Spend some time on the pages of the collective sum of human misery that is the agony aunt blogosphere, and you’ll come across the idea of the “emotional affair”. Definitions vary somewhat, but the basic idea is of a love affair that does not become physical. Certainly, the definition of “physical” can vary – be it a hug, a kiss, a drunken fumble, or intercourse – but the idea is that the primary betrayal of the SO comes from the sharing of emotional intimacies with the affair partner.
Some people dismiss the whole notion of an emotional affair as absurd, and an example of unreasonable jealousy on the part of the SO. Those people are non-limerents. (I’d bet my house on it). Their view (the non-limerents, who are wrong) is that sharing intimacies is not a violation of monogamy, because friends can be emotionally intimate – indeed, they argue that this is a healthy and normal aspect of friendship, and the gender or sexual orientation of the friend is entirely immaterial to the situation.
In fairness, I am sure people who sincerely hold this view do exist. They pop up in the comments section of sites dealing with love all the time, to lament how all the girlfriends of their male friends dislike them, even though they have absolutely no designs on the man. They remain baffled by this pattern of partners who for some inexplicable reason don’t like their SOs spending hours discussing personal and intimate topics with another woman.
Before I became properly aware of the existence of non-limerents, I confess that I held a rather uncharitable view of these people. I am ashamed to admit that I thought they understood perfectly well why they raised the hackles of partners, and that they actually just enjoyed the attention of lots of their (sexually compatible) friends, and got a bit of a thrill from knowing that they had an emotional hold over someone else’s SO.
It probably doesn’t help that this is the pathetic clichéd excuse of someone who is actually having an affair, and the first argument presented when a sceptical SO finds the first flirty text on a borrowed phone. “We’re just friends.”
Now, thanks to the consciousness-raising of Dorothy Tennov’s work, I am more open to the idea that non-limerents could, genuinely, seek the sort of intimacy that limerents crave from their partners in friendships. It’s another one of those tragedies of misunderstandings between the two cultures: non-limerents can’t understand why their limerent partner is jealous of their friends, and limerents are distraught that their LO is starting an affair.
So, why is it that limerents react so badly to emotional sharing, and can we learn to reach a middle ground of mutual understanding?
Let’s approach this by considering what an emotional affair means to a typical limerent. As I’m assuming this is most of my audience, I’m going to work from the starting point of how to identify an emotional connection that crosses the line from friendship to affair. I guess the commonest difficult situation that a limerent will encounter is developing limerence for someone other than your SO. Is this automatically an emotional affair? What can you do about it? How should you act?
1) Your thoughts are your own
An important first principle is that no one should feel guilty about their feelings or their thoughts. I really don’t believe in thought-crime, and anyone who makes you feel guilty about your thoughts is almost certainly jealous and controlling, and unpromising material as a life partner.
As limerents, we are not able to turn off our feelings and stop being limerent at will. When developing limerence for a new LO while in a monogamous relationship, you should not feel guilty about the emergence of limerence. The only thing to feel guilty about, in my view, is your actions after it has set in. The emergence of limerence should lead to personal analysis: why am I vulnerable to this? Is anything happening in my life at the moment that might make me susceptible? Do I need to work more at my relationship or have I been trying to ignore its deterioration for too long? Or, quite possibly: have I succumbed to an LO who knows how to manipulate my limerent tendencies?
The key thing is not to try and kid yourself that you can handle the limerence, and that really this is just a kindred spirit who totally understands me, and that wasn’t really the glimmer that was just me feeling connected to a good friend. I should be allowed to luxuriate in their intoxicating company, no harm done. Denial of the problem is an evasion: willful ignorance that puts your relationship at risk.
2) Sometimes LOs are unavoidable
You may have to spend time with them. If so, boundaries are your ally. Set some clear ones: no chit chat about sex. No discussing your or their partner’s shortcomings. No discussions about love (or limerence). If your interactions are in a professional setting, this should be easy, as you shouldn’t be discussing that shit at work anyway. If your interactions are not at work, then why are you interacting with them? Ha! Gotcha!
OK, maybe you’re one of those people that has more than a handful of friends, and socialise and stuff. If so, the same principles apply. No quiet chats in the corner while everyone else is getting the drinks in. No lingering hugs or kisses. And don’t indulge them – many LOs can enjoy the attention and seek to cultivate your limerence through flirting and touching of their own. These people are not your friends. Boundaries are your friends.
