One of the few benefits that can come from an episode of unwanted limerence is being forced to face some home truths about what you’re doing with your life. There’s nothing like the emotional storm of limerence for shocking you out of heedless complacency.
This is one of the reasons why I strongly advocate for purposeful living as the best cure for limerence – when you are paying attention to what you really want out of life, and organising yourself to pursue those aims, the wild abandon of romantic misadventure becomes much less attractive as a way of livening things up.
It’s a good principle, but the decision to transform your status quo and live with more purpose can abruptly crash into one of the most stubborn barriers there is to personal development: ingrained habits.
Barriers to change
Changing well-established behaviours is tough. It’s uncomfortable. We resist that discomfort, and (somewhat ironically) one of the most stubborn habits that we can train into our subconscious minds is using limerent reverie for mood repair.
Resolving to live a more purposeful life is an excellent decision, but how do we actually begin the process of undoing old routines, old habits of mind, old temptations? There’s no shortage of suggestions available, especially from the positive psychology fans (be your best self! Journal! Paint your room a calming colour!), but a blunt reality for most of us is that practical barriers constrain our options, even if we succeed in getting into the right mindset.
Life is not an open buffet of tantalising possibilities, it’s a series of trade offs and compromises. At some point, enthusiasm, will and determination are going to need bolstering with concrete plans to secure a lasting change. You might decide that your purposeful life is all about teaching people how to skydive, but if money is tight, bills have to be paid, and commitments have to be met, how do you find the time and resources to start?
This behavioural barrier isn’t only a problem at the start of the reinvention process, either. Relapsing back into old habits even after a period of success is depressingly common. Ask the number of people who sign up for the gym every year with a mountain of good intentions and resolve, but then lose momentum after a few months of inconsistent effort. Even missing one or two workouts can be enough to break a run of gains. So, how can we change behaviour in a way that is more likely to stick?
Test and learn
One of the best ways to solve this difficult problem is to approach the new routine you are trying to establish as a test. Combining good intentions with a bad plan is a disaster: it not only fails to achieve what you wanted, but it also demoralises you. Instead, look on every plan as an experiment – go into it with good intentions, but be open to the fact that it may well not work out as you hoped and that’s OK, you can always come up with a new plan and test that one next.
This discharges a lot of the tension that overly high expectations can cause, and it also helps you learn more about yourself and your temperament and your strengths and weaknesses. All valuable information.
One of the pioneers of this approach to behavioural change is Dan Ariely from Duke University who has also written a number of pop psychology books and is a regular on the TED scene. Here’s a good talk that he gave on precisely this subject: how can we remove the friction of old habits and motivate ourselves to behave better?
He was studying behavioural change in some of the most constrained circumstances imaginable (saving money when living in severe poverty), and, as expected, lots of psychological nudges and tricks had some effect, but with varying degrees of success. For me, one of the surprises was that an intervention that I never would have thought of (recording progress by scratching off marks on a coin) ended up being the best tactic for promoting the habit of regular saving.
When it comes to applying these principles to your own purposeful goals, I think there are two big takeaways. First, lots of tactics could help, and so it’s worth testing them for yourself to see how good they are at motivating you. Second, your intuition about what will work may well be wrong, so don’t dismiss ideas too hastily.
A useful reminder that we are in the thrall of subconscious drives that we typically don’t understand very well. The psychology of self discipline really is a combination of small pushes and pulls that move us mostly in a positive direction.
But the path can be a bit winding.
Laura Metoo says
limerence has many benefits!
It shakes me so hard it sends me directly into change, wether I like it or not. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not a trick of my mind to force me into a growth phase.
Without it, I would not have been willing to revisit or heal my past. I would not have been able to understand I needed some things in my life, that I needed to work on (rather than hoping my LO would magically provide them). This is, I understand, what you mean by purposeful living or one aspect of it.
No really for me it’s good news when it happens, even though it never leads to a lasting relationship.
