Narcissist LOs

Reader jaideux suggested a post on narcissistic LOs. It’s an important topic, and a real danger for limerents. Anyone who feeds the limerence cycle is a threat, but narcissists can combine the worst excesses of both early reciprocation and uncertainty due to mixed messages. However, there are, of course, degrees of narcissism. Almost everyone gets flattered by romantic attention, and responds with differing degrees of maturity. So the challenge is trying to assess whether someone is genuinely manipulating you to suck out every last precious drop of narcissistic supply, or whether they are just feeling enlivened by your interest and a bit hungry for emotional validation.

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Vampire? Or just hankering for strokes?

As I started to think about this as a topic, I realised it goes quite deep and needs a proper analysis. There really is a wide range of people who would welcome your limerent interest, and their openness also varies with mood, their current life circumstances, and a range of other factors (which can also fuel the uncertainty engine). Given that, it’s probably not great to make sweeping diagnoses of a personality disorder,  so I’m going to do a bit more research into all this.

But in the meantime, I’m in a silly mood, so here’s a game of narcissist LO top trumps!

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This may just get a teensy bit cynical

Dodgy LO types you might meet out there in the wild:

The “flattered by the attention” LO

Basically a good sort, but enjoying having someone be Into Them. It is top-notch ego validation, after all. Maybe they’re feeling lonely, or perhaps it’s rare that people show interest in them. Whatever the reason, they are grateful for your interest, and want you to keep coming back. Not malicious; just a bit selfish, really. Nevertheless, it doesn’t help you out of your limerence trap.

The “needs plausible deniability” LO

Loves the hinting, and game playing, and cheeky frisson of pushing boundaries, but once Something Is Said, they act all indignant and irritable. Now you’ve gone and spoiled things and they can’t carry on their flirty fun. They can’t believe you’ve made it difficult. People gossiping about you being besotted with them is fun, but people knowing that there’s actual, public drama is intolerable.

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Honestly, I’ve got no idea why you thought I might be into you

The “flirts with everyone” LO

Self explanatory, really. These guys are heedless, or vain. Watch them around other people and you’ll realise that they sparkle at all comers. Tough luck for you though, if you get caught in their dragnet.

The “I’ll keep you as backup” LO

You’re their limerent pet. They’ve got better options on the go, but will give you just enough reciprocation to check that you’re still snared. They’re not really interested, but your devotion is touching and could be useful if all else fails. Plus, it’s nice to exercise their pulling powers from time to time to keep them sharp.

The “Radio Save Me” LO

Transmits distress signals like a radio beacon on a sinking ship. Their life is a shambles. You understand them better than anyone else. Thank God you came into their lives. They feel so much healthier now. You, on the other hand, can look forward to a descent into chaos.

The “personality disordered” LO

I’ve saved the worst to last. The proper deal NPD. Misery awaits.

An early period of love bombing is often followed by a self-pitying phase once they start to relax their efforts to attract you in, and start to show their true character. If they sense you are losing interest, they will try anything and everything to keep the narcissistic supply coming. If you try to leave, they will exert all their powers to drawing you back in. And then punish you for doubting their excellence. You’re as bad as all the others – why can’t the world acknowledge their brilliance? Oh well, they’ll show you all when the time comes, and they ascend to their fated heights.

 

Hee hee. Boy, I’m glad I’ve never behaved like any of those fools…

42 thoughts on “Narcissist LOs

  1. Oh my goodness! I am so excited to have this topic explored and the fact that there cat pictures makes it all the better! Especially the cat with the curled lip….I am endeared to this blog more and more!
    So my current LO, believe it or not, seems to exhibit traits from the entire list (the last one I am not certain of actually). ! Is it even possible to run the gamut? He is funny, kind to all (especially me), has had his share of super tragic heartache, is extremely generous and complementary (to all, especially me), claims I am his dearest friend, becomes annoyed then very sad if I don’t return calls and texts (in the past I’ve unsuccessfully tried to to go NC, once unwisely explained how I needed to save my energies for someone who appreciated more than my mind (he had said his dream woman would have a mind like mine). It’s so hard to stay angry with him when he repeatedly does grand gestures to help me in my darkest hours…he always comes through, so I suppose he is actually quite loyal, and I think he loves having a dear friend and confidante like me and just can’t understand why I am not happy in that role, as it is so handsomely rewarded in ever so many ways. I tell myself I am open to an honorable suitor, but prospects that interest me are inconsiderately not manifesting themselves, and sometimes I wonder if I actually just prefer being single with a faux paramour who brings no real risk. But I digress. Oh and I just remembered that having a faux paramour brings with it excruciating pain when they become interested in someone else….how could I forget?

