Limerence is about bonding. There’s plenty of room to discuss whether it’s good or bad bonding, and how it relates to longer-term love, but the central experience of limerence is becoming powerfully emotionally and mentally connected to another person. That has consequences.
As has been argued here before, and in many other places, the best, tried and true tactic for managing limerence is No Contact. This presents a problem, in many cases. First, No Contact may not be practically possible, but to judge from most of the objections raised by struggling limerents, the reasons why it seems emotionally impossible are far more significant.
A common cause (and/or consequence) of limerent bonding is the decision to confide in LO. Many times, LO confides back, and this is what really cements the bonding experience. Sharing intimacies, feeling safe, feeling emotionally “seen” and understood, perhaps for the first time in a long while, leads to strong common feeling. This source of emotional support is not easy to shrug off. If the mutual confidences deepen, the relationship could verge on an emotional affair. Even if that bullet is dodged, the practical reality is often a closer than usual friendship, where you lean on each other for support.
I’ve covered the problem of attempting friendship with LOs before, but in this post, I’d like to look at the consequences of finding yourself in this trap when you come to the realisation that your limerence is out of control and hurting you (and possibly others). When the euphoria fades to addictive dependency, and you want to make it stop, but are entangled in a habit of spending intimate time with LO, what do you do?
One big sticking point is that the bonded limerent doesn’t want to hurt LO. They are your friend. You have bonded with them, however ill-advised you now realise that was. You care about them, and want to continue to provide support for them and (if honest) receive support from them. Severing a bond is painful. Going No Contact seems a drastic, even callous act. How would any friend react to being cut off cold?
A thorny problem. Here are some thoughts.
1) Beware the self-serving justification
How dependent on your friendship are they really? I mean, I’m sure you’re great and all, but is it maybe possible that you are resisting withdrawing from the friendship for less noble reasons?
Many people are bad at saying “No”. The social stigma of being seen to be rude, or upsetting people, or generally having to uncomfortably explain why your behaviour has changed, is surprisingly psychologically powerful for people who are used to keeping others happy. Speaking as an Englishman, I can attest to how spectacular an impact the force of social embarrassment can have on life. Our proud nation has made dozens of sitcoms and weepy romantic films and books from the premise. The Remains of the Day is not intended as a “how to” manual for life. If you’re going to live purposefully (highly recommended), then the marginal discomfort of confounding others’ expectations with uncharacteristically assertive behaviour is well worth overcoming.
Of course, the other possibility is that you might, just maybe, be clinging to the responsibility to stay committed to the friendship, because of some other benefit that you might be deriving. Some sort of emotional reward that you might not want to give up.
Don’t make junkie rationalisations. They’ll keep you trapped.
2) Consider the need for self-preservation
In moments of clarity, limerents know that they cannot be sure that they will act as they should when in the presence of LO, because limerence is a bastard. Deciding to continue a friendship for reasons of misguided loyalty, or embarrassment at looking bad, or any other reason, frankly, could be seen as an act of self-sacrifice.
Yes, it will probably hurt LO that you are no longer as available to them, but will it hurt them as badly as the limerence is currently hurting you? Will their life be as badly disrupted and derailed by your quiet withdrawal from it, as your life is disrupted by the suffocating uncertainty of limerence?
It’s fine to protect yourself from harm, even if the harm is being caused by an unwitting friend.
3) Staged withdrawal is possible
Cold turkey No Contact is a dramatic step. It may well be necessary – especially if your LO is manipulative or shows signs of wanting to keep you hanging on for their own gratification. If so, I really wouldn’t worry too much about their feelings, given that they are selfishly disregarding yours. But in the case that your LO is not a git, and is in fact a good friend, then a staged withdrawal is a perfectly sound strategy. In fact, psychologically it has a lot to recommend it. A series of incremental small wins (no texts today, no texts or social media for three days, no contact of any kind for a week) helps to reinforce the formation of a new habit of LO avoidance. Even just steering conversations away from personal topics can start a virtuous cycle. Most decent LOs will notice that you are becoming more emotionally distant, and get the hint that the days of oversharing have passed.