But boy do I hate it when I’m in the middle of an episode…
I’m curious, what did you need that you wanted your LO to provide? I’m hopeful to learn something helpful from your experience. I suspect I’m in the same situation, but I don’t know what it is that I’m looking for besides the obvious: adrenaline and dopamine hits. A fresh LE feels like an awakening for me. I feel inspired and motivated to do worth-while things. I’m not sure if there’s something more that I seek.
I’m sure you can learn useful things with your LE. It will probably be very different from what I learned, of course, but here is my attempt to describe the consequences for me. There are several levels of answer to your question, like an onion (!).
The first one, the most superficial, is around what I want to do with my life; it’s almost as if it showed me the missing aspects of the person I want to be, if it makes sense. For example a few years ago I fell for a relatively young, very energetic and ambitious manager. I was returning from a parental leave, and what it was telling me was: “girl, get moving on the professional front!” I did, and it worked out well.
Last LE was about a very powerful and also athletic guy. It’s over now, but I know what I need to do: continue moving professionally, but also move my body if I don’t want to end up with the shape and consistency of a marshmallow 🙂
I have other goals in my life of course (like parenting well for example), but apparently a part of me thinks it does need attention: what my LE are showing is what’s missing.
At a deeper level, it is about being mentally healthy. I have been through long lasting trauma, and obviously, I’m carrying some consequences.
All in all, I expect my LO to repair me and take care of all my needs (my need for emotional connection, self esteem, validation, emotional security, satisfaction in my life, guidance). And somehow, during LEs I am convinced only one person can do that. That’s a tall order.
I know I’m the only one who can do this (fix myself and get better). I recruited help in the form of therapy, a good relationship with my SO, and friends. But basically I’m the one who needs to do the work. I do, but it’s hard and long and tiring, and it’s not over. Each time I stop putting effort into my psychological well being, sooner or later, here comes a LE telling me that it is not enough.
Really, I would have preferred to have the instant external solution I thougt LOs were !! But they are not (sight…). I know, because when they reciprocate in a few weeks I get to a point where I could not care less + with exactly the same problems as before + I am very confused at what the hell just happened.
Hope it helps, take care.
Thanks Laura, that helps a lot.
Best of luck with your journey!
Laura, what you describe fits into Jung’s view of the shadow or disowned selves – basically, your LOs are like a mirror held up to you to show you what YOUR life is missing.
Laura, this large gap between all that you would want from a single person and the complete loss of interest within a short time span screams ‘borderline’ to me. In case it never crossed your mind, it could be helpful in your search for understanding.
Richard, even psychiatrists decline to diagnose people without meeting them. Please don’t confuse people by flinging around terms that you don’t understand.
I know this thread is a bit old but I felt the need to comment anyway.
This is my first (and hopefully last) experience with Limerence!
Boy, It sure is challenging!
Mine happened by way of “The Perfect Storm”
I was contacted by a random guy on FB. Now, I was feeling pretty low at the time, so although this person was looking for romance, I just got caught up in the excitement of it all!
Oh, boy it felt so good to hear “your beautiful”, “we must be soul mates”, “it was meant to be” etc.! Now I’m pretty sure this guy was a player, troll or possibly a narcissist (maybe all 3) but I just gobbled it all up and couldn’t wait for more.
This went on for a couple of months (I even gave him my phone #)
But eventually he ended it because he was not going to get what he wanted after all.
Phewww…Then of course I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole, worse off than I was before. So, yeah I put this random guy up high on a pedestal to say the least!
I couldn’t comprehend what was happening to me?
He was on my mind 24/7 Couldn’t eat, sleep, function normally.
But then, like an intervention of sorts, I realized it was ME that needed to change things in MY LIFE! Something was obviously MISSING for me to do something like that!
So, Thank You Laura!
I’m not the only one that thinks maybe this happened for a reason!
I still have a long way too go, I acknowledge that.
But somedays I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
“I realized it was ME that needed to change things in MY LIFE! Something was obviously MISSING for me to do something like that!”
