In a previous post, I wrote about freedom from limerence and all the benefits that blessed liberty offers.
Sharnhorst added a comment suggesting a good topic: what are the “markers of freedom” that made us realise we were done with the limerence episode; that we’d got over the limerent object?
Freedom from limerence is when you can have 3 martinis at dinner and feel less inclined toward your LOs than you did when you were sober.
By chance, another comment from Benjamin around the same time gave a good marker too. His limerent object update her profile picture, and this is what Benjamin felt:
I admit that my heart skipped a beat when I first saw the new pic, and I watched it for several minutes. And I know is petty, but I’m realizing now that she isn’t as pretty as I remembered her
I’ve had a similar experience. Having a new photo of LO pop up on a social media feed and thinking “why did I find her so dazzling?”
So, for us old hands who have obviously and completely tamed the beast and can now sit around the fire telling stories of our escapades and adventures, let’s tally a list of markers of freedom.
Freedom from limerence is:
Having your phone buzz and not immediately thinking “it could be Them!”
Having a new experience and not immediately thinking “what would LO think about this?”
Listening to new music and not slipping into limerent reverie
Realising their ghost isn’t following you around any more
Being able to concentrate on a task without intrusive thoughts derailing you
You don’t realize you’ve blown past LO’s birthday until you see the date in a newspaper article you read
Instead of thinking you owe your LO an apology for something, you think they should apologize to you instead (but accepting you’ll never get one)
Realizing that aside from you, your LO had pretty lousy taste, usually in relationship partners.
Truly appreciating the wisdom in “Be Careful What You Ask For.”
You can see a redhead and not think of past LOs.
When you encounter a potential LO and think your past LEs weren’t really all that much fun.
Driving by your LO’s house without even thinking of them.
Finding you’re even boring yourself having the same thoughts about your LO over and over again.
Having no wish to check your LO’s profile pic on social media.
Being able to truthfully examine your LO’s appearance and being honest about their flaws.
Getting lost in an interesting project for several hours and realizing you hadn’t even thought once about your LO.
Being able to return to other priorities in your life that have nothing to do with your LO.
Honestly wanting your LO to enjoy their lives and find love, happiness and success, even if it’s without you.
Being able to find new motivation for self-improvement from within yourself without trying or wanting to impress your LO.
Picking up a new hobby or interest and honestly not caring if it would be something your LO would be interested in or impressed with.
Being alright with the fact that you might never see your LO again.
Checking a former LO’s social media feed without it triggering any of the old limerent feelings.
Doing activities that you associated with an LO and not being reminded of them.
Healthy introspection, including forgiving oneself for the time spent being limerent for any LOs, recognizing the good and bad from said episode and growing from it.Thanks to Sharnhorst, Vicarious Limerent and LG for their suggestions (briefly edited for repetition and occasional idiosyncrasy)
Over to you, dear LwL community!
Add your markers of freedom to the comments…
When you go to stalk his social and his last post makes you roll your eyes. You’d still give a limb just to know if he ever had feelings for you, but you’re cringing at what a retard he is, as clearly evident by the stupid shit he posts. That’s how I know I’m headed in the right direction.
Quite emotionally charged language, Mary.
Are you sure you’re really over him…?
Ha! Fair enough 🙂
Great subject and examples. While this LE is far from over (though it is significantly improved from the worst of its depths), there are previous LEs that I have freedom from and can say the markers of freedom for me are really:
– not living life in reference to them (life events occur and and are not defined by them, they are not even a thought)
– indifference to them generally and definitely indifference to their relationships (as in not feeling crushed at the thought of them with someone else)
– seeing them objectively – flaws and all (I seem to have glossed over serious issues that only became obvious later)
– not needing more from them
– experiencing full range again rather than highs and lows, usually by reference to them
– not replaying or overthinking things
– no feelings of not being enough
– no anxiety in relation to them
Writing these things out actually helps me now because it means the day will come that these can apply to the present LE as well.
Those are also really good phrases, Butter. Especially the one about not living in reference to them. Feeling that you escaped the all-judging eye of LO and that you finally be yourself again is truly liberating.
I just would like to say… I am nowhere near freedom. For now, I’m hoping to remain strong to continue with NC. But a day might come when he reaches out to me after a while as he’s done so in the past, and maybe just maybe by then I’ll know how to handle him a little better. For now, I am stuck in the “but I want answers” stage. I know Dr.L will not agree with this (heck, even I don’t) but I still believe LO hold the key to my freedom. If If if he could only be my true friend and allow me to get to know him better and only then he will lose his appeal. I still believe some of the limerance could easily be lifted if we truly saw them for the flawed human beings that they are. I already know my LO isn’t someone to pine after in the physical dept but if I could only establish something significant such as that he’s also a covert narcissist or has a personality disorder, or attachment wounds, or really is autistic… then I would finally come to an understsnding what it is that has brought me so much pain.
Stay strong, A_S. By the way, yesterday I was feeling a bit down yesterday in regards to LO and tried your “exposure” method, taking a good look at her photos instead of forcing myself not to do it. And it made me feel better about it! So thanks for your suggestion! Here’s hoping you finally find a way out with your LO.
Aaww, I’m so glad you’ve tried it. I have ocd so exposure method always works for me. How did it make you feel when you looked at the pics?
It was a bit like you described. Giving that I probably idealized her too much in my limerent reverie, removing that “forbidden fruit” taboo about her photos and seeing her for what she really is was probably needed, and made me recall that initial bout of indifference that I had when I first saw her photos: she was less my petite déesse*, and more just a normal woman I barely know for whom I fell, hardly, for some inexplicable reason. In that sense, the idea of being rejected by her stings a bit less, although I think I still have quite a way to go until I achieve full desensitization.
So thanks a lot again for the suggestion, A_S. I wish I could tell you something equally useful in regards to your LE, so if you need anything, jusy say it.
*actual affectionate nickname I thought about giving her once she and I became a couple. The delusions of limerence…
Maybe. Maybe not. This is the uncertainty trap when you try to get other people to solve the problem for you. Your plan might be “true friend” but who knows what they want…? And who knows whether you can manage to be friends without tying yourself in emotional knots?
Lots of uncontrolled variables in that plan 🙂
Hi Anxious Soul, ‘if he could only be my true friend and allow me to get to know him better and only then he will lose his appeal’, I could have written that myself…….because of the vast differences in our ages, and practically all other aspects of life, I’m certain that if I could have got to know him better during that short 7 day span, the LE might never have happened……but that didn’t happen, social media is my only contact, and so the limerence got stronger and stronger…until now it’s seemingly almost impossible to escape……I’m still suffering with all those markers above, and the one’s stated by Butter….one day I’ll be free….one day….
Your heart not skipping a beat when LO gratulates you on your birthday 🥳
Well it seems my subconscious has told me I am heading toward total freedom. I dreamed last night that ex LO called me from a number that I didn’t recognize and we fell into easy chatter until I realized what I was doing and quickly said “hey I am really busy and have to let you go” and he hung up on me. In my dream I felt nothing other than “that wasn’t very polite… and that was a close call”. No sadness or longing or any real emotion.
And another thing! Recently in real life his father called me just to say hello and reminisce about holidays we had taken and to tell me he missed me and wants to have me over when corona is over.
I. Felt. Fine.
So pleased that call didn’t churn up things up!
(I may not ever risk visiting though)!
Excellent article, as always, Dr Limerence! 😀 I thought of the following marker of freedom after reading the article:
“Conversing with a former LO and remembering later that you were limerent for them.”
I remembered I had had a couple of easy-flowing conversations with LO1, long after my limerence for them had ended, prior to my move a few years ago, forgetting, while I was talking to them, that I had ever been limerent for them.
When you finally see LO was actually just using you all the time. That she was covertly but intentionally provoking feelings on you. By that time you realize she’s just like your own narcissistic mother: getting reactions from you to take advantage over those reactions. It’s pretty much like a betrayal, as if you were just a puppet whose only purpose is being used to give narcissistic supply to them.
Then you feel all the rage that comes from realizing all that dirty and cruel stuff, and use it as a catalyst to detaching yourself from these toxic shameless people once and for all, together with start healing and growing yourself.
You are afterwards immune to being deceived by such evil creatures in the future, and start cleaning and cutting any toxic relationships you currently have and which you couldn’t see through until before you took this stunning punch in your emotional stomach.
I see everyone as floating into view and receding – as if bobbing on an endless sea, in and out of my awareness. LO was always right out in front, never receding. And at the height of the LE, so uncontrollably, intrusively dominating every bit of the view. But now LO is far, far away, barely a blip on the horizon. It’s so nice to just enjoy the ocean breezes and the expanse of sea and sky again. It took 6-8 months of concentrated effort. Worth every ounce of it.
Sorry, meant to post in the general comments column.
Understanding your vulnerabilities is a really big step.
Excuse me but “Boutique LOs/LEs” call for “Boutique Markers.”
Today’s somewhat idiosyncratic entry:
Freedom from Limerence is when you get your first hole-in-one ever in 25 years of playing golf and the only person you tell is your SO.