There is no evading the fact that deciding to un-bond from LO is going to hurt, and that the loss of a friendship is hard to bear. It’s perfectly fine to mourn it for a bit, but with the purposeful perspective that while it’s unfortunate that limerence came along and broke up a friendship, sometimes shit happens in life and you just have to accept it and move on. It’s part of who we are as limerents to be vulnerable to the friendship-threatening allure of LOs. Make peace with that, and accept that life will be better for everyone if you part company regretfully, but decisively.
Cynical?! (btw, I’m on the left)
Take that, Klingon!
Finally got around to listening to this. Very apt.
I was probably a bit of a chicken when it came to saying goodbye. I wrote a card, just saying thank you for the support (professional and emotional) and wishing him well going forward, but saying due to the issues within my head, it is for the best I cut contact. Not sure if that’s disclosure or not (and yes I know it was cowardly) I felt he could probably guess even if he didn’t know for sure.
When it actually came to saying goodbye, LO was in a consultation so I waited 15 minutes beyond my finish time, but then couldn’t stay any longer. I interrupted (politely) to say a brief goodbye with a quick side-hug, but it wasn’t the parting I had hoped for. Which in some respects is probably for the best!!
Trouble is I’m still wondering how he’s taken it. Which I shouldn’t be. We’ve parted company. It is irrelevant. I just really hope I haven’t hurt him.
Mick Jagger put it this way,
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need”
For some of us, it’s more than a song, it’s a way of life.
And…sometimes…you get both.
Dr L – this post is a really important one for me, and in particular the staged withdrawal option that you outline. There is some fantastic advice on here, both above and below the line, but for my circumstances (LO works directly for me, we’ve become close friends, I’m a confidant to her, I’ve given her a career opportunity she probably wouldn’t have got otherwise) the cold turkey NC option just doesn’t work. As you suggest it would be a callous act on my behalf, and would end up casting me in a bad light at work if I fire her or move her to another team. If we can un-bond slowly, and she can be nudged elsewhere I could exit this somewhat more gracefully. The question is whether some form of disclosure should be one of the stages?
I recommend against disclosure in this case. If things are going in the right direction, disclosure can derail them.
LO #4 left open the possibility of resuming the acquaintance should my feelings change. I thought they had but they hadn’t and when I re-engaged, things got worse not better. DrL has several blogs that relate but you don’t need those, yet.
To be honest, I can’t see much benefit to disclosure in your case, Vincent. But there are a lot of risks. Once the information that you have strong feelings for LO is out of your mouth, it is in the world, and you cannot control what happens next. It is possible to re-establish the terms of a working dynamic in a staged way, but disclosure is likely to disrupt that process.
She may already “know” how you feel from non-verbal clues, but as I always argue: your thoughts and feelings are your free domain, while a verbal confession is an action that affects other people in the world.
Looking back on this situation in 6 months time, once you have successfully re-organised your interactions with LO into a civil working relationship, do you think that your lives would be better if you had disclosed your feelings to LO?
Finally, from a personal perspective – I am very happy that I disclosed to my wife, and very happy that I didn’t disclose to my LO. I am currently working with LO again on a short project, and that is possible in large part because we never declared any feelings directly.
Thanks Dr L. I agree it’s a risk. My question is really based on the idea that LO will ask what has happened. Let’s go 6 months forward as you suggest, I’ve moved her desk, her reporting line, we no longer work directly together and haven’t sent each other a text in a couple of months. We’re at the Xmas party and she’s had a few drinks – she’s going to ask what happened to us. Even before then it could come out. Some sort of explanation is going to be required for how we’ve gone from best buds to regular colleagues in such a short space of time.
You might be surprised, Vincent.
I had to keep working with my LO through the limerence, because, like you, I had professional responsibilities that I couldn’t shrug off. They weren’t more important than my family responsibilities, but I took the view that it had been my professional failing that had allowed the limerence to progress (as I was her boss), and so I had to sort it out without harming her career any more.
