How to get rid of limerence

For all its promise of ecstasy, limerence can be an oppressive and disruptive force in life. Most often, it is when limerence develops for somebody inappropriate – perhaps the worst being an LO who at some level likes the attention, or doesn’t know how to handle it sensibly, and so gives off mixed signals that keep the limerent in a perpetual state of (reinforcing) uncertainty. I think anyone who has experienced limerence has at some stage wanted to turn it off. So, is that possible? No.

Short post today!

Ha, ha. I am funny.

Given the impossibility of turning off limerence, the next best thing is to develop strategies for hastening its natural demise. Here are four of the best.

1) No contact

The best and tried-and-tested strategy, that merely requires superhuman discipline. No contact with the LO will, inevitably, surely, lead to a fading of the limerence. If nothing else, it does give enough distance for objectivity to reassert itself and allow you to recall LOs obvious unsuitability and negative qualities. Of course, if LO is actually admirable, then this is not so promising. Smart arsery-aside, no contact is a very sensible strategy. Starve the source of limerent reinforcement. View the LO as a danger to your wellbeing, and cut all ties. Avoid their company wherever possible. Absolutely no social media contact. Get into the habit of always choosing the option that diminishes the chance of accidental contact. Absolutely, under no circumstances, allow your limerent brain to persuade you that you have got your feelings under control and you can be friends with LO now. Yeah, friends. No harm in that. Just friends. Who like to play chicken with the cripplingly intrusive thoughts that add so much spice to their life.

Sometimes, no contact is not possible for practical reasons. So next you could try…

2) Aversion conditioning

The goal here is tricking your brain into devaluing the LO. It’s not a noble strategy this, but it can be effective. When in the company of LO, instead of reflecting on how lovely it is the way their chin has an adorable chubby crease as it merges with their oh-so-kissable neck, find a flaw and fixate on it. Your luck’s in if they have wonky teeth, or a prominent spot, or a receding hairline. The basic goal is to counter your traitor brain’s attempts to idealise the LO by feeding it negative data.

Appearance may not be the best approach here, as it is, after all, still their body and therefore hugely desirable by definition. More potent can be the memory of past shame. An inevitable aspect of limerence is some encounter with LO – perhaps where your flirting was a bit clumsy or LO was in a bad mood – when you were hoping for a bit of sparkle, but instead got the horrible stomach-lurching rejection (or at least, obvious failure to reciprocate). I’m good at shame. I do shame well. If you do too, use this as fuel. Next time you are chatting with LO, and feeling all happy and chilled, REMEMBER THE SHAME. Remember that feeling of being foolish and ridiculous and rejected and wallow in it. Let it seep into you while LO is telling you all about the problems they are having with their SO (that you could obviously save them from). Make the shame taint every good experience with the LO. No mercy.

A particularly effective strategy for me was vividly imaging my wife sitting on a chair in the corner of the room. Try flirting through that.

3) Transference

Assuming avoidance and aversion haven’t worked, your next hope is transference. You need a new LO. One who is suitable, or at least less toxic. If you have a SO, try and reconnect with them. Suggest new adventures. Get out of the ordinary routine. If you are keeping the limerence from them, this might be difficult to explain, but damn it, give it a try. If you don’t have an SO, then the world is your oyster. That limerence is a huge pent-up mass of romantic power. Unleash it on a worthy recipient. Cast around for someone else who gives you the glimmer, and seek their company at the expense of LO.

A possible byproduct of this, of course, is that LO may notice, and then get jealous, and finally see your value and then… oh, God damn it limerence, you monster!

4) Disclosure

Your last option is disclosure. Tell LO, straight to their face.

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AKA the nuclear option*

This will work, assuming that your LO isn’t a manipulative piece of shit. Disclose to them how strong your feelings are, that you don’t want to just be friends with them, that you want a romantic relationship, and that you hope that they feel the same way too. Really make it impossible for them to feign misunderstanding or confusion. If they laugh and change the subject, change it right back.

This might seem catastrophic. You will ruin a beautiful friendship. But be honest with yourself: it isn’t beautiful. Or a friendship. And after you’ve been honest with yourself, be honest with them. If they feel the same way about you, then you have got your heart’s desire. If they do not, then the uncertainty that is the essence of limerence is ended. They will probably now avoid your company, helpfully precipitating the no contact strategy. You will know that you can never pretend that you are just enjoying their company as a friend, and maybe one day their feelings may deepen…etc. It might hurt like a bastard at the time, but it’s a good strategy for living an authentic life to directly tell people that you care about, how you actually feel.

There are occasions where disclosure is not appropriate, of course. If they or you have a SO, and you do not want those relationships to end (side note: if you do want those relationships to end, then end them before you disclose. Nobody said being a decent human being was safe and easy). If they are vulnerable, and there is a power imbalance of some sort (professional being the most obvious). Finally, if you do disclose, and the LO evades the issue, makes light of it, or gives you a vague or non-committal response, you are probably limerent for someone who is going to make your life a misery of indecision and insecurity. You are better off without them. Seriously. Go back to strategy 1, and repeat until you win.

 

*Yes, I know it’s a volcano.

52 thoughts on “How to get rid of limerence

  1. When I was getting out of my LE which had gone from a “friendly online relationship” to what met 2/3 of the criteria for a full blown emotional affair, I tried #1 first. It didn’t work too well.
    By that time, I was well aware of the minefield that I’d sailed into. It wasn’t a question of knowing what the right answer was, it was a question of pulling it off without hitting any mines in the process.

