A recent comment by long-time friend of the blog, Sharnhorst, has got me thinking. The thrust of his idea is that studying limerence, understanding limerence, and trading anecdotes and wisdom with other limerents is very valuable in the initial healing process, but there comes a time when it might be wiser to disengage. Basically, the reprogramming process starts to work. The mental re-framing of limerence from “Oh they are so wonderful and marvellous and this is cosmic” to “this is all going on in my head and I’m going to get a grip on it” begins to solidify, and the emotional response to LO shifts. At that point – as Sharnhorst notes – it may be good to step away from immersing yourself in the study of limerence and all its effects, because as long as you are thinking about limerence, your LO is there hovering in the background, still having some centrality in your mind.
It’s a good point. As I responded, it’s bittersweet for those of us left behind to watch our friends “graduate” and move on to new, healthy, purposeful goals – but it’s also a cause for hope and comfort to know that it’s possible.
So, in this post, I thought I’d think about what freedom from limerence looks like. I’ve asserted many times that I don’t think limerence is something that goes away, I think it fades into the background of everyday life but is always there as part of who we are, able to burst up if the conditions are right (or wrong). Given that, when would someone be truly free? What are the milestones of recovery that lead to freedom?
1. The intrusive thoughts have quietened
One of the most debilitating symptoms of limerence is the intrusive thoughts. The constant invasion of your mind by LO and the shaping of your experience of the world as something that has meaning primarily in relation to them. Their good opinion is the primary measure of value. It’s impossible to concentrate on anything except them. Everything you do makes you wonder what LO would think of it – maybe even to the point of feeling they are somehow always with you in some weird, ghostly way.
A major milestone in recovery is when those thoughts quieten. One benefit of studying limerence is that it can help you shift your thoughts through a progression: from constant rumination about Them and how much you crave them, to thoughts about Them and how your limerence is hurting you, to thoughts about limerence itself and what it means about you and how you can protect yourself against it. Eventually, thoughts about LO become linked to the negative consequences of limerence, rather than the fantasy daydreams of the past. For me, that was when the intrusive thoughts began to fade, presumably because they were no longer giving me any pleasure – it was mostly punishment. Getting to the point where the urgency and strength of intrusive thoughts calm, and then fade to background, is a huge relief.
2. Emotions have stabilised
The next milestone is emotional. In the depths of limerence, thinking about LO – or even more so, being with them – sends your emotions all over the place.
Limerence is characterised by extremes of emotion – euphoria when LO is happy and reciprocating, devastation when they are cold or dismissive – and it gets exhausting. Most of us will be familiar with the jolt of electric anxiety when we hear their voice behind us, or see them enter the room, or when we are anticipating a meeting. A sort of mixture of elation and dread. It seems absurd that someone should have such extraordinary control over our mood, but it’s a defining feature of limerence.
So, another milestone of recovery is freedom from that emotional agitation. I’m not sure an LO ever loses their power to emotionally affect you, but the stomach-churning maelstrom can and does fade to a much more tolerable low level of tension. Again, studying limerence can help with this, by helping you understand why your emotions are so volatile, what the root of the psychological turmoil is, and what tactics you can use to help neutralise the potency of LO. Just naming and kind of mentally grasping the phenomenon into an ordered pattern can give relief.
3. New goals begin to look attractive
When caught in the monomania of limerence, there’s only one goal that matters – reciprocation from your LO. Other goals exist of course, but as distant secondary concerns. You can function in autopilot mode, pursuing the usual everyday goals just enough to keep life moving, but there is one, dominant and overriding objective: LO.
The next milestone for recovery is when this changes, and you start to care about other things too. It’s a strong indicator of independence. Once other ideas catch hold of your imagination, and other projects and possibilities attract your attention, you can start to mentally detach from LO. These new goals become a different source of pleasure and satisfaction. Your motivation is driven by other fuels, which don’t depend on LO.
There is a useful little hack here for using limerence against itself. With careful goal selection, you can exploit the desire to impress LO as a motivation for gaining new skills and achievements. An obvious one is health and fitness. Many of us limerents become far more concerned about our appearance once limerence kicks in. Suddenly, the middle-aged belly and baggy tracksuit bottoms of complacency stand in stark contrast to the image we would like LO to see. So, we hit the gym and tart ourselves up a bit, and basically make more of an effort.
It’s a shallow impulse, but it leads to a good outcome. A goal of losing weight, getting healthier, and looking after yourself is a keystone good. It makes life better in every way.
So, limerence can be used to leverage some good goals, but there is a risk. If your primary motivation for pursuing the goal was seeking LO’s good opinion, you risk the fact that it taints the goal after limerence fades. The risk is small when the goal makes life much better, but use with caution.
Why new goals are so important
For attaining freedom, pursuing new goals is the most important milestone. That’s because it doesn’t depend on the other milestones, and it can also help you reach them faster. To mix metaphorical stones, it’s a foundation stone as well as a milestone.
Limerence is an indication that your subconscious is seeking something. You may think: well, duh, yes, it’s seeking an attractive mate, obviously, because that’s what human beings do. And a good thing too or none of us would be here. While that’s true, we don’t all seek mates all the time. Once a stable pair-bond is formed, other potential mates become decidedly unattractive for a while. If limerence emerges unexpectedly in an otherwise stable life, it is an indication that your subconscious is seeking something that you were not even aware was missing.
It could be something as trivial as sexual novelty. It could be more profound, like emotional intimacy, or personal fulfilment, or relief from the pent-up resentments of life. But the implication is that there is some unresolved need that you should pay attention to and try to identify – because, if you don’t, you may recover from one limerence episode but then slip straight into another. Unless you resolve the source of discontent, your subconscious will keep trying to solve it for you by shoving new LOs into your mind’s eye (because it thinks in its simplicity that that will work).
Really, the only way out of that cycle is to feed your subconscious with nourishing, new goals. Find new sources of reward that are linked to healthier pursuits. Personal growth. Creativity. Education. Art. Doing good in the world. You could even – to pick an idea entirely at random – start a blog that helps other people, as a way of channeling your “must save damsels in distress” energy into a positive outcome, rather than a family-risking crisis.
Find something that nourishes you and pursue it with purpose. It’s the big win.
Time to move on?
So given all those indicators of freedom, when is it a good time to move on? To stop circling back to limerence and ruminating about it? Let’s be honest, I’m not the best person to ask.
Sharnhorst mentioned the fact that he now needs to “call LO to mind” to revisit the emotions and lessons of limerence. That could be a good yardstick. If your attention is captured by new goals, your life is moving forwards in a positive and purposeful way, and thinking about limerence compromises those goals, then it’s no longer serving a purpose for you. Take a break and give yourself space to forget.
I’m now at a point where I can think about limerence without thinking about my LO. I find limerence fascinating in and of itself as a phenomenon, and that new focus has superceded the old association with LO. In some respects, I can even be grateful for the experience, as it’s opened this new frontier in my life.
And that brings us again to purposeful living as the ultimate solution. Once you know what you are doing and why, it’s a lot easier to make these judgements about what to prioritise and when to change tack. I’ll keep that lesson in mind – and for the veterans who have emerged from the limerence trenches, I’ll write more posts on purposeful living and the future triumphs that can lie beyond limerence.
That never gets old.
Thanks for another excellent post. One thing I be noticed though is my addictive/limerent brain wants/expects some kind of reward for ‘doing the right thing’…which I’ve done, largely, I moved away professionally and established and so far maintained no contact, tried to get my mental and physical health in order, started creative projects etc etc. But there’s still something that’s disappointed. Where’s my balloon? I know that ultimately purposeful living, as you put it, will be far more rewarding than any transient high, but it’s hard to live without it.
As a very wise imaginary tiger once put it: virtue needs some cheaper thrills.
I love that you have taken your experience of limerance and created this amazing resource. It’s so grounding to have someone voice everything you have going on in your emotional circus, to understand it, and to help you verbalise the whole shebang. Onwards to non rumination and better foresight. Thank you!
Hear, hear! Totally agree.
“Wheres my balloon! ” I love that! Well, I’m climbing out of what now is almost a 2 year LE. This blog has been a GREAT help, especially when I realized I was in deep. The glimmer was like a lightning bolt! I crashed hard. I’ll share the details when I get the courage. For now, NC with LO is not an option since we still work together. It’s more like LC. But the fog is clearing!
What boundaries do you out around LC
Keen to know as I have a flame for a co worker
We are friends outside work too.
Wow, another great post and very timely Dr L
“Again, studying limerence can help with this, by helping you understand why your emotions are so volatile, what the root of the psychological turmoil is….”
This is such important quote for my particular situation that I had to share my recent experience.
Since disclosing to my SO about a week ago it’s like my blinkers have been removed, I am constantly astounded by things I am realising these past few days that by all accounts have been staring me in the face. For instance how my limerence highlights what’s been missing in my marriage and how I glorify and see the sun shine out of my LO’s proverbial ass as he seems to embody those missing links.
I had a very long discussion with my SO over the weekend about my situation and after unraveling my very big ball of tangled wool I had another light bulb moment. We extrapolated my feelings of euphoria, accelerated heart beat, constant churning of stomach, fear, nervousness, despair and crying and came up with the following.
– Majority of those feelings came about when LO and his SO were together and they or I walked over to say hello. It actually made me feel physically ill.
– If LO is alone non of those emotions came into play, I felt calm and happy
– If LO’s SO was alone non of those emotions came into play, but I felt calm, cautious and on guard.
So after much deliberation we came to the conclusion that my anxiety was mainly triggered by my guilt and shame for LO’s SO. The fact that there was never any closure after my fallout with his SO last year, my walking on eggshells for the last year and the perpetual feeling of being under a microscope by his SO while she listens to every word and watches every move I make around LO.
My SO made a good point, he said he didn’t understand why I felt so guilty, no boundaries were crossed emotionally or physically with LO so why did I feel the constant need to prove to LO’s SO that I was worthy of her friendship. It’s like you are punishing yourself every day for the sake of “what if” and it’s time to let go.
That blew my mind! I am so busy analizing last year that I am holding onto toxic thoughts this year.
I’ve noticed my thoughts quieting down, less fantasing, thinking more clearly and logically. It’s actually a big relief.
Michiel Mans says
First, thanks for this site. With many articles full of “yes!“ observations. The title of this last one is ‘Freedom from limerence‘. For thirty years I thought I was free of it. Even though I didn’t know what limerence was.
I currently go through the worst limerent period of my life. I’m in it for about a month now, and I’m getting desperate. The limerence is back ‘with a vengeance’. Because the story of how it started is so absurd, and embarrassing, I cannot talk about it to anyone in my personal sphere. Hopefully you limerence sufferers will take it in a bit.
Probably due to things that happened in early childhood, my being in love periods usually lasted long, with many obsessive traits I now know -since this week- are typical for a limerent. Hell, I could have modelled for it. And modelled from childhood onwards.
When around age thirty, after a four year ‘crash and burn’ period with an impossible love -my ‘speciality’- at work (I quit), I went into therapy. During which I had a fresh crash and burn episode. The girl in question, after a relationship of six months -my all time max duration- decided to become a lesbian. I almost went nuts. I was very close to popping myself.
It, and its aftermath, did sort of flip a switch. I had enough of this falling in love misery. I did not want to go through that pain anymore. At any price.
As I had learned some lessons, like not to fantasise about LO’s, the surprisingly few that followed, were easily ‘sat out’. So I was free of limerence, I had peace in my head. And the happiest thirty years of my life started.
As I am a bit of an einzelganger, the remaining single bit never bothered me over these three decades. Besides, if you have a rich fantasy, one can fantasise having relations. Wonderful, smashing relations. So I often hung out with Julia Roberts. To have a marvellous time, and then switch her off. No problems whatsoever. There were other harmless fantasy ladies from the screen.
Nowadays there are less romantic but stimulating pixelated ones at 30 frames per second as well. Like on Chaturbate (cam girls). There, one girl became one of many I liked, and tuned into regularly. Not directly (too expensive), but there are downloadable options from ‘third parties’. For about two years she was just one of many pleasant laundry basket filling distractions.
About a year ago she entered fantasy land. Probably after I had watched her (downloaded) online 20th birthday in 2017. Boy, was she cute. Being 62 at the time, occasionally fitting her romantically honorable in my fantasyland became a challenging, yet pleasant endeavour. And life was good.
But then, about a month ago, I could not switch her off anymore. Au contraire, she rapidly became my worst limerence experience to date. Something I didn’t see coming. Jeezus Christ, she’s 21! And just pixels, ‘warped’ and moulded in fantasyland. There never was any contact. I don’t even know in which country she lives. She barely speaks English, and if she says something during her performances, half of the time I have no idea what she’s on about. It is all complete and utter madness. But just as limerent ‘deadly’.
‘He didn’t realize her flashing eyes would hynothize’ (from a Trini Lopez song)
“I’ve asserted many times that I don’t think limerence is something that goes away, I think it fades into the background of everyday life but is always there as part of who we are, able to burst up if the conditions are right (or wrong).”
I asked the EAP counselor if she thought I’d do this again, She said she didn’t think so. I asked why she thought that.
“Most of my clients are really good at getting into trouble and not very good at getting out of it. You saw it coming, avoided it, and came back to find out how you got there so you don’t do it again. I don’t see that very often.”
If you’re willing to do the work, you can really reduce the odds of it bursting up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Ia83p6rA4
In a recent post, I said I didn’t visit the blog for awhile because I was feeling better and better and thought of LO less and less. Yes, it is bittersweet that once I got better I visited the site less and less.
But out of the blue my LO contacted me, and the rumination restarted with a vengeance. It were as if a drug addict relapsed. I visited the blog again to seek solace. I thought I was well on my way, but I don’t think it ever will go away. And just like an addict I must always be vigilant of be in situations that will cause relapse.
