end your current relationship before confessing your feelings.

11. Talk to someone

If you are finding it difficult to get over your limerence, talk to someone you trust. It would be best if you could talk to a professional who could not only understand you but also give you tools to get rid of your limerence. [5]

Understand that you might be experiencing limerence due to the problems in your current relationship. In this case, it is best to go for a couple’s therapy and look for ways to strengthen your relationship.

If you cannot connect to a therapist, try to find someone you trust, like a friend or family. Sharing your feelings with this person will make you feel light, and their guidance and support will help you in the situation.


Is limerence a mental illness? 

Limerence is a natural response toward someone we are attracted to. However, when this attraction gets out of hand to the extent that the person fantasizes and stalks their LO every second of the day, it can turn into a mental illness. The continuous intrusive thoughts and compulsive rituals make it like a relationship-centered OCD.

Does no contact work on limerence? 

No contact helps to eliminate limerence. There will be small changes in the beginning like the impaired functioning experienced earlier would improve, normal or daily routine would improve, etc. There is no quick fix to end the limerence but with no contact the uncertainty would be gone, which would be a great help in getting rid of limerence.

Can a crush turn into limerence?

Yes, when a seemingly innocent crush turns into obsession and stalking, it means it is limerence. Moreover, while a crush comes to an end, the limerence seems never-ending. It will help if you try to take appropriate steps to control your obsessive behavior when you notice that your crush is turning into limerence.


When love turns obsessive, it is no longer love, and it is turned into limerence. If you are feeling limerence towards a LO, you should identify your triggers and try your best to control them. 

Be mindful and try to train your brain not to think too much about your LO. When everything else fails, you should visit a professional therapist who gives you tools to get rid of limerence.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.

5 Sources:
  1. Dorothy, Tennov. (1979). Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. 
  2. Willmott, Lynn & Bentley, Evie. (2015). Exploring the Lived-Experience of Limerence: A Journey toward Authenticity. Qualitative Report. 20.
  3. Patricia, Noller. (1996). What is this thing called love? Defining the love that supports marriage and family. Personal Relationships, 3(1):97-115. 
  4. Judith, A., Feeney., Patricia, Noller. (1990). Attachment Style as a Predictor of Adult Romantic Relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(2):281-291. 
  5. Wyant BE. Treatment of Limerence Using a Cognitive Behavioral Approach: A Case Study. J Patient Exp. 2021 Nov 23.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive weekly tips & tricks to improve your love life.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.