When LOs return

My LO is coming back.

For professional reasons, we are going to be working on a project together for a few weeks. I thought about declining the job. I also thought about the implications of making professionally reckless decisions on the basis of my own personal hangups. I looked at my responsibilities, and decided on balance to take it on and work together again for mutual benefit.

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It’s safe to ride these things, right?

I then scrutinised myself carefully for rationalisations, and then had a good laugh about how much more seriously I’m taking all this since starting the blog. So, I think I’ll be fine, but shields up just in case.

When LOs come back into our lives unexpectedly, it’s bound to be a challenge. Regular readers will know that I’m very sceptical about the possibility of being friends with an LO. Whatever it is about them that resonates so strongly with you is not going to just conveniently go away. Even No Contact, for all its virtues , is not guaranteed protection against limerence; a remembered encounter, an unexpected dream, a Facebook mugging – all can set you back. So how can you protect yourself when LO bursts back into life? How will I protect myself over the coming month?

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Ready for anything

1) No personal stuff

Friendliness is fine. Friendship is unrealistic. The more you share about your life and your feelings with LO, the more you will strengthen the bond. I don’t mean being a humourless robot, but when the conversation drifts towards personal issues, I’m going to try and artfully steer it away again. A good rule of thumb is that sharing information is fine, sharing feelings is risky.

2) I am not a counsellor

I kind of have this drive to want to help people in emotional distress. I’m probably hiding it well behind this clever disguise of a blog that I’ve been writing all about emotional distress, but, shockingly, I do seem to have the empathy gene. For all its virtues, empathy has its downsides – and is partly rooted in a complicated muddle of selfish and altruistic subconscious urges. Given that, a guiding principle is that any impulse to try and intervene to help LO sort out their emotional problems is to be resisted. Helping people is good, but not at the cost of compromising your own emotional stability.

3) I would like this to end well

For all the difficulties caused by my limerence, and for all the blame that can be shared around generously between LO and me, I would like the whole experience to end well. I still care about LO and her wellbeing, and I wish her a long and happy life. I enjoy her company, and don’t want to see her as an enemy just because I enjoy it a bit too much at times. So, adopting a mindful pose before the next interaction should be to the benefit of everyone involved. No alarms and no surprises.

This cautiously optimistic attitude should be modified for anyone with an actively disruptive LO who is not playing nicely (the narcissists, the predators, the flakes), but for generally well-meaning people I think it’s a realistic goal.

 

So, that’s the plan. I’ll report back in a few weeks on how it’s gone…

Edit: Link to follow up here.

14 thoughts on “When LOs return

  1. Good luck for the project!

    Very sound advice – similar to what I was trying to do during my last few weeks before NC. Funny how a lunch break spent discussing childcare fees doesn’t have the same emotional connection of one discussing marital issues (especially when I thought I was going to get an opposite viewpoint but in reality turned out his experiences were the same as mine)
    This blog is definitely a huge help – thank you.
    Look forward to hearing how it goes!

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  2. Good luck! I hope you are both able to focus on the task and you can set a timer so you can go home and BE PRESENT with your family. I am going to guess that Mrs. Limerence is also aware and will let you know if you’re approaching a minefield.

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  3. I’m lucky. Two of my 4 LOs reside 2500 miles away (within 50 miles of each other) and there is no credible reason for either of them to come out of the woodwork. I lost track of the other 2 decades ago.

    LO #2 sent me a Friend request 25 years after we said goodbye. I’d often wondered if she’d thought of me in all that time and for awhile I didn’t know which was worse. Wondering if she’d thought of me all those years or knowing that she had, at least once. The second one was definitely better. Even if the friend request was an accident, she looked.

    I told my wife about it. She asked if I’d accepted. I said no but I hadn’t deleted it, either If it was a mistake, she’d delete it. My wife asked if I was curious. I told her I was intensely curious and asked her if she was willing to accept the risk in me finding out. She didn’t answer immediately, but when she did, it was, “No.” I told her I wouldn’t accept it but I’d wait a week to delete it and I did.

    But, I couldn’t resist taking a shot at LO #2. Well, maybe laying a mine would be more precise.
    When I asked LO #2 if the relationship would ever be what I wanted it to be, she said, “No, you should find some sweet young thing that adores you and not waste your time with a crusty old broad (34) like me.” A few months later, 10 minutes after learning I was dating another woman, she said, “I want to meet her.” That didn’t happen.

    So, I found a picture of my wife and me from our first New Year’s Eve. My wife was a 23 yr old smokin’ hot, blonde, blue eyed bundle of cute. I posted it as my profile picture with LO #2’s quote as the caption with her initials, the name of the restaurant we were in and the month & year she said it. The next line was, “I found one!” I left it up for a few week and I don’t know if she ever saw it. If she did, she has a pretty goof idea of what I remember. It’s been 5 years and I haven’t heard from her since.