Finally, I want to know from people who have disclosed to their SO was there any fallout from your disclosure? How were you able to repair the hurt and feeling of betrayal.
Sad – I disclosed recently to my SO and was lucky enough to have no fallout. He does ask me more questions and is more visually observant than before but I don’t mind. I find talking to him cathartic, it helps me unpack my mental basket before it overflows. Just be sensitive when you disclose not to go into fits of glory as to why your LO is so perfect, I tried to keep to facts like I am attracted to him because he’s kind and caring, not because his ass looks great in jeans.
Sad – I recently disclosed ( more like admitted) to my SO about my LO. My SO already knew based on my classic behaviour. That’s when you definitely feel stupid. Well, the fallout? Still working on that.
If I’m doing this correctly, LC means only when necessary. I know it doesn’t always work. When in social situations I’ve purposely gravitated towards talking to the LOs SO.
Another well written article that I needed to read. Thank you!
I am making baby steps of getting over my LO. I am reducing contact and the intrusive thoughts are slowly getting less. However, LO still tries to be friends and occasionally texts to check in. I am friendly however keep my distance.
Yesterday though we had lunch. It was a special day for him, and I agreed to meet him for lunch. I bought him a present (sort of a goodbye present) and thought of writing a nice emotional card, but in the end I decided not to give it to him as i think that was just another way for me to get any sort of reaction out of him. So I am keeping it for myself instead as a reminder not to care about him. I was proud of myself there. I thought i was gonna be fine and neutral, but the tiniest bit irritated me greatly. As mentioned in an other comment to a different blog post, LO told me he moved on and has stopped having romantic feelings for me, as it wouldn’t lead to anything anyway. I know he has found a new LO of his own (which he denied when I told him). I had a hard time controlling my emotions as he texted during lunch (hiding his screen so obviously and turning his screen to the table so i couldn’t see messages pop up). After the third time I made a snappy comment (and hated myself for it instantly). I cut lunch reasonably short and had a hard time not to cry on my way back. I think I have to stop being friendly and just tell him I want NC, I think that is the only way.
Thing is, he has organized goodbye drinks as he is changing jobs, moving office even further away from mine which is good. I am invited as well. I don’t know whether I should show up for like an hour as there will be people that i haven’t seen in a while and it would be a good chance to network (but my LO and his new LO are both there, I would be able to avoid them in the room, but emotionally it would be hard), or wether I should just come up with an excuse and not go.
I actually plan on telling LO I want NC, and I want to do it in person, not in a letter or over text. But I am wondering if I should do it after this leaving drinks. people at work know we’re close and it would be weird if I didn’t show up to that.
On a separate note, i have been working on my issues with SO (without disclosing my affair with LO) and it has actually since much improved. LO still has an effect on me, unfortunately, especially when it comes to his LO… why is that though? I can see LO is not good for me and I my own feelings for LO are slowly reducing. I understand cognitively that LO and I are not a good match, but I still get so jealous that he seemed to have moved on to a new LO. Why does that make me so jealous? I should be happy and wish him all the best.
Sarah, great job in pulling back from giving the gift and card. And kudos for you in cutting lunch short. You being in LOs presence is still providing a “hit” for you, though it seems the positive rush is dwarfed by the negative feelings. It is difficult to stop, even when the downside becomes so much greater than the upside.
I think you know that you should not go to the drinks social. You don’t need an excuse. You have a life outside of LO, commitments that exist. Whatever day it is scheduled, you have other plans. It is not weird to have plans that conflict, though I know what you are feeling when you say “it would be weird if I didn’t show up”. The truth is it will barely be noticed, and then it will be forgotten.
The best laid plans of mice and men….I also wanted to tell LO in person that I was going NC last summer. But I ultimately backed out of a lunch get together and went the phone call route. I felt that I had nothing to gain long-term from meeting up, and I could say what I wanted to say over the phone because I had notes on my computer. Determining when to end the call was difficult, and I did have 2-3 more future social obligations planned, but NC shortly occurred and went 3 months. It was difficult, but it was the only way for me to make progress. I am at another tipping point right now, as LO has been gone from the office for over a week now after a 5 month stint at work.
Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon, I was in the Emergency Room for blood clots in my leg and lungs. My wife spent over 10 hours sitting with me and left at 3AM to get a few hours sleep before she had to be at work. She would have taken the day off if I’d asked her but they were planning to release me later and there was some things that she needed to be there for.
If something like that happened to you, between your SO and your LO, who’d be there for you?
PS: They put me on drugs for it and I have to use a cart when I play golf this weekend.
I hate you Scharnhorst! Why do you have to post such reality? My wife would absolutely be there for me, and I know that she would be there for me for the rest of my life. In my specific case, which includes the past irresponsible closeness to my LO, I actually believe my LO would be there for me too. But knowing my LO as I do, I also know that I cannot count on consistency from my LO nor her being there in the long term.
Thanks for sharing your crisis. I hope this winds up being an acute situation. But you didn’t need to go to the E/R to make your point!
Hope you feel better soon Scharnhorst.
I also feel that both SO and LO would be there. At least LO at this point in time… in the future? Who knows.
Fact though is, that SO would be there his own way… not how I would see it as ideal, but that’s ok. I know how SO is, I know who I have married.
I did have a close friend who was diagnosed with MS, and her SO was simply amazing. Like exactly what you would want and need. Which made me a bit sad to think that SO would probably not be capable of that as he’s just not that type of person. But again, I knew that from the beginning so a bit unfair to hold it against him.
“Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon, I was in the Emergency Room for blood clots in my leg and lungs.”
I’m glad you were seen, treated, released and medicated. Make certain to follow through with additional tests, note down any weird symptoms you may have and stay in touch with your PCP.
Good luck golfing this weekend!
Sorry to hear about your trials, Scharnhorst. But yes, a great reminder of the difference between a loving spouse and a fantasy LO.
Hope you get well soon.
Without hesitation my SO.
Take care of yourself!
Thanks for all the well-wishes!
Aside from my leg being swollen and sore, I feel fine. They discovered the leg clot during an outpatient ultrasound. Those people freaked out. I think they were afraid I was going to drop dead in their lobby.
The only reason it took as long as it did was the ER was slammed and it took a long time to run the EKG to make sure my heart was ok and a CT to find the clot fragments in my lungs. The EKG was read immediately but it took forever to get the radiologist to sign off on the CT so they put me in a room and wired me up.
When they went over my discharge instructions there was a prescription for Percocet. I hadn’t complained of pain. If they’re prescribing pills like that for someone who isn’t complaining of pain, no wonder there’s an opioid crisis.
Anonymous Limerent says
The polar opposite of ‘freedom’ here:
At the start of Year 9, I sat next to LO in Science for a few weeks. We had seating plans, so it wasn’t my choice, but I didn’t know about limerence then so I treated it like a ‘crush’ situation; I tried to get her to like me and loved every moment, although it was extremely stressful.
Fast forward about 2/3 of a year and a constant dreading that this would, one day, happen again (we get new seating plans every half-term in most subjects) and here we are.
Today, in Spanish, I found out that I now have to sit next to her again, possibly for another half-term. And that’s until the end of Year 9! The minute I found out I stiffened up. Completely. Like I was paralysed. I couldn’t move all lesson and time seemed to stand still. My mouth dried up like a desert and I sweat so much. And I couldn’t think properly.
I’ve since decided not to look at her AT ALL (as is possible) as doing so might prompt her to confront me in-lesson and that would obviously be horrible. I don’t think she has any plans to, mind, given her actions today, but tomorrow we may have to talk and work together. There’s no getting out. So I’m in Hell.
Worst day ever.
Hey anonymous limerent….how are you doing? Hope things are not as intense… this last post (above) made me so sad for you.
As for me, I am suffering from limerent withdrawal malaise but I am on the right track. I have not responded to my LO’s voicemail which is a resounding victory for me. No contact now for 3 months.
Dr. L, I have had 2 friends in 2 days who have confessed their limerence related agony (not for me thankfully) and I realize that the phenomenon of limerence which I am all too tragically acquainted with is ever present. Today one sent a simple text “limerence is horrible”. I realize that with the knowledge of limerence gained I now perhaps will be able to console, empathize and sympathize with IRL sufferers in my own little world. I hope to never have another LE but I do think limerence is a topic that will occupy a permanent place in my psyche. I think viewing it from a scientific standpoint, detached and yet curious, will keep my guard up and hopefully maintain (once fully achieved) Freedom From Limerence.
Anonymous Limerent says
Yeah, we didn’t have to talk. (Thank goodness!)
A few Spanish lessons have passed now, and I’m starting to get a little less stressed; I managed to turn my head to look at the clock last lesson (which, typing, I now realize sounds pathetic…). Anyway, I have spent a long time thinking of what I could say to the teacher to let me switch seats.
So far, I’ve only come up with one justification – I sit at the front of the class so I thought about lying and saying I get nervous if I feel like everyone’s watching me. Obviously, I can’t do it in the lesson because LO would get suspicious and would probably guess the real reason.
However, I do want her to hear my made-up one so she knows I’m doing it for a reason. The teacher said the seats are only temporary, and if anyone were unhappy about them they could move, so I am hoping she asks the class, thus presenting an opportunity.
LO was absent today, so I was able to go NC but was still sad from yesterday (whole other story). My next Spanish lesson is tomorrow and I’m hoping she’s absent then as well.
If anyone has any ideas of what I could say to move seats inconspicuously, it would be mich appreciated.
Day #350 now.
Anonymous Limerent says
I kind of feel like my reply may have gotten lost in the storm of comments on another thread, so I’m just going to put this here as a refresher; I really need an answer to my post above.
Personally I didn’t reply as I struggle to empathise with your situation, so my reply may not be as helpful as you’d like.
I used to stand next to LO for a full working day, interact and remain friendly but professional, despite how I was feeling inside because I had to. Too many other people (SO, my kids, LO’s SO and kids) would be hurt if I didn’t keep the boundary there, and I needed to keep my job!!
So I would say either put up with the situation (I’m guessing you’re not in Spanish class 7.5hrs/day?) as it’s only a few weeks until the end of term or go to your teacher and ask to move seats without giving a reason.
Anonymous Limerent says
I did actually manage to move seats without giving a reason, but it did prove futile as the only two lessons left of the year had me sitting elsewhere: The first, we got to sit where we liked and the second we were at an event out of the classroom.
But thanks anyway.
Glad you managed to change seats.
The end of term is in sight (if you’re not there already!) Enjoy the summer break!
Anonymous Limerent says
Yeah, there’s only one more week to go! But things are getting way out of hand…
Computing lessons are always bad for me, as I can hear LO talk all the time. It kills me. Buy tomorrow’s is the last Computing lesson of the year, so we’ll be allowed to talk all we want. Oh no. That will finish me off.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Tuesday next week is inter-house rounders – where I have to compete against LO. I don’t know if anyone here has ever had to do that before, but I can imagine I won’t look forward to it; I played football against her once and felt like I was oing to throw up.
On the upper side, my paranoia about LO (loves me, loves me not) is beginning to subside into something arguably more healthy:
Today in D&T LO came over to my table (inhabited by four people) and asked if we had any countersink drill bits. Even though I was waiting for it and was just about to use it, I decided I wasn’t going to kid myself; I was always going to give her the drill bit, no matter what my situation. I ended up giving her it and having to wait ages for another one (and I know my actions were not the wisest to some people’s minds, but please don’t have a go at me for being kind to the person I care about).
However, that’s not the good part. If this were a few months ago, I would have been riddled with thoughts of
‘she came to my desk. Does that mean…’ Etc.
But this time I thought
‘she came to my desk. Is she using me because she knows I’ll give her anything? Did I just make a huge mistake? Is this some larger force having fun with me? I hate this…’
I’m not sure how that stacks up with anyone else, but for me, it’s an improvement. Having self -induced false hope is worse than cutting positive links to my LO. It’s all part of recovery, right?
AL, I think that’s progress. You have your shields up to a degree. This can only help you. When rational you is in control versus of limerent addled you, you have taken a giant step in the right direction.
I recently moved to a new area.
I had to pick up and leave everyone and everything I had known for 25 years.
SO had to get a new place of employment because the old place was closing. His job paid more then mine so off we went.
I am not working here yet as it is more of a resort area with my job not being available.
I have no close friends here.
I run and go to the gym in the morning and off to the dog park in the afternoon with my dogs.
I met a husband and wife there. Very nice people.
The husband always goes everyday and the wife I occasionally.
Anyway the husband and I ended up spending alot of time together.
One afternoon he announced that he really liked me and kissed me at the dog park.
Now we are in a full blown affair.
He is 16 years older then me . I always liked him as a friend but now it is more.
I know it is limerance and I am lonely here.
I just want to get over this and move on with life!!!!
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
Hi, Deanna –
I’m so sorry this has happened. I think you’re going to have to come clean with your SO, get ready to go to couples counseling, get tested for everything, and immediately go NC with your LO.
Reach out for help to your most trusted people in your network, like sister/mother/friends.
You have bigger fish to fry than limerence.
Unfortunately, I’ve had some complications of the medical problems I posted about above. The prognosis is still good but it’s going to take longer than originally thought to get things where they should be. That gave me a lot of time to think and I wandered into some old turf.
I looked at LO #4’s professional social media. I’m still blocked on her personal site. Not much changed except she looked really good. It’s been over 3 years since we said goodbye. I have nothing in common with her anymore. Even if I were to become available, every day that passes puts re-engaging her less of a possibility.
Here’s the kicker:
The night after I looked at her social media I had two dreams, neither of which included her but I think were prompted by looking at her stuff.