I wasn’t sure they all had universal relatability 😉
Netflix and port wine are prretty universal…but, hey, it’s your blog.
I left the one about the Battle of the Merlot and the one about LO #2’s first visit to a porn shop out.
When I read this, I cried, realizing how limerent Iam ,person addiction I have kept going. I gave up the belief that something was going to get stronger,
My freedom start with no believe in something will ever happen. So please believe them when they say you’re not girlfriend material.. Hahaaa
Thanks for this blog again…
Anyone who says that is really saying “I am not good boyfriend material”.
ELABORATE immediately, sil vous plais!
Not sure I’ve tamed the beast but I do feel much more freedom than I used to. I can concur with a lot of what has been said already. To add a few of my own:
– this week I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids and I’ve been completely immersed in what they were doing, not using the time for rumination like I would have been a year ago.
– actually looking forward to being with my SO. Being intimate and not thinking about LO. Flirting with each other and having fun.
– controversial, but having room for someone else to enter your thoughts. There is a glimmery girl at work who seems into me, and I find myself thinking about her a little (not obsessing). When my LE was at its height there was no room for anyone else.
Vicarious Limerent says
Vincent, I know exactly what you mean about someone else entering your thoughts. I believe we are hardwired to find other people interesting and attractive. I have never thought it was a betrayal to be attracted to or be mildly flirtatious with other people even in a happy, stable, committed relationship. I personally believe in the maxim, “I’m married, not dead.” I also think the idea of “microcheating” is a very dangerous concept bordering on punishing people for thought crimes (see the link below).
On the other hand, being limerent for someone is going a little too far. I personally think having mild crushes on five different people at once is much less dangerous than being completely obsessed and besotted with one person. I actually kind of miss having those innocent “crushy” feelings about other women I meet. It’s funny that my wife is worried about me going out to bars once they reopen. She worries about me cheating on her at this point, but what she doesn’t recognize is there is only room in my heart for one other woman at this point, and I am pretty damn sure she has rock solid morals and wouldn’t be interested in me anyway (and I would NEVER cheat on my wife).
Yeah its a double-edged sword. On the one hand I was like “huh, I’m fantasizing about this new girl now, not LO? That’s new, feels like progress…” but I’m also thinking “woah, lets not go down this path again…”
So I’m being watchful. I’ve had two LEs in 20 years, so realistically what are the odds of another? Or am I just more prone now I’m 40+, and I’m essentially replacing LO with a new version (transference)? Don’t know, best err on the side of caution.
As that article says, its natural to fantasize about someone else, but taking deceitful steps to progress things or hide things is where the line gets crossed. I did that before, I should learn my lesson this time and not do it again, or I guess the alternative is to accept that my moral compass is not pointing where I thought it was.
It is hard because society hasn’t normalised fantasizing / flirting with others if you’re married. It is not expected, not what you supposedly signed up for. The perception persists that once you put that ring on, like Frodo, you enter this other world where you only find your SO attractive. Its nonsense – a lie we tell ourselves and each other. Built from fairly tales as a kid. But coming out and talking about it with SO would be highly dangerous, at least for me.
“Who was that attractive blonde you were just on a VC with Dear?”
“Oh this girl at work I like to flirt with Darling”
“She’s very hot, bet you’d like to tap that if you were single wouldn’t you Dear”
“Oh, sure would Darling. Love you.”
Never. Gonna. Happen.
Vicarious Limerent says
The first time I went out to a bar during my LE, my wife half-jokingly said to me, “No crushes, now!” What she called my “crush” was my first and only LE as a married man and also my first in 20 years. I am hardly a serial limerent, even though I had experienced what I now believe to be limerence a few times over the years — but not for many years. I meet tons of nice, attractive, fun, exciting, successful women both socially and professionally and never become limerent for any of them. But this LE is so intense that I can hardly think of anyone else (other than my wife, of course). All of this for a woman I met in a pub nearly eight months ago now and spent only 2-3 hours with! The funny thing is I could list 20 things I like about my LO, but I still can’t say exactly what it was that made me so infatuated with her specifically. I mentioned that my mind was ripe for an LE with someone — anyone at the time — and that might have just been it. Having said that, she is a lovely lady and I can see objectively why I like her so much. I could even imagine falling in love with her if the circumstances were right.
I would also add not refreshing this site and hoping for a new article lol but clearly I haven’t gotten that far yet….
Vicarious Limerent says
I hear you Aimee! This is a fantastic site and community, but I find that I obsessively check for posts and comments up to about 10 times a day. I have commented on this before, but I wonder if thinking about limerence too much can have a detrimental effect on recovering from it?
Yep, I wonder the same, if I’m here it’s because part of me is still thinking about LO/LE.. (I do wonder how Dr L manages to write so perfectly about this subject without slipping into regular remuneration) but I’m so very grateful for this space and community, coming here instead of chasing LO shows how far we are on recovery but I would say we still have some way to go to truly be free
I think we all get a little addicted to this site for a while, I mean we need SOMETHING now lO Is gone.
I assume it will get less when we less need it.
Yes it does. I went through my search history and I checked this site literally so many times in a day it would be embarrassing to calculate how many. It was then I could see in black and white how much of a problem I had. Not the site but limerence in general. How it cosumed my every fiber. I always thought it could be OCD related? I don’t know, but it helped me a huge amount for many many months. Now I don’t really check much at all but I did have too consiously pull away becuase there comes a time when you realise that by obsessively checking this site, is actually holding you back. However when you are in the thick of limerence it it’s a lifeline.
If you are starting to feel better I would suggest checking a max of say 5 times a day for a while. The problem is I felt I was so focused on limerence that I was staying limerent.
I’m pretty sure that reading too much about limerence is a limerence symptom. It can be obsessive in itself at times and one can have a limerence article feeding (or reading even) frenzy.
Not refreshing is an interesting question. What would be more helpful article for limerence if we haven’t got that far… meaning you’re still having a relationship, you’re still hooked, you don’t want to end it. Remaining on this site offers you a guide & it can help try unravel the puzzle of being stuck in limerence. We can accept it as it is or get out of it. Both can be okay. That’s how I look at it.
Lazybones, I thought I too would be ok in my last LE and I “enjoyed” it for years. Except the times when I had this sneaking feeling that it wasn’t going to ever turn into something real…that it was all an illusion of closeness, of friendship, of transparency and honesty. Things popped up that made me realize that he knew all of me and I knew very little of him, but he made me feel like a partner, like a best friend, and with enough sparkle and flirtation to believe I was a going to be his next Big Love once he got over the devastation of his last failed relationship.
Then one day, shockingly, he was in a committed relationship (I didn’t see that coming) and I knew the whole thing had been a fraud.
The damage I did to myself by indulging in that relationship was severe. I am about a year and a half NC, and definitely healing up, but it could take years to fully recover, and at the end of the day, it wasn’t an honest and honorable and transparent relationship, and it many ways it was very, very unhealthy. Never again. I shall never delude myself again.
I’d go as far as describing these type of experiences as PTSD. Challenge me it ain’t so!
Definitely…l feel traumatized.at first by the wild swings up and down, followed up with a long ride scraping bottom. Yes PTSD.
Yeah, for me the delusion is the best and worst part of every LE. It’s so easy to come up with all kind of plausible scenarios where you and LO have your happily ever after ending, but once the LE goes south, realizing how fake it’s all been is certainly crushing.
I still have a bit of a road to walk in regards to my LO (fell into a bit of a mental relapse this past couple of days), but one thing’s for sure: if (or should I say when) I start having limerent feelings for another person I’ll try to cut all the happy couple fantasies to a minimum. That way it won’t hurt as much.
Can’t we limerent all start dating each other? (If single)
We start a “dating for limerents” that would be so great to both be limerent.
We don’t have to explain, we don’t have to be anxious, we just drift on pink clouds for a couple of years 🙂
Why not find another? When l was single and had gone through a heartbreaking breakupl took time to remember l would experience love again. And l fantasized about that and how it would feel. It helped me a lot.
@Jaideux. When you’re looking for real intimacy, I agree it’s devastating to end up with only the illusion. If a potential partner is being honest and transparent, etc, why wouldn’t they want to talk about their feelings and any exciting relationship plans (e.g. an impending commitment to some other lovely lady?) Why do some men have such a strange relationship with the truth?
I have certainly met someone who made me “feel like a partner, feel like a best friend”. But for him, it only seemed to be about what he felt (or wanted) in the moment. It was about the creation of an atmosphere, not a reflection of where our bond was at or where our bond was going. I even told him it’s wrong to call someone “darling” if you really have no feelings for them beyond the moment. It’s misleading, if nothing else.
There can be no love without both parties being transparent. But some people refuse to be transparent with themselves. As an honourable person myself, I’m not really interested in “competing” with somebody’s other flames. Competition is undignified. People should simply be honest I feel.
Yes! I have interviewed elderly ones that had fantastically wonderful marriages and they told me that there were no games, and no harsh words (even when disagreeing) and from the very beginning it was smooth and easy and uncomplicated and transparent.
But…I wonder if there is something in our limerent brains that feeds on the ‘unclear’ and that’s what gets us hooked and we wouldn’t be attracted to a person that didn’t carry an element of mystery about them? If this is true…it’s most unfortunate.
