It is an agony most of us have known: you develop romantic feelings for a friend, but they don’t feel the same way about you. The disappointment of rejection hurts, of course, but even more serious is the fact that you are now caught in a emotional quandary: how do you stay friends with someone who you are attracted to, without it ruining the friendship?
There are many perspectives on this dilemma. Some think you should focus on the non-romantic elements of your friendship and wait for the feelings to pass. Some advocate for seeking romantic attachment elsewhere, so that your feelings are redirected and you are able to relate to your friend platonically. Some argue that you should get to know your friend really well, on the assumption that their inevitable flaws will demystify them, and so break the magical glamour that bewitched you. There is even a wikihow article on how to become best friends with your crush, with the premise that it forms a solid foundation for a future relationship.
I’m going to present a less optimistic case.
Now, at the outset I want to make it clear that I don’t think it’s impossible to be friends with a crush. In fact, I don’t even think it’s necessarily negative to nurse a secret love for someone who you can’t be with. The most important issue is that you are honest with yourself about your motives, self-aware enough to understand why you make the choices that you do, and clear-sighted about the consequences of those choices. In fact, I’d say my perspective is more realistic than pessimistic.
In that spirit, the best way to answer the question about whether you can be friends with your crush, is to ask yourself some blunt questions. Honest answers will help guide your decisions.
How serious is the crush?
This first issue that needs to be confronted is how serious the crush is. People inevitably differ in the significance that they place on romantic feelings. At one end of the spectrum is a happy feeling of joy from being with them, and a physical attraction that moves desire into the realm of romance rather than friendship. At the other end of the spectrum is the life disrupting infatuation of limerence.
For people who are able to enjoy the pleasant sensations of a crush, but otherwise get on with their lives successfully, then the “let the feelings fade” strategy is a feasible way of overcoming the problem. To be honest, a lot of the more upbeat discussions around how to stay friends with a crush seem to be written for people who don’t experience limerence.
In contrast, limerence is not just a crush. If you become limerent for a friend, the problems of trying to sustain a non-romantic friendship escalate considerably. Limerence is characterised by total mental capture – obsessive infatuation that drives all other concerns into the background of life. It is an altered mental state, which will be continually reinforced by contact with the person you have a crush on.
If you find yourself constantly thinking about your crush, obsessively analysing their behaviour for signs of reciprocation, and finding it hard to function in other areas of life because you don’t want to be distracted from your primary goal of being with them, then friendship becomes a much taller order.
What kind of friendship is it?
The second big question to ask is: what kind of friendship is it? I’ve written before about the Aristotelian framework of friendship, and why limerence makes all forms challenging. Briefly, there are three basic kinds of friendships that most of us enjoy – Utility (people you do stuff with, because of shared interests), Pleasure (people you like being with, because it’s fun to be together), and Good (people you feel a deep connection to, because you trust and care about each other).
If you have developed a crush on someone, it’s likely you consider it at least a Pleasure or Good friendship. If part of the thrill of your crush comes from emotional intimacy and the warm fuzzies of bonding, then you’ll consider it a Good friendship.
Now for the hard part: what do they think the friendship is?
It’s very hard to be objective if you’re infatuated, but it’s also important to try. Do they seek you out for company? How much time do you spend together? Is it private time, or part of work/college/general socialising? Do they rely on you for emotional support? Do they trust you with intimate secrets? Is your friendship with them notably different from their relationships with others in your wider friendship group?
It’s important to be honest with yourself about this. Try not to let either hope or despair distort your judgement. It matters, because your options for how to manage the conflict between romance and friendship depend on the true nature of your friendship.
Do they know how you feel?
Next hard question: have you told them how you feel about them? If you have disclosed, and they have given you an honest and clear answer, you are in a good position. That removes a lot of the ambiguity and uncertainty from the situation.
If, in contrast, you have not disclosed (for whatever reason), the uncertainty of the friendship/romance dynamic is likely to be a aggravating factor in the strength of your crush. For limerents, uncertainty is a major driving force for the development of obsessive infatuation. The presence of barriers is another big factor. Disclosure can be a good idea, but also comes with risks.
If you have a crush on someone you cannot disclose to, then this is pretty much the worst case scenario for overcoming the infatuation quickly. You’ve lost one of the principal ways of releasing some of the romantic pressure that’s building up in your subconscious. Staying friends with someone who you are smitten by, when you cannot take any honourable action, is likely to derange your peace of mind.
Why friendship will be difficult
OK, so with that analysis of the situation out of the way, let’s consider why staying friends with a crush is going to be difficult.
I’ll work with the scenario that most commonly comes up in my email inbox. You have developed feelings for a close friend who does not have romantic interest in you. Either through direct disclosure, or through their behaviour, or through circumstances, it is clear that there is no future for you as a couple. Nevertheless, you value their friendship and don’t want to throw it away (or be a lousy friend) because of your emotional hangups.
The main difficulty in this scenario is you have to continually put yourself in the situation where someone that you are infatuated with spends time enjoying your company, laughing at your jokes, asking you out for drinks or just to hang out, and thereby feeding your subconscious with confirmation that they like you. That might not seem like a bad thing… except that it will be constant fuel for escalating limerence.
To sustain a friendship under these conditions, you will have to try and overrule that deep feedback with the intellectual argument that their affection has limits, and work really hard to suppress your burgeoning feelings of joy.
Even worse, if your crush picks up on this inner conflict, they may will be concerned for you, and sympathetic, and caring, and want to know the cause of your distress. Because they are an affectionate friend. That compassionate response is not going to help stabilise your emotional storm.
What options do you have?
It’s probably clear by now why I am less optimistic than the standard “10 ways to get over your crush and still be friends!” listicles. Particularly for limerents, there are some serious emotional challenges to overcome, and some formidable barriers to progress. But, we will not give in to despair! What options are there for coping with the pain of limerence limbo?
1. Accept the sacrifice
It sucks that your feelings have jeopardized a friendship, but your emotions aren’t going to go away just because you want them to. You have to work with life as it is. Given that, be practical about what is possible. If you are limerent and they are not, friendship means emotional pain in your future. It may be more compassionate to yourself to detach, and recognise the sacrifice as necessary for your wellbeing.
2. Tough it out
If you are genuinely in the situation where the friendship means so much to you both that you really just want to get rid of your romantic feelings, then you can try and tough it out. Even limerence will fade eventually, but life is going to be pretty dismal until you finally desensitize. Plus, your romantic life will be on hold for an indefinite period until the infatuation passes.
3. Reduce the intimacy
Complete detachment and toughing it out are extreme options. A third path is to give yourself some emotional distance while you try to figure things out. This means you don’t need to totally withdraw from friendship, but you at least have to dramatically reduce the intimacy of the relationship. This might require some explaining if you have been in the routine of spending a lot of time together, but most friends will be accepting of your need for space. Ultimately, though, this is a temporary measure. You will have to be decisive about what the future relationship (if any) will be like.
