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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Fell In Love With The Thought Of You: Breaking Free Of Obsessive Patterns

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TX State chapter.

College-aged students are bound to encounter different types of relationships.  College provides an opportunity for temporary connections and discovering the qualities you want to find in the people you choose to be close to. But it’s not always easy, especially if you’ve ever been swept up in intense feelings for someone. Finding genuine connections during college can be tricky. It’s a mix of excitement and uncertainty as you try to balance your heart’s desires with reality.

How are young women expected to tell the difference between the love of their lives and the biggest red flag they’ve ever met? How are they meant to distinguish if feelings are for real, or a result of delusions? Limerence is a sneaky phenomenon, you may not even know it’s happened until it’s too late! Let me explain. 

Having a difficult time moving on from that one crush? Maybe you talked to this person for a group project or they frequent your bus stop, and now you spend your nights replaying the interactions in your head. Months pass and the feeling won’t leave you; soon you start to feel like you are stuck in a pattern of obsessive delusions. 

Do you feel like you fall harder than those around you, like you feel too much? Is there a mental archive of every conversation you have ever had, every Instagram story they’ve ever liked? I hate to burst your bubble but this is not a crush, this long obsession is actually a phenomenon called limerence. The difference between a crush and limerence is that this person becomes the reason for your happiness; a person in limerence will project aspirations onto whomever they are obsessing over and if the fantasy doesn’t play out, their world view shatters. 

Limerence is a state of “involuntary obsession with another person.” It is a phycological term used to describe a state of intense hyperfocus on another person. While crushing can feel exciting and fun, limerence is filled with anxiety and dread, often lasting much longer because of the obsessive nature of this state.

Unfortunately, limerence is more common for neurodivergent people, especially those with ADHD. Individuals with neurodivergence, who typically produce lower levels of dopamine, often find themselves motivated by the pursuit of experiences that bring them pleasure. Additionally, limerence can develop due to a need for validation and emotional instability. A person in limerence depends on mental security from one person, which is not a healthy coping mechanism. 

There is a need to bring up attachment styles during this conversation of limerence; the theme of limerence is anxiety and a fear of abandonment. Mirroring the intense emotions of limerence, those with an anxious attachment style often exhibit signs of clinginess, a fear of abandonment and overwhelming anxiety. This connection reveals how attachment styles intertwine with the experience of limerence, shaping the dynamics of romantic relationships.

As time passes, the intensity of the emotion tends to fade. Surprisingly, many individuals find themselves losing feelings once their romantic interest reciprocates their emotions. It’s the absence of certainty that fuels both limerence and obsession. This is due to a psychological craving; if limerence can be dulled by reciprocation, that suggests that it comes from a place of needing to be desired. 

Some suggestions for attempting to get out of this state of limerence is to move spots in class or sit away from them. Additionally, you can unfollow this person on social media or block their number. This is not intended to hurt the person, but it is best to do what is most beneficial for your own mental health. Remove things from your life that you can get hyper fixated on and obsessive over. There are only a few things that you can control, and you can choose to unfollow them- on all socials, no cheating! 

Find a community that will give you what you are looking for in this person. Oftentimes it’s not them that you want. Its love, its attention, its approval. Find good friends; platonic relationships can be just as fulfilling and healthier.

Cara Cervenka

TX State '26

Cara Cervenka is a journalism major at Texas State University. She writes for the University newspaper, The University Star, in the Life & Arts section, as well as serving as the Junior Editor of the TXST Chapter of Her Campus. She has an unwavering love for iced coffee, live music, Taylor Swift and reading!