List of Submissions (Chronological)
- Limerence and Internalized Amatonormativity by me, sildarmillion, at this blog
- How I related to my LO and why I need relationship anarchy by me, sildarmillion, at this blog
- Limerence-Carnival of Aros: November by Mike, at his RobotiCanary WordPress blog
- Limerence, Obsession, and Escapism by littlearcher123, at their “thoughts from a trans aro” tumblr blog
- The Differences Between Us by Mesotablar at their “I thought it was a good idea at the time” Dreamwidth blog
- “Romantic Attraction” and Limerence, by me, sildarmillion, at this blog
- A Clarification on the Relationship Between Aromanticism and Limerence by thinking-aromanticism (aka thiro) at its “I < 3 Haters” Dreamwidth blog
Thank you to everyone who turned in a submission this month and also, it looks like we all had some fun with it! Above is the list of submissions in chronological order and below will be my discussion of the submissions (in no particular order). If I got anyone’s names, pronouns, or blog names wrong, please let me know in the comments and I will make the necessary edits.
The unofficial submissions are from my series about different kinds of attractions: By coincidence, it turned out that the attractions I had lined up for the month of November involved either direct or tangential discussions of limerence, which is why I thought I’d feature them in the roundup. The main takeaway from those is that limerence certainly plays a role in how I experience attractions. In my post about emotional attraction, I talk about how the component terms ‘romantic’, ‘platonic’, and ‘alterous’ don’t make sense to me upon examination, but emotional attraction as a whole could make sense to me if I think of it as being either ‘limerent’ or ‘affectional’ (or both). In my post about familial attraction, I discuss how limerence plays an important role in desiring to form a partnership or family with someone. In my post about sexual and sensual attraction, I discuss how limerence plays a crucial role (perhaps even the factor that ‘flips’ the ‘demi switch’) in experiencing physical attraction of an erotic nature.
Discussion of the (Actual) Submissions
thiro takes a detailed dive into the concept of limerence and its relationship to aromanticism. thiro lays out reasons why ‘limerent’ and ‘non-limerent’ do not correspond to ‘alloromantic’ and ‘aromantic’ respectively; and also explains why the claims of ‘non-limerent’ as a precursor to ‘aromantic’ (which I referenced in the call for submissions) are unfounded.
Here I need to make a clarification. I have recently discovered (after posting the call for submission), in conversation with LwL members (the blog to which I linked as a resource) that the terms ‘limerent’ and ‘non-limerent’ are not used in a consistent manner. Dorothy Tennov described ‘limerents’ as those who have ever experienced a profound state of romantic infatuation and/or can relate to such a feeling; and ‘non-limerents’ as those who have never experienced this and cannot relate to such a feeling. The LwL blog, on the other hand, uses ‘limerent’ to refer to those who experience limerence pathologically (i.e. in a manner that is disruptive to their lives) and ‘non-limerents’ as those who have never experienced limerence pathologically. The estimates that place the percentage of the population who are limerent in the single digits may have been referring to pathological limerents, although I am not 100% sure about this. However, given how ubiquitously limerence is presented in media and literature (stories and songs about romantic infatuation abound), I’d be very, very surprised, if only a small minority of the population have been getting such a huge loudspeaker with regards to popularizing their limerent experiences. Thus while there is evidence that non-limerents do experience romantic attraction, it is possible that ‘non-pathological-limerents’ and ‘completely-non-limerents’ experience it in different ways.
To that end, the submissions from both littlearcher123 and mesotablar reminds us that the line between limerence, infatuation, and obsession are rather blurry. ‘Pathological limerence’ is easy to recognize as limerence, but ‘non-pathological’ limerence is hard to distinguish from infatuation and/or obsession. This makes me wonder: How exactly did the ‘non-limerents’ in Tennov’s surveys experience ‘romantic love’ and ‘passionate love’ or ‘erotic love’ (as brought up in thiro’s post) if there was no infatuation involved? This is a question I raised in my post about ‘romantic attraction’ and limerence – I have a hard time understanding ‘romantic attraction’ that does not involve limerence.