In the first one, I was pulling into a parking place and I decided to pull up a little further. Instead of putting the car in Drive, I accidentally put it in Reverse, went zooming backwards across the parking lot into an urban 6 lane. I couldn’t find the brake. I got back into the parking lot and did it again. This time I stopped short of entering the road. The second time, I stayed in the parking lot and was congratulating myself on not hitting anything when a friend of mine said, “Not quite.” I looked and I’d backed into another car. My friend said. “You can go ahead and ring the “dumb-ass driver” bell for that one.” I’m not sure what he meant but the message of going out of control seems pretty clear.
In the second dream, I was picking up one of my family members at the airport. There was a raging snowstorm. I pulled next to the curb to make the pickup. There wasn’t much room between my car and the car ahead. Someone pulled in behind me without leaving much room. I had to make several attempts including going onto the curb until I could get out. Once I did, you couldn’t see the lanes for the blowing snow and visibility was next to nothing. I was driving blind.
When I accepted LO #4’s FB friend request in 2015, I had a dream about her in which my car almost went off the cliff. 4 years later, I look at her social media and get the same message.
What part of “Stay away from this woman” still escapes me?
Hey Sharnhorst. Sorry to hear of the medical complications – wishing you well for recovery.
Is it possible that the health set back started your limerent brain seeking comfort with old (defunct) rewards? Either way, hilariously literal message from your subconscious: don’t accelerate backwards into danger!
Thanks for the well wishes!
There’s no doubt in my mind it was the setback that prompted the trip down memory lane. I knew exactly where I was in the first dream and the fact I didn’t get T-boned by someone doing 50mph as I zoomed backwards was a miracle in itself.
I was in a Percocet induced fog when I looked at LO #2 and found out she had gotten remarried. At the time, I really wanted to talk to her and “make peace” after 30 years. We didn’t part on the best of terms and the therapist said our last meeting “wasn’t a goodbye, it was a fight.” I ran out of Percocet, reality set in and after playing back the tapes, that’s not going to happen.
Nothing in RL has changed that alters anything LO #4 and I said in our goodbye. Rationally, I have no idea how LO #4 could be a credible threat to me but my subconscious doesn’t like her.
I hope they are able to get you back to full health soon Scharnhorst!
Maybe your subconscious knows that LO wouldn’t have stuck around for some or all of the difficulties that real life provides. But she is still shiny and distracting. A mirage.
Anyway, get well soon.
Scharnhorst – If they are tinkering with medications you could do worse than pick up a nurse’s guide to drugs. Lippincott is readily available. They are very user-friendly regarding best time of day to take, what you can or can’t eat (if applicable), what is likely to interact badly and so forth.
Like having someone translate pharmacist into readily understandable instructions. Which is extra-nice when you already feel overwhelmed or like death sucking on a Lifesaver.
My team of 6 doctors agree I’m on the right stuff for what I need to work on. They’re all once/day a so it’s not too onerous.
The Percocet was prescribed by one of the ER docs. I told him I didn’t really want them but he said take one before bed. It would help me sleep. At first it made me loopy but after the second or third one, they worked ok. He only gave me 10 of them.
Wishing you a safe and smooth recovery, Scharnhorst.
Me too Scharny!
This was my relationship with LO #2 in a nutshell.
I saw the glimmer in her. She contributed to two of the best years of my life and two of the worst.
Well, after breaking one month’s NC with LO and back on square one for the last 5 days, reading these posts actually made a shift on my mind. While I was craving to be with him, overthinking about him, missing him, bargaining (in my mind) to be with him, I started to think of the negative consequenses that my desire for him does to me and now my thought are less addressed to him and more concentrated on the limerence itself. Thank you !!!!
Rachel Williams says
Hey guys.. so what does sweet freedom feel like? So I would say I’m stage 3 NC. Few sets backs here and there but my life is on the up.. LO still in my mind a lot though. Which is frustrating. Anyone reached the end of the road? Can’t remember what it’s like not to have LO in my head but I’m sure it’s going to be the best day ever. Still hoping he’ll reach out but why? It would only set me back further…
“Can’t remember what it’s like not to have LO in my head but I’m sure it’s going to be the best day ever.”
You won’t even realize it. One day they’ll pop into your head and it will hit you that you haven’t thought about them in awhile. You probably won’t remember the last time you did. Then, you have to go to a meeting, run an errand, or whatever it is that gets you back to real life.
Part of freedom is not try to convince yourself that you don’t care about them. That will take care of itself and that lie seldom works early on. Of course we care about them, or think we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this mess.
A better thing to work on early is where they might be, who they might be with, and what they might be doing with them are of no consequence to you. They no longer have the ability to influence your life. You aren’t doing or not doing things because of them. That can be tough at first but it works. If you can’t go NC, get away from them as much as you can. Influence is proportional to access. The more access the more influence. That’s why NC works. Deny them access and you deny them influence.
Freedom’s like this: If it’s not with you, you don’t care where they are. If it’s not with you, you don’t care who they’re with. The key to making those work is coming to grips with the reality that it will never be you. It’s actually kind of satisfying imagining yourself sitting across the table from your LO and telling them that. Unless, of course, they’re a narcissist in which case you just made their day. But, since this is in your head, you can think of it as rubbing their nose in it. They’re not the prize, you are. And, they can’t have you. Too bad for them. You have better things to do.
In “Barriers and uncertainty,” DrL explains why it’s hard to pull off but you can pull it off. The other thing moving toward freedom gets you is it becomes a lot harder to maintain the fantasy. Just when you kick back, you feel the warmth from the Scotch, and the Babys “Everytime I Think of You” is playing through your buds, something like that root canal next week or replacing the catalytic converter on Monday smacks you back to reality. It won’t take all that much to displace them.
For me, limerence isn’t causing me any anxiety anymore. I sleep like a baby. My relapses are limited to social media drive byes. They’re coming further and further apart and duration of the relapses are getting shorter. Also, keep in mind that it’s easier to keep someone out than to get someone out. That was one of the big bennies of LO #4 throwing the flag. She gave me an out, and I took it. If your LO offers you an out, take it.
Don’t negotiate, don’t argue, don’t try to re-frame the narrative, and don’t leave open the possibility of a comeback. The fewer the loose ends, the easier getting free will be. You probably won’t feel free. You’ll just feel better.
This was eloquent and all true Scharnhorst. We are the prize, they are not the prize that got away. With the healing march of time I have always realized that previous LO’s were bullets I am happy to have dodged. But for this latest one… the more I crawl toward freedom the more I see the unhealthiness of the possession my LO had over me. I am not quite grateful for dodging this bullet but hope it’s forthcoming.
NC is the only thing that is effecting a cure…and even that is very slow going. But I do feel progress….
The memories that are supercharged with melancholy and sentiment are still there, but the sweetness and intensity of their scent is fading…which I have mixed feelings about (Foolish heart!).
Doors are opening and parts of my dormant brain are reviving and they are launching ideas of curiosity and adventure.
Life really is better without a LO.
You want to know what freedom feels like? It feels something like this….
“They’re not the prize, you are. And, they can’t have you. Too bad for them. You have better things to do.”
Wow thank you so much for this post. You are so right. I feel like us limerents are caring people who put our whole hearts into things, we have beautiful hearts and clearly put people before ourself. We are worth more than this. Not that are LO’s are bad, as I’m sure they’re not but they clearly don’t see us the way we see them and that is their loss totally.
My problem is this, everytime I start to feel better, I start letting LO in again little by little and before you know it I’m at rock bottom. Time is a healer! If a previous reached out now, I wouldn’t even reply as I could not careless. It’s impossible for me to go NC so the only option is LC which I am so much better at. But with LC it’s not as black and white and sometimes I get caught up in conversations and that leads me down the road to nowhere.
Perhaps, we could could move forward if deep deep down we really wanted to. Clearly there’s something keeping us limerent? Your post makes me think about mind set and mine hasn’t been very self loving as I’ve felt I’m the one who’s missing out but truely today I’m feeling it’s his loss and it really is. Maybe I’ve been missing self esteem in this whole situation.
Scharnhorst I’m so pleased this doesn’t give you anxiety anymore it’s such a horrible feeling and I’m happy your mind is at peace a little. Your inputs to these blogs are always a pleasure to read.
So today I had to have a meeting with LO to go through the deck in advance of a meeting tomorrow. It went fine. She was sprawled our in her chair, showing a lot of thigh beneath her short skirt and playing with her hair. I was (visibly at least) unimpressed.
We talked thru the slides and then I asked how she was. She said she’d noticed I’d gone NC and I felt compelled to explain it was for my own good because I had had a crush on her and needed to disconnect. She teared up and said she’d get emotional if I kept talking like that. I apologized if I’d been too intense in my efforts to be with her. She said I had been a little “puppy dog like”. I explained that it was hard given how passionate our relationship had started and how quickly she turned cold and that it was difficult to be friends once we’d been more than friends and wanting to get back there. “Story of my life” she said (unclear as to whether she’d experienced the same for other guys or if it was her experience that guys became besotted with her).
To show her I was over her, I asked how her new relationship was coming. Turns out it wasn’t with the long time admirer/best friend I’d thought but some new guy. I said I felt bad for the long time guy (which I honestly do, look she’s bewitched me after a few months, he’s been after her for years). She laughed and said he was her “side bitch”. I replied “I guess we’re all your side bitches”.
I also told her about what my colleagues had said about her and me the other night and she didn’t like that at all: “I don’t want people thinking I’m the office slut.”
Finally she said she was glad I was “back” and that as long as I wasn’t “awkward” we could hang out. There was lots of knee touching on her part which I didn’t encourage or reciprocate.
I left the meeting feeling better about the whole thing. Lots of “moments of choice” and I didn’t pass all of them but I also felt freer afterwards and calmer inside. We need to work together and if we can do it like this – and stop talking about “us” and what happened (which we did now for my benefit) – then this can work for me.
Knowing to look out for the glimmer, for moments of choice and knowing that I’m the prize, not her, did make things easier.
“She laughed and said he was her “side bitch”. I replied “I guess we’re all your side bitches”.
I also told her about what my colleagues had said about her and me the other night and she didn’t like that at all: “I don’t want people thinking I’m the office slut.”
That is a telling exchange regarding her character. You don’t mention it, but was she a bit miffed that they had commented on YOUR behavior and it didn’t put you in the best light? Or was she solely focused on how it reflected upon herself?
“There was lots of knee touching on her part which I didn’t encourage or reciprocate.”
She is circling and spraying. If she does it again, tell her that you don’t want her to do it – or end the conversation in some manner.
“Knowing to look out for the glimmer, for moments of choice and knowing that I’m the prize, not her, did make things easier.”
You got it!
Fred missed an opportunity.
“I also told her about what my colleagues had said about her and me the other night and she didn’t like that at all: “I don’t want people thinking I’m the office slut.””
When she started the knee touching, his comeback should have been, “If you don’t want people to think you’re the office slut, quit acting like the office slut. This stops now.” She probably won’t know what to say. But, when she recovers, she might ramp up and try to bring Fred back into compliance. She sounds like the type who doesn’t hang around long with someone who stands up to her. She may even threaten to blackmail him. But, he either lives as one of her “side bitches,” tries to wait it out and hope she goes away, or stands up to her.
The woman is demeaning. She’s openly derides someone who genuinely appears to care about her? Where’s the appeal in that? She can’t be that good looking to be that obnoxious. This woman is dripping with disdain.
My father taught me the perfect comeback for a woman like this:
“You think you’re something special? I’ve walked over better than you looking for a place to j–k off.”
Unfortunately, because of the professional nature of things, Fred can’t use it but, trust me, it works.
I figure Fred is in a VERY bad position with this woman so it would be wisest to back away steadily – but not frantically. She would smell his fear and then do something to keep him unsteady and rightfully fearful for his job and marriage.
I have a far more colorful phrase, but I will refrain.
1) Fred can’t use it
2) It’s vulgar
3) It won’t help
Pity. It’s memorable.
That’s exactly what I’m trying to do Lee: back away steadily but not frantically. Although I was in a better place after the meeting, reading back the exchanges and your and Scharnholst’s comments, I can see how this was probably a NC/LC setback instead.
She was glad I was “back” (meaning she’d noticed I was extracting myself). She qualified our “friendship” (such as it is) with that it could only work if I wasn’t “awkward” or like a “puppy dog” around her, meaning she dictates how I am to behave. She made no attempt at recognising or soothing my obvious pain nor explaining why she’d changed her mind after initial reciprocation. In fact, when I tried for closure (I know, I know, pointless), she said she was tired of talking about it. We’ve never talked about it.
Later this evening, she texted me for the first time in 3 weeks, saying it felt good to “have me back”. I’m gonna let her think so. I guess the positive, constructive takeaway is that I have now normalised our relationship and with less of an immediate threat that she lashes out, I can keep backing away steadily and more determined than ever.
I thought I posted this earlier but maybe not.
Fred, she sounds like such a bad person. As a women, if I encounter such a female at work, I personally would try to avoid her at all cost. She sounds like such a toxic, self-absorbed person with no self-esteem, needing constant validation in her self-centered world. I really don’t get how someone like that can be appealing to men.
I wish you all the strength to get out of her toxic tentacles.
Dude – I’m so sorry for you. She sounds like a dreadful human being. I think you know what to do – give her as wide a berth as possible. You’re not “back”, you’re gone…
Avoid anything to do with her. That meeting yesterday, could someone else not have gone in your place? Or hers? You need to avoid her at all costs, even get rid of her from the company. She hasn’t been there long, she won’t cost much to fire. You have to look after no.1 and she’s using you. You’re the boss, not some kid’s “side-bitch”. Time to show who’s in charge.
Vincent, totally agree with you, except for, you cannot fire her because of that! Esp not after what happened, that’ll for sure end up in a law suit.
Fred can’t fire her now or she could destroy him personally and professionally. Even if the company were to settle out of court, they would dump Fred as a liability.
