Some limerents have to battle with limerent objects that are bad for them. Maybe their LO is narcissistic, maybe they are flaky, or maybe they are unavailable but nevertheless keep playing with the limerent’s feelings, like a well-fed cat poking at a shivering mouse.
As I’ve argued before that doesn’t mean you can entirely blame your LO for the situation, but it does make the struggle to win freedom harder.
A different flavour of problem is presented by good LOs.
Good LOs can take many forms, but fundamentally, what I mean is a limerent object who is a person of good character. So, someone who is a supportive and considerate friend. Someone who acts with integrity and principle. Someone who adds to your life.
It’s not immediately obvious why this would be so difficult. If you are trying to recover from limerence, surely a limerent object who will make your life easier during the detaching process would be a good thing? Well, limerence can be very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, because your addicted limerent brain actually wants you to fail. All that high-minded principle stuff is irrelevant to the baser, earthier subconscious drive of person addiction, which can be waging a self-sabotage campaign in the hope of maintaining its supply of LO heroin.
Like much in life, dealing with a good LO is a matter of trade offs. In someways it’s harder than a bad LO, in some ways it’s easier.
Let’s get analytical.
Losing them is more of a sacrifice
The first big challenge is that breaking contact with a good LO is more of a loss. You’re not just losing the limerence vibes, you’re also losing a quality friend. That will add to the emotional resistance, and so make the prospect of detaching even more unpleasant. There’s no getting away from that truth: you are losing someone good from your life. The question, though, is whether the trade off is worth it. Yes, you lose a friend, but you gain emotional and psychological freedom.
The hope that you can “just be friends” will be especially strong with a good LO, but, the likelihood is that you can’t realistically be friends if you are still harbouring any limerent feeling for them. It’s not impossible if you manage to push through the limerence eventually, but the transition period is going to be a really rocky road.
Their reasonableness complicates things
If you disclose to a good LO, chances are they will be sympathetic, supportive, and want to help you. Unfortunately, that can be a mixed blessing. It’s hard to get distance from someone who wants to help. It’s like deciding that you are going to take the decisive step of moving house in order to get away from your LO, and then they offer to help carry boxes or drive the removal van.
At one level, good LOs are likely to not really understand that you need them to stop being so reasonable. You need mental and emotional space, but you’ve got no desire, and no grounds, to ostracise them. That makes it harder to detach.
As a counterexample, I recently had an email from Thomas, discussing the rocky road that did lead to eventual friendship with a former good LO:
I met a man called Andrew, who was in an open relationship. His boundaries were quite clear and we fooled around a couple of times. My boundaries were less clear, and I longed for him privately for ages. We were intimate 3-4 times over the space of a couple of months, but I was still ruminating fairly regularly 18 months later. I had an SO (we also were sexually open) all of this time and he knew Andrew on sight and we had a couple of explosive arguments over the 18 months when he would call me out for talking at great lengths about Andrew.
But unfortunately something changed- Andrew and his SO got married. Instead of snuffing out the LE I’m embarrassed to say I became bolder…
The next time I bumped into Andrew in a pub I took him to one side and told him ‘every time I see you, you break my heart’. He later messaged me and invited me for a drink.
When we met, he told me that he was very happily married. He also said that he liked me very much, but (you could say brutally), as a friend. He repeated that. He apologised if his behaviour had led me on, he could see that it could have. But he very clearly said that romance or a physical affair were not what he was after with me. Obviously I was trying not to burst into tears at that point and shrivel up with humiliation. He went on to say that he would like to be platonic friends (we share political ideals, musical tastes, mutual friends) but if that was going to be too difficult for me he understood that.
No ambiguous phrasing, no back doors to be exploited or little breadcrumb get out clauses that a narcissist might drop into their rejection. It was really hard to hear because I didn’t have a glimmer of misunderstanding- the message was crystal clear and authentic.
Now. I was angry, humiliated, resentful, I felt played and belittled etc. but that passed really quite quickly – I mean days/weeks after ruminating on the LE for months and months. I was able to come to terms with the reality… I am now able to see Andrew every couple of months for a catch up. I wont lie I don’t fancy meeting his hubby, as I’ll feel a bit embarrassed deep down for a while as I know I was lusting after a married man.
So, thanks to Andrew’s directness and patience, Thomas was able to get past the limerence and maintain a friendship. But it required a lot of honest communication and self-awareness from both of them to get there, and remains a somewhat fragile equilibrium.
I hope I’m wrong, but I also can’t shake off the feeling that it’s a bit like picnicking in a minefield.
You can’t use the “villain” narrative
One effective way to deprogram yourself out of limerence is to reverse the idealisation of LO and instead focus on their faults. If your LO is good, this is more difficult. If their conduct has been blameless, you can’t honestly sustain the idea that they are so bad for you that you need to break free. You can’t tell yourself a new story about fighting the LO dragon, when they are actually much more like a supportive mentor or kindly queen. That removes a tool from your toolkit, but it doesn’t leave you… tool-less.
You can still make the choice to say goodbye, while remembering them with affection. You learned something from them about yourself, but now understand that your future lies beyond them. Staying where you are, spinning your wheels in limerence limbo, is not a good option.
They were a helpful and instructive supporting character in the story of your life, but after learning that obsessive infatuation is not a good state to exist in, you move on to greener pastures and new adventures. Leaving them to star in their own life story.
On balance, a good LO certainly seems preferable to a bad one, but as with all aspects of limerence, there will be lots of stimulating and unexpected emotion-churning excitement along the road to recovery.
Ah well. Who wants a boring life anyway?
LO #4 was a “good LO.” Even when I went to war with her, I always felt she was acting in good faith. In her goodbye, she said she thought we’d worked things out but I couldn’t keep it platonic.
She was right. She wasn’t responsible for the way things turned out, I was. When her relationship went south and she reached out to me, I went off the rails. Again, not her fault.
In retrospect, it may be that LO #4 would have been an unsuitable candidate for an LTR but that’s not the point. Unlike LO #2, LO #4 will never be a villain in the story.
The last things I remember about my goodbye to LO #2:
Me: “It didn’t work out for us but we both know which one of us flushed it down the toilet.”
LO #2: “You told me once that I had the potential to go through life as a very unhappy person. I hate you for that.”
When I disclosed to the last LO he gave a somewhat vague and complementary answer but it was still “no”. At least for now. He praised me for the way I handled his response , so mature, so dignified, so different from the other silly girls who had been into him but that he had no feelings for. He said he had “considered” me but none of them. He then insisted on asking me to record my voice for a project he needed for his company… having my voice immortalized on their site forever .
The next day we were in a group setting and he must have noticed my quiet melancholy because he then went out and bought my favorite chocolate and brought it to me to “comfort” me .
Yeah, very helpful.
Oh no! A bad LO posing as a good LO.
This is getting complicated…
Sad Mouse says
I wonder if he’d respect a NC request. That’s the real tell. I think (see my comment below) that non-limerents who are colleagues/close friends can have a tough time understanding how their actions contribute to the pain. They, being rational, might imagine that a clear “no” is all it will take.
The comparison to alcoholism feels so apt. I have friends who can’t drink, period. Just one drink really isn’t an option for them the way it is for me. I know this and would never tempt them. But if I didn’t know alcoholism was a thing–if I thought it was just an issue of willpower–I might unintentionally put them in harm’s way.
Well, it took years, many melodramatic years filled with ascendant highs and abysmal lows, but yes, we have have now been NC since he revealed he was in serious relationship. He just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to part of their close circle…..
I think if he searches his soul, deep down he knows.
Its out of respect for his lady, and respect for myself, that I am unequivocally NC. Can’t have that first drink…..
I think the misunderstanding/miscommunication is definitely a big part of it. A non-limerent may think they’re having a nice flirt, they may even be ‘playing hard to get’ and while that behaviour can be manipulative, it’s also often fairly harmless if both parties are in a ‘take it or leave it’ frame of mind.
But when limerence is involved even minor gameplaying can be hugely upsetting.
For example, when I think of the times mates say ‘if you fancy someone don’t be too available, etc. Etc.’ It’s some people’s standard approach to hold back a bit to seem desirable or mysterious… but I’m embarrassed to say that it drives me completely insane! ANSWER MY FRICKIN’ TEXT! 😀
Though Jaideux’s LO in this case sounds like… well. I’ve experienced that sort of thing and I don’t think very nicely of people who play around like that. Even if they are non-limerent there’s still something a bit warped going on there.
Sneaky wolf in sheep’ clothing methinks.
Not necessarily. Sometimes they simply do not have emotional intelligence/capability. Believe it or not, there are some middle aged emotionally stunted folks out there.
Oh Jaideux, yeah buying your favorite chocolate must have crushed you. When LO does anything for me – even the smallest thing – I amplify bu 1 million…and believe me she has never done anything lşke buying my fav chocolate…tough sit…good luck dear.
@Jaideux. This is why you need a best friend/limerent-fighting buddy to donate said chocolate to. You couldn’t possibly EAT that tainted gift now, could you? You know it will stay on your conscience forever…
Personally, when chocolate is involved, I say all bets are off. I don’t care where it comes from – I’m eating it! Pretend the cleaning ladies gave it to you if you have to.
I’ll have any LO tainted chocolate that’s going!
@Steve, Sammy and Thomas – I happily wolfed down the chocs…! And it set me back mightily- delaying my progress! (if someone buys you your favorite chocs, they MUST love you, right?).
Funny thing…now that the LE is over with 1.5 years of NC, I still can’t buy those particular chocs.
Good thing there are many other wonderful chocs to choose from, as well as there are many other wonderful friends to choose to spend time with who don’t send us down the limerent rabbit hole!
(I know, I know…they don’t make us feel so deliriously happy as LO).
Maybe it’s because I’m a bit naive and always tend to focus on the good of people, or maybe I’ve just been lucky, I can’t really say that any of my LOs were bad people.
One thing that I’ll always appreciate from LO1 was her patience. Any other woman would’ve been seriously creeped out if they had a guy constantly asking them for second chances after the initial rejection but, not her. I think it was because she too once had feelings for a guy that didn’t even acknowledge her, so she could understand pretty well my position. The only time she lost a bit of her patience was the last time I asked her (it was the 3rd or 4th time, so it was understandable) and she told me “I can only be with someone with whom I’m in love, and I’m not in love with you”. Now that I think of it, maybe it was that sudden firmness what helped me finally snap out of the LE.
We don’t talk to each other as much as we did when we were in college, and of course she has her own flaws as a person, but I’ll always be pretty thankful to her for that, and it’s the reason we keep contact despite her having been a LO.
And of course, there’s also the matter of my current LO. She admitted that she was being very direct in her rejection to avoid playing games, and she also apologized for what she thought was leading me on. Even when she didn’t do such a thing and it was me who was interpreting her general niceness as something more. I try to focus on the fact that she (accidentally or not) ghosted me, but even then I can’t help but see it more as unintentional rudeness on her part, based on our previous interactions, and that if I write her, she’ll respond. I keep thinking that I lost a potential good friend because of all of this…
This is a real point of difficulty, because it’s a legitimate loss. But, one way to come to terms with it is to realise that you can’t really be a good friend to them.
You could try, but you’d probably fail because of the way that they trigger limerent craving in you. It’s nobody’s fault. You just have to accept it as a sad outcome.
Yeah, that’s the worst part of it. There’s no possibility for friendship until limerence is over, and there’s still some time left until I reach that point. It would be weird trying to start a friendship after months of silence, especially since we don’t know each other that well.
I keep thinking about maybe sending her a message, since in a couple of weeks there’s a possibility of something happening that would give me a really good excuse to do so, but even if we end up chatting it’s going back into NC again for me. Not only because of the consequences of trying to bargain for friendship while limerent, but also because I can’t see the idea of me inviting her for some drinks or some other friendly activity without her thinking that I’m asking for a second chance. And though she currently has a SO, I can see myself in this hypothetical friend date poking around to see if they’re still together so, in a way, she would be right.
Have you disclosed your feelings to LO Benjamin?
@Steve Yeah, I already disclosed, and got rejected. In fact, that’s how I found out about her having a LO. It’s sucky, but it is helping in getting over the LE. And it’s also something I have going for me in this whole friendship/limerence dilemma: that unless she suddenly starts acting completely different, I know where she stands, so no hopeful thoughts for me.
It’s hard isn’t it? Deciding when/if breaking NC is a good idea.
For example, I told my current LO during a ‘closure’ chat before NC that I’d be touch at some point (because… well of course I said that…) but being honest – as in 100% truthful to myself, I don’t really (really) want friendship with my LO. I fancy LO, I like how it feels when it’s nice and LO reciprocates and it feels like we’re ‘getting somewhere’ (though I don’t think we truthfully were, whatever was said). That’s what kept me coming back to their company. Of course I liked them, more than liked them… but really? As a friend?
I think friendship could happen years from now, maybe, if we encountered each other at random or at least unintentionally.
I just have to acknowledge that I don’t think I’d ever contact LO without an ulterior motive… at least until this LE is done and dusted. But without any satisfying resolution to this LE, I don’t see it ever completely fading unless (or knowing me, until…) I fall into limerence for someone else…
Maybe I’m wrong.
@Thomas. Yeah, same page as you. I also told my LO that I would get back in contact with her as soon as I got “the sour taste out of my mouth”, and, in fact, that’s the main reason of why I’m considering briefly breaking NC. I know that I don’t owe her my friendship if it gets in the way of my happiness, but I can’t help but feel bad that our last conversation is me disclosing and she rejecting while I promise to get back in touch. Makes me feel like one of those guys that completely tune out a woman as soon as they find that they can’t fuck her.