3) You will probably know when you’ve crossed the line
Limerence is not associated with a subtle emotional landscape. I have known my closest friend since school, and love him sincerely. Never once, when discussing intimate topics, have I felt butterflies of anxiety and hope, nor crushing despair when he misheard, misunderstood, or plain mocked me for my disclosure. I can listen to his own problems without prejudice, or without wondering how best I can frame my answer to meet his approval. That’s the point of genuine friendships: there is no anxiety or emotional compromise, even when you disagree. In contrast, in the foothills of an emotional affair, your limerence will assert itself. And when it does, that means you are close to the tree line.
For the sake of clarity, here are some topics on the wrong side of the line: Declaring your love for LO (even as a joke). Explaining that you are deeply unhappy with your partner and would like to leave, if only you could find the right person. Gazing into their eyes, and complimenting them on their beauty. Kissing LO.
I would hope these were obvious, but with some people, you never know.
4) If you can’t stop it, be purposeful and show integrity
I’ve already offered the opinion that we can’t be authentic friends to our LOs. It follows that if you attempt it, you will almost certainly crystallise the limerent reaction and be completely hooked. At that point, your existing relationship is on very thin ice. If you are in full-on denial mode, then you are likely to start devaluing your SO, idealising your LO, and behaving in a way that destabilises your primary relationship. Assuming that you wish to live a purposeful life, and not pass through it like a ping-pong ball in a tumble drier bouncing from crisis to crisis, now is the time to start being honest with yourself and others. If your relationship with SO is dead to you, then tell them. You probably should disclose the limerence. You may not want to, but giving the truth to the person you committed to is the least you can do. They may hate you and leave you. Suck it up. That is the consequence of your decision – if you take it with integrity then you should be able to live with it. And they will at least know the reality of their lives.
After disclosing to your SO, and deciding whether you both want to continue with the relationship, you have to respect their requests. If they demand no-contact with LO, and that is unbearable to you, then that tells you quite clearly how you are prioritising your relationships. Otherwise, cut contact and focus your efforts on being a better partner, and clearly communicating your needs.
If the primary relationship ends, the LO may not want to be in a relationship with you. Tough. If you became so limerent for someone else because you were discontented with your relationship, then the primary relationship was not working for you. Seek a new one, with an LO that reciprocates.
The basic message here is that limerents understand emotional affairs, because they crave exclusivity and respond powerfully to interactions with LOs that stray from the simple friendship template. An affair is never a good option, never a purposeful choice in life. Limerents feel the sting of infidelity keenly, because they are emotionally all-in in their relationships.
My father had a collection of old Playboy and other men’s magazines from the mid-to-late 50s. As a young adolescent, I found them and read them. A common theme of the cartoons was an older man, vaguely reminiscent of the guy in Monopoly and a younger mistress. It usually took place in someplace like a bar, restaurant, or hotel room.
The thing I remember most about them was the guy never seemed to complain about his wife’s looks, temperament, etc., it was a variant of “My wife doesn’t understand me.” If you look at characteristics of emotional affairs, being with someone who “gets me” is one of the biggies.
Some things never change.
You really have no clue do you.
“Or, quite possibly: have I succumbed to an LO who knows how to manipulate my limerent tendencies?”
I hadn’t considered this but the therapist did. She asked what POI #4 knew about me. I asked why she had asked the question. The therapist wanted to know if she could push my buttons,
I told the therapist we’d been corresponding online for about 4 years at that point, I was a volunteer on her website, and I would bounce ideas off her periodically, She knew a lot about me. I told the therapist I wasn’t afraid of her and that I didn’t owe her anything. POI had no leverage on me. The therapist asked how I’d feel if I broke contact with her. I told her I’d feel like a schmuck for turning my back on someone who’d reached out to me.
The therapists’s reply, “There’s the guilt.”
I’m non-limerent but believe me, Mr. Lee’s emotional affair (one-sided but still there) is a big sticking point.