4. Focus on romance elsewhere
Depending on your circumstances, the “plenty more fish in the sea” principle can be a constructive response. In limerence, we talk about the glimmer as a sign that someone could become a limerent object for you – they have some sort of romantic potency that you respond to. In the deepest reaches of limerence, it seems impossible that anyone else could replace your crush, but if you start to feel the glimmer for someone else – someone available, someone who might reciprocate – then it can be possible to sort of transfer the limerent focus onto this other person.
If you succeed, that will be a very effective way of dispelling the limerence for your original crush, and making a repurposed platonic friendship with them more feasible.
Overall, there are a lot of emotional obstacles in the way when trying to sustain a friendship with someone you fancy. It’s one of those scenarios in life that tests our ability to confront emotional pain with composure. Honesty and self-compassion are the best hope.
“In the deepest reaches of limerence, it seems impossible that anyone else could replace your crush, but if you start to feel the glimmer for someone else – someone available, someone who might reciprocate – then it can be possible to sort of transfer the limerent focus onto this other person.”
I don’t know that you can feel “the glimmer” for two people, so closely together. I think of “the glimmer” as reserved for an LO. It hits like a ton of bricks and is very, very rare. I think a person can develop an attraction for someone else while in the midst of limerence or even a crush but it won’t in the beginning at least have the same intensity as the limerence. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the limerent can then develop a real relationship with someone who’s available and reciprocating.
Even if it’s not “the glimmer”, but just strong physical attraction, it can help. I once felt the glimmer in a woman who now is my female best friend. I managed to not develop limerence by first dating someone else I was just physically attracted to, later someone who’d be my SO for 3 years.
“Although you may have some trouble explaining it to your new crush” – this is definitely a thing, though. Former SO occasionally felt jealous towards that friend. And that’s understandable.
We’ve been friends for 6 years now and there is still a level of mutual attraction that spices up the friendship, but we both know that we’re not really compatible.
I wholeheartedly agree that you need to cut contact in case of fully blown limerence. It’s impossible to “just stay friends”. I’m still sad about having lost the friendship to LO that way. Tried some LC now 8 years later, still feels dangerous but helps a bit to process and to get over her.
“Even if it’s not “the glimmer”, but just strong physical attraction, it can help. I once felt the glimmer in a woman who now is my female best friend. I managed to not develop limerence by first dating someone else I was just physically attracted to, later someone who’d be my SO for 3 years.”
Why didn’t you just date your LO? If I had felt the glimmer, even if I knew deep down I wasn’t compatible with my LO, and he was available and interested, I probably would have gone for it, anyway. At least at the height of limerence.
This makes me think of a good friend for whom I’ve never been limerent, and really illustrates to me why limerence is really so bizarre and impossible to understand to those who have never experienced it.
I was at a social meeting a very long time ago, and across the room I chanced to lock eyes with a man who struck me as immediately attractive, and he smiled at me. The next time the club met, he approached and we became friendly. Although I have been friends with this person for many years and at one time he was my best friend and I spent a lot of time with him, it never developed into limerence. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been a good idea to get involved with him romantically because I know him well enough to know we are not sexually compatible, we have different political opinions, and he’s a cat person and I’m a dog person. He is nearly my type, but not quite. I suspect he feels similarly about me from things he has said about finding my body type attractive.
This is a world away from limerence, which is as though something trips a brain circuit that makes me experience the LO as almost superhuman.
> Although I have been friends with this person for many years and she is my best friend and I spent a lot of time with her, it never developed into limerence. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been a good idea to get involved with her romantically because I know her well enough to know we are compatible enough for a relationship, we have different views on how to live our lives, and she’s a cat person and I’m a dog person. She is nearly my type, but not quite. I know she feels similarly about me from things she has said about finding me attractive.
Just slightly edited, this is my experience with my glimmer-turned-into-best-friend story.
Getting to know the person better and realizing some incompatibily can prevent limerence and make it possible to be just friends?
I’m not a serial limerant. I’m married 28 years and never had this happen before. A little over 2 years ago March 2020 as Covid lockdowns were ramping up I started taking violin from a guy. We met on zoom and I picked up on a vibe right away that he was attracted to me. I was not attracted to him but thought he was nice and felt flattered. After a month and a half or 2 I asked if we could meet in person yet so we could play together. He said ok go ahead and come in. When I got there I said so your students are back in person now huh? He said no just you. I was like oh… ok. Didn’t know what to think about that. Over time I could see signs of him really liking being with me. I’d look up and see him beaming, eyes lit up crinkled at the corners smiling. He’d be really tender in his praise of my ability and effort. About a year in I added guitar. He asked what I liked. I said ZZ Top. Granted a lot of ZZ Top is pornographic but not all. He picked for me Tush and sang and played I’m just looking for some tush while looking me in the eye. I blushed. I threw it out and picked a different one. We played all kinds of stuff, rock songs, love songs, blues, jazz, country. Then about a year and half in probably 3 months before Christmas 2021 I realized I was feeling really fond of him and was alarmed. It wasn’t sexual. But I wasn’t sure if it crossed a line. Really warm fuzzy fond feelings. Then a few days before Christmas i and all my family got Covid. 10 days in my oxygen saturation dropped and my husband took me to the ER. I was there 10 days. I decided to confess about feelings for my teacher in case I died though I knew that was unlikely I wanted not to leave anything undealt with. So I told my husband and apologized. He was very understanding and kind and forgave me. I thought about how it was probably because he’d been validating me about something that I loved and spending time with me doing it. And that outside of that we didn’t have a lot in common. I’m a Christian he’s not, he’s 13 years younger than me etc. I talked about these things with my husband and he agreed with my analysis. Doing all this completely eliminated the strong feelings I had. It was great and once I was well I went back to my lessons without anything weighing on me. I just felt completely normal around him. All along there had been a lot of indicators he liked me and there still were: waiting on me hand and foot, glances and smiles, etc but I was feeling free of feelings for him and ignored that stuff. Then in March 2022 we were playing mandolin and I was enjoying it and when we were done with the few we’d learned up to then I said that was awesome can we do another huh, huh! He got a far off look like he was thinking and then did something on his phone and said I texted you a song. I looked saw it was a link to a song by a band from an album and said is there music for it? He said yes. But when I looked later there wasn’t. And when I saw it later my heart sunk. It was a song about a guy who desperately wants a married woman to be his lover and the chorus is I love a married girl who comes to see me sometimes. It says I’m falling for her but she doesn’t believe me. It took me right back to where I was and worse. Now I had sexual thoughts and fantasies and couldn’t stop. I got totally sucked in for a few weeks. Since I couldn’t find the music for it I learned it by ear and changed the lyrics so I could sing it to a married man. I played and sang it to him. He seemed to love it. He played with me. Then I picked a blues song called my handyman that was sung by Ethel Waters that has a lot of innuendo in it. He helped me by identifying the guitar chords for it as I couldn’t find music for it. He said it was a really hot song and he loved it. After that I kind of snapped out of it and