Thanks guys. Yeah Sarah and Vincent, you’re probably right. I have just been too blinded by limerence (still) to see it. Her comments yesterday – and your reaction to them – do tell me a lot.
As to your question Sarah, she is absolutely beautiful, lithe and sexy. She is actually very funny and quirky. Think manic pixie dream girl in a short cocktail dress, all glimmery and flirty and you’ll know what I’m up against.
And yeah of course I can’t fire her. She is actually very good at her job and I still care about her so trying to maintain limited LC is preferable and doesn’t open the company and me up to a lawsuit.
She could have more curves than a scenic railroad, a face that launched a thousand ships and she would still be a woman with a truly lousy character.
“She is actually very good at her job”
Maybe, but I doubt it. Look at what she has done within your group. There is turmoil, suspicion, speculation and their respect for you has diminished.
Go read “Snakes in Suits” and review what has happened since her arrival. She’s playing men against one another, she undermining you, she’s probably demoralizing the entire section and at the very least we can say that she “doesn’t play well with others”.
“You’ll learn how they apply their “instinctive” manipulation techniques – assessing potential targets, controlling influential victims, and abandoning those no longer useful – to business processes such as hiring.”
I loved “Snakes in Suits!” Another great one is “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout.
I also really liked “The Mask of Sanity” by Herve Cleckley. One of the chapters in his book could have been inspired by one of my wife’s HS buddies. Before I met my wife, I briefly dated my accountant after her divorce. She claimed the marriage counselor she saw said her husband was a psychopath.
I had a clinically diagnosed psychopath working for me in the Navy. The psychiatrist told us that he could deal with him medically, we had to deal with him administratively. It took a few months but we built the case against him. He tried to run and we sent an armed party of sailors to bring him back. They took him straight to the brig and we never saw him again.
“…he couldn’t deal with him medically…”
Anything by Dr. Robert D. Hare is worth reading.
Yeah. It’s next to impossible to deal with them medically. Just getting rid of them, somehow, is a big enough victory.
Boilerplate statement: NONE of us are qualified to diagnosis this woman and even if we were, we’re not in a position to do (or discuss it). So what you are getting is observations gleaned from your descriptions, our life experiences and of course, our own research into what the hell is going on with Crazy Eyes in our personal and/or professional lives.
But if you can manage not to get burned as badly as some of us have, or at least never fall prey to someone pulling this nonsense in the future – it’s a win.
Be careful, Fred. Very, very careful. You have to extricate yourself but not making it too obvious.
I would consult an OUTSIDE attorney – find out what you can do to minimize the blowback if she decides to go for blood.
Where did you pick up the phrase, “manic pixie dream girl?” Did someone in the office refer to her as that or did she refer to herself as that? That term has a defined meaning. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ManicPixieDreamGirl
It’s not a compliment. If you hear that coming from a woman, consider it a warning.
No I know Scharnholst. I probably picked up the phrase from a movie review somewhere in the mid-2000s. She definitely hasn’t called herself that. I’m aware of the negative connotations, that’s why I thought it fit. But the main positive definition from your article is on point too:
“the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is here to give new meaning to the male hero’s life! She’s stunningly attractive, energetic, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies (generally including childlike playfulness), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She’s inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy antics until he learns to live freely and love madly.”
The Leanan Sidhe (admittedly a 20th century construct but still works):
It’s understood that a relationship with such a literal manic pixie is doomed to end with the human lover losing his mind from exposure to the sidhe’s alien ways, or have his life drained away from the sheer excitement she causes him to have. It’s also implied that a human may die from despair, as he knows the pixie will leave him one day and he’ll never find anyone like her ever again among a human population.
Steep price to pay, IMO.
Plus it’s apparent that this woman very much has an agenda and doesn’t care whose body she climbs to achieve it. Or if she has to slaughter them herself to get there.
“Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists to help the protagonist achieve happiness without ever seeking any independent goals herself. “
Correction: 19th century English construct about Irish legends.
People like our MPDG usually only respect who they fear and it doesn’t look like she fears anyone in the office.
Is there anybody in the office she is afraid of? If there is, why is she afraid of them?
Fred, I am so sorry you’re in this situation. I’m a level-headed person and don’t use this term lightly, but her behavior sounds to me outright sociopathic. I don’t care what she looks like or how sexy she is, the fact that you’re still attracted to her after witnessing so much inappropriate behavior worries me on your behalf. She seems to not care a whit about you and your well-being. You seem to be a mere plaything to her, as much as I hate to say it, and as much as my heart goes out to you as a fellow limerence-sufferer.
As a reasonably attractive female professional, I can assure you that the only way I would flirt so aggressively in a meeting with my male boss would be if I were off my rocker.
Sane as I actually am, I’d be mortified to even think of behaving so unprofessionallly.
And if I had a female colleague acting that way (like at the party your co-workers mentioned) around a shared boss, and the boss seemed to tolerate or even reward it, I would consider the workplace toxic and immediately start looking to take my talents elsewhere. I think you are at risk of losing good employees that way. If you care about your LO’s professional development and you need to keep her in the company, I’d recommend that you place her with a successful female mentor and distance yourself as much as possible. Again, I’m really sorry you’re in this situation.
Thanks Midlifer for your compassionate and honest reply. Along with others, that does help me start to see her behavior in the right light. I think the female mentor is a great idea: I’d need to institute a company-wide mentorship program for talented new hires in order to “hide” what I’m doing, but that isn’t beyond me. I know just the mentor for her too…
My therapist is going to have a field day with all this stuff on Friday!
And, guess what, this break of LC has of course increased my limerence. I deep-scrolled Instagram today and started reading back our old chat logs. Sigh. And phase 3 was going so well…
A sobering read for you this comment thread, eh?! Lots of good observations, even though I would echo Lee’s caution about internet diagnoses.
Whether or not she’d meet the classification in the DSM, from her comments she’s obviously unabashed about her manipulative behaviour, and feels secure enough in her hold over you to openly state it. None of that is good. Definitely time to get more assertive with the limited contact and deprogramming. Her “mask off” self is good fodder for deprogramming – remember how unpleasant that revelation was anytime your subconscious wants a little daydream fix…
Fred……I am still fuming over the ‘awkward’ comment. It’s so demeaning….and condescending. Can you imagine saying something like that to someone who once had and (obviously still has) feelings for you? It’s just so unkind….
You are the type of fellow who would never behave in such a way…I can tell.
The kind thing would be for LO’s to keep a healthy distance, behave with decorum and -for-goodness -sakes…LET THEM HEAL! My LO just would not let me heal either….in fact now that I am NC he asks mutual friends if I am “OK”, because obviously if I am not allowing interaction I must be not OK…because he is just so amazing and magnetic and irresistible clearly I can’t handle contact with him! (In his head of course, and formerly in mine). Truth to be told, I finally don’t WANT any contact with him. I deserve to spend my time with someone truly considerate of my feelings.
I am realizing like that old song says…’there is a thin line between love and hate’. And when you realize you’ve been used and played by folks who selfishly got off on your devotion…when it finally sinks in…..(took me years) it’s just INFURIATING. Never again. And I hope your manic pixie girl will soon see she has no hold on you….may you soon be free.
Oh and one more thing. If she touches your knee, ask her to stop. Tell her ‘keep it professional’ and shoot her a look of disdain.
You’re welcome, Fred. I believe that you can count on the solidarity of this LwL community, the support of your therapist, and most of all your own tenacity to pull you through. Warmest best wishes to you.
Thanks Dr L, Jaideux, and Midlifer. Yes, this has been a very sobering read indeed. As compared to last week’s LC, this week – starting off with the meeting I referenced above and other run-ins – has been so much more difficult. It’s brought back my limerence at near full strength. I’ve been scrolling through pictures, ruminating about our good times together and texting her. Damn it. Need to stay off the phone this weekend and then start over with LC on Monday. This is hard.
“The Twilight Zone” was a really great show that explored a lot of pretty deep subjects. I posted this one in “Limerence Music” but it fits better here. This is one of my favorite episodes. Who or what is controlling your life? It reminds me of when I decided to cut loose LO #2 and move on.
I feel like I am slowly (very slowly) moving towards LO freedom. Crazy thing is that I have imagined a life with LO and seen myself with LO at various “life” events (where my SO usually wasn’t the greatest partner) aka how LO would attend a wedding with me (just attended one: pushed LO thoughts aside, had a great time with SO) or attending my son’s year end kindergarten theater (stuff I usually do without SO as he’s not interested, and imagined how LO would actually enjoy being by my side). Been at an event at kindergarten 2 days ago, and thought, I actually do NOT want LO here with me now (SO still didn’t attend, but for good reasons).
I do not want to chat to LO, I usually just reply with short answers until he gets the message “I guess you are busy, I’ll leave you alone” (yes, thank you).
BUT… the freaking anger still creeps up from time to time. LO told me he will have drinks with the group of friends where his new LO was part of, and thinking about his LO still makes me angry. Thoughts that occupy my mind about LO are nowadays usually with his LO in my mind (how can my LO’s LO take so much space in my head and influence my mood is beyond me) the fact that I was hung up on my LO that at the same time was hung up about his LO is just so pathetic. I’m getting there though… this will soon be manageable for me and will soon be just a memory.
I know it’s just chemicals and my brain messing with me, but it really felt like I was in love with LO and could imagine a life with him.
I’ve read the question in one of scharnhorst’s comments i think, about how one could act against one’s morals and standards. Trust me, I’ve never thought I would be capable to cheat ever, I have been the moral compass for a few of my friends trying my hardest to help them walk away before it gets to cheating. I really never thought I could do this. I do wonder what factors contributed to get that far, as it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, it wasn’t alcohol that helped, it really built up over months. How was I so blinded?
I’ve asked myself the same questions. I think this is really useful for the next stage of limerence recovery, once the deprogramming has worked well enough to stabilise your emotions, and start to transition (as you have) to finding LO a bit of an irritant.
That’s what started me on the “purposeful living” project. Realising I must have been unwittingly neglecting some really important issues – or at least I was vulnerable to someone else derailing my life (suggesting an instability somewhere). The last few years have been really positive for me, once I freed myself, and paid attention to what I cared about and what I wanted my life to be like.
But, of course, the “answer” will be very personal for everyone.
Thanks MLB. I hope so. I feel like I pushed LO away due to my limerence and now I have Im missing him..
Again right there with you… just today I thought, this is really over. It’ll never be the same, if anything at all. But that’s ok.
I looked at my SO today when he was talking to his mom, and it reminded me a bit of the old days, when we just started to date. And it felt good.
Hang in there, Rachel. You don’t need LO. LO is not good for you. It’s over, it’ll be a memory of the past soon.
Sarah, accepting that an LE “is really over” is one of the worst parts of recovery. Every time I probe that area of my mind, I have to pull back and think about something else, because it hurts too much to contemplate. It’s like losing a loved one and realizing that I will never, ever get to see them again. That grief is too much. I have to approach it gradually, by degrees, over the course of several weeks or months. Trying to tackle it all in a few days would be too much to bear.
But here’s where I think I went wrong with my last and current LE: I never faced the “end” at all. In fact, I never even accepted that it really was the end between LO and me, even though I went NC for a year. As a result, I never conquered the LE; it just went dormant. All that time, I was still hanging on to hope (even though I wasn’t aware of it), and now I’m back at square one. Very frustrating.
Sarah that’s the part I’m struggling with at the present moment. That it really is over and there’s no going back. When im feeling great I can accept this and in way be pleased that mind has been freed but the last couple of days I feel the urge to go back to old habbits and reignite the limerence. Wanting to communicate and chat by text being the main one. My little heart used to to skip a beat from a message. Such a cheap and worthless thrill really. All part of the illusion we’ve created. Also that’s great that your noticing SO more that’s helped me massively. I try sometimes to stare into his eyes and that really sparks a connection. Although he thinks I’m a freak when I do this. My SO is real man who is loyal and would do anything for us. He really isn’t a path on my LO. Addiction for you.. totally irrational. William i was like you limerent for a guy for like 2 years but wouldnt contact me for months and id feel over it and then he’d reach out and it would be a long way down for me. The tactics on this website do work it’s just the sticking to it that’s hard! There’s a blog on here about greif. Could be useful.
William, I cried a lot when LO and I talked and decided it was really over. It really was like losing someone and I felt like I was going through the 5 stages of grief (and jumped back and forth between them). Now I feel like I’m getting to the acceptance part, like this is really over, and it’s ok.
Well at least for now it feels that way. Ask me again next week after I’ve seen LO 😉
@Rachel: hang in there, the low days will pass and you’ll feel better the next day again. Especially with the feeling of success of resisting the urge to text LO.
Sophie’s advice further down is good, thanks Sophie: what are you trying to get out of it? Remember the crappy feeling after you texted him last. You don’t want that feeling, and that’s all you get.
Has anyone investigated the tenets of grief counseling yet as a potential model for limerence “recovery?” Or drug counseling? NC feels a lot like losing a loved one and going through withdrawal at the same time, so those other disciplines might have something to offer in the way of ideas.
I’m really pleased to read this Sarah! It’s great when you have moments of clarity and are operating in your executive brain. I’ve always held the moral high ground and really looked down on cheating. Even though there was no PA there was definitely an EA going on by disclosing feeling and flirting. Soon this will become a memory and will have no real emotional attachment to it. I’ve slipped back a little. One of LO’s friends siad he’s been so low lately and down. My mind has been bending thinking is it because of our friendship ending. But it probably really isn’t! Even if it is, it is no concern to me. I am writing this now as a way of coaching myself btw. It really does show how icky your mind gets once freedom starts seeping in. My first real progress was when I started to get angry at LO for his erratic behaviour. By one minor being my best friend and then the other being really distant. Pulling me further into questionning. Keep the real thoughts coming and don’t get swept up in the fantasy. Need to take my own advice here.
