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.

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10 thoughts on “[PODCAST] “Understanding Limerence: The Madly In Love Syndrome” Dr. Joe Show Podcast

  • April 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm
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    I believe I have fallen into “limerance” with someone who is not my spouse. Can’t seem to get over him even with the other person out of my life. Is this something you can help with?

    Reply
    • April 6, 2017 at 6:06 pm
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      I am so sorry you are going through this.

      We know how hard it is on you…

      Absolutely we can help with this.. This is my favorite article for “getting over limerence.” http://www.marriagehelper.com/how-to-get-over-limerence

      I would urge you to look into Marriage Coaching with us or even our Affair Toolkit.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  • April 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm
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    My situation is a unique one in itself. I have been in love with my friend for over 10 years. I was married when I met him. Divorced 3 years after I met him. We never committed to a relationship, just a flirtationship in my book, with benefits. My husband and I remarried 3 years ago and I still find myself in love with my friend. I call him, the love of my life instead of my husband. I’ve tried a second time at this marriage with my husband. It seems that he does not know how to love me. We’ve done the counseling sessions and he tries to be good to God, but ignores me. No sex, no date nights and no time alone. I have to initiate date nights, family time, prayer family time etc. He just exists. He sits on the couch or floor and watches his recorded shows. I tell him every day how I feel and he just ignores me. I don’t think he wants to be married. He is just in it for the convenience of our kids. We have four, ages 19, 15, 13 and 8. Our daughter is the oldest and the others are boys. I am wits end. I love him, but he makes it hard to love him. We have issues in the bedroom and I have offered help and he has gone to the doctor for help. He gives up after a couple of times of taking the necessary meds. It’s like he doesn’t want to be married and yet he is always trying to reassure me he does love me. Maybe he does love me but not the way I need to be loved. I am lonely with him. He has no get up and go about him. He yells at the kids and spends no time with them. I am tired of trying and this is the second go around. I want to be with my friend. It’s no fairy tale with him. We know each others situation. He has one son, 20. My friend has never been married. It’s as though he is waiting to marry me. I’d love to be with him. Always have. I married my husband thinking we could make it work a second time. It was for a while and now nothing. My friend lost his mom 3 years ago and I thought I lost him. He has been in pain. So I remarried my husband and now I regret that move. I should have stayed divorced. I hope all of this makes sense. Help me understand my situation.

    Thank you
    Ava R

    Reply
    • April 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm
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      Hi Ava, I am so sorry you are going through this..

      I would strongly encourage you to look into our Decision Point Course…

      Reply
  • June 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm
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    How do I win my husband back from,him mistress? They are ” madly in love ” and she is selling het house yo move closer to him. He is still talking to me but really he only wants to talk about sex. I have tried letting him contact me first.I have tried he texting him a simple Good morning no response. Its like he is stri,ging me along. How do I tell if its limeremce

    Reply
  • March 21, 2018 at 6:20 pm
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    My husband’s affair was a rekindled first love emotional affair. Does this mean it’s not limerence?

    Reply
    • April 10, 2018 at 6:39 pm
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      Hi, please call us at 615-472-1161 so we can tell you about our resources and how we can help!

      Reply
  • February 16, 2019 at 10:39 pm
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    Hi, I’m 34 , single and just learned that Limerence is what has been crippling my chances of falling in love. I deal with depression, internal ocd , anxiety and addiction. How ever I have over come many of these. Obviously these issues done go away, but I’m desperate to have a relationship without being so controlled by my emotions and being “addicted to a person instead of having a healthy relationship. One of the things that bothers me the most is that I have worked so incredibly hard to have successful relationships. I talk to many people, my therapists, I journal. I’m extremely aware of my emotions while I’m dating. But I can’t seem to get enough control and I don’t know if I will ever be able to have a life with a happy relationship and it’s killin me. I’ve felt so lonely my entire life and I’m not much better off now. Thank you.

    Reply
  • May 10, 2019 at 12:57 pm
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    I found out a few weeks ago that my husband is in a relationship with another woman and has been for some time. He says they kiss, are sexually attracted to one another and he is in love with her, but they are not sleeping together ‘because of his commitment’ to me. He says he cannot break off from her, but still wants to make love to me. I am managing still to be kind and loving towards him, hug him and tell him that we can sort this out despite the huge heartbreak I am experiencing but I have not wanted to be more physical than that because I don’t just want to be his reserve option. Am I now harming our marriage further by pushing him away physically or is it the right thing to set a boundary?

    Reply

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