    So, after thinking it through, I decided to go to #4. We’d gotten into this mess after she’d broken up with her allegedly cheating boyfriend and she started reaching out to me. I thought that if I came clean and told her I’d become attracted to her, she’d see the irony in reaching out to a married guy, throw the flag, and end things. Not necessarily noble but, at the time, she was big on not being lied to and things would end honestly. It backfired and she wanted to get closer. The thing was, the closer she got, the higher my anxiety got. She got on my wife’s radar. It was not pleasant.

    I told a friend that I’d disclosed and she said, “You really told her that? For a smart guy, you make some really bad assumptions.” This was the same woman who when I told her what was happening said, “Get away from her and stay away from her. Stay involved with this woman and this will not end well for you.” Sometimes, people will tell you things, if you’re smart enough to listen to them.

    Logistics were in my favor and my distancing was eventually enough for her to end the acquaintance. She made the call that I tried to make but didn’t.

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    • Hi Sharnhorst,

      Thanks for your comment.
      Yes, disclosure can be a high risk strategy. The most frustrating being an ambiguous response from a flaky LO, or thinking you know how LO will react but misjudging. It’s often unpredictable.

      You have a wise friend. That’s a blessing!

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      • One upside of disclosure as an exit strategy is that if it works, it eliminates that seed for rationalizing the need to return for closure.

        No hope, no uncertainty, no upside to maintaining the relationship, and no “unfinished business” to bring you back.

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      • Absolutely. Also, disclosure means no room for hiding in “friendship” while hoping that one day, somehow, everything will change and you’ll know exactly how they feel about you. And seize the perfect moment and perfect words to persuade them of your appeal. Fear about disclosure is often fear that if you lose the cloak of friendship, you’ll lose an opportunity for future persuasion. Uncertainty means there’s hope.

        Disclosure cuts all of that false hope and uncertainty away.

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  2. This is the best advice I’ve seen and also the only time I’ve laughed about my “condition”! I really appreciate this post and how artfully and humorously it is presented. The part about viewing your LO as a threat to your well being is awesome, I’ve had the thought that I had to save myself, even if suddenly avoiding LO made my issue even more obvious and suspicious. It was and it did and there was no need for me to disclose when I suddenly started avoiding him – too obvious, but it killed 2 birds with one stone I guess. And the memory of past shame technique is spot on effective.

    I’m still battling after a year but I’m about 60% better. Getting there. Thank you.

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  3. This is brilliant and so lovely to have it put in light-hearted terms. As we are both single and I’ve tried everything else to no avail, this has persuaded me to go for disclosure, if and when we ever meet again. Really I’ve nothing to loose apart from months or years of heartache and self-delusion. I was widowed, quite young, 18 months ago, and this fantasy – with the vagueness and uncertainty that defines limerence – has helped in a strange way to put some light into those dark times. But it’s also added to the pain. The times I spend with LO are lovely. I think he does care and is unsure. Just not enough and probably never will be. I will loose a lovely friendship, but I’ll also be able to get on with my life and face reality, which I must.

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  4. If you are married or in a committed relationship, I’d suggest disclosure to a therapist and/or your spouse/partner. Attractions and infatuations are normal even in committed relationships; private obsessions or serial LOs are not. Disclosure to anyone pops the bubble, which is part of what keeps the limmerence experience alive. Expose it to the light of day and things will change one way or another. Keep it hidden and you are likely hurt yourself, your partner, your LO, and/or the LOs partner (and any children involved in the mix).

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  5. One other technique that I stumbled on at the height of my limerence was forcing myself to try a couple of addicting phone games. My limerent brain was too stupid to read books at this point, and they couldn’t really compare to the limerent fantasy world I was living in, but I forced myself to get into Candy Crush again, and another super dumb but also addicting game. It was the weakest effort, but it took the edge off in moments of desperation, and it also became a part of my daily life as I traveled through a year of recovery. Especially for a brain that loves addiction, this is a poor substitute, but you can see how it could slightly work. It helped me – it was like my brain was finally able to get distracted for brief snatches of time, almost like transference, but to an electronic phone game.

    I normally would not recommend wasting time on phone games, but in this case, desperate times call for desperate measures.

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    • Nice idea. I’m not a gamer, but the idea of replacing a destructive addiction with a neutral one (assuming no in game purchases, I guess) is smart. Agree about the reading too – it’s my go-to comfort blanket when non-limerent, but hopeless during limerence.

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  6. I chose #4, as I felt it unfair for someone in my social circle to unknowingly inspire that feeling. I didn’t know that it would lead to what was probably the gentlest honest rejection ever, nor was I ready for any development then.
    If you do reject someone who admits the feeling, be clear. I took “I don’t feel that way,” followed quickly by, “I’m not ready for a relationship” to suggest that there was a chance when he was ready. Just the first sentence would have left me in no doubt, while being as gentle as possible.
    #1 was not possible, as going to the same place regularly and having mutual friends preludes that. And I can’t avoid that place
    #2 came up blank. Yes, I tried really hard. Found positives I hadn’t thought of before instead.
    #3 I was trying to stick a dead marriage together to start with, and worked really hard at finding my partner attractive again. When that couldn’t work (only I was trying), I tried pretending to myself that I found a different friend attractive. That got confusing, as a few people picked up on the misdirection

    Reminding myself that my LO now has a girlfriend and that nothing would ever happen anyway helps

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    • Oh yes, the “soft rejection”. Meant well, but harder to cope with than a blunt “No”,

      Found positives I hadn’t thought of before instead. 🙂 Damned virtuous LOs are the worst.