But yes, long term frienship is not an option for me, either, at least for now. As you said, it could be a possibility if our paths cross again, or if she suddenly decides to take the initiative in developing friendship and I’m either out of the LE or with other LO in mind. But right now? Not gonna happen.
I consider my LO to be a “good LO” – he wasn’t completely blameless – we were both married and we both talked to each other about stuff that should have stayed in our respective marriages, however, he’s always been supportive as a friend.
Last time we were in contact (apart from one phone call that was 100% professional) I basically said I was really struggling to separate what was real and what was imagined and needed to cut contact again. He blocked me at my own request, so now my only way of contacting him is through his work.
I’m sure had he been a narc he could have had a field day over that, and wouldn’t have blocked me.
Yeah, compare and contrast with Jaideux’s LO above. Good people may be sad about your need to detach, but they will respect it.
Yeah, that’s another reason of why I have LO1 in high regard. During our last conversation about me pursuing her, she was the one who suggested NC, because “it clearly hurts you being around me”. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary, but I think that the fact that she was actually considering severing a friendship for my wellness sake speaks a lot of her.
Sophie’s story struck a chord with me, although is not the same. My LO and I are both married/in long term relationships (our young daughters are school friends). I am trying hard to be objective but honestly feel the flirting has been two-sided, actually even initially instigated by him (yes I realise I could be completely delusional but before I was in this state, and basically saw him as a piece of the scenery, I remember that his intensity around me used to strike me as a bit odd). Then bam! One day it hit me, literally like a bolt of lightning (cliche central) and I have been in an obsessive state ever since. Desperately need to regain some control over this situation as I highly value his SO as a close personal friend (the guilt! the shame!), not to mention my SO who is a sweet guy and doesn’t deserve any of this at all. I feel I need to pull the emergency brake and get myself out of this *before* any disclosure is made on either side. So it will have to be NC as far as possible, really unsure though how to behave around him on the odd occasion where I do see him without seeming completely bizarre? Having engaged in flirty banter with him plenty, usually in front of everyone (🙄) I have no real clue on how to dial this back in a way that won’t signal to EVERYONE that something is up??? But it sooo helps to have this blog, Dr.L. Twanging a rubber band on my wrist as we speak.
Chumplady.com will snap you out of it! There will be no greater shame and regret for you if you ruin two families.
Hmm my LO was in my eyes a “good person”. Family oriented, god conscious, had integrity, generous etc She had all the values I had instilled in me growing up but hadn’t seen reflected in quite the same way in someone from a different cultural/religious background to me which is probably what piqued my interest.
From my perspective her only flaw was how she treated me when we were friends. That’s why I felt like when I was disclosing I wasn’t losing a good friend per se, just access to one. I had to face the bitter truth that a good person not giving themselves to you doesn’t make them any less of a good person.
Every time I saw her I wanted her to prove me wrong, to show the ugly side. I wanted to catch her out in a blatant intentional lie, it never happened. The closest I got was guilty by association and telling myself she must have and approve of the character flaws of those she keeps company with. I don’t think that’s completely wrong because our closest friends do reflect on ourselves, but definitely wasn’t enough to snap me out of viewing LO in a positive light.
My first two LOs were not good people, but as a limerent I had (of course) idolized them in my mind into the very models of well-mannered ladies. To be fair, LO1 at the time was 18 and I was 21. Just kids. She was a spoiled only child who had some growing up to do, and she did. But by the time she did (and asked me out, actually), I had long since moved on.
LO2 was 23 and I was 28. She played the part of the demur, kind young lady. But when I asked her out for coffee, I was treated to her hidden, rotten personality. She was terse and dismissive like I was a peasant who had a lot of nerve to approach a princess. She was old enough to have nicely said, “No, thank you, but I appreciate the offer,” like other girls her age had said to me, and I would have gotten the hint. I must not have been the only guy she talked that way to, because even though she’s an attractive woman, 21 years later she’s still unmarried.
Well… I don’t know about the current LO3. I never got to know her personally. She may have been another spoiled Millennial, but she could have had a severe social avoidance problem. From what I can tell online, all she does is stay by herself in her apartment and read. She would never try talking to anybody in the office. She wouldn’t make eye contact and politely say “good morning” like any other coworkers. I once saw her embarrass a male coworker by being monosyllabic and dismissive when he was obviously trying to just be friendly.
The look of “WTF??” on his face was clear. There was also the nasty look she gave me for holding the door for her. But toward the end she appeared to try to be more engaging.
I guess the lesson I still can’t learn is that I always think my LOs are nicer than they are.
“another spoiled Millennial…” Hey! Take that back!
Jokes aside, I’ve saw before people acting like that. As you said, they tend to have severe social issues, and completely clam up when in an unfamiliar environment to the point that yeah, they’re sometimes so shy they become rude. Eventually they warm up and integrate themselves on the work group, or become the place’s official weirdo. Your LO seemingly took the former, so I’d call her an upgrade over the other LOs haha.
Oops!! hahaha… my apologies… I could fill another blog with the stories of the real “winners” I’ve met in that age group. Maybe my GenX group just hides our shortcomings better 😀
Anyway, I try to be fair with my LOs. I was hoping LO3 would be a bad human being so I could get over this LE, but it appears she was shy, introverted, and socially anxious. She was probably living fantasies inside her head because it was easier than interacting with humans… I know because I do this, too. When she gave me that look (which said I was an idiot for thinking I could flirt with her for holding the door open), I kind of hoped it was because she wanted to imagine I was chasing her. My god, she was so embarrassed when she realized what she had done that I feel bad for her. She’ll be waking up at 3 am in a cringe for the next 30 years.
With the others, it’s easier to look back more fairly with the benefit of time. LO1, we were kids who still were growing up. 20 years later and LO2 still stands out as particularly rotten. Other girls at that time had turned me down, and most at worst were surprised and messed up the rejection. A few were beautiful human beings and handled turning me down with grace and aplomb. Compared to her peers, there was no reason for LO2 to be that mean. Apparently I’m not the only guy who found that out about her.
@Matt You are always moaning about your two first LOs saying what rubbish people they were and you’re always, always bringing up that your second LO is 40 and still not married. You know, in 21st century a woman’s worth is not defined by marriage anymore. It’s almost like you have some kind of sick satisfaction that your second LO couldn’t find a husband for so long just because she rejected you. Grow up, people have right to say NO to a date they don’t want.
Hey, Naz. Sorry I hit a soft spot with you on the “not married” thing. I can see how you projected a lot of your own hurt into your response, given that it didn’t really align to what I said. Please know that LO2 is a different human being than you, and I’m sure that your own relationship troubles are not based in similar bad attitudes and anger.
In fairness, Matt, your last couple of posts have come across as though you are sort of competing with your LOs. Like you’re trying to prove to yourself that it was good that things didn’t work out.
Always good to reflect on our own triggers (like I have been about my last exchange with Lee on another thread…)
I’m different here because I never had the complex, personal relationships with my LOs that the others have. I have a limited number of experiences in my bag to reach back to, so yes, it’s going to sound like I’m dwelling on things because I’m repeating myself a lot. But I’ve known for 20 years that I dodged a bullet with my first 2 LOs. They’re both out of my mind, except when I come here because they’re the barometers against which I measure my LE journey with the current LO. That being said, those first LOs are essential: I’m trying to better understand my shortcomings so I can figure out where the hole in my life is that made me fall into an LE after 20 years.
Sad Mouse says
Yes. This is my SO’s current struggle. His LO was a friend, a good friend, probably his best friend. Also my friend–at one point, a closer friend to me than she was to him. I’ve seen her through multiple breakups and various family dramas. I know her pretty well.
I think a core part of his attraction to her was the knowledge that she would never betray me by pursuing him, because she was too noble/self-restrained. You can see the inherent problem here: the idea that she might be into him but would never be selfish enough to say so also means that anything less than an out-of-character full-throated “you are actively repulsive to me” kind of rejection will still feed the fantasy. As long as she was kind to him (and she was unfailingly kind), hope sprang eternal.
I’m pretty sure she herself has never been ravingly limerent. She has had crushes and gotten over them in a rational sort of way. Although single and lonely, she doesn’t seem to develop intense or long-standing infatuations on people who are unavailable. She’s been disappointed by guys who just weren’t into her the way she wanted them to be…and then turned around and salvaged a friendship within a fairly short time frame. She’s also sustained friendships with guys who are into her, simply by ignoring their interest and maintaining clear boundaries. I think she’d see their persistent feelings as a failure of willpower or emotional weakness and look hard the other way to avoid embarrassing them. She’d feel compassion for them (she feels compassion for my SO) but not empathy–this experience of falling, hard, for someone who is inappropriate or unavailable is just alien to her.
Outright rejection was probably never in the cards. If asked, she’d probably say that she could find SO attractive if circumstances were different–but since they aren’t, she simply can’t think of him that way. And she wouldn’t understand how someone with a more romantic/fatalistic sensibility would be tortured by this.
She was never going to break up with him (although actually she told me that if she’d had any idea what he and I were going through, she’d have cut things off long ago). So he had to end things with her, and give up a relationship in which he’d invested years–his first friend with whom he’d been emotionally vulnerable (aside from me). There’s no closure. There’s no hope of recovery.
It’s brutal, and when I’m able to take a few steps back, I ache for him.
Yes, as a limerent I well know the pain is excruciating, but loyalty to you is his primary responsibility. Your pain matters. I wonder if the ex ‘friend’ could find it within her kind nature to write him a letter and say “I have never been attracted to you, and even if we were both single we would never be together. I would like you to know that truth and believe it. Even though you are a good person, you are not the right person for me, and in no circumstances would you ever have been so.”.
If any of my former LO’s had ever been so frank and clear they would have mercifully neutralized my toxic limerent feelings STAT.
Sad Mouse says
Funny you should suggest this. A couple of weeks ago I recklessly broke NC with this friend to ask her if she could offer some kind of unequivocal rejection. In short, not really. I think she’s kind of over being conscripted into our marital drama, especially since the payback for her is nothing but hurt/loss. She did text me that she didn’t reciprocate his feelings but had all kinds of process questions and wondered if whatever she said could really be effective. Also opined that we were over-indexing on her, and was surprised to know that this was even still an issue for us (see? non-limerent). I decided it wasn’t worth it–that any communication from her to SO was likely to do as much harm as good. Showed him the text. He was pissed at me for meddling and embarrassed by some of the things I’d said to her but it’s possible that it might ultimately have helped. We definitely seem to have turned a corner in the last week or so.
Anyway, I think we’d both feel better if he were able to kick this thing without her help. I don’t want to ever believe that I’m his second choice. Rationally I know this isn’t the case but still…
Well it’s just so wonderful that you guys have turned a corner. As his limerence wears off reality will come back into focus and I am sure you will be reassured that you are first choice!
“I think she’s kind of over being conscripted into our marital drama, especially since the payback for her is nothing but hurt/loss.”
You can see her point. Nothing about this situation offers any payoff or relief and she’s being tugged like a chew toy.
Sorry that the losses just keep coming, Sad Mouse. May this be the rock bottom so everything can rebound.
Sad Mouse says
Thanks, Jaideux and Lee (I can’t reply to your comments for some reason).
Lee, I went through a brief and unfair phase of being angry with my/our friend, wondering how she could have missed the signs that to me were so glaring? and then I realized that she didn’t ask for this and wouldn’t have wanted it, and that cognitive dissonance (if you’re not looking for something, you probably won’t see it) is a hell of a drug. I am genuinely sorry at this point for the unnecessary pain we’ve both caused her.
Give her some time to herself, then reach out (solo), to see if reconnecting as her friend is possible. I would suggest 3 to 6 months. She may be game for it or may opt for being an acquaintance with whom you have coffee once or twice a year.
Best of luck to you.
I assessed LO #4 as a “non-threat.”
1. We were 2500 miles apart.
2. All our exchanges were virtual. We never met or actually directly talked to each other. It was very 19th century.
3. We were both in relationships.
4. Neither of us appeared to be looking for trouble.
5. We shared a common interest in something our SOs didn’t.
It allowed us to become comfortable with each other. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a great topic and I’m sure it’s going to generate a lot of good discussion. Personally, I thought all my LOs were “good LOs”. However, I think that’s because some of the idealisation rubbed off and stayed glued to the memories.
LO#1 was “good” in the sense she went to church and engaged in volunteer activities. She did love me, but only in the sense she loved everyone – a nice friendship love that Christians are encouraged to have. Easy to confuse that with romantic interest at a certain age (late teens, early twenties). Now I’m non-limerent for her, I see some of her qualities and hobbies were a bit childish. Did I confuse her naivety (and my own naivety) with a form of “goodness”?
LO#2 was good in the sense of being honest. She let me know she wasn’t interested. However, the “let stay friends” bit was unhelpful! Haha! If she was truly good (i.e. sensitive to how limerence works), she would have dropped me as a friend and not dragged out the uncertainty, even if such dumping is impolite. Good manners are the bane of limerence.
LO#3 just wanted sex. She was older than me, and married twice before, but for some reason couldn’t talk about her feelings. I asked her what she wanted/how she felt. She wouldn’t give me a straight answer. She kept saying: “Let’s see how it goes”. She definitely saw herself as a nice person. And she was a nice person – sort of. She just didn’t automatically fall in love with the people she bedded.
