Consider what it is that YOU are experiencing in your relationship – Is it infatuation (limerence) or love?
1. How long have you been with your partner?
Infatuation (limerence) lasts just long enough for a couple to get together, for the woman to be impregnated and a baby to be born.
Then, theoretically, leaving the female to raise the offspring, the man can be off again to find another mate, and, by doing what comes naturally, ensure diversity of the species.
Infatuation, Limerence or Lust is the human version of the mating instinct.
2. Is yours a “secret” relationship?
Extramarital affairs are real hotbeds of limerence. Although the intense excitement and prolonged passion of an extramarital affair can feel like love, it is usually a matter of extended limerence or lust.
Extramarital infatuation can endure for years, as long as the straying couple don’t spend too much time together. Long term relationships find it hard to compete with the thrill of this type of forbidden ‘love’!
3. How often do you spend time with your partner?
Infatuation will last longer if obstacles are placed in the way of lovers
- for example, if the couple must be separated for any length of time,
- or the love affair is long distance.
- If the family or community disapproves of the relationship,
These can all extend limerence or the euphoric phase.
4. Is your relationship being experienced in a variety of situations?
- sickness and health,
- work and leisure,
- winter and summer,
- your family,
- his friends?
Will your relationship survive limerence?
It is easy to experience limerence when you are alone in blissful isolation, devoting time and attention to just each other. You may spend many hours together, connecting emotionally and sexually.
Limerence can (temporarily) transform a shrinking violet into a sexual huntress. Most men are turned on by the company of a limerent woman who is sexually interested and adventurous.
In the initial months of sexual activity most couples seem magically to possess a perfectly matched set of libidos.
As limerence fades, differences in desire for sex often emerges for the first time, and can remain a frustrating difference for the remainder of the relationship.
HOWEVER, if your relationship survives initial limerence, and then family functions and festivities, sickness of each, a work as well as leisure routine, then quite possibly, your relationship has turned to one of love and companionship.
Your body may no longer zing with surges of sexy neurotransmitters, but you will be rewarded with nature’s softer chemicals – the endorphins.
Words of Wisdom:
“If you put a bean in a jar every time you make love during your first year of being together, and take a bean out every time you make love in the years that follow, don’t be surprised if you still have beans left in your jar ten years down the track.”
Reference: Dr Rosie King, “Good Loving Great Sex – Finding Balance When Your Sex drives Differ”, Random House 1997, 104-110