      Focussing on how nothing will ever happen is wise – if you can’t avoid LO, keep working on eliminating the uncertainty by yourself.

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  7. What if you disclose, they are interested, they want kids, you have two and don’t want more, you can not compromise, it is agony, you realize no contact is the only way, they keep contacting you, you hold their hand and cry about what can’t be, you want desperately to be friends as least, but know you can’t. I’ve run through all four and need a 5th option…

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    • I really hope you are single or divorced because of the LEo’s desire for children. If either of you are married and not divorced, the ‘ick’ (and potentially infecting a committed partner with an STD) factor comes into play.

      “they keep contacting you”

      IMO, sadly, you have to shut that down entirely. Change your phone number, get a new email account, let messages roll to voice mail, block from social media, etc. Otherwisr, you are engaging & maximizing and prolonging the pain.

      “you hold their hand and cry about what can’t be,”

      There are a lot of things that can’t or won’t be. When you’re engaging with this person you are not committed to ending it.

      She wants to bear children and you do not. That means you have to shut it down. Time is a factor and the sooner she has dealt with the end, the better.

      You may have to be cruel to be kind. She may ‘hate you, she may even truly hate you, but if you are no longer in her life it doesn’t matter if she thinks of you at all.

      I’m so sorry. It’s a tough situation.

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    • It’s a real drag when two peoples’ vision of life don’t line up. It’s even worse when they both have equally valid positions. You’re both entitled to pursue your individual ideas of happiness. Your not wanting more kids is as equally as valid as her wanting her own kids. Unfortunately, kids are a “no compromise” situation. You either have them or you don’t. The decision to have or not to have children when you hold the opposite view isn’t a compromise, it’s a sacrifice.

      If there’s ever a candidate for resentment to appear later it’s this one. She concedes and, if things don’t work out, that club might come out of the closet. You kept her from her dream. You concede and the kid is born severely disabled or becomes a drug addled delinquent. you might be the one wielding that bat.

      It’s not that you can’t be friends, it’s that you’ll likely be holding yourselves back if you do. The other thing you may face is your reaction to one of you eventually moving on. You’ll say it won’t bother you, but it will, at least for awhile. But, that doesn’t mean moving on isn’t the right thing to do.

      30 years ago, I thought I’d be at this point in my life with LO #2. She didn’t share that vision. Happiness isn’t a zero-sum game. Another downside of life, is you can’t guarantee the future so you just have to make a decision and go with it.

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    • It sounds as if the barrier for you is the impossibility of a long term relationship – and you are right that kids/no kids is an insurmountable barrier. While I definitely am an advocate of planning ahead, already having these conversations in the middle of limerence is surprising (I’m reading your words as suggesting you are at a pre-commitment stage). There are no certainties in life, of course, but if you are sure that there’s no future in the relationship, you really only have one option: No Contact, properly. If you try to comfort LO and remain available to them and seek them when your own pain seems unbearable, it is very likely that you will prolong your own limerence, and delay the opportunity for LO to find a partner that does want kids.

      Perhaps option 5 could be: tell yourself that if you truly care for LO, you should free them to find a partner who can meet their need for children. If that means shutting them out of your life, you just have to make that sacrifice. It will be hard on you (and them), but doing the right thing sometimes is hard.

      Good luck, and best wishes.

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      • We were friends for a year, then I disclosed and a relationship was a possibility, except for wanting marriage and kids…so I went NC and eight months later I got an email and I thought minds had changed. But, it was just an attempt at reestablishing a friendship. I guess I misread “I think about you every day” “I have more than just friend feelings for you” “I want you in my life”

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      • Pretty hard to misinterpret those statements!
        A charitable guess would be that they missed your friendship and were conflicted about seeing whether a relationship was possible after all. A less charitable guess is that they were feeling lonely and wanted some narcissistic supply. Who knows where the truth lies, but getting back in touch and upending your life again after 8 months of no contact is not very friendly…?

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  8. Has anyone ever been able to get limerence to go away forever, because mine will just come back with someone else. So, I guess my thinking is if I HAVE to live in this torturous hell because there is no real “cure” then should t the LO at least like me too?

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    • I think limerence is a trait that some people have – like introversion or agreeableness or proneness to anxiety. Like any other personality trait, I think the effects can be moderated with practice and discipline (and the will to change). But, I’m not sure you can ever eliminate it completely, and I’m also not sure that is a particularly desirable goal. Limerence can be wonderful, when reciprocated by a good LO.

      My hope with this site is that by learning and talking about it, limerents can develop the techniques needed to control the worst effects of limerence when it is a bane on life, but embrace it when it is a good thing.

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    • Maybe you’re destined to be an active limerent forever and maybe you aren’t. Using the addiction model, for some addicts sobriety may be relatively easy and for others every day is a epic struggle.

      People aren’t who they are because of the relationships they have, they have the relationships they have because of who they are. Limerence isn’t a cause, it’s an effect. Addressing limerent behavior is treating a symptom not a cause. Dealing with limerence may be more like diabetes that you’re forced to manage forever than an infection that you can treat and it’s gone. But, once they get the protocol down, many diabetics have very happy and productive lives.

