It’s been a while since we last checked in at the LwL coffeehouse.
Today’s topic of conversation was proposed by Fabian:
could you please make an article about how to cope and move on from your first-love-LO?
I’ve previously posted about why first love has such power over our imaginations, but didn’t really go into any detail about how a recovery strategy might be different from a typical, everyday, limerent object for the jaded mid-lifer.
Like everyone else, by definition, I’ve only ever got over my first limerent object once. That limits personal experience, and so suggests itself as a good topic on which to pool the collective wisdom of lots of people. So today at the coffehouse, I invite anyone who has succeed in overcoming a powerful first limerence episode to share their strategies with Fabian.
My first limerence experience was around the same age as Fabian’s (late teens), and I still remember her fondly. Unlike Fabian, my limerent object made it pretty clear that she wasn’t interested in me. She wasn’t unpleasant, or anything, just… not into me.
Despite that removal of uncertainty, she cast a long shadow over my romantic life for years afterwards. As well as measuring all other women against her yardstick, I harboured secret fantasies of going out into the world and proving myself in some way, and then returning triumphant to amaze her with my accomplishments and win her heart.
I suspect a lot of young men labour under this particular delusion.
One consolation of this secret urge to impress is that I was motivated to do stuff. Although I wouldn’t claim that it was the main driving force for me in pursuing academic and career success, it did get me fired up, and that has ended up being a positive benefit (even though I never did go back, of course).
The way that I finally emerged from this shadow was fairly unsophisticated: I aged.
I met other people, felt the glimmer for some of them, became limerent for someone new who reciprocated, and LO1 just… faded into memory. Now I look back on her as someone I never really knew, but who I responded to at some deep psychological level because of my own personal history and temperament.
Unlike other limerence episodes, it is one I can reflect on without regret as I didn’t do anything especially foolish or damage any other relationships I had. It ended up as an important formative experience in my romantic development, but nothing more.
Now, I appreciate that “you’ll get over it” is a rather banal strategy for coping and moving on, so in the interests of more practical suggestions, here are some of the steps I took to try and distance myself from the pain in the immediate aftermath of rejection.
- Did not attempt to maintain contact after the end of school
- Moved to new city
- Allowed myself occasional indulgence of the private fantasy of a triumphal return when feeling lonely
- Realised that I shouldn’t overdo it or I’d end up like Jay Gatsby
- Actively sought new LOs
- Focused on the future rather than the past
This wasn’t really a conscious strategy, it was just my instinctive response to the emotional pain of rejection and the desire to escape that pain by finding reciprocation elsewhere.
So, that’s my story. Hope it’s some help, Fabian.
LwL community: the coffeehouse floor is yours… Anyone got a good story on how to get over a first LO?
Interesting topic. I have heard people say that you will never love someone as much as your first love. Not sure that’s true, because in the moment I feel like I have never loved someone like I love current LO3.
My first love was also what I consider LO1. This was highschool and she was my good friends sister’s friend and a year below me in grade. I met her in my 2nd year and we started talking on the phone quite a bit (this was late 80s). I had heard she liked me and I felt strong attraction to her, but I was a shy kid when it came to girls and never really asked her out or to be my girlfriend. About 2 months into our talking I got the courage to disclose my attraction and ask her to be my GF but by then I was friend zoned. That started 2 more years of a tumultuous close relationship with her where we actually both were in love with each other, (she told me from time to time she loved me), did date just a bit, but where she always ultimately preferred to just be friends and date a few other guys. HS with her was excruciating.
I was obsessed and Limerent for her, and never was able to move on from her in HS. But, by the time HS ended I was starting to be very frustrated with her and her games. I ended up going away for college and almost immediately the LE faded to low background noise. It just took distance and a new change. First year of college I met what became my 3 year college GF and LO2, and my LO1 died off completely.
Here is the big ending though…after I graduated from college and moved back home I reconnected with LO1. By this time college girlfriend and I had broke up and I was in the midst of an LE with her. I ended up ‘hooking up’ with LO1 for a night and felt literally nothing for her afterwards. In fact we hung out a few times more and I just had zero interest in her romantically. She was still cute but we had little in common. All that love and desire for her in HS…completely gone.
