Dorothy Tennov

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Dorothy Tennov (August 29, 1928 – February 3, 2007) was an American psychologist who, in her 1979 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.D. from the University of Connecticut. Tennov was a professor of psychology at the University of Bridgeport for twenty years. In addition to being a professor of psychology she was also a student of the philosophy of science.

Tennov had three sons: Randall Hoffman (d. Nov. 19, 1994), Ace Hoffman and Daniel Hoffman. From 1986, she lived in Millsboro, Delaware, where she lectured at the local senior learning academy and worked as a volunteer at the nursing home. Tennov died in Harbeson, Delaware at the age of 78 in 2007.[1]


Tennov was an author of three published nonfiction books, including Love and Limerence, Psychotherapy: The Hazardous Cure, and Super Self: A woman's guide to self-management. Among her other writings were a prize-winning play about life in a nursing home, reviews of books on scientific subjects, presentations at scientific meetings, and essays. Her television credits included a PBS interview with the late French novelist and essayist, Simone de Beauvoir and appearance in a 1998 BBC documentary, The Evolution of Desire. Tennov participated in Internet discussions on scientific and political topics while conducting research for a forthcoming book in which she planned more fully to analyze the methodologies and philosophies of the human sciences.

  1. Tennov, Dorothy (1979). Love and Limerence. Maryland: Scarborough House. ISBN 0-8128-6286-4.
  2. Tennov, Dorothy (1975). Psychotherapy: The Hazardous Cure. Abelard-Schuman. ISBN 0-200-04028-6.
  3. Tennov, Dorothy (1999). Love and Limerence: the Experience of Being in Love. New York: Scarborough House. ISBN 978-0-8128-6286-7.
  4. Tennov, Dorothy (2005). A Scientist Looks at Romantic Love and Calls It "Limerence": The Collected Works of Dorothy Tennov. Greenwich, CT: The Great American Publishing Society (GRAMPS),