One of the consequences of being burned by limerence is that it can make you a bit cautious about romance. The discovery of limerence, and the wisdom gained by recognising that your psychological buttons can be pushed in a way that drives you into a cycle of obsession, can make you understandably defensive.
I tend to write from the perspective of a single limerent bewitched by a single limerent object, and less frequently consider the longer term implications of what to do once you’ve slain that particular dragon.
Well, today’s case study comes from Bea, who has the problem of post-limerence romance in mind:
I’m a single who’s just come out of an LE, and has only dated folks that I’ve felt the glimmer for. One common theme of the site that I’ve internalised is that limerence isn’t a good predictor of long-term relationship stability/happiness. However, as someone who’s only known dating in the context of the glimmer and the inevitable limerence that follows, I have no idea how to tell when it’s right to try and take a relationship “to the next level” with someone, in situations when there isn’t that intense burst of feeling.
This is a good question. I have indeed argued before that limerence is a poor predictor of long-term happiness, but what I meant by that is that limerence is neither good nor bad. What makes someone a limerent object for you, and what makes someone a good long-term partner for you, need not be related. It depends entirely on your particular, idiosyncratic limerence cues.
But Bea, I think, is looking for something a bit more concrete.
I’m presuming the lack of glimmer doesn’t mean a relationship isn’t worth pursuing, but how does one know when to try and when not to?!
At first I had a pat answer to this (“find a person of good character”), but on reflection, I realised it is a much deeper issue.
Let’s get out the psyche-shovels and have a dig.
Can you trust your intuition?
Most of us place a lot of importance on intuition when it comes to romantic relationships. Perhaps more than any other aspect of life, romantic attachment depends on emotional congruence. If it feels wrong, it almost certainly is wrong.
This is an important protection mechanism. It helps us to identify incompatibility – or even danger – and sense at a deep level that something is off. Anyone who has got themselves into a situation that escalates out of their comfort zone knows how aversive the stomach-lurch of emotional insecurity is.
Limerent glimmer, by contrast, is intoxicatingly attractive. It feels incredibly “right”, and so it’s natural to follow your instinct to seek ever closer connection. Unfortunately, it’s only after you’ve become addicted that you discover any incompatibilities, by which point, ironically, you are committed to idealising them away. The desperate desire for LO could even drive you to try to change yourself to resolve the problems, rather than face the possibility that LO is a bad match.
Once you learn that limerence can confound you so completely, your intuition becomes suspect. You begin to doubt the connection between animal attraction and sustainable love.
Learn to spot patterns
That kind of doubt can be valuable, but only if you have a good way of constructively using it. It’s good to become aware of the fact that limerence can send your intuition screwy, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon it entirely.
What’s needed is some kind of sense-check. You need an unbiased way to be sure that you aren’t being too lovestruck or too cautious, and a good strategy is to look for some key behavioural patterns. This can help in two ways.
First, you can start to determine how well relationships that started in limerence progress for you. Do you always run into trouble after the first flush of excitement has passed? Are you attracted to people who consistently cause you emotional pain? Are you mistaking the end of limerence for the end of love? If you have found through experience that limerence attractions are not good for you long term, then it pays to be a bit more suspicious of the glimmer when it starts.
Second, you can use pattern recognition to look for signs of encouragement. Does the person you are with reciprocate well – if you show trust they repay with trust, if you show pain they comfort you? Do they consider your opinions and feelings when making decisions? Do they actively seek your company because they enjoy it? These are all good indicators that you are with someone who forms secure attachments.
Next, you can ask yourself some sobering questions: how do you respond to acts of kindness from a partner? Does it make you more secure or more suspicious? Do you feel smothered by displays of affection?
Unfortunately, for many people, this sort of caring reciprocity is so unfamiliar that it unsettles them. If that is the case, try to postpone your emotional response while you are looking for objective evidence of these sorts of behavioural patterns. You can decide what action to take later – for now, the goal is just to get good at spotting these revealed truths in the first place.
Knowledge as a moderating force
To really succeed in finding good relationships as a limerent, you need to unify these two principles – listening to your intuition, but moderating your decisions based on the knowledge you’ve gained about the nature of limerence.