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  2. The first person I sent my history of my relationship with LO #2 was to an old friend who’d gone on to get her LCSW credentials. She knew LO #2 when we were dating and had met her on more than one occasion. I asked her if she’d read it and let me know what she thought. I sent it to her and two days later, I had an email that said, “We need to talk.” We set up a time and I gave her a call.

    The first question I got was, “Have you tried to contact her?” (No). The second was, “Do you know where she is?” (Yes). Keep in mind, I’ve known this woman for 20+ years and she and her husband are truly close friends. She said. “I never thought that relationship was good for you but I had no idea you were involved in anything like this.” I asked, “Like what?”

    She said that what I’d described, in some places in “….chilling clinical detail…” was a trauma survivor showing symptoms of PTSD and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She said she’d bet lunch that LO #2 had been abused or molested as a child. She said I was lucky LO #2 didn’t marry me.

    As she put it, “You’re life could have been so much worse.”

    The therapists I formally worked with pegged LO #2 as a Borderline. There’s some overlap and the label doesn’t really matter. However, it would explain how I never detected regret, remorse, malice or vindictiveness in her.

    LO #2 wanted what she wanted and nothing else mattered.

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  3. What a brilliant post. Yes, play with a narcissistic cat at your own risk! The dodgy LO I encountered fits perfectly all the descriptions. I remember after I ‘rejected’ him for the reason that I’m married, he kept trying to negotiate how frequently to talk to me on the phone. He acted as if he was entitled after all his help with my mother (of course he could argue I imagined it), and put me on a pedestal with love bombing, and said he wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t do as he suggested. I was so shocked by his manipulative words, but it still took me many months to gather the strength to go no contact and block him out of my life.

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  4. My LO was more the “Radio Save Me” type. But this blog made me think about whether I had exhibited narcissist qualities of my own (“flattered by the attention”) before I was in full blown limerence. We had been good work/lunch friends for a while, and I really did feel a bond with her that I believed was very deep emotionally. Shortly after leaving my office, sending me spiraling into despair, my LO did confirm to me her own long-term feelings toward me. What to do now, as the feelings were mutual.

    I’m trying to portray myself as a victim in order to make my survival easier under the current No Contact state. Subconsciously I want to slip up, but I need to have negative feelings towards her right now in order to keep things straight and get her out of my head (as much as possible). However, I was also at fault for us getting too close, as I did try to impress her. I don’t know what my intentions were, but it was obviously a dangerous game.

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  5. It’s a slow day at work so I’ll tell you this story.

    I’ve only encountered one “love bomber (LB)” in my life and I only spent one week with her. The whole episode lasted about 2 months but direct contact was only a week. You can’t make this stuff up.

    I’ll fast forward through the setup. About 6 months after we officially broke up, LO #2 was back in town for her cousin’s wedding. At that point, we were still friends and I thought reconciliation was a possibility. I was wrong but I’ll save that story for another time. She managed to torque me off sufficiently that I sent her a letter breaking off all future contact.

    3 months later, I got a phone call from her telling me she was going to be in town and asked if I’d meet her for a drink. Curiosity 1/ Judgment 0 and I agreed. On to the love bomber….

    At this point fate intervened, a co-worker said his sister-in-law was coming to town and his wife thought we might get along. He asked if I’d be willing to meet for pizza. If it worked, it worked, if not, no problem. We met and it worked so I asked if she wanted to have dinner and go dancing the next day.

    The date started on Friday evening and ended Sunday night when her sister called and told her to get back home before their mother called in an hour. She said she’d run out of excuses and telling their mother she was shacked up with one of her husband’s co-workers wasn’t probably going to go over well. Long story short, we spent most of the next week together and my hormones had never been that continuously carbonated (damned Oxytocin).

