Limerence and good judgement are not close friends. To an outside observer, a limerent trying to navigate their interactions with an LO must look rather like a drunk trying to walk a straight line. There’s a dogged determination to it, but also a lot of stumbling, back-stepping, arm-waving and swearing.
One useful thing about making mistakes is that careful documentation of them can help other people learn from them. So, for anyone currently weaving their way through the limerence drunk test, here is a catalogue of the common errors limerents make. Read them, nod sagely, and then – let’s be honest – go right ahead and make them yourself.
1) It’s special for us so it must be special for them
There’s no way I could just be imagining this. It’s epic. They must be able to sense how strongly I feel. They’re happy when we chat, they told me all about their secret wishes, and they definitely flirted with me. They even said how much fun they have when we’re together.
They must be thinking about me relentlessly all the time, because this is Special. They can’t possibly just enjoy my company, but otherwise forget me when I’m not around and just get on with their own lives oblivious to my obsession. Uh-uh.
2) Reading too much into everything
Hmm. Last week they responded to my text in like 30 seconds, but they haven’t answered the last one for two days. Maybe they’re angry with me about something. What happened last time we got together? Oh God, I cracked that joke about dogs, and they’re a dog person. Oh, no, hang on, they laughed at that and touched my knee, so it’s sweet.
I know, I’ll not reply to their next text (if it ever comes) for three days and that will teach them not to take me for granted. Although, I don’t want to be a manipulative jerk. Maybe they are just really busy. I’ll just check again… Oh My God! They’ve replied.
3) Circling back to the “proof” memory
That’s it! I am done with her. No more making a fool of myself trying to get a response. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me – it’s obvious she isn’t interested, except when she needs something. I’m ten years older than her and being ridiculous.
Except… remember that time when I bumped into her in town and she smiled the biggest, happiest, most natural smile I have even seen? And then we hung out at the coffee shop for two hours, and she just gazed into my eyes, and laughed and talked and flirted. There’s no way she was faking that. That was real.
I’ll just dwell on that vividly until the pain goes away.
4) I just need to know
I’m almost done with this, but I just need to know that I wasn’t imagining it all. I think it would be a good idea to just ask him directly. Yeah. Not in a needy way, just to settle it once and for all. I just can’t move on until I know, until I get closure. But I don’t want to leave it on a really awkward note, so maybe I’ll just write a letter (Oh God, no, written evidence!), or WhatsApp him (But he might just ignore it).
You know what, I’ll just tell him. I know I’ve hinted at it in the past, but this time I’ll be much more obvious so that he can’t possibly misunderstand the words that I’m screaming between the lines of what I actually say.
5) I feel much better now
I’m actually over her. It’s been two days since I last thought about her. I can’t even really remember what it was I saw in her. You know, I think it would be fine to relax my over-the-top No Contact rule. I’m not such a pathetic junkie that I need to act like a boring-ass monk who’s too scared of women to even hang out with one. Particularly if there are other people there too.
I am such an idiot.
6) Bargaining for friendship
It’s not as if he’s ever been inappropriate. He only wants to be friends, and that’s hardly unreasonable. I mean, am I so self-centred that I can’t even be friends with someone just because I can’t handle my own feelings? He’s a good person, and I’m just being pathetic. In fact, I can get through this! I’m not going to let limerence decide who I can and can’t be friends with! And he’s so level-headed and calm and I really need someone like that at the moment, to help me figure out what I’m doing with my life.
A real friend wouldn’t give up on someone just because they’ve got a crush on them.
7) What happens at work stays at work
It’s not as if we’re having an affair or anything. We never get together outside of work, because that would be inappropriate. Maybe we push the boundaries a bit and should concentrate on work a bit more, but we understand each other. We both know what’s going on and where the limits are. And we’re both married so nothing’s going to happen. And, I might be working later than I used to, but when I’m at home I’m home me. And when I’m at work, I’m work me.
It’s just like the guys in the office joke: she’s my “work wife”.
8) I know what I’m doing
Check every single one. Have you actually been stalking my life. THIS IS ME! Quite amusing really!
Number 5 and 6, happening right now. Guilty as charged.
Haha this was a fantastic post because of how on the money it is. I almost suspect you’ve been mining my recent comments about my NC turning into LC turning back to a full blown LE. If you did, I’m honored. But I suspect this is all to recognizable to all of us. I can check all except #7 but I suspect that’s been my fallback plan. At the moment I’m stuck at #4 trying to get answers. Again, thank you so much for putting this together so succinctly and pithily.
No stalking needed, Rachel and Fred 🙂
I made most of these myself, and am now so immersed in comments and emails and the life stories of limerents that the common threads of all our experiences jump out. And sometimes make me smile about how silly we all are.
Lord are us limerents that predictable! Bless our hearts.
Also Dr L, what was the absolute tipping point to the end of your limerence episode. Do you remember? Im backwards and forwards with limerence like a bloody yo-yo
Well, the tipping point in terms of admitting that I was in trouble was a trip to the park with my kids, in which I spent the whole time obsessively thinking about my LO and getting snappy and impatient with the kids – you know, for selfishly wanting me to join in their games! When I had important rumination to get on with!
That was the tipping point for admitting I was way off kilter, and needed to get my act together.
But in terms of actually getting over LO – I’m probably still not indifferent to her. I’m just in control enough of my mental state to know the safe boundaries of any interactions. That said, the emotional impact is a tiny fraction of what it used to be, because I have succeeded in reprogramming myself to see her as a source of stress not reward. So, there’s no craving, but there is still some emotional significance.
I’m also now no contact for good, because she moved to a new job – apart from very occasional professional contact.
In terms of a tipping point at which I was “over” her, my experience was more a slow suffocation of desire, and establishing new habits around her. It took time and persistence, but the transition came where behaving cautiously and carefully was my “default” habit, instead of being all open and receptive. That involved pushing back against the mental resistance I mentioned in the “phases of no contact” post, until the resistance gave up and learned the lesson I was teaching it. There wasn’t one identifiable moment when I was “cured” – more like Sharnhorst commented in the thread on freedom: you notice it in retrospect as the realisation that other (purposeful!) activities have occupied the front of your mind and LO has faded into the background.
It’s mundane and unsatisfying, but like many important things in life, it just took sustained, thankless labour.
Its a funny post I love it and I check all the scénarios!
I am in Limited contact for nearly two weeks now, just a few texts but we didnt meet .
I will stay strong!!! Dont want to see him again, and have an innocent coffee catch up pretending im over him for a bit!
im refocussing on my family its good although I feel that I miss the emotional connection… i just realised last Week that he doesnt really care about me he has the same flirty attitude to women, have regular lunches with at least one other girl (not his wife!) and it hurts badly that I was in the wrong and alone in the limerence..
2 weeks NC very early days, remember your positive strength your post to keep you going through the next wobble. Good luck xx
Hilarious! It’s so good to laugh out loud about all this. Good medicine. Thanks Doc!
Well isn’t this post a reality check?
I’m just flabbergasted at how consistent we all must be with our symptoms. I was going to joke about being stalked and then saw that Rachel already expressed my exact thoughts. It’s shocking how predictable we are and yet we feel we are having such a unique and magical experience. It almost seems like we all share a sort of psychosis. Limerence is truly an unkind phenomenon. A big trick!
This one definitely qualifies as one of the “Best of DrL!”
After all this, you couldn’t find a redhead for this one?
Oh, and it’s closer to 15 years older…get it right…
Considering what goes on here, you probably could write a book using us as case studies. You could model it off Cleckley’s “The Mask of Sanity.” But, if you do, I want to see my name in the Forward and get an autographed copy.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Well, I got a name-check in the picture caption but I’m not gonna show it around to anyone…
Hilarious and insightful post, DrL.
When I go camping, I will sometimes let the fire die down by itself while I sleep. In the morning, the fire is dormant and covered by a layer of dull grey ash. *BUT* if I merely blow ever-so-gently on the ash, hot, glowing coals reveal themselves. All I have to do at that point is toss a small twig on the coals and it bursts into flame.
I will leave the interpretation to the reader.
That’s a brilliant analogy. Am stealing.
Funnily enough, I just this week started on the Inevitable Book Project 🙂
It’s going to be the condensed wisdom of the blog organised into some sort of coherent thesis of what limerence is. Stimulated in part by the scale of the blog now and the challenge for newcomers of working through all the old posts and stringing the themes together themselves. So, the idea is a nice lean primer (but that would require me trimming down the flights of fancy…)
I’ll be needing beta readers, so watch this space!
Signing up now for beta reading!
Call me Beta! 🙂
In too! 🙂
Anonymous Limerent says
I’ll beta, too.
You know I want to beta test that book, Dr. L!
I’m in, Dr L!
Can hardly wait to Beta test it.
Ha ha! Brilliant, thanks all!
I’ll put up a post and sign up page when the book is ready 🙂
Captain Biggles says
They call me beta for a good reason! Fantastic post Dr L!
The world needs this book! 🙂 Add me to the beta list. 🙂
(and yes, OMG, all of the above (except 1 & 7) basically describe my experience of the last 18 months. It’s like you’ve been reading my journals…)
Anonymous Limerent says
I’ve made mistakes #2 and #3, but I’m surprised I never made #1. I guess I always sort of felt a bit ridiculous about the whole thing.
Full house here!
Yep. Every single one at some point.
Currently oscillate between 3 through to 6 in my head. I have some days of complete clarity where 8 is not a lie. NC is definitely the right path, it’s been fine for ages. We had a good work friendship but it’s all in the past. Other days, I’m pondering 6 (but not actioning anything!)
The other week was strange as the AA mechanic who came to sort my flat tyre, the mechanic at the garage the AA guy took me to, the washing machine engineer, the Pharmacist who dispensed my son’s prescription and the cashier at the bank all had the same first name as LO. Sent me into a frenzy of “maybe it’s a sign from the universe” blah blah blah.
Now come to realise all it tells me is that LO has a very common first name!!
Anyways, this post is spot on as always! Thank you Dr L!
I’m so glad I’m not the only one whose LO has an extremely common name. Sometimes it feels like the name pops up just to mock me.
When I read “Circe” by Madeline Miller (http://madelinemiller.com/circe/), Circe reminded me of LO #4. When I wished her a Happy Anniversary, I mentioned it. She didn’t take the bait.
The thing is, I saw myself in the story. But, it wasn’t the person she ended up with. In Circe’s saga (she was immortal), it was a relatively brief but meaningful encounter. They seemed to understand each other but, when the time came, they went their separate ways.
A lot of #3 for me right now (though I’ve experienced just about all of these at some point).
Today marks the longest I have gone without seeing or talking to LO since I first met him two years ago. NC Part 1 lasted 107 days. Tomorrow marks day 108 of NC Part 2. I thought I was doing good lately, but I started to get happy, so of course the limerence flared up again.
I miss him so much, especially his smile.
Why is this all so hard?
I miss my LO too. Terribly. Yet I know he was a cad. It’s so ridiculous and illogical.
I’m sadly certain he doesn’t miss me… maybe a twinge but nothing more.
Isn’t it weird how they can say or do upsetting things and we’re still somehow limerent for them? I’m sorry yours was a cad. Maybe that’ll make it easier to remember him in a bad light? I don’t know if that’s helpful for you. I know I have a hard time vilifying my LO.
I’m also certain mine doesn’t miss me either. In fact, I wonder if he ever even thinks about me at all.
Sorry for this late response Eponine. I suppose the cad part is that he knew I had feelings yet since I was relatively quiet about them after the one major disclosure he carried on being super wonderful to me which of course piled wood onto the flames of limerence, yet he was simultaneously pursuing other potential life partners (and hunting for limerents along the way!). He found his life partner and has married which helped me go NC immediately. Never has someone made me feel so ecstatic and then so miserable. I have to train my mind not to care if he ever thinks of me or not, instead objectively view this whole experience as a diagnostic procedure that identified structural flaws in my psyche that now are being remediated. It no longer has anything to do with him, it’s all about me and what I need to heal and grow. Sorry former LO! You have lost your death grip on me! Sayonara!
Jaideux, it sounds like my LO. Major disclosure from my end (and I thought it was reciprocal) but he was all like no, why would you think that I see you as just a friend. But he kept on being wonderful to me after the disclosure and I stayed quiet about it. That’s where it all went so wrong. That uncertainty, piling up the wood on my limerence.
I see it now like breaking up with an ex that you have been with for a long time and meant a lot to you, but eventually you have to let him go. It’s over, it will never be again.
Sarah let me ask you a question. How would you react if someone told you they had strong feelings for you and you only saw them as friends?
I know I would try and calm the friendship down so I wasn’t giving mixed signals. He either has feelings for you or is using you for his ego boost and security for someone always being there for him. Stringing you along and messing with your emotions is a pretty shady thing to do in my opinion. I can really see how this would mess you up. My LO disclosed feelings. However, then would go very cold and weird with me. My head was absolutely fried from the constant confusion and second guessing. A nice stable balanced person would not behave in this way. I feel these types of people are not worth of our feelings or friendship. No matter how nice they are. It’s not worth our mental health
Yeah, you’re probably right, Rachel.
Clearly, he is not a stable person, and clearly he must have had feelings for me, wether conscious or unconscious. I did ask him about that, he said he never even let any feelings for me surface as he knew I was married and did not want to mess with that (well he did anyway when he allowed me to let me get closer and closer to him, fully aware of my feelings for him). Agree with you, a “normal person” would have stayed away or at least not keep the emotional deep conversations up at that point. And as usual, I know it’s not his job to stay away from me, it’s my job to stay true to my vows, so no need to comment on that, I am aware.