Limerence at the start of a relationship is only a bad thing if you consistently feel the glimmer for people with bad character. One pattern you should learn to spot is the cues that trigger the glimmer in you. If you realise that it is traits like narcissistic swagger, love bombing, bad boy chic, flirtatiousness, deviousness, or a rescue fantasy that kindle the flame of your ardour, then you are up against it if you want to form a lasting relationship.
If this is the case, then therapy can be helpful for getting to the roots of why you respond to those kinds of people. You are also going to have to lean more on pattern recognition than on intuition when assessing a potential partner.
If, on the other hand, your own glimmer cues are more neutral – long hair, deep brown eyes, an empathetic character, a snarky sense of humour – then it’s much safer to lean on intuition and use pattern recognition to refine your choice.
Finally, it is also worth considering the worst case scenario: that your glimmer comes from somewhere darker and you respond to abusive or manipulative behaviour. If you see that pattern in your past, you should be very wary of the glimmer, and lean heavily on counselling and caution, rather than entangling yourself with an LO.
Whatever your own personal cues, the overall goal is to hold off on full surrender to limerent ecstasy until you have done some due diligence about what exactly it is you are responding to. And that can happen after you have sorted out the balance between intuitive attraction and protective wisdom, that works for you.
When to take things forward
Bea wants to know when to take things forward with a potential partner, independently of whether you feel the glimmer for them. In my view, the ideal scenario is when your relationship with them combines emotional congruence with intellectual confidence. You need both. A full blown limerence bonanza is a total wildcard, but an emotionally flat accounting of their pros and cons is just as risky.
And a last point to consider is that the decision is not just yours to make. You can figure out your own formula for glimmer versus reason, but it will have to align with the same quirky mix of intuition and intellect of your partner. How they think and feel about you matters equally. And that leads – with the irresistible gravitational pull of a black hole of wisdom – to purposeful living.
Your partner is going to weigh their own choices against the version of you that you choose to present. So it really pays for you to live in an authentic way and be truthful about who you are and what you want (even if that is “I’m not sure what I want”). By behaving honestly, and living purposefully, you stand the best chance of aligning your true character with someone that appreciates it, and appreciates you.
It’s a win-win proposition. You live a fulfilling life. You attract people that like you how you really are. And, hopefully, just maybe, you can be lucky enough to combine glimmery sparkles with long-term prospects and really hit the jackpot.
Oh. And just as a sobering reminder – you’ll probably become limerent for someone new in a few years so, you know, store some of that wisdom up for the future.
*apologies to the many splendid accountants in the world.
“And a last point to consider is that the decision is not just yours to make. … How they think and feel about you matters equally. ”
This needs to be on a neon sign in every limerent’s living room. 🙂
Thanks for the post Dr. L. I’ve been mulling this over a lot recently, and sometimes feeling a bit overwhelmed. Your suggestions here make a lot of sense. Thank you!
This is a good post for me as I am pretty sure that’s my male twin with the armour and shield. It’s just so much safer …..
Limerent Emeritus says
Your male twin is a Hoplite? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoplite
What does that make you?
carried away says
This is a good post for someone like me who always seems to rush headfirst into the waters of limerence. I would add – take it slow test the water with just a toe. If I can ever untangle myself from the stagnant relationship I am currently in I will live purposefully and not go looking for the glimmer. Just be one with myself. Maybe then just maybe I will find what I am looking for.
“This is a good question. I have indeed argued before that limerence is a poor predictor of long-term happiness, but what I meant by that is that limerence is neither good nor bad. What makes someone a limerent object for you, and what makes someone a good long-term partner for you, need not be related. It depends entirely on your particular, idiosyncratic limerence cues.”
I feel like I’ve cracked my “LO code” at last. In other words, I understand my LO archetype inside out – the ISTP male – and so he no longer glimmers at me with anywhere near the same intensity as before. 😛
What I mean is … when you truly understand what makes someone tick, then there’s no mystery anymore and no need for rumination, and you can objectively decide on whether you’re a good match or not – providing that the LO is interested in a relationship, of course. However, as we all know, limerence can spin out of control, so seeking to understand an LO inside-out may not be purposeful/in everyone’s best interests. Plus, such understanding is very, very time-consuming. Maybe time would be better spent engaging with a partner who’s available?