This is a crucial insight.
I have gained SUCH a lot from this realization.
It has made me examine just about every nook and crevice of my life: my relationship with SO, my relationship with my children, my lifelong issues with my FOO, my attitudes towards friendships, love, romance, sexuality, finances, morality, spirituality, humanity … and SO MUCH self-reflection. My hang-ups, things that have been blocking me in life, my fears and insecurities, even coming to terms with getting older. I am going through such an explosion of self-discovery (and no end in sight), I feel like I’ve been asleep for the last decade and am catching up with a vengance! I’m really feeling like I’m gaining a lot of personal power from this.
I wish there had been an easier way. The torture during full-blown LE was unpleasant to the extreme, and I’m not out of the rabbit hole yet. But overall, this has been such a gain to my life, and my family and friends have benefitted so much, and I like myself more than ever. I am even coming to terms with limerence, in the sense that I am not trying to justify it (I’m in the no-acting-on-limerence camp) but I am trying to not be shamed by it. I think that is so much part of the trap and mire that keeps us bogged down. If we can acknowledge it, and accept it as part of our journey, and deal with it with compassion, dignity and kindness to everyone involved, I think yes, limerence can be a force for good changes.
It’s crazy, isn’t it?
I’m only into month one of my LO infatuation.
Basically I’m like a flopping fish right now, sometimes I can see the light, sometimes I’m bogged down again.
I’m still reeling from this! My Gosh, I have NEVER been through something like this before.
I DO see though that I have too do the work myself.
Good Luck to you and thanks for the response.
Anna, if you are only one month in, that is the most intoxicating part. Just be warned the next part is (usually – I hope not for you) usually quite wrenching. Stay strong! Know that you are not alone. This limerence thing needs to run its course, but what meaning you make out of it is entirely up to you.
Yes, quite early into this. Just went NC a month ago. But I am also dealing with shame, guilt and regret for having a EA with this person that I kept from my SO. I am, however, grateful that I did not meet my LO in person. (we lived 1000 miles apart) Because I was so caught up with him that I probably would of left my family, only to be probably dumped a couple of weeks later. (pretty sure he was a narcissist, or at the very least a Hopeless Romantic)
NOW! if I could only get that thought this thick skull of mine!
Thank You for your feedback, much appreciated!
So glad I found this site and all you great people.
I’m 49 and have been hit with a strong LE about 8 months back for my 35 year old employee. Other than the absolute utter emotional turmoil of the LE, there are a number of areas of my life that have changed for the positive. It really is true that an LE can induce major life change.
Prior to LE I felt I was “coasting” thru life quite a bit. My affection towards my wife at home was fairly blah, I was stressing a lot over busy work matters, I was about 40 lbs over weight, my religious faith was stale. Then LE hit literally out of nowhere for this woman I had already known for 3.5 years prior. It turned my world upside down and I started examining my life…a sort of mid-life crisis moment.
What I found was, because the LE was emotionally draining on me I got serious about bettering myself. I have lost 35 of the 40 lbs I want to lose and am in a steady gym routine, I put some work constraints on myself, delegate more, and it has worked out nicely to ease feeling over whelmed at the office, I started getting more intent about faith and have enjoyed both the renewed reliance and struggle with God, I got into some therapy which has been good to talk thru some childhood issues, but, most importantly, I became much more affectionate with my wife as I used this new found LE energy to reconnect with her. She does not know about the LE but she has noticed a change in my behavior towards her. It was a bit surprising to me how the LE actually at the same time made me want to love my wife more? Both emotionally and physically. I would have thought the opposite would happen but it didn’t. And I should say, my wife is an amazing woman and worth the attention I give her.
So, yes! LE can induce a lot of possible change for the better. Yet, I still am in the depths of LE for a woman who I can’t really go NC and who may be having her own LE with me. I’m not quite sure as disclosure is a very bad idea in my situation. The LE brings a lot of daily emotional turmoil to me but I have learned how to manage it so I function well. I have resolved that I may be in LE for a while so management really has become my top focus and keeping up with the positive change in my life is a big part of the management and my own emotional health.