Thank goodness for this supportive network here & honest feedback.
Yes it’s not fun knowing we duped ourselves in fantasy & illusion & it wasn’t a healthy relationship. We have experience the wrong kind of attachment . But we can make it….have gratitude for the insight into our understanding of this limerence. So “Should I stay or should I go”, is a difficult decision to decide. Keep reading, keep walking.
Vicarious Limerent says
A few of the contributions in the above post were mine, and I do believe those are definitely signs of freedom. For me, the biggest sign of freedom is when the logical, rational part of my brain starts to win the battle by finally getting the message across to my entire brain that my LO is just a fantasy and someone I hardly know. Yesterday was a strange day because I was busy with a household project, and I spent quite a bit of time ruminating about my LO. But at one point, I started thinking about my wife and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of love for her. It felt really nice and like we might just be able to make it after all.
One thing I do struggle with on this site is the oversharing aspect. I worry not only about being found out by my wife or my LO (both would recognize me for sure based on at least some of my posts), but also whether providing so many personal details (even anonymously) is a betrayal of my wife. At one point about 10 years ago, I talked to an EAP counsellor about our marriage. When my wife found out, she got furious with me for talking about our problems with others. She is a very private person in some ways and she really worries about what I am telling others (although I know she has told at least three friends plus her mother about my feelings for my LO). I also think about my LO reading my comments because there is a possibility she is limerent for my brother in-law and may be on this site because of that (I had thought a couple of commenters on here (who shall remain nameless) may have actually been her, but I realize how silly that is).
@Vicarious… I wouldn’t worry if you routinely clear your cookies, browsing history and don’t sync your devices. Done! 😉
I don’t even have SO but I worry about these things too.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Anxious_Soul. I’m not worried about anyone finding this site on my computer. I just worry about them stumbling across the site in general and recognizing my comments. I use incognito browsing when I access this site (which isn’t foolproof but it does offer some level of privacy).
Realising that LO is not the answer, but rather a threat, to your happiness.
Michiel Mans says
I think it is often not LO that is the threat, but what your brain does with him/her. Your brain is the ‘enemy’.
Atya Bahul says
Hi there all😊,
I am both grateful and conflicted in finding this website & community.
I no longer feel alone in what I am experiencing & understanding the behaviours of myself and others has been extremely helpful.
I believe I have been limerent twice in my life, the first was with who I thought was the love of my life. He pursued me relentlessly and after 3 months of being together he announced he was “sexually confused” and subsequently made several suicide attempts , I was limerent for him for about 3 years. To my knowledge he has never really come out. I have no feelings for him now at all.
LO 2 was the first “relationship” post LO1 he was basically an a***ehole but I found myself limerent again for around 3years, despite entering in a relationship with someone else.
Both the above were in my early mid 20’s.
I now am certain through my 30’s I had been a LO for several coworkers. I did not reciprocate @ all as they were older & married with children. I always explained their behaviour away as perhaps being a distraction for the humdrum of family life.
If it was indeed limerence, I feel horrendous knowing that I might have caused this much pain to others.
I am fairly sure I have become a LO for a male coworker, he is absolutely gorgeous, single & could probably have anyone he wants. The lingering looks, protective behaviour and my highly sensitive intuition seem fairly sure this is the case.
I am unfortunately becoming mutually limerent and am beginning to feel that uncomfortable constant pain from many years ago.
Neither of us have acted on this and to be honest I can only recall one conversation in the time we have worked together(about 8-9months)- it’s crazy making isn’t it ?
I am married in my mid 40’s with 2 kids and I have no idea why I have become his LO- if I was single I’d have been in there like a shot- but I’m not.
A male psychotherapist (I was the scapegoat in a highly dysfunctional narcissistic alcoholic FOO) many years ago said there was something about me that needed “protection”- I never really understood what this meant as I am like many scapegoats : Mrs Independent, I trust very few people, have issues with self hatred, but apart from that just fine. I am a great mum & have been married for 11 years.
I have no social media profile due to privacy concerns- literally if you google my name you get nada, nothing at all.
Do you think the “protection” thing is what triggered the “glimmer” ?
I can see no good coming from this & I have a horrible feeling that the I’m not the only one who is going to be hurt in this situation.
Have you read https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/04/10/help-someone-is-limerent-for-me/ ?
I recommend you check this out, https://sharischreiber.com/do-you-love-to-be-needed/. See if any of that resonates with you. It’s up to you to figure out what the glimmer is for you. Mine was certainly tied to my childhood attachment. Your former therapist could be right, he could be wrong but he’s the professional and if you pull the string further, you can figure it out.
Atya Bahul says
Thanks Sharnhorst for your reply & for the the articles. The Sharishreiber was a tough read- I’ll have to consume that over a couple of days.
Would me devalueing myself somehow help? I suppose that could reinforce the whole protection/rescue thing….. I find myself tongue tied around him- a sure sign of limerence on my part.
I work a set pattern for child care & his work pattern seems to surround mine- could be a coincidence but it makes avoiding him difficult.
Of course I want to see him as selfish as that is.
I guess Henry VIII was limerent for Anne Boleyn and look how that worked out.
@Scharnhorst, I’ve just been reading that second link you provided, and all I can say is that it was intense and relatable. If I ever needed a crash course in understanding my life, that certainly was it! It’s given me some food for thought about my own past and how that relates to my limerence, particularly with LO4. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂
Atya Bahul says
I pulled that string……
I fortunately disclosed to my SO what was going on- this was incredibly therapeutic for us as a married couple. Really for me I am so thankful I spoke to him & no one else. It’s been positive in so many ways.
Prior to this Limerent/LO had appeared to deflate in front of my eyes (he thought I was leaving our place of work which I wasn’t) & I now realise he was playing the pity card. As an empath/highly sensitive person this very nearly worked. I went up to the edge of the cliff & nearly jumped off.
To cut a long story short I realised in time he is a covert narcissist and we were dancing the empath/narcissist game.
I grew up in an alcoholic narcissistic home & a classic trait is confusing pity with love- he so nearly had me with the pity party.
This may resonate with some of you- as soon as I realised his game/covert narcissism my limerence ended just like that-poof gone!
Maybe this was more about my attachment issues, as I never experienced the euphoria that is spoken about. I definitely felt a magnetic attraction to him and he occupied way to much of my head space- but to be honest after any interaction for several days I just felt anxiety and actually had extremely dark intrusive thoughts.
Thank goodness that seems to be over now and I still have my marriage and family intact.
Thank you for this site, it has been such a support through a difficult exhausting time. My thoughts are with all who experience this.
Michiel Mans says
Well now, now well, what a coincidence, the referring article is my entry point in this community, the one I LO- sobbed under. Ticking the -freedom from limerence is- boxes (insofar applicable) gives a nice insight in where I am. Which is, not where I want to be, but it’s OK.
Hope others are doing reasonably well too. Of course I could write ‘have a smashing time’, which I wish for everyone, but you wouldn’t be here if you have a smashing time.
Last smashing time I had was with LO six months ago 😆. But more to come.
I would add, freedom from limerence is not thinking about LO when choosing a what’s app profile pic.
Freedom? If she slapped me…ok, no seriously…
When she finally falls for me. Ok no more jokes
I’m really giving this some thought…
Yeah, on the immature side, when the thought of seeing her with a new boyfriend doesn’t terrorize me
When l feel frisson de couer for someone else.
Both seem very distant prospects
When after 7 months of complete NC you have to make a professional phone call (1 in 3 chance LO would answer) and you manage to be polite and professional, but with no other feelings afterwards? Feeling like I may be winning!!
Pleasantly surprised myself as this time last week I was craving contact. Hopefully that call was a reality check, and what I craved was the fantasy version?
@Sophie, congrats! That’s definitely what I would call a sign of freedom from limerence! 🙂 I’m hoping I will reach a similar point with LO4, whom I’m friends with and am looking forward to when we can chat and I don’t have the limerent highs that I’m getting after talking to them.
Recently I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this sign of freedom:
I start to ruminate about LO, but quickly think: “Ouch, that was a really painful experience. Why the heck do I want to feel THAT pain by thinking about everything all over again?? I think I’ll think about something else.”
If these kinds thoughts happen too early in the process, that would be a major sign of repression. But when you’ve spent the past year and a half spending your thoughts and energy (plus money) on two therapists, hundreds of pages of journaling, reading as well as introspection…nah, that’s not repression. That’s progress!
Journaling is oh so helpful. The only fear I have is that one day I’ll die and someone will get to read my thoughts and I’m embrassed in advance.
It can not be more embarrassing than this: I wrote down all my thoughts about LO one day in despair and took a picture as a reminder of my lowest . I don’t know how but I sent the picture by accident to all my therapist colleague.
Never been so embarrassed in my life, and my sister never laughed so hard .
@Mia, yikes! I hope your therapist’s colleague was okay with it!
