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Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love
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Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  462 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Author Dorothy Tennov, Ph.D., on Love and Limerence:

It was over 35 years ago that, having become convinced through personal experience and the writings of others of the enormous significance of that aspect of the human reproductive process known as romantic love, I elected to explore the subject systematically.

My journey of exploration occurred in three identifiable phases
Paperback, 340 pages
Published December 29th 1998 by Scarborough House Publishers (first published January 1st 1979)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I am quite torn about what to write about this book. I have had a lot to do with this concept of limerence over the last few years, and this has given me much time to ponder the place of this book amongst the relevant literature.

I find myself torn because the book serves two functions. The first is to de-mystify and validate the overwhelming and bewildering experience of limerence. Those who have never experienced its power will be quite perplexed about the madness that its victims describe at l
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grokked
This book explained my life. More particularly, it explained a phenomenon that has occurred in my life time and again, for better or worse (or more aptly, for best and for worst)... and made me realize that while I often act and feel crazy when in love, I am neither a bad person nor insane. For anyone who finds themselves regularly and unwillingly under the spell of another human being, check this out.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every adolescent and adult
A superb study of the contrast between realistic love based on an in-depth and accurate knowledge of one's partner on the one hand, and limerence, another word for infatuation, on the other - limerence is based on idealization, novelty, and hormones, and serves to get us into situations where love can develop, but is not sustainable in the long term.

This runs contrary to our culture's "love-at-first-sight leading to happily-ever-after" mythos and leads too many people to think there's something
Bryan Mclellan
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For having been originally published in 1979, as I read this book I kept thinking to myself, "why didn't anyone give me this book earlier?"

This is an essential read for anyone who has ever felt that they have abnormally strong feelings for other people, especially when they didn't want to.
Akash Kanase
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very nice book. Very clear about what is Limerence and how it can destroy you. While not much is given how to avoid it or get out of it, Running away on first hint of Limerence is best idea. Must read.
Joy Bennett
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Extremely helpful, for anyone who has loved so deeply it becomes a painful near-obsession. This book can save you hours of therapy!
Julie Bozza
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love, psychology
'Limerence' is the term used by Tennov to differentiate 'falling / being in love' from what is inevitably then referred to as 'real love', the long-term affection of a companionate bond. Not that there is anything unreal about the intense experience of limerence, as many (most?) of us would know - but it can be unrealistic if the feelings aren't returned. It can also transform over time into 'real love' if the feelings are mutual.

I suppose that many of us would have already differentiated betwe
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Romantic love—the most intense, either you've known it, or you haven't kind—demystified.

It can be asserted that limerence occurs across sexual, racial, age, cultural and other categories. It also follows immutable rules: It endures as as long as do the conditions that sustain both hope and uncertainty; it is unique in human experience for its control over our thought processes; and its power places the achievement of the limerent goal of reciprocation above responsibilities and above other relat
Wanjiru Thoithi
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Part of me wishes this book consisted of only chapters 1 through 4 and 8. Or maybe those were just the parts I was interested in. I found the evolutionary theories and Tennov's analysis of society a bit off at times. Nevertheless this is a good book worth reading. Perhaps not to find conclusions about the subject matter (this book is old and was the first of its kind) but to create awareness and make one ask more specific questions. ...more
Bruno Arine
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I wish I had read this book during my teenage years. That would have spared me of so much psychological hassle back then! This is a mandatory read to every human being who lives in society because anyone can turn into an agent or object of limerence, regardless of gender or age, and it's absolutely normal (estimation is that more than half the population felt limerence at least once) -- and the best part: it is not under our control.

Limerance (also known as "romantic love") is an intense, quickl
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FASCINATING look at the obsessive state we can sometimes find ourselves in when it comes to the opposite sex. Tennov explores the mysterious state between lust and love and describes why it can be so hard to end a relationship even when we know it isn't working out. For a really interesting summary, read the wikipedia article here: ...more
Jul 01, 2007 added it
Should be required reading for high school. Although It would probably be better to write a version FOR high school. Lots of behavioural paradigms from psychology are like witchcraft metaphors, apparently. This book helps dispel the phlogiston....
Louis C Smith
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required for those of us who have fallen in love