“She does not know about the LE but she has noticed a change in my behavior towards her”
She didn’t ask about the changes? Because those are two really obvious signs there’s someone else — a big change in appearance and getting friskier (or less frisky) in the bedroom. Personally, I would have asked because it would have been a off-putting.
I guess that’s a fairly cynical way of looking at it. I prefer to view it as taking a negative emotional situation I can’t control and turning it into a positive one I can. And my LE is not an affair, I am not pursuing her and not choosing to abandon my wife emotionally or sexually. Purposeful Living…think I read about that somewhere.
If my wife were an insecure woman I suppose she could start asking a lot of questions but what has been good is she is sharing in a lot of these positive changes with me. We work out together, we attend church together, we make more time together. It is all a net positive and I choose to take control of my behavior rather than let the LE debilitate me. Don’t get me wrong…I have some emotionally tough days dealing with my attraction and desire for my LO but I have learned well how to manage it so I stay a healthy, functional person. This site and it’s resources being one of them.
“If my wife were an insecure woman I suppose she could start asking a lot of questions ”
I don’t think it would make her insecure. Her long-term partner suddenly displays both big physical and behavioral changes. She wants to know why. Change is difficult. People don’t usually don’t change unless there’s some inciting factor. Someone has a heart attack and has to change their diet. Or is fired from a job and has to assess their work habits, etc. And it if is an appearance-based change, there is often someone instigating the change.
Dr L says
This is why coasting through life is risky, and why living with purpose is so powerful. Inciting factors have less impact (at least in terms of making you question the fundamentals of your life).
Dr L says
I agree that this is the best way of turning the disruption of limerence into something positive, Ryan. Focus on what you can control, direct your effort to what really matters and what you true responsibilities are, and try and manage the LE into terminal decline.
If you can recruit your wife into these new healthier habits too, so it is a shared new purpose, that’s even better.
I’m not picking on anyone in particular, but it seems a bit dodgy/odd/withholding to me that so many limerents don’t share their limerence with their SOs, supposedly the closest person in the world to them. Whether or not they acted on the limerence is not the point. I’m just talking about having a major life event (the LE) that they don’t talk about with their life partner.
Allie 1 says
“Her long-term partner suddenly displays both big physical and behavioural changes. She wants to know why.”
If the change was SO checking out of the marriage for a a prolonged period I would agree. If my SO lost weight, went to the gym regularly, was more attractive, attentive and loving towards me – not sure I would care why really as it is all good from my perspective.
I know I harp on about this a lot… but in a lifelong relationship, you must expect each other to fancy another from time to time, it should not be something to fear and personally I think it is important I respect my SOs privacy and trust his commitment to me, as he does for me… we may be partners but we are still individuals at the same time. So long as our relationship is still good, I would not begrudge my SO that little bit of excitement. I know limerence is a step well beyond just fancying, but if you get a grip and respond to it the right way, it need have no additional impact beyond those early euphoric weeks.
Allie 1 says
I 100% agree that disclosing to SO is the ideal. But you are not obligated to share everything with them, you are an individual still.
Disclosing can be risky… in some cases the partner cannot handle the truth – maybe due to their relationship beliefs, insecurities, mental health issues, general vulnerability, etc. They can take it personally, make all sorts of wrong assumptions, try to control the situation and slowly strangle the marriage. I have seen it happen.
Complete honesty is not always the best approach – it must be weighed up alongside causing minimal harm to them and to yourself.
You and I have gone back and forth about this many times. Again, as I’ve written before, I am not talking about minor attractions to other people. I’m talking about limerence, and I think the limerent’s intention in not disclosing is self- and situational preservation.
Someone wants to get the oven pre-heated by watching porn and/or thinking about some rando they find appealing? Ok, fine. Who cares? But the oven is continually pre-heated by thoughts of one specific person (and a person the limerent can’t have)? I would think that would bother at least a good number of SOs.