However, if you’re like me, and really have nothing better to do with your time, analysing LO until the cows come home can eventually prove fruitful as a psychological exercise.
My father is an ISTP male. My LO was/is an ISTP male. My only sustained sexual relationship was with an ISTP male. (How’s that for a pattern?) I’ve become a de facto expert on ISTP males by virtue of being attracted so powerfully to them and spending so much time in their company. Weirdly enough, they also seem to be semi-attracted to me. They’re always the ones who initiate contact. But they also love their freedom, and refuse to be tied down or controlled in any way.
The ISTP male is the only kind of male who can light me up BOTH physically and emotionally. I can appreciate males of all personality types for their looks, but I only feel an otherworldly emotional connection with ISTP males, probably because of some really intense emotional connection I felt to my father in early childhood. There are just so many really strong emotional associations…
ISTP males are interesting chaps. They actually make great husbands, if a lady is looking for someone capable of fixing literally anything around the house. (Mechanically-minded). If you’re looking for a super-warm emotional connection, however, as I was, they aren’t the best choice. Nonetheless, if you can accept their need for space and their true passions and preferences, and not pressure them to be anything other than they are, they are lovely and easy-going mates.
So, for me, the question would be: “Do I want to be in a relationship with a person who’s ridiculously easy to live with, and very handy, and sometimes surprisingly affectionate, but who can never offer me a tangible ongoing emotional bond, nor see the need for a tangible ongoing emotional bond?”
Don’t get me wrong. ISTPs do have deep feelings. But they don’t like exploring them. They are the least expressive of the Myer-Briggs types, often have an impassive face, shut down during conflicts and emotional conversations, or else become argumentative in an almost hysterical way. Emotion tends to overload and short-circuit their brains. The whole system crashes shortly thereafter. Bless! “Sweet but distant” is how I characterise them. I guess most people would see this type of male (or female) as “avoidant”?
I realise that, if limerence is taken out of the equation, I have nothing bad to say about ISTP males. Any disappointments really stem from my own frustrated romantic ambitions.
Recovering from limerence has been really fascinating for me. It’s like. “OMG, I finally understand straight men now! You guys are great!” It’s the desire that causes the pain, not the object of desire. Straight men must eventually learn this about alluring women in their lives. Women aren’t painful in and of themselves. But desire for a given woman, if protracted and frustrated, can be very painful.
When you like someone, but don’t crave them like a drug, getting along is a piece of cake. Romance brings men and women together, and that’s a good thing. But I wonder if romance also plants the seeds of distrust between men and women too? Limerence is like a double-edged sword. Frustration is part of the game. We could even go so far as to say frustration IS the game. I’ve come to see the problem is limerence itself and not LOs per se.
What I’m saying specifically is – my suffering was caused by my desire for LO and not by LO’s behaviour. If I didn’t desire LO, his behaviour, good or bad, would be utterly irrelevant. How’s that for deep? 😛
If I were a straight man, I’d say my LO was a cool dude, very good at practical stuff, but also a little bit dopey at non-practical stuff. 🙂
Recovering from limerence, I see the flaws of my father and the flaws of men who are similar to my father. (Lazy, selfish, unobservant, emotionally constipated). I see that my father wasn’t omnipotent, or even that good with people, and my LO also wasn’t omnipotent. His people skills in general left a lot to be desired…
Oh, another fun fact about ISTPs. They live in the present, and don’t really think about the effect of their actions on other people. Particularly emotional effect. ISTPs are kind of unknowingly cut off from their own emotions. Sound familiar, right? All the necessary ingredients for the perfect limerent storm!! 😛
I think ISTP males are pretty much irresistible to heterosexual women, too. They probably bring out a really maternal side in their wives/female partners. 🙂
“I think ISTP males are pretty much irresistible to heterosexual women, too. ”
From what you’ve written, they’re all yours. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
According to https://www.personalitypage.com/html/ISTP_rel.html, is an ENTJ’s (me) natural partner.
The description of the ISTP there fit’s the love-bombing (LB)SIL of a coworker like a glove. That woman was the most intense woman I’ve ever been with and when she was in the moment, she was really in the moment.