I found out she was still sleeping with her ex-husband in addition to me. Oh, and she had another lover on top of that, which she was quite happy to tell me about! I guess we were on totally different wavelengths regarding what sex is supposed to mean. Like Thomas’ LO in this story, she was very very charming.
Do “good LOs” just fall into the impossibly charming category? I’m embarrassed to say this, but I would distance myself from a friend who was strongly attracted to me if I was genuinely uninterested and they kept pursuing, however subtly. I would find the attention confusing. But, then again, I’m a bit socially awkward!
The great thing about the example used above was that LO basically called out what was going on.
Now in the moment you can’t help but think ‘arrogant shit! Who does LO think they are?’ Because yeah, when somebody genuinely is saying – ‘I can see you’re infatuated with me’… and they are right… I mean i could have denied it but i could see that was ridiculous. I might have in the past, but not now. There’s no point.
But once that is acknowledged, LO and limerent CAN have an honest conversation as long as both are acting in good faith. In this case we were, which is why although it was like being a teenager again in terms of my heart breaking and wanting to shriek and cry, I also trusted LOs intentions were good, and that LO wanted to preserve a friendship. But ONLY a friendship, and said if that wasn’t possible then though they would be sad, it had to be that way… and it was me who had to work that out.
If I’d walked away and never directly communicated again I’d still say that had ended well. As it was I had to face up to a reality I was ignoring… so that LE fizzled really quick.
…then… well. Then I just found a new unavailable -but single- LO! (Obvs – emotional stability is soooo overrated.)
So I think of good LOs as ones who ‘do the right thing’ and help limerents off the hook. But it probably depends on the people, and the circumstances. My other LOs have varied from flattered and playful to narcissistic and spiteful. So… 🤷♂️
@Thomas. Sounds like you got a really good outcome on this one, mate, so well done! Andrew took away the “plausible deniability” factor by being upfront with you. The limerent dance couldn’t sneakily continue. But you guys still respected each other enough to remain in each other’s lives.
Agreed. Thanks, Thomas for sharing your experience. Hope I’m wrong about the mines 🙂
I think things are ok as long as I’m not on the lookout for a new LO, at times like that I might give Andrew a wide berth!
Yeah. I mean, from LOs perspective arranging a conversation where you accuse someone of being infatuated with you, is… brave. It was a very awkward conversation!
But it completely, as you say eliminated the fantasy rumination.
As I say though, it is the sort of thing a confident/spiteful narc might do… and there are plenty of limerents who might deny everything if feeling attacked/confronted. I might have tried denial except I had a) been very clear in previous behaviour, and b) looked almost immediately like I was going to burst into tears!
I think there is a distinction between appearing good and being good, Sammy. Attending church, being polite, wanting to stay friends etc. are all outward markers of goodness, but really it comes down to their character: how they respond to your disclosure, how much they respect your boundaries, how considerate they are about other people involved.
“Impossibly charming” is probably a poor indicator!
Thanks, Dr L. Yeah, after writing “impossibly charming” I thought, wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. Aren’t narcissists and other manipulative people often charming? The thing about limerence is that so many of one’s own limerent thoughts remain unvoiced (not shared with friends and family, etc) so one doesn’t realise one’s thinking has become muddled.
All of my LOs had better superficial social skills than me, however – I think I’m attracted to that (social poise) and it triggers feelings of admiration.
Grief and loss hit you sometimes without much warning but perhaps a subtle trigger, and last night I had a nice good cry. Even if a LO is bad, the glimmer was enough to make them look shiny and good. And there were many aspects of LO, whether objectified or not, that made his company enjoyable and is now very much missed. I think what Dr. L is addressing here is recovery success as it relates to LO’s response to and influence in it. No one wants to make LO the bad guy! But it’s so helpful for recovery haha. It’s such an internal conflict.
Yeah, I wish they could be all miserable, nasty, selfish idiots…would be oh so much easier. Mine is just a sweet girl who got wrapped up in my spiders web that encouraged her also to behave in ethically grey zone ways. I guess whe should keep this in mind Chichester…LOs can be great people (or shitty), but in the end they are not good for us specifically, so the question is kind of a moot point.
Steve, I have the same “problem.” My current LO seems like a gentle, shy, quiet soul. She’s 26 and single, rarely stays out late, not a party girl, not into flings, just completely well behaved. You can likely tell from my posts that I’m grasping at straws trying to make myself hate her.
Yeah Matt, sometimes we cannot BS ourselves. Having a younger one also sucks…seems to add to the sting
Yes, spot on Chicster. The goal is to emerge from the limerence and be able to look back with an honest view of LO as they really are. The “devaluation” tactic is just a short-term way of counteracting the (equally biased) idealisation process.
You need a head clear of limerence fog to ultimately see them as they truely are, and remember them with balanced affection.
“Tactic” is such a good descriptor for how to address recovery with a LO, whether “sweet” or “shitty,” as ultimately we are at war with our own mind. Also, getting a clearer picture of LO on the other side of the LE fog and coming out of it with “balanced affection” greatly accelerates for me the vehicle to freedom. Thank you, Dr. L.
İt is a pertinent and timely article as usual. I held 10 days öf NC but broke when lo asked to meet and discuss how we would handle this in work place. I guess all in all she iş à good LO. .definitely à good person. But she has made it harder for me. İts all very complicated again as l went through 2 day limerent Attack. I dont feel as obsessive but l continue to feel lost without her. I miss our banter and much else.she has acted with principle by never giving falso hope.
Steve I’m SO sorry. I have had a very rough weekend, and the worse I feel the more I want a mood regulator and the more I want to indulge in breaking NC.
I absolutely love reframing the good/bad dichotomy to LO fitting in the “not good for us specifically” category. I do NOT love the brutal truth of the matter, but in terms of acceptance this is an excellent concept although I may never stop asking myself just why they can’t be. Or, why I can’t be good for them, moreover. Tough one!
Great job coming back to the forum, Steve. I’ve been doing that each time the urge for NC seems palpable. It has gotten me this far. Last contact was Tuesday, and I said I would wait twice as long as the last staged withdrawal period. I’m almost there, and who know—maybe I’ll make it longer.
Aradhana Verma says
How does one achieve emotional freedom?
Vicarious Limerent says
One of my struggles with commenting on this site recently is that many of my comments seem redundant and I have nothing new or valuable to contribute. Part of the problem may be because I had such a short interaction with my LO that I cannot really offer too much insight to others. Perhaps that should be telling me something (i.e., that it’s all in my head — of course I know that rationally and logically, but I don’t think my subconscious has yet received that message)?
That said, my LO is the epitome of the “good LO.” She is totally innocent in all of this and she did and said absolutely nothing inappropriate. My LO never led me on or said anything that was inappropriate to me as a married man. Because of that, it is difficult to feel any anger or resentment towards her (although I do feel anger at the situation). All of it was in my head. Even the advice that is commonly given to limerents in my situation to focus on her faults isn’t helping me. If I try to do that, she just seems more attainable and less out of my league, and it probably increases my focus on her. Sure, I know objectively that her appearance isn’t PERFECT, and she does have a bit of a temper, along with concerns there may be too much of a gap in our education levels (I have three degrees and numerous other qualifications, while she has a high school education), but that just doesn’t seem to help when I know she is such an adorable sweetheart and I am so massively attracted to her.
“along with concerns there may be too much of a gap in our education levels (I have three degrees and numerous other qualifications, while she has a high school education)”
I can tell you all about those….
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Lee: I realize it might appear that way. In all honesty, the biggest mistake I ever made in my entire relationship with my wife was treating her like a Pygmalion Project in the early days when we first started dating. To this day, it negatively impacts our relationship, even though I stopped doing it many years ago. If I was ever to be in a relationship with my LO (a huge longshot, I know), I would NEVER treat her that way. That is just so insulting and patronizing. I deeply regret making that mistake in the past, and I would never do it again if I ever ended up in a relationship with someone else.
I also had no idea of my LO’s education level when I first met her (I didn’t find out until after the fact). She seemed pretty intelligent to me (not that formal education is everything or that it automatically makes one “intelligent”). I also find that the more education I obtain and the older I get, the more I realize how little formal education actually means and how some of the smartest people I have ever met have very little education in the formal sense. I am also starting to find a lot of highly educated people to be boring and stuffy. I just mentioned the education gap as something that could potentially be a barrier (my LO could even find me to be stuffy egghead, unlike my brother in-law, who is a blue collar guy that drives a pickup truck and rides a motorcycle).
Vicarious Limerent says
A couple of things recently happened that made me worry about my LO: A woman was stabbed in her neighbourhood and there was a major house fire in her complex (under possibly suspicious circumstances). It seems to be a bit of a rough area (it is also recognized as a lower income neighbourhood of priority concern within our region). I actually worry about her quite a bit.
I also saw that my LO recently liked one of my brother in-law’s Facebook posts for the first time in a long time. For some reason, I have mixed feelings about that. One one hand, I wish she would give up on him. But I was also strangely comforted by it too. Perhaps I recognize that she could still want to be friends even if she has given up on him? Maybe it was also some type of contact and a reassurance that she is still doing alright given my worries about her? However, I no longer want them to be together. Too much water has gone under the bridge at this point for that to happen.
You haven’t hit the turning point, yet.
What’s the “Fairy-Tale-Ending” for you? If you have one, are you willing to pay the price it might take to achieve it?
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Scharnhorst: I think I did share my two potential fairy tale endings with you in the past: Either my marriage is totally repaired and my limerence is gone and I could possibly even have my LO as a completely platonic friend or acquaintance, OR my marriage ends and I end up with my LO. I realize both are unlikely to happen, and I am actually alright with the thought of being with someone else if my wife and I finally went our separate ways. My marriage is still on the rocks, but I would NEVER make a play for my LO unless and until my wife and I formally and permanently separated. I still want to give my wife a chance. At least anything with my LO is completely in my head and we are completely NC at this point. But things are still pretty rough at home, and it isn’t even about my LO.
Are you trying to achieve either of them, to drive things toward a conclusion? It seems like you’re content living in limbo.
Vicarious Limerent says
Content living in limbo? No, not at all! This is hell. It isn’t living at all (although there have at least been some improvements in my social life lately). Absolutely terrified to make changes maybe, but not content with the status quo at all. Beyond counselling, I am not sure what I can do though. One day, I am going to force the issue, but I am not sure if we aren’t too far gone in our marriage, and knowing my wife’s personality, counselling will be a living hell with her. She will make my life so difficult if I am completely honest and transparent. I believe she would be extremely angry at me for airing our dirty laundry with outsiders (that is just her personality). The only other thing I have started doing is putting my foot down with her when I am adamant about something (although I do pick and choose my battles). I am fed up with her bossing, controlling and dominating me constantly. I really don’t think she will let me have the life I want, but if not, then I have my answer, don’t I? Life is too damn short. I don’t necessarily agree with your assessment that I’m content with the status quo, but thanks for the kick in the backside, Scharnhorst! I probably do need to do more to move things along.
I think when limerence is mostly or totally rumination based, it is easier to allow the LE to continue and “live in limbo” than it is to fight it. When your own mind is providing your drug, you don’t necessarily experience all the painful lows that you get when you are dependent on a real person (LO) to provide you with a regular fix and/or cause you to feel ashamed of your interactions with them.
Vicarious Limerent says
Good point Allie. For me, my lows come from being in no contact mode with my LO and wondering about what would happen if I ever ran into her again. I am sure it isn’t as bad as if my lows came directly from interactions with her. My own brain is creating the limbo as opposed to anything my LO did directly. While the fantasies are still pleasant on some level, overall this is a horrible experience on so many levels.
My current LO is a good one and it’s been excrutiatingly difficult to stop thinking about her. Going from being heard, supported at every turn, complimented over all the small and big things, and sharing every funny joke, fun moment and life event to just nothing is so painful and empty. It feels like I’m building myself up from a shell. When I disclosed to her, she told me that she would give me whatever I needed, and she cared about my happiness so much that if it meant never speaking to me again, she would do it. It hurt so much.
I often wish that she would have been awful to me when I disclosed. Laughed at me, called me disgusting, blurted out something like “that could never happen”. Instead she said nothing, listened to everything, and then told me that she would do whatever I wanted/needed. Sigh.
It’s so much easier to leave someone behind when you can hate/dislike them.
So have you gone NC?
Part of disclosing was to also tell her I needed NC for us to eventually be friends. We have talked a bit here and there since but then I found this website and now I know that a strict NC has to stick for me to move on.
Not sure if we will be friends in the end, but I can honestly say it’s been great having my headspace back. It’s slow and painful but it’s moving in the right direction. The next goalpost for me is not thinking about her first thing when I wake up in the morning.
Yeah, Sam, it is. It is hard to mourn the death of someone when that person is very much alive. That is exactly how I feel right now. LO is effectively dead, in the sense that all the fantasies I had with her will never be real. What is left? Not much at all. She is a reasonably good person, so am I. Its pretty hard to square away the fact that a good person could cause so much pain to you…but it HAS happened. Now you are just left picking up the pieces. Its a crap hand, for sure.
Upon reflection, and reading other comments, I see my first LO was neither a good LO or a bad LO. She was whatever I wanted her to be in my head, since I never disclosed and she never guessed. In the so-called “limerent dance”, she was a completely passive partner if that makes sense. She wasn’t dancing to the same “music” and we weren’t attending the same “party”.