My writing about my limerent thoughts, the runaway of emotions and the turmoil it inflicts has saved my sanity over the years. I never saved what I wrote about LOs 1, 2 and 3 (way too embarrassed about what I was describing in my writings!), but it gave me an outlet to make sense of my feelings and to give me a way to better handle them, or to tamp down on crazy fantasies or notions that my limerent brain kept churning out! It also gave me the chance to outline my thoughts about what I had uncovered with my limerence, particularly in the early days.
I have been keeping a diary of sorts with LO4, usually when I’ve had a bad day or to keep track of my progress. I had to report back to my writings in the past few days as I spoke to LO and their parent and had everything turned upside down with the prospect that said LO may move back, dependent on how things progress where they are.
That’s since unleashed uncertainty into my life, which I must contend with and having to control my wild limerent fantasies about their return, while my brain is being realistic and saying it’s not likely they will, and I have to end my limerence for LO4 so I can have a true friendship with them. So far, without that issue, I’ve been doing a good job with easing my limerence (it’s taking a lot of willpower mind!), but this is a true test of whether or not I can overcome my limerence for LO4 and maintain the friendship. I remain optimistic that I can.
Anxious_soul, that is precisely why I haven’t kept a journal up to now….someone might find it if I should pop my clogs….I actually panicked over something like this about a week ago….I began feeling unwell, and of course immediately thought ‘Covid’ I actually began deleting pics of LO on my computer….what to do, what a dilemma, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a lot of pics back……omg, SO might find them all….thank goodness, I felt ok a couple of hours later, and still have all the pics, gleaned from social media….how sad is that…
Blog suggestion. How to motivate onself to keep going, to keep living, to keep determination alive, despite the ongoing heartbreak, ruminations, emotional devastation, grief, repressed emotions, loss of hope that there will ever be anyone that will replace LO? It’s a daily struggle. The pain has become unbearable.
Is this how you currently feel? How long have you been NC? This is my madness coming out again, is NC the only way out? Can we ever be ‘large’ about it and keep LO in our lives? I know the answer is know because limerence makes us obsessive and being in their lives feeds it. But has anyone ever come out the limerence on the other end and had something positive or worthwhile, but not of course the love we desire? I know it is all nonsense, it is more of a rhetorical question at this point.
I still think it is the random and crushing intrusive thoughts that are the hardest to deal with. It is pure torture when they just appear.
Has anyone deliberately delayed reading an incoming text or email from LO as part of the plan to work towards NC? (Or perhaps to disguise or hide your limerence)
Yes…l tried every trick
None worked or l wouldn’t have been here daily for 2 weeks..
You lost the championship game in stunning fashion. There is a long off-season ahead of you where you will feel the pain of that loss every day, often with a violence that will disrupt your sanity. But you will train hard, push the pain barrier, challenge it to break you…spit in its face if you feel the urge.
The freedom? When the whistle blows to start a new season and you are sprinting down the field like a man possessed, without a single thought on your mind except what you are doing in that moment; your moment of shining achievement. Nobody will cheer or even notice. To borrow a line from Yeats, ‘There is more enterprise in walking naked’
Freedom from limerence is:
Celebrating the 1 year anniversary since my last visit to LO #4’s web site and social media.
Congrats sir congrats
That is a big milestone. Well done!
I have only recently come across the term Limerence which has been bit of a revelation as it perfectly describes the constant mental anguish I have been experiencing for over ten years of my life, during which time I assumed I was just some sort of mentally unstable stalker. I have literally never spoken a word about my LO to a single other person, so this is a huge step for me. I have been with my SO for 15 years, during that time we had a few breaks as we were quite young and still figuring out what we wanted in life. During one of these breaks I met someone at a party and we instantly had this electric connection, at first LO seemed more keen than I was to take things further as I felt I was betraying my SO even though at this stage it was purely a platonic relationship. We spent more and more time together over the course of a year or so and developed this deep, all encompassing emotional and physical connection, we had encounters that were sexual but I still held back from engaging in a full sexual relationship as I still felt a sense of guilt and betrayal. It was genuinely like a drug as I had no control over my feelings, I constantly thought about them every minute of every day to the point where I considered permanently ending things with my SO to try and properly explore my relationship with LO as we connected on so many levels. It rapidly developed into obsession and I constantly thought about the intense emotions I felt towards them and how we seemed to have a deep almost soul mate connection as I had never experienced emotions this intense towards anyone in my life. My self and my SO then had an unexpected pregnancy so this is when the friendship/relationship with LO had to stop abruptly as I had to do right by my SO and be there to help raise our child . This was disastrous for me as I found myself plunged into a life that I wasn’t expecting to have and my thoughts and feelings for LO have snow balled ever since, ranging from highs to depths of depression. I’ve tried so hard to work on my marriage because my SO is the most amazing person, and I really do love them, in all honestly I feel like I don’t deserve them in my life, but it’s just not on any level the same connection I felt with LO. We’re now married 5 years and have had another child, things that I thought would end this mental torture I’ve silently been suffering and maybe give some finality and closure. Fast forward to the present, it’s been 10 years since I last saw or spoke to my LO and there is absolutely no let up in my feelings. It has literally taken over my life, I cannot get them out of my head every single day even though I’m terrified that being honest with anyone about this would cause my marriage to fail and I can’t be selfish enough to do that to my children. I feel like I’m really at rock bottom with this as it is starting to have a huge negative impact on my mental health, the torture I feel everyday thinking of what could’ve been has often made me think dark thoughts about ending my life as I’m struggling to cope with this. LO was still friends with me on Facebook, frequently liking my posts/pictures right up until I got married, just before, they mailed me asking how I was and if I was happy with my decision to get married. This has caused me to think that maybe LO felt the same connection I felt and that maybe they were hoping I wouldn’t go through with it. I need this to stop. I have a good life, a full time job, two amazing children, an SO who adores me and so much to be grateful for but I simply can’t stop these feelings. Can anyone give me some advice on this because I really am at my wits end, I need to be free from this torture and find peace. Thank you, for offering this space for people to express their thoughts and feelings on their LE’s, this is the first time I have ever spoken about this in 10 years, it feels surreal that I’ve actually written it out rather than just overthinking everything in my mind.
Welcome to LwL. This is a great resource for you – you’ve come to the right place. If I were you I would devour every post on here and sign up for the deprogramming course and give that a go. For you this is a battle with your own mind from this point onwards and will take all you’ve got, BUT you can get out to the other side. I’d maybe think about therapy too.
Your story resonated with me. As I’ve written on here before, my only other experience of limerence came after I split up with my girlfriend, aged 19. We stayed “friends” afterwards, and I was what I now know to be deeply limerent for her. I couldn’t look at another girl, no-one could possibly compare. She started seeing someone else and it utterly shattered my heart. We kept in loose contact for years afterwards and she haunted my dreams, and doomed all subsequent relationships to failure as they couldn’t possibly compete. Eventually I met someone special in her own way, got married and have had two beautiful children.
But LO1 was still there in my mind, I’d think of her every day. Then a few years ago she reached out, and we met up for lunch. We had a few glasses of wine and were reminiscing about old times, and our breakup. She told me that she still thought of me the whole time, still loved me and that she wished she had married me, not him. It was honestly like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I wasn’t crazy! We felt the same, but we were too young to make a go of it then. That yearning I had just vanished. Sadly she was then replaced by LO2, a 19 year old replica who worked for me and ended up subsuming my every waking thought for a while there. But I’ve got through that too now, much wiser and wary than before, understanding myself much better, and being clearer about what I want from life. So it can be done.
I’ll ask you a question my therapist first asked me. If I had a magic wand and could grant you a wish right now, what would it be?
Hi, John. I have a very similar story. After years of trying to figure out why I couldn’t stop obsessing about a coworker, I finally found the word “limerence” and stumbled on this site. I’m happily married with two great kids and cognitively known since the beginning that it’s all in my head, but I still can’t get over it. It’s like I NEED it or something.
Hi Vincent, thanks for the reply, I really appreciate you sharing your experience and insight. It’s such an eye opener to see that others are experiencing this same battle with intense Limerent thoughts and feelings. Thank you for giving encouraging signs that this can be overcome, this is definitely what I needed to hear after struggling so long with no explanation for what I was feeling.
I do agree that therapy may be the way forward for me as I think I have kept this quiet for so long that the simple act of saying it all out loud might provide some sense of freedom.
In answer to your magic wand question, I would be torn between two wishes; 1. Would be to erase LO from my mind altogether and forget the memories and experiences we shared together in the hope of being free and moving on. 2. The more selfish wish would be back where we left off, to openly express the intense feelings of love I still have for them and to have an idea of what might have been before circumstances cut our connection short.
It’s such an immense longing I have for my LO and also a debilitating sadness that is draining me. It shocks me just how much this is still impacting on me after such a long time.
Hopefully with the help of this community I can make a positive step forward towards freedom.
Yeah it’s interesting – I was similar with my answer. In fact I went as far as to say at the time that I’d go back to being with the original LO and do things differently so that we stayed together and built a family.
But when I was asked that again more recently, during the latest LO episode, my answer was that I’d wipe away all these feelings for LO and live happily with my wife and kids. Being with the original LO didn’t even come into it.