But, with her, I never quite knew how long the moment last and I thought that she could turn on a dime, which she did, after I’d bought non-refundable plane tickets for her to fly up for a visit. [Her sister paid me back]
The would I would use to describe ISTPs is “fickle.”
“They actually make great husbands, if a lady is looking for someone capable of fixing literally anything around the house. (Mechanically-minded).”
You described someone who is not emotionally present but who can fix your faucet. Uh … If a woman can’t fix the faucet herself, she can hire someone. Not sure why acts of service are considered such a huge bonus. But that’s me.
” I see the flaws of my father and the flaws of men who are similar to my father. (Lazy, selfish, unobservant, emotionally constipated)”
That also would describe my father, only he wasn’t lazy. A diligent worker, because those are the middle-class values he was raised with, and he never questioned anything. When you wrote constipated, all I could hear was Jack Nicholson in Batman. “This town needs an enema!” 🙂
carried away says
It’s easy to put a label on a person, and call it good, but isn’t that in itself objectifying. Your LO is a human being after all maybe they have emotional issues they are dealing with. Maybe you need to step outside yourself, and put yourself in their place to have a better understanding of why they are the way they are. And I mean this in a constructive way. It often helps me understand a person better, and not get carried away when I look at the situation from their perspective.
I disagree. If the person if fundamentally not a good fit, there really isn’t much point in trying to figure them out. I mean, you can, but it won’t change the situation in that maybe you don’t click with this personality type. Just because you feel strongly for someone doesn’t mean they can provide you what you need and vice versa. I think a lot of limerents spend far too long trying to piece apart the personality of an LO.
carried away says
I don’t know having a little empathy helps in life in general.
I would agree Carried Away. But as somebody with a pattern of being drawn to unavailable (practically or emotionally LOs) I think sometimes overriding the kinder empathetic impulse and steering clear is going to be my strategy in future.
Trying to understand/accept LOs point of view is sailing dangerously close to rumination and magical thinking…
‘Once I UNDERSTAND I’ll be able to OVERCOME…’
“But as somebody with a pattern of being drawn to unavailable (practically or emotionally LOs) I think sometimes overriding the kinder empathetic impulse and steering clear is going to be my strategy in future.”
Especially if the LO, aside from being unavailable, is doing the dip and dodge — acting as if things will move forward and then pulling back. No amount of empathy will change that.
“I would agree Carried Away. But as somebody with a pattern of being drawn to unavailable (practically or emotionally LOs) I think sometimes overriding the kinder empathetic impulse and steering clear is going to be my strategy in future.
Trying to understand/accept LOs point of view is sailing dangerously close to rumination and magical thinking…
‘Once I UNDERSTAND I’ll be able to OVERCOME…’”
I hear what you’re saying here, and it definitely makes sense to me. I’ve definitely been guilty of magical thinking while experiencing limerence. (Isn’t that what limerence is all about? Magical thinking? Mr/Ms Wonderful is gonna come along and make my life idyllic forever). E.g. If I hang on long enough, eventually he’d/she’d come round, etc. Not true. Good way to remain stuck.
Empathy-wise, having a smidgen of empathy for ourselves is not a bad idea. Also, developing a really good understanding of the problems faced by addictive personalities maybe? We need to develop a better understanding of our own problems and issues. Forget what’s driving LOs. Focus more on one’s own motivations.
Sometimes digging a hole is just digging a hole. All you end up with is a deeper hole. Unless you can dig a hole big enough to suck the entire landscape in and start rebuilding civilisation from scratch. (Re-inventing the wheel is fun. Trust me – I’ve tried it many times, with zero success). Putting strict limits on amount of rumination done = sounds like a good strategy if one can manage it.