Just to add to this. I messaged LO to check in and see how he was. Yes dumb move. Spent my whole time in an important meeting checking my phone, not focused at all. Snappy at my kids until he messaged back. He messaged was really closed and he ended the communication there. This really does show the negative impact limerence has on me. The fact that I can honestly say LO has been only in the back of my mind for a while now really highlights this is not the place for me anymore. Feeling pretty pants. But I’m taking this as a learning curve. No matter what I can not get emotionally involved with LO. Must detach my thoughts and enotions when I hear things about him. Will 100% get on track again. Deleted his number now there really is no need for it. Looking for a bit of encouragement 🙁
I’ve been there, Rachel. Texted LO and then was in such a crappy mood when he didn’t text back immediately. Thought what an idiot for texting, want to take it back but can’t and then waiting like an idiot thinking why does he not reply?
No more proactive texting !!!
I started a new tactic. I’ve come up with a nice thought, so whenever, LO (or LO’s LO to that matter) pops up in my head, I immediately force myself to think about this other nice thought. Whether in bed, on the train, in a meeting… LO must get out of my head!
There’s a lot to be said for positive thinking. When I went to therapy she said when you think of LO think of something positive and if you do this regularly your brain will automatically thinking of that positive when LO pops to mind. I’m so tired and I know that doesn’t help limerence. What I’m taking for this is this relapse isn’t half as bad as previous. I feel a bit sucky but no where near as bad as before. I know if I refocus my mind I’ll be ok. We got this! So exhausting. Why do our silly brains do things which end up hurting us?
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Deleting his number is awesome. You’re gonna be fine. Moving on!
@Rachel & Sarah
I have made that mistake a few times – never had LO’s number, but I unblocked him on Facebook and messaged there.
Every time, even when he replied quite promptly and politely, I felt disheartened after because it’s the reality check. I’m never going to have an in-depth conversation with him like we used to, and on text message he wouldn’t go beyond general chit chat.
I hold on to the memory of that rubbish feeling as it’s a useful deterrent!
Everytime I want to message I first ask myself what I really want to get out of it, would it be worth feeling that rubbish for? My next step is imagining LO opening the message and thinking “Why is she contacting me?” and only replying to be polite, after all he didn’t choose to contact me.
My final step – if the previous steps haven’t put me off -is to say OK, if I still feel the same about contacting him later, I’ll do it then. Then get on with something else, then if I’m tempted later I repeat the cycle.
I’ve now lost count how long I’ve been NC, and am genuinely feeling better about the whole situation. Getting on much better with SO and our relationship is much improved (and still working on it!)
We can all do this! It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
Thank you Sophie for the the
really lovely advice. I am definitely taking his on board and will practice this. Also it is great that your feeling better. I have really really good days. Ones where I can see things perfectly clear. These are the best days.
Sarah, I’ve not trained myself to see LO in a really negative way when in his presence. I always focus on his imperfections and this keeps me grounded. I guess I’m still craving the validation from him and communication. As for idealation, that has now gone. I see LO for his worts and all! Not a nice person, although come across so sweet. Probably one of the most selfish people i know. Who again comes across as the most helpful kind person in the world. It’s all BS! Sorry if TMI but to the women out there… Do you get more limerence symptoms at a particular time of the month. I’ve noticed this as a pattern for me.
Rachel: “I have really really good days. Ones where I can see things perfectly clear. These are the best days.”
I know what you mean. Just last night, it was like the clouds parted and… I felt normal. It was the first time in days where that had happened, and it was such a relief. The feeling didn’t last more than a few hours, however, and then I was back to feeling sick and crummy.
By the way, a lot of times when the negative emotions return, I feel like I can actually sense the bad hormones, chemicals, or whatever trickling back into my system. It’s a weird sensation, like feeling poison slowly spread throughout your body. I wish I had more control over it. It’s like there are knobs and dials in my brain, and if I could just learn how to adjust them on command, then I could be happy all the time.
“Crazy thing is that I have imagined a life with LO and seen myself with LO at various “life” events”….”it really felt like I was in love with LO and could imagine a life with him.”
I also often thought/dreamed about how LO would fit into the future with me. I came to the realization that there would not be much of an integration of her into my life; we would be starting something different. What could LO truly give me, and what voids would be there if we rode off together into the sunset? I did some serious soul searching, though while under the limerence spell. I was in love with LO, but what kind of love? How fleeting would it be? Many times I tried to figure out how could this all work out in the long run. Is she reliable? Could I truly trust her emotionally? I believe that I cannot.
“BUT… the freaking anger still creeps up from time to time.”
Use this. It doesn’t matter if the anger is justified or not. It has helped me get more mental distance from LO.
“Thoughts that occupy my mind about LO are nowadays usually with his LO in my mind (how can my LO’s LO take so much space in my head and influence my mood is beyond me)”
I had painful thoughts about people in LO’s past that I had never met. There was an odd jealousy on my part, plus my desire for exclusivity that I could not control.
“I’ve read the question in one of scharnhorst’s comments i think, about how one could act against one’s morals and standards. ”
Had I never gone through this experience, I would be more judgmental of others. Now I am more aware that we are all susceptible to certain “failures” given the right/wrong combination of factors. And we do not have a clue about the true journey of other human beings. We only see the results.
Thanks for your reply, Thinker. I wasn’t sure what comments will be flying my way.
I also thought a lot about whether LO and I could work in the long run, if we were compatible. It sounds like you’ve had similar thoughts. I understand why LO moved on to his LO, and I’d probably have done the same in his position, nevertheless it was (and still is) painful that my LO moved on so quickly, like it didn’t mean that much to him at all. And I know I have no right to feel that way, yet I do feel that way nevertheless.
I am trying to use that anger to get over LO, yes. Anger is good, it’s a negative emotion associated with LO. Looking forward to what comes afterwards when the fog is gone.
I agree about the negativity seeping in. It’s feels very icky and toxic now. I’ve had moment where I’ve looked at LO and thought WTF and felt utterly crazy. I find when I sleep well and have enough my mind is clear. If I’m tired or run down my go to is LO. I find is highly annoying that I’ve let someone so unworthy have this much of a hold on me.
I was thinking when I was driving today and I know that this concept is all over this site. Im in love with my limerence fantasy and LO was just the person to fixate on and be the person to live in my fantasy. My fantasy is I become so close to someone that we are one person in emotionally contracted in the most intense way. LO is the object and this is is one of a few LO’s living out my fictional hero. As I write this I realise how messed up this is. It does make me feel very strange and I just need normally back now. The story and fantasy needs to end and the book to be chucked at sea!
In response to your question about limerence at certain times of the month, yes very much so. I can predict when I’m most “at risk” of the limerent thoughts reappearing.
Now things are more under control (or as much as they can be) I am able to refocus that energy on SO. However if SO is emotionally unavailable at the particular weak points, then thoughts of LO and breaking do NC creep in.
So I met up with LO for Lunch yesterday. Not even a hug anymore, we really behave like “normal colleagues”. Nothing really that is left of how close we were/felt at some point. Conversations were strictly work related or topics approved for conversations with a colleague.
LO is flying on vacation today. I could have texted him to say have a good flight (which would basically show that I am thinking about him). I could have… but I didn’t. Got that under control. Check.
But… I feel a bit sad today. Sad that it is in the past, done and over. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I feel that it is over. But it makes me a bit sad that a person I felt very close to (not necessarily physically, but emotionally) is now nothing more than a random person like any other colleague. It’s all good though… just wanted to get that feeling off my chest by writing here.
I know that feeling Sarah. I felt sad that I’ve lost someone who gave me so much emotion and laughs. But the downsides far out weighed the good times. So I try to keep that in mind. Also it’s a good feeling that I’m now making the right choices in life and am on the right path. That sadness will 100% pass.
Sometimes limerence thoughts are triggered and they feel so strange to me now. I’m like ewww I’m not going back there them obsessive thoughts and rumination make me feel very uncomfortable know.
My little piece of advise will be to treat your self to something. Go shopping, go out with friends get your hair or nails done (or both) and celebrate the closure of this chapter of your life. You should be so proud of yourself for pulling yourself out of this mess and you really do deserve it.
Awww, that just made me smile, Rachel, thank you!
Yeah, I’m the same, sometimes a limerence thought popped up today, but it feels like I don’t want that anymore. LO’s teeth looked really stained yesterday, I felt no desire to kiss him 😜
Ewe nobody wants to kiss someone with yellow teeth. I bet his breath stinks too!
No idea… didn’t get that close to him 😉
@sarah. That’s inspiring to hear how you managed to keep that meeting strictly non-limerent & non-emotional. And not going there with the follow-up text. Brilliant!!
I’m laughing at the teeth comment. My LO has awful teeth (gappy & yellow) and it’s something I try and focus on to turn me off him.
Sounds like you are well on your way to freedom. I love Rachel’s idea of a treat – you deserve it and it’s great positive reinforcement.
At some point I made him try backing soda to bleach his teeth, which he did. Seems like he stopped though. Oh well. Don’t care anymore 😉
I’m slightly obsessed with good teeth. Eugggh.
Unfortunately because I am only in long distance contact with LO, his teeth couldn’t work their deterrent magic on me. Plus all his online photos he has his mouth closed. But I did find one gruesome photo that showed teeth – trying to focus on that. Can’t believe you had to take on your LO oral aesthetics 😂
After checking out LO #4, my wife said, “She’s not even all that attractive.”
I wanted to say, “Where did you look?” but nothing good would have come of that.
Wise move scarny
@SGL: I made him buy new pants too 😂
My lo doesn’t have great teeth it’s definitely an off putter. It’s so funny in limerence how we gloss over these imperfections.
Not that I’m trying to be nasty as nobody is perfect bit it’s important to notice these things to dull the infactuation.
Scots, I see LO most days. He tried to lure be in emotionally which did work the other day but I did snap out of it. He said that I’m showing my ugly side and it’s not pretty. That hurt. But hey ho it’s only one person’s opinion. The people who I love and care for know me. Most of the time we just talk about boring stuff now. Not interesting in the slightest
He’s just trying to provoke you, don’t fall for it, Rachel. He can’t lure you in anymore so he’s trying to get some reaction from you.
The best you can do is show him how indifferent you are… it will make him try even harder to get through again, get some reaction from you that shows you’re not over him.
That’s Sarah. Oh yes he deffinatly is. It did upset me and then I started to be all nice again but then I snapped out of it and remained netural. I can see how he’d feel that I’m stone cold as I used to be so kind and sweet to him but now I’m nothing. It’s a shame but life goes on right? Looking back I can not believe how low I got in my last relapse. My anxiety was killing me. I’ve thrown myself into things I love and it’s helping tremendously.
@Sarah – now “pants” not sure if you using that in the UK way (undergarments) or the North American way (trousers) ? I’m
hoping it’s the latter but if it’s the former – who am I to judge 😉.
@Rachel – what is it with all these LOs and their wonky teeth. I’m picturing a room full of Austin Powers here …
Trousers, definitely trousers!!!! 🙈
He wore the same ugly, way to loose dress pants to work every day, I think I nagged him for 4 months to please consider buying some new ones. He has the most athletic gorgeous body (honestly model like, yet the biggest body dysmorphia issues I have ever came to know about – he actually hates the reflection of himself and avoids walking towards a glassdoor)
Note to self: stop thinking about the body, think about the yellow teeth and the growing bald spot on his head…
Although now I’ve have some real mental clarity it’s clear to see that this website is part of my limerence addiction as it really does keep it alive. When I’m ready I’ll have to let go fully. But for the meantime I’m happy checking in with everyone from time to time and I do get concerned about you Sarah but it’s really great to see your maintaining LC and keeping things emotionally dull between you two.
I feel the same, Rachel. Checking in on this site became a new little addiction and it helped me so much. I love the fact that you check in on me, Rachel, I noticed, thank you. I hope I was of help too. One day, we’ll let go and that’s ok.
Yes always of help. Any communication is helpful.. especially when you said I had to let go. I could feel a little click in my brain then.
And by the way that is gross that he wore the same trousers everyday. Wonky teeth and dirty trousers (pants). My god when them rose tinted glasses are on they are on aren’t they. Nice body or not that is a big no no. Oh lord I’m evil
You guts have been awesome as I don’t have anyone to talk to. My case is a little different to yours as we have had no PA, never even talked about it, never mentioned that I like her so to her I’m just a friend and probably like a brother to her who cares for her. I’ve done many sweet things for her like bring her coffee and buy her bath salts when she been stressed and things which Normal colleagues will not do like Buy ratings for her from a holiday I went on.
So she may or may not know I like her. She knows I have SO.
So my point is that Is it easier for you guys to say goodbye to this as
You have more certainty?
I’m on LC and she has it said anything as we had daily communications before. But I’ve scaled it right back. But I was thinking that by keeping it a secret like this Do I make it harder on myself?
You guys have been awesome as I don’t have anyone to talk to. My case is a little different to yours as we have had no PA, never even talked about it, never mentioned that I like her so to her I’m just a friend and probably like a brother to her who cares for her. I’ve done many sweet things for her like bring her coffee and buy her bath salts when she been stressed and things which Normal colleagues will not do like Buy earrings for her from a holiday I went on.
So she may or may not know I like her. She knows I have SO.
So my point is that Is it easier for you guys to say goodbye to this as
You have more certainty?
I’m on LC and she has not said anything as we had daily communications before. But I’ve scaled it right back. But I was thinking that by keeping it a secret like this Do I make it harder on myself
Hey Kevin, I have a few thoughts on that. At this point you don’t know if LO has feelings for you. What would you do if you knew? 1. Option: If she’s not interested, do you think it would help you get over LE? 2. Option: If she had feelings for you, what would you do? Is that what you are secretly hoping for?