I think the emotional “connection” we mysteriously feel for these people (LOs) is so strong we believe they must feel it too (or at least be conscious of its existence). Swedish singer Robyn has a song “Dancing On My Own”. Calum Scott does a gay version Thomas might like. This song could be an anthem for us limerent sufferers. There’s sadness, yearning, frustration, misguided hope and … a kind of acceptance. It’s very moving to listen to if you’ve been there.
9 months ago my life got turned upside down over night. 2 or 3 months ago I discovered the term limerence. 12 months ago I was living a fairly normal life, with normal worries, fears, and things to look forward to and enjoy.
I just got news that we won’t be going back to office until at least January, so I won’t have to see LO on daily basis for quite some time. I took it with mixed emotions. In the end, I suppose it was a damn good thing because I do not feel ready to see her all the time. Today I feel the melancholy again, that I have not felt for a while. I have been a good sugar daddy, and that is all. I think I did love her.
“It’s a crap hand for sure!”
It is a damn good thing Steve – it will help you with NC if that’s what you choose to do, but even LC is a way out and this gives you that. If you take it. Remember you’re an addict, and not having access to the drug is beneficial for recovery (although withdrawal symptoms are a b*tch).
I was taken with your last sentence, and I agree that sometimes I think this is a form of love. It depends on your definition of course, and others will disagree, but if you take the great Olaf’s view – “true love is putting someone else before yourself” – then I think it can be.
It was for me I think. There was a stage I would have done anything for LO (and indeed did). I’m a bit of a romantic at heart and it suits me to think of it as love and limerence together. There’s a semi-tragic angle to it then, what might have been if things were different, if the obstacles weren’t there. That narrative helps me get to acceptance in a funny way. We all have disasters and triumphs in love, and this one just wasn’t meant to be. That happens to most people. Yes I got obsessed for a while there but I came out largely unscathed. That I can be thankful for too.
Initially, I was looking for friendship. I’d just started in a new career, had a lot of stress with a sick family member. He was stoic, kind, patient, a mentor. He definitely initiated the flirting, and at first, it was just lovely escapism, but the eye contact, smiling, laughing, flirting, standing too close (meow) etc infiltrated my force field. I basically don’t expect anyone to ever fancy me, but here we were, and now I can’t sleep, I’m taking an ungodly amount of baths to ruminate. I’m always seeking understanding and common ground with others. Mostly unsuccessfully. My SO is a good person, he didn’t deserve the re-writing of our marriage I sold to LO. Upon me amping up the requests for reciprocation, LO revealed himself to be a love avoidant, I think he also didn’t want to ruin my life. The fact that I felt like I connected to another human, and then effed it up with disclosure. The cringe. We worked basically one on one most of the time, and after the disclosure, Covid happened, and I got laid off. As soon as I got laid off, he stopped replying to my texts. He told me he was responsible for leading me on, and stopped replying. I am devastated. I lost a job that made me very happy and my friend. I am trying to rationalize it now that I understand limerence, and I’m trying to focus on the fact that this might all be for the best. I am very sad that it was obviously much more uncomfortable, and I was easier to dismiss than I thought I would be. I thought he at least liked me. It’s hard to place him in good or bad. I am trying to focus on my SO, and avoid future episodes, but I miss the rush! I am a Thelma and Louise off the cliff type thinker, and I maybe would have relished in my own demise. My grip on whether I am good or bad has been the hardest loss.
On a plus note. Thank you for this site. Your “closure” piece really stopped me from enduring further humiliation.
Yeah, the right LO can go through your boundaries like water through a chain-link fence.
From the little bit you’ve said, it sounds like he thought it would be safe to flirt heavily with you because you were married and “nothing would come of it.” I don’t want to say that his kind of flirtations are not a very “mature” thing for a single man to do, but it’s certainly something a very inexperienced man would do. Flirting can be hard to prevent, and what we think is flirting can be often be our own misinterpretations, but it’s hard to mistake when somebody is invading your personal space by standing too close. It sounds like he regrets his behavior.
It’s funny how COVID has given us the physical and emotional distancing from LOs that we didn’t want, but probably needed.
I empathize with the loss of a work friend. It is a large hole to fill when they have such a powerful presence in your life, 40+ hours a week.
Sad Mouse says
LimeRat, that sounds miserable. I’m so sorry!
At risk of overstepping, can I suggest a couple of resources that are helping my marriage recover? COVID shelter in place has been a blessing in disguise, as it’s been the ultimate NC enforcement mechanism and given us more time together. If you’d like to be able to refocus on SO, I recommend some of the following authors/books:
1) Peggy Vaughan. Download free from her website the “Making Love Stay” book. https://dearpeggy.com/free-pdfs/making-love-stay.pdf Actually, her whole website is full of good advice for people recovering from affairs (which even unrequited limerence can resembled, because it turns out that real physical affairs are also still quite a bit about being in your own fantasy world). The gist: true love feels different than limerence but must be nurtured. She offers lots of common sense ideas for how to do this.
2) “Not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass. Explores how even good marriages can fall down the rabbit hole. Not all of it will be relevant to you–but for us (I’m an SO of a person who became limerent for a mutual friend/co-worker) the explanations of how/why we emotionally stray, why even fully consummated physical affairs are different from true love, and how honesty can help rebuild trust were quite on point.
3) “Hold Me Tight” (Sue Johnson) and “Getting the Love You Want” (Hendrix/Hunt) have somewhat similar focus: enriching the bond between you and your SO and creating a stronger union. Each has a slightly prescriptive and tedious methodology that may or may not work for you but the underlying theory, about attachment wounds and how we tend to seek completion in our SO, was interesting. Both describe with painful accuracy how easy it is for people who were once mad about each other to lose touch and turn elsewhere for comfort, and how key ways of relating and reframing can help couples reconnect/re-attune to each other.
4) Saving the best for last. “What Makes Love Last” and “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman and Nan Silver. I love their research-based approach.
I’ve also found good stuff on the emotionalaffair.org website (run by a couple who survived a devastating midlife emotional affair) and http://www.markmanson.net (https://markmanson.net/relationship-advice )
The gist: Love is both a choice and a cumulative series of actions–not just a state of mind. My SO and I had been coasting since the birth of our son 13 years ago and our abundant supply of good will and stored up love memories started to run dry, maybe a couple of years even before his limerent episode began. Feelings/emotions follow attention/effort. If we re-orient ourselves and start, say, creating small regular touchpoints with our SOs, or using the “date” conversation suggestions, or putting out special effort to please each other, the feelings (at least for us, but apparently also for many others) will follow.
Another thing that really helped recently when my SO confessed that he wasn’t sure he remembered falling in love with me and wondered if maybe he’d just never felt as strongly for me as he did for LO (ouch!): we looked through old pictures of a trip we took together maybe five years after we met. While reminiscing about the adventures we’d had and looking at our younger selves, it was quickly apparent how happy and in love we’d been. There were photos of him gazing adoringly at me, photos of us giggling together, photos that he’d taken of me gazing off into the distance. Indeed, we’d both been smitten–but were in danger of letting recent negative and emotionally overwhelming events trick our memories into forgetting. His eyes filled with tears; he nuzzled my neck; and a bolt of electricity ran down my spine–something I hadn’t felt for 20 years. YMMV. But seriously, give it a try. We’ve probably had more (ahem) marital relations in the last four months than we had in the previous five years.
We’re not out of the woods yet. Of course he’s still mourning LO on some level–but I’m not giving him a big empty canvas in which to grieve. It’s harder to ruminate about an old fantasy when you’re having adventures and meaningful conversations and quiet together time with your spouse. Leaving him too much alone and not putting active effort into our marriage was part of what got us here. We both WANT a rich, satisfying, monogamous marriage. And we’re still fundamentally compatible. So now it just takes effort and action. Maybe some of this approach could work for you?
Your thoughtful response really touched me and I hope it helps many others. I am so happy that things are improving in your marriage and I think you are very wise to proactively work to save it vs. simmering in rage that the LE even happened. I particularly liked this line
” Of course he’s still mourning LO on some level–but I’m not giving him a big empty canvas in which to grieve”
Hope things continue to improve.
This is such a thorough and thoughtful response. I will definitely have a read through. I was definitely limerent for my SO in the beginning. Thanks.
Hi LimeRat (interesting pseudonym!). I can see your difficulty….his flirty behaviour was less than ideal but at least he recognised his error and tried to rectify it rather than milking the situation for his own narcissistic enjoyment. Maybe a sign that he liked you and cared. Don’t be hard on yourself – it sounds like you are a very good person. It is absolutely normal to develop feelings for others even if you have an SO, and very hard not to feel tempted by those feelings. You haven’t actually done anything other than want something you can’t have. “I am a Thelma and Louise off the cliff type thinker, and I maybe would have relished in my own demise.”….I love the drama of this so much…feel like that too sometimes!
Your story chimes very strongly with me as I had a similar experience with my (also married) boss. He is the epitome of a good LO…..like yours – stoic, kind and a patient mentor. I had 1.5 years of feeling cared for and understood at work before I came to a sudden realisation of how strongly I felt for him. He must have picked up on my feelings as this was soon followed by 2 weeks of frequent mutual eye contact, playfulness, smiling and laughing (oh…the rush!) until he abruptly distanced himself from me (the hurt!). Not sure if I would call this flirting exactly as we always behaved professionally, but his interest in me was obvious and, like you, I am usually very dense if someone likes me. I have never disclosed to him as I can’t risk him wanting to remove me from the team for my own good and maybe his. Covid means I haven’t seem him in person since March. I have pined and ruminated, and utterly failed to find the resolve to get over this LE. I cannot be sure if he still feels anything for me without face to face to contact but my delusional limerent mind manages to believe he does maybe 80% of the time. For the other 20%, I realise he is probably well past this by now and it is only me that has become stuck. Meanwhile at least, I have made sure I am leading a full and purposeful life, and ensured all is good in my marriage. So I guess I shall remain in LE limbo for now until I can find the courage to let go.
Wishing you well!
Allie hello! LimeRat because this really feels like my primitive mammalian brain doing this to me. It’s a side of myself I don’t like or trust. I’ve been at its whim all my life, but it appears that I don’t inspire similar feelings in others, so it’s mostly been just obsessive thoughts. I know I’m trying to fill some void from a harsh childhood. It’s hard to live purposefully when you’re anxious and an introvert. I will keep trying to push myself into living. It’s a frikkin chore.
I really appreciated your message ” I had 1.5 years of feeling cared for and understood at work before I came to a sudden realisation of how strongly I felt for him.” – I always felt like I was in warm sunlight around him. I can imagine you basking too. It’s so gray without them. I’m jealous that even though you know there’s unlikely to be any further progression with your LO, you at least know you get to semi-bask again. Ironically I feel like I could live more purposefully if I knew this wasn’t the end.
Reading my words, it’s not terribly hard to imagine why he might have felt relief when I got laid off. I get these awful moments of clarity when I see myself and the situation in stark reality. I try to cling onto these even though it leaves me hollow, it seems to be necessary, and I really don’t want this to happen again.
Good luck too.
Thanks all for the replies. It really is helpful.
“It’s so gray without them.”
Not surprising, it enlivened you. It gave you something to look forward to. Things can be good or bad for you but if they make you feel alive, you go for it.
Before I got married, I dabbled in the commodities market, gold, silver, platinum, and sugar. It was as close to legal gambling as you could short of a few places. Conventional wisdom says 80% of people who play commodities lose money. I was no exception. I was long on silver when the metals crashed. The market was locked limit down for something like 3 days. My margin calls were like $2500/day and I couldn’t get out until people were willing to buy silver and trading resumed. I lost well over $50,000 in today’s dollars.
But, I never felt more alive. I’d wake up 10 minutes before the market opened. The market closed at like 2 or 3 my time. There was no internet to track the market in real time. When it closed, I called my broker and my day was over. I was spending so much time talking to my broker, my boss told me to knock it off. I did’t care about anything else.
When you get to that level of arousal, a lot of things can happen, many of them bad.
Interesting….my SO suffered from gambling addiction a few years ago and what you describe sounds so similar to the first phase of his addiction. Good thing you didn’t move into the loss chasing phase (I hope?)…..where the bulk of an GA’s money is lost! SO reckons my LE is very much like his experience of gambling addiction with the initial excitement later followed by obsessive, intrusive and delusional thinking, and the inability to switch it all off.
I fired the broker and got out of trading commodities futures. It took awhile to get it out of my system.
After I broke up with LO #2, I put an ad in the “Men Seeking Women” section of the “Seattle Weekly:”
“Engineer, 32, with more ambition than brains looking for rich, attractive woman to help support commodities habit. Cover your shorts and let’s explore the pit together.”
If you know anything about trading futures, it make sense. Apparently, no one at the paper knew anything and they returned my check with a note saying my ad wasn’t appropriate.
The next ad did better although in the “Men Seeking Women” section, I got 3 responses from women and one from a man.
Ha ha ha! Love the ad.
@LimeRat I really feel for you…I can well imagine the grey. Am dreading the day when I have to let go. Have read lots of stories on this site from others that have gone NC…most say it is hell to start with but the colour returns over time and they appreciate it more than ever when it does.
I did go NC for almost 3 months and than dipt my too in the water.
I’m in contact with LO now, he is super nice, suggesting things for my website, asking me 1000 questions, and to be honest. It’s hell.