came to my senses. I felt horribly conflicted and guilty and realized I can’t do this, I can’t go down this road. I didn’t know what to do I wanted to go down that road but another part of me didn’t or at least knew I was playing with fire and had to stop it. It was pure torture. I finally decided I was going to go to my teacher and tell him. So I did. I said I can’t do these kinds of songs anymore, sexual ones, it makes me think things I shouldn’t and I can’t deal with it it really causes me problems. Rather than apologizing he wanted to know what I had been thinking about and asked in kind of a hungry, longing voice. I told him I didn’t want to talk about it. He then lead me over to play guitar and suggested a song. It was another sex song! It was about a guy having sex with his best friends wife but he went to the grave before he’d tell anybody even though he could have saved his life by telling as it was an alibi. I was like hello I just said no more sex songs! Are you saying something to me? I’m pretty sure he was. I think he was saying if you’d be my lover I’ll never tell it’ll be a secret no one will know. This was in March of this year. After the day all this happened he seemed nervous for awhile but then he calmed down and saw I was still there being friendly and smiling at him and he became more obvious than ever that he liked me. Finally in about May sometime I decided to speak to him in a song myself. I sent him a song that basically said our time together is so special and I love it but we don’t have much time and then we say goodbye and have to go back where we belong. The last lines are one more time before it’s over, one more time before the end, one more time before we go again. The next few lessons he acted dejected, repeated the last line near the end of our lesson to signal he’d listened. He’d wait until about 5 minutes to the end and say one more before we go? He told me he was broken hearted. He kind of blurted it out and then it seemed like maybe he kind of regretted it. I said I hope not. Then he back pedaled and said he was just kidding. He clearly took the song as me saying no to something. I wasn’t really thinking that. I was thinking about the reality that I got this short special time and then we had to say goodbye and go our separate ways and I couldn’t have more when I wanted more in terms of someone to play music with. I didn’t have anybody else. I think maybe he wanted sexual favors during my lesson time and he thought I was saying no. The truth is the answer was no but that isn’t really what I meant by the song. After this I figured out that he had been sending lesson reminders personally the whole time when his music school has an automated system. After the song I sent he abruptly switched me to the automated system. I think he had been thinking about me and personally reminding me and then when he took the song as a no he stopped as a move to detach. It had never occurred to me before that he was personally texting me doing something different than he was for others. Then after the song one time I didn’t get any reminder so I texted and said are we on for today? He said did you not get a reminder? I said no. He said you should have gotten one from the schools automated system. Oddly the week before I did get one of those and he said so sorry you got an automated reminder please disregard that. I’m not sure but I think maybe he was conflicted. At first he switched me then he changed his mind and then changed it again. It really hurt my feelings. I asked him what was up with it and he looked like he was trying to make something up. I thought maybe they were just in process of switching everybody to the automated system like it was new maybe? I asked and he said yeah that was it. But I’m skeptical. There isn’t a way to do automated texts via iPhone texting except with another app being involved and apparently it doesn’t work well. He has lots of students at the time like75 of his own. Plus the school had been going for probably 4 years it wasn’t new. And the timing of him switching me right after the song I sent and him being broken hearted. After this I just felt worse and worse. I continued to think about him constantly. Now it was painful though. I cried on my way back to my car a lot after being with him. Finally June 10th on a Friday I took a letter I had written and put it under his studio door and texted him that I had left something there for him. He went and got it and read it pretty quickly. I basically said what did you mean when you said you were broken hearted? Does this mean you wanted something from me after all? I had decided to believe you were clueless before that you texting me the sex song, asking me what thoughts I had from it, etc were out of cluelessness, but what you said is pointing to that not being the case. I said I don’t know if you meant it but I feel broken hearted because of thinking sexual thoughts and having feelings I can’t do anything about and that are ruining our teacher student relationship. I don’t know what to do I don’t want to leave but I think maybe there’s no choice. I was hanging onto maybe somehow things could be fixed. I said maybe I can take a break and come back. He told me he needed some time to process all I’d said. He was going on a trip the next week so I had to wait for anything other than a short response for over a week. He said that he hadn’t had time to craft and intelligent response to my question. Not kidding his exact words. I thought that sounds like I can’t come up with a believable story other than what it clearly is at face value. Then he told me I know my whole world works because my family, students and community trust me and i won’t compromise on keeping the trust of the people who love me. I thought wow well I think you have breached trust so I guess maybe you mean that you work really hard to hide your breaches so they will keep trusting you?
I really don’t know exactly what he wanted. I suspect it was sex on my dime during my lesson times. He never really communicated with me outside my lessons. A little via text but not much mostly just business. I texted him some early on and then he complained that he has 75 students. I took the hint and mostly quit. I wondered if what he did with me is what he does to other women students too to turn them on so they’ll maybe ask him for sex, like a system he has going? Ply with music and send suggestive songs. I think he wanted me to initiate so that the risk of accusation would be eliminated or minimized. If he initiated and I got mad and retaliated any number of things could happen. I could tell his wife or any number of others and hurt his reputation and business.
Later after I suggested I could take time off and then come back in the letter I asked if I could come to my lesson a few days later after he was bs k from his trip. He said he’d talk to me about when he was back. The day before lesson day after he was back I still hadn’t heard from him. I had thought more and realized I can’t do that. I can’t do it now. I can’t come back after some time. It’s over I can’t do this anymore. So I texted and said I realize I can’t come back. Told him I forgave him and didn’t judge him and that I was focused on me and dealing with my own stuff, my own sin, not what I did outwardly but had been doing in my heart and that my husband knew about all of it that I hadn’t been keeping secrets and that he’d been honest with me about some similar thing in the past and that we help each other. He said I must have a good relationship being open like that. He said probably what I’d said about not coming back was for the best and he said he had no hard feelings and wished me all the best but that he didn’t know what I was forgiving him for. I said I thought he did know and that playing dumb wouldn’t work with me and that I knew how the game worked of using subtlety to influence me while protecting himself. He never responded to that. That was the last communication I had the last word. I was distraught during all this and for a couple of weeks cried and cried. Couldn’t sleep had little appetite. Slowly I’ve done better. But I still have moments feeling profound loss and grief and pain but it’s getting less in frequency and duration and intensity. My husband and I have an office around in the other side of his building so I have to be confronted with memories going there. Plus there is a coffee shop we go to in the building and you can see his door and coming and going of people from it. We can’t change offices as it’s it’s in the office of an organization we’re in. We run around town in a small town and work in the same area he works and lives in. We do park and work on the other side from where he does so maybe it will make paths crossing unlikely. But I fight the urge to want to cross paths. And to return a couple of items a book and dvd. I know I shouldn’t see him. For my own recovery as well as that I don’t trust him. Hopefully I can find the path I need here on this site and stick to it.
