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  • Sam DiFranco

There’s a Word for That? Pt. 3

In The Gift of Therapy, by existential therapist Irvin Yalom, a whole chapter is devoted to conducting therapy with a couple in the beginning stages of love. Although he doesn’t make reference to “limerance” specifically, it is implied in much of the text. He describes that couples in this state may not make the most logical choices, and often act off of the intense emotions that pair with romantic love. He also urges the therapist, “don’t try to joust with love anymore than you would powerful religious beliefs- those are duels you cannot win…” Well spoken advice from an expert in the subject matter. What he is describing is a feeling that will not be contested, and any advice given to the couple may fall on deaf ears. They are not at this point ready to receive any “advice” or “words of wisdom” that challenges the beauty and goodness of their relationship. But, why did the love struck individual or couple come to therapy? We have to assume that there is some problem with the relationship dynamics if someone is introducing their problems within the therapeutic relationship, and the therapist has to be crafty as to how he or she introduces this subject.

The question posed in our last blog, “Is limerence healthy/unhealthy, bad/good, or rational/irrational is still difficult to answer. But a conclusion can be drawn from some of the information that we already have. While limerence feels good, it may ultimately be irrational. Thinking can sometimes be distorted and therefore the euphoric state can be considered illogical. But, it is sometimes an emotional captivity that we do not seemingly have control over. This is dangerous because it ultimately affects our decision making processes, and we all know that each decision we make has some sort of consequence (negative or positive).

However, limerence does have its positive side. Who can deny that the sensation of being in love is wonderful? Who can say that they would ever give up these intense sentiments and emotions? It is a state to be reflected upon and to admire, that we as humans are capable of deceiving ourselves to such a degree that it affects our whole lives at times. No other animal is capable of doing this. The positive, as Yalom describes, from limerence is a sense of hope that may not exist in skepticism and that is uniquely present in the euphoric state. So the answer really lies in the individual. Each action and situation that a person is in, or has been in, can be reflected upon to create a better awareness of the self, to learn about life and all of its components. The label, good or bad cannot realistically be put upon the idea of limerence. Rather, it may be for the individual to decide how beneficial it is for him/her to experience this state and to learn and grow from it. Or, to avoid it and its potential negative consequences.

What do you think? Have you ever felt limerence before? Star Point Counseling wants to know! Comment below…

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