As of today, I would say her shadow was short. I have very occasionally looked at her social media over the years but could not really care one bit.
LO2 took me about 10 years and some time into my marriage to really get past her. Her shadow was longer. It was a sloooow fade and I can feel her pull still just a little when it comes to Social Media.
For me right now, current LO3 feels very similar to LO1 in a lot of ways.
“5. Actively sought new LOs”
This is the only one I would advise against. LEs most often don’t result in positive, fulfilling, reciprocal romantic relationships.
I’d advise to date around, keep your options open and when you meet someone you like who likes you as much, focus on that person. Be mindful of becoming fixated on someone who is not as interested in you as you are in them or who is playing hot and cold or games with you. Walk away from those people ASAP.
The Long Gamer says
I met LO1 in my late teens. We lusted for each other one year, got together for one year (tumultuous as hell), broke up and hooked up once one year after, and then were finally done. Sort of. I moved overseas – he chose to do his final year of college in the country I had moved to (in fact the very college I was in) – following me? I’ll never really know, because I never asked. I saw him once for a coffee, but because I was seeing someone else, decided not to see him at all after that (so I only saw him once while he was in the country). I did feel the pull of the glimmer and attraction during that coffee meet up and knew he was danger and chose NC (didn’t realize that is what it was called).
Oh, did I mention I dreamt of him for years while I slept – dreams of longing, searching, finding, of reconnecting, and eventually dreams of distance, rejection, loss. I was always sad after those dreams. I just learnt to live with these dreams as I got on with my real life, being with other people, eventually marrying my SO. I sort of realized the dreams of someone I had voluntarily left, really had no bearing on my reality, and there was some fantasy element to it (I did not know of limerence then).
Having my first child led to a huge drop off in the dreams – baby occupied my brain (how’s that for a technique of getting over LOs?) The dreams became really intermittent, no longer intrusive thoughts, but the dreams still happened, often surprising me every few months. Till after two decades, out of the blue LO1 reached out to me on social media. What happened is anti-climatic – I found he had become a very self-absorbed, selfish, insensitive, lousy father, who treated his wife awfully! I felt very relieved. Thank goodness I dodged that bullet. The dreams stopped forever!
Then later (quite recently actually), I met up with a mutual old friend who told me the LO1 was immoral (ie. cheated on his wife), a scammer and liar, and was now diagnosed with a mental issue. I felt really sad for him (but more for his wife) and again I felt glad I had not stuck with him (part of why was because of, ironically, a mismatch in morality).
Now the very interesting part is this – LO2 glimmered for me within 2 months of me totally getting over LO1. I was, as you can probably tell from my story, already very much older, and falling for an LO, much less a significantly younger one, was very unwelcome. My conclusion is that, something in my psychological make up makes me very prone to having LOs. If not LO1 (even as a very faint trace), then LO2. It would have been better to have stuck to fantasy LO1 as that did not affect my life at all by this point since it was such an old limerence. Fresh limerence with LO2 has been very disruptive. I don’t think I can go have another baby at this point (haha) but I am an old hat at this slow, painful process of detangling myself from an LO (sigh). LC for sure helped (could not do NC for a variety of reasons). Watching LO2 date others helped. Being friend zoned (and doing friend zoning myself) helped. But I’m not through the woods yet, and the thought that should I get over LO2, some LO3 is lurking around the corner for me is a sobering thought.
I’ll keep mine short (well… I tried!) I really think it is about going no contact… And for a long time.
My first LE was when I was 17. I’ve had a handful since, but the sheer intensity of the first has never been replicated. We had a brief intense relationship – the limerence was mostly one sided (from me) and it was a very dramatic relationship because tbh I was a bit… Crazy? There was then an initial break of a few years as I went away to uni.