    A few days after LB went home, I got a call from her sister. Her sister asked what I thought about her. I told her I really liked her and we got along really well. She said her sister told her all about that. I asked her why she was asking me. She said her sister had told her she was in love with me and was considering abandoning her grad school plans and moving up here to be with me. I told her that her sister had never said anything like that to me. I told her I liked LB and if she was around we’d probably spend time together but nowhere near being in love with her and we never talked about her moving up here.

    Her sister said she was relieved. Then, she asked, “But, what do you really think of her?” I asked if she wanted me to be honest. She said, yes. I told her that her sister was one of the most intense people I ever met. When LB was in the moment, she was really in the moment but I wasn’t sure how long that moment might last. Between, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Out of sight, out of mind,” there was no doubt she was the second type. I told I thought she could be fickle and turn on a dime. My co-worker’s wife said, “You figured all that out in a week.”

    LB knew about LO #2 from her brother-in-law. She said LO #2 was an idiot for not marrying me. I had her record my answering machine message so if LO #2 called, another woman would answer the phone. It worked in spades and LO #2 rose to the bait when she eventually called. LO #2 was easy to bait. The downside was I didn’t tell my grandmother and I got an earful for moving some “bimbo” in with me. Grandma really liked LO #2 and blamed me for “letting her get away.” (another story in itself)

    It turned out LB was fickle, but lucky for me, she wasn’t malicious or I could have been a father a decade before I did. We stayed in touch awhile. I sent her some non-refundable plane tickets so she could come up for a visit. A week before the trip, I called her. She said she’d met someone and wouldn’t be coming up. Her sister was so angry, she refunded the money for the tickets and said she’d get out of LB.

    True story.

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  6. Thanks for the story.

    “Fickle” is a useful word, one that I never use but does describe my LO at times. Moreso after the seriousness of our supercharged EA had ended, as I was in awful limerence. The scenario of “giving up each of our families to be with each other” was in play with LO at one point. When we would see each other in person, we kept the affection we had for one another muted. Things would have exploded. But via email, messages would get quite powerful and personal as if we knew we were meant to be together. The game was certainly on via electronic means. I don’t know what either she or I ultimately wanted or was willing to do. We both were afraid to ask each other.

    It has been a rough 2 days for me limerence-wise. I am missing her more than I have at any time in the 7 weeks of No Contact. Birthday and Halloween significance is killing me. Why can’t I say happy birthday to her? Because I want her to 1) know that I care and 2) give me some sort of response. And have the LE go on…which will fix me up nicely in the short term, but send me back into the long-term spiral.

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    • Thinker be strong! Don’t let yourself be played. Force yourself to think of other things and do other things when the craving gets bad. And what could be more important than being strong for your family?

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    • You’re bang on with both points 1 and 2, Thinker.
      It’s such an important step to be able to see this clearly and not allow yourself the excuse of willful blindness. It’s the urge to let her know you still feel a special connection that is the danger point – especially as it sort of feels like a good impulse. “I care about this person and just want to express that”. But there is a limerent-fuelled motive beneath it, and significant emotional risk.

      Stay strong. Look to the future.

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    • Thank you for the support. I am trying not to post about myself simply when I feel bad; I’m saving it for when I feel very down. I simply reached a new relative low. And this is my only outlet. But the paradox is that while writing about my feelings is cathartic, it also obviously reminds me of LO at the same time.

      I likely will never disclose to my SO, but I did talk yesterday about how I am more down than usual, how my motivation at work is off lately. She did suggest that I think about talking to someone (professionally), which I will think about. I have never suggested to her before that I need help, so this opens the door if necessary. And talking to my SO about my state of mind was helpful, so today feels like a new day and I’m going to keep myself busy with relevant meetings and productive work.

      A part of me thinks that if I survived through absolutely terrible limerence for months w/o outside help then I should be able to manage this hopefully temporary phase. How does one decide when to seek mental help? That seems very tricky. Though I will say that I knew I needed help during that awful stretch of limerence, but never sought it out.

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    • “Because I want her to 1) know that I care and 2) give me some sort of response. And have the LE go on…which will fix me up nicely in the short term, but send me back into the long-term spiral.”

      Maybe not a spiral, probably more like a long term funk. Think of it like a hangover.

      Since I did the same thing and am back to 2 weeks NC, the biggest things I noticed were.