Please don’t think that non-limerents are so obtuse or insensitive that we are incapable of recognizing emotional beyrayal. We may be so sensitive to it that we do not move on closer to potential mates because we don’t (or haven’t yet encountered) someone who affects us in that manner. Limerence seems to have a similar effect on some that a mouse or rat infected with (snaps fingers in frustration… pregnant women should avoid changing cat litter due to effect on fetus) has. They become less afraid of cats. Limerent find themselves drawn to LO like moth to flame and they can convince themselves there is no harm that can befall them.
I think anyone can become limerent, but many don’t. Some may not recognize it as such, of course.
I hope you & Mrs. Limerence and the little Limerences are doing well.
What I find interesting here is that I (the limerent) felt I had betrayed my husband (non-limerent) through a few emotionally intimate lunchtime chats with LO. Whilst we never talked about sex, we discussed the pressures of having young children, the possible benefits and shortcomings of marriage counselling, how long you give someone to change before you call it a day, how much it’s reasonable to expect someone to change, taking the responsibility of breaking the family up, why its easier to stay in a holding pattern…
After a couple of chats like that I started to arrange to meet other friends at lunchtime when I was working or tried to keep to neutral topics if I couldn’t.
However my husband didn’t seem to have a problem with it and thought I was making too big a deal of it.
We have come to understand we have different defintions of intimacy and as I had only had a few friendly hugs with LO, so hadn’t crossed the line, he wasn’t as upset as I would have been had things been the other way around.
Still, over 2 months NC and counselling underway. Slow but steady progress!
I’m so glad it’s getting easier for you, Sophie.
I’m really grateful for the support!
Hey – it’s not easy and we can all use a little support from time to time.
The best part is that you recognize what are potential minefields for and within yourself. That is fantastic.
Grats on the NC, Sophie!
What I find interesting in your post is:
“Whilst we never talked about sex, we discussed the pressures of having young children, the possible benefits and shortcomings of marriage counselling, how long you give someone to change before you call it a day, how much it’s reasonable to expect someone to change, taking the responsibility of breaking the family up, why its easier to stay in a holding pattern…”
I can see how your husband may not see a few hugs as betrayal. Is he a non-limerent as DrL describes in “The Two Tribes?”
When you disclosed to your husband did you tell him what you were talking about? I can see how he wouldn’t see it as betrayal but did he see it as an indicator of something not right in the marriage? Those aren’t topics happy people confide in co-workers, especially without some degree of trust. If both of you are relating to this topic, it’s pretty easy to see how you bonded with him.
I did disclose the topics of conversation to my husband, but I don’t think he heard what I said, I mean he heard the words but thought they related to LOs marriage.
You’re spot on, they’re not topics I would normally discuss with a co-worker. LO had this odd way of seeing past my public persona and really getting in touch with my emotions and and challenging ny usual emotional defences (which were up against my husband at that point) and I felt so safe and comfortable with him. The trust had been built up through our work in the year before the limerence emerged.
I definitely bonded over these conversations, which was partly what was making me so desperate to leave thr job and go NC (despite craving his company and these conversations so much!) It felt disloyal. My husband asked why I didn’t see it as disloyal when I talked about those things with my long standing female friends, and I tried to explain I’m already bonded with them and they pose no risk to our marrriage.
We both knew but were avoiding the topic of things not working. The “silver lining” of this LE is that it has made me face up to what needs addressing.
“The “silver lining” of this LE is that it has made me face up to what needs addressing.”
I’m so glad it worked out that way rather than a more painful, ugly way. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the two of you will still have a good partnership now and in the future. No matter what form it takes.
It sounds like you’re well on your way!
Much of what you said about your LO sounds familiar although I was the one who was seeing into her. When she responded to it, I started down the rabbit hole.
Please keep posting. I think you would encourage people.
Thank you both.
It very nearly took a different path. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often wonder “What if?” But oddly enough limerence doesn’t leave me wondering all the negative consequences.
Rational brain vs emotional brain seems to be my issue. Thankfully rational brain seems to have got the upper hand!
I’ll let you in on a secret, Sophie. It’s really difficult to override your emotions and there is a reason why people can know something, someone or a situation is REALLY bad for them but really struggle to change the situation.
People are wired to connect and when they do, they’re wired not to give it up. It can be the ritual itself, the substance, the person, anything. Once you link pleasure with an action or person, it smothers everything else.