But when I saw LO again in my mid 20s it reignited for me. For him, he’d moved on, and didn’t register that I was still infatuated. I kept it to myself but suffered from (misplaced) jealousy, entitlement and often manipulated situations to be close to him. For example, if we were out I’d drink to excess so he’d ‘look after’ me. He thought he was being a good ‘mate’, I hoped that he’d… Ermmmm.. Fall deeply in love with… My drunken mess. It didn’t work out like that, and he started going to different bars. Funny that.
Then, by chance we crossed paths just prior to the pandemic. Decades had past, and I’d had other LEs. Other relationships. Including a marriage!
I saw him differently now. It is funny, we are friends and I can’t see a glimmer. He’s lovely. We have coffee. I’ve met his husband. No glimmer. It’s really nice, and we do have plenty to laugh about from our youth. My ridiculous behaviour certainly made for a good few funny stories.
But for me, they key word is ‘decades’. The initial break of a few years wasn’t enough for me. Like Dr. L. said, I spent those years often thinking about how I’d win him over some day. Even while dating other people, he’d intrude on my thoughts.
But decades did it.
It really is time. Now I’m a bit older and wiser (or more informed at least) there’s more options/strategies. But for your first…
Cut the cord. Then be patient with yourself. It’ll take time.
Maybe a long time.
In solidarity, Thomas xxx
“I harboured secret fantasies of going out into the world and proving myself in some way, and then returning triumphant to amaze her with my accomplishments and win her heart.”
This, absolutely. I think the root of it at least in my case goes back to childhood and a dysfunctional relationship with my mother. She never approved of anything I did or was. Limerence involves a head-against-a-brick-wall kind of stamina; perseverance with a relationship that is hopelessly one-sided and unrewarding that anyone who grew up with a secure and loving connection to a parent would reject. And it’s that same experience of trying and trying over and over to gain the approval of the one person who holds all the control in our lives that sets us up to think he/she will see me for who I am if only I were rich/famous/successful…
Of course, it isn’t. Being successful will not cause my LOs to have an epiphany and want me any more than it will cause my mother to apologise and acknowledge me, or indeed any more than I would be attracted to the money and fame of someone whose personality and appearance I find unpleasant. But the thought patterns and the behaviour are ingrained.
I have had 4 serious LEs and a few other, more trivial LEs. The trivial ones, while they felt pretty intense at the time, were ephemeral. Of the serious ones, the most severe were the second one in my late teens/early 20s and the most recent in my early 40s. The main thing that seems to influence the severity and duration is how compatible the LO’s personality and interests are. It’s a lot harder to walk away when the person seems objectively to be the perfect match.
“Limerence involves a head-against-a-brick-wall kind of stamina; perseverance with a relationship that is hopelessly one-sided and unrewarding that anyone who grew up with a secure and loving connection to a parent would reject”
Totally agree. I know not every limerent had an unhappy childhood, but a lot did and I think for those who did, anyone they feel the glimmer for is probably a bad choice. Whatever they didn’t get in their childhood … they won’t get from the LO, who is probably similar to their parent in not being able (or wanting to ) provide what they need.
And I agree that secure attachers walk away from uneven and unrewarding situations.
You talk so much sense Marcia, all very familiar and recognisable territory to me. Thank you, it’s reassuring to read.
My first love at 17 was intense. I assumed that we would be together forever-married/children- the whole 9 yards.
Then, he left me for my best friend. What??? (they had been secretly seeing each other for a while). I was crushed to the core! But was I Limerent for him after? I don’t think so- Too angry.
Fast forward after many, many failed relationships. (I always did the leaving)
A short therapy stint revealed childhood issues with not getting my needs met.
And here we are in my fall years, married and a so,so existence. rather blah actually.
I meet someone on-line and BOOM- an EA ensued, what a ride!
2 months of such a high! I felt so alive! Too such a devastating low, when he decided to end it.
Poof- I find myself in Limerence (didn’t know what it was called then)
4 months in NC and I’m still wondering what the hell happened to me?
This is my first encounter with it and man, does it suck! Big Time!
However, I do know that it all stems back to my childhood neglect, and possibly my first devastating breakup.
My heart goes out to those of you that have had more than one LO.
I would be mush, I’m sure.
