That’s Not Love, That’s Limerence! Or Perhaps Any of These 6 Distractions At Work That You Thought Was Love

Published: February 8, 2024
A man and woman walk side by side. Image caption says: Limerence and 6 Other Work Distractions You Thought Was Love

Have you ever experienced falling deeply, madly in love with someone, only to realize that you liked the idea of them more than the reality? Yup, that’s limerence!

Modern romance has become increasingly complex, leading to a rise in limerence, situationships, love bombing, and other lousy trends. If you’re a single adult, you’ve probably experienced one or more of these problems while navigating the dating landscape.

To make things even more complicated, imagine navigating these dating trends while dealing with your feelings for someone in your workplace. So, how do you know if it’s love or limerence? To find out, let’s decipher these modern romance trends one by one!

What Is Limerence?

First, let’s discuss the term “limerence.” In the context of a romantic relationship, limerence refers to an overwhelming and obsessive longing not reciprocated by the other person. 

To the person experiencing it, limerence may feel like love because of its intensity. Any sign of interest from their crush leads to euphoria, and any small rejection may turn into despair. However, limerence and love are not the same thing.

Limerence vs. Love: What’s the Difference?

Limerence is a one-sided attachment, with one person often unfairly putting the other on a pedestal. Meanwhile, falling in love involves mutual attraction and respect, with both people working together to maintain the relationship.

So, is your work crush true love or just a distraction? Let’s find out.

Limerence and Other Distractions at Work You May Have Misinterpreted as Love

Work-From-Home Lust

A girl smiles while working with a laptop.

It’s official: remote work is here to stay in the post-pandemic workplace. Even now that most countries have relaxed their COVID restrictions, many companies have chosen to retain their work-from-home arrangements or transition to a hybrid work setup.

For many single people, remote work is both a blessing and a curse. While it gives them more time and location flexibility, it also means less face-to-face interaction and, thus, fewer opportunities to meet people and find love. This has given rise to the phenomenon known as “work-from-home lust.”

Work-from-home lust happens when one person emotionally connects with their colleague online. However, because of their fully remote work setup, they may not have had the chance to see each other yet. 

Although it may seem like love while just chatting online, the two colleagues may meet up and realize that they don’t have much chemistry in person, effectively ending their budding relationship.


Photo shows two colleagues work side by side.

Another modern dating trend many people may be familiar with is the concept of having a situationship. It is a romantic arrangement that may be temporary, casual, or only exists because of a particular situation.

For example, a person goes on a vacation outside their home country. While there, they meet someone and start dating, but both choose not to define their relationship because they see it as a temporary fling that will not last once the tourist returns home.

In the workplace, many people may unexpectedly find themselves in situationships simply because of proximity. For instance, two team members who work closely together find themselves exchanging flirty banter or sweet conversations.

However, many workplace situationships don’t transition into genuine committed relationships either because they don’t have much in common apart from work or don’t spend much time together outside the office.

Boredom With Daily Work Routine

A photo shows a man cupping his chin out of boredom.

A lot of people mistake passion for love. They experience limerence because they believe in the rom-com version of relationships, where you declare your commitment to one another through grand gestures and public displays of affection.

The truth, however, is that love is much more understated. It can mean establishing a routine together, communicating your needs to one another, making compromises, and planning for your future as a team.

Sometimes, when you’re bored or unsatisfied at work, you tend to see any “spark” with a co-worker as love because it disrupts the monotony of your daily routine. Be cautious with this dating trend. Before you pursue any workplace romance, make sure you truly like this person and aren’t just viewing them as a fun distraction.

Similarity With a Colleague

Two colleagues high five each other.

Having much in common with someone can be a sign that you’re compatible and meant to be in a relationship. However, not all people similar to you will make a good life partner.

For instance, even if you agree with each other on work matters or like the same movies or shows, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a similar lifestyle or get along outside of work. 

Compatibility needs to be deeper than surface level when forming a long-term relationship with someone. Do you have the same values and goals? Do you agree on marriage and children? These are just a few conversations you’ll need to have if you want the relationship to work out in the long run.

Covert Narcissism

A photo shows a man coyly taking a selfie.

Picture this: You form a quick and intense connection with someone you just met. At first, they do everything to make you feel special and wanted. 

However, over time, they start making passive-aggressive comments or criticisms that harm your self-esteem and confidence. They may even shower you with gifts but then use those same gifts as “leverage” to get you to meet their demands.

If this has happened to you, then you might have been dating a covert narcissist.

People with covert narcissism lack empathy, have an inflated sense of self-importance, and enjoy being admired by others. They also tear down the people they are in a relationship with to make themselves feel better.

Dating someone like this in the workplace may make you feel special and appreciated at first, but it’s not true love if the person knowingly makes comments meant to harm your sense of self.

Love Bombing

A phot shows a man kissing a girl on the cheek.

Sometimes, you develop feelings for someone not because you have things in common or enjoy each other’s presence but because they bombard you with affection at the early stages of your relationship. This trend is called “love bombing.”

At first, love bombing may feel fantastic because you’re given extra attention, affection, and even gifts. However, love bombers don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts, instead using it to exert control over their chosen partner.

Some tell-tale signs of love bombing include intense love declarations even when you haven’t known each other for long, pressuring you to commit to a relationship immediately, physical and emotional clinginess, and immense jealousy when you’re speaking to others.

So, When Do You Know It’s Love and Not Limerence or Distraction?

A photo shows a woman embracing a man from the back.

“How do I even know what true love is?” Here is a simple yet significant factor: time.

Time is the ultimate truth-teller, helping you parse the difference between limerence and true love. No matter how passionate you may be about each other today, the actual trial will be whether you stand the test of time.

The right person will always define, confirm, and commit – leaving no room for gray areas, confusion, or misunderstandings.

Whether you’re in a relationship, married, or happily single, may you enjoy the Love Month with those nearest and dearest to your heart. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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