What is going on in the head/heart of someone “madly in love” with another? Why do they do the things they do? Say the things they say? Make the decisions they make?
What if a person is married to one and falls “madly in love” with another? How does that happen? Is it the fault of the spouse they wish to leave? Is there hope to save the marriage? Will s/he divorce the one, marry the other, and live happily ever after?
That’s what the person believes will happen. However, it’s not what’s going to happen. The love they believe that no one can understand because no one could ever have felt this way before…is quite common. And, unfortunately for the person in it, it only SEEMS that it will last forever. It won’t. It always ends.
There’s a name for it. It’s called limerence. The word was coined by Dorothy Tennov, PhD, in the 1970s. At that time it received little acceptance by counselors. Even today, we find that many marriage counselors and therapists either do not know about it or know very little about it.
Current research on it has been done by Helen Fisher, PhD, and her colleagues. (Tennov has passed on.) Their findings are fascinating.
So are ours.
We have worked with myriads of married people who are in limerence with someone other than their spouses. We’ve heard the stories…we’ve witnessed the actions and decisions…and we’ve seen the consequences.
Not good consequences, though the person leaving his / her spouse for another with whom s/he is “madly in love” always fully anticipates that life with the lover will be amazing, fulfilling, and last a lifetime.
Nearly all end within 3 years…even the ones that believe it will last forever.