I realise I can’t change an LO. I can only change myself. And, when it comes to limerence, I can only change myself by finding a way of dialling down my desire for LO to nothing aka emotional neutrality. The problem is desire – a super-intense desire that won’t be reciprocated and in my case wouldn’t be sated even if an LO reciprocated. My hyper-stimulus seems to be … conventional masculinity and masculine men aren’t exactly famed for passion. (Well, not in relation to me, leastways). 😛
Without wishing to sound too disrespectful or overtly cynical. I appear to suffer from the grave misfortune of only being romantically attracted to mooncalves, for want of a better word. (“Mooncalf” is an archaic English word for “fool’. I think it’s a lot less confronting than “fool” and it has a nice poetic ring to it. It makes me sound much more genteel than I actually am, too). 😛
Basically, the type of man I’m attracted to may be a good sort in the eyes of the crowd, but he will never ever requite my feelings. Mutual limerence just isn’t an option for me – it’s not even on the table. I am destined to lose every single round of cards I play. I only hold losing cards in my hot little hand. I’m attracted to nice men who are incapable of returning the intensity of my feelings by virtue of the fact they’re lifelong non-limerents irrespective of sexual orientation. If they are fellow limerents, I lose attraction fast…
If I keep pining after a lifelong non-limerent after realising he’s a lifelong non-limerent, then clearly the blame belongs to me alone.
I am very curious, though, about non-romantic relationships with men, which is all the future seems to hold for me. I wonder if I can find such interactions pleasant, or whether I’ll be bored out of my mind and only hang out with flamboyant members of the fairer sex? You know, I like to be entertained and mooncalves aren’t all that entertaining, once one takes limerence out of the equation. 😛
Empathy isn’t great if one is secretly using it to preserve some kind of sentimental attachment to LO, and keep the flame of hope burning bright. All us sensitive introverts – we mustn’t use our heightened emotional intelligence to further our own interests. No, no, that would be most improper. Let us steer clear of the dark arts of manipulation – which are bound to fail anyway if one has a non-limerent LO, who is completely oblivious to mind-games.
I think an ethically-minded LO with fully-functioning empathy would avoid the limerent once the limerence is out in the open and can’t be denied or retracted. I think maybe a lot of LOs perhaps don’t have staggering powers of empathy, and so can’t understand why a bit of space might be helpful. My LO was avoidant only in relation to all things emotional (his own feelings and other people’s). Otherwise he was ever-present and needy. Couldn’t get rid of him even with the whiff of a saucepan full of rotting fish.
Basically, he wanted to be in my life and more or less be my best friend, while totally ignoring and invalidating my emotions for him. Nothing I ever said sunk in. Not that I was as direct as I should have been. See what I mean? Mooncalf material! Poor thing. Didn’t have a clue. I had to respect his boundaries and show him exaggerated deference, but he wouldn’t respect my boundaries in turn. 😛
Speaking of digging holes, in order to get out of limerence, I basically had to demolish the personality which I had inherited from parents/peers/Western culture/Christian school and construct a new one from scratch. I had to become a whole new person. I had to reject the person other people invented for me and invent myself.
Only this new person wouldn’t be attracted to the kind of LO I was attracted to. Only this new person wouldn’t be subconsciously looking for a saviour on every street corner. Only this new person is comfortable in his own skin, and doesn’t need a burly protector.
I had to grow up I guess…
The greatest irony of all: the kind of “jocks” who bullied me in high school now look up to me as some kind of role model and expect me to pat them on the head when they serve in me in cafes and supermarkets. I think I’ll made it, baby. I always wanted to be “respected” and I guess my wildest dreams came true by accident.
All I needed to do was develop a deep voice, dress really badly, and stop hiding my nascent wrinkles and prematurely grey hair. Yes, patriarchy is really working out for me these days… The older a man gets, the more respect he gets. It’s fabulous! In a few shorts years, I’ve gone from being “invisible” to being “distinguished”!! 😛
“It’s easy to put a label on a person, and call it good, but isn’t that in itself objectifying. Your LO is a human being after all maybe they have emotional issues they are dealing with. Maybe you need to step outside yourself, and put yourself in their place to have a better understanding of why they are the way they are.”
Thank you for your insights here. Your commentary makes a lot of sense. I’ll admit I’m always not the most empathic person on the planet. (Well, according to other people, anyway). I often need the help of other people to point my empathy antenna in the right direction. I need a bit of guidance! Emotion isn’t my strong suit; logic is. So the fact I’m attempting to explore emotional terrain at all is highly out-of-character for me. In other words, I’m out of my depth, and it probably shows. 😛
I struggle to understand other humans as nuanced emotional beings. I just want people, including LOs, to “snap out of” seemingly irrational emotional states and start behaving logically. Wanting people to act logically and not emotionally is a real weakness and blind spot of mine. It’s not a lack of empathy per se. More a difficulty in understanding how IMPORTANT emotions are to other people’s experience of reality whereas my reality is shaped by logic first and emotion second.