Now, having said all of this, I am seeing the silver lining in all of this. For the first time in my life I am facing myself and starting to work on all of my issues. Woah!
What’s that you say? Too damn hard, Anna! Just go find another LO.
I have to do this, and I am.
It’s devastatingly painful, but so is the Limerence.
So why not do both?
Hell hath no fury than a women with childhood trauma and Limerence!
Limerent Emeritus says
With that kind of attitude, you’re going to be just fine.
It’s still a shaky attitude but it’s a start!
This site has helped tremendously!
I just wanted to jump back in here with a very valuable lesson that I learned yesterday.
I have been NC for over 4 months now and was doing quite well. I was actually having more good days than bad, although not out of the woods yet.
Yesterday through no fault of my own, I saw a pic of my LO from last Xmas. Wow!
When I met him last fall he was the epitome of fitness. Muscular and very put together.
Well, in this pic he was obese, unkempt and quite unhappy looking.
(please, I mean no disrespect to anyone struggling with their weight)
I was shocked! and boom! it knocked him off the pedestal I had him on. I suddenly realized he’s not the demi-god I though he was. He is just a mere mortal like everyone else.
I actually felt relief, for the first time since NC.
WELL, fast forward to today. I feel like I’m back to square one. Longing, depressed and anxious. Just from that one glimpse! Uggg…
I will, however, move forward like I always do.
So, please, please, please everyone in a LE right now…NC! NC! NC!
Not a peak of anything related to your LO.
Take it from me, save yourself the pain and a backward spiral.
Correction on my last post
Pic was from Xmas 2021
“Despite that removal of uncertainty, she cast a long shadow over my romantic life for years afterwards. As well as measuring all other women against her yardstick, I harboured secret fantasies of going out into the world and proving myself in some way, and then returning triumphant to amaze her with my accomplishments and win her heart.
I suspect a lot of young men labour under this particular delusion.
One consolation of this secret urge to impress is that I was motivated to do stuff. Although I wouldn’t claim that it was the main driving force for me in pursuing academic and career success, it did get me fired up, and that has ended up being a positive benefit (even though I never did go back, of course).”
I also suspect a lot of young men harbour under this delusion. Although most men never talk about it in person. It’s the kind of “hidden heartache driving greatness” thing you only read about in slightly old-fashioned books with ambitious male protagonists. 🤔
I don’t think modern women are necessarily won over by men’s amazing achievements. Still, I don’t think achievement is at all a bad thing for either sex. If someone’s “hidden heartache” has inspired them to achieve more than they otherwise would, I think that’s fantastic. In fact, I think an increasingly large number of young women are indulging in this exact same delusion.
The girl who was limerent for me in high school, for example, did actually go on to achieve great things. Did she do it to impress me? I highly doubt it. She would have done great things anyway. However, speaking as her ex-LO, am I super-impressed by what she achieved? Yeah, for sure. Of course, I’m impressed.
I have no problems recognising merit and giving credit where credit is due. I’m impressed by excellence – always. And there’s also a naughty little part of my brain that thinks: “Yup. Should have married the lass. Then I could help her spend all her money.” However, I think marrying someone purely for their money is probably unethical… Plus, working out my authentic sexuality and resolving my own mental health issues have always been my two top priorities in life.