Lisa, thanks for sharing your story. Your feelings of loss make perfect sense. How fortunate that you have an open relationship with your husband and you can share these personal experiences with him.
You may enjoy the article about narcissistic LOs. I’m not saying your teacher is one of them, but maybe it’s worth considering.
Best wishes in your recovery.
Vicarious Limerent says
I still struggle with this in terms of my current LO (the woman I refer to as LO #2). We are good friends, and I think we are becoming even closer as friends. Yet I don’t think the depth of my feelings for her is what it was six months ago. I do really like her and I am still attracted to her, but I can see her flaws more than I did in the past. I have also had several experiences now that tell me I really wouldn’t have to be on my own if my marriage ever ended (my marriage is seriously on the rocks but I have never physically cheated). There ARE other women who are or were interested in me, and I think that helped me to realize that LO #2 certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all for me.
Another relevant experience is how LO #1 recently came back into my life after an absence and a period of no contact of over 2.5 years! I am now friends with one of her best friends, and that lady invited LO #1 to come along with us on a night out recently. I didn’t think LO #1 would show up, but she did. My reunion with her was nothing like I ever imagined it to be like. It was no grand drama, just two acquaintances reuniting on fun and pleasant night out. We were both nervous as hell and kind of tongue-tied at first, but by the end of the night, we were chatting away like a couple of old friends. She even friended me on Facebook the next day (I accepted). I still like her and find her attractive, but I no longer think she’s THAT special and I’m struggling to make sense of all of the time and effort wasted ruminating over this woman (who was basically a stranger and never really showed me any interest) through the months and years of no contact. What was it all for? What the hell was I thinking?
But more importantly for this discussion, I am pretty sure I will be perfectly able to be friends with this woman without rekindling limerence for her. I personally think no contact can work in order to get over limerence for a friend, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary in ever LE with every LO. I also think it can be possible to re-establish contact once the limerence is gone.
“I also think it can be possible to re-establish contact once the limerence is gone.”
I never considered my LOs friends. I always thought of them in romantic/sexual terms and if the situation wasn’t going, there was no point to it.
VL, I bumped into my first LO of ~20 years ago recently. Turns out he lives close by and we’ve started hanging out. He’s happily hooked up with a guy for 10+ years now…
Not even a glimmer to me this time round… It’s crazy to think the melodramatics from all those years ago… Now just a neighbour to enjoy coffee with.
Once you move on (i. e. Get a new LO) I think it’s safe to genuinely be open to a friendship with an ex LO.
But also, a bit like Marcia says, during an LE I’m not usually looking for friendship so much as intense intimacy (which can be paradoxically can be quite superficial) and sexual relations which are genuinely intense.
But of 5 LOs, I’ve reconnected incidentally with a couple and it’s been completely different once the LE is distantly past.
“But also, a bit like Marcia says, during an LE I’m not usually looking for friendship so much as intense intimacy (which can be paradoxically can be quite superficial) and sexual relations which are genuinely intense.”
I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same way. I have come to learn that my desire was for intense physical/romantic intimacy/sexual relations but not necessarily emotional connection. I didn’t understand that the former does not imply the latter. And if the LO isn’t limerent, it’s just garden variety sex for them. They aren’t experiencing that same level of intensity, which was extremely disappointing to learn and much easier for them to walk away from.
> I also think it can be possible to re-establish contact once the limerence is gone.
Just keep in mind that your limerent brain loves to tell you “It’s gone! It’s fine to contact former LO now!” when the limerence is NOT gone and you’re just making up reasons to get in touch with LO.
Why bother risking contact when there actually are no feelings?
Hi Findus, the contact was random, we quite literally bumped into each other in a pub. This specific LE is 20 years past, and there have been a few since. In fact, I’m far too moribund about a current LO to be scrabbling around for another right now. I don’t even get the hint of a glimmer from my ex LO… Which considering the histrionics I threw 20 odd years ago is a good example of how strange limerence is. But also how daft some people can be in their early twenties… That was my first LE and I really acted out an embarrassing amount. Not a shred of dignity was spared! Equally though, I wonder if Marcia has a point here. In his head it really might not have been such a big deal. We dated, we broke up, I threw a couple of drunken tantrums in a couple of pubs… End of…. Whereas through my lens it was a constant drama playing out daily in my mind…
It’s something I’ve decided not to bring up over coffee. ‘Hey. Do you remember 20 years ago? Yeah. I was completely batshit crazy about you and thought about you every day for about two years… Including spreading malicious gossip about your bf after me… You having a Muffin?’
No. Now I’m full enough of pathos for someone else… And my friendship with LO rests on nostalgic cups of coffee discussing old acquaintances, old night clubs, and old pubs which aren’t open any more. It’s nice.
Vicarious Limerent says
I didn’t deliberately set out to have LO #1 come back into my life. It was just a random coincidence. It all seems so strange. I never would have predicted the chain of events that had me becoming friends with one of LO #1’s best friends (and her frankly getting a bit flirty with me at times), followed by LO #1 coming back into my life. I think Thomas is onto something in that becoming limerent for someone else and basically moving on from LO #1 kind of inoculated me from becoming limerent for her again. I don’t think I am in any danger of limerence being rekindled, but meeting her again has forced me to do some soul-searching that found me asking myself, “What the hell was I thinking?” and “What was it all for, and why did I waste all of that time and energy ruminating over a stranger who showed me no interest?”
Regarding LOs and friendship…If I went no contact with LO #2, I would lose a whole lot, including several friends and basically my entire social life. Others may not be able to be friends with their LOs, but I would say LO #2 legitimately is one of my best friends by now. I really enjoy her company as a human being, and that wouldn’t change even if she ended up in a relationship with someone else. I understand that no contact is one of the best ways to get over an LO, but it is tough and it can feel incredibly bleak and hopeless. Obviously, the whole thing isn’t entirely linear, but my limerence for LO #2 is on a slow downward trajectory, to the point that I believe I will no longer be limerent for her in the not-too-distant future. The fact that I am really starting to see more and more of her flaws is indicative to me that she is beginning to lose her lustre for me. I still like her and am attracted to her, but I am realizing more and more that this lady is unlikely to ever be a suitable partner for a long-term relationship with me. I’m not her type, and in many ways, she’s not mine either.
