Monday, October 31, 2005

Are we in limerance yet?

This essay came to me from a apparently originated by a man named David in the U.K.

Most of us have had several 6 month to 1 year relationships that failed to leap over limerance. What does it take to bridge that gap from limerance to lasting love?

> Distinguishing Limerance & Love
> Love is as critical for our minds and bodies as oxygen. The more connected
> we are, the healthier we are both physically and emotionally. The less
> connected we are, the more we are at risk. It is also true that the less
> love we have, the more depression we are likely to experience in our lives.
> Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most
> common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Family provides this to a
> degree but a being in a loving spousal/partner relationship is the core need
> for most people.
> There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the
> depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But
> love doesn't work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and
> be active and learn a variety of specific skills. Most of us get our ideas
> of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that
> sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of
> unrealistic images created for entertainment. We think it is love when it's
> simply distraction and infatuation. One consequence is that when we hit real
> love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do
> not fit the cultural ideal. It is then necessary to change one's approach to
> love. Follow these strategies to get more of what you want out of life--to
> love and be loved.
> (1) Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the
> psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts.
> Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are
> flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months.
> It can progress to love. Most love in fact starts out as limerance, but most
> limerance never evolves into love.
> (2) Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from
> hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it "an act of will."
> (3) Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which (face-to-face
> and email) you develop trust and intensify connection.
> There are always core differences between two people, no matter how good or
> close you are, and if the relationship is going right those differences
> surface. The issue then is to identify the differences and negotiate about
> them so that they don't untowardly distance you. You might be able to do
> that by understanding where the other person is coming from, who that person
> is, and by being able to represent yourself, gently. When the differences
> are known you must be able to negotiate and compromise on them so that, if
> possible, you find that common ground that works for both.
> (4) Focus on the other person. Rather than focus on what you are getting and
> how you are being treated, read your partner's need. What does this person
> really need for his/her own well-being?
> (5) Develop the ability to accommodate "simultaneous reality". The loved
> one's reality is as important as your own, and you need to be as aware of it
> as of your own. What are they really saying, what are they really needing?
> (6) Actively dispute within yourself internal messages of inadequacy.
> Sensitivity to rejection is a cardinal feature to address and
> circum-navigate.
> Recognize that the internal voice is strong ----- but it's not "real". Talk
> back to it. "I'm not really being rejected, this isn't really evidence of
> inadequacy". "I made a mistake." Or "this isn't about me, this is something
> I just didn't know how to do and now I'll learn." When you reframe the
> situation to something more adequate, you can act again in an effective way
> and you can perhaps find and also sustain the enduring love that you seek.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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