But i think I’ve mentioned it somewhere else that this person posed a special mix of factors that let to all of this, his wanting someone so badly in his life, seeking/pushing emotional intimacy, triggering my inner rescuer, giving me all those mixed signals that drove me absolutely crazy. Yeah he’s not a balanced stable person, he’s got issues, lots of them.
You must really miss him ;).
I miss my LO too and what makes it worse, I know he misses me too. He doesn’t understand how I can’t get over him romantically (and frankly I don’t understand it either).
Mine either. He said he always wants to be a partner if my life and is hurt (maybe .0001% of my hurt) that I’ve gone NC. But deep down he knows I’m in pain (he’s been told in the past) but he thinks I should just get over it and get a grip!! If only there was a pill for that…
There SHOULD be a pill for that, This slow paced, 2 steps forward 1 step back, kind of recovery is excruciating.
Amen to that
Hate slow progress 😀
How completely juvenile we limerents are! I have lost all respect for myself after reading this! Actually, it is always helpful to know others suffer in the same way. Although I wish none of us were suffering from it. I try to deal with my symptoms with humor and logic.
I had two encounters last week with my LO. He came to me both times about work related issues instead of going to my supervisor or the head of the department. I could have falsely believed he did this just to talk to me, but I know there are other reasons he did that so I focus on them. Every time he takes a day off I tell myself it is his wife’s birthday. She’s had about 18 birthdays this year so far. I call him my “work boyfriend” to the only person I can talk to about this (and she does not understand limerence so this is another difficulty I deal with). When he gave me a “once-over” while we were talking I decided he didn’t like my rolled up capris and should be considered the fashion deputy from now on.
It helps to not take it so seriously but also be relentlessly realistic while still letting yourself be a human. A tough balance! We have to remember that thoughts and feelings don’t always mean something and they certainly don’t have to be acted on.
“….because I have succeeded in reprogramming myself to see her as a source of stress not rewards”
Yes! Dr L, this has been an important part of my learning to deal with my whole limerent situation – it’s definitely a lot of work and not something that happens quickly, but re-training our brains and purposefully focusing on something else really can help! I’m definitely at the point that when I think of my LO it causes me more stress than pleasure, and when I find myself wanting to slip into that makes-me-feel-good rumination, I’m able to turn it back around.
Thanks for this post – I think yes, we are all a bit collectively embarrassed. 😉
I’m literally 5 right now. I’m really having more clarity now than ever but I am all to familiar with this sneaky trick. Relapses are short lived. May send a meme or social media profile. On good day he probably occupies like 10% of my mind, bad days quite a bit more but still noway near as all consuming. However, it is so annoying that as a grown woman I can not be friends with someone who 1. I know I don’t truely have feelings for and know that I would never want to be with on reality and 2. I actually get on pretty well as a mate. Noway am I getting down or rock bottom anymore but it really is frustrating..
Oh I am right there with you. Hang in there. We can do this!
After my massive relapse after the social event, I’m recovering again. LO texts me small talk stuff… I small talk back. Soon he’ll tell me again he feels like it’s one-sided, that he has to reach out to me all the time (well, yeah) that I don’t care anymore (trying not to care really), that it feels like an interrogation, him asking, me answering (tough luck). He’s asked if I want to catch up again this or next week after work (well maybe next week, I’ll see ;)). Just trying to be friendly, but distant. Hope he gets the message.
Thank you so much for the support. Of course we can. We are grown strong women! This is a glitch in our brain and a bloody crazy one at that.
Sounds like your staged withdrawal plan will probably work soon. Somebody will only try for so long. When he does finally cave make sure your not tempted to message him or initiate contact. This is soo hard. Well it was for me, I kinda felt sad that he was moving away from me. That’s me being totally honest with myself. Very selfish of me and confusing. If you do feel an intense urge, feel free to message on here for support and I will do my best to help.
I do look at LO now and sometimes think what the hell was I thinking. Makes me feel sick at times. But I’m still addicted to him. Thank God reality is seeping in, it’s been one hell of an horrendous nightmare. Sounds like your in the right frame of mind. If I didn’t have to see LO again I would be so relieved. He only causes me stress and anxiety. Not his fault but the situation. I feel like he’s tried to manipulate me recently and I think ‘yes I see it clearly now’ but then I feel, is this just the limerence trick once again or is he actually playing games with me. God know what’s relaity and what isn’t anymore!
Same here. I feel bad moving away from him and leaving all of it in distant memory, but what’s the point? I cannot be close friends with him as that place should be reserved for my SO, it shouldn’t be LO’s spot, it would just be an EA (he doesn’t see it that way, but he also doesn’t have an SO). His life will go on, and so will mine.
I’m like you, still addicted to him, but the thought of “what the hell was I thinking” and “how did I ever let it get that far” is definitely much stronger now.
This one’s for you!
Haha thanks for that. I actually don’t need to devalue my LO as he is actually a bit of a loser. As much as I really am not one to be mean but it’s true. I really can see clearly now the rain has gone. I have just listened to it properly for the first time and my oh my I’m believing every single word.
So I had to spend half hour with LO last night. Right now I feel so pleased with my recovery. I smiled said hello, he seemed very grumpy whiich really put me off. He barely said 2 words to me….
Thank you LO for being a grumpy so and so making me see your true colours even more so. I had no anxiety just a slight feeling of unease! Normally I’d go home questioning why LO was grumpy or try to make him smile but did not actually care! This is a massive improvement and if I can do it Sarah you can to! I had a little checkle to myself when I thought ‘im the prize and you are not, unlucky for you’
Well done Rachel, slowly but surely on the way to indifference.
I ignored a message from LO that I received at 9.40pm and only replied next day 7:30am and subsequently waited to reply another 30min. I was proud of myself.
But I unexpectedly saw a pic of LO in an internal app and of course zoomed in on his muscular biceps that was clearly showing in his dress shirt… 🙁
Well, getting there! One step at the time.
100% baby steps. But it’s still lots of wins! I still stalk FB at times but I’m just being nosey. No real emotion like longing or jealousy now. Keep going with your delayed replies and missing texts.
#4 is my personal favorite.
“I gots ta know…”
It still amazes me that a woman 15yrs my junior, 2500 miles away, who I never met or even talked to directly could knock me off the rails.
But, it happened.
Ooh that’s tough! It just goes to show how powerful and unrational limerence is. It’s scary where the mind can take you isn’t it?
Michiel Mans says
Dear Sharnhorst, you wrote,
-“It still amazes me that a woman 15yrs my junior, 2500 miles away, who I never met or even talked to directly could knock me off the rails. But, it happened.”-
Then you can imagine my bewilderment. I don’t want to brag but I think I beat your’s, HAHAAAH. Not by miles though. We’ll come to that.
My LO is 42 years younger than me. Admittedly, she only lives about 1400 miles away. Not that I have a clue where she lives exactly, but thorough research, as limbically handicapped fools like us do, has produced a likely country. Like you, I never met her, never had a conversation with her. Don’t plan such either. I’m a fool, not an idiot. Sorry, I am an idiot, but only limbically.
Anyway. Since I presented my embarrassing and ludicrous case here in May, I’m on the up again, and over the worst. Work, my guitars, humour&self-mockery kept (and keep) me going. This website and all who contributed also helped (help). For which ‘grazie mille’.
* https://livingwithlimerence.com/2019/05/18/freedom-from-limerence/ – May 20, 2019 at 8:16 am
While I never met her or spoke to her directly, we had an active electronic correspondence going over the span of about 5 years. At the end, it was very personal. I know where she is. When she left her BF, she moved to within 15 miles of where I moved from. I can get to her with my eyes closed.
Our relationship had an almost 19th century feel to it. It was all done by email and PMs. I could almost see the fog rolling over the moors when I read them.
Michiel Mans says
“I could almost see the fog rolling over the moors when I read them.”
To kind of become smog in the limbic. Hope she’s no longer an issue.
She’s only a problem if I choose to make her one. Now that LO #2’s remarried and it looks like LO #4 is dating, when I pull them up in my head, the images don’t do much for me anymore.
Even it if it was never going to be me, I don’t like being reminded of that.
Michiel Mans says
I’m grateful that my old LO’s are truely history. Yes, I still think of some of them regularly, but without pain or such. Since a year or two I’m actually a Facebook friend with my second to last serious -read: devastating- LO (1981-1985). Contact with her (not frequent) has no ‘limbic’ effects. So indeed, limerence doesn’t have to be ‘forever’.
Scharnhorst, I think I have you beat by a bit in the ridiculous department…I’m almost 76, and LO is only 31! He is also almost 6’000 miles away…..hit me like a ton of bricks 10 months ago…..how in the world did this happen and why….now how do I get out of it…I want to, but can find every excuse mentioned by Dr. L. not to…..it was supposed to be a European holiday for hubby and I, and look what happened in just one week…….of course LO has no idea, and I have only social media contact….but oh what a hold this beautiful boy has over me….it does help to talk on here, thank goodness for this site….I will expand on the details of what happened if anyone is interested…..I have posted on other pages on this site…
7) What happens at work stays at work
100% this. I never contacted her outside of work. We went to lunch together once per week. Both married, liked being with each other. What could go wrong?
4) I just need to know
When LO announced she was leaving, a bomb went off and I was inconsolable. In order to stay in contact, we had to become friends outside of work. There was a time before she reciprocated where I thought I was going insane, and I needed to know that my feelings weren’t all an illusion. Opportunity arose where we talked and we became closer. The newfound unlimited access to each other while already having an affinity for one other opened the doors to euphoria. And we did love each other.
1) It’s special for us so it must be special for them
It actually was special for each of us (see #4 above). For a while. It remained super special for me after the EA, and I could not withdraw.
2) Reading too much into everything
5) I feel much better now
I have not yet reached a point where I believe there would be no consequences for me seeing/contacting LO.
6) Bargaining for friendship
She was the one bargaining with me coming off of the EA. I thought “what is the point of continuing to meet for lunch occasionally and being in contact”. But I was “powerless” to say no to remaining in contact, even though I was experiencing the worst pain of my life.
3) Circling back to the “proof” memory
This is where I have been the past few months, except now I am in early NC Part 2. If I bumped into LO now, I would either get pulled back in OR I would be mad that I saw her and come off rudely to her. Honestly, it would likely be the latter.
8) I know what I’m doing
I always knew that I was totally in over my head.
I think I am at #8. I believe the LE is almost over because my brain is doing a little happy dance since I won’t see my LO for 6 days in a row. I have to remember that I don’t need to make chit chat about his time off when he returns!
Another blinder of a post Dr. L, thanks. Hilarious and an embarrassed yes to all of them. Interested to read that your catalyst for action was exactly the same as mine. Limerence can make one feel rather a fool, but perhaps we are not such bad people after all.
Keep up NC everyone! Here’s a classic rock reminder of how I feel: https://youtu.be/NPX48NpSRvo
One of the classic, “I’ve Had Enough!” songs.
Unfortunately, he had to pass through https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dizc8jVdIh8 first.
One thing cool about the Internet is you can see the progression of a groups music over time in a way you couldn’t as they were being released. “These Eyes” was released 9 months before “No Time.” Look at the progression of the songs by the Classics IV & REO Speedwagon, and The Foundations. Check out the discography on Wiki and you can see the relationships they sing about rise and fall. More recently, early Maroon 5 were up to their eyeballs in “love gone wrong.”
This thread got me thinking. Here are a few more, “I’ve Had Enough!” songs:
– “Yesterday’s Gone” – Chad & Jeremy
– “Someone That I Used To Love” – Barbara Streisand
– “It’s All Over Now” – The Rolling Stones
– “Don’t Think Twice” – Bob Dylan (I like Peter, Paul, & Mary’s cover better)
– “Where Were You When I Needed You?” – The Grassroots
– “I’m Still Standing” – Elton John
– “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
– “St. Elmo’s Fire” – John Parr
Those are ones off the top of my head. Put them all together, toss in a few more, and it makes a pretty good “Take that, LO!” playlist.
Haha! Great idea. Doing a Stones medley and “All Over Now” is in the mix. Music therapy!
Here are a few more:
– “The Girl That I Knew Somewhere” – The Monkees
These two are for the Anger Phase of the 5 Stages:
– “You Got Lucky” – Tom Petty
– “Positively 4th Street” – Bob Dylan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aehwEu8SBSo
Christ this is spot on! I keep trying to get away from doing #1, but then my friends tell me otherwise. They don’t get it hurts more than it helps. My LO is so damn affectionate when we are together, and cannot keep his hands, lips, etc. off of me, but then he circles back to trying to be responsible. It’s so hard because I am on repeat with 1 through 4. Every time I try tell myself I finally made it to 5, he pulls me back in. Urgh! I want to be over this, and act like a normal human, but I simply cannot.
My newest realisation is my that my limerent mind thinks LO’s hot and cold behaviour is becuase he’s desperately confused and sad by ‘friendship’ fizzling out’ but in reality he’s just a miserable self centered A hole who probably really doesn’t think about me at all. Ouch reality hurts!
Rachel… I just thought the same. LO is now also colder and I’m thinking, is he trying to mimic my behavior?
We had a special day at work today (we work at different offices but the theme was the same) and normally I would send him updates, videos etc of what happens at my office… he used to be the first I would tell and text that stuff. But I didn’t do it today. And I kinda miss him. Like I realize, this is really over. There was stuff that happened that really shouldn’t have happened, but he was also just a good friend, a partner in crime, and a fun person to be around. And from now on he will just be a colleague at work that I may occasionally exchange a few non significant words with… feeling a bit sentimental about it.