      If you want to at least get your limerence down to a manageable level, I recommend you start with DrL’s blogs relating to “glimmer.” The “glimmer” is kind of a litmus test for limerents.

      The first benefit is if you understand what your “glimmer” is, you see someone may be a threat (i.e., potential LO) and you can take steps to avoid it. If someone has it, there are topics you just avoid with them. The second benefit is by understanding the glimmer, you can gain insight into what attracts you to them which can help you reduce your vulnerability to them. That can take a lot of work and take you to places you had no intention of going. Digging into that one can not only change how you react to limerent stimuli, it can affect your whole life.

      But, if you do the work, you’ve learned to identify and avoid threats and you’ve reduced your vulnerability to the threats you can’t avoid. Hence, your risk goes down.

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  9. I just ended a good “friendship” over this. She got pissed off, blocked me on every social network known to man and then showed all the suggestive texts that I had sent her to my mutual friends.

    Found this term today! thank god.
    I was addicted to this woman who was 9 years older than me. The obsession nearly cost me my job, definitely ruined my reputation ( I am the crazy guy who went to the girl’s house uninvited to ask her why she wasn’t picking up my calls) and I lost all my mutual friends.

    But I knew this was an addiction and was totally convinced that she was a narcissist and love bombed me into this hell. On the surface it was purely a friendship but our hugs were longer, kisses on the neck and cheeks and a bite on the cheek definitely muddled things up for me.

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  10. It really is an insane roller-coaster ride. That being said, being limerent for a married person is not an experience I’d wish on anyone.

    Has Dr. Limerence done any writing on clarifying the mess of affectionate feelings the limerent typically has for the LO? Is the friendship I enjoy with this woman an illusion created by limerence, or is the limerence an unwelcome by-product of the friendship?

    I feel like the real tragedy of the situation is that not only is romance out of the question, but our friendship is probably doomed as well due to this absurd infatuation.

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    • I developed limerence from a very intimate and deep friendship with a married man. The problem is, I can’t avoid him, because we are law partners. We spend ridiculous amounts of time with each other–we are the only lawyers we know in the states we practice that do almost all evidentiary hearings/trials together. WE don’t even charge our clients for two lawyers. We both have a deep need to be together, and we have an exceptional relationship. He decided to leave the firm, and that (re-triggered) my Limerence for him that had waxed and waned over the years–that commenced in our first year of law school together. We would travel together, find excuses to go on trips where there was really no functional reason to..The problem is–IT IS reciprocated, but it could be just because he likes the attention–a lot? I can not tell the difference. There is this assumption that Limerence is not reciprocated, but I think often its not just one’s person’s “perception” as much as it is that each individual in the relationship are having different relationships with each other. The Limerence in my case, came from something REAL. I feel that limerence “cheapens” the relationship, but it was the intimate emotional relationship with this (married) law partner, sparked the limerence. The relationship is real, but it triggered my obsession–once I ‘exposed’ the fact I believed we had a “relationship” outside of just being law partners, he didn’t deny it–he acted as if it was a given. That made things WORSE. It hurt his marriage–and triggered him telling me that he was leaving the firm. He is as upset about it as I am (I think) he is not eating or sleeping as I am not. Both taking xanex. But I understand–his marriage comes first, and I do not want to take his family away from him, I love him too much to do that–but I check every box of Limerence test and I’ve had a similar relationship before with my best friend who was a gay man–how also reciprocated in somewhat romantic ways–Any way, how the hell do I determine what is going on???? Please help!

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      • LL, it does sound as though you have been almost a second wife to your law partner for the last 12 years, which obviously suited him too. I suppose some fruitful questions to ask yourself now are: 1) why do you think you tolerated the asymmetry of him having an actual wife and family plus a “work wife” (horrible phrase, but seems apt), while you only got to have a day-relationship on limited terms? 2) Now that he has decided to resolve the conflict by leaving the firm, is this an opportunity for you to reinvent yourself professionally and personally? and 3) Most important of all: what do you want your life to be like?

        I’m guessing that the answer to the final question might be “I want my life to still have LO in it,” but given that does not seem to be a viable option, or a healthy one, you probably need to think more creatively.

        The theme of this blog is that purposeful living is the best “cure” for limerence. It’s easy to state it, but not easy to develop the mental clarity and resilience to achieve it. My best advice is that it is incremental work. Find small goals that you can set yourself to move in a positive direction. It’s surprising how these psychological gains can add up like compound interest and reshape your view of yourself and your life. At first glance, it strikes me as unusual that for a successful professional woman you are allowing other people to determine major aspects of your life. So, maybe some small but concrete steps towards asserting your independence would be a good starting point for breaking the habit of dependence.

        From what you say, your partner reciprocates your feelings of emotional co-dependence but – critically – he has decided to break that connection to prioritise his marriage, even though it is hurting him. That’s a purposeful decision: he is making a personal sacrifice that will cause him emotional pain, because his marriage is the most important part of his life. Unfortunately for you, his purposeful decision has also caused you emotional pain, that you didn’t willingly take on yourself.

        The only way I can think of to counter that, is to accept that he is detaching, and strike out in your own purposeful direction. What do you want your post-LO life to be like? How about continuing with your professional success (or pivoting to a new career), and also seeking a new partner for all aspects of your life? Why should you not find someone as desirable as your LO, who is also available for romantic love?