The road I took: 1) Stop initiating personal conversations immediately. 2) Establish a pattern of derailing any personal conversations she started by redirecting to work conversations. 3) Continue to be friendly, but less emotionally open. 4) No outside work texting or social media (this one was quite easy for me, as we had never really started that as a habit). That was all in addition to disclosing to my wife, to make sure I had help in holding my resolve.
LO never asked me “what’s changed,” or “why don’t we chat anymore” or anything along those lines. I think there were three reasons. 1) She knew just as well as me that we had been playing with fire and needed to stop. 2) I was still the boss, so got to set the work culture. 3) Limerence starts to fade when reciprocation stops.
By the time she left, neither of us were limerent (as far as I could judge), and we remained on good (if slightly cautious) terms.
Q. “she’s going to ask what happened to us.”
A. What are you talking about?
Q. “Even before then it could come out. Some sort of explanation is going to be required for how we’ve gone from best buds to regular colleagues in such a short space of time.”
A. What are you talking about? My best friend is my wife.
I’m going to give you my comments because I sympathize with you completely. You cannot and should not disclose to LO. It is still a work place environment and you are risking your reputation and career. It could be sexual harassment. Please don’t be offended and say that LO would never turn on you. It’s just self-preservation. Protect yourself and loved ones. Slowly and decisively withdraw yourself from LO. It’s well worth it. I’m 10 months No contact with my LO. It’s been a long hard road and I’m not even half way to my goal of a healthy, purposeful life. But, I’m off that nauseous roller coaster. Best wishes to you.
Thank you Agatha. It’s so heartening to know that so many people have or are going through the same thing (albeit not great for them of course!). 10 month’s NC is very impressive. Can I ask, have they tried to contact you in that time?
Yes, he has no choice. He’s my children music instructor. I’ll introduce myself to you, Dr. L and everyone. I’m a happily married woman with two beautiful teens. My life is ridiculously blessed. Between 2014-2016, a series of tragedies hit. I lost my dad to cancer, two weeks later; we move to a state where I have no friends nor family. My husband requested that I stay home and homeschool our children. My oldest son is academically advanced. Everyone is on board except me. Now I go all week, absolutely no adult interactions . It’s lonely and unhealthy. I hate it.
The kids have music lessons at a highly rated school. For an entire year, I drop them off and remain in the car reading a book to pass the hour. One day, I run into their instructor and we chat for a bit. After that day, he starts to walk the boys to my car after their lessons. We become casual friends. It become obvious that we have a lot in common. Too much. The Glimmer happens, then the response. He gives me his personal cellphone, starts texting me. We now have a superficial friendship. It’s intensely and sexually charged. He starts to find reasons to talk to me and hug me.
He is a serial spouse poacher, and I’m a sitting duck. I have been petted, cajoled and seduced to the point of insanity. I don’t want to hurt my family and take too long for LO. He moves onwards to a younger, prettier and single girl. She’s half his age. He’s closer to my age. (He needs to get rid of me and our inappropriate friendship). The introduction to his new girlfriend was completely staged on his part. He made arrangements to have her come and visit him, while he held me in conversation after my kids lesson. I politely requested an introduction, my response obviously enraged him. His ego was in need of female jealousy. He embraces his girlfriend and makes out with her in front of me to humiliate me. It worked.
I feel like an idiot. A ridiculous, desperate housewife. I’m in full limerence. He stops talking to me for five months. Never coming out to the car. My oldest son drives now. He requested in March to stop lessons because he feels the coldness from his teacher. My younger son adores his instructor. He’s been his pupil for three years now. He refuses to stop lessons nor change instructor. Thankfully, my oldest drives his younger sibling to the music school.
This is how I have enforced the No Contact rule. I actively avoid LO. It makes the limerence fade, but I’m still picking up the pieces of my soul.
Disclosing to my husband nor counseling is not an option. I welcome any comments and would love to help support anyone with my own experience.
Your LO definitely falls into my “character defectives” category, Agatha 🙂
Sorry to hear you were so selfishly manipulated when you were vulnerable. Really glad you managed No Contact, and hope it can continue.