My limerence for another male inspired me to write an epic poem. It’s 20 volumes long and took me ten years to write in full. It’s finished now and I never want to see another line of verse ever again. However, I didn’t write this poem to win my LO’s love, as he’s happily married to someone else and doesn’t read poetry. 🤣
I wrote the poem to exorcise my LO, to explore my own feelings at a leisurely pace, to understand myself. It would be nice if the poem brought me fame and fortune someday, but I think it’s probably too personal to publish, even though I’ve disguised the characters and told the story from multiple points of view (fifty male “witnesses” and fifty female “witnesses”, none of whom can agree about what actually happened. Truth can be an elusive thing where limerence in concerned. Who was chasing who? Who did who wrong? Nobody knows…) 🙄
On a less self-indulgent note, I think the biggest obstacle to getting over a “first love LO” is one has to confront and maybe relinquish many of one’s ideas about what love is. When I was a teenager, I honestly thought “limerence” and “falling in love” were the same thing. I’m still reeling from shock just a little bit that whatever I was lucky/unlucky enough to experience for 27 years isn’t “true love”, according to most of the human population and many top psychologists. 😲
Limerence seems to me to be strongly linked to reproduction. It seems to me that reproduction is the only rational justification for this crazy-powerful desire to share your life with a specific someone, and “melt” into that person so you function like one unit. So, of course, I’m horrified that I experienced limerence for someone I could not reproduce with naturally in a pre-industrial society! 😁
I am also deeply embarrassed that some of my platonic straight male friends at the time could pick up that there was something “off” about me, although they couldn’t put their finger on what was “off” about me, or explain why my energy – even when my energy wasn’t directed at them personally – made them feel uncomfortable. They could somehow sense that I wasn’t really “one of the boys”.
I’m at mid-life now, the big 4-0, and my energy no longer makes straight men uncomfortable. I have so many straight male friends it’s not funny. What on earth is going on? Has my sexual orientation changed overnight? Has my brain switched from “female brain mode” to “male brain mode”? Am I changing sex so that the sex of my brain is now in alignment with the sex of my body? Have I been a woman in a man’s body for the first forty years of my life, and now I’m a man in a man’s body? Well, that’s lovely. But let’s hope this version of me sticks! I don’t want to go through another massive transformation in 20 years’ time! One “surprise sex change” in a lifetime is quite enough, thank you very much! 🤣
Camille Paglia argues that gay men are the way they are because somehow gay men “get caught in their mother’s Eros”. In other words, gay men get caught up in the Eros of a heterosexual woman, and that heterosexual woman is the boy’s mother. It’s really hard to explain what this means. But I do know for a fact that my mother is a gorgeous, radiant, charismatic, magnetic, bewitching, hypnotic woman. And, apparently, I’m the way I am because my mother – a heterosexual woman – has an incredibly strong aura of attractiveness, and I’ve either inherited that aura, (extremely unlikely!), or failed to dissociate myself from it. 🤔
I did get a drug-like high from being around my mother as a child. She was addictive. She’s always been addictive. Her personality is utterly mesmerising. Am I quasi-limerent for my biological mother? I dunno, but I willing to consider this as a possibility. There has got to be some explanation for why gay men are immune to the charms of women, while straight men can’t get enough of women.
The answer seems to be that the gay man already has a woman in his life – namely, his mother – and that this woman is so powerful in terms of her feminine energy (I.e. her Eros) that she somehow unintentionally suppresses her son’s attraction to other women. None of this happens consciously, by the way. The gay man’s mother isn’t a villainess out to destroy her rivals or ruin her son’s life. It’s not her fault that she’s so mesmerising. It’s just the way evolution has designed human women. Women by definition are magical, mysterious beings. 🤔
“The way that I finally emerged from this shadow was fairly unsophisticated: I aged.”
Ooh! Loving the dry humour and the hint of self-mockery! Such an INFJ way of telling a joke. Beautiful delivery, if I may say so. Hilariously droll. Oh dear. I think I have “INFJ joke envy” now. Am off to cry into my cornflakes… 😉
I’ve lived my whole life bouncing from form LO to LO, until one day I stopped. I still can spot my next potential LO, but never engage.
My 2023 Valentine’s Day song about limerence called Glimmer.
that’s a great song Bosco!
Even as my brain is hijacked with Limerence inducing chemicals, my natural curiosity can’t help but delve into this phenomenon.
Reading most of the posts here, I am curious to why I have not been Limerent before? I have all of the criteria and I sure seem to attract men with NPD.
If you don’t mind me picking some of your brains, what makes some people Limerent over and over? And when you get the glimmer for someone else, does your currant LO fall to the wayside?
Have some of you completely recovered from Limerence?
I guess that would be a redundant question? otherwise why would you still be here? LOL
This site and all of you have really helped a lot!
“what makes some people Limerent over and over?”
