For reasons we don’t yet fully understand, not everyone experiences limerence. People who do may experience it only once and then move onto a healthy relationship, or may fall into a lifelong pattern of obsessive relationships. Like drug addicts, some chase that lovesick feeling at the expense of their careers, families and health. Those who cannot let go of the intensity and euphoria of romantic love may be struggling with relationship, romance or love addiction. Behaviors may become dangerous, such as stalking or unwanted contact, and require outpatient or residential love addiction treatment, professional counseling and/or 12-step work.

Predictably, limerence shares little in common with the stable and solid kind of love that fortifies healthy long-term relationships. Limerent beginnings certainly can morph into sustainable partnerships, but often they beget heartbreak.  

Unlike love, limerence is not a choice. It ambushes us. The choice lies in whether we act on it, and how. Either we allow limerence to derail our goals and betray our relationships, or else we use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and initiate positive changes.

Perhaps there are 2 parts to the question as to why do we get limerence – why are we attracted to certain people and then why do some of us get stuck in an obsessive loop?

As for the first part- what drives attraction?

  • Its a biological drive to reproduce
  • We are replaying relationships from our early lives where we were wounded, hoping we get a better outcome this time around
  • We are seeking validation and love
  • A bunch of other stuff that drives attractive – facial features, voice, smell, pheromones, gait and all the unconscious stuff we are just not aware of

As for why do we get stuck in limerence, again its multifactorial:

  • Limerents have significant early life trauma that sets us up with behaviors that are limerent sensitising such as low self esteem, obsessive behaviour, addictive tendencies, codependency, love addiction, etc
  • We go through a life crisis that makes us vulnerable and drives us to seek external validation
  • Mid-life transitions / crisis is a big driver for some of us
  • We hook into an avoidant personality of an LO – this drives the push -pull relationship that sends us batshit crazy with uncertainty and is the rocket fuel for limerence
  • Our LO’s are high on the narc scale so they use us as narcissistic supply – we experience behaviours are likely similar to the environments we grew up in and so feel familiar and comfortable, even though they are toxic and soul destroying
  • Maybe we have structural abnormalities in our brains that predisposes us to limerence?
  • Other yet to be discovered factors – the reality is we don’t know diddly squat as to why do some of us experience limerence.

The therapeutic community is ignorant to limerence, 99% have never heard of it and most just write it off as a crush. LIMERENCE IS NOT A CRUSH. Until there is a wider acceptance of the impact and number of people that are impacted, little progress will be made. 


David qualified as a Medical Doctor (GMC number 2941565) in 1984 from St. Thomas’ hospital, London. He obtained his GP and family planning certification. In 1999 he left medicine to set up docleaf, a leading Crisis Management and Trauma Psychology Consultancy. He has experience as a hypnotherapist and holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapy and counselling from the Centre of Counselling and Psychotherapy Education in London and is currently studying for an advance diploma in executive coaching.

David spends part of his time as an executive coach and running docleaf leadership which works with CEO’s and other C suite leaders in helping them develop and grow.

David has written extensively about limerence, sex and love addiction as well as trauma and PTSD. His interest in romantic relationships led him to set up, a support forum to help those impacted by this debilitating condition.

David is passionate about men’s work and his mission in life is to help people become more conscious by teaching and helping others and continuing his own self-development. He is actively involved in volunteering with the ManKind Project charity which helps men live their lives with more integrity, honesty and taking more personal responsibility.

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