Looking at the larger picture, even if disclosure and counselling are not feasible, it may be worth (in the spirit of purposeful living) communicating to your husband the impact that the sacrifices that were asked of you, had on your wellbeing (and your relationship). Good men listen to the needs of their spouses. It’s also potential protection against future limerence vulnerability, to discuss how the lack of kindness/gentleness affects you. As you say, your shitty LO was able to exploit that craving to get past your defences.
Most people would find it hard to bond to a Tower of Goodness…
Why is disclosure to your husband not an option? Particularly since you put an end to it, or at least have removed temptation? I ask because there is another gentleman (Dr. L. Or someone else, I forget) who did disclose & not only did his wife get it, turns out she had had several limerent episodes of het own. No infidelity that I can recollect.
If you’re frightened because you know he will become punitive, or harm you, that brings up many other topics and makes limerence pale when compared to survival.
I’m so sorry for your experience. I think it’s AWFUL that you are isolated and was arm-twisted into homeschooling, etc. I see a lot of red flags.
Be safe. Can you find a therapist? You may need outside validation, if not documentation someday.
My best to you.
I’m safe and unharmed. My husband is very good to me. He’s a wonderful husband and fantastic dad. His favorite saying of himself, ” I’m not a kind man, but I am a Good Man.” It’s true. Not easy nor kind, but very good. (good adjectives for my marriage too) He’s a tower of a human being. That’s my weak point. I crave gentleness, humor and common interests. Maybe someone that has human weakness and not so Alpha male. (my LO is a perfect example)
Five years later? I have a good set of friends, active in my church and community. My boys are in early College as high school students. Things are much better.
Greatest desire? Absolute freedom from my limerence and never to see my LO would be heaven on earth. Other desires? Maybe help someone else with their full blown limerence ride.
Thank you for your concerns.
Oh, a Good Man but a bit brittle? Well, I’m so sorry that disclosure isn’t possible. I would hate being bludgeoned with my imperfections too. Or have my weaknesses pointed out (and possibly used as justification for continuing not to try being gentle, laughing at life’s absurdities or finding common interests). As long as it works for you. I’d find it tiresome, personally.
“Greatest desire? Absolute freedom from my limerence and never to see my LO would be heaven on earth. Other desires? Maybe help someone else with their full blown limerence ride.”
Well, I think you’ve got the last part covered! I hope your sons continue to do well in school and beyond.
I also found this post particularly useful advice. I need to manage a gradual disconnect from my LO—something she also would like, I think—and declaring “No Contact” just feels too dramatic. Not like we haven’t tried it in the past. It just hasn’t really worked because I’ve always put a time limit on it: No texting or talking for three weeks and let’s see how we feel after that, ok? (Oy…) In my case, I disclosed to LO a couple of months into my limerence last fall and she whole-heartedly reciprocated. (She’d been signaling me for months, but at twice her age, I just didn’t even believe what I was seeing.) An emotional affair quickly ensued, full of all the intense bonding, sexual tension, and romance that the middle-aged, not-quite-happily-married limerents among us desperately craves and thrives on. There were even a few brief episodes of physical connection. No real sex, however, a fact about which I have had some mixed feelings. Nowadays I wonder, Might it have been better had we fully discharged this feeling through a full-on sexual encounter, if we’d just had a chance to somehow get that out of our system? DrL did mention (many blog entries ago) that being friends might be possible if such a discharge had occurred. I don’t know.
But that’s not why I’m joining in on this blog—finally, after 7 months here. What I’d like to know is how folks feel about polyamory and why is it that sexual/romantic/emotional exclusivity—however one defines monogamous fidelity—is so important. I know some of DrL’s take on this from an earlier blog entry, that limerents and poly types are a terrible fit. But I’m not sure I agree with that anymore. Now granted, my millenial LO is the one who got me re-considering this concept, got me wondering why I’m holding so fast to my (dated?) dogma about relationships. (OK, my LO and Mira Kirshenbaum and Esther Perel and Brene Brown—whoa, wa-a-a-y too many self-help reads on my night stand these days.) And it’s hard not to wonder how much of all the angst our limerence puts us through could be eliminated if we would just give up these notions about monogamy as the be-all-end-all ideal. Obviously, I’m not talking about single folks who get limerent. But the real heartache seems to come from being married and becoming limerent for someone else. Wouldn’t marriage be a happier state if we could just come clean about our feelings, accept that wanting someone else (at least once in awhile) is normal and OK, address the insecurities that non-monogamy can bring up, and…for heaven’s sake, move through it in grace and mutual compassion. Why exclusivity and mandatory monogamy, anyway?