What you are doing is HARD. I hope you find it rewarding in the long run. I hope you and your husband are figuring out ways to give each other little rewards. Hugs, time alone in the bathroom, etc.
“It very nearly took a different path. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often wonder “What if?” But oddly enough limerence doesn’t leave me wondering all the negative consequences.It very nearly took a different path. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often wonder “What if?” But oddly enough limerence doesn’t leave me wondering all the negative consequences.”
I wonder if that’s an undocumented characteristics of limerence? That in spite of the other traits of limerence, you retain that sense of reality. I remember telling the therapist that if LO #4 had been 25 miles away vice 2500 miles away, this could be playing out very differently.
Sophie, in terms of the process:
1. Who approached who? Did you see the glimmer in him or did he see something in you that made him approach you? Sometimes, it may be that it’s not them that has the glimmer, we may be broadcasting something.
2. Of all the stories on the site so far, yours seems to have the most plausible reason for finding yourself in an emotional affair (if you did). Not all emotional affairs are LEs but some certainly are. At what point would you say you crossed a line to an LE? In my last LE, we never came anywhere near the topics you discussed at least until her relationship collapsed and she started opening up.
I’m not trying to put you on the spot but you have a fresh set of circumstances to look at.
It started out as a really good working relationship. Our paths had crossed before and we had a similar background, but hadn’t worked so closely before. I was in a new role after maternity leave. He was very supportive (got me a payrise on my 2nd week!) respectful professionally and kind. I felt properly valued for the first time in ages.
I recall one conversation which is when I started to view him slightly differently. Everyone was tired that day so I jokingly asked if we could close up and all go for a nap (2 other colleagues involved in this conversation) He replied that he wasn’t sure our partners would be happy with us sleeping together. I made some comment about simultaneous napping being different, but I was taken aback! That’s when the crush started.
I was working somewhere that brought me into contact with a lot of people from my past. Most of the tine that was lovely but once in a while it was triggering. If I’d been upset at work in the past I would take myself off to work out the back for a few mins, pull myself together then be OK. On one occasion he came round, remained respectful and said “Surely we all need more support than that. Would you like a hug?” Well that was one of the best hugs I’d ever had.
From then on, that hug became the basis for a lot of limerent fantasies.
Sometimes we’d have a hug to celebrate a successful day, sometimes it was because one or either of us were upset by something (he had a spell of panic attacks, so I tried to reciprocate the support he’d given me).
Conversations got more personal – family stresses (both have a parent with severe mental health issues) and somehow my lunchbreak and his kept coinciding, so chats continued.
At some point we linked up on social media, but didn’t really interact much at all. A few PMs but nothing I wouldn’t have shown my husband. I drafted a lot of messages, but never ever sent them.
The limerent fantasies started taking over. Didn’t matter what I did links to LO popped into my head. My day a week at work never came round fast enough. I was shattered at the end of every work day because I hadn’t disclosed yet relieved I hadn’t disclosed. Then the day before work I was inappropriately excited anticipating seeing him. Yet I kept saying to myself to stop being stupid – he’s unavailable to me as anything other than a colleague and friend.
A couple of times he mentioned he’d seen something I was trying to organise on social media, and wanted to come along but thought better of it. This reinforced the uncertainty.
After a while I disclosed to my husband, he thanked me for telling him, as what he was thinking was far worse. He was made understandably insecure, but didn’t get it fully. He thought it was a harmless crush that would pass. I was torn between giving 100% honesty and sparing his feelings. We set boundaries, which I stuck to and I started seeing a counsellor, who has been brilliant throughout.
One day we were the only people in the staff room, and he said to me “Are unhappy?” After trying to list reasons why I was fine (counting my blessings as my Nan would have said) He saw through it. I was expecting the opposite viewpoint but just got complete empathy. We discussed all the topics listed in my previous post. The connection was overwhelming. We then went to return to work, but ended up in a very intimate hug. He kissed my cheek a couple of times (working towards my mouth) and I was so tempted to turn my head and kiss him properly, but just kept thinking of our families, and I would have crossed the boundary.
The few weeks after that I really tried to limit contact, but obsessive fantasies of what could have happened still filled my head. At this point I started making other plans for lunchtime, keeping marriage related conversations off the cards and trying to focus on the actual work. Eventually I found that too hard so quit my job.