I know how you feel I’ve been there. But really is it worth all the emotional pain you’ve been through? I do emperthise with you. Your LO sounds like he’s got the message and is backing off! Probably like my LO. Our problem is similar, both our LO’s reciprocated and becuase of our situations we can’t pursue LO. It’s absolutely mind bending and really a huge drain on us emotionally. It’s a shame that we can’t be friends with LO’s but it’s disrespectful to us and our family to continue friendships. I feel my the friendship isn’t even real.
My LO sometimes is the most chatty caring person in the world and then other times will not even look at me and belittles me.. it’s really hurtful and I feel like a little puppy waiting for his approval but I’ll be honest I’m past that bit now. It’s just annoying that I care about it when I shouldn’t, if he was a normal friend I would have cut him out along time because of his flakey behaviour! Have you ever had an LO before? Once I have gotten over a LO I actually could not give a hoot about them and really can not see the appeal, even as a friend. So confusing but it’s a mess that we have got ourselves in that we have to get out of regardless of how many back and forward steps we take!
The thing is my LO is actually a nice guy that is just fairly lonely and just wants to have a friend and I feel like pushed him into more, he wouldn’t have done anything (although he was clearly not against it). He would do anything for his friends and he kept on telling me that I am the most important person in his life (but I guess that is that fear of abandonment as part of bpd). I guess it was just a weird setup of how we were susceptible to each other, like I always say a special kind of storm that led to all of this. I think he’s not “normal” and neither was I in a healthy marriage.
I have had crushes before, but that usually dissolved quickly when there was no reciprocity or when I got to know them better and realized they are not that great at all. I have been limerent (crazy limerent even) but mostly for people that I have actually been with in a relationship and had a hard time getting over after a breakup. In the end, I always do get over it though and with some exes I am even still friends with (not like bffs, but they still mean something to me, and my feelings for them are completely okay). That’s also one thing LO holds against me, LO says that I am still friends with exes, how can I not be friends with him? But clearly there has been a time of NC for me to get over them.
Facts are objective.
Presumption is what we believe to be true based on something like probability in similar circumstances. When you think about it, we live our lives based largely on presumption.
Speculation is something we come up with for whatever reason. Releasing endorphins is as good a reason to speculate as any.
Focus on facts.
What they do, what they text/email, and what comes out of their mouths are facts. You can record them. Why they do what they do, say what they say, and what they mean by it all is presumption or speculation. You don’t know and sometimes they don’t either. For every positive thing I can recount about LO #4, I can recount something equally negative. I can speculate where her head was but realizing what a waste that was and trying to understand how it happened is what landed me here.
What is he doing that makes you believe he’s hot and cold? Text strings, emails, lipstick on his collar? Why he’s doing or not doing particular things is presumption at best. It can be hard to verify presumption. You can sometimes, like sending your life savings to a guy in Nigeria who says your unknown great-uncle died and left you $20 million to verify your presumption the email was a scam. With limerents, not so much.
On the other hand, limerents can spend a whole lot of effort trying to upgrade speculation to presumption so we can believe it. Speculation doesn’t require anything but imagination but presumption needs a seed to grow on. You have to presume SOMETHING in order to validate it.
It isn’t facts that kill you, it’s presumption and speculation. Usually, it’s presumption that gets you.
Thanks for the post Scharnhorst. You always say the right things and the right time!
Well LO texts me saying good luck and is over the top pleasent when I see him and then in the next breath he won’t even look at me. If I ask how he is he replies, fine, without even and how are you back. Then I’m pretty sure next week he’ll be over the top nice to me and that leads me to real confusion. Because I can’t get away from him, I can’t help but ponder over our interactions. What would I give to be able to go fully NC. Facts are facts he was rude therefore he’s rude! No speculation about it. He doesn’t know the pain I’ve been through and yet I’ve always remained poliet to him. Sometimes I feel maybe he’s trying to get a reaction out of me or maybe he is just in a bad mood without a second thought about me. God damn brain!
The thing is we cant withdraw from our LO’s and when then start to go we want them in again. It’s not fair on them or us! Gotta see the withdrawal through!
I just realized (epiphany while driving) that LO just wants me to be his “placeholder girlfriend”. Someone that is close to him emotionally, someone he can share stuff with (in a non physical kind of way). Who am I kidding, he would discard me the minute he finds a gf, and probably asks me for advice (again) along the way to getting together with her. What an idiot I am…
The next time you have a conversation, say, “I’ve been thinking about this. What’s in this for me?”
When I asked that question of LO #2 after she told me I was still her best friend, she didn’t have an answer. I have a $1 that says your LO won’t either. His response will be about what’s in it for him.
When he’s done, you say, “Not good enough, take care of yourself.” If you’re together, you walk away and whatever you do, you don’t turn around. The you go silent. A friend of mine who negotiated labor contracts for his company told me one of the most powerful responses you can give someone is silence.
Aw Sarah your not an idiot. Dont be harsh on yourself. Maybe your like me I always see the good in people. But the reality is your probably right. You don’t need him! Your nobodys filler. It’s good your realising these things. I’m the same with my LO although he’s been a bit sucky towards me for ages. What hurts me the most is that he isn’t the person I thought he was and how much I liked him was all just a flasehood.
I got LO #2 to admit that she wanted to look around some more and if she didn’t find anything she like better, she might come back and settle for me. When that crossed her lips, I got so angry I almost backhanded her with my fist. I don’t think I’ve ever been as angry with anyone as I was with her at that moment.
I had to get out of the car and grab the grill with both hands. When she got out and started to come around the car, I told her not to come near me.
Luckily, for both of us, that time she listened to me.
I find it noteworthy that a common element in many of the LEs is the “you’re my best friend” statement… until you do something contrary, or someone more appealing and useful comes along.
Wow, Scharnhorst, that’s really bad, I would have had a tough time keeping it together too.
Thing is, LO is a complete people pleaser. He would do anything for you. He would assemble your furniture, fix your computer, drive you wherever you needed even if it was completely out of his way, he would babysit my kids if I’d ask him to. He told me once that he does everything he can “to be liked” but he is always disappointed, when his friends then bail on him or don’t give him the same back. He feels like he never gets back the same “devotion” he puts in (which I have learned is very typical for quiet bpd). So if I ask him what’s in it for me, he’d say he’d be there for me with whatever I need, I could call him anytime, he would always listen etc. and I believe him that’s who he is. So it kinda sucks that because of my limerence I cannot have him as a friend. Because he would adjust to anything I say. He actually used to say “as you wish”, to pretty much anything I said. Why am I so drawn to him? I really don’t know. Life would be so easy if I just saw him as a friend. Stupid limerence. I want him to be happy, but I can’t give him dating advice and clearly, if we were close friends, a gf would not want to have me around, and obviously he would then prioritize her, so byebye me… and that would hurt.
If you liked that story, I’ll tell you another one.
We’d been dating awhile when LO #2 had to have her wisdom teethe pulled. She was really swollen and bruised. It looked like someone had beaten the crap out of her.
A week or so later, she was feeling better. The swelling was mostly gone and the bruised had healed into purple, green, and yellow. You could still see them under her makeup.
We went to a nice restaurant in Seattle. I noticed people were looking at her, looking at me, looking at her, looking at me…. The waiter was positively icy. LO #2 picked up on this. Every time the waiter came, she’d stop in mid-sentence and, raise her voice, and say something like, “If you agree to the anger management program, you can avoid jail and get off with probation.” or “I talked to my attorney and I told him I want to drop the restraining order next week.” I asked her if she was trying to get me killed in the parking lot. I expected to be greeted by the Seattle PD when we left and getting arrested on a non-existent restraining order.
LO #2 found this no small amount of amusing.
Omg, Scharnhorst, that almost made me laugh a bit imagining you guys sitting at the table. Yeah I can see how in the US that could easily get you arrested and how not funny that must have been for you.
“that LO just wants me to be his “placeholder girlfriend”.
Ugh – that is a painful realization.
I wouldn’t even discuss the matter with him because it is inexcusable. Your instincts are likely 100% accurate and why would you WANT to be a placeholder for anyone?
I don’t think he sees it that way. I think he genuinely wants to be friends. But if you play the game to the end, it would come down to this. As I cannot be his gf, he will have a gf at some point, and that would redefine our friendship obviously. Plus, he can’t be my “go to”person for everything, that should be my SO. And if SO is not, I need to address and fix that.
And sorry for my many posts, just wanted to add: I am the reason we are not together (in his eyes) because I am married with kids. He would never ask me to leave even if just for the kids’ sake (and I am damn glad because god knows what I would have done with this stupid limerent mind). He says if we were both single we would be together. But he said he can’t wait for that to happen (which is fair enough, I am not asking him to wait), he wants a family of his own some day. But all of this is just not helping me to reprogram myself. LO is actually a good person and part of me is the actual asshole in this story (a huge part, I know Lee).
Sarah, it may feel like you are posting a lot, but what you are posting is very helpful to others, including me. It has helped me identify some similarities to my own LE, as many of your comments ring so true. Thanks for sharing this painful/distressing/whatever part of your life.
Don’t say sorry Sarah. I know how hard it is and it’s good that you can talk to the you community on here we’re all like minded and your more than likely helping others also. Feel free to get my email from Dr L if you wish to email. It’s so hard. I have an SO and a family also.
Thank you, Thinker. I am glad there’s something good coming out of this. I appreciate I can share all that as I literally have no one to talk to about it (not a single person knows other than LO). You guys, and my locked notes on my phone, that’s it. I write down stuff that goes through my mind (and date it). Sometimes when I am in the right mood I read through it. It makes me sound like such a nut-job, it goes from one end of I am so over LO, to the complete opposite. Quite hilarious to read through sometimes. But overall, right direction I think.
“He says if we were both single we would be together.”
Did he actually use the word “single?” There’s a difference between “single” and “available.”
Time to play a game. Your SO is killed in a car accident on the way home. Fast forward a year. The dust has cleared. Do you think you’d move forward with your LO? Do you see him at family gatherings and holidays? Do you see him as the male influence/step-father of your kids? Would he accept your kids or would he only want you if you were truly single? Is he really the guy you’d want to come home to at night, wake up next to in the morning, and grow old with?
You only have to get rid of your SO to be available. You have to lose your entire family to be single.
@Scharnhorst, yeah he said single, and I guess hypothetically, he meant if we were both single and met at that point. But we’re both not native english speakers (although speak english to each other) so those small differences sometimes get a bit lost.
I think not the answer I should be giving, but yes, in that scenario I could see myself with him.
Thing is, when we met there were months before anything between us happened and he spent a lot of time with me and friends and kids. He would be at events at my house (watch the superbowl, soccer world cup etc.) the kids know and like him. He knows my closest friends, the god parents of my kids, my parents as well as my in-laws, they all actually like him. My MIL even joked when she met him and saw him interacting with my son that I could easily swap men, the kids would be fine (such a weird joke for her to say). He’s a good person.
BUT: he’s 7 years younger than I am and not as progressed in his career yet, so financially not that well equipped to take care of a family.
I told him once that I am not sure he and I would even work out even if there was nothing in the way due to the tendencies he’s shown (like not being happy with himself, thinking if he only had a gf/family, life would be good, feeling empty inside, seeing himself as a victim etc) like it showed sometimes and I thought, long before Lee prompted me with bpd, that his “issues” could eventually pose a struggle to a hypothetical relationship.
I always told him that I would not leave my SO for him, i.e. replace one man with another. I would only leave my marriage if it was that bad that I’d be fine/better off alone.
Because let’s face it, LO could easily decide after 2-3 months that this wasn’t what he wanted or signed up for and leave me. And then I would end up alone. And I questioned myself, when that happens, would I regret it? And I absolutely would. I am not better off without SO than with. So that was always my thought, could I be ok with the worst possible outcome? I can’t be that naive to throw everything away. But then again, I am glad LO never asked me to leave or promised the the world, because I really don’t know what I would have done.
“Thing is, when we met there were months before anything between us happened and he spent a lot of time with me and friends and kids. He would be at events at my house (watch the superbowl, soccer world cup etc.) the kids know and like him. He knows my closest friends, the god parents of my kids, my parents as well as my in-laws, they all actually like him. My MIL even joked when she met him and saw him interacting with my son that I could easily swap men, the kids would be fine (such a weird joke for her to say).”
None of them suspect anything? That you two can pull this off without leaking amazing.
How does he keep a straight face? I have this image of him at one of your gatherings singing, “I know something you don’t know” to himself.
I know, I wonder the same thing sometimes. There were times where I wished someone would pick up on it and ask me about it.
Me personally, I have been such a shy kid, teachers would tell me later they had no clue what went on in my head. Just the other day a phd colleague told me he loves that I take this whole phd thing so easy and calmly. I was like I am glad I seem that way, but I’ve had the biggest inner panic and literally could have bursted out in tears at the course at any moment. People don’t usually see behind my facade. Only person that could possibly know is my mom as she’s the only one that truly knows me. If I told her, she’d probably say she knew something was up, but not exactly what. But it’s not that obvious that she would confront me about it.
He is similar I guess. Internalizes everything and keeps a straight face. According to him “he’d managed and kept his emotions hidden his whole life”. He’s quite shy at social gatherings and not very good at small talking, but doesn’t come across as awkward. If you remember from an older post, he was at the kids bday party with literally everyone closest in my life (after we stopped everything) when I thought our way forward would be to try to be friends.
I have to add, he doesn’t speak the local language, and I’ve lived abroad many years, so we have things in common and I have been in similar situations that he’s in, so it would not be uncommon for me to help someone integrate and be a friend and bring them along. So in that sense, everything people see, is absolutely explainable and not uncommon for my behavior.
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
@Sarah: “(My MIL even joked when she met him and saw him interacting with my son that I could easily swap men, the kids would be fine (such a weird joke for her to say).”
Your MIL senses the chemistry between you and him and is making the joke to observe your reaction.
