STELLAR MAZE DISCUSSION FORUM

Limerence and the INFJ

Have you experienced “limerence”?

It can affect any mbti type but I believe that INFJ is the most susceptible.

Would be interested to know why limerence (which is a beast btw!) affects INFJ so much in particular, from an mbti perspective.

For the uninitiated:

Limerence is a term for a typical kind of love experience. It begins with a “glimmer”, which is basically “the immediate sense that something about this person is potent. Their appearance, their mannerisms, their scent, their laugh – some trait accesses the networks of connections in the brain that triggers limerent interest.”
(If you are experiencing limerence you are “limerent” and the person you are interested in is your “limerent object” or “LO”)

If the potential LO is CLEARLY not interested, or on better acquaintance turns out to be highly unsuitable in some way, the potential is never realised and the glimmer dims and dies.
If, in contrast, the limerent senses reciprocation, then… matters progress.
The final stage for a full blown limerence reaction seems to be “uncertainty”. If for some reason there are obstacles to the free expression of mutual feeling, it acts as fuel.

The features of this experience are:

  • Frequent intrusive thoughts about the limerent object (LO), who is a potential sexual partner.
  • An acute need for reciprocation of equally strong feeling.
  • Exaggerated dependency of mood on LO’s actions: elation when sensing reciprocation, devastation when sensing disinterest.
  • Inability to react limerently to more than one person at a time.
  • Fleeting relief from unrequited feeling through vivid fantasy about reciprocation by the LO.
  • Insecurity or shyness when in the presence of the LO, often manifesting in overt physical discomfort (sweating, stammering, racing heart).
  • Intensification of feelings by adversity.
  • An aching sensation in “the heart” when uncertainty is strong.
  • A general intensity of feeling that leaves other concerns in the background.
  • A remarkable ability to emphasize the positive features of the LO, and minimise, or empathise with, the negative.

(Source for some of the words above : livingwithlimerence.com)

Yes.

And beautifully worded, by the way. I’ve never before heard the word, term, and you’ve described it in a very tangible (?) way.

I would have previously described it as good old chemistry, but your way is much more poetic & esoteric. I didn’t get how chemistry could be only one sided. Because if you feel something between you, its there. It isn’t one sided. It’s not imagined. I was not someone who lingered where I wasn’t welcome. And yet…something was in the way.

I always wondered: How can I be feeling this feeling and it be not reciprocated. Or at least, reciprocated, felt from LO but not ‘finalised’ or, fulfilled…?
what is standing in their way…?

I never had the courage to ask.

I had to be ok with not knowing. And moving on.

[thoughts from an INFJ]

Pt. I
YES! I literally just discovered the term in the last couple months. Since the pandemic, I’ve been on Reddit more frequently, and made a platonic ENTP penpal who introduced me to the concept.

It was a revelation, and felt like the culmination of a 15+ year quest to explain what happens in my brain when I’m obsessed with someone. I had heretofore called it “the potential” (to fall in love). I had even gone to a therapist 2 years ago, to sort out my being ill at ease in relationships where I felt a romantic attraction, but didn’t feel this “potential” I kept insisting on (complaint: “I don’t feel how I want to feel; I want to fall/feel in love”).

I had gone to the therapist with a working theory that the best-fit model I could find for my love behavior was one of addiction (not love addiction, mind you, because I’m definitely not a serial monogamist…far from it). We dove into my romantic history and the first & only time I fell in love at age 18 (with an ESTP). I explained that I felt “a potential” for he & I to hopelessly fall in love, and felt pretty tortured about it because he was very wishy washy & I chased him for 2 years (it was high school, age 16-17). He came to pursue me about 6 months after I thought I would never hear from him again, and then we did fall hopelessly in love. It was the most pleasurable tsunami. And so that became my blueprint (for better or worse).

Family and friends would remark/complain that I was not myself during that time. I shared the behavior I exhibited with the therapist, and then she asked if anyone in my family is Bipolar. Yes, my mom is Bipolar I (full-blown mania). So, what resulted from that was that I got a Bipolar II diagnosis (hypomania: no psychosis). So I think – for me – the bipolar and the limerence definitely correlate.

I didn’t start to realize that the way I felt romantically for others was not typical until I was 21. Peers would share their experiences of love, and I remember feeling like I had a significantly different experience, and that their stories would underwhelm me. It was wonderful that my first experience with limerence was reciprocated & consummated, but that also means I came crashing down to a horrific low when we broke up 2 years later.

I experienced another episode of limerence (unfulfilled) about 6 years ago (age 26) with an INTP. He and I had an incredibly torrid attraction, but he was very noncommittal and no relationship nor falling in love came to pass between he & I.


Pt. II
I am currently limerent for an ENTP, whom I have known from work for the past 6 years. I recently switched careers, but I used to be an academic advisor. I met him as soon as I started working at the university (age 26). He was a transfer student at the time (he’s 1.5 years older than me). He graduated 2 years ago, and we were colleagues, as he became a lab technician for our department.

I’ve always found him attractive, but I never considered the possibility of it being mutual, because 1) I met him when he was a student (unethical), and 2) he’s a sexy fucking beast (handsome-as-hell, stocky redhead with a beard…yummy) and I thought he was out of my league. It took a comment from a mutual colleague that she thought he was attracted to me for me to even consider the possibility (she said he wasn’t obvious, but that she could tell from the way he looked at me and his body language toward me).

She was right. I worked up some liquid courage at a work afterhours mixer last November (2019), and approached him once it was done and we were alone. I told him that I’d had a crush on him forever, and he proceeded to kiss me (the attraction & chemistry is off-the-charts RAW and intense) and THEN answered “What do you think I was trying to do 3 years ago when I invited you out to celebrate my 30th birthday? Couldn’t you tell I was hovering around you all day trying to ask you?” Honestly, in that moment, I swatted that possibility away in my mind as soon as it appeared. And I never got to find out back then because since he asked me same day, I already had plans I couldn’t break.

He also proceeded to word vomit that he couldn’t proceed (romantically) because he was spread very thin between working full time, getting his masters, being a stand-in dad to his sisters’ 3 children, supporting his mom financially, etc. We’ve had a lot of back and forth since then, where I respect his position, and have written him letters telling him how strongly I feel (“the potential”) and he doesn’t shy away.

He says he’s always thought that we’ve had “mutual attraction, chemistry, and banter” and that he would get teased for said banter with me back when he was a student haha. He says he has feelings for me too, and that he has “hurdles to overcome before he’s in a state to give the love that’s received” (he’s also shared with me that he’s a high-functioning alcoholic).

I told him that I feel that we could fall in love, and that I want us to experience that together. I fantasize about us getting married, building a life, and having children. Definitely limerent for him.