It’s a good question because it forces you to be honest with yourself about what you want. But my experience also suggests that the answer changes, that you won’t be stuck in this groove, and that by making changes, you can get out of the hole you feel like you’re in.
Keep posting and keep reading. Best of luck.
Just an idea. Would it be possible for you to reconnect with LO in order to talk through your feelings? Even if she reciprocated, you both could talk out why it couldn’t happen – or even if it should happen. I did that many years ago with a first love that I just couldn’t let go and believe it or not, it cured me. I began to see he was a bit of an idiot. You might feel better if you could just talk to her. I would do that with current LO, but I have a ‘frightened rabbit’ kind of LO and he would probably have a heart attack if I tried to speak to him. He doesn’t do emotions!
That would be my secret wish, to have him speak to me about the feelings I know he had as he once covered my hand with his and for me to be able to pour out my feelings also. Ah , that would be my wish granted.
Welcome to my kinda logic, friend! If only, if only.. my LO would talk. Mine doesn’t “do” talking about emotions either and at least for a grown ass man, this is so utterly devastating to me, I believe it’s what actually keeps me stuck in this perpetual state of limerance. I am also still (years later!) looking for clues wrecking my brains, trying to recall conversations from way back in order to make some sense out of this painful experience. Would it help to have them open up, if only just a bit more? Absofuckinglutely!, me thinks. Are they willing to do this for us? That is the question. I’ve had some crazy ideas in the past, that I’ve since abandoned due to pure laziness. One is to create a fictious identity online and get them to open up to that fake online person (could work if your LO is single and on dating sites.) The possibilities are endless with this one.
“Mine doesn’t “do” talking about emotions either and at least for a grown ass man, this is so utterly devastating to me, I believe it’s what actually keeps me stuck in this perpetual state of limerance.
You’re right. That’s exactly what keeps us stuck. Though knowing it doesn’t fix it.
Oh boy they’re the pits those LOs. I wonder if most of them are like that. Is it what attracts us kind hearted ‘fixers’ who want to give to them if they would only ask! I think there’s something in that. Mine says he’s not on social media so I can’t track him – though I have tracked a club he’s in. I’ve had to stop as it really upset me. I think your idea of luring him in to understand how he ticks is really a good one. Not to trick him into anything but it might fix you! I think mine may be on Social media but hiding – perhaps from a previous encounter like ours! I don’t think this could be his first experience of attracting LEs as he is gorgeous and boyish – and fidgets self consciously -all Kryptonite to me! Yes, it’s emotional hypnotism when we entangle with those emotionally unavailable LOs. Who did this to them? Who shut them down as children? They are the ones who have caused us most of our pain and have mentally messed up our LOs. If the LOs were emotionally ‘normal’ there would be no glue to keep us attached to them. It’s uncertainty and guessing what they are thinking and feeling that stops us letting go because they won’t give us the chance to know them, work through it and then let them go – and they don’t even know that. But we do. That’s at least one of the big problems for me. They have no introspection (mine doesn’t anyway). He thinks all decisions about our relationship are up to him. I know it. He basically said ‘no’ without even giving me a chance to say no. He still thinks he could snap his fingers and I’d fall across a bed for him. He thinks that because I’ve never had a chance to speak my side of things. That really pisses me off. He’s not that irresistible and boy would I love to be the one to tell him he’s not good enough for me. Not kind enough, not thoughtful enough. Because in my saner moments I know that’s true. I have a kind, loving – although very difficult at times SO. Why can’t I switch these feelings to him – I think because there is no spark, never really was if I’m truthful. I have to make no effort for his love or attention. No one appreciates anything that’s laid down at their feet. God I’m such a bitch!
Why would they do it for us? Maybe if they actually cared, they might but they don’t owe us anything. Civility expects your LO respond to questions but nothing requires them to answer your questions.
Also, you have to ask them questions. That can be risky. Expecting someone to intuit your thoughts and feelings is a lousy way to operate. It took a marriage counselor to get my wife to understand that and it took years to sink in. LO #2 & LO #4 had that bad habit and LO #4 should have known better. However, that brings disclosure into the mix.
As for knowing what they think: https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-loneliness-of-no-contact/#comment-4045
Of course you’re right, they won’t do anything for us. I would do it for myself if he would only give me the chance to speak to him. I know him. He would shut me down immediately or physically walk away if I tried to speak to him. That’s not a good trait. I would never do that if someone tried to explain themselves to me. You have to treat others like they’re human beings too. I’m just saying if I got the chance to speak, I think I could heal myself… It’s holding it all inside that creates the rumbling volcano! I’m damaged goods too. If someone shuts me down, then I shut up and go along with it.
“He would shut me down immediately or physically walk away if I tried to speak to him.”
Look at it through the other end of the kaleidoscope. You’re flooding him with things that he can’t handle. So he shuts down and walks away. Possibly so he doesn’t say something very blunt and unkind.
“Whether you’ve chosen to step away from a new relationship or a long-established one, how you orchestrate that ending is crucial, because it’s typically what someone remembers most about you.” – Shari Schreiber, “WHO’S DOING YOUR DIRTY WORK? – Deconstructing Passive Aggression” https://sharischreiber.com/whos-doing-your-dirty-work/
If you want to run an exercise, check out “Distancing:
Avoidant Personality Disorder, Revised and Expanded” – MARTIN KANTOR, http://admin.umt.edu.pk/Media/Site/SSH/SubSites/cp/FileManager/Ebooks/DCPe-26.pdf
I like the book. I think AS would like it. But, you can skip to page 130 and bounce your LO off Kantor’s description of Passive – Aggressive traits.
There comes a point where you just have to accept that they can’t give you peace. You have to find it within yourself.
The starting point is probably trying to figure out why uncertainty is so uncomfortable for you.
Thanks for all the links. And thanks DrL. I think I know why uncertainty is my achille’s heel – childhood relationships/emotional abandonment issues. Guess I have to do all the dirty work here – better get cracking!
Green sprout and on the lighter side of limerence; LO used to be out on the water all the time, this morning I woke up and asked myself,
Why the hell is there an enormous canoe in my bedroom?
Never used, of course, it was to pick up a hobby that LO would appreciate, although I told myself I would really love it too.
Oh my lord …
I never did anything quite that radical but I did a few things out of character.
In HS, a girl I liked was in the Modern Dance Club. There were having a recital and she asked if I wanted to buy a ticket. I think they had a contest where whoever sold the most tickets got a new leotard or dance shoes. Anyway, I thought I could score some points with her so I bought 2 and dragged a buddy with me. I think we were the only 2 male students in the place.
After the concert, we were milling about in the lobby. The faculty sponsor came over to us and asked if we were interested in Modern Dance since it was open to males, if any males wanted to join. In the early 70s, the implications of that were lost on most of us. I kind of smiled and looked at her.
After a few seconds, she said, “Oh..well… I hope whomever it is, appreciates it.”
not as radical as the enormous canoe I had to climb over again this morning to get out of my bedroom.
If I could do college over again, I would take dance classes. Absolute best place to meet girls.
Freedom from limerence is like you’ve been handed your mind back by some great cosmic ruler. It’s emotional independence, autonomy. It’s accepting responsibility for your own happiness. It’s fewer dreams and feeling less emotionally raw about stuff in general. It’s being fairer to people who aren’t your LOs. It’s remembering friends you’ve neglected. For me, it’s also loss of interest in “romance” as a genre. For example, a lot of pop songs/power ballads don’t appeal to me anymore.
Realizing I never knew him very well at all and that ~for reasons still unknown to me~ I made him larger than life in my mind. Yes, his phantom still tap dances through my mind daily, but NC with the actual person is really making a difference. I honestly don’t know when, if ever, I’ll see him again and the world (his and mine) will 100% keep turning.
@DoubleLime. “Realizing I never knew him very well at all and that ~for reasons still unknown to me~ I made him larger than life in my mind.” Yup, that’s exactly what limerence does and feels like. Well said. It chimes with my experiences. A “relative stranger” takes on a staggering significance for no apparent reason.
Help me!! I can’t fully avoid him. LC is the best I can do. After 2 weeks I will see him on Saturday at a group thing. I no longer feel excited about that, in fact I almost feel sick to my stomach. It’s almost like fear and I don’t know why as you’d give me an Oscar for my ‘friend’ performances when we meet up. I don’t have to go but I’m trying to sneak away slowly through LC and think I should go this time. Does this apprehensive feeling ever subside? Is it my heart hoping he’ll rush over to me and throw his arms around me and my head knowing he won’t? I’ve reduced contact over the last 9 weeks to very little and it’s killing me. He is a mixed messages giver (the worst kind I think). Oh, God tell me I will eventually be free of this hell of my own mind’s making! I’m 10 years older then him for God’s sake! And marriages on both sides. The whole thing is insane – but that’s limerence…
…also to add. He knows my feelings as I thought I was reacting to his flirting and checking me out, so I let him know how I felt – though not in words. So there’s embarrassment too to add to the horror!
You are human Fay, non limerents can also inappropriately flirt sometimes. It’s not like you did anything bad to him. If he is a mixed messages giver, you don’t have to be embarrassed.