Where I was relatively okay after 12 weeks NC I’m back in full blown depression. Staring at my phone, hoping, hiding my feelings from lo, pretending I’m super happy, crying again trying to make sense of it all. Am I in a friend zone ? Does he want to see me? Why is he so enthusiastic but than I don’t hear him for 2 days.. should I approache things slowly? How to do that ? Do I have too much expectations, Oh wait wasn’t I supposed to get over him? Why am I doing the opposite?
Although I thought about breaking NC every single hour during NC I can genuinely say I was doing better and more happy.
Since I can’t make another dramatic exit without embarrassment beyond belief I will have to do the slow fade and somehow stay in NC . God I thought I would be over this s*it by now.
But I’m not 🤯
Did you learn anything?
You were on a losing wicket keeping the canoe.
Next time purge him. Completely.
Not for him. Not as a punishment. But to sabotage your future self.
When limerence is involved I always end up cracking after a few weeks of NC and reaching back for the false comfort of an LE. I have to make it nigh on impossible to make contact again.
Tbh your NC sounded as if it was dominated by rumination. But as long as there’s a route back that will be inevitable. Disappear and burn your bridges. Then you’ll start to heal, but you need to extinguish hope or why would you move on at all?
(My advice is even better when people have actually asked for it… 🤷♂️)
@ Thomas, i would even go so far that the whole NC was to try to make him miss me.
Not initially, I was really done with everything but slowly and sneaky shifted to ” after 3 months NC he will prob miss me” . I think I did the whole therapy thing also partly to speed up the proces so I could deal with LO better. Did you ever try to make a cat look into a mirror? They refuse to look, they turn their head. Thats me, I refuse to accept and look in the mirror, because hope is so soothing. “He did love me before Corona there are milions of people getting back together , there are 1000 You tube videos on how to do that! ” ( and I watched them all!) sigh.. I might go for DR Ls reprogramming course.
How are you holding up at the moment?
Thanks for the positive response. Once I’d hit ‘send’ I was worried I’d come over as being harsh. My current situation is ok, everything is locked down and LO hasn’t made contact. Tbh this LE is actually fading out ok (but we’ll see what happens when I inevitably bump into LO at some point)… and it’s not been one of my worst in retrospect.
I’ve already broken NC with this one twice though, saying that. Because breaking NC basically involved crawling back for a bit more FWB action each occasion really made the power imbalance between us worse. But this was me, breaking NC, then feeling more vulnerable to being played each time. So after twice I’m much more resolute- because I actually began to get very bored of myself! Quite besides the painful emotions, at the root of it I had only myself to blame really. The second time I broke NC with LO, LO was initially resistant but I persisted then got all upset that LO hadn’t magically decided to commit to me..! Going NC on someone isn’t the best way to show you’re a trustworthy potential partner. (To be clear, I still don’t think LO was ever right for me, but we need to own our own crazy sh*t, right?).
I have picked up a few odd tee-shirts or nice briefs from past liaisons, and they often rise a rye smile when I come across/wear one. But in this case LOs briefs (two pairs), socks (three pairs), a hoodie and his toothbrush have all been binned. Because seeing them didn’t amuse me, but saddened me deeply.
As I say Mia, don’t be too harsh on yourself. The reason I have such a scorched Earth policy is because I wouldn’t be able to have mementos around and not crack. Honestly I’d be messaging LO right now: ‘Hey found a sock – fancy a drink so I can return it?’ In fact my first NC ended on the pretext of returning a pair of his underpants which is about as rich in ‘I desperately need to see you in (and out of…) your pants again…’ subtext as you can get.
He obliged that time and the rest is painful confusing frustrating embarrassing history… so here we are. Love might not live here any more, but on top of that I’ve ditched the pants, pictures (on a hard disk at my dad’s place), WhatsApp chats (same disk), and purged all numbers/contact details. One day I’m gonna throw the hard disk into a canal (or not! Probably just away). Which will be very sad.
I’d advise that when you are ready, you purge. Properly, or else its tormenting.
I think also, there’s a lot to be said for becoming more purposeful and self reliant- but also remember that even if being with someone does feel important (which I think we can all relate to..) the feeling that LO is the only one who’ll do is an illusion.
Free yourself up for somebody who can meet your needs. What little I see of you on these threads shows how kind and funny and generous of spirit you are. So if LO isn’t digging that big time then you’re best off finding someone who sees it, and matches it.
Bloody hard though…
You are sooo wise and smart and kind, too bad you’re gay or you would be my next LO.
Well talking about obstacles! I feel a glittery glimmer raising 🌈
But seriously thank you for taking the time to really read what people write and advise them and think with them.
Your underwear story is too funny. The t shirt from Lo I literally burnt it in my garden and danced around it. The only gift lo gave me I threw it away ( kept the batteries 😄 and ordered a bigger one )
I get a lot of quotes from Alan Robarge and since today I have a note on my fridge. “I’m not coming after you I know my self worth”
( Applies also for the food) .
‘The only gift lo gave me I threw it away ( kept the batteries 😄 and ordered a bigger one ) ‘
…the mind boggles. 😯🤭
@ Thomas, yes it was that kind of gift. I even named it after him lol, but very small, just like him 😉
Stumbled across this quote from Ray Bradbury’s “The October Country” and it reminded me of some of the naïveté of limerence, thought you guys may appreciate it.
“I was only twelve. But I knew how much I loved her. It was that love that comes before all significance of body and morals. It was that love that was no more bad than wind and sea and sand lying side by side forever. It was made of all the warm long days together at the beach, and the humming quiet days of droning education at the school. All the long Autumn days of the years past when I carried her books home from school.”
@Mia I’m having a hard time too, and I’m so sorry. You were such a big help to me when you said many things, one being that we can try again another day. It’s ok. You went a really long time, and maybe we can look at a slower withdrawal period of LC. I went 6 days last time and would like to go 12 this time.
I’m so sorry that the uncertainty is back. I can so relate to the sense of lost progress. I can also relate to the horrible internal conflict and roller coaster. It’s such a hard hand to be dealt. I just don’t understand it.
Thank you Chicster, that means a lot.
I know what to do, go to NC again.
Hope the withdraw will be relatively mild this time, since I did not experience any highs from our late contact. And keep going Chicster, so glad we support each other.
@ Sharn yes lesson learned, I have to try harder 😄
Mia, I am so sorry to hear this. I hope you find your way back to the path you were on. It just takes a shift back into perspective. Limerence is a not straight in recovery; very slippery. Just hang on in this rough period. You definitely have the resolve. Take care, Steve
Thank you steve. You are right, I know. Im just amazed, every time how forcefull Limerence is. Before I read this 5 minutes ago I wrote almost the exact thing to you! LOL
Ditto from me Mia…sorry to hear you are struggling so much again. As everyone has said, don’t be hard on yourself, I am sure your hard work will still pay off. Everyone suffers the odd relapse. Really hoping resuming NC is easier on you than last time. I would definitely recommend the reprogramming course – it really works, especially if you persist with it. For me, the anti-rumination techniques have been a real game changer…..when I resolve to practice them of course 🙂
(mental note….must repeat the course again)
Thank you Allie.
I’m happy for you. I’m pretty positive today, back on trac, while super depressed yesterday. Waaaah these moodswings!
Will last for a while I think.
I’m goin to check out the program XXX
I was reading through this again and just had a TOTAL CRINGE moment. I kind of lied when I said I didn’t know LO1 that well. I should have said I thought I knew her well, but it turned out I didn’t. I certainly never really knew LO2 and LO3.
LO1 and I met in high school in the theater troupe. We went to the same church. I made an effort to get to know her. I was making too much of an effort with and didn’t know I was annoying the hell out of her. One day at the church she went off on me in front of some mutual friends about how annoying I was. Our friends were shocked. I was humiliated. Again, she was young and didn’t know what she was doing (and neither did I). Older me wouId have walked away from her, but young me wanted revenge and wrote her the nastiest letter in the universe. I got personal about her shortcomings. In the fallout one of our friends relayed to me something LO1 said to her… and here’s the cringe.
LO1: “I didn’t know Matt thought I was such a good friend.”
Not that it excused the way she or I acted, but it hit me hard in the fantasies. I had made myself believe that she wanted to be around me, when in fact she didn’t really care that much for me even as a friend. But I didn’t learn anything from that, of course, at least not at that age.
“hit me hard in the fantasies”. That might be the most brilliant line I’ve heard in quite a while.
@Matt. Thanks for being so honest in sharing your stories. Your experiences with your LOs #1 and #2 are so embarrassing they actually make me feel better about my own life! Haha! It sounds like neither young lady had any interest in helping you “save face”. Neither was willing to “let you down gently”. I think you deserve brownie points at least for trying to be nice – it’s hard for guys of that age to impress girls. Some male efforts are bound to be annoying. Your LOs weren’t very gracious. Maybe when they have teenage sons themselves, they’ll understand “both sides”.
“Your experiences with your LOs #1 and #2 are so embarrassing they actually make me feel better about my own life! Haha! ”
Thats a sentence I never want to hear, although after i told my “naked under a fake fur coat “story friends have said the exact same thing! Glad to be at their service 🙂
@Mia. I think romantic rejection of any kind is acutely embarrassing. I’m not laughing at you or Matt at all. Rather, I’m remembering my own awkward experiences. I know how painful it is to be on the receiving end of a “no thank you” when you like someone and wrongly convince yourself you’re in with a chance. It’s the worst feeling. Hearing other people’s similar stories has been cathartic.
I kow yoy are not laughing at all like that , no worries.
And personaly I love reading and sharing embarrasing stories. The bigger the better 🙂 Makes us human and funny . Love the inperfection in people 🙂
lol… if I can help just ONE person on this site not get flamed the way I was, then my mission is complete!
To put things in perspective, LO2’s rejection was so nasty that even *she* was embarrassed a year later! That’s pretty bad, I say!
But I learned my lesson with LO1 and LO2… and it’s one reason I rarely spoke with LO3. I wasn’t going to endure that humiliation a third time. (Except that time I held the door for her and she gave me a look that said I was an idiot for thinking I could flirt with her by holding the door. I have a way with women.) I would just ignore LO3. LO3 would just ignore me. We could stand two inches apart and pretend the other didn’t exist. I feel like we had this entire relationship based on ignoring each other.
@Matt. Dorothy Tennov did write in her book that some people have a “phobic” reaction to limerence and I wonder if the response of your LO#2 falls into this category? Maybe she wasn’t offended by you or by awkward flirting per se. Maybe she was scared of limerence itself?
In my experience, people who are suffering from limerence may give off a weird energy without even realising it. They can sort of act possessive of their LOs, or obviously lovesick. It’s really hard to describe. However, I think other people (including LO) can sometimes pick up on this “energy” and feel uncomfortable.
@Matt & Sammy,
To be honest, I sometimes think it’s pretty clear that limerence can be visible. Dr. L has talked about the idea that some LOs can spot it.
…and sadly if LO isn’t into you it can probably seem a bit creepy depending on how the view the world.
I am giving NC another shot. My LO is on long holiday, so at least we cannot meet. And I cant bear the thought of mentally tracking her holiday. So, here we go again. I dont have much goal, other than to surpass my 10 day or so record. I had a very tough couple of days, but in some twisted way, I can feel the bond loosening. I just cant get over the final hoop; why she doesnt love me back. Just damn ego and stubbornness perhaps. In my mind, I know there are many reasons. I worry about getting completely distraught again as I was a few weeks ago, begging her to let me back in. That cannot happen.
Steve, what i learned in the last months is that it needs time, you can not get over this in 10 days, or 2 months, and its a bumpy road, with cracks, replases and very hard and better days. But overall there will be progress, you are def. not in the same place as a few months ago. Good for you! Give it time and on the good days enjoy the progress and maybe even the growt you got out of this. ( and in the bad days do whatever you feel like that makes you feel a little better) ( except sending money to LO)
Yeah..this NC is à breeze Mia (:
İ have had à very up and down Past few weeks in all aspects. Monday l gö home so lm going to try to implement some routine and doinğ stuff the right way. Nc and living proud…its all we can do.
Thanks again Mia..l hope you are fınding that Space where peace can fluorish again.
( except sending money to LO)
I’ll glimmer like gold for the odd tenner or round of drinks.
I’ll even shave my legs if it’ll help.
(…is the beard a no-no, or negotiable?)
haha…anything for you Thomas. You keep me coming back. I always love reading what you write; always insightful, honest and compassionate.
Yeah l took a financial knock lately. The silver lining is that it has cooled me down on pay outs to LO. I think thats pretty crucial to eliminate as it fuels the whole dysfunction.
…in all seriousness,
Maybe try a ‘non-LO’ fund.
Every time you get the urge to send her some cash, put that money somewhere else, and after a certain period spend it on something for you, or maybe you & SO?
That might even start programming yourself towards placing a separate material value on your primary relationship and get you into the habit of occasionally surprising SO with a nice experience – like a mini break or something?
Seriously, maybe I’m a hippy but I love being a philanthropist, I love giving to causes I care for. Instead of giving money to Lo start a non profit.
Just an idea, advise
” Even better when asked for “
There are no good LOs. ..for us!!! Thats my mantra for today. I think during this Period öf struggle we should view them as being akın to à shark. Later, when we are out öf the deep water, we can adjust our view to be more balanced. But for now, this is a pretty good tactic. Dont stay in the water with them unless you can swim fsster than Mark Phelps. Gotta get to dry land…to the liman.
…or hope Mia’s on hand with her trusty canoe!
The canoe is always there. Intrusively.
You guys are really hilarious. I would get in a canoe with you any day, even with sharks swimming around ( :
“There are no good LOs. ..for us!!!”
