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Books on love and romantic entanglements abound on the shelves of bookshops, but there are few that take a step back and attempt any kind of hard-headed general investigation. Love and Limerence reprinted now after twenty years moves a little in that direction, without becoming a scientific treatise the evidence it presents is mostly anecdotal, with some figures from informal surveys.
Tennov's central argument, illustrated with accounts from individual experiences, is that there is a well defined and involuntary state "limerence" a term chosen to avoid the confusion surrounding "love" , roughly equating with "being in love".
Key features include obsessive thinking about the limerent object, irrationally positive evaluation of their attributes, emotional dependency, and longing for reciprocation. Not all people experience limerence, but it is a normal and non-pathological condition.
The negative side of limerence is apparent in the effects of unrequited limerence and the problems limerent behaviour can pose the non-limerent. Tennov goes on to look at limerence more broadly, again using accounts of personal experiences. Socially it has widespread effects, most dramatically in marriage and youth suicide. Limerence has received generally negative press from psychologists and philosophers and Tennov briefly surveys some of the writing on the subject though she doesn't attempt any kind of literary history, despite using quotes from literature.
Tennov finds surprisingly few differences between the sexes in limerence; she also suggests that polarity may be more clear-cut with limerence than with sexual attraction. Despite taking a broad approach, Tennov skims over some obvious questions. Is limerence really cross-cultural?
Almost all of the personal accounts offered are from the United States and all we are given no evidence for generalisation apart from a stray comment about love magic being universal. What biological basis is there for limerence? All we are offered is some fairly naive sociobiology no doubt reflecting the late 70s date.
But Tennov acknowledges the limitations of Love and Limerence herself, concluding with suggestions for research and writing "This is a preliminary report. Its purpose is to open a field for investigation". Given that love and limerence have become more respectable topics for serious enquiry, however, Love and Limerence really needs to be updated to reflect work done in the last twenty years.
It won't be of much benefit to the unhappily limerent, but Love and Limerence may contribute to both individual understanding and social policy.
It can also be read simply as entertainment. August External links: - buy from Amazon.
Limerence and the Biochemical Roots of Love Addiction
Dorothy Tennov August 29, — February 3, was an American psychologist who, in her book Love and Limerence — the Experience of Being in Love introduced the term " limerence ". During her years of research into romantic love experiences, she obtained thousands of personal testimonies from questionnaires, interviews, and letters from readers of her writing, in an attempt to support her hypothesis that a distinct and involuntary psychological state occurs identically among otherwise normal persons across cultures, educational level, gender, and other traits. Tennov emphasized that her data consist entirely of verbal reports by volunteers who reported their love experiences. Dorothy Tennov was born in Montgomery County, Alabama. She received her bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and a Ph.
Limerence is not a widely known concept. In a not-entirely-scientific poll I asked some people I know , 0. It mostly took the form of interviews and questionnaires, in which Tennov noted a number of consistent traits among many individuals who described their experiences of being in love. She defined limerence as a new term to encompass the features of this common experience. They are paraphrasing and simplifying slightly :. As limerents and non-limerents.