Limerence

Category: Language Adventures

November 14, 2023

The word “Limerence” was coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in her 1979 book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. It is derived from the Latin ‘limerentia,’ meaning to be lovesick.

Tennov and subsequent mental health professionals explain the condition of limerence in many ways in their research, writings, or on their YouTube channels. Here are some samples:

  1. An involuntary state of mind
  2. Obsessive thoughts and desire for another
  3. Fear of unrequited love
  4. Overwhelming
  5. Infatuation
  6. Anxious desire
  7. Agony or ecstasy, elation or jubilation
  8. Acute emotional intensity

It is very odd that the word ‘limerence,’ which describes a uniquely common and impassioned human experience, has not yet found its way into literature or poetry. Yet, writers, poets, and songwriters throughout the millennia, including poets like Shakespeare and modern-day musicians like Adele, have described it perfectly.

You may detect limerence in this stanza from Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Love:

But now the day bleeds into nightfall
And you’re not here to get me through it all
I let my guard down, and then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved…

Lewis Capaldi

Here is my attempt to break new ground, to place ‘limerence’ into a genre where it rightly belongs:

Is It Love, My Dear?
Is it us, dear, in this sweet embrace?
Is it us, a dance of love and grace?

Joined together here, just me and you
Is it love to last? Can it be true?

My mind is on you all day and night
There is no respite in my worried sight.

Can you relieve this pain of mine?
Can you take it, make it all fine?

Does my heart break now? Must my heart lose?
And succumb to the limerence blues?

Or will you give me peace, my dear,
The peace of your always being near?

T. Smith, the non-poet

How to Pronounce Limerence:

https://www.howtopronounce.com/limerence

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