Agreed. But if you do find yourself in this tricky situation, I guess a good LO is someone who maintains their boundaries. Someone who doesn’t exploit the situation to their benefit.
So true. Bad LOs are the ones who spot your infatuation as a an opportunity to be exploited. Sometimes relatively harmlessly or playfully, but some can be real jerks/jerkettes (?).
…jerkettes. Hmmm. Probably not a word. 😀
It is a word from now on!
” Don’t pull your jerkettiness on me tonight please ” .
I think they can exploit because they see us exploiting. It is co-dependent exploitation. Dreadful.
Have you guys ever had this? Yesterday, I could feel the cracks in the limerence; like a kind of boredom with it and reduced buzz from limerent thoughts etc. What does crazy limerent brain do? Try to fire up the old limerent thoughts, try to get back in that tortured limerent state. The thing is I really could not get back into the state yesterday. Thats good, but it worries me that I even tried.
I like to let loose and drink once a week, kind of always have. And it is my most vulnerable time for messaging and the like. It has caused several relapses. I am thinking how to deal with this today. I read Dr. Ls latest entry and he listed the SOB LEs, unrequited limerence being one. I have to get out of this because I am smack in the middle of that with no hope of reciprocation. Gotta get out. Im back on NC and, logically, see no reason at all to break it.
Yes. I know the boredom feeling. I get it more and more as the LE clearly becomes less and less satisfying. It normally puts me on a better footing with NC.
I think it’s a sign of becoming really drained by the whole thing. You’ve been having a really hard time lately and eventually your brain probably starts thinking ‘oh no, not this again!’
My lo is a good Lo. And yes it makes it harder. Although yesterday during dinner my sister gave it to me straight. Normally she would not badmouth anyone but I asked for her unfiltered opinion. And than she gave it ..
That she always had thought LO was a difficult person and kind of a freak, so hsp that he couldn’t function in a fun way. In restaurants couldn’t sit in the middle because too much noise, movies couldn’t be sad or he would be upset for days, his whole house was sterile, he didn’t eat fruit in a plane because what of his neighbour was allergic to it, after 20 his telephone was off because too much stimuli, and when his feelings for me got too strong he had to walk in the woods for days and I couldn’t reach him, his strong morals made him judgemental and so on and on.
And the words that hit me where ” Mia you are so beautiful and fun why on earth would you hang around with someone who maybe has a good heart but is always serious and not relaxed”
Knocked him right of his pedestal at that moment, I actually thought everyone on earth liked and loved LO and saw his warm kindness as I did.
I’m looking forward the day I can see him more objectively.
Wow…that would be a lot to take on. Having regular fun together is so important for long term relationship happiness. However good his heart, I suspect if you stayed with him long enough for the LE to wear off, all those quirks have the potential to be quite wearing when living with them day in, day out….especially the judgemental trait as that is the complete opposite of you. Although I am rather charmed by his sweet words to you.
The Sweet words where my sister’s, buy you are right Allie it would get tiring and probably annoying also, wish that knowledge would sink in my feelings. Started the deprogramming course today im curious what will come.
Good luck! You have some great material for a “change the ending” negative rumination here.
I like your sister. I have to ask.
What is it about this guy do you find so appealing? What’s the prize in this Cracker Jack box?
Check out https://livingwithlimerence.com/therapy-for-limerence/#comment-1469
What’s in this for you? If you ever did “catch him,” what would you do with him?
I find LO unique in his authentic way very calm energy, warm introvert, not vain, very masculine and sensitive at the same time and very autonomous. And yes I know I’m crystallising.
What I would get out of this if I regain his love is a false sense of self worth and a restored ego, massive physical attraction so a good sexlife ( oversharing but I only like sex when in love and that’s rare 😭) and the feeling of being loved fully. And admitted an ego boost because he used to date the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen because I think a lot of women like the combo of his personality. (And job) Together with a complicated long distance relationship full of frustrations where our differences would get more and more in the way, and we would shortly see it was based on attraction and circumstances and we have not much in common except some view on the world philanthropism ideas and sensitivity. But a lot of people have that.
Besides me being anxious attached and he being an extreme hsp introvert is not the best combo. We are both nice people but can’t give what the other needs. He needs someone who is secure enough to accept him fully when he needs to withdraw and not take it personally. I need someone who takes a stand and who doesn’t take my no for an answer. And he doesn’t.
It’s my coverted attachment / abandonment issues that fires up and put my claws into this I know. It’s also the frustration that when we decided to go NC during my divorce he grieved and than detached what was logical but had to see me to restart our romance but we couldn’t due to.. bla bla ( I wrote this 100 times on this site ) but the idea that I didn’t f*ck this up that Lo was madly in love with me but it where the circumstances is so freaking frustrating, because my LE brain keeps whispering (he still wanted to see you before you stopped,he will love you again when you meet and you can just handle your feelings and be a little patience since you can not fly anyway)
Sorry for venting I’m having a difficult periode (again)
And I have to collect my rational mind to tell me this would not have and will not work out. Ever. I’m waisting my precious time. I can’t use him for mood regulation which I have done I have to get happy first to be able to be with anyone and
Corona or no Corona when we would have continued we would probably be split up by now.
Probably definitely 😄
Sharn you asked 😄..
It doesn’t matter what she sees in him. Feelings are irrational, duh. Ask me how I know. My LO doesn’t even “want” me in a romantic sense (well, he didn’t mind the sex but I tossed it up to it being a “man” thing) and I still pined over him for years. I might be an anomaly (or delusional) but even subtle rejection did not deter me from thinking that there is something there. Oh, kill me now. These questions referencing “but what IS IT” about him/her are respectable but futile effort in the end. Tennov was majorily dissed by the psychiatric community when they didn’t allow limerance to be considered for the DSM. Or maybe this just falls under OCD criteria. Either way, I personally can’t seem to rationalize any of it. Hence we keep suffering. In silence.
True, short answer could also be, apparently I see something from my childhood and someone who is somewhat unreadable so I stick to him to try to heal something I’m not aware off.
Article of the Day: “After” – Guy de Maupassant
“This was really the first being I had passionately loved, because he returned my affection.”
Some of the posts in LwL remind me of de Maupassant.
So, it’s a short story not an article but it’s still short. Guy de Maupassant is one of my favorite authors. I think he’s alongside Twain and Vonnegut as chroniclers of the human condition but in a different vein. De Maupassant has an uncanny insight into people. He must have been an amazing child to gain so much insight and write about it considering he died at 45 in an asylum. He had syphilis and attempted suicide.
“When Maupassant was 11 and his brother Hervé was five, his mother, an independent-minded woman, risked social disgrace to obtain a legal separation from her husband, who was violent towards her.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Maupassant)
In “Bel Ami,” de Maupassant describes a man beating his mistress in such graphic detail that I believe he was recounting his father beating his mother.
I would reference de Maupassant in some of my correspondence to LO #4. She was unfamiliar with him. I sent her this story with the comment that if anyone would appreciate it, she would.
Limerance aside (just for a brief moment) and as a fellow HSP (hello, my nickname!), I wholeheartedly empathize with your LO. It is extremely difficult to function in the modern world overrun with stimuli coming at us from different direction. Hence, my limerance, for example, is much much harder to process than that of a “normal” person. He might not be “good” for you, but just because he is so “strange” and different, it doesn’t mean those should be the reason to focus on in regards to recovery. Another quick example, with all my other issues, I do not have autism but suspect my LO does. This allows me to look at him with more compassion than resentment. If he could only want to date me, lol.
Thank you Anxious. I know LO is not a bad person, ( I’m HSP too but different type and not as extreme) but it would def complicate things we can not give each other what we need.
But I do need sómething to knock him of his pedestal also because I made him into some sort of saint and he is also just human.
I m not resentful towards him at all, last week I offered him to help with his stress level with doing cognitive behavioural therapy with him
( 💥 Besides the f*cked up ness of that ) because I do see his goodness, it’s also one of the reasons I pulled out. I can’t use him for my issues, I can’t use him for my mood.
How many of us on here are guilty of LUIs (limerent under the influence?) Just awful! :D.
‘Im back on NC and, logically, see no reason at all to break it.’
This is one of the strongest things I remember you saying so far Steve. Previously you’ve cited the pain, embarrassment, even anger that has driven your desire for NC. Here you’re so much calmer and to steal the phrase, logical.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it might not be a train!
It is a bit funny me saying something strong, but yes, Thomas, I guess there is some teflon appearing for whatever reason: worn out, some level of acceptance, time’s magic. I feel a lot less hysterical than I was feeling. Also the fact that I wont see LO at work for another 5 months gave me a lift, as did Norah Jones’, ‘What am I to you’…great line kinda woke me up…
I’d cry if you hurt
I’d give you my last shirt
Because I love you so
Now if my sky should fall
Would you even call?…..What am I to you?
I wish I could have been as noble as Norah in the face of all this. Maybe I am in position where I can at least start to regain some dignity.
@Thomas. Thank you for replying to some comments of mine higher up on “limerent fodder”. As always, you add some much-needed nuance to the discussion. It sounds like you make yourself a perfect friend to your LOs, which would be very attractive to narcissists. I know how much narcissists love attention. I’m thinking if a narcissist got their hands on a limerent, they’d never want to let go.
“Someone to adore me! Someone to worship me! Yes!” I don’t think a confirmed narcissist would be in a hurry to do the right thing if he/she were someone’s LO.
Sammy, I like how you present the narc’s viewpoint. It makes me feel better about being who I am, which although most appealing to a narcissist, I also have some nice qualities that I can appreciate in myself. Loyalty, nurturing, selflessness, consistency, exclusivity, attentiveness….all these are qualities I admire in others as well as myself. Those narc’s in our life have mighty fine taste! 😉
(even if they don’t deserve us).
@Thomas. Actually, I think the “limerent fodder” discussion was under a different topic heading, but I can’t remember which one at the moment. But it does tie in with what might make someone a good or bad LO.
It’s definitely worth mentioning, in the case of Good LOs, there are also circumstances whereby it isn’t really feasible for the limerent to go NC on a friendship because it risks damaging other relationships. That was one of the reasons why NC with LO4 wasn’t possible because it would have damaged the friendship between our respective parents, who are neighbors, something that I didn’t want to happen. That, and the fact, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the forum, LO4 and I were in the early stages of our friendship, and going NC just as they were moving would have complicated things and drawn attention to my limerence.
There’s no question, however, a Good LO, despite some of the complications they carry, is far more preferable to a bad LO. I’ve been extremely lucky that my LOs have all been people of good character, and, in the ongoing case of LO4, being able to have a friendship with them. However, I would say that it varies on the circumstances between limerents and Good LOs.
Personally, I consider myself lucky, under the circumstances, to have developed a nice friendship with LO4, one where I have been slowly losing my limerence for and appreciating them for who they are as a person and not the limerent-fantasy I created.
LG that’s interesting! So you are experiencing a slow move from limerence to friendship? Abandoning hope for reciprocation? Less romantic feelings for her? A lot of suffering and grieving? How are you managing it?
@Emma, it’s a bit of both of the things you mention, with regards to transitioning the limerent fantasies into something more realistic and concrete. It’s been very slow to say the least, and extremely arduous. There are days when I can think of LO4 and see them for who they are as a person; others I am consumed by how much their present absence is having and I can’t remove them from my thoughts.
The friendship I have with LO4 is still quite young, compared to what our respective parents enjoy, and what I have with their parent. We have become better acquainted these past couple of months since their move as we communicate through social media periodically. While all my LOs have been for the opposite sex, including LO4, what makes them stand out is that I have had very few romantic limerent fantasies about them. Instead, the ones I have had are about having a really strong friendship with them, something that Dr. L says is possible.
What I have found has helped me balance my limerence and our friendship has come down to 2 primary things:
1. Drawing upon one’s experiences of limerence and the knowledge I have to mentally control the limerent feelings, especially since I want this friendship to work out. This forum has been a life-saver in that regard, in having discussed the difficulty of LO4 moving away helped ease the pain, although after getting through the initial few days okay, weeks 2 and 3 following their departure were nightmarish.
2. Accepting that our current friendship won’t be what I fantasize about, but it’s better than not having them in my life. The fact that we became better acquainted before they moved was an improvement from where our acquaintance was at the year’s beginning. I also draw comfort from interacting with their parent, which helps to lessen the pain that I feel when thinking about how LO4 isn’t around.
As I mentioned, it hasn’t been feasible to go full NC with LO4 if I had wanted to due to the nature of the friendship our respective parents and me enjoy with one another, and especially after the fact that LO4 and I were becoming better acquainted. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but worth it, given the progress we’ve made in developing our friendship.
“What does he see in her?” “What does she see in him?”
In the case of limerents, I think a good answer is “he sees the best possible version of her” or “she sees him with all his faults and annoying traits lovingly glossed over”. I think we, as limerents, don’t see something that’s not there. Rather, we see the most favourable, forgiving, flattering version of another human being possible – at least until LE wears off. We are like the world’s best public relations departments for our LOs! Shame they don’t pay us for our services!
İ dont really feel like that. I dont share thst characteristic. ..l do exaggerate her beauty and fun personality but lm mostly realistic. İts weird cuz lm full blown limerent in all other ways.
I might actually be in lové. ..
We talk ed ön phone last night for an hour. I have to admit l was in à state öf pure bliss. I didnt sleep at all last night, replaying the highlights from the call.
