1. An involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated.

Usage notes

  • Conventional love, by contrast, requires no reciprocity. Limerence is not infatuation, which includes aspects of immaturity and extrapolating from insufficient information. It is an automatic reaction, not the product of an individual's decision. It is something that "just happens" to people that seem predisposed to this condition. It is sometimes referred to as "being in love" with someone, as opposed to "loving" someone (e.g. romantic love, passionate love or lust). Since nonlimerents also use these terms to describe their feelings, these terms do not provide an adequate definition.
  • Coined by Dorothy Tennov, Professor of Psychology (Emeritus), University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Circa 1977. She created the noun "limerence" and the adjective "limerent" to describe a particular state of mind. The coinages are arbitrary; there is no specific etymology.