      – I did spend more time thinking about her than I expected. I did some social media stalking. The most concerning effect was thinking about how I could pull this off again. There’s an anniversary coming up that would provide me excellent cover. It took a few days and the following consideration to get past that.

      – After the initial rush of reciprocation wore off, I was hoping she wouldn’t try to re-engage me. There were two reasons for this. First, I’d be right back in the same minefield it took me 9 months to get out of. Second, since’s nothing’s changed, if she did come back, I’d have to disengage, again. That would likely hurt her feelings or make her angry and preclude me from ever coming back should my circumstances change. She might give me a second chance, I doubt I’d get a third.

      If you do it, you may get away with it with minimal effects. You may even learn something from it. But, unless you have a real good idea of what you want out of it and decide it’s worth the risk, taking into account there may be unforeseen unintended consequences, you’re better off not doing it.

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    • This one’s for you, Thinker,

      It could be coming from a guy who’s resigned himself to giving up on his comlicit LO. I could see myself having this conversation with LO #2.

      It’s really powerful. He doesn’t dismiss or diminish the experience. To him, it was all too real, But, he knows the right answer and he reluctantly accepts it. What’s getting harder is trying to maintain what can’t be. He knows it’s over but, he accepts it. He’s not out of the woods but he knows where he is and is moving in the right direction.

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  7. Hey, Thinker—

    You asked about when to seek professional help. Great question. I think if you are thinking about it, you probably should do it. It has been a lifesaver for me (along with anti-depressants). You really need to find the right therapist, tho—someone who understands limerence (or is willing to learn about it). Namely, that limerence is an addiction. My therapist at first was convinced that my depression around the thwarted romance with LO was about some kind of unprocessed grief. (My reciprocating LO and I had become emotionally enmeshed, but we managed to pull back after some brief physical encounters, thank heavens. LO works for my wife and this would truly derail her career if it came out and so I could not really open up to my wife, as I would have liked.) I had established No Contact and my therapist didn’t quite understand why until I got her to realize that limerence is about addiction and that quitting cold turkey, avoiding the temptation, etc. was essential to my recovery. It’s been 3 months and I’m better now, but still not over it. I have hopes that I someday will be over my LO, but…we’ll see.

    I’ve read that behaviorial addictions usually come from the need to soothe some psychic pain from one’s past, and I think it’s helpful to figure out what that is. I wholeheartedly agree with DrL’s notion of purposeful living. But I wonder sometimes if that just masks the symptoms. In which case, the moment your life isn’t feeling purposeful for whatever reason, the your limerence will return. Truly treating the cause, finding out where the limerence impulse comes from, I think requires serious introspection. And work with a good therapist.

    Another answer is to seek professional help when you simply cannot function normally in your personal or professional life (you’ll know when that is!) and talking it over with close friends isn’t possible or isn’t helping.

    Good luck and hang in there!

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    • Thanks Landry. We have many parallels with our LE, and now I’ll add to them that you did/could not disclose to your wife. I feel I could not also, and I did not see how I could dump my situation on any close friends.

      After the end of the EA, there was a solid 6 months where most of the time I was not functioning well personally or professionally, and I KNEW that I needed help. Bad times. I seriously don’t know how I kept things together just enough to where my entire world didn’t crumble apart. LO eventually came back part time at work for a few hours each week, which was good and bad, but I felt it would be impossible to get past my feelings as long as I interacted with her regularly. We had still been in touch in the interim, but forced physical interaction was different. So I worked on pulling my LO back closer to me, which worked, and I fell out of total despair but only to what I’d call less severe sadness. This wasn’t necessarily fair to her, as she had to deal with her own strong conflicting feelings for me. Once it was announced that her part-time employment was ending, I felt that was my chance at a way out. So many more details, but I’m leaving them out.

      I hope that the few recent sadder days for me are infrequent. But deep down I believe that my specific LE was so life altering that feelings around it will last a long time. For that reason, I may look for help. To my wife, the reasons may be to boost my motivation and help with my mid-life crisis (which are true!)

      And Scharnhorst, I’m always up for appropriate tunes. Wicked Game by Chris Isaak is my latest relevant song. I’ve known it forever, but I understand it now.

