One of the most effective methods for neutralising limerence is also one of the most obvious: stop spending time with LO. No contact FTW! But given the amazing capacity for limerents to daydream, plain dream, and generally relentlessly obsess about LO, actually being in their presence isn’t necessarily a requirement to sustain the addiction. So why does no contact work? Why is it one of the few effective strategies for wresting back control of ourselves?
1) You don’t have to see them anymore
Well, wow. What an insight.
Obviously it helps to not see LO anymore. Seeing them triggers the ingrained cycle of physiological arousal, anxiety, and potential pleasure, which moves them to the centre of your attention. Also, spending time with them (especially if the meeting is enjoyable) is likely to reinforce the associative memory between LO and reward. This is obviously a barrier to overcoming your LO addiction, so not seeing them anymore removes that barrier.
No contact means no more overarousal, and no more behavioural reinforcement.
2) It starves the fire
The fuel and oxygen of limerence are reverie and uncertainty. Without the possibility of future meetings, uncertainty is eliminated – there will be no more reciprocation or rejection. Eventually, the fuel of old memories will be used up, and the flames will fade to glowing embers.
A potential downside here is that your memory of LO is likely to relax back to an idealised version of them. LO as the elaborate mental construction that you have sculpted, perfectly shaped to your emotional needs. So if, in reality, LO is a bit of a dick, you are depriving yourself of potential negative experiences which can be useful in extinguishing desire. While this could be problematic, it is probably offset by the gain that you will not have new positive memories of LO to incorporate into fresh fantasies and ruminations.
Even though the mental avatar of LO remains with us, their image in our mind’s eye loses focus over time, without new reinforcement.
3) You become free
Most limerents allocate an inordinate amount of mental bandwidth to thinking about LO. This could be rehearsing imagined future conversations or events. It could be going over previous interactions and forensically scouring them for evidence of reciprocation. It could be planning charming or witty retorts to impress LO, in case a particular topic of conversation comes up.
Imagine being freed of all that. No more meetings means no more wasted energy planning for those meetings. Just think how much mental capacity that frees up for exciting new enterprises!
Even more importantly, freedom from future LO planning means you have the headspace to reorient yourself back to who you were before the Madness came. That’s a really important step if you are going to be able to make good choices about how your actual, real future will pan out.
4) You demonstrate personal decisiveness
The best basis for no contact is making the active decision yourself to end contact. You have taken a positive step. That is huge, psychologically. You are telling yourself that you know better than your junkie brain, and that you are in charge of your behaviour from now on. No more subordinating your needs to getting an LO fix. No more surrendering your moods to someone else’s behaviour. You are in the driving seat and aiming for the open road.
The benefits of no contact really start to stack up. Beyond the obvious relief from LO’s company, no contact is a virtuous cycle of short-term relief, middle-term recovery of your old mental clarity, and preparing yourself for a long-term future in which limerence is a tamed beast. It’s worth it, if you can.