“I think Thomas is onto something in that becoming limerent for someone else and basically moving on from LO #1 kind of inoculated me from becoming limerent for her again. ”
Why do we have to replace someone with someone else? Does our mind have to be occupied with someone at all times? Are we smokers? We can’t smoke so we have to vape? Are we replacing one habit for another? That’s kind of what it feels like. Wouldn’t the best thing just be to get over the LE and figure out what triggered it in the first place?
Marcia, for my part I don’t always have an LO. But for me to be friends with this ex LO I think having had subsequent LEs has ‘scrubbed’ my tendency. Also as I say, 20 years later we are both completely different people. Which is probably more important.
I wasn’t talking about always having an LO but always having a romantic prospect to focus on. As in … if you can’t get the LO, find somebody else. I’m not sure that’s the best advice.
“But for me to be friends with this ex LO I think having had subsequent LEs has ‘scrubbed’ my tendency.”
I am not sure I’m following you. Having subsequent LOs has scrubbed your tendency to become limerent again for the ex LO from 20 years ago?
I don’t think I could become limerent again for an ex-LO. I met all of them years ago and I don’t think it’s possible to recreate where I was in my life at the time, who I was, who they were, the circumstances under which we met, etc.
Vicarious Limerent says
We don’t HAVE to have someone else to get over an LO (and I certainly never set out for that to happen), but transference is one way to overcome limerence for a specific individual. The best strategy is obviously to get over the limerence entirely, but since most experts we believe we can only truly be limerent for one person at a time, it can sometimes end up happening that way. Still, I think transference can sometimes be a harm reduction technique — something like a heroin addict using methadone. My limerence for LO #1 was incredibly sad, bleak and all-consuming for the longest time, yet it never felt quite like that with LO #2 — probably because she is an actual friend who remains in my life and gave me at least a little bit of validation. It was never as gut-wrenching with her as it was with LO #1, so in that respect I definitely feel like I’m better off than I was two years ago. I can manage this, and I actually don’t think I have to go no contact to do it. The limerence is on a slow downward trajectory. I hope it doesn’t happen again, and I certainly am not going to TRY for limerence to happen with someone else, but as long as I am in a unsatisfying marriage, I believe I may be cursed with a “wandering eye” (not that I am actually going to do anything about that wandering eye unless and until my marriage is finally over).
Hey Vicarious Limerant, I am curious where you’re at with this now?
Limerent Emeritus says
I was never able to remain friends with any of my crushes, LOs, or Exes. But, they were all for different reasons.
I tried with LO #2 and LO #3 tried with me. With LO #2, I didn’t like being demoted from Boyfriend to Best Friend and I didn’t want to be her Buddy. With LO #2, friendship was a decidedly one-sided proposition, much of which was that she wanted me to be her confidante and Emotional Support Animal. I was LO #4’s confidante. I was never her friend.
The big turning point in all those was when I realized that they didn’t have a place in my life anymore. The “what ifs?” were I available, of the offers not made, offers made but not accepted, and possibilities don’t matter. It took a long time to get there.
I’d like to know what happened to some of them but even that fades. Even if I did find some of them, I don’t see it making any difference.
Song of the Blog: “Time” – The Alan Parsons Project (1980)
Time only goes in one direction. I’m paddling a canoe not rowing a boat. Canoes are less stable and more tricky to use but you’re not trying to move forward by facing backwards.
But, that’s me.
Unconsciously Limerent says
Thank you so much for this website! I thought I was going crazy as I was going through these strong feelings for a new co-worker. I didn’t even know there is an actual term for it and I am not alone in this journey. This is the first time I have experienced limerence and I was so hard on myself constantly asking why him, why now and why these strong feelings. It felt like an obsession, an addiction and I had no control over it. All these feelings I felt for my LO were so foreign to me because it is the first time in my life I felt so strongly for a person. I think the two friends that I have opened up to are tired of hearing me talk about him and my feelings for him. So, thank you for this website where limerents are free to discuss and share experiences. I don’t feel so alone anymore. I am currently working on NC with LO. We work together so it can be challenging. We used to communicate a lot at work, text and email. Now, I try very hard to avoid places at work where I know he’ll be there. If we happen to pass by each other, I would say hi if he says hi. Otherwise, I try not to say anything else to him like ask him how his day is going or how is he. Sometimes, I feel rude by showing him “cold politeness” because that is not the type of person I am. I usually have a smile, back rub, good morning, how are you for my co-workers. But not to him, not anymore. Is that OK? I feel bad. If I really have to work with him on a case, I keep it really professional and I don’t even make eye contact with him anymore. It’s those eyes that got me the first time so I am avoiding those eyes the best I can. I worry about how he would perceive this treatment from me but just like any other addiction, I have to stay away from the source of the addiction right?
flashbulb eyes says
One thing about befriending an LO is that it can burst the ‘bubble of idealisation’.
This depends on a number of factors of course, but in my case the LE was never sexually motivated nor based on a desire to leave my marriage.
Years of occasional smiles and pleasantries, were enough to plunge my limerant brain into reverie and fantasy yet when natural circumstance upgraded these brief interactions into lengthy conversations, about the day to day banalities of life, the fog began to lift.
The object I’d idealised was suddenly a normal person and by any measure, appeared to be distinctly average.
Something so intense, so seemingly permanently debilitating had gone, merely by exposure to the real person.
Unconsciously Limerent says
@ flashbulb, Yes, indeed, a friend actually suggested that to me, desensitization she calls it, much like an allergy huh? The more I get exposed to him, the more I will see that, like you said, he’s really just an ordinary guy. I did try it, but then, I get all nervous and flustered around him or my overthinking brain starts saying what if he notices the twinkle in my eye, what if he senses that I have feelings for him… I do hope befriending your LO has been helpful for you. So far for me, it hasn’t worked. I am really hoping NC will do the trick until the day I am no longer in LE and then maybe I can be a bit friendlier towards him. Thank you!
Flashbulb Eyes says
The fluttery feelings cannot last when a stimuli becomes normalised.
Like the first time you ride a rollercoaster. There’s all the build up and anticipation of the unknown then the thrill of the first ride. With each subsequent ride, the surprise of the unknown and unexpected is no longer there. You literally know what’s around the corner.
When an experience is repeated we either become sedated and settle for the lower level reward or we escalate in search of a new and greater hit.
The third option is to avoid completely (no contact) if that’s possible for you, it’s the safest route. Limerence is the only ‘condition’ I know of which can cured by avoidance.
For me, approaching LO brought on feelings akin to Performance Anxiety (stage fright). I used the same coping strategies, for example, controlling breathing, preparedness, health, realising that your audience are just normal people.