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      • “I interacted with her regularly. We had still been in touch in the interim, but forced physical interaction was different. So I worked on pulling my LO back closer to me, which worked, and I fell out of total despair but only to what I’d call less severe sadness.”

        “But deep down I believe that my specific LE was so life altering that feelings around it will last a long time. For that reason, I may look for help. To my wife, the reasons may be to boost my motivation and help with my mid-life crisis (which are true!)”

        What is your goal? To have a girlfriend and a wife? You need to choose and act accordingly. That would be living purposefully. If your wife discovers how much time and energy you’ve devoted to this relationship, she’s going to make decisions on your behalf and in her own best interest.

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      • Lee, I appreciate your posts very much. “What is your goal? To have a girlfriend and a wife?”

        I had no real goal in mind. The daydreams of the past had come a reality. And neither my LO or I knew what to do. There were many times I rationalized my behavior, but that was a part of the addiction.

        My SO could feel some separation by me last summer and she knew I was “off”. We spoke about how her identity had changed after having children and the decreased adult quality time we engaged in after kids. And SOs current feelings of neglect brought out the past feelings. This lead to SO and I having some good, tough conversation, but it did not break me free from LO. I told myself I was going to do “better”, which meant committing more time with SO but still with much of my mind on LO. I was in damage control mode with SO and LO at the same time. I knew things were not going to end well, but that knowledge wasn’t strong enough to overpower my emotions.

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  8. “I really don’t understand how I was able to find enough band-aids to keep my life in place for so long when I was in full-blown limerence.”

    Don’t kid yourself any longer. Your wife has noticed your behavior, so those band-aids weren’t doing the job. Have you asked her to tell you what she’s noticed over the past (period of time since LO appeared) regarding your behavior? You don’t have to mention the LO, but ask your wife to be completely honest regarding your behavior since (date). Emotional leakage is real and it has affected your life in other areas. You may not know just how deeply because you haven’t asked for her input.

    You really need to think long and hard and make a choice. Riding a rail will only cut you in half.

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    • I’m working on a post on this. Sometimes, using the band-aids to keep life going is the best strategy for getting through the worst of the limerence – and far better than blowing things up.

      If the spouse is not willing or able to accept any emotional leakage from a limerent who is nevertheless struggling to keep life going, then it’s not just the limerent that is going to have to do some personal work to keep the partnership together.

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      • “If the spouse is not willing or able to accept any emotional leakage from a limerent who is nevertheless struggling to keep life going…”

        If the limerent has had an affair of some sort, one that the SO would view as a deal breaker and may yet be, then the limerent would be very wise to put that to one side. Asking your SO to comfort you while you mourn your affair partner is a terrible idea.

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  9. Last post on this theme for at least today, I promise!

    The comments about limerence being akin to addiction leads me to post these links:

    https://www.narcononnewliferetreat.org/blog/why-we-lie.html ** particularly this one – I really doubt anyone here who experiences limerence WANTS to become a habitual liar but it’s a real risk **

    https://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/why-do-addicts-lie-and-manipulate/
    https://www.verywellmind.com/my-addicted-loved-one-lies-all-the-time-22118

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    • Lee, I haven’t read your links yet, but I likely will. Landry mentioned “don’t ask, don’t tell.” That was the case for me too. There were times when my SO suspected something, but I proved my whereabouts, and once I even turned the tables to tell her how this lack of trust hurt me. I don’t feel too good about that one. But at the time, nothing was gonna get in the way of my addiction. Everything would have blown up eventually if the EA with LO continued much longer. I’m not very good at lying, but I’m sure I would have become good at it if necessary. I had become decent at hiding some things.

      One bad part of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the obvious lying by omission.

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  10. Two thoughts on these recent comments:

    1) It’s impossible to really know what someone else is thinking. My SO knows me well and had all my (and our relationship’s) best interests at heart and still did not come close to guessing the truth about my wild mood swings, sleeplessness, and weight loss over this past year. I was exhibiting all the signs of what I now recognize as terrible limerence and my wife suspected…believe it or not…a pituitary tumor. While I was pulling away from my wife, as the EA was heating up, she knew something was wrong. We tried talking about it but that never really helped. SO was a block to my being with LO and I resented her and that caused endless friction. The truly ironic thing was that, once I’d actually disclosed to LO and got reciprocation (and yes, an eventual hook up), I was so much “happier” and what my wife perceived was that I seemed to love her again. (Which I never stopped doing, of course, but…it was all very surreal.) Then when I ended the affair—I guess, let’s be honest, that’s what it was—I was so emotionally volatile again that my wife insisted I go on anti-depressants. (Can’t say I blame her.) Which I agreed to do and which have definitely helped.