        Many people (myself included) make a stark reappraisal of their lives and choices in their early forties. Often, that involves the severing of unhealthy relationships. There is still half a life ahead of you, and lots of opportunities to take more control over your own fate. Try and tap into your rational mind and see that this 12 year partnership was always going to end painfully – how else could it have played out? – accept that that inevitable time has come now, and be thankful that you are still young enough to embark on a second half of life with good prospects for a better future.

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    • Bram, your question….Is the friendship I enjoy with this woman an illusion created by limerence, or is the limerence an unwelcome by-product of the friendship? I feel the latter. I’ve had relationships go bad and never behaved or felt as I have in this situation. It seems to me it takes a certain personality type to bring us to obsessing over someone we cannot have or will never have again. I believe they know what they are doing and play a cat and mouse game as long as they are allowed to. I read we choose and want to ‘be’ ‘limerent’ but unless I’m giving in to my now long since mastered basic personality ‘dysfunctions’ why would I want to be miserable? I was not brought to a state of ‘limerence’ before this but I do see how the relationship brought out my own basic long ago recognized personality ‘glitches’…I’d forgotten them over the years and it took a unique ‘situation’ to bring them back to the surface. Lesson learned. Limerence is supposed to be a noun and I’m still trying to figure out why….it has been a state of mind for me after a culmination of events not me as a person…I did not choose to respond to the ending of the relationship the way I did. But once I saw how I was/am behaving I can change it…

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  11. – Can’t we just be friends?

    – Limerence and the friendzone

    – I’m totally over this. Let’s go for coffee!

    – The Glimmer givers

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  12. I am new here, and I can say that the limerence is my life! I allways have special someone on my mind,man or a woman, unsuitable weather too young,or old,or married or tabooed because of profesional circumctances..i change LO random,but they last very long..I dont see a pattern, not in my childhood history or any trauma .every limerence are a bit traumatic experiences to me.They leed me deep in despare, I struggle not to convience my feelings ,but usually I do something impulsively at the end..one of them, I ended briefly, by sending an SMS, to manipulative femaile friend, saying, We will not be seing each other anymore, all out of the blue, and she and our other friends were shocked for weeks, but I could not stand that pressure anymore, because i felt she knew what I feel and tried to keep me bounded for her needs. Ah,I am woman ,and my limerences are bisexual! I could wtite more and more, and say at the end I concluded one thing: I have choosen limerences instead of an real comitment deliberatly although I have nice feature and am inteligent well educated and amusing person , cause I feel fullfilment in all aspects of it, what you mentioned..It is my drug..I am sometimes very depressed and holpless case but glad to love someone so deeply and frantic that I even believe it has some purpose in ther life too..right now,there is no room for any other person, especially real one,in my mind, because I am focused day and night on My LO and it lasts 3 years now. .it is impossible to be together he and I ,and drives me sexually. .Everything I see or do gets me back to think of him. If we are not seeing each other as we do not these past months,it has no ting to fo to make it less enchanting. I was googling thousend times to find some help and suddenly,luckily!!!! found this blog. Hope it will heip. God bless you all here! T.

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  13. I found this site and the term ‘limerence’ was new to me. Divorced, fell in love, 8 months of him love bombing me and was changing my whole life to be with him at his urging. I truly believe he is a Narcissist and 8 months after 8 months of promises of love and a future, always followed by drama and personal slights, I cannot seem to move forward, 9 months later. I was never OCD or unable to overcome break-ups with time, until now. It’s driving me nuts. I’m depressed, dispare and constant thought of him. I try to think the insane and horrible way he treated me but then rationalize that some was ‘good’. Barely any part of it was good. My soul is crying help! help! make it stop! He’s moved on, how do I? 1 through 4 haven’t worked or only worked temporarily. This is just crazy!

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    • Hi Susan,
      Welcome to the blog. Sorry to hear what you’ve been going through with your narcissistic LO. This post may be useful for understanding why the behaviour you describe is such effective emotional manipulation. It’s encouraging that you recognise how toxic it is. Hope the site can help you find strategies to cope, and to start getting your mind straight…

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      • Thank you so much. I think one immediate comfort is finding a ‘label’ other than OCD and a few others. I’m a Psychology major and worked in human resources and security for years in a tough industry, paid well to evaluate personnel problems and business problems. It’s been quite a surprise to be taken for such a ride in my personal life and not see it coming or be able to apply techniques to heal to the situation I got myself into. I’ve done quite a bit of research and reading the last several months on the effect of narcissistic relationships and the effects it has on people. I’m classic. I’ve also had many discussions with an MS in Social Work and am surprised at how little we can study and apply as they don’t get help. DSM has info on personality disorders of course but seems a slippery slope. The mans name pops in my head and I play out conversations and past pleasures as well as dramas over and over…it’s quite insane. During the day, the middle of the night,…More later, you may not want to publish this one, that would be ok. I need to get into the site and read what others are saying and feeling. Why have I not heard the term limerence? Did I miss that class?

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      • Susan,

        You’re definitely not alone.

        LO #4 was “Narc Bait.” It seemed like she never met a Narc she didn’t try to rehabilitate.

        She spent 7 years with her last guy and from what she told me, he wasn’t the first. Considering her line of work, you’d have thought she’d known better. But, we all have blind spots. One of mine was an attraction to women with a history of dissatisfying relationships, usually involving infidelity.