Once I’d broke through the fight/flight feelings I was able to talk to a person and not an unapproachable, idealised unknown. This is what burst the bubble.
Vicarious Limerent says
Yes, this. While I really like my current LO as a friend, becoming pretty close to her has made me see her flaws. She goes on and on about the same things, she is kind of self-centred, she can be very vindictive and hateful towards people she has fallen out with, and in many ways she’s really not the sharpest knife in the drawer at times. I no longer think of her as the perfect goddess I used to (although I still like her and find her very attractive). She really is a mere mortal like the rest of us after all!
Allie 1 says
Similarly, when I spend more time with LO, see him in person and talk to him as a friend more, my shy fight or flight state diminishes. But at the same time, the strength and warmth of my loving feelings for him are stronger. I actually really enjoy that. Of course, when he goes back to distancing again, I pay an emotional price.
So I am not sure befriending LO works in all cases, sometimes real LO is just as good as the fantasy version.
Flashbulb Eyes says
They can never measure up to the fantasy, no one can, it’s just a matter of time.
The success of be friending rests on the power dynamic; whether the relationship is forcibly pursued by the Limerant or whether a natural and cordial bonding occurs due to circumstance.
Being forced to work closely on a work project with LO is possibly the ultimate Limerant dream. However, if re-framed, it could also be an opportunity to see the LO’s flaws.
Just a thought, I don’t think it’s a binary answer as people and feelings are too complex. Someone insecure in their primary relationship could be vulnerable to an affair for eg.
Perhaps, no contact could be kicking the can down the road until another LO appears.
Like the stage fright analogy; the musician’s quickest route to avoid the pain of Performance Anxiety is by avoiding performing altogether (no contact). However, next time he is faced with performing, the same deliberating feelings will return.
“Perhaps, no contact could be kicking the can down the road until another LO appears.”
Well, the key is to figure out what triggers you (universal “you”) as a limerent — what type of LO, what circumstances in your life — and recognize when you feel a new glimmer starting and find ways to minimize it and understand it. The key is to heal yourself so you don’t have LO after LO. Not an easy task, but I think doable.
Allie 1 says
“They can never measure up to the fantasy, no one can, it’s just a matter of time.”
I know what you mean and that has been true for me in one of my first LEs. But it was NC and not exposure (incl. bad sex) that extinguished the last stubborn embers of that LE for me.
It all depends on the nature of the fantasy… as I get older, they have become more realistic. I do not idolise my current LO, I see him as he is, a lovely man that is humanly imperfect just as I am, which that is fine by as I find “perfect” entirely unappealing.
I married an LO… once I started dating now SO/then LO for real, I found the reality to be much better than the limerent fantasy because it was real, complex, tangible and fulfilling rather than imaginary, repetitive and frustrating. My limerence created rose tinted glasses that allowed me to turn his every flaw into a positive. This lasted a year or two into the relationship. Of course, 18 years on all is different… there is nothing like marriage, shared domesticity and parenting to kill all limerent feelings 🙂
Flashbulb Eyes says
Absolutely, this is key – the LE is all about the Limerant.
I guess I was looking at ‘Can you be friends with your crush?’ in the same way as:
‘Can an Arachnophobe be friends with a spider?’
The main symptoms of Arachnophobia are:
– You feel anxious about seeing or thinking about spiders or spider webs.
– Your anxiety worsens as you get closer to the encounter.
– You have trouble concentrating and functioning. You’re consumed by thoughts of spiders. These thoughts keep you up at night.
The common spider is largely oblivious and unthreatening, but the ‘phobe has *spun an imagined yet vivid narrative. The spider has become the centre of the Arachnophobe’s consciousness.
There are different methods to remedy this, but exposure therapy is one of the treatments that can help some to overcome it.
“The common spider is largely oblivious and unthreatening”
Idk. Sometimes I think the spider knows exactly what it’s doing. 🙂
Agree with you 100 percent, Marcia.
“Step into my limerent web, said the spider to the fly”.
Flashbulb Eyes says
A talking spider – a typical creation of the limerant brain hehe *joking
So my LO is a line report and is fully aware of my interest because I eventually confronted the issue, when after months of us growing closer and closer I believed it was mutual and feared it was becoming a problem after I overheard a comment from her husband, and so tried to establish boundaries. I am married and was racked with guilt. Apparently it wasn’t mutual, and I just misread the signs. This happened in the middle of a period of depression for me and during an emotional breakdown so I was v vulnerable. After the initial outrage and belief I was accusing her of something, she has since been very understanding and supportive. We’re gradually rebuilding the trust and she has recently confessed to having been in mourning for our lost friendship and we both committed we really wanted to get back to where we were. After that heart to heart we have nearly reverted back to our old behaviours and been much more comfortable, but this includes her constantly complaining to me about her husband and relationship and how dissatisfied she is with her life. She has a huge amount of other things going on causing her stress for which I have huge sympathy and try to offer support.
My guess is there is genuinely no physical attraction from her side but there is an emotional connection and she just surely suspect there is still attraction from my side.
Am I now being used as a crutch? Am I the confidence boost, the sucker boss that is either consciously or subconsciously being exploited?
Maybe that’s entirely what I deserve but it won’t end well if that is the case rather than a genuine desire to rebuild a friendship.
“Maybe that’s entirely what I deserve but it won’t end well if that is the case rather than a genuine desire to rebuild a friendship.”
That’s what it sounds like she is doing . Rebuilding the friendship. The only way you’d be a crutch is if it’s not reciprocal and she provides no support for you and you only listen to her problems.
Now, if you aren’t ok with the fact that she only wants a friendship, you may have to distance yourself.
Just this week I had to tell a good friend and coworker that I was going to have to limit our interactions to work issues for the foreseeable future because I’d grown strong feelings for her. I told her it wasn’t because of anything she’d done, it’s all me, and I still treasure her as a friend, I just need to make these obsessive thoughts cease. She was really sweet about it and I hope we can rescue the friendship — she’s been a really positive force for me across the board, including in my work. And I do have a history of a successful downshift out of limerence crush … one of my closest friends today was an LO two years ago. I worked through it and now wonder why I ever felt that way. Friendships help make life worth living, I will never trash one without serious effort to save it first.
“I’m going to present a less optimistic case.”
“To be honest, a lot of the more upbeat discussions around how to stay friends with a crush seem to be written for people who don’t experience limerence.”
I personally agree with Dr. L’s less optimistic take on “just being friends” with crushes – if and when active limerence is a factor.
I absolutely do think it’s possible for two people who are merely physically attracted to each other to “just be friends”, provided they have good morals and are living purposeful lives, even if they’re in committed relationships with others. (Partners may feel a twinge of jealousy, however). Beauty in and of itself is not something that should be pathologised. However, I think it’s almost impossible (and probably highly unwise) for a limerent to pursue friendship with a LO.