Whether than constitutes an emotional affair or not I really don’t know. I do know that despite all my work on myself and my marriage, he’s still in my head more than he should be. Husband and I have started marriage counselling, as I feel I’ve got as far as I can on my own. Marriage is recovering, but slow and steady.
Sorry this post has turned into an essay!!!
No need to apologise for the essay, Sophie! As Sharnhorst notes, your story is really valuable for showing another side to limerence.
It’s not hard to see how you were drawn to a supportive, emphathetic LO when in the midst of emotional turmoil. I also think it’s a great illustration of how differently limerents and non-limerents respond to cues – your husband clearly thinks the odd hug and personal chat doesn’t amount to much (and I’m sure a very large number of people would agree with him), but as a limerent you know the lasting potency such apparently small gestures can have. Despite that difference, it’s great that you took action according to your own principles and drew the boundaries you needed to – including quitting rather than continuing to put yourself in harm’s way. Hopefully inspiration for fellow limerents that are struggling to take action themselves!
As a last thought, this comment really resonated for me…
It’s mad, isn’t it? To want opposite things, equally strongly.
He was grooming you to become his affair partner. He let it slip with this comment, “He replied that he wasn’t sure our partners would be happy with us sleeping together.’
There was no suggestion from you about napping in a pile – simply that everyone could use a nap. He then started pushing your boundaries.
You mention that you both have a parent with mental health issues. That may or may not be the truth on his end. Have you and your counsellor discussed trauma bonding? You should look into it.
You did the best thing possible by no longer seeing him. I am sorry it cost you your job. Have you found one since then or have you and your husband gone a different route? Be mindful of social isolation. When you are starved, crumbs look like a feast. I mention this because you don’t mention other friends or family. They may not be close at hand, but a few friends can make a world of difference overall.
I hope the joint counseling sessions are helpful to you both. I know you feel bad now, but you dodged a bullet. IMO, he had designs on you and they were all about what he could get away with doing and not being held accountable. You and his wife deserve better than that.
Good luck to you both! Continue being honest with your husband. It’s really for the best.
I don’t know if he was grooming you to be his affair partner but I totally agree with Lee he was definitely pushing the boundaries. Some of his behavior comes across as almost predatory. You could say this was an unintended consequence but I don’t think he can use that explanation. He smelled blood in the water. As bad as it sounds, I was attracted to the blood in the water LO #4 was putting out. It’s kind of like a campfire at night, you never know what might be attracted to the light.
“Are you unhappy?” is a very intimate, powerful, question and one not to be wielded lightly. It can be a real boundary buster and should be reserved for true friends and intimates. Years ago, my cousin was in an unhappy marriage. I asked her if she was happy and she burst into tears. But, she was my cousin and I had a legitimate status to ask. I scrupulously avoided asking LO #4 that question because I was afraid of what effect that might have.
One hug was probably ok, after that, it was gratification for him. I got an email from LO #4 once that said how much she appreciated my emails. I told her it didn’t take a genius to see when somebody needed a hug. The geographical separation for us made things easier in many respects.
This guy is bad news. And, while you were attracted to him, you didn’t succumb to him and that’s a tribute to your character.
Here’s another reason for not disclosing to him:
Don’t give him the satisfaction.
I’ll add to the chorus that your LO was clearly pushing you to go further.
It could be that he was mutually limerent for you, but doing a worse job than you of managing it with integrity. But anyone who follows up an emotionally-charged conversation about your personal pain with an attempt to get kissy kissy is pretty suspect.
As DrL has pointed out elsewhere, LOs can have questionable motives of their own. It reminded me of this video. Just skip ahead to the 1:45 minute mark,
Thanks for all the interesting replies.
Firstly DrL, thanks to this blog that has given me some guidance on how to manage the situation. I really do appreciate all the support I get here.
Personally I didn’t feel his behaviour was predatory, as on several occasions I instigated a hug. I craved them like mad. He may have smelt blood in the water as it were, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to knowing his marriage was struggling (ie there was blood in the water on his side) before all of this kicked off.
The video was interesting, but I really did feel he was being kind. I had seen him go above and beyond what would reasonably have been expected of someone in his role for people he’s only just met, so couldn’t really see him having ulterior motives.