She wants to know how far things have gone — maybe you’re really contemplating swapping out her son for a younger guy.
Hi Sarah….. my last LO said I was his best friend and wouldn’t let me go when I tried. He needed me, blah blah blah. Then I heard that he was interested in someone and when I asked him about it and why he didn’t confide in me about her if we were best friends and he said “No, I said you were ONE of my best friends”. Then he carried on being super wonderful to me, and saying it would never work with her, and was always there, taking care of me, doing favors for me, just like yours did….and yet from time to time I heard him mumbling something self congratulatory about what a great friend he was, but then recently, unknown to me, he found someone … and quickly married her. (How he did this so discreetly is so bewildering). I was dumbfounded to say the least….
I went NC immediately (to his consternation) and he doesn’t like that at all, but truthfully, I think a) I was definitely a placeholder and confidante and b) if he really was a true friend he would have let me go long ago. He knew how I felt (I disclosed a few years ago). Also a true friend would have let me know he was dating and contemplating marriage (which would have helped me let go, believe me!). He didn’t let me know about his marriage until after it occurred….but up until a few weeks prior he had been calling 2-5 times a week a least. I felt like we were married but lived apart…(foolish I know but that is how he made me feel). He didn’t tell me because he wanted to suck whatever he gets from me as long as possible.
I am trying not to hate him or pine for him (I swing back and forth somedays) and I do miss his company but the pain is fading. In reality I suppose his marriage is the best possible thing – I would never want to disrespect his wife with an inappropriate friendship, so that helped me immensely to quickly go NC. Don’t feel sorry for your ‘friend’. You have had a symbiotic yet very unhealthy relationship. Best for all for it to end before more damage is done. He had the upper hand as you were more besotted with him than vice versa (sorry it’s true). He should have been a man and distanced himself and also shown respect for your marriage and your children. But LO’s rarely seem to do the honorable thing….it boils down to selfishness…
@MLBI: yeah I can see how it looks like that, but she really does say awkward things snd usually doesn’t pick up on stuff even if it would lay in front of her. (She’s a lovely person and I really get a long with her, but she’s a special character).
@Jaideux: Wow, I so get how you feel, and definitely see parallels to my LO’s behavior. And also how he handled it with his new LO (it was so obvious she was into him despite her 10 year relationship, but he didn’t see it. I prompted him to it, and he called me all crazy that I am imagining things and behaving like a jealous gf) when he told me 2 months later that they actually had an EA going and she was going to break up with her bf (and then ironically dropped LO for another guy) i asked him why he didn’t tell me, he said he felt it was weird, but he tried to behave no different to me than before (awesome… keep me on the leash thinking i am crazy? As you said it would have actually helped to know to accept it and move on). He later said he didn’t realize that she was into him until I said so and then he thought he finally has his shot at happiness with some his age that was actually going to be available, he had to go for it. I understand that, I’m not holding him back but it would have been nice to know.
And this whole thought makes me reconsider my answer to scharnhorst’s question above. In the end, his LO always walks in the picture and ruins my mood.
“yeah I can see how it looks like that, but she really does say awkward things snd usually doesn’t pick up on stuff even if it would lay in front of her.”
That doesn’t mean she isn’t picking up on the signals and is unaware of your attraction to the man. If you truly believe she is that obtuse, then for her to notice it and make a comment means other people have noticed it as well.
Now, maybe they have explained it away as being out of character for you, or they believe you wouldn’t ACTUALLY cheat, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t noticed.
I agree Lee, for sure people noticed LO and I spending time together. We never hid it when we went for coffees (we sat in the courtyard where everyone passes by) or lunches, where we walked to the train together. But they never saw anything that would lead them to believe there was anything going on. No touching, kissing or anything else whatsoever. Yes, people noticed we were friends and we never denied that.
Limerence is a mental battle with yourself all the way. It may feel like you are fighting with another person but it is all about mental fortitude. Probably a lot of people don’t want to hear this but this is a spiritual battle too. My last LE was 7 years ago and the battle was won by posting scriptures in my work station and constantly reading them and thinking about them (meditation). They were not used as a guilt trip. They empowered me to think beyond someone who was just as much flesh and blood as I am. Create productive thought habits in place of the usual thought addiction and the endless circles of trying to figure someone else out. Having something written right in front of your face all day is extremely helpful.
Heres a question to anyone who wants to answer/listen
I have many MANY positive things going on in my life now. I’ve had 2 big amazing things happen in the space of 7days. Life changing really. Yet I’m still clinging on to thoughts about LO! speculating, ruminating and caring. I wonder if there is something really hidden deep down which isn’t allowing me to let this go or is it purely that my brain pathways I’ve created for LO are really really strong. I’ve done some deep work and I’ve realised a lot about my life and how stagnant it was becoming which may have caused this LE. Also my SO was in a bad place when LE started and we were arguing constantly. My LE masked many of these things and took me to a fantasy place to get some relief from the shit which was going on. My life is on the up me and SO haven’t argued in weeks and spending quality time together. Lots of new exiciting projects on the go, yet my LO is still there taking up more head space than id like… Wish I could figure this one out.
There were a couple blogs on mId-life crisis on this site that may help- if you haven’t read them already. It may not be mid-life for you but life crisis can happen any time. I have done a lot of thinking on what motivates me to become addicted to someone. Some reasons are not so obvious or don’t seem related at first glance but after thinking them through and deciding on action i’ve really made a lot of progress. I can be more specific if you want. Let me know.
Oh yes please do let me know I’m need all the help I can’t get.
I am going to try to reply within the next couple of days. I am collecting my thoughts and waiting for some alone time to write. My former limerent experiences have been prompted by unhappy circumstances with my SO as is probably pretty common. The current LE is more an act of creating something different to deal with my mid-life hopelessness. I agree with the train example below. Limerence is an escapism tactic by the mind to “solve” a problem (providing dopamine) but just like other addictions it creates more problems over time.
My thoughts posted somewhere below. I can never follow where things are going to end up on here! LOL!
You mentioned before I think that you can’t go NC with LO? If you can, do it. I think that will kill the last bit with time.
I feel similar, Rachel, my relationship with SO was really bad (not arguing, but like more indifferent to each other) when my LE started. It’s same as yours, on the up, more quality time, etc. but LO is still occupying me so much (see how freaking much I post about him). @peg: also happy for more details, I don’t have the answers either.
Anonymous Limerent says
Here’s what I have theorised about limerence for a cause:
I think your mind, after sending something wrong in your life, decides to make you do something about it to turn it round. Sometimes, the only way to force you to do that is through the immense strength of limerence. This doesn’t mean, however, that once you have actually fixed that thing in your life the limerence will go away.
Your mind can fix one problem (in your life) by posing another (limerence) but this ‘pseudo-solution’ cannot be fixed in the same way the life problem can because it’s self-destructive. By this I mean, once your mind has I realised and become infatuated with someone, it is now part of the problem and the roles are switched; before, you had the problem and your mind was an outsider who could fix it through any means necessary. But in doing so, it sacrificed itself for you. Now, the problem lies in your mind and you are the outsider trying to fix it (with NC, probably).
I think your mind tries to do what’s best for your life and wellbeing but sometimes the only solution is the most extreme one. It’s like that tram problem – let the tram roll into three people and kill them, or switch the tracks to have it kill one. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but one must be done to stop the other (and you can’t stop the tram when it’s already in motion).
So switching the tracks is like your mind (the driver) choosing to solve your problem with limerence, where not doing anything is like you going on with your life’s problem until it leads to something bad. In this case, your mind happened to favour a utilitarian solution.
And both choices destroy lives.
I like your thoughts, AL.
So to add onto this: by being limerent, your brain chose to switch the tracks and have you rolling towards harming yourself (figuratively strapped on the tracks) with a small chance that the whole train derails and everything breaks. OR… your brain now must do the hard thing and build in a switch back onto the main tracks, but ideally after the figurative three people (aka your divorce) strapped on there. So in that sense, Limerence would help you avoid harming the figurative 3 people, but you cannot stay in Limerence, as it is not your main track in life!
Anonymous Limerent says
Sarah, I may not have represented the situation entirely correctly: I’ll explain the metaphors here –
The track is obviously the limerent’s life, and the two tracks are the possible ways their life could go. The train is the limerent, and the driver is their mind. Switching the tracks is the driver choosing to become limerent but the main track is nothing being done.
The main track represents something going terribly and almost beyond repair in the limerent’s life, such as stagnancy or being a stupidly portentous person, and the three people on that track represent a bad result of that way of life and the one on the other track represents full-blown limerence.
If the primary track is chosen, the person’s life will keep going as normal, and they will face the consequences of their ways. If the secondary track is chosen, the person will be subject to limerence.
However, this track will eventually rejoin the other, either at some point down the line with NC or when the train goes round again, when the limerence fades with time.
The people are only a divorce if a divorce is a result of choosing a way of life (limerent or non-limerent). Otherwise, there is no divorce anywhere. There is no attempt to rejoin the track before hitting anyone, more that the killing of at least someone is inevitable no matter which track is chosen.
I hope this makes more sense of my analogy.
Hey AL, yeah that makes sense and I’m with you. I think I adjusted it slightly on my end, but I think I’m not far off from your analogy
I keep journals and I am revisiting some of my comments about why I think I go through limerence. I will share them.
A little personal info about me so you have some idea of my personality/ history that might help: I’m an introvert. I am a life-long limerent. I was very awkward growing up. I am still a bit awkward (I will be 47 in a few months). I have only had 2 lasting relationships (one previous marriage and I am married now). In high school I came close to dating a couple times but nothing ever actually happened in the end. I never have more than 2 or 3 close friends at a time and they seem to always fade from my life for one reason or another. I have trust and rejection issues, low self-esteem, overthink, and have mild depression and anxiety. Despite all of that, I am a fully functioning and responsible adult.
This site references Family of Origin (FOO) and suggests that your childhood issues can be part of the cause of limerence. I avoided thinking about this for a while because I have good parents, but then I realized they weren’t the most encouraging people. They believed in working hard and being humble, which I think gave me a false idea that taking pride in accomplishments was bragging. No fault of theirs that I interpreted it that way. As a result, I work hard, try to blend in with the surroundings and disappear, but also get angry when I don’t get acknowledgment or reward for my efforts. Rather contradictory, I know! In my limerent fantasies I tend to create a character based on the LO that loves and recognizes everything about me. Doesn’t that make life pleasant and simple?
In mid-life, I have been trying to take care of myself but also want to lose interest in how people perceive my looks (wrinkles, sagging, gray hairs, age spots, etc.). When the current LO seemed to notice me I grasped that for validation that I wasn’t fading as fast as it seemed! I have always been self-critical about what I look like so my LO fantasies have always been about someone who thinks I am gorgeous. Part of my evaluation of why I “need” this is asking, “what is beauty?” and how much more of my life am I going to waste on caring about it? This concern may have stemmed from being the youngest of 6 kids and being called ugly on a regular basis (thanks, loving siblings!) and being gullible and sensitive enough to believe them.
I have the “hero” thing that has been referenced in blogs on this site. My fantasies have to do with being rescued from a situation. Currently, LO rescues me from the untimely death of my husband (he white water kayaks and it scares me). Fantasies were also keeping me afloat to face my dead-end job every day (LO is a co-worker, but I don’t have much of a relationship with him). LO showed signs of chivalry and helped me when he didn’t have to early on in my mid-life descent, which triggered my LE. In analyzing this I have to decide to be my own hero. There have been times where I have either been alone or felt alone so in reality I can survive and thrive being alone so there isn’t a need for a hero in another person.
As for friendships and the fact that they never seem to last for me, I think I am looking for that person (in LO) who will never abandon me.
Limerence is a coping mechanism for me. A piss poor one. It is what I use to control disappointing circumstances because up to the point of the dopamine addiction of it I can control the fantasy and the feelings (and then it all gets ugly and unproductive/ self-destructive).
My questions for myself have to do with why I think I need validation from LO instead of being self-reliant and content.
Living a purposeful life is a solution but you have to define that for yourself. I have had many efforts fail in recent years, which added to the mid-life crisis. For me, it isn’t so much about an outward end result of a goal but more about the progress of the process. My goals do not involve needing acknowledgment from anyone else. A big help for me is simple self-care like sitting in my backyard and watching the breeze blow the leaves on the trees and letting expectations go.
What keeps sucking us back into a LE is the expectations. Expecting reactions, feelings, validation, a dopamine high, hope for the future, and so on. Remove those expectations and you may be a little more bored for a while but you will have peace.
Stop analyzing the LO. Analyze your motivations. You can’t fix anyone but you, and the LO can’t fix you.
Thank you Peggy for your very detailed self analogy. It’s great that you have worked these things about you self. Something that I am in the process of working on myself. Very similar to you, I’ve always had fantasies about being rescued and I’m wondering what triggered this in my childhood. I’m sure if I do enough digging I would find out, but at present I can’t quite put my finger on it. This LE has been the most intense one I’ve experienced but it has forced me to do so much work on myself. Also like you, I was in a boring dead end job and therefore I’ve decided to study full time and really do some thing meaning. I’m trying to enjoy the present and enjoying the little things in life. I really agree with the analysing LO, I have wasted so much energy on this. I’ve realised I have a lot to give in terms of energy and dedication, which I am now putting in a more productive use. Thanks for your insight
Peg* auto correct
Peg, I wouldn’t say I’m an extrovert but I’ve never been down on my looks and I’m pretty confident. Ive always had lots of friends and can make friends easily? I can see that a part of my LE are to escape the mundane life or as a relief from stress. This current LE has been a real eye opener. I was always under he illusion that everybody felt like this when they really like somebody? Clearly we are in the minority. I find it so crazy that my LO wouldn’t have had these crazy obsessive feelings for me.