        There’s a lot of literature that says codependents are often attracted to narcs. There’s also some overlap between codependence and limerence. This is as a concise explanation of the difference as I’ve seen. http://www.andreaharrn.co.uk/co-dependent-limerent/#sthash.ToIGNzaS.dpbs

        A lot of therapists are unfamiliar with limerents. Mine tagged me as co-dependent but co-dependence didn’t fit the relational dynamics. I posted more in the “Therapy for limerence” blog.

        Good luck!

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  14. A simple trip to Wikipedia just gave me a ton of understanding of the term and state of being. It appears the term was coined in the 70’s from research done in the 60’s on relationships and again I am/was behaving in a classic fashion in several areas. I have wallowed around in this mire long enough. Educating oneself is strength! Please go read it. I realize now I have been in some ways strong enough to move forward but still grasping for straws for the renewal of the relationship. Now I am going to find the strength to delete all former love letters, emails, texts and messages from and to him and block some people associated with him on social media. Several psychological areas are absolutely ‘me’ and I realize now how they cropped up again and why. How empowering! I am convinced he is a ‘Narc’ and am completely dedicated to not secumming to the pitfalls of being ‘stuck’ in the repercussions of having been taken for this ride…WOW!

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  15. By the way Scharnhorst, thank you for your response. Knowing ourselves is a huge step in avoiding many behaviors unhealthy for us. I had been married 25 yrs to a highly non sexual passive-aggressive man and did not suffer the effect of his behavior until we were thrown together after his job loss and I began to suffer the repercussions of his total lack of business acumen. I had been in business 34 yrs total and 22 my last one. Now retired after 8 yrs of PA sabotage I ‘gifted’ him the business legally and got out of the business as well as the marriage before I was completely financially and emotionally ruined. I got into the relationship with the ‘narc’ way too soon and now see things much more clearly. I was a perfect target though I will not use the term ‘victim’, hopefully I’ll begin to see myself as a survivor soon. Almost every part of the ‘definition’ described what I have been doing, feeling and acting. I read the Wikipedia article and just kept saying to myself WOW! It’s amazing to find this site and almost overnight realize and find strength to work toward my ‘wellness’! One word…Limerence…perfect! I won’t say I haven’t though of him this morning but did sleep better last night and the thoughts I have had are vastly different than they have been the last 9 months. It’s still going to take some work and I had already decided to take 6 months to a year before pursuing any relationship. To find the happy me again and have the ‘good’ me to offer someone. Again, WOW! Let the healing continue!

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    • Susan,

      Tangling with a Cluster B can definitely mess with your head. I have 2 profession opinions LO #2 had a Cluster B personality disorder. I tried to get her in front of a marriage counselor even though we weren’t married. She declined. Her idea of “professional help” was to undergo a Past Life Regression and a Tarot Card reading (no joke). I actually asked her to marry me and she declined. As one therapist put it, “You were lucky she didn’t marry you. Your life could have been so much worse.”

      I used to think that the events of my life didn’t line up well. After doing the work. it turns out that not only does it make sense, but to someone who knew what they were looking at, the events were, if not predictable, not surprising.

      Discovering limerence was the missing piece of explaining the dynamics of some of the relationships I’ve had. It explains what I was feeling, why I responded the way I did, and what made the relationship seem to ebb and flow. You can find some possible reasons you’re limerent here but we all have to do our own digging to know for sure.

      I still think of her 30 years later but she no longer has an effect on my life. You’ll likely never forget him but it’s possible to get past him.

      I wish you the best in your journey. It sounds like you’re on the road to success and happiness.

      Like

      • Tarot Cards and Past Life Regression? Truly laughing out loud! And you wanted to marry her…we are sometime not rational in some situations aren’t we? I feel I dodged a bullet too. Even knowing that I persisted. He wanted to, or said he did, get married and I was selling out and packing up my life to move 750 miles just to do that even with all the warning signs. The smartest thing I did was call his ex girlfriend last May. That is funny too because it was months over at that point, but not for this little ‘Limerent’! LOL! Oh boy did she have an earful for me. A user, not worth the pain of the hangnail on my little finger, lousy in bed, (before prostate cancer interesting) never gave gifts, demanding…she had grown tired of it and was going to break up with him bu the got prostate cancer and she felt she could not at that time. That gives some insight to me also as to how I played right into trying to ‘help’ him in his recovery which probably has not nor will happen as Narc’s can’t get intimate enough do what is necessary to recover from that type cancer and he had already stopped doing some of what was necessary. I felt tenderness and somewhat sorry for him. I still feel sorry for him but for a different reason now. Most of what she said was the same I had experienced. But after a month recovery stay at her home, it was over. No she wasn’t interested in him any more and she was like me, successful, independent but she had truly moved on. I didn’t have the same support force she had. She’s still working and I was retiring…He was here with me texting her and trying to rekindle their relationship, hovering as the term is for narc’s who stay out of your life long enough for you to get your act together and then swoop in again and discard their current love object. I had already begun the process of distancing myself from him, I thought! They love to tear down strong women. Females with Narc PD are more rare but from what I have witnessed and realized in my now months long studies is they probably do the same to men. What you said about discovering Limerence holds true for me too. How it happened, the ebb and flow, how I responded etc. Our basic insecurities, even though perhaps well overcome long ago will at times come home to roost. I now feel confident I will get better each day. Need to get busy…I pray for all of us caught up in such an intensely painful situation find their AH HA moment!