Or maybe the limerence is making me perceive his behaviour as non-threatening. Who knows?!
With regards to trauma bonding, although we haven’t directly addressed it in counselling, the fact our experiences had been so similar definitely played a part in bonding. It felt at times like we were equally broken in similar ways and under similar pressures. The conversations went in such a way that it would be pretty hard for him to make it up – he could build on what I’d said in a way that only someone who’d shared a similar experience could. I actually felt heard and understood, which for someone who spends her life having her small kids ignore the most simple of requests, is massive!!
I got a job working evenings before I quit. Partly as I needed to earn more to fund therapy, and partly because I suspected I was going to have to leave, but wanted to be sure I could cope with the new job before I jumped. The new job is OK. Not as intellectually stimulating but pays better and also feels like I’m making more of a difference to other people. I’ll do this for a few years then who knows.
What you didn’t detect was malice. There may not have been any to detect. Vipers are dangerous but they never attack out of malice.
Stick with the facts. With limerence, it isn’t the facts that kill you, it’s the presumption and speculation. Limerence thrives in the latter two and limerents are masters at slanting those to the outcomes we think we want.
The facts are he crossed the line and stayed there. Even if you initiated it, if he was acting in your best interest, he would have shut you down. Kissing you is simply indefensible. My therapist accused me of defending LO #4 after giving her a litany of LO’s less stellar traits.
LO #4 once told me that she thought I had her best interest at heart. I hope she still feels that way but, complicit as she was, I also think she had my best interest at heart. She finally shut me down and that was a good thing for me. She made it easier for me to do the right thing. Anybody who really cares about you will help you do the right thing, even at their expense.
Once you convince yourself he never had your best interest at heart, no contact will be a lot easier. Don’t be surprised if the guilt and shame are replaced with anger, some of which will be self-directed. Anger here is a good thing. You just don’t want to get stuck there.
And, if anything I say goes against what your therapist says, listen to him or her.
“but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to knowing his marriage was struggling (ie there was blood in the water on his side) before all of this kicked off.”
That is what he told you, that doesn’t mean it was the truth. Is his wife aware that he has said this about their marriage? She may be completely in the dark.
I’m not saying you should tell her nor am I saying you shouldn’t. But think about it this way – if your husband were courting someone else and potentially setting himself up with a warm body to snuggle with and a brand new start, would you want to know in advance?
“…he could build on what I’d said in a way that only someone who’d shared a similar experience could.”
Or, his wife has had the experience and has confided enough in him that he can play the part.
He may not be lying to you but he hasn’t been as honorable as you have been. No matter what happens with your marriage, you deserve to give and receive honesty. If that helps get this guy out of your mind – great.
While I’m sorry the new job isn’t as interesting, I’m glad it pays better.
Gotta run, so this is a bit abrupt and for that, I’m sorry. Maybe later I’ll flesh it out but for right now, those are my raw, unfiltered thoughts.
Wow, and I thought I was cynical! Lee and Sharnhorst make me look like an amateur 🙂
Seriously, this is all good food for thought. Probably LO was being honest with you, Sophie (factually at least), and you bonded through shared experience, but keeping your mind open to deceit is potentially a very useful tactic in recovery. It always pays to remind ourselves that we don’t know LOs motives, thoughts or goals. It’s so tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that, as their confidante, we understand them especially well (and vice versa).
It can help the healing to force yourself to view them with some emotional distance and wonder “what if they were not what they seemed…?”
I recognize courtship behavior when I read about it. He was courting her. She has a better sense of self-preservation than some do (the Reddit boards are sobering reading) and didn’t get trapped in the tar pit.
“Or maybe the limerence is making me perceive his behaviour as non-threatening.”
Well, it wasn’t dangerous behavior like running at you while screaming and brandishing a weapon. It felt good. But you were compromising your principles. You were able to see that and stopped it before you not only had crossed a line, you were so far over it you couldn’t see where you had begun and then started to justify where you were.
I’m sorry that losing his company has made you feel badly but he was never yours to lose, if you see what I mean.
Ah, kids. Yes, they will continue to ignore or delay doing what you ask them to do for years to come too. They like to test whether or not you really mean it, or when you will stand up and make it clear they have crossed a line. Some of them do that longer than others. I hope yours get a bit easier as they mature rather than more obstinate and surly. So maybe going limerence now will later help you deal with older children who play the game of doing “exactly what you said!” without doing what is necessary to get a job DONE. Rock-solid easily seen boundaries and very clear directions can be helpful in so many different ways.