These seem to be the logical two only options. But what happened to me was a third option: I (with an SO) disclosed to LO (single), because I thought it was mutual, he said, sorry no feelings from his side. But he kept on showing behavior that you don’t just do if you don’t have feelings for someone. So instead of disclosure being the end of it, it was the start of extreme uncertainty. His words did not match his actions at all. He continued to do exactly what you are doing: bring me coffee, buy me stuff from holidays, buy me bath bubbles to relax, write nice cards for women’s day, birthday etc. this isn’t something someone just does for one person if you are not the least bit interested. so even though he said he was option 1: no feelings, he showed me option 3: complete uncertainty by showing me that he might be interested. What I am trying to say is if you disclose and she says no thanks, it may not give you the relieve you are hoping for as she may continue to give you some signs that you could interpret as, maybe she does like me after all? Or is she just being nice?
Which brings me to my second point – look, as I said above, you do things for her that one doesn’t just do if one doesn’t have feelings and is not interested. I would say, if she has normal common sense, she can assume that you like her more than just as friends. She may just chooses to ignore it as it is more convenient for her. If she had feelings for you, she wouldn’t keep you at arm’s length, she would let you get closer, if she really wanted that (maybe you having an SO would make her be hesitant, but if she truly liked you, she would reciprocate in some small ways). My guess is that she likes the attention she is getting from you, she probably rationalizes it (to herself or even friends) as “oh he’s just a nice thoughtful guy, and he is with someone else after all, so no, he has no feelings for me”. I bet you anything if you made it more obvious you liked her, it would get uncomfortable for her as she can’t deny it any longer and she would start to distance herself.
And just to add, you started to go LC, and it doesn’t seem to bother her. Maybe she is a bit relieved (you are not on her case anymore)? Maybe she does notice and hasn’t said a thing? Still can’t be that bad, otherwise you’d see some reaction from her.
In my opinion, disclosing to her doesn’t help, other than maybe hearing that she doesn’t feel the same way and it may help you get over it (1 reason to disclose)
But from an other angle: you have an SO, and disclosing feelings for someone else is not a nice thing to do. So far this is just in your head, saying it out loud to someone makes it a little bit more real. And I think you know deep down how LO sees it anyway, so the more sensitive thing would be not to disclose as there really is no benefit from it (I know I’m the wrong person to be the moral compass, but the way I see it is just because I failed to uphold my own moral standards doesn’t mean I can’t help others to stay true to their morals…)
WOW – I feel you have really understood what’s going and what I’m facing – thank you so much for taking the time on a Saturday morning to write that – I felt a sense of relief, direction and a feeling of acceptance of the situation.
My problem is that I was waiting for her to confront me and tell me that either she likes me or that I should cool it with the sweet gestures cos im married…until then I just believed that she wasn’t aware of my feelings… I did things like
suprise coffee/dessert treats
telling her she is beautiful or pretty or stunning on text message after some nights out when she was dressed up
121 dinners and lunches (we both paid half)
text from when im on holiday to see how she is
texting when she had a rough day to see how she was
once i told her after xmas party on text that I care for her more than I should – she didn’t respond to that message
treats for her when i go on holiday
You get the idea…. She did give me some attention that felt special but now that the fog is clearing slowly thanks to DR L and you all, I can see that it was me doing all the hard work and her saying/doing things now and then but I felt I was acting her boyfriend but she was treating me as a close friend. At the time the slightest gesture from her felt like full acceptance of my sweet gestures.
Anyway she didn’t tell me to stop or tell me she liked me so I lived with uncertainty – but NOW i am certain that she doesn’t see me more than a friend – the fog has lifted and her actions are just friendly. Your right sarah, she may just like the attention. She may have liked me a little before but knows i have SO, and plus she has said she is practical person so her brain wouldn’t let her entertain that thought anyway – I known her for 7 years worked for 5 years and she is a practical black and white – not very emotional person. She calls her self an emotional retard – LOL….
So I agree with you that I know its not worth disclosing as deep down now I know she doesn’t feel for me in the way I do. Her friend told me recently too ’that LO speaks of you so fondly, sounds like your a good brother to her’…LOL…..With regards to your option 2 – I would secretly want her to like me so we can have a PA but then i know that’s going to get me in more trouble so maybe this is a blessing in disguise to walk away with a few scratches only. A I feel slightly envious that some of you chatting recently disclosed / had a PA. But then I guess i should feel ok that I have not Physical memories of an affair, no embarassment, no disclosure to go deeper into uncertainty, no akward moments with LO at work…. but just the unknown I guess of getting it out of my system.
I like what you say about ’she may choose to ignore it as its more convenient’… she is that sort of person to just get on with things.. not proactive in many ways. like I said some small signs of care but looking back im now convinced its her just being nice to me – she does respect and value me i can see and tell that.
LC is going ok – haven’t cut off completely but not proactive in communicating and not checking up on her anymore out of work – just respond a little if she initiates contact…. Its hard but for my own good. It feels as if she hasn’t noticed/doesnt care and that hurt too but also I know it helps me to limit contact which will help remove LE. This week she been on holiday and i wanted to message her but haven’t and it was tough – but thanks to you all i did it.
So i continue to stay strong, and continue with LC and staged withdrawal as only recently after a 2 year LE episode I now have removed the uncertainty and know that its just her being nice to me and perhaps just enjoying the attention that I have given as she has been single for 7 years – or she is just oblivious to my attention and thinks im just being extra nice… who knows, I want to be more purposeful, more respectful to SO and more Successful with my life overall.
Single for 7 years? Wow, that’s a long time. Has she ever said why? Maybe she doesn’t like men in that way… just a thought. Or maybe she’s just not that sexual a person.
There are probably a number of things at play here. She likes the attention and in the absence of a boyfriend she gets elements of that type of relationship from you. Maybe that’s enough for her. She may have just mentally ruled you out because you’re in a relationship. It’s amazing how many unmarried people think that once you’re married you won’t even so much as look elsewhere (we know life ain’t that simple…). She may be totally in love with you or she may think you’re just a regular friend.
You can agonise over all of that and it’s hard not to. It’s probably useful to find a narrative that you can believe in and stick to it whilst going as LC as possible as it will help with acceptance and moving on.
For me, because LO’s friend told me that if I wasn’t married LO would have done something about her feelings, then I have the narrative that things were somewhat mutual, and it was the inappropriateness of the potential relationship that got in the way. I’m sure feelings ran deeper on my side due to the limerence but there was something her side too. I think I can live with that.
Even if she is madly in love with you and respect the boundaries of marriage: bottom line is, you shouldn’t replace one person with another, because that almost always fails. would you leave SO even if LO wasn’t there? If yes, do it, if not, chances are that it wouldn’t work with LO and SO wasn’t that bad after all. I think that should be your question (not necessarily only Kevin’s but any limerent) you choose to love SO, being limerent is not a choice and sadly, it doesn’t last.
Hi Vincent – thanks for your response.
I have wondered that about sexual orientation but im 90% convinced she is into guys…She is saying she is on a journey to find her self and is working on herself at the moment – she has anxiety some self esteem issues but to the outside world comes across solid as a rock.
I dont think she is in love with me – she hardly initiates contact…. When I did, she was fine….but i was on holiday for 2 weeks and she didnt message – she has been on holiday for the last week and neither of us have messages so I just feel that she is not in love with me – there are no signs of that – BUT signs of good care there are signs of which is what pulled me in.
I like the idea of narrative – My narrative is the fact that she liked the attention from me… because she never kept me at a distance (nor pulled me closer) she was enjoying the validation but also new that I have SO so maybe felt safe that I am not creepy or do anything silly – so in that way we can live in a little bubble of comfort and closeness when she needs it.
I feel happy that she speaks fondly of me and is not saying to her friends that I am creepy doing nice things for her- so thats the narrative i will go with – I like this idea of yours.
Only thing I would add for anyone’s else benefit is that I feel my LE was fuelled as she opened up to me about her insecurities etc. She is introvert and a private person and I felt special ther she was telling me these things. She probably just needed a trusted friend and I think I saw that openness as a sign of her liking me.
Lesson learnt is to separate someone feeling open with you and trusting you vs them liking you romantically.
Kevin, if someone you weren’t romantically interested in was besotted with you (as it was obvious you were with all the thoughtful things you did for your LO), wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable? Yes, all normal people feel uncomfortable, or awkward and usually sympathetic toward someone who has feelings for us and we do not. Sure, it’s a little flattering, but a normal and kind person would never encourage such unreciprocated feelings, in fact they would back away, far away until things died a natural death. But LO’s….they usually are a different breed, they don’t really care that we have developed unrequited love, (no, they LOVE it!) they don’t care that that this is a dead end, and in the case of limerents with a SO, they don’t care that they are encouraging disloyalty to them. No, they crave the attention, they love the ego boost, they get off on feeling desirable and knowing they have ALL the power. These folks often present as kind and generous and vulnerable and identify themselves as loyal and true friends…..but they are nothing of the kind. A true friend doesn’t knowingly hurt another friend. A true friend would take the high road and go away, set up the boundaries that we find nearly impossible to do for ourselves, and then let us heal and come to our senses.
Kevin, your story sounds so similar to mine, roles sometimes a bit mixed up though, but it’s freaky.
It seems pretty clear that she can assume you like her. Be glad she didn’t let you get closer. I regret that LO let’s me do things, like hold his hand, touch his face (to remove like a dust piece), let’s me rest my head on his shoulders etc. i tried, I pushed, he let me (he didn’t initiate anything though, but he also never pushed back or pushed me away or distanced himself EVEN THOUGH he knew exactly how I felt about him).
As jaideux said above (and rachel told me before as well) no normal person would continue to fuel your feelings knowing that you have feelings for him/her. That is not normal behavior, and you can really assume she knows (even if you confront her, she probably denies it) i have no doubt that she is fond of you (and liking that you care about her) and not cold-heartedly abuses you (and I truly believe my LO did see me as a special person too). But… nothing good comes from there. Look, she doesn’t feel the same way about you, and even if she did, would you leave SO for her? If you say yes, think about if you would want to leave SO even if you couldn’t be with LO. If not, let LO go, your SO is so much more important. Plus, LO doesn’t want to be with you (not trying to be mean). Do yourself a favor and start to let her go. Don’t disclose, in a few years when you think back on this you’ll be glad you didn’t disclose. Trust me, a PA does nothing for you. It just messes you up more, and you’ll have to live with that the rest of your life. It’s not a desirable outcome.
Only leave SO if you are also feel like you’re better off without SO, never for an LO (and don’t even consider it), it’s not worth it. The LE will pass and it is nothing more than an LE. But your life with SO will be shattered and you’ll regret it. Kevin, you are at the point where you can turn around now and it will be ok. Let LO go.
“A true friend would take the high road and go away, set up the boundaries that we find nearly impossible to do for ourselves, and then let us heal and come to our senses.”
When we were still corresponding, LO #4 said she thought that I had her best interest at heart. When I tried to leave after I disclosed to her, she said she’d miss my support and encouragement. I thought I had things under control but things got awkward. I told her I needed the boundaries to go back up and she threw the flag not long after.
She could have ghosted me, she could have said, “Buzz off, creep!,” or she could have let me have it with both barrels. But, she didn’t. I got a very gracious goodbye from her. I don’t know if she still believes what she said to me but I hope she does.
I know that her saying goodbye for whatever the reason was in my best interest.
Jaideux: “But LO’s….they usually are a different breed, they don’t really care that we have developed unrequited love, (no, they LOVE it!) they don’t care that that this is a dead end, and in the case of limerents with a SO, they don’t care that they are encouraging disloyalty to them.”
Should we assume the worst motives of our LO’s, or could it be they really want our friendship, and not being able to empathize with our limerence, hope we’ll get over our romantic feeling and become true friends?
I struggle with this now that I initiated NC with my LO. Were we/could we ever be true friends. Even during our PA she encouraged me to strengthen my relationship with SO. Then 2+ years of her set and enforced platonic friendship boundaries, she has been interested in my SO’s and family. She’s never met SO or family.
My LO has been there for me many times when it counts (but I should have been leaning on SO, not LO), so I know she cares for me, but was it primarily for all the other negative reasons “the attention, they love the ego boost, they get off on feeling desirable and knowing they have ALL the power?”
My LO is fully aware of my obsessive 24/7 thoughts of her and that I drop anything I’m doing and change any personal or family plans to be with her or text chat with her. But to be fair, I sometimes lie about sacrifices I’m making from my family to be with her. Though I know, she knows I’m lying. But it gives her plausible deniability.
This is my 4th NC attempt. The other 3 times I gave reason she was not giving me enough time in her life and/or I was freaking out because I couldn’t be with her in PA as before, or married to her (I asked many times), to include loss of sleep, anxiety meds, ignoring family, etc..
But 95% of time I had normal conversations with her like a regular friend would. Only 5% of time would I beg her to return my romantic love and spill my heart and emotional pain to her. This was normally ignored (if by email), or a overture of sympathy was given if by text. I almost never did this emotional display in person, as I wanted to make that time normal and not awkward for her, so she would want to see me.
This time I told her the reason for NC were my thoughts and feelings were on her 24/7 and if she wanted me to have a good marriage (as she often said), than I could no longer be in contact with her so I could focus on SO and marriage. LO said I’m her closest friend by far and this NC will be hard on her, but I should do what’s best for my marriage. Doesn’t that show her noble and caring intent?
I do love my SO (you couldn’t tell from above). My 38 year marriage is good, my SO is happy (I ask often) and her mother who I see every day now would tell me is she wasn’t. I really do want my SO over LO. But my limerent brain would have me give up everything to be with my LO in eternal bliss . I know this is an excuse, but my thoughts for LO are intrusive and not what I want (but I do).