İm going to try to love her platonically. İş that just 100% out öf question? I guess l will know answer when the horrible Crash inevitably comes
We are like the world’s best public relations departments for our LOs!
Best public relations department! Me too!! Best lawyer as well! I’m defending LO often when people criticise him. Or finding reasons for his behavior. Not that I’m not realistic about his flaws, it’s just that I love him with them. Which, if I’m honest is not even true… 😂 I hate him because of those flaws! Except when someone else dares to criticize him.
@Emma. Haha! What you write is absolutely true. “No one gets to criticise LO but me!”
İt has all been a Lie. I took LO back into my life with open armş à few days ago. I told myself it is real love and even though unrequited, l would try to plow thru .ı guess l will be back here in à few months, more fuked up even than l was à few months ago. Yep…l can feel it coming…Lo turned ön charm Machine at full and l could not reşist.
@Steve. Can relate to a mere phone call producing feelings of bliss. Reminds me of an experience with LO#1 years ago when she rang me up on Christmas Eve so we could unwrap our gifts to each other together. Sounds so silly when said out loud. How can a phone call feel so special, be so full of meaning? But, yes, for someone in limerence, little things can be a really big deal.
Maybe my brain went into slight withdrawal and then got another huge hit from perceived reciprocation? There’s always that fear factor in limerence. “Oh, she’s lost interest. No, wait. Maybe she’s still interested? Look at this great gift!”
Yeah for sure. İts à Massive rush when it goes well. I got that for first time in long time Yesterday. İt was like coming back home. Pity there will be no furniture in the house.
İm at the end of wild week of limerence. I got steamrolled rather predictably. Lo is still same person, has no feelings even though l ramp ed up my effort to the Max. No comes the inevitable Crash and another go at NC. Nc is the only hope friends. ..never kid yourself. Or you will end up like me: broken, delusional, and pretty lost. İf l told you story öf this week, you would cringe…very cringeworthy. LO took as much as she could -smash and grab job- before she said l was be coming too obsessive. I wish l never follow ed her adVice back into this.
-anD LOs not our friends
Are you still in therapy?
Can you go NC with LO if you are working together?
Can you stop working together?
How can you get a grip? Because get a grip you must. Really.
I agree. You can’t be friends with someone you’re addicted to, or someone who is going to trigger an addictive response. It’s just not possible to be objective.
Hope you’re doing okay, Steve.
Thank you Sammy. Yes lm still highly addict ed.
Hi Thomas l wont see her at work til January. İm 2 days nc. The whole thing is fubar. I will have session with therapist tomorrow. Right now, lm just gutted and have been quite reckless, endangering SO relationship, others, work and more. Basically very destabilized feeling. I keep sayıng l will get thru this but god knows how…maybe even he/she doesnt.
İf l can Manage to totally disconnect from LO l might have a chance, but she keeps popping back up. And then she pulls away cuz l start to get obsessive, which is all too true.
Thank you Sammy. Yes lm still highly addict ed.
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/jackelyn-jurado/2020/09/an-apology-for-being-your-almost/
I see this coming from a “good LO” that you have actually been involved with. If not actually involved with them, you’ve at least disclosed to them.
There’s one great line in it, “Someone who knows and trusts themselves will never allow you to doubt.” So much about LOs in one line.
I believe it. I had to pin her down and squeeze it out of her a little but in the end, LO #4 came around and removed the doubt. Often, it’s not the answer you might want to hear but it’s an answer you either need to hear or, at least, you can work with. Even though my line was fuzzy, she knew where hers was.
So, I am a sufferer from a good LO. And the fact that she is a good LO makes it so much harder. Brief background: I have been married for decades, but fell for a girl at work who is very sweet, and is a genuinely kind person. I disclosed to her and she let me down very nicely, very clearly, with no ambiguity. But she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. She thought it was best not to meet again to talk about it as she didn’t want to encourage me. She said she would like to remain professional and would like to remain friends, if that was possible. While we still work together, I have a very flexible schedule and since January I started NC, and since then I have not worked more than a handful of days with her, all of which were completely out of my control (one of us being called in at the last minute when someone was sick). While my feelings for her have not changed that much, the desperation has, and while I still think about her frequently, it is not the all intrusive thoughts that used to rule my life. There are still days when it does feel that way, when some trigger sets it off (eg. walking alone on particularly quiet, peaceful and warm night, for example, and thinking… “you know who I wish was here to share this wonderful day with…”). While I think of her at least some on most days, there are even occasional days that elapse where I don’t think about her even once. But I can’t try to think about the “bad parts” of her, because she is a genuinely sensitive, wonderful soul. I suspect she had also been limerent for someone given how she handled my disclosure, trying not to hurt me, etc, and knew what state my mind was in.
But what I do think of almost daily are the feelings she gave me. This whole thing started when my wife was away, and events led this girl to be at my house (I don’t want to give details as I’d like to remain anonymous) for three days in a row. I cooked her dinner these days and we talked for hours. I still think of the utter elation I got when I drove up after work to see her car parked in my parking lot, how the smile would still spread across my face. It is just this overwhelming sense of warmth that I got even before seeing her— its such a powerful memory and I can still see every detail of her car in my parking lot, slowly coming into view as I drive past the bush that obscured the car from the road. I remember the feeling of warmth just walking in the door and seeing her there, how content I was to just sit with her. If I lived in squallor, hungry, it felt like it would all have been OK if only I had her by my side, that life would still be wonderful, I would still be content. It felt like she was there for me… there was a presence she had – a way of making you feel like you were the center of her attention. It was like my contentment with life was overflowing… a feeling of what I can only explain as “fullness.” I felt like I could be open and honest with her like with no-one else (the article on oversharing hit me like a ton of bricks) like I had a million things to talk about, like I was interesting, and she wouldn’t judge me. My entire drab world had been painted with dazzling neon colors. Life had gone from a black and white slide show to Fuji Velvia. Life was exciting and worth living again. I had purpose in life… just to see the next day so I could see her again, talk to her again. She became my color splash, she was all the feelings I wanted to have, all the dreams I had for the future, the excitement and pizazz in life that made me, for the first time in years, want to go on in life and smile at everyone, smile at myself. Only a limerent, I think, can know the power of these feelings… there’s no way to put the feeling into words. It is EVERYTHING. There are really no words that can describe it…. You have to KNOW the feeling to even get a glimmer of what I am talking about.
And thinking it through, while I still think of HER, I think of the way she made me feel even more. And I miss that tremendously. As I try to analyze what is going on in my head, I realize more and more that the acuteness of the memory of those feelings is what is fading, as much as my love for this woman. Immediately after this happened, I couldn’t imagine going on with life as it had been before. Dull. Monotonous. My wife and I had a slow but steady slide into a relationship as if we were just roommates. Silent meals with nothing to talk about. The only talk was about upcoming chores that needed to get done, what to do about kids schools, etc. Life had slowly drifted into dullness, monotony. It was only when this girl showed up that I realized that life could be so much more, and while I knew I was unhappy beforehand, it wasn’t until this girl showed up that I realized just HOW unhappy I was. She was the point of comparison that I had as to what life could be like. And I realize that as the memory of those feelings that I had gets less and less acute, I am sliding back into the drab world of monotony, not being felt, heard, understood, cared about. Of living day to day just for living, with no real excitement, fun, feeling of contentment or fullness. There was a line in “fleabag” in which the main character is asked how she is doing. Her answer is “I feel like crying all the time.” That is pretty much what I feel when I think about life going on without the sense of being whole that I had when with this girl. NC has left a hole in my soul because it has cut me off from feeling, or at least of feeling anything good. And while the thought of living without this gets less acute over time, I have moments of clarity and realize that this is heading to the exact same place my wife and I were at before all this happened. And that’s no good, either.
What I’m trying to say is that no contact with an LO that is good is not easy. There’s a reason we become limerent for someone outside of our current relationships, and cutting off the LO takes away a large chunk of our whole meaning in this world. In my case, I know it is the righting to do— I’ll never have her anyway, and the pain of seeing her at work chatting and laughing with other men, flirting, even, will cause me so much jealousy that I will get clinically depressed, I’m sure. Since our conversations, I find it harder to engage in small talk and crave the deep meaningful conversations we had before. So I know that No Contact is the way to go.
But its so much harder than I ever imagined….
That is exactly how I described my last LE. Technicolor vs black and white. It’s a universal feeling for limerents and if the relationship actually grew into a real committed one, the colors would fade back into black and white in time. It’s a sad reality that its the limerent drugs that are making our world beautifully psychedelic. It’s our brain…not the person. The person is merely the catalyst for the “high”. And when limerence ends so do the vivid colors. And it always ends.
My last LO prided himself on how he made people feel, and all human creatures great and small were so drawn to him, and I wasn’t the only one who feel helplessly for him. He was always so disappointed when his ‘friends’ departed after he didn’t reciprocate romantically…that I was determined to not be like them….but that turned out to be a decision to martyr myself on the altar of limerence and self-delusion. I should have cut and run long, long before I finally did.
This young lady would not make you happy in the longterm. Such is the nature of limerence. Thank goodness she isn’t leading you on any longer. (Yes, i think she was…being alone in your house, the dinners, letting your share your soul with her…she knew what was happening to you and it was irresponsible on her part).
I think your quiet introspective nature (which I also have) leaves you vulnerable to wallowing in solitude and sadness. It’s hard but you now have to assertively create happiness and bonding and fun and connections with those closest to you…take the lead. You have a spouse and you can step it up….and really try to have fun with her. Don’t give up! Do the heavy lifting! There has to be wonderful things about her! Think back to when you were falling in love with her. It’s sooo worth it to love the one your with…..instead of chasing a beautiful iridescent soap bubble that will eventually pop and disappear…..
Gosh, you said that beautifully, Jaideux. Iridescent soap bubbles indeed. 🙂
Out of curiosity, Jaideux, and if I may be so bold to ask, do you think this particular LO of yours knew he inspired limerence in others? Did he ever try to account for or explain his extraordinary “power” over the people who entered his life? You were wise, I think, not to make a martyr of yourself.
… not to make a permanent martyr of yourself, that is.
@Sammy….thank you for your kind words. I know he broke many hearts (unintentionally?) as he was so kind, generous, attentive and complementary ….many a lady ‘read into’ those actions and fell for him, but it seemed to me when they realized it wasn’t moving forward as they liked they gave up and most just moved on. I really don’t know if any of them were limerents….I definitely held on the longest and I was the closest to him (daily calls, vacations together, expensive gifts, etc) and our large circle of mutual friends and acquaintances often asked if were dating and some male friends said they ” could tell” he was “into me” where others said they weren’t so sure…they were more suspect of this ‘relationship’.
He seemed to think that his “kindness” to others (especially females) was a manifestation of his good character, but now that I can be more objective I can’t help but wonder if the opposite is true. One can use their ‘gifts’ (in his case – good looks, a sparkling personality, charm, refined manners, excellent sense of style, financial advantage, effervescent sense of humor, generosity, etc.) as a way to entrap a persons heart, and then that person becomes emotionally enslaved to this “too good to be true” person which perhaps was the plan all along. And for a limerent, the outcome is even more sinister as they can remain enslaved for years and years and find it nearly impossible to break free.
@Jaideux. I have a male friend (an older man well-established in his career) who acts a little like your LO. Basically, he enjoys the company of women in his life but he says he’s “happier not being in a relationship”. Nothing wrong with that, of course. His desire to remain a bachelor forever is cool. Each to their own I say.
The only problem is he’s not upfront with the ladies involved that the “special friendships” he cultivates aren’t going to lead to anything. He too has left behind a trail of broken hearts. I think there is something subtly manipulative about the way he is charming. If he were a character in a very prissy nineteenth-century novel, he’d be the wicked seducer you’d warn your sisters and daughters and widowed mother to stay away from! Haha!
Gosh @Jaideux I read your comment about LO yesterday and keep thinking about it. I would love to be described in the way you describe your LO… “kind, generous, attentive and complementary”. I pride myself on helping out others, male or female, particularly in a work or career context where I can add the most value. The thought that I might actually be doing this to emotionally enslave them has rocked me a bit. Maybe I am a little? What is that saying, there is no such thing as a selfless act? hmmm
I certainly felt there was a bit of that with LO, but then I was obsessed with her and just wanted her to want me back in any way. But there have been / are others who I’ve helped out, and felt a certain amount of glimmer from afterwards, which I’ve obviously enjoyed.
Plenty to chew over.
Ha – I just remembered where the “there is no unselfish good deed” comes from 🙂
@Vincent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a nice person – someone who is kind, helpful, pleasant to everyone at work, etc. And yes, some people with those traits might inspire more crushes than average. I think we need to look at motives.
Unless you’re setting out to deceive and use somebody, I don’t think it’s wrong to be charming and generous. However, if an admirer is getting over-attached, and the feelings are unrequited, I think the ethical thing to do would be to back off. “Enslaving” another human being sounds awful to my mind.
Plus the subsequent words and behaviour of the enslaved person might prove very embarrassing. (Reminds me of a married woman at my old workplace who drunkenly hit on a male co-worker at the Christmas office party right in front of her own husband! She and that male co-worker had been engaging in seemingly mutual flirty banter all year long. Turns out male co-worker didn’t fancy her).
I guess an LO can unintentionally have a bad effect on others. People who are very committed to “being nice” (and I count many such people among my closest friends) may not understand their behaviour might be misconstrued as romantic. They might not realise the other person (the limerent) is becoming too emotionally invested in the “relationship” and starting to expect things from LO.