I think it’s different for everyone, but in my case I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of a couple of things: I’m an introverted person who generally finds other people exhausting and uninteresting and unattractive. My ‘type’ is a tiny minority of human beings with an unconventional appearance and personality and I rarely encounter them. When I do encounter them, it’s overwhelming and I think it just wouldn’t happen if I met 10 people I found attractive a week. There’s also the issue of an emotionally abusive and very difficult childhood that never involved an unconditionally loving and accepting relationship with a parent and involved a lot of dissociation and fantasy as a coping mechanism, which I think serves as fuel for the myth of perfect love and the idea of a soulmate.
“And when you get the glimmer for someone else, does your currant LO fall to the wayside?”
Yes, if you become limerent for someone else. If it’s more of a crush and it doesn’t progress to limerence, not so much.
“Have some of you completely recovered from Limerence?”
I was un-limerent for over 10 years. The LO that preceded this was someone I worked with and the limerence went away after we both left the workplace and lost contact. This was the only time it went away by itself rather than being eclipsed by another LO. I just didn’t happen to meet anyone who was my type in that time. Then I did encounter someone, it happened again, and that’s the LO I’m still trying to get over the depressive aftermath of now.
Thank You TheFullMinty for answering my questions!
I’m just trying to understand all of this. It’s very weird.
I do have an anxious attachment personality since childhood and I tend to relive that with relationships with BPD and NPD people. I just seem to attract them!
My first LE was quite a bit earlier than it seems is the norm – I was only 12! He was a transfer student and I fell for him like a sack of bricks. I wasn’t the only one, either – there was 5 girls I knew of who had the hots for him, and I’m sure even more who kept it a secret! I think it’s probably likely that he’s a “sensor” as Dr. L described in the last post – he certainly seemed to feed off of adoration and attention, and he always gave *just enough* of those subtle hints to make a girl wonder without ever truly tipping his hand.
I know that even run of the mill crushes can be intense as a teenager, but I’m 100% confident that this was indeed limerence. It was a thousand times more consuming than the fleeting infatuations I’d had before, and looking back it felt just like the LEs I’ve had since. Desperate over-analyzing of every interaction searching for signs, elation when things went well and desolation when they didn’t, rumination and reverie, the whole nine.
He left my school after a single semester – which was, of course, absolutely devastating – but the resulting circumstances ended up being a perfect storm for prolonging the LE. It was the early days of the internet – I’d stalk his MySpace, we’d chat on AOL messenger, even text sometimes (on our flip phones!). I’d run into him around town a few times a year, which was always an exhilarating surprise and only worsened the infatuation. I ended up holding a real torch for him for the next 4 years. Other small crushes would come and go, but I never really stopped thinking about him, even as we drifted apart.
Being that I was so young and inexperienced – not to mention a deeply awkward teenager with horrible self-esteem – I never took any decisive action to pursue him, nor to get over him. It just sort of dissipated over time. We eventually ended up at the same secondary school when I was 16, and by then things had faded to more manageable levels. I even hung out with his girlfriend a few times without becoming sick with misplaced jealousy. By the time I left town to go to uni it had almost entirely disappeared, although I never stopped feeling that little thrill when his name popped up in my IMs. It was only well and truly *done* when I moved on to a new LO.
My second episode was far less intense and far less lingering than the first, although if I’m honest LO2 had quite a lot in common with LO1 and never quite measured up. LO2 didn’t reciprocate either, and it ended up fading away in much the same manner – no action on my part, just distance and time doing the work.
I’m quite confident that if I ran into LO1 today there would be no hint of a glimmer, but I honestly don’t think any of my past LOs would do it for me nowadays. LO4 was a monstrous narcissist and had his claws in me for the better part of a decade, so by the time I had properly washed off his stink I was an older, wiser woman with a much better sense of self. My current LO5 is a lovely man with excellent moral character – much as the devil on my shoulder seethes at his staunch loyalty to his current partner, I take comfort in the fact that I probably wouldn’t like him as much if he *were* willing to loosen up his boundaries.