That’s what mixed messages givers do, confuse people. So allow yourself to be confused 🌻.
It is one of the hardest things to get over in this ‘episode’. I think I misjudged the situation, thought he was serious and let my guard down, a thing I never do and will never do again, ever. thanks for your kindness.
Protecting yourself is always good done as self care, Letting your gard down is in my opinion not a bad thing, it means you trust and are open, at least you’re not an angry hostile sour plum ( we say in Holland).
I refuse men that have hurt me, fortunately not a lot, change my openness and trust in people.
Fay, flirters get a thrill out of seeing if the flirtee is ‘into them’, even if it’s subconscious. I think a lot of us got sucked in to what we thought was a mutual special bond, we then disclosed, and to our horror realize it was all just a game. But it seems to be part of the human experience, so we have to let go of the humiliation of it all and learn a (painful) lesson. You will heal! And you are normal!
Thanks you guys. BTW I really like your posts.
Initially, when I showed him I liked him back, he put his hand over mine on a glass of water so no wonder I was confused! Who wouldn’t think that meant something? – maybe he was confused too. Anyway after waiting to see what happened next, I realised that nothing would, except he really likes me there (coffee meet ups with friends) I think so that he can show off in front of me and I can be his ego trip. Just looking at each other longingly does absolutely nothing for me. I don’t think he even knows he’s using me to feel good about himself – but I do now and am desperately trying LC in order to eventually get to NC though the thought of never seeing him again still sends me into a panic. He messed me up big time. Hopefully in time I’ll get through it.
Freedom from Limerence is…
When your dental hygienist XPLO with whom you’ve been oversharing (small “o”) twice a year for over a decade says on your last visit, “You’re the only man who really understands me” and you think “It may be time to get a new dentist.”
Or never brush again and see if she still gives you compliments!
And, my wife would never kiss me again…
Damned unintended consequences!
Then you tell the dentist that your wife doesn’t kiss you anymore and….
Lord knows where that ends up!
Try it, Scharn. I’m curious! 😀
The XPLO is the hygienist. The two dentists who own the practice are men.
I can imagine the reaction I might get from them.
Besides, they have the potential to inflict a lot of pain but, then again, so does the XPLO.
We make it one big experiment!
The 2 male dentist you sent them to Thomas to be his XPOLO – 2 at the same time is supposed to be impossible but we will see, Thomas is already my new XPLO and you just dont brush anymore and we will see where we all end up in lets say a year from now!
And we do it all for Dr L and his research.
I salute your commitment to the cause! 🙂
I remember exactly when I was fully freed from LO1 after 3.5 years. The LE had been dying off since I started going to a new school, thanks to the NC and finding other girls (non-LOs) to flirt with. When I was 22, I woke up one morning and the first thought that went through my mind was how much of my life I wasted chasing LO1 around. I seriously said out loud to myself, “What the F— was I thinking???” A neuron must have connected during the night. As suddenly as it had started when I was 19, it was over .
LO2 was another 3.5 years of wasted time. I was 27. She’s the one I asked out for coffee and who responded as if I asked to set her cat on fire. I was shocked, not just because once again I had convinced myself that she wasn’t annoyed by my presence, but because it was an unnecessarily nasty rejection. I went back to my apartment in a daze. I remember calling a few people and telling them what happened, even emailed a bunch of people the next day and told them about the nastiest rejection I had ever received. It only took about two days for the initial shock and embarrassment to wear off before I understood I deserved far better than her. The LE was over and I was freed. I was more mad at myself for wasting so much time. I saw her at an ice cream shop a year later as I was walking out. We made eye contact and she looked at me like she was scared, as if she expected me to tear into her for how she acted. I just smiled and said hi as I walked past.
Current LO3 is going on 3 years. I’m glad that the first two LOs taught me a lesson about keeping my distance from LO3.
Anonymous Limerent says
Ok i need help.
I went back to school today, after not seeing LO for 24 weeks. Obviously, I had to find out whether I still like her or not but I tried and I failed. I really can’t decide if I am still limerent or I am over her.
I still get nervous when I know I’m going to be around her, but I think that is just due to how she used to make me feel, like some sort of trauma response. This is because when she pops up as a surprise or stays around me for a prolonged time I pretty much don’t get ancious at all, from what I saw today. The same is true when I hear her voice. However, I did catch myself looking at her a few times. I *think* this is just a force of habit, and that I’m trying to decipher my current feelings.
I should be able to tell more in weeks to come as I see more of her, but for now I would really like some opinions on what to do. Has anyone else not been able to tell if they are still limerent or not? And what should I do in the meantime? Should I avoid her to give myself the best chance or just pretend everything is completely normal in the hope that it’ll sway my own feelings? I feel like I should do the latter so I give her the impression that I am over her, and it might be less awkward, but I honestly don’t know what to do or how I feel.
There’s probably other things I have to add to this, but I got no real sleep last night with the stress of going back to school and seeing her again (because it could have been terrible to go back to painful days after I thought they were over), so I am very tired.
Here’s my take.
You’ve posted here asking for advice. That suggests you may still be in some part of a limerent experience. After all… it’s not like any of your other friendships or social relationships are giving you this cause for uncertainty.
Not knowing how you feel is fine. You are still thinking about changing behaviours and partly from the perspective of how your LO will react, or feel about these changes.
The fact that you are unsure about where you are with it all might indicate that these 24 weeks of separation have helped you move past simple infatuation, though you also mention feeling drawn towards her to ‘find out’, which is interesting. When you think about it- you probably aren’t consciously seeking out all the fanciable people at the moment to ‘find out’ how you feel.
From my experience and some others here, it is a common pattern of possible relapse. There’s plenty of us who have thought ‘I’m so over LO, let’s be friends etc.’ A red flag (I think) is that in her absence your anxious but in her presence it sounds like you’re soothed – you even mention the effect (or not) of her voice.
I think you are on the way to moving past this. I would prioritise low contact as no contact sounds impractical. You also quite sensibly don’t want to stir up drama. Drama and uncertainty are absolute no nos – in my experience they throw petrol on a fire that might quite happily have fizzled on it’s own.
I’d acknowledge your feelings about this to yourself privately and act accordingly. You don’t want to go back down a painful/confusing/melodramatic path and you’re on the way clear of it. So I’d recommend low contact, don’t upset the apple cart and look after yourself.
Hope some (any) of that made sense. Good luck with it.
Anonymous Limerent says
Yeah, I understand most of that. I am aware of the relapse pattern and it did cross my mind when I started to think over my interactions with her today (to see if I could determine if I felt nervous or indifferent) and realised I was starting to overthink things again in a way I have done before, so that made me notice the dangers if I don’t act wisely.
Since her effect on me is much, much less significant than before I do feel as though I am almost there, and I just want to know how I feel, whether I am still limerent or not, to know whether I can start to let my guard down and not be so on edge about bumping into her. Thinking about it, though, I have already started doing this but I have been keeping away from her when she is around.
What you say does make sense, I should probably just continue LC rather than fully let my guard down, just to be on the safe side. For the record, I have absolutely no intention for anyone to find out about any of this. The reason I came here for help is because I thought some people here may have been through a similar experience and would give me some advice, as it is limerence-related.
I will try to stay clear of her where possible, and over the coming weeks will analyse my reactions to her presence (as we will be sharing a lot of classes) and my behaviour around her. This ought to give me some idea, or a clearer one at least, of my feelings.
Another main reason I wanted to know for sure if I still liked her or not is that, as I said, we will be sharing classes. If I have to sit near her while I still get all nervous around her then that isn’t going to do any good for my health or education. I really just want to be sure of my own head so I know what to be prepared for.
Anonymous Limerent says
“A red flag (I think) is that in her absence your anxious but in her presence it sounds like you’re soothed”
Just re-read your reply and noticed this. This is a huge green flag; before I couldn’t do ANYTHING when she was anywhere near me. Now she doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on me. I get nervous thinking about being near her because the ‘her’ that I have in my head is the ‘her’ that caused me 2 years of constant pain, anxiety and just generally hell. As I said originally, I think this is akin to a trauma effect.
Besides, this is definitely progress and a big ‘it really seems like I’m over her’ part of my mind.
Well… it sounds like your very aware of your stuff Anon.
We’re always hanging around here if you need to let off steam.
Good luck with it!
AL, in my experience just when I thought I was over a LO and was so nonchalant and confidant about it, they gave me some attention that I thought I could totally handle, and poof! Major relapse.
I hope that is not true for you, but we can never underestimate the power the LO had over us and could potentially have over us once again if conditions are right. Sounds like you’ve made excellent progress thus far though.
Wow I totally recognize your story as I saw my LO yesterday for the first time in 27 weeks. I was looking on this site for some advice, because I also was very confused about the way that I felt about seeing him again. I think I will keep distance and should resist asking attention from him. I know it’s hard but I do not want to relapse in my hold habits and especially not the way I felt when I was on top of the limerence. Good luck and keep me updated about how you are going!
Anonymous Limerent says
Ok, so rough ideas from day two here.