    I’d been in therapy already for a couple of months, which had been great for sorting out issues of mid-life crisis, wasted opportunities, lost youth, blah blah. But the drugs helped stabilize my moods and contain the rumination, which made me able to function at work and interact like a sane person with my wife. All good.

    2) The other thought I have had very recently is that the nature of my last contact with LO makes a difference as to how well I am able to move forward. It hasn’t been possible to have ZERO contact, but I’ve limited it as best I can. In one interaction, LO sent me an email in which I thought I detected some interest in seeing me (disguised as an invite to a group dinner which she thought I might want to attend), which naturally buoyed my sad heart, salved my wounded ego, whatever. But made me “happy” nonetheless ‘cause… a hit of the limerence drug, right? But upon subsequent exchanges, it became clear that she didn’t really care at all. And I was left feeling ridiculous and embarrassed and just full of nasty self-talk that never serves anyone any purpose whatsoever. On the next exchange a couple of weeks later (again, necessary), I played it much cooler and that left me feeling much more in control and without the negative head space that I had been in.

    So my personal conclusion is that final contact with LO is kind of like dealing with a broken bone: It has to be set properly, or else it will not heal well and you might end up having to re-break it to get it right.

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    • ” We tried talking about it but that never really helped. SO was a block to my being with LO and I resented her and that caused endless friction.”

      If I may ask, why didn’t you fully disclose? Or separate/divorce your wife so you could honestly pursue your outside interests?

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  11. My wife is a respected research scientist at a major university and LO is her graduate student. She also happens to be someone whom we both like personally very much and whom we both viewed as sort of the daughter we might have liked to have.

    LO house-sat for us frequently when we traveled and I tend to be the one who manages that sort of interaction. At some point, I learned that LO had an interest in horses—she’d been captain of her equestrian team in college, etc—and was looking for a way to get her equid fix. As it happens, I had just recently pursued a life-long dream of owning my own horse and was able to introduce her to a barn friend who had a horse that needed to be ridden. Soon LO and I began riding together. That was what started the whole dern thing. We were spending a lot of super quality time together, sharing something we are both passionate about (horses) and just…talking a lot. What I learned was that I needed that in my marriage and wasn’t getting it. (And how I’m working now to address that with my wife is a whole other story. But one that so far seems to be working.)

    Disclosing to my wife would have not only ruined her relationship with this very promising grad student (and thus derailed LO’s career), but also damaged the coherency of the lab where she does her research. (And SO truly loves her work.) This didn’t seem fair to either of them–not to mention it would likely destroy a marriage. And for what? Just to salve my conscience?? There was no way I was going to run off with this girl. (She’s half my age, Lee.) But I really felt a powerful connection and…yes, midlife crisis and all of that…I couldn’t bear the thought that I would never again experience the thrill of exploring that sort of new relationship euphoria again. (Which is why I did begin to question my whole notion of monogamy, but…I have come down on the side of “great in theory, but I can’t handle this myself”.)

    Finally, I have also read closely Mira Kirshenbaum’s “When Good People Have Affairs”–which I would highly recommend–and she makes a very compelling case for NOT disclosing an affair in many circumstances. Ever. I feel like my situation is one of those circumstances.

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  12. And Lee, I would also say that, there’s likely a bit of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at work in these situations. Despite what I just wrote about never knowing really what another person thinks, I sincerely believe that my wife actually did suspect that something was happening between LO and me. She’s no fool. She might even have been practically certain about it. But she was never 100% sure—and she doesn’t want to be. Like when a parent suspects a child is gay: they wonder, but they don’t ask. (I grew up seeing this denial phenomenon close up, believe me.) Why don’t they ask? Because the margin between practically sure and truly certain is as wide as the Grand Canyon. And when some truth is that threatening, a wide margin creates psychological safety. My wife has never directly confronted me with “the evidence”–and she most certainly could have–which tells me she really prefers the uncertainty. She doesn’t ask and I don’t tell.