Anonymous Limerent says
Peg, everything you’ve just described about your personality is me to a ‘T’. It can’t be a coincidence that two people who fit the same personal description are both limerent.
Dr. L has written about the introvert connection before. I would like to know if extroverts go through this. I would also like to know what life is like for non-limerents. Do they just decide by logic who they date/ marry? What is their level of emotional attachment in romance? To me, limerence is connected to things we are looking for in someone else that we need to find a way to provide for ourselves.
“Dr. L has written about the introvert connection before. I would like to know if extroverts go through this.”
Introvert =/= limerent
“Do they just decide by logic who they date/ marry? What is their level of emotional attachment in romance?”
Do you really think that non-limerents are incapable of finding someone attractive, getting to know them and loving them? That we are incapable of emotional attachment, romance, imagination and creativity? Perhaps you imagine we “just” pick random people off of street corners to date, mate and marry. Perhaps you think there is a spreadsheet we fill out first because we have nothing to offer in a relationship except for being reliable, durable and boring.
Perhaps you missed the part where spouses of limerents (for others) are terribly hurt emotionally by it.
I think Peg was just trying to process what the experience of falling in love is like for a non-limerent. I think it’s something that many limerents wonder once they “discover” limerence and so realise there is an alternative way of experiencing the early stages of love.
Rather like the difference in response to the last Chump Lady post. Most limerents would be totally baffled by the claim “adults don’t fall in love with people they haven’t fucked” because it is so contradictory to their experience.
It doesn’t mean we think you are romantically defective.
The site/community has kind of bred an undercurrent of Haves – Limerents and Have Nots – Non-Limerents and only limerents are capable of great passion and romance. Limerence describes a mode of behavior. Non-limerents are pretty much dismissed here.
Go back to https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/02/15/what-is-limerence/ and look at the criteria for limerence.
I’ve asked this before but I’ll ask it again. If you never encounter a LO, do you ever become a limerent? The answer would seem to be “No.” Maybe you’re a potential/latent limerent but capable of responding to a non-LO who elicits your passion and affection but doesn’t trip the Tenov criteria.
Anonymous Limerent says
Scharnhorst, I’ve thought about this too and I’ve come to a seemingly valid conclusion:
Take Schrödinger’s cat. The scenario suggests that if we never open the box, we never know whether the cat is dead or alive. If, however, we choose to open it, we can find out for certain whether the cat is dead or alive.
My theory for your question is a bit like that; I presume that every person is a limerent until proven otherwise and if they do become limerent then the box is opened (it doesn’t matter whether or not the cat is alive in this) and we know for sure they are a limerent.
But if they never become limerent, then the day they die tells us that they are non-limerent, but we really cannot know for sure until this careful day as they could become limerent the day before.
So why can everyone not be non-limerent until proven otherwise? Because as far as neurology goes, everyone has the capacity to become limerent.
In conclusion, I would say everyone is a limerent until proven otherwise (they die having never been limerent).
Of course, that doesn’t mean that someone who died never having been limerent could not have had limerent capacity. I also considered another possibility; everyone is a limerent. This thought works because it assumes limerence is a natural tendency, like tasting food, but criteria vary from person (like which food you like). I would say that everyone has the capacity to fall into limerence but some people just has superhuman standards, so they never find anyone to become limerent for. Thus, they never experience limerence and could be labelled as a non-limerent.
I’m not saying I know for sure, or that my theory is correct, but I don’t think there is a way to know. I would definitely stand by my theory, though, because neurological pathways can be triggered by anything worthy enough (I guess). But that’s just my assumption.
It’s one of those things that people theories about but it can never be proven. A bit like quantum theory. Or God.
Maybe I look at this too simplistically, but I don’t think you either are a limerent or not, rather that there is a spectrum and there are different grades of it. It’s slightly different for everyone and one may feel limerent at a point at which another person would not classify it as that? The intensity also depends on how the person perceives it, no? I think a lot of people aren’t even aware of their state or don’t reflect on it that much. I think we (on this site) have the tendency to analyze everything in much detail. Other people may just not place as much emphasis on it?
“I think Peg was just trying to process what the experience of falling in love is like for a non-limerent.”
That may be very much the case. The best way to do so is to simply ask without the flourishes.
“Do they JUST decide by LOGIC who they date/ marry? What is their LEVEL of emotional attachment in romance?”
“…“adults don’t fall in love with people they haven’t fucked”
That is a very good point. On the flip-side, limerents who are already in committed relationships tend to minimize the time and effort (occasionally money) they put into developing a relationship with someone new. Without ever, or long before, they clue in their partner.
Someone on the forum posted about realizing they were in over their head when they resented their SO for doing something (loving, kind, thoughtful?) for them because it interrupted their reverie over LO. I don’t recall who related it. Would that more people who found themselves compromising their integrity and principles were pulled up short.
Loved this and identified with much of what you describe. Thank you for sharing, Peg.
Thanks, M! I appreciate the encouragement!
Peg, that was a beautiful post. We definitely have some similarities – introverted (though more extroverted as I get older), trust issues, low self-esteem (when I was younger), overthink things, needed better “guidance” from parents, mid-life crisis.
I think back in my history, and maybe I was limerent for only one other person, an ex-girlfriend after we broke up. I figured it was what sometimes happens to people do in order to “get over” someone, but looking back, I was actually addicted to the feeling I had during the attachment. It took a long time to get over that. I do not believe I was addicted to her like I am/was to my fading LO. Feelings addiction vs. person addiction.
I hadn’t thought before how people “needing to be rescued” could be limerence candidates. But while reviewing my LO, I was both the rescuer and the damsel(?) in distress looking to be “saved”.
Even before I had ever heard of ‘limerence’, I’d have said that falling in love and having sex are logically and psychologically independent. People can do either one without the other. I like a lot of what Chump Lady says, but her remark on that point did indeed baffle me.
Well, as she is writing to and for people whose spouses have taken off with someone else, mostly after saying ILYBINILWY, no doubt you can see the perspective. These are people whose spouses have cheated and who continue to ask for more sacrifices from those they have betrayed.
How about, having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse, behind their backs is NOT an act of love or service to their marriage. If Esther Perel and her ilk think otherwise, then they are free to not take a vow of “forsaking all others” so everyone is clear from the beginning. Or if you have a change of heart, you tell your spouse BEFORE you risk their emotional, physical and financial well being. After all, they may not think you are all that special anymore either and might relish the opportunity to be emotionally and physical intimate with someone else. Or they may prefer monogamy and seek it via divorce.
Committed partners too. If you are lying about what you are doing, with whom, that is cheating and it is not a good thing for your relationship. Might be great fun for you, but the idea that it’s okay unless you get caught is entitlement writ large.
Thinker, Thanks for reading my post! I am grateful for the encouragement! I think in my last LE I was addicted to the person I thought the LO was and in the current LE I was addicted to the feeling (because I basically made up who the LO is without knowing him). So I know what you are saying. In the end, neither LO is/ was someone I know well. I didn’t trust the last one. I couldn’t take the chance of trusting this one. I was single with the last one. I am married now and am not going to ruin that. I feel like this LE is almost over. I hope I have learned and never go through this again! You sound like you are doing the work that needs to be done. Keep being diligent!
Anonymous Limerent says
And the ‘I’ before ‘realised’ wasn’t supposed to be in there.
I meant no disrespect to extroverts. I was not making any assumptions. I did not mean to “sound” a certain way. I thought I was asking questions (not always with question marks).
And that was me that had the eye opener when my husband was doing something loving.
For me, all of this is about a moral dilemma. I take nothing about it lightly even if I joke to stay sane.
Any comments I make on here are meant to be helpful not judgmental.
When I read the book by Dorothy Tenov she said her friend did not understand limerence at all and that baffled me so I was thinking about a person like that.
Have you asked your husband? Presumably he is non-limerent. If he was limerent for you he may relish the opportunity to discuss it with you.
My husband and I had a conversation about 7 years ago about limerence but we didn’t know there was a term for it. We both had experiences of thinking about other people while we were together. Neither of us went into great detail about it. We had broken up after 11 years together (I wanted to be married. He didn’t. Also -other issues of communication and attention). Immediately after a co-worker found out we were parting ways, he (the LO) seemed to be pursuing me. This triggered an LE for me, which my husband knew about, but it amounted to nothing except my temporary insanity.
I would say my husband is more of an extrovert than introvert. Since we didn’t get into great detail about our feelings for others at the time, I can’t say for sure that he has had experiences to the extent that I have (meaning the distracted, obsessive, just shoot me and put me out of my self-created misery kind of extent). I guess I should not have used the term extrovert in the earlier post because some people can’t be solidly put in either category. My husband seemed to be limerent for me. But I apparently was wrong about that with the LO at the time of our break up. The LO dropped me like a hot potato after a couple months of staring at me all day at work and spending time alone with me. The LO said he didn’t mean to lead me on. I know for sure that my husband genuinely loves me. He thinks he is a terrible husband but he is not!
Anyway, I would not tell him about the current LE. We work for the same company and the LO is a co-worker. I am coming to the end of the LE anyway so there isn’t anything to talk about. I think telling him would do more damage and add to his unfounded fears of being a terrible husband. I don’t have a relationship with the LO. He was a distraction when my mid-life crisis started about a year and a half ago.
Well, I’m not an extravert so I wasn’t bristling about that point. It still applies. Introvert =/= limerent.
Limerence sounds like the record needle stuck in one groove. Figuring out how to lift it (or kick it) to a different point so you can hear or experience the rest of the recording. If you love that particular loop then you may not want to move on. It can mean you miss out on other interesting or lovely moments because you are fixated on one very small portion of a bigger work.
I agree that everyone could be a potential limerent. However, some people may not be because they’re not wired to become a potential limerent.
My son is a Type I diabetic and suffers from almost crippling anxiety and depression. Traditional psychiatric medicines, especially lithium, make things worse. We found a holistic psychiatrist who looked at what actually might be causing his problems. There were a number of them. One example is copper:
“In synaptic vesicles, copper can form complexes with neurotransmitters. … It is also known that there is a reduction in dopamine associated with dietary copper deficiency in humans (Prohaska and Bailey, 1994), highlighting its role in neurotransmitter synthesis.”
– Jul 3, 2014 Copper: from neurotransmission to neuroproteostasis – NCBI
His copper levels were non-existent. As a Type I diabetic, we know his chemical plant is out of whack with respect to insulin but we have no idea what else that effects. The psych also identified other physical issues that could be affecting things. We’ve been working with her for several months and he’s showing a lot of improvement.
I’m grinding through “Behave…” by Robert Sapolsky. I made it past the hard neurology section and am getting into the more behavioral manifestations. I’m just starting the section on mothers (It’s always the mother…) and attachment. Sapolsky references Bowlby and others that did attachment work, notably Harlow and Lorenz. In Lorenz experiment, those birds attached to the first moving object they saw, Lorenz. Those traces were imprinted and stuck. The eyes took in photons that were converted to a neurological signal that was transmitted to an attachment processor waiting for a signal so it could activate. (DrL pls correct me if I’m off here). Some circuits in the brain appear to be “Read/Write” and some appear to be almost “Read Only.” From what I read, the current thinking is the brain is more “Read/Write” than originally thought.
Circling back to the original point. Maybe some people can’t be limerents because there wiring won’t allow them to be. But, as you said, any one person could be a potential limerent.
“I’m just starting the section on mothers (It’s always the mother…) and attachment”
The inference that fathers aren’t capable of being real parents is always the undercurrent which pisses me off to no end. If you can pick up a baby and feed them (hurray for magic science milk!) or take a child to the physician or dentist, or give them a hug when they ask for it – you are capable of attachment. Just likeJust like men don’t cry, women can’t do math, etc. Men can’t be single parents.
How are his zinc levels?
“The inference that fathers aren’t capable of being real parents is always the undercurrent which pisses me off to no end. If you can pick up a baby and feed them (hurray for magic science milk!) or take a child to the physician or dentist, or give them a hug when they ask for it – you are capable of attachment.”
In the book, Sapolsky talks about that and says it’s one of the worst disservices done to society in recent years. I may have had a lousy mother but I had a great father. I think it was Martha Stout that also talks about it in “The Sociopath Next Door.” I remember she talked about the sterility of institutionalized infant/orphan care in some Eastern European countries under Communism and the effects it had on kids. In that respect, Bachman Turner Overdrive has it right when they sing, “Any love is good love…”
Sapolsky also talks about what what may have caused the drop in the overall crime rate in recent years. He said many theorized it was improved economic conditions, three-strikes laws, etc. He said one guy theorized the drop in the crime rate was due to legalized abortion. His theory was that the crime rate dropped because 20 years earlier women didn’t have the kids they didn’t want who’d grow up to commit crime. It was an unintended consequence. I’ve never heard that premise come up in the debate.
RJ Barro wrote about that in 1999.
“Based on the latest state-level data, approximately 879,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2017—down from approximately 892,000 abortions in 2016 and 913,000 abortions in 2015.”
Yeah – no. The abortion rate is dropping as the use of effective contraception increased. Particularly LARCs. More women are turning to IUDs now that they are safer than ever and no hormones to mess with your mind and body.
I am still incensed that there are any 10 – 14 yo’s who give birth at all let alone 1892. I see nothing good in a 15-18 yo giving birth either. Plus their male parents – too bad those statistics aren’t gathered on the ages of the fathers.