Every time I’m with LO, or texting, it is wonderful and I become more limerent for her (for almost 3 years now). But between seeing or texting her, I am in emotional despair pining for the next contact. Made even worse as some days she does not return my texts until right before she goes to bed as if I am the last thing (an obligation) in her day. Other times she is very interested if what I’m doing, sharing what she’s doing. When I’m with her she’s totally focused on me. Its just too infrequent for me.
So I’ve been a wreck for 3 years, wanting my SO and marriage, but knowing I would give it all up if LO said yes to my pleadings to be with her.
Obviously my SO does not deserve this, and for the most part I’ve kept my inner turmoil from her. Hopefully with the NC I can again be the husband I was before I met LO and was blindsided by my 1st LE after 35 years of marriage (now 38).
Day 7 of NC. I truly hope LO does not check on me to see how I’m doing as I might be tempted to try and restore friendship and daily contact. I want control over my brain and thoughts again and have my heart and love be for my SO which is what I truly know I want.
Bob, take this from a serial limerent: (the last LE lasting 7 years) ….LO’s are giving heroin to a heroin addict, and no matter how nicely they present it and how kind and caring and generous they are, they are feeding the addiction and on some level they need us to be addicted. That’s why most of them are uncomfortable when we go NC. It’s a sad fact to wrap ones mind around.
Bob, I think it’s great that you want to focus on SO and that you don’t want to end your marriage.
It still feels like you idealize LO and make her this perfect woman. She’s not, nobody is perfect.
I wish you all the luck to stay NC and I truly hope she does not reach out to you as she promised.
Jaideux, thanks so much for your comment. Especially after a rough night going through withdraw symptoms. She has other limerents addicted to her and does like to keep us around pining for her.
Sarah, thanks for your comment. Yes, I do idealize her. I admire her for the amazing woman she is. It would have been great if I could have been content to have her as a friend. But, its even better to have my SO of 38 years as my life partner. I’ll realize that even more when I make it through this withdraw period 🙂
Sarah, p.s. I was quite envious reading a recent discussion here between a few limerents able to look back and see their LO’s flaws, some physical, some character. I think that would make it easier to get over your LO.
I know my LO is not perfect, but as I look back at our 3 year relationship, all I see is what a good and amazing person she is. Because of my limerent brain, I expected and craved too much of her time and focus. I have to walk away from what would have been a wonderful and positive friendship 🙁
Thanks for responding. Your right i would feel wierd and wouldnt want to lead them on at all if they were doing nice things for me. Secretly I would like the attention too and get a little boost from it yes – so maybe thats what i have been giving my LO – and with me having an SO, she knows I typically wouldnt make a move on her so its playing in a safe playground. I would have preferred she did what you say and back off or tell me ‘hey shouldnt you be asking SO’s opinion on these shirts you are thinking of buying’….instead she would go all in and help me…. BUT we have to be the ones that take charge not LO – so i understand that.
But yes your not wrong in what you say and now that im on LC Im not letting her control me and doing my own healing
Kevin: “we have to be the ones that take charge not LO”
Yes, we’re the ones in emotional pain over the relationship with LO and altering our life to revolve around them, including putting our SO in 2nd place.
It doesn’t make the LO a bad person. If they try to discourage us from giving them so much attention, or admonish us for relying on them more than our SO, we would feel devastated and often lie to them about how much impact they have on our lives.
Im still amazed how well you understand my mind and my situation!! I love the way you write.
Yeah I agree when you say it its pretty obvious that (LO knows) I like her and the fact that she kept neutral with the odd signs of being extra caring shows that she enjoyed it, cared for me as a friend (as i did help her a lot when she felt down about her work etc).
We had none of the holding hands or touching faces – we had the usual touching shoulders and arms but she was like that with friends anyway i can now see that!!
I think she had boundary issues as she shouldn’t have got that close to me and of course i should not have either but im more clearer now. I agree she was not being manipulative but enjoying the attention, especially as she has low self esteem periods in her life. She opened up a lot to me so i showed more care and thought she liked me to be someone to open up too. But im wiser now. I know LO doesn’t want to be with me – the uncertainty has gone….I can feel that. Which help me get through this… i do at times think about the nice things but think about how my niceness maybe being used to fuel someones validation.
I love your directness and you speak from a different place as you have been where I want to go and don’t recommend it. I am sorry you had the pain and i hope you get through it – which it sounds like you are and helping us out too.
Kev, my uncertainty was fueled by these light touches (before it got more obvious), like when he showed me something on his phone and our hands accidentally touched… was that now on purpose or just an accident? Did he even realized our knees just touched? When he touched my arm when making a point, was that on purpose? It drove me crazy (hence I pushed to see if it was accidental or not)
I like the narrative you’ve put together for yourself. Hold on to it, don’t question it anymore.
Does anyone actually have the will power to have LO on social media but never stalk them? I’ve limited my viewing of their posts but I still find myself snooping which is not fun! I can’t delete LO as he is a family friend and would just look very weird. I think I’m having a stress induced setback at the moment. Not going to let it shape the rest of my week though. Anyone else struggling today.
I finally unfollowed LO recently as well as one of our mutual friends who posted pix of him: It was just too painful. I realized It was time to save myself and that supersedes “manners”. Nobody is alerted when you unfollow someone … it’s a discreet power move that … for me… marked a milestone. Symbolically I recognize “its finally over” and in this small way I accepted this and took charge deciding who’s lives I am and am not interested in on social media. I should have done it years ago but in truth I still held out hope for a miracle and I also had convinced myself I could handle it. By staying connected I was sentencing myself to extra years in limerence prison. I am NC now and out of prison and am feeling my inner strength growing but it’s a big adjustment. It’s not automatic happiness and relief but I know it’s a healthier way to live and In time I will grow to love life on the “outside”. I’m determined to not ever get imprisoned again. Hope that helps somehow!
You hit the nail on the head there Jaideux. Social media in a prison in itself without adding limerence into the mix. It’s a shame that you felt a prisoner for so long but I’m pleased for you that your strong enough to unfollow LO and not stalk his profile.
I like the fact that you’ve symbolically put and end to this by the unfollow. The thing is as I’ve unfollowed so many times and have ended up stalking him again and I now dont have much faith in myself in stick to it. I guess all I can do is try again. Thanks you for your reply. It’s lovely to have support.
Yup, struggling too. LO texted me from vacation, showed me a pic of his rental car… short conversation, how was flight, immigration, jetlag… enjoy your vacation, that’s it.
But I hate that he’s immediately on my mind again. I could text him, ask how vacation is, but I am certainly not going to. And I hope he also won’t give me an update. He mentioned once that he hates to always be the one reaching out to friends and friends don’t reach out to him. I hope he soon gets fed up with “always having to reach out to me snd I’m not reaching out to him”.
Luckily LO hates pictures of himself and he doesn’t post stuff on facebook. There’s hardly anything of him on there.
Rachel, mute everything, the less you see the better. (i muted my LO’s LO) so I don’t see any updates of her. I used to stalk her a little… Idiot me. Don’t go checking on profile, every time you want to, put your phone away, do something else. Drink a glass of water, hydration is good for the skin 😉
@jaideux, social media really is a prison. The less you know the better.
I’m with you there. As soon as they interact that’s it the mind goes. I was doing super well in keeping things netural but I think what’s sparked this was his comments about me changing. I should have seen this for that it was, a poke to get a reaction and I feel for it. It’s seems like your LO is clinging on for dear life. There’s only so many times somebody will initial contact first before they just get bored. Keep strong and remember thought are only thoughts…. Nothing more nothing less. We don’t have to believe them or hey tangled up in them.
Yeah, he’s just poking to get a reaction, Rachel. Being nice doesn’t work on you anymore, so he is trying to be mean. Show him indifference, and he’ll soon get over it!
Yeah I think my LO is trying hard to keep “that special bond” alive. I don’t want that anymore. As I said somewhere else, I cannot be his placeholder girlfriend that gives him attention until he finds someone else (@kevin, LO has also been single for a long time). It’s not good for me, my needs above his, I’m sorry. He’ll get it eventually. I truly think he’s a good person, but I cannot be that special person for him.
Sarah, the placeholder thing is real! After seven years of being called almost every day and confided in and taken care of (even financial help) I realize I was a well cared for faux girlfriend, a placeholder. My LO recently married and didn’t even loop me in that he was dating. He has made it clear he would like to remain friends, and invited me to his wedding, but I have fully opted out. In my heart I wish him no ill will and only the best, but in a sense he is dead to me now. I will not respond, I am taking full charge of my life and I will never ever be in this situation again. My friends warned me but as he told me when I disclosed that he had ‘considered it’ (us being together) so I figured he would one day realize I was the perfect match for him! It was a gamble and I lost. Or did I? One never really knows what life would be like with a LO, would they make our lives utter misery by continuing to develop relationships with people who then become limerent for them and now we are the SO watching this macabre scene? It doesn’t really matter, but I am now determined that I will never be a placeholder again. I will ask a future pursuer their intentions early on (so Victorian!) and if not honorable and clear, I will keep my distance. I owe myself such respect, and I will demand to be treated with respect. Being a placeholder is not being treated with respect and I shall never allow it again! (I feel like Scarlett O’Hara as I write this! Ha!)
“…I figured he would one day realize I was the perfect match for him! It was a gamble and I lost. Or did I? One never really knows what life would be like with a LO, would they make our lives utter misery by continuing to develop relationships with people who then become limerent for them and now we are the SO watching this macabre scene?“
Yeah, you never know how it would have turned out. Crazy that he kept you on stand-by for that long. I have seen similar with friends of mine where the guy was like “I don’t want to be with you” and my friend would be like, but he shows that he likes spending time with me, maybe he just needs time to realize that he wants to be with me. Witnessing that was already a lesson that if that happens to me, I will not stick around. Glad you say this will never happen to you again.
I also feel like even if I could be with LO, I wouldn’t want to as I could never trust him again. How quickly he jumped into a new LE of his own, having an EA with his LO, discarding me that quickly? Imagine if ai had ended my marriage because of LO and he did that shortly after… nono, my heart is fenced, guarded and with a huge wall around it (bigger than Trump’s mexican wall;)) He will never get through there again (nor will any other future LO). Any attempt by any future LO will be shot down by sarah’s little anti-LE detectors immediately. And they have a pic of LO “most wanted”, so he will not get anywhere near ever again.
Good job Sarah! Keep that wall up! 🙂
Be strong just mute social media and don’t look. Have a substitution strategy where you think of something else instead of them.
I’m having a tough weekend as well. Not on social media but generally. I know why. She has been on holiday so haven’t seen her at work and no interaction which means I am missing my usual ‘hit’. And keep wanting to message her to see if she is back okay from her holiday today.
But I’m saying to myself that I would I do that with another work colleague? No I wouldn’t. I would just ask how their holiday was when I see them Monday morning. So that’s how I need to behave with LO.
Yes, Kevin, stay strong. Don’t reach out to LO. Good thought about would you do that with another colleague? Always ask that. Good way of checking on what you should or shouldn’t do.
I feel like I am handling my LO now and get some power back. But I am still not fully free. It’s such a process, ugh. I do feel that I can only truly get over LO by really having complete NC. Like LC helps me to be in control, but it does affect me when he texts me still. But to him I want to show the picture of complete indifference. I don’t want to show him any sign that I am not completely over this, I also don’t want to show him I care about him (of course I do), but as long as I do and he knows it, I’m not over my LE.
It’s really though Kevin and I can empathize entirely on how your feeling. Do you know what I do to really shake myself. Im say to myself how weird this whole things is. If anybody knew the depths of my limerence I would be called a stalker and obsessed. People would view it as weird. This is super harsh I know but really makes me thing outside my head and makes me think about my actions. If LO knew that I kept tabs on him in the way that I do I’m sure he’d be freaked out. As would I if someone was limerent for me. It’s a shock to the system but works a treat!
Think* not thing
Has anyone watched the show “You” on netflix?
I’ve watched it.. what are you thinking haha. The bit where he says he’s addicted to her and she is his drug… Wouldn’t know what he was talking about… Ha
Well I see a lot of parallels to limerents, but clearly not to that extreme. I think there is a little bit of a stalker in all of us, but “normal people” have boundaries to their behavior and this guy clearly has no boundaries and takes it to the extreme. But I think people are empathic with him because, on a much lower level, people sorta understand how he feels.
My aha moment (careful, spoiler alert, stop reading if you want to watch it) was when he stalked her and confronted her about having an affair with her therapist and she just called him crazy, like there is nothing there. I don’t remember if DrL said that (I nowadays put a lot of smart sentences in DrL’s mouth) or where I read this, but if someone’s defense is “you are imagining things, you are crazy” you can be sure there is something there. Well that was true in my case at least 😉
I thought it was an interesting show.
Anonymous Limerent says
That show made me really insecure about how my LO perceived me, like some creepy stalker, so it went some way to worsening my insecurities. However, it may have hence influenced me to go NC, if you understand what I mean.
So… Simultaneous good and bad from the media, once again!
Hey AL, yeah it made me reflect on me a bit too and on limerence in general. But I think being limerent is to some extend normal, and a lot of people have feelings and insecurities like that. Question is how we deal with it and what actions we take. And ai mean, he is an extreme case (otherwise the show would also be boring)
I think you have helped me so much this weekend. i feel sad that you had a tough one. He shouldnt message you at all – that is manipulative as he knows how you feel and are trying to move on. Im sorry you had a tough one.
I read your message just as I was so tempted to check in on LO as she flew back today. BUT havnt….. its just the natural caring side comeing out for someone you care about. But I will just see her at work tomorrow and ask her then like any other colleague and then carry on with my own work. Im going with the strategy of being polite and brief and not into deep discussions and lunches to learn about the holiday.