I know I still like her; I keep wanting to glance over at her and do what I think she would be doing, but I have caught myself wanting to do these and have made a mental note. It doesn’t seem like I get very nervous when she’s around though, however after school I was waiting for the bus and saw her across the road. I don’t normally while waiting for the bus and I became suddenly paralysed, like my old limerent self. Not sure why, I think it has something to do with unexpectedness but I am writing it off as a glitch.
I realise I may never actually stop liking her, because objectively I can’t find a flaw about her, but this is definitely bearable if this is the rest of my year. It seems far removed from the old days and, as long as it doesn’t somehow grow (touchwood), it should be fine.
I did save myself, though. Today in our first Physics lesson, our teacher was putting us in certain seats as she decided our seating plan. Just before she got to me, I realised what could potentially happen and I asked to sit by myself (making my friend next to me feel kinda bad, but you gotta do what you gotta do) and luckily, the teacher likes me so she seated me on my own. Lo and behold, my friend and the now empty seat next to him weren’t moved, but LO and her friends were put right next to where I was going to be sitting. LO would have been one space away from me and that would not have ended well, especially if we have to be in this room for a lot of lessons to come.
So I did save myself. A CLOSE ONE. I am relieved and I think I have got an idea of what my feelings are like right now, but I can’t be sure until I have a few more days or weeks at school. From here, it’s just collecting information.
Guess I’m living *ahem* (Americans may not understand this)
Anonymous Limerent says
Three days in. Whew.
I keep going to and fro on this ‘I don’t like her that much anymore’ and ‘oh no, I think this could be my relapse’. Most of the time, it’s fine. Even when I’m near her, or she’s near me, I don’t get too nervous when she starts talking or doing her own thing. The problem is when she appears and I don’t know what she’s doing.
I have done a lot of thinking about this and, to procrastinate on my GCSE coursework, I am posting my theory now! I think, when I can’t see or hear her but I know she’s near me, my brain expects me to feel the same way as I did before, so I get stressed and that’s what happens. Until I manage to calm myself down or she does something that shows my idiot brain otherwise. I have come to the conclusion that this has actually caused me trauma and that’s why I keep getting anxious when I first run into her; because I expect to be anxious and feel the same way again.
If this makes any sense, that would be an achievement for me because I feel like I am repeating myself at this point. There are a few times when this theory get a little fuzzy, though, including my on-and-off urges to look at her and see what she is doing, and make some eye contact (if I’m being completely honest).
I have thought before about the possibility of residual feelings after limerence, like a leftover crush. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, though, because everyone seems to say they just experience some sort of ‘switch’ and their feelings are gone. I think I have some sort of leftover crush on her and I’m not sure how long it will last. I’m fairly certain that I am not limerent for her anymore, though, but I think the mix between a simultaneous residual crush and trauma from the last two years are leading me to experience certain anxieties and these old and new wires are somehow being crossed in my brain to make me act the same and have the same urges as I did before, even though I don’t actually feel the same way.
That seems like a very long sentence and I would like people’s opinions on my theory (partly for peace of mind, partly for reassurance that this won’t get worse or revert to its previous state), so if that needs clearing up and making more understandable, please tell me and I can try to explain it better (and shorter!).
For now, I’m experiencing some mood swings, but I should be okay.
AL that is some very good self work you have done there and I feel the same. I am certainly not an all consumed limerent anymore. However my brain is on high alert, anxious and racing thoughts whenever I feel I may bump into him, it feels as though I go right back to old feelings. Could well be trauma. I wish I had an off switch. My limerent feelings have dramatically decreased but not to the point I feel indifferent. Perhaps that day will come and it will feel like a switch flip. It sounds as though you are doing well. A LE is not fun but it appears you are taking back control.
@Anonymous Limerent, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were going through some post-limerence feelings toward your LO. I experienced a form of that when the limerence for LO3 ended. As it was quite sudden, compared to the previous two LOs, there were several occasions we interacted when I thought I was going to suffer a relapse, but thankfully, whatever lingering thoughts I had quickly passed. Here’s to hoping it won’t be long before you will be able to observe your former LO and to see them as you would anyone else.
@Anonymus Limerent “I have thought before about the possibility of residual feelings after limerence, like a leftover crush. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, though, because everyone seems to say they just experience some sort of ‘switch’ and their feelings are gone. ”
I can’t speak for the others here, but in my case there’s no clear on/off switch in regards to limerence. Even after the LE is long gone there’s some feelings left, like nostalgia, for my past LOs. I think it happens because of the strong emotional reactions that LOs cause in us, that even after they’re gone, there’s still this “emotional scar” left in. So it’s good that you’re having those feelings, because it means that you’re definitely coming out of the LE.
Also, funny that you mention how unexpectedly seeing your LO at the bus stop caused you to freeze in place, because it happened with me a lot with former LOs (and probably with my current one, if it were the case). I think Dr. L mentioned in some past post about how LOs doing things or seeing them in places we do not expect can suddenly cause a surge of the limerent feelings, because our addicted brains see it as a unexpected reward.
I think this makes sense and I am experiences are kind of the same. I observe a certain feeling of tense/excitement when I see my former LO again, but I also do not think I am fully limerent. I was really scared that I would have a relapse when I would see him again after 6 months, but when we say eachother for the first time in a long period I did not experience a relapse yet. I am still a little bit scared that it happens, but my anxiety about a relapse is less strong than I thought before.
I would like to add to this comment that I think that the tensed/exciting feeling comes from a conditioned reflex. For two years we have been feeling those exciting sentiments when we saw our LO. They are a trigger for our maniac feeling, so it’s hard to feel nothing when they are around. I think this flame will extinguish when we do not focus on our emotions anymore if we are going to be around our former LO’s, but this will obviously cost some time. What do you think about this theory dr L?
Clip of the Day: “this ball is long gone just like the ex-girlfriend who will never return ! HOMERUN”
Replace “girlfriend” with “LO” and you’re there. Then again, you may not have to.
So, yesterday was LO #4’s 50th birthday.
In honor of it, I did a social media drive-by of her professional site. It’s been awhile since I did that. She’s changed her appearance. Her eyes were expressive but overall unremarkable. I doubt anyone would bring up her eyes first when describing her. In contrast, if my wife wears the right color, her eyes are almost back-lit. You can see them across the room.
Now, Lo #4 flat out has “crazy eyes.” She looks almost scary compared to the way she used to look. It’s not just one picture, it’s all the recent ones.
Whatever physical attraction I had for her in the past is gone now.
Freedom from limerence is … feeling like your soul has been handed back to you to do with as you please. (Only it might take some of us a little while to remember who we are and what we originally wanted in life).
Benjamin raised a good point too – freedom from limerence is freedom from the all-judging eye of LO. Of course, LOs can’t watch us or judge us all the time literally. So what is this judged feeling all about? Do we feel judged because we’re trying to mould ourselves into whatever we imagine our LOs want us to be? Been that, done that. And yup, it was exhausting, unbelievably exhausting. It’s exhausting trying to please someone in that way.
Do you ever have this weird conflict about wanting to be what LO wants (because… well… LO!) while not wanting to be that sort of person(because maybe it isn’t you)?
For example I want to be the sort of person who LO seems to be drawn to but a) I’m not really naturally like that (I’m too damn old i think- though at 42 hardly ancient)… and b) i know I’d need to pay much more attention to things that don’t interest me like copious Netflix watching, current girl bands/divas, and all the rest of what might be called pop culture. I mean I like a drunken boogie (when COVID isn’t keeping us all apart) but beyond that I’m more a books and science kinda guy.
So I’m conflicted I want to be the casual fun trendy person (and imagine probably quite wrongly that this would impress LO) but then I don’t really want to be that person. But sometimes when I realise that LO isn’t so interested in me, I internalise this misplaced and uncomfortable feeling that keeping up with the Kardashians is the desirable way to be…
“Do you ever have this weird conflict about wanting to be what LO wants (because… well… LO!) while not wanting to be that sort of person(because maybe it isn’t you)?”
@Thomas. Sorry for a bit of a late reply on this one. Conflicted about identity? Yes. Wanting to tweak my identity or interests to align better with LO’s? Yes. Being annoyed because LO doesn’t share my interests? Sometimes.
Then, of course, the infatuation ends and I can revert to being me. I realise there are certain bands I don’t want to listen to, certain clothes I don’t want to wear, and certain values and ideals I don’t want to embrace…
Actually, one of my LOs was incredibly judgmental. Or, at least, I perceived him as being incredibly judgmental. Nothing I did seemed to please him and I so badly wanted to please him. Eventually, I gave up on both him and the friendship – it was just too much bother. I realise now he was probably one of those people who enjoys complaining. Complaining was his thing. I don’t think he necessarily wanted to hear solutions to his problems.
Sometimes, though, LOs have traits or skills we can adopt to our benefit, even after LE is over. I guess if someone learnt a foreign language or took music lessons, and became quite proficient, after being inspired by an LO gifted in those same areas, that would be a good thing.
Holland Rise says
Hi, I’m new to the blog and I must say it’s great reading. Today is my LO birthday and i was awake an hour before I actually realised it. Am I free? No I don’t think I am but I will take today as a little win, as this time last year I hardly slept the night before.