Thanks for your comment – which was caught it my overzealous spam-trap for a while.
I don’t have an especially insightful view on polyamory, I’m afraid!
I’m built for monogamy. During my limerence experience the angst I experienced was feeling conflicted, as I knew I loved my wife and family but was limerent for LO. To me the pain came from the fact that in my mind I could only be with my wife or my LO – the thought of being with both of them was worse than being with neither of them. And, to be honest, in my rational mind there was never really any doubt that my wife would win. My fantasy landscape was always “in an alternative world LO and I could have been together” and never “I could be with them both.”
It may be that the idea of monogamy it’s just a romantic notion that’s been ingrained by cultural conditioning, but if so it’s super deep for me. Like, foundation of personality, deep.
All that said, I hope it’s clear from my writing that I don’t subscribe to “I am the world” thinking. I know that many good people of integrity are poly, that they make their relationships work, and that it’s a more authentic and purposeful way of living for them than trying to fit into the monogamy mould.
My big question for you is: have you ever been limerent for more than one person at once? Or has limerence for someone new been added to a stable, loving attachment to a long-term partner?
“What I’d like to know is how folks feel about polyamory and why is it that sexual/romantic/emotional exclusivity—however one defines monogamous fidelity—is so important.”
Have you told your spouse what you’ve been doing? It doesn’t matter how other’s feel, what matters is how she feels. To be polyamorous & have it work requires communication & honesty. You’ve already started a relationship without her knowledge, consent or ground rules. That isn’t polyamory.
If monogamy is not important to you, why have you kept her in the dark?
“Polygamy, when tried under modern democratic conditions, as by the Mormons, is wrecked by the revolt of the mass of inferior men who are condemned to celibacy by it; for the maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate one. Polyandry has not been tried under these conditions.” – George Bernard Shaw, “Maxims for the Revolutionist
Some people are sufficiently worthy that they should be allowed to be shared.
Some of what Landry said was what LO #4 confided in me that her ex said to her as he was justifying his affair.
She didn’t buy it.
“Some people are sufficiently worthy that they should be allowed to be shared.”
That’s fine but it still needs to be discussed in advance and not when someone has already lied, blindsided their partner and is playing patty-cake with someone else. That’s cruel. Liars may not cheat, but cheaters always lie.
Whilst it’s an interesting idea and I get what you’re saying about it helping with the heartache that being married and limerent for someone else creates, but my knowledge is very limited. It doesn’t appeal to me.
When I married my husband I signed up for monogamy. That was the deal. If I then wanted to change that, I would need to talk it through with my husband and discuss how we would make it work. When I’m in Limerent Madness is not a sensible time to do that as I’m not thinking straight. I also know full well he wouldn’t want that (he’s made that very clear!!)
Also in my case (fully aware I can’t speak for anyone else here) this whole limerent episode has basically drawn me out of my state of “not happy but in denial, just keep going” and forced me to look at myself, work on our marriage and try and actually resolve the underlying issues that caused the LE. It’s an opportunity for growth, rather than just a painful inconvenience.
I’m glad you were drawn out of your state of “not happy but in denial, just keep going” and that you see the LE as an opportunity for growth. This is exactly what I’m trying to do. I wonder what you’ve found to help with the process of looking at yourself. Personal therapy? Some good books? Part of this for me is just having a garden variety mid-life crisis, I’m sure. It’s hard not to think that, at my age, I’m just never going to feel that excitement again…making it harder to give up (although I managed) and get over (which I haven’t yet).
After disclosing to my husband, I started individual counselling sessions. That helped me work out what it was about LO that was attractive, why that was attractive now, what I was lacking in my life and talking over options to have those needs filled in a better way.
I then reached a point where I needed some changes but struggled to communicate my needs to my husband.
