I’ll be the first one to admit I suck at Chemistry. At all science really…my brain just doesn’t like science very much. So when it comes to sexual chemistry between two people, I am also a little lost. So I started reading more about it. I do love to read so this was an easier task for me. I hope I can interpret what others call chemistry and break it down for you in a language that people who hate science can better understand…
I ended up learning about something called limerence. Limerence, according to a researcher named Tennov, is that period of time when someone feels extremely infatuated with someone else and can’t stop thinking about them. You have intrusive thoughts and fantasies about another person. Sometimes it is reciprocated, sometimes it is not. If it is reciprocated, the limerence period enhances sexual attraction. Some couples during this period are SURE that they are made for each other. Unfortunately this period doesn’t usually last past 2 years and most of the time it lasts less than 1 year.
I do believe that every great relationship has to have some sexual attraction. If you don’t have the sexual piece then you most likely become friends with someone rather than a partner. However, there is so much more to a great relationship than just sex. A lot of people state they want someone they can just talk to. Someone who just “gets it”. What is it? For everyone that is something different. If I was having a conversation with a chemical engineer right now, he would definitely tell me that I don’t “get it”. However, if he had a conversation with someone who has studied chemistry they might find they have a mutual connection between them. I think finding someone who “gets it” means that you can connect on a few different levels. Your conversation can veer into several different topics and you can keep on going.
I have found that I can be very sexually attracted to someone but can’t carry a conversation with them, or I can talk for hours with someone but don’t want to imagine them naked. Limerence starts when you have both, however, it can be deceiving. A lot of times if sexual attraction is really high you can glance over things that usually would give you pause. Also, someone could pretend to have similar connections to you in the beginning but over time you may find out they are very different than you are. During the limerence stage you may overlook these things and fantasize that you are in this perfect relationship. Sometimes when this stage fades, it is for the best and you move on. However, some people stay in a relationship too long hoping to get back that first initial spark. Also, if a relationship gets cut off in the limerence stage it can be very hard to get over that person. Your brain holds on to that image that they are perfect for you, when in fact they most likely are not.
It is hard for relationships to get past the limerence stage. People always state that they fell out of love with the other person. Is this true or did they just fall out of limerence?? Sometimes you do find a great person and it isn’t just a fantasy that is holding you together. At this point, if a couple chooses to stay together they develop other bonds that keep them together. That is why some couples will state “We used to be very much in love, now we love each other very much”. Some people may classify limerence as “immature love”. It isn’t based on a person’s true attachment to a person which only comes with time and mutual experiences. It is based on pure chemical attraction. Limerence can change into mature love, however, this does take some work. Love doesn’t come easily for 50 years. When it seems so easy in the beginning it can be frustrating to figure out why you may be struggling later in the relationship. You may be thinking was it real or am I just trying to hang on to something that was never right to begin with? Real love does have challenges. There is no perfect relationship. Love is about choices and you have to really know yourself to know what things you do want to put up with in a relationship and what you don’t. This is when a relationship becomes more about commitment and work than about chemicals and sparks. If you do have a true connection, you can survive the limerence stage even if some of the initial spark is gone.
So don’t give up if you find that you don’t have the same intensity months or years down the road. The intensity will switch gears and those of you who don’t like change may find this disconcerting. Some people keep chasing that limerence spark from relationship to relationship. I have found that chemistry is important but a lot of other factors are important as well, like loyalty, affection, mutual experiences, hard work, and selflessness. Sometimes you have to choose to continue to love the other person and some days are going to be easier than others. True love has that initial spark but then grows into something that is deeper and stronger. It may not be as intense as that first spark, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any heat at all.
I hope this chemistry lesson was helpful and I hope you find the one you can have limerence with as well as lasting love. It is complicated, but its worth it.