When limerence is a problem in life, and when an individual limerent decides to take charge of themselves and go no contact, they then face a trial of self-discipline.
If this scenario applies to you, in all likelihood, you will experience grief. Quite possibly, just to add to the turmoil, you may also experience guilt over the grief – especially if you have a partner who has had to tolerate your limerence for someone else. In practical terms, if the LO was a significant part of your life, you are going to have to adapt to a change of lifestyle. You may be losing a confidante. You may be losing a companion. Even if the LO or limerence experience was more toxic and damaging, you will still be losing a central orienting force in your life.
Coping with this is likely to be a challenge. The key to dealing with no contact, in my view, is accepting that your life is utterly changed, embracing that truth, and focusing on how to navigate to a new, better, life.
1) Acknowledging your sacrifice
Sacrifice is an essential part of life. Now, going no contact to avoid an LO is not a noble sacrifice – like an altruistic act – but actually, real bread-and-butter sacrifice means giving up things you want because you know you should. For example, I know that I should stop watching youtube videos and do something more useful with my time. If I want to achieve something substantial, I have to make that sacrifice, and it’s going to hurt because I really enjoy the passive entertainment. Almost a defining feature of maturity is realising that achieving anything requires sacrifice. Freeing yourself from negative compulsions is a very good sacrifice to make. Acknowledge it, and recognise that the discomfort is a necessary good.
2) Refocusing your life
You’ve made a purposeful decision, and that’s a hugely valuable first step. Bolster yourself against backward steps. Keep your focus on yourself and how you can be better, and not make the same mistakes and indulge the same self-sabotaging desires next time. Linked in to the previous idea: what worthwhile new things can you do to make yourself more interesting and fulfilled? The best sources of fulfilment in life are free. Concentrate on them for a while. In fact, concentrate on them for the rest of your life, if you really want to thrive. If you have an SO, then focus on them, and be grateful that they have stuck with you through this. Remember it the next time they put you through the wringer.
3) Mentally wishing LO bon voyage
When you catch your thoughts drifting back to LO, remember that you have said goodbye.
LO is living their new life, and you are living yours. They will go off and have adventures and disasters, and so will you, but your time together is done. You decided that. Wish them well, and stick to it.
4) Living honestly
The foregoing suggestion to say goodbye may sound like a bit of a trite platitude, but it’s surprisingly psychologically deep. At the heart of living a purposeful life is the notion that you will be honest with yourself. If you make a deal with another person – promise them that you would do something, or meet an obligation – but then go back on it, they would come to the conclusion that you are an unreliable or dishonest person. If you are generally conscientious, then not keeping your end of a deal will be upsetting to you, as it rightly conflicts with your sense of honour and responsibility. Well, if you promise yourself that you will go no contact with LO, and then break it in a moment of weakness, what you are doing is teaching yourself at a subconscious (but quite fundamental level) that you are dishonest. You cannot trust yourself. That’s not good.
So, a good strategy to avoid that sort of self-sabotage is to try one of two things: 1) commit to keeping a deal with yourself with the same degree of conscientiousness and seriousness as you would keep a deal with a valued friend or partner. 2) Be honest with yourself about what you are able to do. No contact may be too much all at once. Overreaching and missing is sometimes a noble failure, but when it becomes a pattern it trains you to believe you are the failure. Set yourself simpler targets that you can meet – no contact tomorrow. Then, no texts for three days. Then, no contact for a week. Depending on the nature of your LO, this may be easier or harder, but a series of small victories can sometimes be more successful than trying to win the battle in one grand offensive.
Overall, the best hope for managing the emotional fallout of no contact is to concentrate on your new life with laser focus. Relief comes from suffering in the short term to enjoy freedom in the long term.