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      • For the record, I had asked her to marry me 2 years earlier. After she declined, she moved across the country but we stayed together on paper for a year. We broke up and the short version is she came back after nearly a year after my successor allegedly cheated on her. There are bits and pieces of the story in other blogs.

        At the time, I thought reconciliation was possible. I put seeing a marriage counselor. Shortly after, she told me about the PLR & Tarot Card reading. If you’re interested, I’ll,post about them. It’s outside the scope of,limerence but It’s pretty funny.

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  16. Hi! Just found you guys – so happy to meet you. Thanks for this article (and many others!).

    I’ve only ever had 1 LO get out of hand I’ve been obsessed with him for 4 years now. I had no idea I was limerant — I’ve never had a relationship before, so I thought that it was normal to just be totally obsessed with the guy (I mean, that’s how it looks in the movies, right? lol).

    Anyway, I pined from a distance for 3 YEARS! I only saw him very rarely and sporadically – like five times a year. But I thought about him every single day and did everything I could to make myself as perfect as possible for him. Those 3 years were hell, but they were also kind of pleasant???

    Anyway, I finally took the “nuclear option” and said “hey, I like you – do you want to go get a coffee with me sometime?” – Since we were both single it wasn’t actually dangerous or anything – but it still is the “nuclear” option because I knew that if he didn’t reciprocate then I would’ve completely blown any chance of pretending to be casual. It’s crazy hard to be that vulnerable and put your heart out there. He rejected me and said he was interested in someone else. That was when I realized that this wasn’t just normal attraction.

    I’ve dealt with other rejections before and been fine, like, whatever. This one, though, nearly killed me. Like no sleep, no appetite, suddenly thinking about him a million times a day. I really scared my family. That was when I started researching to figure out what was wrong with me because I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like THIS! Learning about limerence was the AHA moment. It’s been a year since I disclosed, and I’m still not over it. I’m still regretful and terribly embarrassed and obsessed with him. I’m a lot better though. I sleep. I eat. I don’t do great at work, but I’m doing better. What’s helped the most has been getting my dopamine and seratonin levels up – I just recently did that with a doctor. Now I think I need to just keep on keeping on and try to get him out of my mind.

    I keep wondering if I’ll ever find anyone to share my life with . . . a “normal” healthy relationship. I kind of want that but also, I can’t imagine a “normal” relationship being anything as good as just imagining being with my LO. It was such a high – and the life I imagined for me and LO was like fireworks and cotton candy. And I know that if he’d said and we’d actually had a relationship then reality would’ve set it, but because I didn’t experience it all I have to look back on is the fireworks and cotton candy. I’ve tried to imagine a life and love with various other people and it seems nice, but not as nice. I feel meh about it.

    Thank you for letting me ramble!

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  17. Any advice would be so appreciated!

    I have had extremely deep feelings for one man, going on 6 years now (OMG!). 4 of those years we were in college together. He knew I liked him within months of us meeting and didn’t return my feelings, but we remained friends. After graduation I thought I would finally get over him because we weren’t in contact, but here I am 1.5 years after graduating (without physically seeing him at all and six months without speaking) and I think about him still, multiple times a day. I dream about him. I look at his social media almost religiously. All I want is his love, attention, and affection.

    The contact six months ago I referred to, I told him that I would unfollow him and I wouldn’t be contacting him in the future because of my feelings for him, and how I needed to do so to let go. He said he understood. And now I feel like I made the biggest mistake. At least before, I could talk to him. Now, I just ruminate on the past and pray he texts me. He doesn’t. He’s in medical school living his best life.

    I’ve made lists of all the reasons he doesn’t deserve me-the minute ways he’s imperfect. I’ve prayed. I sought therapy, where I was told I was normal and I’d get over him. I’ve tried dating apps. I’ve blocked his social media, only to crave seeing his face and unblock him hours later. Nothing I do seems to lessen my feelings for him.

    What do I do??! This is the heaviest weight I’ve ever had to bear, and trust me I’ve gone through some things. Nothing compares to how painful this is.

    Like

    • Hi Tired,

      Sorry to hear what you’re going through – many here can relate to the debilitating weight of prolonged limerence.
      As I am sure you know (and I would guess your therapist would have said too) the only way past this is to focus your life away from LO and onto your future. It sounds as though LO has been quite respectful and honest with you about not reciprocating your feelings. That’s good, as it is a clear answer, but bad in that it is probably harder to get over limerence for a kind person.

      The part of your comment that jumped out the most for me was this:

      He said he understood. And now I feel like I made the biggest mistake. At least before, I could talk to him.

      Going No Contact wasn’t a mistake. It was your best move.

      Staying in contact with LO, trying to be their friend, keeping up with their lives and maintaining a relationship of some sort, is what keeps limerents trapped in limbo. I’ve written a few posts about why friendship with LOs is almost always impossible. It’s painfully hard to detach from good people who care for us, but it’s a necessary sacrifice to take control of your life and start seeking a positive future. However good a friend they could be, they are not right for you and they are stopping you from finding a proper partner. Until you come to terms with that and steel yourself to face the future, you will always be held back.

      Finally, welcome to the site! Hope you find more help here.