And bother some SOs not at all.
I think some people feel a need to know everything that is going on with their SO otherwise they feel something is wrong, and others don’t and I think both relationships can be successful (from the point of view of the people in it, if not those external) depending on each person’s tolerance/expectations/preference.
Allie 1 says
“some SOs would want to be informed because limerence would affect their desire to want to stay in the relationship”
If that was the case for me, no way would I have disclosed to SO! Keeping my family whole is my top priority – that is in all of our best interests. I would see disclosing as inflicting irrevocable harm on myself, SO and our kids.
I see a lifelong marital commitment as exactly that. If a limerent spouse continues to make SO their no.1 priority, does nothing to become closer to LO, manages their LE carefully then there is no betrayal. If my SO bailed becuase of my disclosing my LE, then he would be the one betraying his marriage vows.
Allie 1 says
“I think some people feel a need to know everything that is going on with their SO otherwise they feel something is wrong, and others don’t and I think both relationships can be successful (from the point of view of the people in it, if not those external) depending on each person’s tolerance/expectations/preference.”
Very wise words!
But I do believe healthier = trusting SO’s commitment, being tolerant and allowing them space, freedom, privacy and NOT knowing everything. But then I am very biased on this as am a space needy introvert that highly values my privacy, sense of individuality and my freedom. Luckily, I married the same.
Valid point, Allie, I also had a different view once, that I would want to know everything.
Now after 15 years together, I am more towards don’t tell me, BUT, I also don’t want others to know. So just keep it to yourself. The worst is if you’re in a group of people and everyone knows what’s going on (whatever it is, limerence, affair, affection…) except SO… in that case, if I am SO, I’d still say, please tell me.
I think they are only obvious signs if you have been in the position yourself, otherwise you don’t associate them with the thought that there is someone else.
I know as well that my weight, health, focus on exercise coincides with a glimmer, but I doubt my husband does. He sees it as positive change in me. Also, my sex life with my husband has been revived due to my LE(s). Funny how that works. He thinks my change is due to me just feeling better in my body due to the weight loss and being less self-conscious about myself. Also, testosterone is associated with a higher sex drive, if I am not mistaken, so working out more = more testosterone, more drive for sex.
Allie 1 says
Am happy for you Ryan. I relate to your story as feel similarly… I have been unable to end the feelings I have for LO so accept that my LE is here for the long haul. He is a senior co-worker. But the work I have done to live purposefully has made life richer and more engaging, and thus I am less dependent on limerence for mood repair so my LE is more manageable. Being self aware and re-directing my mental energy is key for me.
Like you, I appreciate my SO more as a result of my LE, not less, and we are closer than we were before. I told him about my LE fairly early on as I was so sure he must have picked up on the fact I had checked out of my marriage to a degree… he had not spotted that, but he was, and is, totally supportive and I have made sure he does not feel at all threatened.
Disclosure to a SO is a grey area for me. It’s a cost-benefit proposition. If I felt I couldn’t function in life with my LE and needed the support of my wife to help me through this or risk losing my marriage due to dibilitation, then yes, I would disclose.
But I am not at that point, in fact I have flipped the narrative to take advantage of my LE to better myself and my real life relationship. I am not being dodgy, I am being prudent. I am not introducing undue stress on my wife that need not be there. The minute I disclose, she becomes burdened by this as well and it probably also means I need to fire a productive employee who has done nothing wrong. All sorts of can o worms are opened up.
So no, I have decided not to disclose to SO.
The issue is really whether your wife would want to know. I read another site and there was a letter from a woman who’d found her husband’s journal, which was filled with pages about his unacted-upon feelings for another woman. There were several posters who said they would not want to have been told if they were the wife. That this was an issue for the husband to deal with on his own through therapy. But there were several posters who wrote they would have wanted to know.
To Marcia’s point, I think if it is unacted upon, I would not want to know either.