Why should a limerent avoid friendship with an LO? Because one can never be true friends, in my opinion, with someone who’s providing a “high” or a “rush”. Authentic friendship and crazy, addiction-inspiring personalities don’t mix.
The limerent always has a hidden agenda with the LO, and that hidden agenda is to advance the illusory bond with the LO. This hidden agenda may be completely unconscious on the part of the limerent. (I’m not shaming anyone). However, in the long run, chasing what one can’t have is heartbreaking for the limerent and vaguely annoying for the “LO friend”, who can’t see what the problem is…
Even when the LO consents to friendship, and even sees the limerent as his/her “best friend in the world”, the situation is still unhealthy. Why? Well, I can think of two very good reasons.
Firstly, the limerent will probably feel secretly miffed/insulted/frustrated/resentful the LO never saw them in a romantic light. The limerent may become increasingly bitter over time that the “amazing friendship” never deepened into something more.
Secondly, at some point, the “limerent friend” and the “LO friend” will have to part ways, as all human friends do, and the LO may even move on with a legitimate romantic partner, leaving the limerent feeling emotionally shattered. Unbearable and prolonged grief is the natural outcome of these faux-romantic connections, in my experience. Alas!
Basically, I now see limerence as some weird animal that doesn’t quite belong either to the world of friendship (genuine, non-manipulative, freely-expressed mutual liking) or the world of conventional relationships (genuine, non-manipulative, freely-expressed mutual desire to go on dates together, etc). 😉
I think 9 times out of 10, your two reasons are 100% true. There will always be residual feeling to some degree which will cloud all future interaction.
I have written elsewhere about my experiment of trying to be friends with LO, and people might be interested to hear the results (for now!)
– My LE started pretty much right from the first moment I met LO, and went through all the stages described here on this website, almost in perfect order, but at a fast pace.
– We never disclosed, but I think it was mutual limerence (close friends noticed LO’s interest and my response) and I think it was the mutual limerence that created the uncertainty: all that eye contact, signs of attraction, etc. but not being able to say anything … tinder.
– We were quite careful with boundaries like we never touched/hugged each other, or overshared. But we did see each other at work, and probably texted too much.
– There was a bit of push and pull as we took turns trying to extricate ourselves from the situation that had gotten frustrating and torturous, but just as some progress was being made, the other person would panic and reach out again. But eventually we managed to reduce contact to the point where we had some relief from the feelings. LO jumped straight into a rebound that fizzled out, and then developed another crush/limerence immediately after that. I now suspect LO is a serial limerent (poor thing) but I am not, luckily (this LE was an unusual occurrence for me).
– The intensity abated (I had a system, adopted from one of Tennov’s subjects, of assigning a percentage describing the intensity of limerence, so I could track it), but it did flare up now and then, especially when there is an element of uncertainty reintroduced (but at a lower percentage intensity, and for shorter and shorter periods; it was very useful to see).
– LO’s final crush put things finally to rest for me. Mostly because I realized what “we had” was nothing really all that remarkable, nor were we the love of each other’s lives, etc. It was a biological call to pair bond with strong psychological consequences, but obviously I was interchangeable with any other number of LOs. My ego was crushed, my romantic illusions dashed, lol.
– However, the one thing that persisted throughout the whole experience was actually friendship. We actually did genuinely have a lot in common intellectually and recreationally and liked each other as people. I agree it was not “pure” friendship for a while there because of the desire that complicated matters, BUT now that we have gotten rid of the desire, the friendship has survived it!
– I have been honest with myself, as I had a few stumbles on the path to get here and a few resurgences of limerence at various points, some struggle with jealousy on my part (which I conquered), and there was a period of some awkwardness when we were not completely natural and trying to keep each other at some distance (which is pure self-preservation!) but now, TODAY I can genuinely say that when I see my ex-LO as a friend, I am no longer seeking to be desired and am instead doing all the usual things friends do: support, enjoy company, have fun. When I say goodbye, I get on with my life and am not obsessing about LO or going over everything. It doesn’t bother me if we are not in contact for days or even a week, whereas previously it was torture. It is really SO much better!
– I am glad we are still friends, because it is enriching, we have many mutual friends, and it’s kind of nice to have a friend who you know liked you that much once upon a time. Because it was mutual, no one ever rejected anyone, so there are no hard feelings.
So, I am thinking that maybe it IS possible to be friends with a former LO.
Limerent Emeritus says
https://livingwithlimerence.com/is-limerence-all-bad/ was the 8th blog published by DrL in 2017.
If limerence and being friends with an XLO:
1: Contributes to your happiness
2. Enriches your life
3. Doesn’t detract from someone else’s (e.g., SO’s) happiness
4. Doesn’t carry financial, legal, professional, or other tangible consequences
If all those criteria are met, it should be possible to be friends with a former LO.
However, for many limerents, one or more of those criteria isn’t met and things get pretty ugly.
It sounds like you meet all the criteria. On LwL, that makes you more of an exception.
Yes, I realize that there had to be a lot of “factors” that lined up for this outcome to occur, and that it isn’t going to be so in all (or as you say, most) limerence cases. Also, taming limerence feelings is like riding a tiger (as DrL puts it); having gone through it myself I *know* how uncontrollable it is, so I feel it was 50/50 whether I could get the feelings to subside. It may have well continued to rage on; certainly in the throes of it, I was desperate for it to end, but it didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t! I feel so much for my fellow limerents. A hug to you all!
I think a large part of how we managed to achieve the result was that LO and I were both independently (since we never disclosed) working to put it to an end. It would have been harder if one of us was working counter to that end. He did it his way, and I did it mine, and we managed to do it with as much dignity and compassion as was possible in the circumstance. No one felt shamed or put on the spot, and we were able to move on without resentment.
I also tend to be one of those people who “remain friends” with exes, and I am one of those people who believe that “if you really loved someone you never really stop” even if they are no longer part of your life, so maybe I have a predisposition to being able warmly regard someone who was a part of my life even after I have let them go. Recently, I found out that LO is similarly predisposed to his exes too, so maybe it just happens that we were two people who were able to navigate this tricky situation and come out with a friendship.
Limerent Emeritus says
“I also tend to be one of those people who “remain friends” with exes, and I am one of those people who believe that “if you really loved someone you never really stop” even if they are no longer part of your life, so maybe I have a predisposition to being able warmly regard someone who was a part of my life even after I have let them go. ”
I used to think that way but not so much anymore. Especially after a therapist explained to me that I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship with one of my LOs.
I actually have a ritual for writing someone off. I play “Burning Bridges” from the movie “Kelly’s Heroes” 3 times.
