Sometimes, I’ve heard a friend or two talk about their significant other in a way that is so scary, I have flashbacks of boiling bunnies from Fatal Attraction. The truth is, when a friend starts to share his or her new love interest, we initially tend to be encouraging…but oh gosh, when it doesn’t stop!
When they never cease to talk about the person and seem to obsess, what do we say? What if it’s us are obsessing? Am I in love or is this just some form of crazy behavior yet to be classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (love does transform your brain, after all)? What causes this crazy behavior that makes us obsess day and night over a new love interest?
I remember riding shotgun with a friend 50 miles away to spy on her then-boyfriend, who she was afraid might be seeing other people. Was this sane or was this stalking?
Experts agree that irrational behavior can be brought on by any one of a myriad of psychopathologies, but the temporary nuttiness that I’m referring to is generally referred to as limerence. The dictionary defines limerence as: “a state of mind resulting from romantic attraction, characterized by feelings of euphoria, the desire to have one’s feelings reciprocated…”
There are four basic signs that you are not in love, but are infatuated, or “in limerence.” These are:
- You rationalize all their faults and find you can overlook the fact the he is unemployed, addicted, doesn’t call you, and is possibly gay.
- You can’t seem to have a day of peace if you do not know where he is at all times. You find yourself wondering, if he didn’t answer his cell phone at lunch time, is he eating with a co-worker? Will that lead to something? Has he lost interest in you? All this if he hasn’t called you back within one hour of you leaving a message!
- You keep hoping and praying you are everything they could ever want and need. Are you thin enough? Are you blonde enough for him? Do you make enough money? Should you get bigger boobs? Will he ever love you enough to give his life or at least his right kidney for you?
- Your mind does not stop thinking about the object of your affection. You think, eat, breathe, and sleep all with one constant — HIM — on your mind.
So how do you know when it is real love?
Think about it this way — love is what a healthy mother usually feels for her child. She is supportive, encouraging, caring, concerned when warranted, wanting them to be the best they can be, not depending on them, but all the time preparing them to be their own person and becoming fully independent.
Love will provide you a sense of peace, security, and independence. You will feel joy when you are with the person, and they will feel the same for you. You will feel peace when you are apart, and they will feel the same. You will miss each other in a healthy “I want to call and chat with you before I go to bed tonight, but I need to be up in the morning for work” kind of way.
Love means you are not concerned she is out to lunch with a coworker, and not obsessing about why his ex-girlfriend’s phone numbers are still in his cell phone. Love means you want him to call his mother. Love means you are happy when your girlfriend says “I can’t talk to you tonight, I need to study for my midterm babe.”
Love is not scared, jealous, obsessive, violent, nor selfish.
Now you know. Are you in love, or just addicted to love?