We both read a book recommended by my counsellor (“Hold Me Tight” by Sue Johnson) and that helped a little, but we found life got in the way, and instead of practicing the conversations, we digressed onto more mundane topics to avoid hurting each other.
We have just started marriage counselling (with a different counsellor) to try and work on things. It’s too early to expect any massive progress, but I still need LO to get out of my head as that’s what’s hampering my progress. A feeling that I’ve cut off the wrong relationship.
Landry, your first paragraph is a carbon copy of my experience, my thoughts, my possible regrets. But my LO and I were both married w/kids, so we each had much to lose when we reciprocated our feelings.
I thought about polyamory briefly, but as others here have stated, it was just an excuse to think about me getting everything (I thought) I wanted.
Dr L – do you think your LO left because of you? If so how did that make you feel? Did she go onto better things?
She left to take a similar job in the same industry, with better pay, and has now gone on to bigger and better things. I don’t think she left because of me, but the way our industry operates, frequent, short-term contracts is the norm so her moving on was completely normal.
I mostly felt relieved, glad that she had a better job to go to, but also sad for a while. I got over it fine, though 🙂
It’s always better if they leave of their own volition, whatever the reason.
I discolosed with the idea that LO #4 would throw the flag and eventually, she did. But, the months between the disclosure and the good-bye got pretty rocky and the outcome wasn’t assured until she actually did it.
I felt like I’d been dumped by a woman I never actually met. But, I no longer felt connected to her and there’s no sense of “unfinished business.”
I think you all are right. It’s time for a long talk with my Alpha male. After reading your responses, I secretly agree. I’ve known for awhile that we need marriage counseling. Even suggested it. If he doesn’t agree to go with me, I plan on attending by myself. He can stay up on his ivory tower. I need professional help.
I’ve surrounded myself with other homeschooling parents and spend most of the time angry. They float around happy in their homeschooling world, while I feel like I’m on the wrong planet.
Thank you for the comments and suggestions. Good Luck to you all in your personal journeys.
Good luck to you too, Agatha.
As with Vincent’s dilemma, staged progress is a good tactic. Think of it as consciousness raising for the alpha male in your life…
Good luck, Agatha! I would suggest you lead the way. Start counseling for your sake, ask him to come in to share his perspective for a session or two and then find a marriage counselor. One who isn’t already an advocate for one person or the other.
Definitely time to reclaim some of what you have shoved away or deferred.
I have my fingers crossed for you.
Hi Agatha, just wanted to add my support and sympathy to the others’, and also the biggest, fattest, mother-to-mother pat on the back for giving so much of yourself to support your family. I wish your husband had been more attentive to your own needs at the time; what you experienced sounds so very tough. Please don’t be too hard on yourself for any of it. I hope you can start to give yourself permission to do more of what you want to do, and begin to move closer to the right planet 🙂
“Some people are sufficiently worthy that they should be allowed to be shared.”
I was being facetious, as I believe Shaw may have been when he wrote the quote I used. “Maxims for the Revolutionist” drips with cynicism.
Sometimes the written word doesn’t convey the full message. Besides, Shaw may or may not have been sexually active, but his ‘friendship’ with Ellen Terry pissed off his wife (married 1898 – 1943) for many years.
“Although Shaw apparently did do his share of philandering, his attitude towards sex gradually evolved from indifference to disgust. Asked by Cecil Chesterton if he were a puritan in practice, he reportedly replied that he considered the sexual act monstrous and indecent, and added that he could not understand how a man and a woman could f ace one another the morning after. So connected were sexand shame for him, that he even had misgivings about whether childrenshould be abl e to identify their parents. According to one of his biographers, Hesketh Pearson, he believed that the most satisfactory way of produc ing children ”would be for a crowd of healthy men and women to meet in the dark, to couple, and then to separate without having seen o ne another’s faces.”