Expectations too great to be met, intensity too great to endure, imagination too wild to be believed, maybe you have been there.
Congratulations and condolences.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Recommended reading for anyone who never stopped having the kind of intense, unfounded, painful crushes you have when you're 14. Because oh my god if you don't learn how it manifests then you are going to feel crazy and probably pretty darn miserable. ...more
Stephen Larson
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
important concept--whether or not it is strictly true, the author makes an important contribution in her argument
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
heteronormative; an alienating cannon to the non-limerent.
Tommy Butler
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for all hopeless romantics at age twenty or so (or later if, like me, you missed the window.)
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very in depth book on Limerence which was quite a deep reading experience.
Tennov is a genius on the subject. I heard about this book from my first Limerence book, Living With Limerence by Dr L who recommends Tennov throughout the book. This book is excellent and very easy to read. Tennov's is the Bible of Limerence going into every fine detail. At first i was put off by the title as it contains Love. I wasn't interested in learning about Love but to my surprise this book is all about Limerence
Waad Adel
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lots and lots of questions explained, it’s like she wanted to tell a lot of us “ don’t worry, you are not alone in this, you are not sick, you are completely normal “.
When I read the introduction to the book or even when I first read about the book, I was so curious to know the author and I was so glad it’s a woman, yet I wish she were alive, I wish I could contact her and tell her a lot about my own experiences and I know she might be the one person in the world who would like to listen to ever
really interesting at some points, i loved reading about the experiences of limerence and how it plays out. especially reading about that teen girl in love with Paul McCartney, man i am exactly the same with celebrities. i know that by having read this book, the way i behave + self-reflect on/around romantic crushes will now be framed around limerence, which i think is very helpful (especially understanding how i idolise/crystallise a person, and how uncomfortable it must be to be on the receivi ...more
Kim Plowright
Identifying the central concept of Limerence - a feeling of intensely absorbing, crush-y 'romantic' love/object attachment - is really useful. But the book itself is not great - very repetitive, felt poorly researched / cited and leaned heavily on evolutionary psychology in a really un-nuanced way. Also, she *really* hates on psychotherapists at one point in the book, in an 'all psychotherapists are abusers!' kind of way, which was ...surprising. Took me months to finish, which suggests it's not ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm glad this book has given a name to what I'm feeling, and have felt before.
On the one hand I feel broken, less of a human, on the other, apparently I'm not alone and it's indicative that I am, in fact, human.

The book offers stories, definitions, zeitgeist analyses of psychology, but no real answers on what to do, if anything.

It's a good book to learn more about the feeling of being 'obsessively in love and regarding the other more as an object than as a person', but you're stuck with just lea
Jun 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Yikes, I could barely finish the free digital preview of this book. Poorly written and very adolescent crush oriented type view of love. Also, I gag whenever an author is like "LOOK at this term I coined! I'm so clever! Mimi Imfirst!" Folks, it's great if you came up with a new word to define a phenomenon. If it really takes hold and becomes part of popular lexicon, other people will cite you. Especially if you published a damn book with the word in the title. Don't be tacky and cite yourself in ...more
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting and enlightening book from the 1970s on “limerence” – which is what most people would call having a “crush”. The author approaches the subject as a scientific survey, but far from being clinical, the subject is handled with care, sensitivity and compassion. Some parts felt a bit dated/backwards, while other parts seemed quite progressive (discussions of homosexuals, sexism and misogyny). Interesting, well written, and thorough exploration of the topic.
Joshua Laferriere
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not a psychology level book, but documents a form quite well. I read the first few sections relevant to my personal experience and then finished with the book as the rest was about pop culture references.
Tawny Lara
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
The conversation of love vs limerence is so important. I don't know why the word "limerence" isn't more commonly used. If you're interested in the topic of sex addiction, love addiction, unhealthy relationships, and codependence, definitely read this book. ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Do I Feel Seen! And let me tell you, it's bloody uncomfortable. But I do appreciate the clarity. I'm giving this book five stars not because of its value in the field (no idea where it stands in that regard), but because it fell into my lap at exactly the moment I needed it the most. ...more
Claire E Schneider
One of the few books I've found that provides an empirical study of the state of limerence (not to be confused with love) with all it's pain, suffering, and (as Tenov would put it) intrusiveness. I highly recommend this book for anyone that has suffered from the condition. ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly educational and entertaining for a classic psychology book --and a must for all romantics at heart or those who love them.
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