    Furthermore, I know my wife. She doesn’t really care about words; she cares about actions and results. So…I could disclose all I wanted and try to explain my past behavior, promise to be better, beg forgiveness, all of that. (And if she ever confronts me, that is what I will do.) But I know what she truly wants is concrete evidence that I love her, that I’m working to make our relationship better, and that I’m not hanging out with LO anymore. And I am working super hard to do all these things. Which is just another piece of purposeful living, right? I think so.

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    • “…LO is her graduate student.”

      Oh my word. That’s like drinking nitroglycerin and jumping up and down while pumping gas.

      “But I know what she truly wants is concrete evidence that I love her, that I’m working to make our relationship better, and that I’m not hanging out with LO anymore. And I am working super hard to do all these things. Which is just another piece of purposeful living, right? I think so.”

      I have my fingers crossed for you.

      Also that LO doesn’t let the cat out of the bag in the future. It doesn’t have to happen due to malice after all.

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      • Oh my word. That’s like drinking nitroglycerin and jumping up and down while pumping gas.

        Yes it certainly is a highly explosive scenario. I have to say, I’d question the sanity of the grad student too – “yes, as a poly I think I’ll dabble in an affair with my supervisor’s spouse. What could possibly go wrong?!”

        But then I suppose an inescapable conclusion of this blog is that limerence makes loons of us all.

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      • I have to admit I have a grudging respect for his LO. To be able to look his wife in the eye as her grad student after sleeping with her husband without smirking takes a lot of balls.

        I can imagine her talking to his wife while thinking, “You may be a respected scientist but I’m sleeping with your husband. I know as much about him as you do. Horses were’t the only things he was riding.” She’s probably getting a ton of mileage from this. LO’s looking down her throat. Maybe his wife is only keeping up the facade for the sake of the lab.

        If LO had any respect for his wife, she probably doesn’t anymore.

        I don’t know how she pulls it off.

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      • “I have to admit I have a grudging respect for his LO. To be able to look his wife in the eye as her grad student after sleeping with her husband without smirking takes a lot of balls.”

        Really Scharnhorst? Respect? I see that same behavior and think that takes an amazing lack of empathy, arrogance and entitlement. I wouldn’t use the word respect. Chutzpah, sure.

        “Chutzpah amounts to a total denial of personal responsibility, that renders others speechless and incredulous, one cannot quite believe that another person totally lacks common human traits like remorse, regret, guilt, sympathy and insight.”

        “If LO had any respect for his wife, she probably doesn’t anymore.”

        Well, that’s certainly true. You don’t start or at least continue an affair with the spouse of someone you respect. I bet that attitude is contagious and has spread too.

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      • I’m going to jump in here and remind everyone about the “be constructive” rule for commenting.

        There’s a lot of projecting going on about people’s motives and character, when we don’t know the full story. It’s just as plausible that Landry’s poly LO is just a non-limerent “free love” type, as a nefarious underminer of bosses and workplaces.

        Either way, this site is designed to help people like Landry manage their situation, not pile on the speculation.

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      • “It’s just as plausible that Landry’s poly LO is just a non-limerent “free love” type, as a nefarious underminer of bosses and workplaces.”

        Point: Sleeping with your advisor’s husband, behind her back, isn’t poly and it’s not going to enhance the atmosphere in the workplace. Polyamory is supposed to be practiced openly and with a great deal of discussion between all parties. A true poly wouldn’t be in this position because secrecy and lies flies in the face of the spirit and makes it tawdry.

        “The state of having multiple sexually or romantically committed relationships at the same time, with the consent of all partners involved.”

        Free love may fit LO better. It’s still unkind and unwise of her to have done so.

        “Free love is a term that today means sexual freedom as in the right and ability to sleep with whomever you want whenever they might let you.”

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    • Upon further reflection, the LO knew she was taking a huge risk getting herself involved with her advisor’s husband. I really wonder if she won’t disclose sometime in the future, after she’s left.

      “…which tells me she really prefers the uncertainty.”

      It may be that she’s biding her time to see if/when you tell her what she knows or suspects. She may have already taken steps to protect herself.

      That sounds like a very perilous personal situation.

      Like

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