Shaw’s own romance with the beautiful actress Ellen Terry – who also won the hearts of men such as Buffalo Bill, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carol, Tennyson and Gladstone – was curiously disembodied. It began in 1892, when she was 45 and he was 36, and lasted through his marriage to Charlotte and her three to other men. Although Shaw’s letters were frequently passionate and wild – ”I love you soulfully and bodyfully, properly and improperly, every way that woman can be loved” – the two did not even meet until 1900. They had avoided meeting face to face on purpose, and when they finally did, their correspondence immediately declined. For both, it seems, a certain magic had been lost.”
“They had avoided meeting face to face on purpose, and when they finally did, their correspondence immediately declined. For both, it seems, a certain magic had been lost.””
Wow! Does that sound familiar. In the 5 years our paths crossed, it wasn’t until ~2 months from the end that LO #4 sent me a FB friend request. We had never broached the subject of meeting or actually talking to each other. When I asked her if it was ok if we weren’t FB friends because I needed that boundary to go back up, she not only unfriended me, she blocked me. Our correspondence dropped and when I tried to reset things, she said good-bye.
Things had been cruising along pretty well in my head until her relationship collapsed and I found myself dealing with a real person on the other end of those emails.
Spin out post!
Well my LO did get a full disclosure from me, and he was very sympathetic to my pain and complementary of my character, etc. and although saying “it did cross my mind” made it clear it was never going to happen between us. He moved away but has insisted on maintaining a friendship which I keep mistakenly thinking I can handle. He’s been exceedingly thoughtful and generous with me since then (as he was before), giving me a plane ticket when I was stranded overseas with a family tragedy, buying me gifts when he goes on vacation, etc. I get very comfortable with the idea of this glorious platonic friendship and then the reality of the unhealthiness of limerence hits me and I realize I’ve made progress for sure, but there is much more to make. I’ve tried to end contact more than once over the last 4 years but LO just isn’t having it, and clearly I am too weak to insist. Do I get a lot out of the relationship? YES. But I sure wish there was a way to retain the friendship and effectively kill the limerence. Do I regret admitting my feelings to LO? Yes. It has accomplished nothing. I shouid have backed away slowly and kept my feelings to myself.
I’m really sorry to hear that you are still stuck in the Friends/Limerence limbo. I am NC from my LO 10 months. This morning I had a lovely time having breakfast with a group of friends, daydreamed about running into my LO at the restaurant and almost fainted from dizziness. That just reinforces the NC even more. Sometimes, I think about disclosure to LO. Maybe it might help my limerence, but not after reading your post, ……No Way. Thank you for sharing your experience. I will definitely learn from it.
How well I know that dizzy feeling! It’s intoxicating and also terrifying. It’s so wonderful that you have been NC for so long. My LO rocks back into town a few times a year and gets a couple of mutual close friends together and takes us out for a fancy meal and always has a sweet and special gift for me and of course I feel delighted but somewhat detached (guards up!) but after it’s all said and done as Dr. Limerence says “the limerence pixie orances in” and I feel myself slowly falling off the cliff…spiraling into obsession and depression. I need to accept my weakness and not play with fire! As has been brought out on this site, when we have stressful situations (I have had a year and half of horrors) we are much weaker and prone to the rabbit hole. So keep up the good work! And stay ‘en garde’!!!
“Well my LO did get a full disclosure from me, and he was very sympathetic to my pain and complementary of my character, etc. and although saying “it did cross my mind” made it clear it was never going to happen between us.”
“I’ve tried to end contact more than once over the last 4 years but LO just isn’t having it,”
That’s really unkind. He’s keeping you on the string and playing you like a yo-yo. It’s keeping you stuck and unable to form lasting attachments to someone who can commit to you. I’m really sorry. I hope you can cut the cord!
Thanks Lee. Yes I know it’s best. As has been mentioned in posts above, I know I get a lot out of the relationship, so I have to be prepared for the short term (or perhaps long term) extreme pain and feeling of loss. LO has helped me through a series of tragedies including 2 recent deaths in my family and a host of other misfortunes (when it rains, it pours) but I see light at the end of the tunnel so perhaps I will find the strength soon. If he would get in a committed relationship himself I could cut the cord as I have never been limerent with an attached person. I have a hunch that something is brewing with someone he has been interested in so perhaps relief is in sight. Thank you again.