I just wrote down an insight for myself that I wanted to share in case it helps others. This is mainly for those struggling with the unavailability of themselves or the LO due to one or both of you being in a committed monogamous relationship that you want to stay in. So, I wrote to myself as follows:
One of the worst things about an affair, EA or PA, is that it would make me abjectly dependent on things totally outside my control. Yikes!!! I’m appropriately impressed by the moral reasons not to do it but I want to notice also the massive self-interested reasons not to do it. This is not a contest between morality and self-interest. They both point in the same direction! That is, refraining from affairs is *not* a self-sacrifice but rather is essential to protecting my independence. For instance, if I were to pursue an affair with my LO the main upshot be to leave him thinking, ‘Aha, I see this woman is not in control of her emotions — what’s in this for me, and what can I get away with?’ The illicit nature of the relationship would remove all accountability. It turns my stomach to think of handing over to anyone else so much power over me.
So this line of thinking strengthens my resolve to continue the upward climb away from the limerence pit.
It does make you wonder how you can knowingly act against your own best interest over someone that offers you nothing. For me, it was my inner 5yr old that said that we’d seen this before and we can handle it. The adult me thought “probably not” and this would not end well. I get “A”s in rationalization and I never could come up with an outcome that didn’t blow up on me.
You might want to add that once you cede power to someone else (e.g., MPDG), it can be next to impossible to get it back. If you’re lucky, they won’t realize their power but if they do, watch out! You gave it to them and they’re going to keep it.
What you see as accommodation, they can see as submission.
Duly noted, Scharnhorst. Thank you for these excellent points.
Interesting insight Midlifer! But like Bert writes, I think you give LO this power over you from the moment you become limerent. See for example Anonymous Limerent’s latest messages in “Limerence Dreams” (By the way I’m worried for AL).
In my case too, LO has no idea about my feelings*. Nevertheless I let this guy have the power to impair my sleep since countless months, to occupy my mind constantly, to distract me from what important in my life…
Ok, the difference is indeed, my LO does not know he has this power. Technically I am able to take it back, he can’t do anything against me. Well, isn’t that’s exactly what I’m trying to do? That’s why I’m here. To take that power back!!
*He must have some idea about my feelings, no?… Oh that’s my limerent brain talking!! Number 1-2-3 from above blogpost, exactly.
Thank you Midlifer. Interesting insight. So effectively, and conversely, the boundaries of accountability provide freedom? Not to mention that the disorientating glittery sparkle of an LO (however misattributed it may be), coupled with the allure of forbidden fruit (in this case, averted), already cause loss of independence and control.
This is an interesting discussion on types of power: https://yscouts.com/executive/types-of-leadership-power/
LO #2 tried #4 & #5 using sex as the weapon. She learned pretty early on that sex was probably the only tool in her bag that had any leverage on me.
After we broke up, she sat across the table from me and said, “I can’t control you.” A few months after that we were again sitting across the table, this time after my successor had allegedly cheated on her. I don’t remember how she phrased it but she said something related to #5. I asked her if she had just threatened to cut me off from something I hadn’t been getting from her in about a year and a half. I told her if she had, it wasn’t much of a threat.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Wow, Sharnster, that woman seems like a challenge! No wonder you’ve been so affected for so long.
In my case, LO and I share a finely-tuned connection that is pretty enjoyable — we can glance at each other in meetings, and know exactly what the other is thinking. It’s like being in a secret club. If she finds something funny, we can briefly lock eyes, and a tiny hint of a smile flickers across her face. We get the layered thrill of thinking something’s funny, knowing that we both “get it” and knowing that the other person knows that we know.
Other people in our firm complain that I’m ‘hard to read’ — but I’m not for her. That’s why it’s actually hard to go LC, because she senses it and I am not willing to disclose. So she knows I’ve created distance, but she’s not exactly certain why. I gave her an explanation which is true (but not the complete reason). She has a lot of problems going on; her recent ex-husband is trying for equal custody, for one. They’re having to go to court multiple times now. Another is that she is having issues with her new boyfriend. Ironically, she told me that she has more of a feeling of connection with her new boyfriend’s brother — who is married, and he ALSO works at our company. That level of complication is giving me lots of ammunition to back-pedal away! Plus it makes her look pretty pathetic, which is good limerence-killing fodder. I told her that I’m pulling back to give her privacy…
But although I have been making lots of progress, I dreamed about her last night, which was disappointing. In the dream, I was together with her at several social events as a couple. I feel like I’m being betrayed by my own brain totally against my will.
I’m disheartened right now but soldiering on.
Interesting MLBIAI. That’s how my LE started with my LO and I the only ones ‘getting’ a throwaway comment or possible double entendre. We would lock eyes and a share a flicker of a smile. Dangerous, as it turned out. Not disclosing seems like the right decision of course, while I disclosed and was rewarded with heavenly reciprocation for a short while, everything quickly went pear-shaped after that. Similar to your LO, mine has a lot of drama, on-again/off-again relationships, several suitors (with at least two marriage proposals between them) and today she even flirted with our CFO right in front of me.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Part of the reason I’m going LC is because her problems activate the ‘rescuer’ impulse in me. So I have to distance myself because I feel compassion for her and want to do something to help. Which she appreciates, and gets glimmery towards me, and the cycle strengthens.
So she knows now that I’m not as available as I once was, and her affections are transferring elsewhere.
That is a good thing!!! But I’m spending more time on this site right now because frankly, I need it.
Don’t underestimate how powerful that is. Determination finishes marathons.
It was exactly the same with me and LO. We could be in a meeting with 15 people and someone would say something that triggered an in-joke between us and we’d both look up at each other with that flicker of recognition and smirk. It was very powerful and no doubt powered the LE.
More than 9 months since I’ve seen her, and with me now able to look back with plenty of objectivity, I still maintain that no one has ever looked at me like she did. Not my SO, daughter, any ex. Hard to describe but we’d lock eye contact for so long or she’d turn round when on her way out to catch my eye and smile. It seemed like this mixture of admiration and well.. love.
It felt so special and I didn’t see her being like that with anyone else and for a while that little bubble we were in was amazing. But reality bites, and my boss (who saw this at work) and my SO (who saw all the texts coming through at night, weekends) began to get concerned about the connection and the pressure started to come from both directions to distance myself.
“Challenge” is one adjective you could use. The first therapist I worked with said it was an abusive relationship. My response that I know I can be difficult but I didn’t realize I was abusive. The therapist said she wasn’t talking about me. She described LO #2 as “Passive-Aggressive, callously insensitive, triangulating, and manipulative.” The therapist said I was very good for LO #2 and did “an excellent job managing her.” She said one of the scariest things about LO #2 was not that she seemed oblivious to what she was doing, the scariest thing was that when I explained it to her, she showed no regret or remorse and, even worse, didn’t see anything wrong with what she did. The therapist said LO #2 was bad news and I was lucky to have escaped as cleanly as I did.
That therapist asked how, if I saw all that at the time, why did I stick around so long? I told her that LO #2 was my first adult relationship so (1) I had no other relationship to compare it to and (2) compared to what I saw happen between my parents as young kid, what LO #2 did was nothing. I only remember twice LO #2 even raising her voice to me where I remember my mother sending a coffee cup through the kitchen window. She was aiming at my father’s head and that wasn’t the worst of it. That session opened up the course of inquiry into my childhood.
I told the therapist that I thought LO #2 took me on out of pity. She said whatever LO #2 felt about me, pity wasn’t in the mix. The therapist said that when she asked, “If I don’t sleep with you is that the end of the friendship?” and I replied that we could see each other until one of us got a better offer, that pissed her off and she saw me as a challenge.
As Billy Joel says:
“Some love is just a lie of the soul
A constant battle for the ultimate state of control”
Wow, have you been reading my thoughts? I have done pretty much all of these. Thanks, this really helps me put things in perspective.
Im the spouse of someone in limerence. At how long did it take for you guys to realize you were in limerence? And how did you find this site? Did you look for help or guided here by someone else?
My sympathies to you. It took me about 2 weeks from the onset of limerence to start worrying that I was at risk of an emotional or physical affair. So I started doing internet searches on ‘emotional affair’ and via those searches found whatever posts by Dr L feature that term. Then I quickly determined that even as I held back from any sort of affair, emotional or otherwise, I had a major problem on my hands with person-addiction and romantic/erotic obsession. It’s now 16 months post-onset.
With much help from this site, Dr L’s resources, individual and couple (with my SO, to whom I disclosed about 7 months after onset) therapy with a social worker, and now continuing therapy with an OCD specialist, the episode is beginning to wind down. It’s hard. This site is wonderfully supportive and offers some good resources for spouses/SOs. Best wishes to you.
Have you read, “https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/05/01/help-my-partner-is-limerent-for-someone-else/?” It’s buried pretty deep.
One hint for navigating the site is to use the keywords tags at the bottom of the blog to group your interest. “Spouse” is a good one. Searching by keyword or tags will bring up blogs that have dropped off the list at the bottom of any given blog.
Ha, found it. On this page is a guide Dr. Limerence wrote for Significant Others of limerents: https://livingwithlimerence.com/about/. I’m hoping by way of this post he will add it to the resources page. (Nudge).
Good luck and lots of compassion for you!
Oh, the guide is also at the bottom of this page. Duh! But for anyone who is interested, I found the SEARCH THIS SITE feature on the ABOUT page. Wonder if it could be on the homepage? Is that too hard to move?
Hey Bert – thanks for the suggestions.
The limiting factor on these things is my time! For anyone browsing on a desktop the search, recent posts, guides etc. are on the sidebar, but for mobile they come at the bottom of the page. I’m working on a redesign for the frontpage, but I’m also working on a hundred other things.
Never mind – it’s like I advocate for recovering from limerence: a series of small victories is the way to win the marathon.
Like you aren’t doing enough for all of us already!!!! So hated to ask. Thanks for the info. Maybe PCs are different? Search feature doesn’t show on homepage on any of my Mac devices, but at least I (and others with same experience) know where to look. Thanks for all you do, Dr. L!!!
🙂 No worries Bert. I look on it as friends cheering me on as I pound out the miles.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Hi, Bradley –
I don’t exactly know when I knew I was in trouble, but it crept up on me slowly. I started to worry when I was getting tempted to write poetry about love and mushy stuff about my LO, and when I heard a romantic song I would think of my LO rather than my SO.
So I self-diagnosed that I had a problem. But I observed my SO having a limerent episode several years prior to my own. She would never have admitted it and wouldn’t now, but in our own family, even her kids recognized it. We all thought it was silly and a tiny bit creepy but we all discussed it behind her back, like “What is going on with Mom and that guy, does she ‘like-like’ him or what, ha ha?” (The guy was our daughter’s boyfriend.
So some people have self-awareness and some people practice self-deception. If your spouse is in self-deception, some flat-out stern warnings are possibly in order. Lee, a frequent contributor whose marriage was victimized when her SO fell into limerence, warned him that there wasn’t going to be a spouse around if he developed a mistress. That was the bat to the forehead that snapped him out of his fantasies.
Good luck and don’t lose your self-respect. You have to preserve your own core and self-worth!
It took me a few months to realise this wasn’t normal and I was in trouble. Initially I started engaging with a therapist but she didn’t diagnose limerence and instead I got progressively deeper even though I was self-aware enough to try to fight it.
It was a year before I discovered the term limerence after searching for “person addiction” and then to this site. It was a great relief to finally define it and armed with the knowledge on here I began to take to steps to sort it out. It wasn’t really until my SO’s patience snapped and she told me enough was enough that those steps became more pronounced. To be fair to my SO she put up with a lot and acted with dignity and patience throughout. I’m now 9 months NC and about 2.5 years into the LE. It’s not over but I’ve made massive strides in the right direction.
Knew my LO for a year without any problems and then started to notice something change. Took at least another 6 months before I ended up in a bad state, at which point I sought out some self-help and discovered this site. Found it via Google but can’t remember the exact keywords. Dr L might have some stats about how his site is found.
Bradley, I am curious, how did you discover your SO is limerent for someone?
When my friend told me she was leaving the company, I instantly became an emotional wreck. I previously never had contact with her outside of work (did not know her phone number or email), and I really think this was intentional by me. We were both married, and while I would have liked to have integrated her (and her family) into my life, she was 10 years younger and did not fit in with my family’s social groups. It would have been uncharacteristic of me to have a visible female relationship like this. Anyway, one of these two things were going to happen:
1) I would be sad for a while as I would never/rarely see her again
2) We would make the effort to remain friends via text/email/lunch. She did reach out to me and I was relieved/excited (and saved…temporarily) and we became closer than we were in person at work. In hindsight, I had been attached to her for a while but never knew to what degree.
I was about a year Post-LE when I discovered limerence. The LE had been simmering for several years before it exploded. It took about a year from the time LO #4 told me she was leaving her BF until she said goodbye. During that year, I worked with our EAP counselor to get a grip on things. As for when I knew I was in real trouble, it was the moment I read her email telling me she was leaving her BF and moving to within 15 miles of where I moved from. I could get to her with my eyes closed, she was available, and she was confiding in me.
About 6 months after we said our goodbyes, I returned to the EAP counselor to work on what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. The EAP counselor labeled me as co-dependent. But, co-dependence didn’t fit the dynamics of our virtual relationship so I kept looking. I stumbled on limerence and that seemed to fit things better. After studying limerence awhile, I returned to the EAP counselor a third time to validate it.
Oh yeah, when did I discover limerence? My life got upended when LO said she was leaving the office. I had 3 weeks of irrational pain/sadness until she left. The next week, she reached out to me, and a 3-month EA ensued with all of the stars aligning and euphoria like I had never felt before. I tried to figure out what was happening to me during the euphoric stage, and I came across many iterations of the soulmate concept. I tried to fit my relationship with LO inside that paradigm. Some sites were BS, but some were intriguing and contained the only answers that had made sense to that point. LO and I had such a powerful energy during this time where I dreamt of a life changing journey with her. We were in deep.