Once it’s played for the third time, they’re gone. Only two people have ever been ritually purged. Not surprisingly, they were both LOs. Usually, it’s played once for something but there are some things so egregious (e.g., betrayal) that they would be played consecutively and the person would be summarily dismissed.
My wife had two ritual playings when we first started dating. If she’d have broken one more date, things could have been a lot different.
There is a way to reverse the ritual but no one has ever come close.
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to report that I did have a recent flare up of a resurgence of limerence, for maybe about 10 days or so. It wasn’t unbearable, more like hovering between 25-40% intensity. Then, it disappeared and I am back to the “friends with LO” situation again (thank goodness). Maybe something to do with hormonal fluctuations? Although, I wonder if it could be triggered by an uptick in attention from LO. I looked back on my messages, and he was initiating more meetings than usual; but I did not say no. It’s a cautionary tale that friendship with LO is a dangerous thing.
On the plus side, today I noticed another man with a beautiful smile! Not glimmer material, but a good clean fission of attraction, that was over in a tick. But its a good sign I think, that LO does not have a monopoly on attraction anymore.
How are things going into 2023 now with your friend, Emily? I am in a similar situation and learning how to navigate remaining friends.
Mike, I’m hanging around, so it is an indication that things are not going so well, unfortunately. I am no longer indifferent to LO (again). We both had some relationship changes, and that made things flame up again. It makes me realize that “friendship” with an LO is a very fragile state which can be derailed by any small change – either on the LO’s end or the limerent’s end. “Just” friendship with an LO can be maintained only if all the right pieces are in place and one fact of life according to the Buddhists is that change is inevitable. So “just” friendship with LO can occur briefly, but has no long-term staying power once something changes.
NC means that you are not exposed to such fluctuations in fortune. LC means you are not exposed to it as much. Friendship, especially a close one, means you get exposed to all of it, often first in line. You can see that friendship is the most vulnerable state to be in if there is even an element of limerence in the equation.
Purposeful living means that you pretty much choose NC, if the limerence does not serve your life purpose.
I throw in the towel. If this is possible, I am not the person to achieve it. How is your situation going, Mike? You have better news, I hope?
I’d say if both the limerent and LO don’t feel that it’s going to be seriously hard work to get past the one-sided feelings and come out the other side, then there’s a chance I guess.
For me, the limerence ( and friendship ) was eventually dispersed by two things in no particular order.
1. The gloss just naturally started to fade. I saw their flaws and realised an actual relationship with them would likely be a disaster and lead to more serious hurt. i.e. NOT a confidence builder for me at all.
2. They got married or partnered up & I never heard from them again. It’s hard to get past a feeling of being used in this instance, but in some ways it’s just the natural progression of things.
A more recent LO, that feelings have somewhat dispersed through NC, may possibly invite me to a wedding at some point, which I’d politely have to decline as I could not at all guarantee I would not lapse back into limerent feelings and then feel totally crappy.
It was almost 8 years after my LE with my first LO when I got married, and I invited tons of our mutual friends … and I had to weigh up inviting my ex-LO or not. My fiance at the time was okay to have LO at the wedding (knowing I dated LO for awhile), and I thought about it long and hard and no, I did not invite my ex-LO. It just didn’t feel like the right or respectful thing to do for everyone involved. It turned out later that LO saw my wedding photos (through our friends) and he dropped me a note saying “When I looked at them, I just though it could have been me” and I realized it was the right decision not to invite him to such a sacred moment at the start of my marriage with my SO, but also that it would have been painful for him.
Limerence is so strong that the residues can linger even when you are over the LE. I think you are right not to risk seeing your LO as a bride.
That’s an odd thing to say is it not? ‘Could have been me’.
I was struck by this thought about friends or not with an LO. If one goes no contact with their LO and suffers from some guilt for not being in touch for quite some time, is this justified? In that, it goes two ways yes. So If they haven’t made contact with you either, then what would you have to feel guilty for right?
As a man, I’m aware that men are often expected to make contact or engage first or at least that seems to have been the pattern in my case. Maybe I’m missing something obvious here,sadly: They don’t need you in their live as much as you assume. hmm
Maybe it makes a difference if it was a NC “fade out” of a friendship or acquaintance, or if it was a NC after an actual “break up” of a relationship? Most people expect to not be in touch after a break up (especially if it was nasty), but the rules in a fade out are less clear – like you say, either person could have reinstated contact. So perhaps both persons bear the guilt; or the converse, as you point out, neither need bear the guilt.
As for that “could have been me” comment from my ex-LO, I have to admit it made me raise my eyebrows. I thought, “no, it couldn’t have been you” and I was a little surprised he would have thought so. To me we were so clearly unsuited once the limerence lenses came off. But maybe he got nostalgic, because I looked so fabulous in my wedding dress! Lol. Let’s not get wondering about LO’s state of mind again …
On the surface it seems like an egotistical thing to say Emily. It could have been you. hmm. Sounds like you’ve done well to move past him no doubt at all.
I had this thought today. It might be a useful reference for others too.
If an LO was asked to write down 5 things they know about you, how far would they get? I tend to think most wouldn’t get past 2 or 3 but in fairness, you could say the same for a lot of platonic friends I suspect.
If I think about the worst of my LOs, they hardly no or knew me at all; in some cases after many years, meet ups, messages etc. Sobering thought. Conversely, I’d made a mental note of so much about them. I guess this is the uneven dance of limerant relationships?
“you’ve done well to move past him no doubt at all”
I first thought yes, this is what I want, at least have the LO in my life, somehow, because it felt so good bring around her.
But after a couple of encounters, finding out more about her hobbies and interests and indirectly values via SM, the distance, and rethinking of our conversations and some red flags I didn’t want to see, I realised she is nobody I would choose to be friends with.
First off, one doesn’t just avoid people just like that. To me, even if you may not like someone, there is a minimum of decency and kindness to hold, and saying hi back is part of it. Not judging people you don’t know, no gossiping about that person with your friends. Decency and kindness above all.
I should have seen that because everytime she talked about something, she critisised people. Either her workmates or friends she mentioned. Looking back it’s like hello, you don’t know me and you only talk shit about people, comparing yourself to them and how you are better. Narcissistic?
Then, I realised her hobbies are connected to a certain culture and view of men/women, esp. women, which I do not agree with. Never ever. She and her friends (all from this world) aren’t diverse either, focus too much on looks, “perfect body”, sharing constantly on IG, living from likes and attention. Nobody else in my life is like this, for a reason, actually I distanced myself (now that I think of it) from a couple of people who lived their lives via social media.
And there is more, but it is mainly the way she treats people (which I would have seen early enough if I hadn’t been wearing my LE glasses!! it was THERE all the time), lack of empathy, and my core values or ways I see the world not matching with hers.
If I would have met her in other circumstances, I would have stayed away, next!