Love v. Limerence

I shouldn’t be this excited about deconstructing the idea of “love” on Valentine’s but you bet your sweet ass I’m thrilled. I know you’ll probably think I’m just another bitter feminist writer here to convince all your daughters to become a polyamorous bisexual nudist. Because that’s exactly what is going on, but before I enact my master plan, there is a lot to be done. Let us begin by discerning the modern love story and reality. You’ve seen it before and you’ll see it again two people meet and simply cannot get enough of each other, said people live happily ever after. I’ll let you know, I’m not a total pessimist. But humans are too complex. The soul of love itself is powerful and indescribable, some say it is an action or an emotion. I believe it is an energy that surrounds us. But the concept of meeting a genuine love or soul mate to solve all your issues is a played-out trope I think harms most people. The few who achieve this ideal will attest that it isn’t like the movies. And the ones who don’t truly suffer from the confrontation of our chemical urge to pair-bond, usually left feeling inadequate and unmotivated.

To best understand the 21st ideal of love, you must pull back to the early homos ideal. The Evolutionary Science of human mating extremely flexible. As it has been presented by Professor Eastwick, human mating comprises 7 features, sexual desire, physical attractiveness, sex hormones and menstrual cycle effects, attachment and pair-bonding, non-mating overlap, mating norms and, self control. We can find the first 3 in our Primal ancestors over 6 million years ago, while attachment and pair-bonding can only be found in the early Homo 1-2 million years ago. And the last 3 being features found only in Homo Sapiens being the product of civilization. Though the feature most debated is Attachment and pair-bonding, scientists are finding more and more research that suggests the attachment behaviors infants show to their caregivers are like the attachment behaviors romantic partners show each other. Pair bonding, when two individuals engage in a relationship, is thought to be a product of the length of infancy extending in early hominids, making offspring far more vulnerable and requiring more care. Monogamy is not as straightforward as they present it in society. Most romantic pairs practice consensual non-monogamy, with only a minority practicing strict monogamy, and strictly monogamous relationships showing significantly more jealousy.

Now I know what you’re thinking, If love isn’t the truth of life how can someone walk into my life and turn my entire world upside down? What is this deep passion I feel when my eyes meet with my lover? My funny valentine, bad news is I couldn’t tell you, the good news is Psychologist Dorothy Tennov can give us a bit of insight . Tennov wrote a book in 1979, Love and Limerence that explored the complexities of infatuation versus obsession. Since the term “Limerence” is used to describe the more intense parts of romantic bonding, when you can’t get someone out of your head or when everything reminds you of them. That’s all fine and dandy at first but limerence can manifest itself in your most toxic act of “true love” often characterized by loneliness, fear of rejection, intrusive thinking or fantasy, and worst of all hope. evolutionary Psychologists have attributed limerence as a part of attachment theory meant to involuntarily inspire a state of adoration. The same way we learned to attach in pairs for the survival of our offspring, we can tie intense romantic feelings to an evolutionary program. Don’t fret too much, we can cure limerence. It can fade or transform into love, the actual concern comes when we mistake unhealthy attachment to the real thing. You can hurt yourself and others if you aren’t aware of the ways your chemical makeup can trick you into making hasty decisions. But hey what do I know, fall in love, take chances, experiencing things with others all we have is this shakey society.

~Mariam Speaks