I hope you and yours have a pleasant weekend.
Happy to have found this website.
I have experienced limerence 2 times in my life, always following 2 difficult emotional situations.
1st time – I was about 15 years old, when my father left home to live with his mistress and their sons, and never came back or contacted us. I fell for this guy at school (whose father died some years before). It took me 7/8 years to get over him (although like any addiction is never truly extinguished). By the 5th year of limerence we got involved and start dating, but soon I became a “after-midnight call for intercourse”, followed by days/weeks/month of no contact.
I moved country for one year, and when I came back I realised how much of my sentimental life I put on stand-by for this toxic relationship. I would have to pronounce his name several times per day during all these years. I finally put a end to it.
Started a stable relationship with someone for almost 4 years. I then decided to go abroad again for career pursuit. Eventually our relationship ended. I enrolled another very stable relationship but some doubts about it by the 3rd year. By that time my mum discovered she had cancer and I quit my job to give her a bit more support at her own/our country. In less than 6 months, she was gone. I went back to the foreign country where my boyfriend was and started immediately a new job.
I have to admit at this time, I wanted to feel something good. I wasn’t sure about my relationship and I had this huge hole due to my mum. Although my boyfriend couldn’t be more kind and supportive, I had feeling of missing, or a big emptiness in my heart.
In the new company, I felt immediately welcomed and I was rather having a good performance there. That was gratifying. Then, I felt limerent again (2nd time limerence) for this guy which I spoke only on the phone/company messenger and saw him twice as he worked in another city. He was rather extroverted, intelligent, easy to speak to and very interesting person. We could speak about politics, music, movies etc. I don’t have many friends so It was good to speak with him. I didn’t enrol these conversations with motivation of betraying but without noticing it, things went out of my control. I could see his name everywhere and I had to speak his name all the time. I tried to avoid daily meetings where I would hear his voice. I tried to avoid it, but it was already too late. Knowing the suffer I felt during 1st limerence I was immediately in panic. The guy on the other hand felt this connection and started double-sense conversations. All these cues he was dropping were like gasoline in fire. I wanted to finish my relationship with my boyfriend because I was thinking about someone else ALL THE TIME even when me and my boyfriend were intimate, even when my boyfriend did nice surprises for me (like offering a trip). I felt like a shit but couldn’t stop thinking, so I decided to break up and moved out from his house, which was hurtful for him. Regarding the other guy, I have no doubt that he was not being innocent but never understood what he really wanted. When I decided to confess my feelings to him (he also has a girlfriend), he said it was all only a joke between him and other colleagues regarding me. In fact he mentioned to his colleagues some of our conversations, etc. During all this time, I tried to get distance, I tried to keep things professionally and all he did was manipulate me even more for his ego boost? That hurt really bad and I decided that that cannot happen. Without saying much, I let everyone in the team understood that that was wrong. Some people would take his side, some people took mine. After 10 months, of mean jokes to me he left. and I left 3 months after. I couldn’t find another job for about 5 months. I went back to my boyfriend who knows about the whole thing.
It’s been 3 years since my mom died, 2 years since I confessed my feelings, 1 year since I left the company and I still cannot forget. I cannot forget his name, cannot stop thinking that we could have solved this out. I should have handled things differently. If it was not my boyfriend’s motivation to stick together, I would have closed myself emotionally to daydream about my LO. I really feel guilty and misunderstood, when I tell anyone all they can say is “but you only saw him through video conference, calls and texts, and 2 times face-to-face, how could he make this effect?”. I am ashamed but I admit that it also replaced the thoughts I should have for my mum… other guys were interested in me since, but I don’t care. My boyfriend and I are still together but don’t know if I can be in love with 2 people at same time. I hope I don’t close myself emotionally during 7/8 years again, otherwise I will wake up one day and realized all years of relationship I missed, due to daydreaming with LO.
In the end, I think he was curious about me, wanted probably a physical affair (he tried to meet), and in between let all his colleagues see how is seductive he was… that is disappointing but still doesn’t prevent me thinking about him.