If I were to guess what the ‘non-limerents’ in Tennov’s surveys meant by ‘passionate love’ or ‘erotic love’, I’d hazard a guess that they meant sexual desire (given that Tennov had seemingly not separated the idea of romance from sex). That leads to my question: If someone is non-limerent and asexual (but, say, not aromantic), how exactly do they experience ‘romantic attraction’? This is the question I have been pondering for weeks now. If you are someone who happens to fit this description, or know someone who does, please do leave a comment below to shed some more light on this matter.
On a similar note, the other burning question I have is: If someone (who may be asexual and/or aromantic) experiences an infatuation for another person without any sexual or sensual desires involved, do they interpret that infatuation to be ‘romantic’ or ‘platonic’? I was hoping there would be a submission on this topic, but no one has addressed this question yet. But I did have a discussion on reddit about this. The redditor explained that they considered their limerence to be platonic rather than romantic because it did not involve sensual attraction and they did not wish to be physically intimate with their LO. This hearkens back to my speculation in my “romantic vs. platonic” post: ‘platonic limerence’ is probably considered to be ‘platonic’ if the concept of romance is associated with sexual and/or sensual aspects. But if the concept of romance is separated from sexual and sensual elements, then what?
Personally, as I explain in my ‘romantic attraction’ and limerence post, I used to think that when you separate out the sexual and sensual from ‘romantic’, what’s ‘left of’ ‘romantic attraction’ is limerence. However, I have now learned that this sentiment is not shared universally. Despite all the posts I had linked to in the call for submissions in which bloggers explained that they identified as aromantic because they do not experience limerence, the submissions this month make it clear that there is definitely more to the aromantic identity than experiencing or not experiencing limerence. Mike talks about how it is too limiting to hinge the aromantic identity solely based on attraction. (Limerence can be thought of as a form of attraction as I described in my unofficial submission on emotional attraction.) Mesotablar talks about being the only one who identifies as aromantic in a group of friends in which no one has experienced limerence. thiro discusses research on non-limerents and their experiences of romance. And littlearcher123 discusses feelings comparable to limerence that were likely neither romantic nor platonic.
This month’s submissions also discuss amatonormativity. I discuss how limerence can be made worse (i.e. more acute) in an amatonormative society that pushes the message that finding love is the most important part of one’s life. Mesotablar wonders whether amatonormativity plays in a role in how or why non-limerents experience romance. littlearcher123 discusses whether feelings of obsession might be interpreted as a ‘crush’ due to being immersed in an amatonormative society. And thiro offers a critique of the series on monogamy at the LwL blog, which comes from a place that hasn’t questioned the assumptions of amatonormaitivity.
Finally, as I wrote in my post about why I need relationship anarchy, none of these experiences should be thought of as prescriptive for the labels with which they are associated in our posts. There is no one right way to be aromantic or alloromantic or to experience limerence or not experience limerence. We should be free to relate to all of our relationships, romantic or otherwise, limerent or otherwise, in the way we and the other people involved are the most comfortable.
Continuing the Conversation
How indeed do aromantics, alloromantics, limerents, non-limerents, and combinations of the above, experience ‘romance’? I’ve expressed frustration at not being able to understand how others experience ‘romantic attraction’, but I’m not yet ready to throw up my hands and just accept that this is something that I will just never ‘get’. One of the best things about this blogosphere is that it gives people an opportunity to put their experiences into words so others can get a window into perspectives they would otherwise never have had.
I hope there can be more conversations that will take us closer to resolving the two conflicting messages about the difference between ‘romantic’ and ‘platonic’:
- There is more to ‘romance’ than the sexual and sensual elements. OK, so if you remove the sexual and sensual elements, then does the difference between ‘romantic attraction’ and ‘platonic attraction’ involve whether or not one experiences limerence/infatuation?
- But whenever people experience limerence/infatuation without sexual and/or sensual components, they tend to label it ‘platonic’ rather than ‘romantic’. So what am I missing here? What is the ‘real’ difference between ‘romantic’ and ‘platonic’?
Happy reading and happy blogging to everyone, and wish you all a good end to 2021!