      Like

    • “I look at his social media almost religiously”; “I’ve blocked his social media, only to crave seeing his face and unblock him hours later.”

      It’s like a teeny tiny hit and all it does is leaving you craving more AND hating yourself for doing it.

      “Nothing I do seems to lessen my feelings for him.”

      Unblocking his social media isn’t going to lessen your feelings. Cold turkey is the first step. It’s really hard to stick with though. If every time you want to look you decided to go do something instead (walk around the block, for example) at least you would be substituting a healthier action for yourself.

      Like

    • I agree with cold turkey being necessary. I think about my LO all the time, but I have been “improving” since going No Contact. I would not be improving if I were to act against the spirit of No Contact. You are still getting your fix, though now it is much less and is hurting just as much. It must be difficult to grow up and becoming limerent in the age of social media. I have never had a social media account, which has helped me from following my LO. I do have plenty of past emails and pics that I have not looked up in a long time, though I’d like to do that. I guess that is my version of “blocking” her on social media.

      I didn’t want to type any of this, as a large part of me wants to reach out to my LO to say what’s up. And a part of me wants her to text/email me, even though that will both anger me and excite me. I still do expect to see her name in my Inbox. I still have a ways to go.

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    • Tired, I empathise a lot with this. Similar experience with therapy. And also the regular viewing of social media and internet. It only feeds the fire. What has been helping me recently is to treat this like an alcoholic would treat their addiction. To celebrate every day that I don’t have a drink (look online in this case – it’s also now my only ‘contact’.) Every night I mark my progress with this and other goals in my life on the Daylio app. Another day complete no contact. The fire is less intense. I can’t lie and say that I have entirely given up hope of LO being in touch. But I have freed up a lot of rumination and obsessing time! Which leaves more time to focus on that purposeful life. And if – I know I know – we ever meet again, he will be meeting with a more sane person, not someone with an uncontrollable obsession. I know that even looking once will unleash the flames, it really is like being an alcoholic. One day I hope it will have just died out and I won’t even think about it. I think this is the only way and I’m becoming optimistic.

      Like

      • I’m so sorry, Tired. I’m in the same boat as you. Been limerent for a guy for 4 years.

        And I stalked him on Instagram. Multiple times a day. But I realized that I just wasn’t getting better. So I knew I had to stop.

        I have to second what Ditto and others say. Take it one day at a time. Ditto recommends Daylio. I use the Day Count app and also a paper calendar where I strike a line through every day I don’t look at his social media (Google Jerry Seinfeld’s don’t break the chain method).

        And it’s important to forgive yourself when you slip up. In August I had a 27 day no social media streak that I broke for 4 days. But then I decided to try again. Currently on a 31 day streak. And I really do feel less crazy and more in control.

        Good luck!
        Ps
        Sorry I’m posting on here so much! Just excited I found you guys! Will cool it now 🙂

        And forgive your

        Like

    • Tired – I’ll add to the chorus of people telling you to go NC…. like you my first LO was my college crush, in my case girlfriend for the first year, “friend” for years 2-3. Again like you at the end of our time there I told her I had to cut contact as the only way to get over her. A few months later i relented after she wrote me a beautiful letter saying how important I was to her etc.

      This was a massive mistake. Cue 15+ years of on-off contact and me comparing everyone to the image of her in my mind. There is no doubt she had a major bearing on my life and loves ever since.

      We met up this year for the first time in many years and I started to see she wasn’t the person I’d built up into some sort of unattainable goddess. She told me she always regretted not staying with me and wished she married me. In that moment the Limerence vanished. Everything I wanted for a couple of decades dissapeared.

      But trust me, you don’t want to wait that long for closure, it has been torturous, especially for the first few years.

      Like

  18. Vincent,

    What you’re describing sounds a little like the concept of the “Phantom Ex” discussed in “Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. I’ve read it. It’s pretty good but has some shortcomings.

    In a nutshell, a “Phantom Ex” is an ex we hang on to, idealize. and compare subsequent potential partners to who inevitably come up short against the “Phantom Ex.” It’s a particularly insidious trait avoidants use to distance themselves from suitable candidates. After all, it’s not our fault he/she can’t measure up to the Phantom Ex.

    The Phantom Ex holds the place of honor in the Pantheon of Exes and is often thought of as “the one that got away” Even if you do get past them, they can haunt you for a long time.

    Like

  19. Am I the only one disclosure doesn’t help for? I’m single — all the guys I’ve fallen for have been single. Disclosure always ended in rejection, but the limerence persisted. Got worse, even. The aching for them got mixed in with an obsessive paranoia that my LOs were somehow better, more worthwhile, likable people than me. What’s up with that?

    Like

    • Hi Marcatissimo,

      Disclosure is always a high risk strategy. The major advantage is that it ends uncertainty (unless LO gives an ambiguous response) – and uncertainty is usually fuel for limerence.

      From what you’ve said, it sounds as though you’ve got into a pattern of limerence-for-people-you-can’t-have, if rejection makes you crave them even more. It’s not an uncommon syndrome. I hope you know intellectually (if not emotionally) that the LOs aren’t “better” than you. With an awkward tangle between limerence and self-esteem it’s hard to form good bonds. I think that’s where you need to look for some relief: self reflection on why someone declining to be with you (as one of our regular commenters recently phrased it) triggers deepened limerence and paranoia. A professional could be useful for helping you untangle that.

      Good luck!

      Like

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