After the EA ended, I still had no idea what was happening, but it was a deep constant pain. I would have done anything to stop that pain. It was 11 months before stumbling across limerence and this site. I have not talked to anyone about my limerence. I should have sought counseling for my limerence.
For me it was almost a year. But with the harsh light of reality and hindsight, I knew I was in trouble the first day I met her.
I wanted to comment on this post because I believe I’ve made some real progress thanks to it.
I’ve read this blog post before in the past, but I re-read it recently and rather than just identifying with it, I’m actually starting to digest it. Mistake #1 in particular, and this line really stuck home: “They can’t possibly just enjoy my company, but otherwise forget me when I’m not around and just get on with their own lives oblivious to my obsession.”
It’s pretty clear, I think, that’s exactly what’s going on the vast majority of the time with LO. I don’t understand why I couldn’t see it before. It makes so many confusing, frustrating, and depressing interactions so clear. I’ve got an LO who enjoys my company when she has it in front of her, but I’m otherwise not on her mind.
I’d like to say that it took me so long to realize that’s what’s going on because I don’t work that way, but if I’m honest I work that way too, with just about everybody but LO. So, really, it’s 100% “if it’s special for me, it must be special for LO too” mistake.
I could have wrote this myself, and whilst its totally helpful and makes me see more clearly, the totally irrational part of my brain is crushed and Im heartbroken because now I know all those things I was thinking/feeling were real, weren’t actually real and just concoctions of my own mind, which ultimately makes me feel even more stupid and wishful that I could turn back the clock and NOT make a full drunken irrational disclosure to my LO. I should have listened to him the first time he said “this is wrong” and walked away…but no I kept going in for more, because he didn’t say no, he said it was because of my SO and I course my brain took that up as “if I can impress him more maybe he will say yes”.. I cannot avoid my LO so no contact is impossible, but I do need to keep my mind focused and I do need to do this..at present I feel like everyone can read my mind when im around him and they all know what im thinking… I think maybe in different circumstances (he’s free, im not) that Limerence could actually be a really nice feeling, I never even felt it with my SO, so this was very very new to me, in my case its soul destroying, and changed my whole perspective completely. I don’t want it to affect my friendships in general, my work or my ability to raise my family so I really need to train my brain to be stronger when it comes to my LO and act like the normal person I have around him for years… the scary think is, the total surprise this hit me with, like I woke up one morning and my head was spinning, like I imagine the high of being on drugs would be like..Im so so grateful for this site.. it really saves me from blubbering to the wrong people who have absolutely no idea whats going on in my head
Shit. You’ve got me. Just discovered your page yesterday. My therapist told me I was experiencing limerance. You have articulate my last month with a “friend”
Hey Blythe. Welcome! Good to hear that you had a therapist direct you to the concept of limerence. I get lots of people who say their therapists have never heard of it, or are sceptical it’s a real thing.
Yup to all.
I have been inspired and less hopeless since coming here, but falling back into patterns. NC is near impossible, but am trying to pull back.
Has anyone here tried the emergency course for 67 pounds? How did it work for you?
Ugh… this post gives me a few uncomfortable memories.
In 1996 I was driving by my university (20 minutes from my house) in the evening just to walk around because I was bored. I had graduated a year before and didn’t have a reason to be there, I was just bored and walking around for the memories. My LO at the time (LO2, specifically) went to the school, but it wasn’t reasonable for her to be there because it was about 8 pm. I was walking down a hallway when HOLY SHIT my LO popped out of a door directly in front of me chatting with her friend, and by sheer luck she turned in the opposite direction and walked away from me. She didn’t notice me. I turned quickly into the men’s bathroom door and just hid until the coast was clear. I was terrified that she thought I was stalking her, giving how often I would make excuses to see her at her job. I made it out okay, but it was a terrifyingly close call. I still feel sick thinking of it.
So fast forward to last year. I now am struggling with LO3, my first since LO2 20 years before, and I pretty much know everything about her from randomly searching her name on the internet. But that’s where my infatuation with her ended, because I learned that LEs are all in my head and it’ll get me in trouble.
Anyway, last summer I find out there’s a conference I’m supposed to go to… and it’s in LO3’s home city, which is about 2 hours away. No problem, I think, it’s a big city and the chances are low that I’ll even be near her old neighborhood. I look at where the conference is being held, and… it’s at the hotel literally across the street from LO3’s high school. Crap. And I’m a 20-minute walk to her house. Great, so much for avoiding thoughts about her.
On the second morning of the conference, I need to go out and walk. I purposefully say that I’m not going near her house, although the large city park park lies between the hotel and her house and I am forced to walk in that direction. I end up having to pee, walking a different direction to find a bathroom, get back to my walk… and I’m a bit lost, so I just walk in the same general direction. I hit the end of the sidewalk, look around… and there’s her street. I’m 2 minutes from her house COMPLETELY BY ACCIDENT. I had the urge to walk by the house, but I remembered LO2 at the university 23 years earlier, and thought of the trouble I’d be in if by some chance LO3 just happened to be there, too, that weekend. I stood still for like five minutes realizing that I was in a world of shit if she happened to see me, even though I knew it was extremely unlikely she’d be there. I got out of there fast.
Good story Matt. What LEs do to our minds eh.
And thanks for drawing my attention to this post…so accurate! I am definitely guilty of 1,2,3 & 4 right now. I only wish knowing that enough to stop me.
Agreed – such a great post, enjoyed re-reading and ticking them all off as things I did during my LE. I can look back and chuckle mostly at the memories as well, which is positive.
Slightly more alarmingly I’ve done no.2 this week with this glimmery new girl at work. It took her two days to reply to my message (about something she was clearly interested in), so I’ve ignored hers now, out of spite!! She’s done this a few times now, so I leave it, then she breaks first and finds a reason to strike it up again. Frankly I’m tired of sh*t like that but it seems to be how 20 something females operate these days. I’m not obsessing like I did with LO though, so that’s good.
Vicarious Limerent says
I know these types of feelings. My vet’s office is diagonally across the street from the back of my LO’s house (although I know for a fact that she takes her dog to a different vet)! Sometimes I feel strange going there or even driving by (it is a very major street and I often have reason to drive by), but strangely enough I feel less worried about driving right by the back of her house (technically on a different street) than I do turning on to her actual street 3 miles/5 km away from where she lives (it is a long street). Is it just that the name has an association with her?
Vicarious Limerent says
Maybe this was a premonition earlier today, but I just detoured past my LO’s place this evening due to a huge accident up ahead. I drove down her street past her house for the first time since I met her. I have a feeling I saw her walking her dog just down the street from where she lives. I was playing some fairly loud music in the car with the windows rolled down, and the woman (whether her or not) definitely looked at me as I drove past. So weird how I mentioned this just earlier today!
Can definitely relate to 1, 2, 3 and 8 on this list and have happened in some form or another with all four of my LOs, all of which varied with each LO.
1. I convinced myself that LOs 1, 3 and 4 felt the same mutual and intense connection I had for them and didn’t see that it was one-sided; none is this truer than me realizing recently, with LO4, that our friendship and my perception of it isn’t shared by them, that they perceive our friendship less than I do, something I have begun to accept. With LO2, it was there, but not to the extent with the other three.
2. Guilty as charged on this one. Endless hours wasted on reliving and examining memories about all and every interaction with LO, seeing reciprocal interest or potential rejection in anything they did. Even now, with my limerence for LO4, the strangehold that this aspect of limerence has is unrelentingly persistent. It’s been pretty much equal across the board with all four LOs, though the ruminations of my thoughts did vary, depending on the interaction, however.
3. Most prominently with LO2; with lesser flare-ups with the other three. With LO2, there were a few occasions when I would attempt to forget about them, move on from the limerence, accepting they had no interest in me, until a day or so later when I would have this powerful random thought about an encounter I had had with them that would convince me otherwise.
8. Yes. Even now, I am convinced, when acting under the influence of my limerence, that I know what I am doing and it’s all under control, but deep down, there’s that voice at the back of my mind that keeps shouting that I don’t have it under control, but is ignored.
The others of 4, 5, 6 and 7 either haven’t happened to me with my LOs or aren’t applicable. I have to say that it is a good summary of the mistakes, however, we limerents make!
When I was younger, LO1 and LO2 taught me the dangers of (1) thinking I’m special to her, too, (2) reading into everything, (3) the proof memory, and especially (5) I just need to know. When LO3 showed up 2.5 years ago, I was prepared (sort of). She was 23 years younger than me, so I knew I wasn’t just *not* (1) special to her, I was the “creepy older guy,” so I’d better keep the hell away from her. I sure as hell wasn’t going to (5) find out what she thought of me… well, sort of, maybe. But it was hard to prevent the (3) proof memories and I was pretty good at (2) telling myself I was an idiot every time I thought she was expressing interest in me.
However… (2)(again) as I’ve mentioned before, by the time you’re almost 50 you can spot the signs of interest in a woman when you’re near her. The nervousness, touching the hair, I would see her staring at me out of the corner of my eye… sometimes I would test to see if she were paying attention to me for the ego boost, like when we were in the elevator by ourselves once, not saying a word. She was deeply staring into her phone as if I didn’t exist, so I turned my head upwards to look at the ceiling above her head to see if she were actually paying attention to me. She popped up from her phone and started darting her head all around like she thought the ceiling was about fall on her. I giggled to myself and called myself a dick for doing that, but it soothed my fragile ego. So it was hard for me to separate reality from what I knew could be a fiction in my head as to whether she was actually sending me signals. Like the time she walked past me, and I swear to God I saw her swinging her hips as she went down the hall. And trust me, I watched her walk down the hall from the back a LOT, and she’s as petite as can be, and I didn’t know she even had hips. But was I imaging it? I don’t know.
@Matt, I can definitely relate to how you misinterpreted the signs with your LOs 1 and 2. My own lack of social experience with the opposite sex and loneliness were major factors into why I became limerent for my first two LOs, and not helped by my lack of familiarity with body language either.
Even when I did my research about body language cues and observed it with my own eyes when members of the opposite sex and I actually flirted with one another, all my limerent brain would say, when I could see that my LOs weren’t displaying any such interest, was that they were shy and being subtle, that they really did share my feelings.
With LOs 3 and 4, in the case of the former, it happened despite me becoming familiar with body language cues, and while they genuinely were shy as I found out by speaking to their mother, nothing they did suggested they had any particular interest in me that way, let alone on a platonic basis. That was confirmed when they turned me down when I asked for their phone number, making it clear that they preferred our acquaintance as it was, which then led to ending my limerence.
As for LO4, as my limerence for them is derived from wanting a close friendship with them (Dr L says that this can happen), my limerent obsessions have about whether or not they like me enough to want a friendship, going over our interactions and any cues they’ve given off to determine whether they feel the same way as opposed to determining if they have a romantic interest As it happens, I haven’t seen any signs they feel romantically inclined toward me (I have had romantic fantasies about them, but they’ve been infrequent as to not be what’s causing my limerence).
Now, based upon what you’ve said about LO3, limerence or no limerence, it definitely sounds like she had some interest in you and you weren’t imagining it. That’s the problem that limerence does – it really screws with your perceptions, so that, even when your judgment is correct, you question it because you’re unsure if it’s the right take or simply your limerence talking and wanting you to believe there’s interest on their part.
Worse still, it’s twisted in that you can, as you’ve said, recognize it and try to control it, but it still can dominate your thoughts and adversely affect your judgment. Eight years after having my first LE and discovering why I felt that way toward LO1, despite my body language reading skills being pretty good and recognizing the difference between the opposite sex showing interest romantically and merely being friendly.
Oops – those last sentences of that final paragraph don’t make any sense. For clarification, it’s been 8 years since I first developed limerence and discovered what it was. In that time, I’ve become pretty good at reading the opposite sex’s body language to determine if they’re merely being friendly or flirty, had a couple of romances and become more socially confident, but am still hostage to limerence and the fundamental control that it has.
So, I circle back to this particular article now and then. It always reminds me that first, I’m not alone in this mindfuck; and second, I need to re-examine my thought process. Again.
That said, something about it always bothered me and I could never put my finger on it until today…
I want to talk about points 1, 2, and 3. Specifically, these three points imply that we limerents are missing a fundamental truth about our interactions with our LOs. Clearly we’re misunderstanding something. Well, what is that “truth” we’re missing? What is actually going on? I want that alternate interpretation that we’re apparently not seeing.
If it’s not special for them like it is for us, if those reactions on that ‘proof memory’ weren’t genuine, If there isn’t a special something going on there… than what the hell is in fact going on?
I know I’ve got my own “ok, that interaction meant something. 95% sure it did. probably. right?” moments, just like most of you guys do too. I’ve read them in your stories. What was going on there, if not a special connection? Now, I know that certain people will claim “your LO is a narcissist, run” and be done with it, but that can’t be the case for every LO. On the other end of the spectrum, some few of these situations actually will probably be cases of mutual, un-disclosed, limerence (or, at least, mutual attraction with communication near-misses), right? But what about the center mass, the great bulk of “no, he/she’s probably just not that into you” where the signs of interest, or some of them at least, are there anyway? What are those LOs doing? Why are they doing it? What are they thinking?
We know that limerence thrives on uncertainty, so if we could put together some likely scenario for what the hell is going on in these uncertain scenarios that is anything other than “he/she secretly loves me but won’t say so”, it would go a long way toward fighting that uncertainty. Maybe we’ll never know 100% for sure, but having something else that’s plausible, something that we can lean on other than “oh yeah, they want me, and can’t say so for X reason”, would at least help in recovery, right?