Bear in mind I do clown around a fair bit in my writing. I guess that isn’t always appropriate or appreciated. Or – let’s put it another way – it might be mildly off-putting to people who want to take a strictly serious approach to the complexities of limerence. But I’ve spent such a large proportion of my adult life wallowing in sadness that I sometimes like to focus on the more humorous/absurd side of human relationships.
I actually endured long periods of depression as a young man. So these days I avoid getting bogged down in emotion, because when I get bogged down I can’t get un-bogged again in a hurry. I’m not trying to be insensitive. But I do understand where you’re coming from, and I think your approach is the correct one, and the one most likely to lead to a positive outcome in terms of preserving a relationship that’s been exposed to stress. I don’t have knee-jerk, on-the-spot, reflexive empathy. My lack of knee-jerk empathy in real life makes people assume I’m uncaring. But I do care about people very much when they can clearly explain to me what’s bothering them and what possible solutions they have in mind.
You’re absolutely right – my LO did have emotional problems of his own. He once asked me to help him with one of his issues and I honestly wasn’t able to help him. My mind drew a complete blank. I didn’t have the necessary maturity at that stage in my life. (I think he just wanted sympathy, in hindsight. Lots and lots of sympathy). It didn’t help that he looked up to me, and thought I was some kind of saint. My worst limerence experiences happened in my early 20s, but the pain of those events was so vivid that it’s kind of coloured everything else that’s happened in my life.
My motivation in writing what I wrote, however, wasn’t an exercise in empathy. I think I’m trying to set my LO free, if anything. I’m acknowledging that someone can be a fantastic human being, with all sorts of quirky traits, and yet have a right not to reciprocate my affections. I’m trying to renounce my former possessiveness. Does that make sense? I’m saying someone can be loveable and amazing and whatnot and yet not belong to me. I’m trying to express love, but in a non-possessive way.
Myer-Briggs types aren’t some reductive label for me, although I know they get on some people’s nerves. Instead, they’re an important and timely reminder that other people are coming at life from a different angle, a different flight-path if you will. Whatever planes other people are travelling in might be different from my plane of choice and/or inclination.
Essentially, I’m trying to make peace with the fact my LO archetype will never love me back. I can never get what I want. The door of heaven is forever bolted, and that’s okay. I’m trying to advance toward a (relatively) desire-less state of being because I realise my strong desire so often embarrasses people. I’m trying to alter my own behaviour so other people can genuinely always feel safe and comfortable in my presence.
I’m happy to sacrifice my own pleasure and happiness in the process, if need be. I’ve always been a tremendously independent person. I don’t really need a lot from other people. (If I ever secured the love of an LO, I’d have no idea what to do with him. I’d probably tell him to go date someone else). To me, there’s the chase, and that’s pretty much it. But I do want others to be happy. And I want to be free of unhappiness myself.
“And I mean this in a constructive way. It often helps me understand a person better, and not get carried away when I look at the situation from their perspective.”
I appreciate you expressing your views in a constructive way. I’m an INTJ, and apparently we handle constructive criticism really well. Probably a little too well. Rumour has it we have the thick skins of rhinoceroses, and the elegant table manners to match. 😛
Honestly, I regret the fact I just wasn’t able to love this person as a friend and only as a friend. I regret the fact I wasn’t able to help him with his problems. I regret the fact I probably put him on a pedestal, where he didn’t belong. I regret the fact I encouraged him to put me on a pedestal, where I didn’t belong. Tragically, I wasn’t able to enjoy his company after developing strong feelings for him. He thought I was his friend-friend and not his secret admirer, but I was his secret admirer from day one. And I regret I couldn’t be the sort of person (kind, understanding, sympathetic, patient, longsuffering, forgiving) that he needed or wanted me to be.
I think there’s something really important – some vital nugget of emotional truth – in what you’re saying. And I hear you. What you’re saying here – you know, it’s just right on so many levels. You’re hitting the right nerve – I can feel it in my bones, but I can’t put it into words. My brain is super-logical. I want things and people to fit in neat little categories, like postage stamps, and they usually don’t. Maybe I’m a bit biased in my own offbeat way?