My first serious LO was a boy in high school. Looking back, it is obvious that we both were super into each other, but were terrified to make the 1st step. After about 2 y of intense flirting and daydreaming we ended up in different unis and lost contact. I got so busy, found an actual bf – because I really really wanted to experience relationship. I didn’t feel limerence towards the bf through, but it was kind of a relief to be able to interact normally, without the crazy anxiety and jealousy.
The bf did not work out, LO transferred to my UNI and we reconnected. I had an instant relapse of course. This time a bit older and wiser – I thought. But no. We were still beginning of 20ies and not enough courage to really open up how crazy strong and straight up mad we felt about each other. The relationship was not happening and I just felt really out of control and that he would never be able to love me as much as I loved him. In the hindsight he might have at that time. Anyways, we ended things, and I just hit rock bottom, but for a short period of time.
I think I was able to move on from there because we had tried and failed. I decided to go for a normal loving relationship and have none of that limerence shit again 😀 That’s how I got my SO for the next 20 y. Yes, at times I did have flair ups, but not very damaging ones. Now, 25 y later, he does not bother me at all, but I think I would still be able to fall back if we had a lot of contact, which is crazy. We have not sat down and discussed stuff as adults, but I have the feeling that we will do it at some point. Looking forward to. Limerence is crazy.
This should amuse all. My first LO /love was at 18. She broke up with me and married a mutual friend.
7yrs later I got a second chance after college. She saw my success. We started up, but it didn’t last because of her 2nd divorce and kids.
You’d think that was it, but wait! She and a mutual female friend came to visit myself and SO 20+ years later!
My SO was incredibly understanding (more than she shouldve) and very curious to see this person who seemed to jump in and out of my life.
Long story long, she kept tabs on me, but I was grateful I made better choices. No residual limerence, and did not maintain the friendship.
Limerent Emeritus says
I like this!
My wife has no desire to know anything about LO #2 or LO #4.
I’d love to know my XLOs kept tabs on me.
When LO #2 sent me a FB friend request, I wondered which was worse, wondering if she ever thought of me or knowing that she had, at least once.
Knowing that she had is way better
She blinked first.
I don’t think I am over my first LO, presently, yet. But I do know that NC and respecting that if LO wants me in any capacity in her life still she will reach out to me. But I am by no means clear of the addiction of her.
When she was single I very much would wonder what I could do to impress her. In my case it helped me with my health. I lost weight, have almost 100% given up smoking and tried to improve my self image all to get her to notice me. The by product of that drive was, I lost 40 lbs, I don’t smoke as much, and I gained a lot of confidence in myself.
By the time that I had accomplished all that LO was already involved with another man. A much younger man, than even her. Over time I started to see the changes in LO’s behavior. She seemed to smile more, laugh more, she wasn’t as stressed and anxious. This young man was bringing out good things in her. She seemed to enjoy life more. Knowing that he was caring for her needs, at first, was depressingly crushing. Before she came to me for help and advice or just a listening ear. Now she went to him.
But eventually I realized that I *couldn’t* provide all her needs. He possibly could. And he seemed willing to do so for her. That realization helped me let go just a little bit more. For her sake. Every right step I make in this LE is for her. She deserves to not be obsessed over by someone that can never be more than that.
Interesting update on a LO situation that I have been dealing with for several years, in part due to the unavailability factor. i.e overseas with SO etc.
We met before xmas, one on one, for the first time in 3-4 years. In this time I’d also gone NC for 18 months approximately.
We had a genuinely great catch up for quite a while and I realised the limerent feeling has been replaced or it’s dissipated a lot. They’re just a regular person, lovely and gorgeous still, but it felt different. We’ve known one another for a very long time but it’s only been in recent years that I’d become limerent to some degree. I sense this was heightened by absence and a loneliness of of sorts on my side. It may well have been the pandemic isolation that played a role also.
I know it will be friendship at a distance from now on and that’s for the best. I mean being in touch 2 or 3 times a year, but I’m ok with that. Things can change for the best given appropriate time I guess. It doesn’t always end up this way, I get that too but I’m happy that in this instance it has. I could have walked away completely several times But I’m glad I didn’t and managed to work my way through this and feel like it’s resolved.