Speaking personally, my LO and I are friends. Pre-quarentine, we saw each other several times a week, including occasional meals together. In any group activitys, she’d gravitate towards me, etc. Now that we see nobody, we still text often, usually daily (anywhere from 1-2 messages to several dozen, back and forth. It varies), video conference at least once a week, and so on. The LE is getting close to 2 years now, so I have a fairly decent sample set to work with. Taking that information, I’ve consumed a multitude (several dozen at least) of youtube videos and web articles on both “signs your friend secretly wants you” as well as the opposite “signs she’s just not that into you and wants to be just friends” (As an aside, most of these videos are 90% the same “signs” as other videos on the same topic, but that 10% of insight in each video makes clicking on the next one worthwhile. Just watch out for the predatory “player/pua” videos). Over the past few months, I’ve learned a metric shit-ton about human interactions, psychology, body language, intuition, unconscious signals, and so on… but regretfully I still am not one bit closer to figuring out my own personally situation. My LO very clearly (to me, anyway) fits BOTH scenarios. Some of the “she’s into you” signs fit our interactions, some don’t. Some of the “she’s not into you” signs fit us, some don’t.
As I already said, we’re friends, so the “that’s what friendship is to her” explanation is the obvious candidate. It’s where I started of course. But like I said, she does enough things with me that she doesn’t do with anybody else (so far as I’m aware) that the uncertainty is still there. It’s maddening. What the hell is she thinking/doing. I’ve been working under the “you’re just a good friend as far as shes’s concerned, ignore the confusing bits” for a long time now. And it mostly keeps me sane. Mostly.
I expect what I’m saying has got to resonate with some of you guys and ladies, at least I assume so based on what you guys post. I’d love to hear your theories on what our LOs might be thinking (other than “I like attention”, obviously). I don’t know that there’s an easy answer here. This possibly could be complex enough to be its own article (hell, maybe it is and I just missed it).
There is, of course, the distressing possibility that I’ve made it 40-odd years into my life and still don’t understand what friendship is.
Are you both available? If so, are there any hindrances to just quite literally “going for it”?
As an INTP, I had a few aggressive partners, but I did miss out on some others due to
not taking the chance, but if I had just taken the risk and done something . . . who knows what would have transpired?
I do sometimes have male friends that I really enjoy talking to as just a friend, that I find attractive, but I don’t want to act on the attraction or date them. There are lots of reasons for this (other than having an SO already!)……in my single days, this may be because they were not really my relationship type, or because I was really into someone else. On occasion it has been because I felt like I would be punching to far above, or because they were too charming and I wanted to avoid a bad LE so I held myself back. Sometimes it has been because a good friend likes them and I don’t want us to be competing for a man.
We must also remember that 95% of people are non-limerents so they are able to like someone a bit, enjoy the mutual attraction and flirtation, and maintain things like this indefinitely without feeling driven to act. They may not know they are driving their “friend” deeply into limerence because they have never experienced an LE so do not realise how deeply and irrevocably some of us experience crushes or infatuations.
When in an LE, I definitely have the tendency to look at all my LO’s behaviour in relation to how they may or may not feel about me. While I may sometimes be bang on the money, I know that most of his behaviour is actually nothing to do with me even if he does like me – he has a full life and I am only a teeny part of that. Not the same for me unfortunately.
The fact that 95% of the population can enjoy flirtation and pass it off as harmless recreation does seem a trifle unfair. What is it about us limerents? Is the emotional part of our brain more responsive to stuff? Are we more honest than average or more moral than most? Honestly, the “custom” of insincere flirting (giving and receiving) makes me feel uncomfortable.
I hear you, I find it soo frustrating that I can not just be friendly to LO till we can meet up coronawise and see if we are in fact a match
I have to come to terms that an alcoholic can not drink with patience
After 10 weeks NC I recently had some contact, he was super nice and enthusiastic, but I immediately felt sucked back in the addiction. So I stopped replying. Poor man doesn’t understand me at all.
@Sammy. Yup utterly unfair! Saying that….on very rare occasions (once in a lifetime for me), limerence can feel quite magical when you are both single, feelings are reciprocated and you feel secure and trusting with LO. Non-limerents will never experience that level of euphoric intensity. The only problem is that the feeling is so amazing, it is hard not to want to experience it again…just once last time before you are too old.
I am deeply romantic, have a vivid imagination (which I use often) and have addictive tendencies. I think this is what makes me a limerent.
@Mia – I’m afraid I am chuckling a little thinking about your LO! Some types of men can be clueless at the best of times but I can’t imagine what he is thinking right now 🙂
Well done you!…you tested the water and had the self awareness to look after yourself. You are one incredibly strong woman!
Vicarious Limerent says
It’s strange because I can enjoy innocent and minor flirtation without becoming obsessed. Limerence only happens to me once in a blue moon (in fact, this is the first time in 20 years). I am able to have minor crushes without becoming fully limerent. Do others experience this?
Its a fair question @Jackson. There is a mantra that limerence is all about you, and what the LO thinks is irrelevant as you fight your way out of it. I get that to a degree, but apart from those cases where it is all in the limerent’s head, there are two participants in this dance and it is understandable to want to figure out their motivations too.
As Allie says, the vast majority of the population are non-limerent. I’d include myself in that, and instead describe myself as someone who has had 2 limerent episodes (in c. 25 years of relationship history). Thinking back to the other women in my life, my feelings toward them fell on a spectrum. Some I liked romantically a lot, some a little. With some it was physical, others it may have been but it would have taken them to initiate something (i.e. I could take it or leave it). When I was single I was socialising a lot more and in theory I had various girlfriend options, and they would move up and down the priority list depending on the level of interaction and how much they seemed interested in me.
So when I think about LO, who was single and socialised a lot, she liked me – she said so in her own way, her friend told me she did, and most onlookers seemed to think she did too. Plus, as Matt says, when you’ve been around the block a few times, you can just tell. But, was she obsessed with me? No, I don’t think so. I’m sure I was one a few people in her life that she liked in someway, I would have been the most unusual and unavailable though I’m sure. She would have liked the attention, the relationship we had, but she was 19/20, she had no plan, no agenda. Maybe if i’d pushed it she would have reciprocated, maybe if I’d been single she would have gone for it (that’s what her friend said). For her it was probably a bit of an inappropriate crush that she could manage fairly easily. To a limerent, its hard to imagine being able to take or leave something like that, but to most people, that’s how they operate.
Vicarious Limerent says
I totally agree with Vincent that even for me as someone who has experienced limerence, I have had many attractions and minor crushes that never crossed the line to full-blown limerence. I probably experienced actual limerence 3-4 times in my life, and maybe a little milder infatuation the same number of times. I have also had minor crushes many times too, and I can find a lot of women attractive without developing any real feelings for them.
I also think that simple flirtation can’t be discounted as a motivation. People enjoy flirting and being flirted with even if they’re not serious about the other person (or the person is unavailable or unattainable for whatever reason). I heard somewhere (it might have been on LwL) that one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs is knowing someone likes and is attracted to you. I believe that unless you find the person completely unattractive, you are going to sit up and take notice if you find out or suspect that someone likes you. In many cases, people will start to flirt back. I believe it’s just human nature, and I don’t think a little harmless flirting is wrong even when one or both parties is in a committed relationship. We all want to feel wanted and desired.
I used to always downplay situations where I thought women liked me and were flirting with me, but I have started having a little more confidence in that regard and can spot these types of situations much better than in the past. For example, there is a younger, fairly attractive married woman at my work. After I lost quite a bit of weight, she started paying me much more attention than before. She would walk into the lunchroom and give me a big smile. I also noticed her making an obvious show of looking me up and down while smiling one time. I guess she was telling me outright she noticed I had lost weight and thought I was looking good. She was probably hesitant to actually say anything, but her body language was way more flirtatious than if she had just said, “Wow, you’ve lost quite a bit of weight. You’re looking good.” Now, you can obviously compliment someone on their weight loss without flirting with them, but I tend to think it was mildly flirtatious, even though I still believe it was quite innocent.
I had the same experience with noticing women noticing me, and then shutting off the attention due to weight gain.
4 years ago I started a new job. I’m not a bad looking guy, and I noticed the same kind of interactions with women I normally did. Lots of eye contact, smiles, and laughing at what I said, especially from younger women. All innocent stuff, but it was clear that most women liked interacting with me. Funny thing, the older women usually don’t do this stuff. I guess they’re more in control of their actions.
But at the same time I started the job, I began suffering the effects of a longtime digestive disease. I ended up gaining 20 pounds in 7 months, I looked unhealthy, and I actually thought I was dying. I suddenly was a ghost to all these women. Very little attention. Women were annoyed that I was talking to them.
But after a diagnosis and a diet change, my health returned and without even trying I lost 40 pounds of fat and replaced it with 25 pounds of muscle. Suddenly – I existed again! Women were happy to engage with me again!
It was a crazy experience to go from an attention getter, to a ghost, and back to an attention getter. Talk about a lesson learned.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Matt: It is amazing how even a fairly small amount of weight lost can make a difference. I am down about 50 pounds (23 kg) from my all-time high in terms of weight, but I haven’t been that weight for maybe 7-8 years. I have now lost about 18 pounds (8 kg) since I met my LO seven months ago, which isn’t a huge amount, but I also gained a fair bit of muscle in that time, so the end result is I have lost a considerable amount of fat and went down a couple of sizes in my clothes (a size I haven’t been since the mid-90s). Already I am noticing a fair difference in how women treat me, even though I could still stand to lose quite a bit more weight. A few months ago, I was at a night club and a woman grabbed my butt while I was at the bar buying a drink, and another very attractive lady approached me and just started dancing with me. Those kinds of things NEVER happened before! I notice that I get “the look” sometimes from women indicating they fancy me, rather than them just staring right through me (which was usually the case before). I don’t care what people say; weight does matter! I can’t wait to lose even more weight, although I have kind of plateaued in the last few months (possibly due to stress and the fact that gyms were closed).
One of the things I am really looking forward to is losing weight on my face (I tend to show weight on my face, and while I have lost a bit on my chin, neck and cheeks, I still have a fairly round, chubby face which I don’t think really looks like me; I want my handsome chiseled features back!). Lifting weights really helps. For anyone struggling with their weight, I would highly recommend it, and don’t skip leg day because putting on muscle on the legs can help burn belly fat and increases testosterone and other hormones, which can then help you replace muscle with fat all over the body, even if the scale hasn’t moved (even women produce some testosterone and you aren’t going to look too muscular unless you overdo it and take performance-enhancing substances). One of the things I miss about the gym is the ability to do hard, heavy, punishing leg workouts, but I am still pretty consistent in working out at home.
In all honesty, I know my LO really likes muscular guys. In some ways, that was a motivation to begin with, but I already worked out for many years before I ever met her. My biggest problem was consistency, and my diet was never the greatest, but I have gotten better in that regard in the past few months. At one point, I mentioned to my LO having previously belonged to a gym in her town. Her reaction slightly upset me because she then casually looked me up and down as if to say, “YOU work out?” (at least that was what it seemed like to me anyway). I have had that reaction in the past, and it is kind of unfair. You could be in great shape and have huge muscles, but if you have a bit of a belly, people don’t believe you could possibly work out (the other thing is that lower body fat really increases muscle definition). Perhaps wanting to impress my LO wasn’t the nicest motivation for weight loss, diet and exercise, but by now I am doing this for me more than anyone else. Life is too short and I’m done being fat. People make all kinds of negative assumptions about overweight people. Sure, I have a dream of some day walking into the pub where I met my LO looking like a Chippendale and maybe catching her eye (especially if my marriage ends for whatever reason), but this is all part of purposeful living, and my fitness and weight loss goals are more for me and how I am perceived by others (although I am starting to get some vibes from my wife that she is threatened by my transformation).
Vicarious Limerent says
D’oh! It should have been “replace fat with muscle” above!
VL, don’t work out for the ladies, work out for yourself! And remember women are different than men – they value different things than we do, and they can spot when guys care too much about their physical selves.
Also, remember that people find traits that are different than their own traits to be attractive in others. If all you see in the mirror every day is your own thin face straight dark hair, and dark eyes, you’re going to find a rounder face, curly hair, and lighter eyes to be attractive. I’ve had at least two women tell me how cute my rounder face is. Don’t try to change yourself for any other reason than to make yourself healthier!!
Vicarious Limerent says
Very true, Matt. I am working out and losing weight for myself, but I don’t mind a little female attention too (no matter what happens in my marriage). I know a lot of women don’t like huge bodybuilder types, but I’m not trying to be one of those anyway. That takes years of dedication, the right genes, a special diet and likely major doses of “Vitamin S.” Many women these days say they prefer the “dad bod” anyway (which I certainly have at this point, since a dad bod isn’t about being a total slob; it means you actually care somewhat about your health and fitness but aren’t fanatical about it). I watched a few videos where they interviewed women and the women were saying that. Still, for many of them, it just sounded like they thought the dad bod was simply more attainable and less out of their league. I suspect that many of them wouldn’t be averse to a guy with a Chippendale-type body if they could get one. On the other hand, I also heard somewhere that guys work out primarily to compete with other guys (there’s that dominance hierarchy again). I think there could be some truth to that.
I was laughing all the way through as I have experienced every single one of these thought patterns. And then I got sad about my circumstances when they ended. Every time I think I’m over it, I catch myself smiling when I think maybe, just maybe, she sent me a message. It’s like a hit of dopamine every time that messenger notification lights up.
Unfortunately I am now in the “I’ll just quit my job” camp as that seems to be the only way out. It seems extreme, but so is the idea of continuing on in this emotional state and a job is just a job.
i’m glad I found this. I feel better but also, stop spying on me! lol
Thank you for allowing me to laugh at my own behavior, when I first learned I had limerence behaviors I was mortified and ashamed haha, now I see it as just silly 😜