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2020/11/some-relationships-are-not-worth-revisiting/
It’s a good article.
Ha! Right on cue.
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/holly-riordan/2020/12/5-lessons-i-learned-from-watching-my-almost-move-on/
I don’t agree with her on the part of #2 where she says, “But eventually, you’ll be able to look at their happiness and get excited about how much they’ve accomplished. You’ll be glad your almost ended up with someone who fits them better.”
My goal with respect to my XLOs is to get so far into indifference that I don’t even think about them and could care less if I do.
Today marks the 5th anniversary of LO #4 and I saying goodbye.
Xmas day marked the 35th anniversary of LO #2 declining my marriage proposal.
Time really does fly. My wife is out picking up a few things for dinner and I’m watching football (American) with the kids. My life is pretty good.
Thinking I would rather stick pins in my eyes than ever see the LO again.
Concluding that the LO could be thought of in terms of a poison or as a bottle of cheap, sickly alcohol.
Feeling smugly convinced that I am now impervious to future experiences of limerance because LO was the One True LO and there can be no other. Also because I would rather stick pins in my eyes than ever go through that nightmare again.
Remembering that I was happy before LO came along and I’m on my way back to being happy again.
Remembering how unhappy being addicted to LO made me.
Hey Mehg, how long since your LE ended?
Glad you’re on the way back to happy town.
Hi there Jaideux. It ended late November, early December last year, after three years. It is so good to feel like I’m getting my brain and my life back, day by day.
How about you? I’ve got a lot of reading to do here so I will doubtless see your comments, but that’ll take some time.
Well Mehg I went no contact about 2 years ago. The LE had lasted for several years, with constant fuel to the flames provided generously from LO. I tried to escape several times, but I was a mouse and he was a cat and we were confined to a small room. We were both single but when he finally got in a committed relationship I saw that as the door opening and I ran for my life! The wounds were very deep however and I am still healing, but much, much better. And I have maintained NC against great odds (many voicemails from him, etc.). This site has been a lifeline in ever so many ways. A life-changing lifeline. I have such heightened awareness now that if I ever get into another LE it will be due to sheer defiance and heedlessness and utter disregard of the soul crushing damage I know will ensue. And I am not going to allow that.
Jaideux, I’m guessing you are both monogamous, which is what helped you to make the break and sever ties. Your experience sounds intense and hard to go through and two years on, healing is a slow process for you. Well done for maintaining NC because I would not find that easy – I wonder how it ended that exLO is still trying to reconnect with you? I might be projecting, but I sense from your words that your LO is (like mine), somewhat narcissistic by nature?
This site is a revelation to me and I’m so glad to have found it. I feel so much less alone and I only wish I’d found LwL during the course of my LE when I was fumbling my way through trying to make sense of what was happening to me.
And I get what you mean – even with the involuntary nature of LE, if I ever find myself in another one it will be because I walked into it willingly, which would be a truly horrid thing for me to do to myself. Self compassion, self love and self awareness are my keys to a happier life. Those and boundaries and curiosity. Taking an outward-facing view and waiting for people to reveal themselves to me before I disclose so much of myself as I did with LO. And having learned to say no (ex people pleaser here). And an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope (not really, but nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition).
Ah Mehg! We have much in common. Yes, sadly I am realizing that ex LO was in fact narcissistic which was initially hard to spot as he was soooo generous and attentive and nurturing, etc. These qualities completely enmeshed my heart but ultimately were confusing as I was not the only one that he had these intense and close relationships with. (How did he find the time? )
I was told that I was his closest friend, that he needed me in his life, etc. and I think he wanted our very special ‘friendship’ to continue forever despite him eventually choosing a mate. Yes, he knew I had feelings, but I was very ‘mature’ in how I didn’t demand for him to officially date me or leave me alone (well I tried once, but somehow I got hoodwinked into business as usual). I was the most accommodating and pleasant limerent in the stable! The favorite! To my great harm. I think LO’s view us as property, we are there to tacitly serve their needs…so they keep giving us what keeps in their orbit. We tend to be very trusting and gullible as a group.
This is not my first limerence rodeo and I do see commonalities with previous LO’s, so unfortunately I seem to be drawn to charming, handsome, attentive and generous men who shower me with attention and praise. But only want me as a friend. Narcissistic tendencies perhaps.
One of life’s great mysteries….or maybe not…when looking back into childhood experiences….
But please know…things slowly but surely get better, much better, as we distance ourselves physically and emotionally from LO’s. But….only if we are determined not to repeat the same mistake!!!!
Thanks Jaideux, I’m just taking it a day at a time right now. It’s much better than it was but I’m aware of how easily I could slip back into rumination if I allowed myself to think too much about it. I wonder if hanging about on this site is actually good for me or if it keeps returning my thoughts to my LE. I’ll see how it goes, I guess 🙂 But it is good to find others who have been through this experience. It helps, to not feel so alone with it and be reminded that anything that I can feel or experience, belongs within human experience and is not new and not completely unique. Universality helps to ameliorate shame.
Mehg! Banish shame! The only ones who should feel shame are ‘dodgy LO’s.’
I think we should be proud that we have honestly identified our drug of choice and choose to “live clean”.
I find that coming here helps me to keep my shields up, helps me to feel validated and understood, and allows me perhaps to encourage a fellow limerent in some small way.
But…I have scaled back as I heal, but don’t think I will ever leave!
I am very glad you are feeling better.
“… but I was very ‘mature’ in how I didn’t demand for him to officially date me or leave me alone (well I tried once, but somehow I got hoodwinked into business as usual). I was the most accommodating and pleasant limerent in the stable! The favorite! To my great harm. I think LO’s view us as property, we are there to tacitly serve their needs…so they keep giving us what keeps in their orbit. We tend to be very trusting and gullible as a group.”
@Jaideux. What you describe here could very easily be the dynamic between a narcissistic parent and a golden child. The golden child is only golden as long as she gives up her own identity/personality and serves the needs of the narcissistic parent. One of the narcissistic parent’s needs might be to have a child who is “never any trouble”, a child who is overly compliant, a child who doesn’t place any demands or expectations on the parent. Unfortunately, this child is never allowed to be a child… This child is forced to be “mature” beyond her years.
I am familiar with the dynamic from my own life, and my relationship with my own mother. I was that golden child. I wasn’t allowed to have needs. I wasn’t allowed to “breathe” when Mum was around – she took up all the oxygen in the room. The problem with the dynamic is that eventually the golden child starts suffocating, because his/her emotional development hasn’t been supported.
I think the narcissist’s game is to promise us love if we’re super-subservient and go along with their (grandiose) plans. Unfortunately, we never receive one drop of love, no matter how obedient we are, because narcissists aren’t capable of really loving. They just need us to prop them up. There’s no give-and-take.
Your behaviour in this situation wasn’t “mature” per se, because, as an adult woman, you’re allowed to have needs. (As a child, you were allowed to have needs too, darn it!) What’s really happening in the situation is the narcissist is selfishly denying your right to have needs, and calling it love. In some ways, you were tricked into being something very disturbing indeed – a human with no needs!! Your doubtful reward? Being the favourite pony in the stable.
I hope you now realise you’re allowed to have needs, my sweet! You’re allowed to “breathe” and be an actual person with valid feelings!! 🙂
Sammy you once again prove how insightful you are and I thank you.
My mum was indeed narcissistic.
Have you read “Why am I not good enough, healing the wounds of a narcissistic mother” by McBride ?
It’s so interesting how we fall into patterns, isn’t it?
As time marches on I realize that LO not choosing me was a grand gift, and not a soul crushing disappointment.
I am free to breathe, to be myself and as you say, to have needs.
As I heal I have the sensation of being able to now fly through life, catching the currents and traveling to new adventures and discoveries.
Freedom from Limerence is exhilarating!
Limerent Emeritus says
Another Post-LE reflection:
During the LE, LO #4 seemed really important. There was no rational basis for that but that’s the way it was. I never even met LO #4 in real life. It was all via PM and email.
At first, I could explain the LE but I could never excuse it. I spent over a year and a half with the EAP counselor working through it. I think the EAP counselor kind of enjoyed it because it was something a little different for her.
As time passes, even the explanation rings hollow.
Yeah, I experienced it. It was enlivening and anxiety filled. It seemed really important and I contemplated doing some really stupid things but now…it’s gone.
I wish I could say there’s a silver bullet but I don’t think there is. LO #4 offered me a way out and I took it. After that, time and distance did it’s work. Everybody has to find their own way out of the wilderness.
Enjoy the weekend.
Limerent Emeritus says
New Year’s Day marked the 7th anniversary of saying goodbye to LO #4 and going NC. With the exception of one brief exchange 3 years ago, we kept it. New Year’s also marked the 1 year anniversary of no social media drive-byes of XLOs. I’d rather play Battlefield 1 or Fallout 4 than stalk them on Facebook.
For all I know, they could be dead. I could say that I hope that they aren’t but it doesn’t make any difference.
I’ve cut way back on LwL, That’s good. I’m seeing my dental hygienist, once a prospective LO, on Wednesday. I used to look forward to seeing her but the glimmer is gone.