I struggle in my interactions with other men typically not because other men are robots, but because of the reverse – heterosexual men, in my experience, are alarmingly emotional creatures (compared to me) and I really wasn’t expecting so much emotion from them. Yet I realise this emotion is the very key to connecting with straight men in a non-sexual way. In other words, emotion is the lifeblood of friendship for both sexes.
Contrary to received wisdom, there really are no giant psychological differences between men and women, gay men and straight men. Though desire does tend to throw a spanner in the works, and make things a bit tricky at times. I’m happy about this discovery. I’m ready for my first true “bromance” now I understand the difference between Eros and Philia. 😛
Stepping outside of myself has always been a huge challenge for me. You’re not wrong. You’re not wrong at all.
I couldn’t handle my LO’s strange, fragile emotionality, and that’s why I lost him. And yet he was emotional without being intense (i.e. mutually limerent). Ah, the poignant and oh-so-bittersweet lessons of youth! 😛
carried away says
“My motivation in writing what I wrote, however, wasn’t an exercise in empathy. I think I’m trying to set my LO free, if anything. I’m acknowledging that someone can be a fantastic human being, with all sorts of quirky traits, and yet have a right not to reciprocate my affections. I’m trying to renounce my former possessiveness. Does that make sense? I’m saying someone can be loveable and amazing and whatnot and yet not belong to me. I’m trying to express love, but in a non-possessive way.”
Yes it does make sense.
Thank you for your clarity in everything you wrote. It all makes sense to me especially being blinded by the desire of limerence and not being able to have what you want. And I too have “ spent such a large proportion of my adult life wallowing in sadness” though I prefer to call it depression.
I hope I didn’t come across to harshly, if I did I apologize. I was only writing from my own experience of losing close family and friends because I couldn’t see beyond my own feelings.
When I said step outside yourself and put yourself in their position I was referring more to family rather than LOs. I think it is a given that most who comment here are going to want to trash some of their LOs, and that’s fine with me. It certainly helps to get over them faster.
Family is different, and some of us have been abused and neglected by family myself included. That is probably why I am limerent in the first place. I just know in order to heal I need to forgive, and perhaps by having a little empathy I can.
I’m no longer limerent. I don’t know if reality set in, I needed to grow up, or I am in a place where I feel comfortable enough in my own skin that I don’t want anybody else in that way. It is probably a little of all of those things. In any case I like this blog and this community. You certainly keep me on the right track.😊
Limerent Emeritus says
Song of the Blog: “I Can’t Hold Back” – Survivor (1984)
“There’s a story in my eyes
Turn the pages of desire
Now it’s time to trade those dreams
For the rush of passion’s fire”
carried away says
As a limerent or when I am limerent I am lacking empathy, I miss or misinterpret cues of my LO; I do not know what they are feeling so I imagine it. I am lacking empathy for everyone around me because I am mostly thinking about LO. I understand why you would not want to become limerent in the first place and stay away from those who trigger you. I am not trying to defend “avoidant” type of LOs. I’m just saying in general maybe we as limerents could use a little empathy.
Limerent Emeritus says
Clip of the Day (redux): Heinz Kohut – “Reflections on Empathy” (1981)
This is a great video. Pay particular attention around the 1:45 & 2:55 marks.
It’s always the mother…
carried away says
I agree, but in having a little empathy for her I realize it was probably her mother.
Limerent Emeritus says
It gets better: Paul Bloom – “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion”
You have to extend it a bit to see the application to LOs but if you’re a rescuer, empathy can kill you.
“There is nothing so alluring as a damaged soul you’re sure you can fix.” – DrL, https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-glimmer-givers/
If you understand them, you think can fix them. The better you think you know them, the worse it is. The better your ability to read people, the more confident you are in thinking you can drive the outcome.
Some people will let you tinker with them, some people won’t. Some people will let you think you’ve changed them and snap back like a rubber band.
Why that’s so alluring? That’s it’s own line of inquiry. It’s fascinating how all this stuff relates.
carried away says
Thank you for your insightful argument against empathy. Understood. I’m not really interested in fixing anybody but myself, and I do receive some wonderful feedback from this community. Happy Holidays!
“I’m not really interested in fixing anybody but myself”
The right answer 🙂