The sort of situations you and Jaideux describe appear to me very morally grey – it becomes impossible to say who really is at fault, assuming somebody has to be at fault. And it’s a classic setup for limerence of the misery-producing kind, as we all know from experience. I definitely agree – food for thought.
@Sammy and Vincent,
I too have been guilty of being very ‘nice, thoughtful, easy to talk to, etc.” and have been told numerous times that ‘we have a special bond, I can’t talk anyone the way I can talk to you, what I just told you I have never told ANYONE’ ,even by the LO himself!
Of course I loved hearing that from the LO as I thought it meant one day we would live happily ever after – together. But when I heard those words from others that I wasn’t romantically interested in I felt a stab of remorse and guilt in my heart, and took steps to back away quietly so as to let the misunderstandings die a natural death and when necessary explain that regrettably, I don’t feel the ‘special feeling’. Sadly, I think I may have, at times engendered limerence in others which I regret with all my heart. As I have matured I have taken steps to prevent conjuring up those feelings in other fellows, even though I really would have enjoyed the attention, the adoration, the appreciation that I could have generated. It’s just morally wrong to lead someone on when we don’t have honorable intentions. Flirting/bonding isn’t nearly as innocent and harmless as it’s portrayed. As Sammy said, it boils down to motives, (and self-awareness!) and Vincent I think it shows a strength of character that you are examining yourself in this regard. I know I now do this all the time, as I am determined to never feed limerence in another hapless soul.
I am even more determined to never be a victim of it. It’s really sobering to think that those feelings of real and sublime connection with a LO can actually mean next to nothing to them. But I feel it’s important to reflect on that when we sense a person is feeling the real and sublime connection with us. Golden rule!
@Jaideux. Being nice to people in and of itself won’t trigger limerence (I’m guessing). The limerent has to bring a whole bunch of romantic fantasies to the table and start projecting them onto LO. Then get some kind of implicit sign from LO the fantasises are valid. And, let’s face it – how many of us are winning enough to inspire romantic fantasies in everyone we meet? Certain celebrities might pull it off (pop stars and movie stars, for example, which is why they earn the big bucks). But ordinary mortals? Good heavens, no.
Still, I agree with you – it never hurts to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. I definitely struggle with the idea I could inspire limerence in anyone, having spent so much time on the unrequited side of the fence. I haven’t actively encouraged anyone. I don’t know, though, if I’ve “failed to dissuade anyone”. Haha! Occasional attention from cuties is flattering for sure. I think limerence is really something that only can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
I guess what I’m saying is – don’t suddenly stop being a warm and caring human being because you’re afraid of inspiring limerence. It is a dance that requires two participants. The better we understand our own erotic natures, (what we desire), the better we’ll be able to draw appropriate boundaries at appropriate times. Flexibility is needed. We can’t just cut ourselves off from ALL other humans.
Sorry for the monologue. I’m trying to figure these things out in my own head and your ideas are sharpening my own mental processes. Compliment alert – you really do write beautifully. Kudos to Vincent too for expanding this discussion in an interesting direction. 🙂
You only become an LO if someone thinks you have glimmer.
Thanks for the link, Scharn. I hadn’t read that article before and it’s probably one of Dr L’s best. A bitter pill to swallow though – I can almost see how hard it would be to be somebody’s LO. E.g. very hard to walk away from friendship if you don’t have that many friends. I don’t think everyone who “glimmers” is narcissistic.
I had a LO who in hindsight was a very nice person. If not for the limerence on my part, we would have been terrific friends. We did have a lot in common. The limerence is what mucked it all up, and not the other person’s bad character or anything.
Thank you Jaideux.
I ultimately came to the decision that I needed to get away, largely because I had just learned the term limerence when I was searching the internet to try to find out what was wrong with me. And that’s how I ended up at this site and learned I am not alone in this, that others are feeling the same as me. I don’t know if she would make me happy in the long run or not… but its something I’ll never find out. But I suspect you may be right.
I don’t think she was leading me on. There are a lot of details that I have left out (for instance WHY she was there, and why she was there waiting for me when I was coming home from work), and I am keeping details out so that if she ever reads this, she won’t know it is me. Safest to say it was my request that she be there. And I am the idiot who invited her over for dinner. But she is a perceptive soul, and I agree it is likely she knew what was on my mind. So maybe in that sense she was leading me on, or at least not stopping me from getting more attached. I swear, after seeing the movie “before sunrise” this felt just like our conversations (without the finding that we liked each other in the end)…. it was so organic, so easy, and I just fell in love with her through talking to her.
Love inevitably fading to grayness is one of the most depressing thoughts I have. Those feelings are so powerful and intoxicating… is it any wonder that limerence is recurrent? Are were all doomed to having to settle for the muted tones in life? I swear that with this girl, I can imagine being 90 years old and unable to get out of my chair, and just being happy to be able to look over and see her sitting there… feeling content with what I have. It’s such a powerful feeling. But I don’t know if it is possible for it to last. From what I read here… it seems not.
Has anyone seen the movie “take this waltz” with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogan. It is pretty much about a married woman who becomes limerent for a neighbor and ultimately leaves her husband. And it goes pretty much as you said… excitement wears off. And the author pretty much said it is a movie about the holes in life… and that they don’t have to be, and likely shouldn’t be, filled. Powerful movie for me as a limerent.
Hophead, as one who suffers mightily from limerence, I posit that even though the limerence drug induced euphoria does fade, it can be redirected and replaced by a stable, calm appreciation of life’s little pleasures and those around us that although not chemically enhanced, do bring uniqueness, beauty and grace into our lives. It takes time and an open heart, and an honesty and courage we have to find from deep within, (as any addict knows) to detox and recover. But it’s worth the work! Life does not have to stay dull after recovery, we can choose to paint with color and add layer upon layer of brush strokes to enhance the canvass of life to where it does, indeed, become thing of beauty.
@hophead. You’ve done a wonderful job of describing what a LE feels like. I could relate to a lot of what you said – the warmth, the excitement, etc.
I think it’s common to feel LO is someone you can tell anything to and they won’t judge you. I wonder – are the people we choose for LOs simply non-judgemental people? Or do we just override their boundaries and “dump” issues on them willy-nilly? (I’m not criticising you – I’m just thinking of my own cringeworthy “oversharing” in the past. Did she really want to hear about all my issues?)
Also, your account has got me wondering. Is limerence something we’re prone to experiencing after an extended period of unhappiness in our own lives? Does misery set us up for limerence? You don’t have to be married to be bored and unhappy. I was bored and unhappy (and single!) as a high school student when I experienced my LE. I had depressive episodes for a year or two beforehand.
Was your LO limerent for someone else and hence the “nice rejection”? Wow. That’s a great question. And, yes, once again, reminds me of something that happened to me. (Are we long-lost cousins or something? Haha!) As it so happens, the LO who rejected me nicely had been interested in someone who turned her down. However, she never hinted that limerence played a role in this prior attachment and she didn’t seem particularly bothered by the rejection either. (She happily attended his wedding and remained friends with him).
Thank you so much for sharing. The emotions you describe are very familiar to me. You’re not alone in experiencing the disorientating effects of limerence. I don’t know if our “good LOs” are really all that good – I suspect some merely have very tolerant, easy-going personalities and we mistake that for chemistry. Of course, I’m speaking from my own experiences with a so-called “good LO”!
I’ve thought about being unhappy with my current situation as a prerequisite to Limerence, as well. For me, I DO think it is a prereq. I have been married well over 20 years and nothing like this ever happened to me in that time. It was only in the few years before the LE that I started to REALLY realize how unhappy I had become. It was so slow that I didn’t even notice the change. I told my wife about it, but I realized I had been passive aggressively holding back, uh, “intimacy,” because I was so sick of ALWAYS being the one to initiate. So I just didn’t. Not a good thing, in hindsight, as it did nothing to help our relationship. And we never really talked about things until about 6 months before the LE, at which time I was desperate for love, and I told her how I felt, that we were losing closeness, that I need more in the relationship. But nothing happened. We talked about it repeatedly, and it led to fights. I think my wife is a non-limerent, and I think she doesn’t get how important emotional intimacy is for me. A few weeks before the LE I was telling her how close I was to having affairs just so I could feel close to someone.
This is my 3rd LO, and the only one in which I was in a relationship. I would definitely say the others came on when I was unhappy, though. The first one I was picked on by other students and was the “new kid” in the class, and the second one was when I was desperately lonely but had finally managed to suppress my hope and give up (sort of— I never really got over the 1st one). But I seem only able to be in love with a single person at a time. Unfortunately… this still counts now. And while the feelings for LO have dimmed some, not enough that my feelings for SO have rebounded.
I still hope that the emergence will go away and I can transfer those feels to my SO…. But I am not sure of this will or will not happen. We have been in counseling, but covid got in the way of this. And she knows about LO and my feelings, or at least most everything.
As for if my LO was limerent for someone else when I disclosed, I don’t know. I just imagine how I would turn someone down if they were limerent for me, how gentle I would be given that I know how painful it would be for that person. It seems like she was sensitive and understood how much pain was involved… and that’s why I suspect she knows the feeling of unrequited limerence. But that’s just conjecture… we never discussed past relationships, or at least she didn’t, and I don’t think I ever did, other than that I spent a lot of time lonely in may life. I certainly never discussed the relationship between my wife and me.
I feel like I have the Limerance trifecta – a good LO, who is also limerant for me and we work together all day… pity about the arranged marriage/cultural shame that means he will never be free for a relationship. Because it’s his decision (that divorce is out of the question), he’s coping with the “weaning process” better than I am. It’s been 18 months of an EA and PA, and I can’t let go. He feels guilty hurting me (and also doesn’t really want it to end because we’ve both acknowledged we’re soulmates) and I’m feeling more and more clingy and depressed that ultimately it is going to end and it’s going to be really painful.
Rereading these last few posts, a thought occurred to me: if someone is in a long-term relationship and feels they’re not getting enough love and affection from their partner, is that a sign that the unhappy person is probably a limerent?
I think that’s what my mother experienced before the divorce. I think limerence can drive some people to a mental space where they become miserable they’re not getting enough affection from their partner, and yet the partner may feel (by virtue of being a non-limerent, for example) that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the relationship. The limerent party has no grounds for complaint if there’s been no abuse or infidelity or unpleasantness, etc, only a lack of affection.
What’s the solution? Maybe, if such couples go for counselling, the issue of affection needs to come up – one party feels they’re not getting enough affection and it’s making them so miserable they want to abandon ship.
The problem is it can be really hard to articulate these thoughts to either a partner or a therapist. I think limerence can make people feel very reluctant to talk about their needs. They perhaps want the non-limerent partner to have identical needs and feel offended their partner is content with the status quo.
My mother was really unhappy in her marriage to my dad for a number of years. She talked about him in an obsessive way to anyone who would listen. And yet there never seemed to be any concrete basis for her unhappiness – unless it was an unrequited craving for affection (caused by her own romantic leanings?)
I remember thinking that I needed space because I felt something was off with my behavior and was mentally and emotionally exhausted (I haven’t heard about limerence at this time) and at the same time being so confused because I wanted closeness and I wasn’t able to ask for the space I needed because my LO was a good one who actually offered help and was very kind about it, I had no grounds. I end up exhausting her patience and getting what I needed, her not being too reasonable haha, this article has allowed me to have compassion for me since it was a very complex tricky thing I was going through.
I haven’t seen my LO in 9 months now. She made the choice to move on to another path in life that was better for her and her daughters. I still obsess about her. She is such a kind, sweet, wonderful woman.
I met her when she moved from one office to another (within the same company I work for but I worked in a different location.). At first meeting she was just a funny, sweet lady to work with on the project we were assigned to do together. For 4 months we worked directly together. It was surprisingly not until I was to return to my location after the project was done that I had a glimmer for her. After that she was this impossibly addictive angel whose light I was standing in.
She had an aura that could lite up the room she was in. Me, if I was in a bad mood otherwise, the minute I would see her or hear her voice it would melt away into a giddiness that is terribly embarrassing. Everyone else could see how different I interacted with LO as oppose to them. I couldn’t because I was too busy being entranced by her.
LO had so many outstanding qualities that didn’t even have anything to do with the limerence. She was a single mother recently divorced. She cares and loves both her daughters and supports them. She powered through her ex trying to be toxic in her life even after the divorce. She is an amazingly dedicated worker, who trained me to do the project that I was assigned to do with her. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and can/will do somethings men might want to do lol. It baffles me that any man that managed to get her attention would be so despicable as to cheat on her.
She was a good LO. I never disclosed what I was feeling but everybody in the office teased me I had a crush on her. She was a good person that was always willing to help people. She was generous with her time and attention. (My weakness.) I honestly, yes I know still the limerence, can’t think of one bad quality I could see in her. At least in the setting of the office that I worked with her.
That is making it difficult to attach because she is such a wonderful woman. But I do think that her choice to move on, while I don’t like it now, will eventually be a blessing. As much as I would have wanted LO to stay and me pass through this limerence to be friends. I would of liked her to be a friend of the family too. But like the account posted of Thomas that is a difficult thing to do if both people aren’t honest about how they feel. And I don’t think I could ever disclosed to LO about my limerence of her. I think she would feel guilty as if she did something wrong, which she didn’t. But I could see her trying to take part of the blame for my state of mind. And that would have broke my heart. Thankfully she decided to move on and because of that I will eventually get through this.