There is light at the end of that tunnel sometimes 🙂
Jayz, your post is an interesting insight into how to deal with decoupling from a LO. I am happy for you. Perhaps an important key was that you were NC for 18 months.
I have not seen my LO for exactly a year, when we met for coffee with his SO. We were very close mutually supportive friends for three years and I believe the limerence was mutual. I have respected his subsequent “ghosting”, although it hurts, and I have been tough with myself – no contact since Christmas and I have deleted all photos and chat history. No more WhatsApp. I want to respect him and, particularly, his SO.
I have a dilemma, if anyone would care to venture an opinion. My recent actions have faded the limerence somewhat but sometimes, like today, it grabs me with a vengeance. I am now wondering if I should send a birthday card to his little daughter, as I did last year, and one to him in a few months time.
It’s a daft question, I realise that. My judgement and emotions are temporarily impaired by hormone injections for cancer. For that, too, there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
frederico, do I understand correctly that you deleted the WhatsApp? That is big news! Good job.
I don’t know if you should send the cards. I suspect it will set you back. I know you prefer to navigate your limerence using Dr L’s recommendations. Since NC is important, I think it’s best if you remain NC.
Your awareness about the hormone injections affecting your mood is helpful. It makes sense that you want contact with your LO because he was a source of support during difficult times. But it’s best for your recovery if you seek that support from another person. Who else can you reach out to? Siblings? Friends? Other neighbors?
Thank you, Lovisa, for your helpful and insightful advice which is appreciated.
Yes, the deletion of the WhatsApp feed was hard, because of all LO’s affectionate messages, but I am glad I did it.
Your final paragraph is spot on too. I have a lovely brother and we speak every week.
I will not send the card!
Thanks Frederico. As this was not my first bout of limerence, the previous ones all ended in a similar fashion. Eventually it dissipates and you can move on. Perhaps like any addiction, there will be set backs of course. Trust me, I’ve been there!
Two observations that might be of help. Firstly, you are doing the right thing by showing respect for the SO in this situation. That is admirable. Secondly, if you suspect sending cards may set you back in the slightest, I’d think it’s better to let it be. This is hard no doubt, but likely for the best.
Am not sure whether it’s NC that does the trick or that the act of agreeing to meet and seeing first hand how her life is 180 degrees different to mine – there’s a decent age gap – made me see things differently at long last. We care about each other but that’s where it ends.
Thanks, Jayz, for an interesting and encouraging perspective.
Limerent Emeritus says
My recommendation is don’t send them.
It’s a way to attempt to maintain the connection. If your SO isn’t interested in maintaining the acquaintance, why should you be?
In my personal experience, one of the ways an acquaintance or relationship ends is that you decay into the birthday/Xmas card phase of contact until one year one of you stops. It sounds like you’re there.
At first, it was a conscious decision but over time it wasn’t. Eventually, you might blow right past the dates. I’m a mixed bag on that issue. I remember LO #2’s & LO #4’s birth dates but not LO #1 or LO #3 [Geminis]. If there’s something significant happening on a birthday where the date is in front of me, it usually comes up. Other years, it doesn’t.
When it does come up sometimes I think of doing something. But, it’s the “toss the grenade in the pond and see what floats” streak in me. The rational me knows “Nothing good can come from that” [a useful mantra] so I give an impish grin and move on.
Thank you for taking the time to give me your valuable advice, Limerent Emeritus.
Yes, I have to ask myself honestly why I would send the card. I do have a deep connection, and sent a card and a lovely present to the daughter last year, but things have changed. It would indeed just be an attempt to maintain the connection. It is time to stop and I will not send any more cards.
“Nothing good can come from that”
I will read the link. Thank you.
Thank you so much everyone for sharing your stories and advice with me! They brought me a bit of closure. Thank you Dr L. for posting this article and for reading my story! It took me pretty long to respond. I was busy studying for a few exams. I will be taking them next week.