“I was in limerence with my spouse. Is the relationship fake?” Often, clients will tell me that they are sure they were in limerence with their spouse before they were married. But does that mean the relationship with their spouse was bad from the beginning?
If you were in limerence with your spouse when you first entered a relationship together, it doesn’t mean it’s doomed. Your spouse being in limerence with you is different than being in limerence with an affair partner or limerent object. But we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
What Is Limerence?
Before fully answering the question, I want to define what limerence is. Limerence is a type of love with identifiable characteristics. We can identify if it is limerence or not by those characteristics. It is important to note that limerence doesn’t always occur in every relationship. But when it does, it is a powerful emotion.
Limerence is a deep longing for an emotional connection with a person that supersedes nearly anything. A person in limerence is willing to sacrifice almost anything to be with this person. Another characteristic that a person in limerence may have is thinking that this person is perfect. Even if the person has identifiable flaws, someone in limerence will explain those flaws away because of the “halo effect.” Other characteristics include:
Cherishing things that you associate with this person.
Constantly thinking of this person.
Daydreaming about a future life together.
Research shows that a person in limerence can obsessively think about their limerent object or their “LO,” up to 85% of waking hours. Talk about obsessive thinking.
If I Was In Limerence With My Spouse, Is It Bad?
Well, that depends on a few things. First off, if the two of you are already married to different people, the relationship will have problems. When you get into a limerent relationship with each other, we know that, statistically, the relationship will struggle to survive. It doesn’t make it impossible, but the probability that it will last is slim.
Now, I’m not trying to discourage you but rather be honest about your situation. If you were married before, and you left that spouse to be with your current spouse, I strongly recommend that you reach out to one of our client representatives so that they can direct you to one of our coaches. We need to inform you of some essential things at Marriage Helper. We believe that every marriage matters, even if the marriage didn’t come from the best circumstances. So let us help you now.
But what if you and your spouse were single when you met, and you fell into limerence with one another? Does that make the relationship bad? No! If two people are not bad for each other, then limerence isn’t a bad thing. For example, if a 16-year-old girl meets a 29-year-old man who abuses her, we would consider limerence terrible for them. But for two people considered not to be bad for one another, then limerence would be something that passionately brought them together. Many healthy relationships that turn into marriage begin with those feelings of being “madly in love,” those intense feelings of limerence.
Limerence Is Extremely Common
Now know that the people in limerence may not get much done because they will be hyper-focused on their limerent object. But overall, it isn’t wrong. Limerence can be a fantastic experience for a couple. Sure, you may have experienced the halo effect with your spouse. And maybe that didn’t allow you to see some things that now get on your nerves about your spouse, but limerence wouldn’t be considered a bad thing.
If you and your spouse were in limerence with each other at the beginning of your relationship, then it’s entirely possible that you can have an incredible, long-lasting relationship. To take this a little further, though, you need to know that limerence does not last forever. It may be the thing that brings us together, but it will not be the thing that keeps us together.
Limerence Cannot Last Forever
Limerence has a shelf life. This feeling of being “madly in love” lasts anywhere from three months to 48 months. So basically, limerence ends. Once the limerent relationship ends, it does not come back with that person. So if you want your relationship to last, you will need to develop a different type of love. Actually, you will need to build your relationship in three different ways.
You will need to develop commitment, intimacy, and passion to have that type of love that can keep you together because many things can erode those three areas if you’re not careful. So, again, that’s something we can help you with if you want to have a better marriage.
Two Types Of Limerence
The difference between the limerence you may have experienced with your spouse and the limerence that you or your spouse may be sharing with an affair partner is very different.
You see, if you and your spouse were single when you entered into a relationship with one another, and you started your relationship with some transparency and honesty, that is a good thing. Both of you were also probably living consistently with your belief systems because that is what we tend to have a desire to do. And as you grew closer to one another, you influenced each other positively.
Now, every relationship has things that need addressing. But if you were both good people, those things won’t be huge negatives. So you may have even started positively influencing each other’s belief systems. You see, we tend to be attracted to people who have similar belief systems to us or a person that we would deem to have a superior belief system to ours. So when you combine transparency and honesty with similar belief systems, then limerence is not bad, and the relationship can be healthy.
Morals And Values Change
The difference in limerence with a spouse and limerence with an affair partner is this. For a married person to go into limerence with an affair partner, there has to be a violation of a belief system. Most people believe that having an affair is wrong. Not everyone, but most people think that we have belief systems for a reason. Our belief systems determine our values and morals. And so, if we begin to violate our belief system to be with a person that is not our spouse, then we begin to break our morals and values. This act of violating our morals and values is where problems arise.
Remember, when a person is in limerence, this person becomes their focus. This person influences your spouse’s belief system, and this person that your spouse is involved with may not be the healthiest of influences. Think about it. No one wants to be in a relationship with somebody that can’t fully be theirs. Healthy People want to be in relationships with people that can give themselves entirely to them. So if the affair partner is willing to go into a relationship with someone that isn’t free, then brokenness may exist in their lives. When people are experiencing brokenness, they tend to act out in ways that hurt themselves and others.
Now, I’m not trying to say that the limerence object or the affair partner is an evil person. I’m only saying they’re broken. And if your spouse is in a relationship with a broken person, then they too may be experiencing brokenness. One principle in life is that like attracts like. And when two broken people attract each other, it is a recipe for destruction. They will negatively influence each other.
Maybe You Can’t Recognize Your Spouse
And this is why you will think you can’t even recognize your spouse anymore because they are doing things they have never done before. And it’s partly because the person your spouse is in limerence with now has a more significant influence on your spouse’s belief system. That then affects their values and morals, affecting their behaviors. So when a person begins to violate their belief system, that equates to behavior they would have never done before. They won’t be able to see it, though, because the limerence will overpower their ability to know that they are violating those things.
Now, they do have a conscience and will have feelings of guilt. But limerence is so powerful it will override any feelings of guilt, at least for a while. That relationship will typically fall apart because your spouse violated their belief system to be with the limerent object or the affair partner. But as limerence ends, they begin to see the limerent object for who they are. Then they look at everything that they gave up to be with the affair partner, which is generally a lot. Finally, they begin to resent the affair partner for everything they felt forced to give up. This is how limerence and an affair differ from what you may have experienced with your spouse.
This Is Important
Limerence in affairs brings destruction, and people will get hurt. Limerent affairs generally start with lies, deception, and secrecy. However, the limerence at the beginning of a relationship you have in a marriage doesn’t typically begin with lies and or violating belief systems. So, if your spouse is currently in limerence with someone else, I want to tell you that there’s still hope.
After you came out of limerence, you most likely started developing some other forms of love. Those things can be what gets you through to the end of your spouse’s limerent relationship with another person. Click here to access our free guide to understanding limerence. Then, consider reaching out to us and let us teach you things that can improve and strengthen your relationship with your spouse.
If you need help with your situation, please reach out now and let us help you. You can talk to one of our client representatives who would love to discuss your situation and point you toward more valuable resources. You can also check out our free mini-course for people who want to get their spouses back. We are here to help you.