    One bad thing about Facebook is that once you search somebody, they seem to always come up in your search queue. I got tired of seeing her and her boyfriend so I blocked them.

    I reclaimed 4 letters of the alphabet!

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  4. Careful, it may have been just warm embers left but it’s like have a poke around in those embers to see what will happen. Don’t forget what you said about ‘I’m totally over this, now let’s go for coffee’.

    I’m in early stages of no contact again, on off since March around the time I found your blog. So your further down the road and have been analysing Limerence behaviour for much longer than myself so we could say your experienced with controlling the battle? It sounds like an experiment on your readers behalf. Don’t let it be a case of ‘I told you so’ that being from your own advice, don’t be a martyr.

    Don’t forget that feeling of mental torment that is so fresh with me know. I’ve been letting that Limerance fire run down until last night when I messaged LO and it’s caused a few more uprising sparks, but also regret, each time I do contact (maybe 4/5 times in 5 months) it stokes it up a bit. I’m holding onto the feeling of regret to help me continue with no contact.

    Hope my advice helps refreshes your mind of the battle that lies beneath.

    Good luck
    J

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    • Pulling that string a little more….

      “I still care about LO and her wellbeing, and I wish her a long and happy life. I enjoy her company, and don’t want to see her as an enemy just because I enjoy it a bit too much at times.”

      Why view her as an enemy? They say the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Turn her into an enemy and you’ve just moved her to the other side of that spectrum. When it comes to LOs, indifference is the equivalent of Nirvana. Once you’ve achieved it, there’s no better place to be. The more important question is, “Do you still see the glimmer?” If yes, you know you’re at risk. If no, then J has a good point about stoking embers. Risk management is always in vogue. Maybe a different way to say it is, “…don’t want to see her as a threat.”

      I think most people would agree that, as a general principle, we’d like other people to be happy. But, as individuals, we’re largely indifferent to any one person’s happiness. If you’re not real friends with her, why would you care?

      Indifference can be hard to achieve. It takes work to understand what drew you to them but until you understand that, you won’t be able to become indifferent to them. I’m not exactly sure which one is the cause and which one is the effect but indifference is tied to glimmer. I’m not sure that once you become indifferent, you don’t see glimmer anymore; or once you’ve done the work to eliminate glimmer, you’re able to become indifferent to them. Also, indifference is a transient state and can be fragile. But, it’s still where you want to be. Achieve indifference and it can be hard to manufacture a fantasy about your LO. You just don’t care.

      I still see a former (ex?) PLO professionally a few times/year. The glimmer’s gone. She hasn’t changed but her happiness or lack thereof is no longer a concern.

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  5. My gut reaction to this was a rather violent ‘ugh, not in a million years’. Like Fleetwood Mac, I’m never going back again. So I guess NC does work 🙂.

    Good luck, we whom this blog has helped so much are all rooting for you I’m sure.

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  6. “It’s safe to ride these things, right?”

    It’s the dismount that is the most dangerous part, if you do manage to survive the ride.

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  7. Hi All,

    Thanks for the comments and support. All is going well so far! I’m not sure that indifference is a realistic goal, because I’m basically “on alert” most of the time. But, so far it’s been pretty straightforward to keep things on a work-related track (in part because we have a lot to do in a limited time).

    Also, as inevitably happens, LO has gone off and lived her life and so there is enough water under the bridge to mean we interact more with a sense of historical memory than current significance.

    Plus, everything I’ve read and learned (and laid out in the blog) about limerence has given me a pretty solid foundation for protecting my boundaries. Good to know that the methods work well in practice!

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    • Have you got to this point, yet?

      This may be more resignation than indifference but he’s where he needs to be. Like any form of self-enlightenment to reach indifference would likely require a lot of work which may not be necessary.

      Understanding that you’re attracted to D-I-D so you can avoid them is one thing. Eliminating that attraction is something else entirely.

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  8. Then:

    “For me: I’ve settled on a strategy of passive exposure. I do not seek the company of potential LOs (and am vigilant about self-serving justifications), but if circumstances lead to an encounter, I try and enjoy it responsibly. Otherwise I might become a humourless misery-guts.” – The Glimmer, February 22, 2017

    Now:

    “I also thought about the implications of making professionally reckless decisions on the basis of my own personal hangups. I looked at my responsibilities, and decided on balance to take it on and work together again for mutual benefit…I then scrutinised myself carefully for rationalisations, and then had a good laugh about how much more seriously I’m taking all this since starting the blog. So, I think I’ll be fine, but shields up just in case.” – “When LOs return,” July 6, 2018

    I guess the question is, “As an LE, did you enjoy it all?”

    Like

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