Stay strong – you seem to have good discipline – like you say have a distraction when he messages you….and by not responding he will get the message im sure. Im sorry but i feel he gets an ego boost from your messages so keeps you at the end of the line when feeling in need of feeling good about himself. You seem so genuine and deserve better
Arh Sarah is a legend. You can tell she has a helpfull and caring nature.
Awww, thanks Rachel and Kevin, that just made my day!
Think* not thing
Hang on in there. I can defo say that a lot of men like the attention even if they don’t want to date a woman. They feel good. It’s human nature to feel wanted after all.
We need to all just stop letting others control us as if we are a tv and they a the remote
Control. Let’s tske
Charge and take the batteries out of the remote control
I recently crossed over 6 months since my last social media cruise of my XLOs. I think I’ve entered Phase III of Freedom from Limerence.
Phase I: There’s nothing I want to say to them. There were times I really wanted to talk to them after going NC but not anymore. The longer the period of NC, the lamer you look if you do contact them. Plus, there’s a somewhat perverse sense of accomplishment in not giving your XLO the satisfaction that you blinked before they did. They may never blink but neither did you and that’s worth celebrating!
Phase II: There’s nothing I want to hear from them. For a long time, I wanted an apology from LO #2. The therapist said hell would like freeze over before that happened. I wanted to know what LO #4 thought about me but “What would I do with that knowledge if I had it?” Nothing I’d hear from either of them would make my life better.
Phase III: There’s nothing I want to know about them. That one surprised me since for a very long time, I thought I wanted to see how things played out for them. I could look but “meh.” “Ex-[anything]” is an ex for a reason. If they were supposed to be in your life, they’d still be in your life.
Disclaimer: I got to go NC under ideal conditions. A lot of people aren’t that lucky.
Bravo. This is great! I’m glad the intrigue has stopped. I can look at previous LO’s FB and I have absolutely no emotions at all.. maybe a bit of shame! This LO is still a working progress but life is good!
Song of the Day: “St. Elmo’s Fire” – John Parr (1985)
This is an oddly empowering and inspirational song.
“And I can make it, I know I can
You broke the boy in me, but you won’t break the man”
Song of the Day: “It Was a Shit Show (Explicit)” – feat. Santino Fontana – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” – 2016
I forgot how much “Crazy EX-Girlfriend” hits home. This could have been my last meeting with LO #2, except for the sleeping with each others’ friends part.
Oh, and there was no escalator and I didn’t turn around.
It is the ultimate zero sum game. I guess you could destroy yourself in worse ways, alcohol, drugs, a car wreck. You will probably get over it eventually, but the life you will have thrown out until that time…that makes it a cruel joke, the whole damn thing. The person that you love will end up with someone else. All your effort, mental energy and dreams will come to zero. Everybody in this condition would gladly just take a pill to make it all go away. Unless, of course, they were truly insane.
As if there were not enough pitfalls in life to make you miserable. Add bloody limerence to the list. And to have such a lovely emotion, yet have no one to share it with. Doesn’t that just take the cake?
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks for the reminder Steve. I think I am guilty these days of forgetting this painful but true fact about limerence: it’s all in our heads. In my case, there is a faint hope that some day I could be in a position to act on my limerence and that my affections could potentially be reciprocated, but that is highly doubtful (I am pretty sure my LO would think I’m too old and too fat (although not for long) and that I have too much baggage; I also think I would be unlikely to be her type anyway). I think ruminating about the possibility of one day being with her is hindering my recovery. On the other hand, telling myself that my LO is definitely off limits for all time no matter what transpires is just too painful (even if that might be the best approach in some ways). I need to get it into my head that she is most likely off limits for me (at least for the foreseeable future), and I need to instead focus on my current life instead. As Dr. L is fond of saying, purposeful living is the mantra for us limerents and is the best way to keep us focused on other things. For me, it is all about diet, exercise, weight loss, career planning, education, home improvement and improving my marriage and home life (that’s a lot of things to keep me busy and stop me ruminating about my LO!). I think I have been guilty of allowing myself to ruminate too much lately — time to get back on track with my recovery! Obsessing over this woman isn’t going to help me in any way — or any of the other parties impacted by this. All the best to all of the other limerents out there in your recovery!
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.
DrL should collect “Freedom from limerence is…” collected from us and when he gets enough publish them in a blog.
Yes, I like this idea. I’ll have a ponder on my own markers of freedom and then write something up…
In the meantime, if anyone else has good ideas, save them up or send them to me via the contact form (or email livingwithlimerence at gmail).
I sent you a few.
Free from limerance says
2 years, over £10,000 on fortune tellers and multiple embarrassing emails later I am eventually free from the unhealthy obsession I had for my LO. Never before have I experienced such an all consuming infatuation with someone, let alone someone I barely knew on a personal level. At the height of my limernece I was spending £100 a day on fortune tellers all feeding my issue by telling me “someone who had a connection with you is going to contact you. He’s been fighting it but he’s your twin flame and you belong together”. Obviously it was all shite and of course he had no intention of contacting me as to be honest, I think he was quite scared of me. It eventually feels like I have my mind back again which is liberating. I suffer from severe OCD and I’m a recovering alcoholic so I’ve had my fair share of struggles but this one was completely new to me. The question I have is, how do you deal with the cringeworthy levels of embarrassment now that you’ve realised just how ridiculous you’ve been? My name in certain circles is now tarnished when I’m just starting out in my new career path and I just can’t shake off the feeling of dread that this brings.
Hi Free from limerence. It is always so encouraging to hear from someone who has successfully climbed out the of LE pit so thank you for sharing and congratulations! Aaaw….sorry you are feeling so embarrassed…such an uncomfortable feeling to live with! I reckon one day you will look back on this and laugh…hard. We all do such crazy things when in the grips of an LE. The drugged feeling from the hormone cocktail an LE causes really affects our judgement doesn’t it…anything can seem possible in this mind state, especially when it validates what we crave so much. When you add this to the usual desperation to resolve the uncertainty, your actions are not surprising.
Take heart that any slightly embarrassing behaviour of yours will have far less impact than you think on other people as their thoughts are mostly too entangled in their own struggles to think much about yours. You now have the opportunity to show everyone the new LE free you, and maybe they will understand you had a minor temporary mental health issue, something which has become far more normal, understood and accepted these days.
Wishing you well!
Free from Limerence says
Hi Allie, thank you for your lovely email. I’m pleased you found it encouraging. It’s such a confusing condition and it certainly can be all consuming at times. I think the best thing we can do is learn about Limerence so we can rationalise what is exactly going on with us. I hope you manage to get some freedom back too. Take care xx
Before I knew what limerence was, I was trying to shake up my life to get past what I thought was the end of a relationship. I moved and started a new job. I thought this would help me move on. I was deep into limerence without knowing it.
I was also still talking to my LO then. I thought feelings would fade.
Instinctively, I knew that my feelings were unhealthy.
I kept cutting off contact but would text or he would.
No contact. Only way to go.
just testing if I can comment here. I JUST learned of limerence today. why is this not more widely known? what an epiphany!!
I have been suffering acutely from intrusive thoughts about my LO, for over 13 YEARS. yes, years. it’s a very long story, filled with feelings of bliss and despair, being together, and long periods of no contact. he is married, I am not, meeting him was the catalyst to the end of my unhappy marriage. I do love him and care about him, admire him, and do see his flaws too (he was unfaithful to his wife, for one). But lately it has been unbearable having no contact for 6 months. we had a period of 1 year where we saw each other regularly and it was both joyful, amazing, and maddening bc it was uncertain, wrong, and went against my ethics, even though I couldn’t totally stop. I told him no more sex and really that was not my main interest with him. it was connection, shared beliefs, talking talking and laughing/playing. I look for him EVERYWHERE. his car, him at walmart, at the pool hall, grocery store. we used to email (never had his phone #), but he changed his email – he wanted no contact, bc I’ve been suicidal over him THREE times. yes, 3. there is more to the story. But 6 months NC right now and I still have intrusive thoughts daily, am only relieved when I work, or when I’m with my daughter, or reading or asleep. He did love and admire me, and said so. so it wasn’t all ‘in my head’ but the long term effects of this infatuation/obsession are unhealthy. I have resigned myself to never be w anyone again.
Limerent Emertitus says
If the 5 Stages of Grief are:
What does Acceptance look like for Freedom for Limerence? For me, indifference is a big part of it. LO? – Meh, Glimmer? – Meh
But, lately, there’s more to it. When I look at my LEs now, they seem kind of surreal and kind of ludicrous. It’s like the Isle of Limerence is beginning to be shrouded in fog. That really happened?! What!? I did that?!
However, the LOs still are very real people and, at the time, the relationships were very real. The pain was was real and the potential consequences were real. They just seem surreal now. The indifference is stronger but limerence just seems less important. Time seems to be working.
A lot of long time posters don’t post. I hope that means they feel like don’t need LwL and that’s as it should be.
But, I wonder…what did Acceptance look like to them?
I think I might be considered a longtime poster and my acceptance is slowly transforming my anxious ruminating obsessive mind to something much more healthy. I still imagine running into LO and what I will say, etc, but my imagination is now concocting a dialogue that is much more brief, confident, dignified and full of boundaries.
I am not completely indifferent yet, but am working towards it. I still sometimes wonder if I truly loved this person as well as was limerent for them….but then it doesn’t really matter now anyway, does it? I accept that it doesn’t matter.
I do feel the soul crushing sting of rejection crushing me less now, far far less, especially when I think of the character flaws of LO, and how perhaps I “dodged a bullet” anyway. If you are not a fit, you are not a fit. I can’t feel like a loser over it, but I can learn not to let myself be toyed with in the future and how to spot ‘dodgy LO’s” as Dr L. terms them. At least I hope I can. I do feel that for me, checking in and participating on this site is paying it forward as well as insuring that I don’t forget the lessons I have learned.
Acceptance is maintaining NC but not harboring a grudge toward LO. Acceptance is recognizing that I really do like myself, flaws and all, and LO does not define my value. Acceptance is finding pleasure in the little things and realizing that the fireworks of limerence have burned me and I don’t want to get burned again. Acceptance is having a high sense of integrity, even towards myself, and that I deserve to know what is going on when someone shows me an inordinate amount of attention and if they are unclear, it is time to move on. Acceptance is knowing that I will never be with LO, even though that was my ardent hope for many years and I thought it was a real possibility if I was very, very patient. Acceptance is knowing that the LE was not a ridiculous waste of time because due to it’s demise I have learned one of the most important life lessons a limerent soul could ever learn. Acceptance is knowing that the last LE was not a unique and magical epoch in my life, no, in truth I am at high risk for future LE’s so I need to be hyper-vigilant and self-aware or I will get sucked into the next magical limerent rabbit hole that comes along. LE’s are faux unique and magical! Acceptance is being reminded of one of the amazing adventures I had with LO and thinking “that was fun, but remember that the delicious feeling of being his partner was just a cruel facade.”
Thank you so much L.Emeritus for asking this interesting question.
Blue Ivy says
A thousand likes!
“If you are not a fit, you are not a fit.”
Truer words were never spoken. Thank you! 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2021/06/the-art-of-moving-on-2/
“Letting go gives you peace but moving on gives you power.”
I like that!
Song of the Day: “St. Elmo’s Fire” – John Parr (1984)
“Just once in his life a man has his time
And my time is now, I’m coming alive”
For some reason, I find this song oddly empowering.
I love this. Moving on gives you power. Onward!
Also, I read a quote today. “Weakness is just strength in the wrong environment. ”
Change the environment!
I just realized my limerent episode coincides with my finally addressing some buried childhood trauma. Reading about LC was helpful. Only when necessary. It’s the same strategy I need to use with my Mom. Maybe my subconscious really is trying to tell me something!
Goodbye from Limmy says
“studying limerence, understanding limerence, and trading anecdotes and wisdom with other limerents is very valuable in the initial healing process, but there comes a time when it might be wiser to disengage.”
I just wanted to say, this is me now! About a week ago (after I turned down the opportunity to see my LO three times in a week in a row), suddenly – the limerence is gone. Third time was the charm (although realistically, it was the latest in a whole series of many many steps to go LC). I hardly dared believe it at first. And I didn’t want to jump the gun and announce it, but it really just feels gone. And I feel confident to say it now.
I have been quite active on LwL for the last few months, and it really helped in my journey towards this point. So thank you all here!
How does it feel? Wow, just not thinking about an LO the whole time – it is miraculous. Refreshing. I am suddenly thinking of a future project, and that is occupying my mind now (not as much as LO did, but some).
I feel very guarded, as in, now that I know I am susceptible to limerence, I don’t ever want to ever fall for a limerent object again. I learnt so much here about resisting the glimmer, which I will keep front of mind. Prevention seems so much easier than extrication after the fact.
I am also very curious in how a lack of an LO is going to affect my relationship with my SO. I realize I’ve never really had a time when there wasn’t an LO lurking in the background, even though very faintly for LO1. To simply be with my SO, with no distractions – that is going to be an experience for sure! I think it might take our relationship to a whole other level. I am genuinely excited about that.
I want to wish all of you here the very best! I hope you get freedom from your limerence too. It does me good to know that you are all out there being kind to one another. Also, that you are there if I ever get into trouble again, and need to get out of it!
And most of all, thank you Dr L. This site is truly a lifeline. Your wisdom and willingness to share it is beyond price. Bless you. All the best for your new endeavors and purpose!
Dr L says
Congrats Limmy! Thanks for the kind words. It’s great to have old friends “graduate” and succeed. Long may it last, and good luck for a purposeful future!
Limmy, I am so happy for you! Congratulations!
I will miss your presence here, but I am delighted that you are moving on.
Way to go Limmy! I am excited for you. Thank you for your posts and all your help!