We are human, it happens that you eventually develop an interest in someone else, and writing in a journal about it helps to deal with those thoughts. It may help the writer to dissect how he/she feels, to make sense and to steer the story into the right direction, i.e. accept it for what it is… an infatuation, hyperactive neurotransmitters that will eventually calm down again.
After my last extreme LE that went shitty, I started writing down things in a password secured journal. I collected links and statements (a lot of content from this site) that would help me deal with it and have it immediately accessible to reread as i needed it (lots of good quotes from you DrL, and from other commenters here).
Now, as this new LE started, I used this strategy immediately to just be aware and hell me understand what is going on in my brain. And trust me, I do not want my husband to read that.
I’d be in the camp of wanting to know, particularly if my SO had initiated a lot of extra sex because of the LE. If prior to the LE, there wasn’t much sex happening and … well, to be honest, maybe I was ok with that. And then I’ve been expected to engage in a bunch of sex I maybe don’t really want … because of SO’s feelings for someone else.
Or it’s the opposite. Not much sex happening. I’ve been wanting more. And then finally there is more … because of SO’s feelings for someone else. Ugh to both scenarios.
But if the SO had undertaken a lot physical changes and I asked why and was lied to … and then found out about the LE (through the journal or some other way) … I would feel beyond manipulated.
I see where you are coming from, Marcia, and agree, wouldn’t want to have sex with someone that thinks of somebody else while having sex with me.
I think for me it is more actually getting closer to my husband again and appreciating him for who he is. As read in some blog entry, a life partner can never compete with an idealized fantasy LO person, so rerouting that energy from a fantasy ti what is real makes sense for me. Goes more towards the purposeful living thought, rather than trying to improve myself physically to bd attractive for someone else.
Another thought: what if I know about the LE and the journal? What would I do? Again, if it is unacted upon, well, it sucks, but at least I give him the chance to cut the curve and let the infatuation die down… no harm done.
Maybe i am just “purpose-washing” my own situation right now, hoping for my neurotransmitters to calm down.
I feel that I cannot tell my SO about my thoughts as he would wang me to switch jobs, which I do not want to do at this point. So I feel I have to handle this LE on my own and hopefully it calms down. My journal definitely helps me to do that.
“but at least I give him the chance to cut the curve and let the infatuation die down… no harm done.”
That is if it’s dying down. I read this site and the forum and I’m a limerent myself so I know how the limerent brain works. I know the excuses it comes up with. The justifications to keep things going. 🙂 It’s one thing to find oneself limerent and try to nip the rumination in the bud and go NC (or at the very least LC if NC isn’t possible). Maybe go to therapy to figure out what is causing the LE, particularly if they are repeated. But a lot of partnered limerents don’t seem to do that. At least not from the posts I read. They maintain a “friendship” with the LO or plant themselves in places to run into the LO or go to lunches or message them all the time. Some people always have an LE going on. Go from to the other. And have been married for years. As I’ve written, some SOs would not want to know. Or wouldn’t care as long as it wasn’t acted upon. But I can’t help but think other SOs would want to be informed. And I question whether the limerent’s decision to not disclose to SO has more to do with them and less to do with the SO.
Yeah I can’t counter argue that (nor do I want to).
I think either way, disclosing or not disclosing to SO has to do with the limerent rather than with the SO. If you don’t disclose, you may want to keep LO around, if you disclose, you want SO to help you get rid of the limerence. But either way you disclose with your own interests in mind. I guess disclosing is the “nobler” way out as you try to make your SO your ally.
“I guess disclosing is the “nobler” way out as you try to make your SO your ally.”
I wasn’t even thinking that. I was thinking that some SOs would want to be informed because limerence would affect their desire to want to stay in the relationship.
Allie 1 says
I am in the would not need to know camp also.
Marcia – have you been married, or had a 10+ long live-together relationship before? If no then what you are saying is all theoretical. I say this as I once had a different view about these issues. But 1-2 decades in, relationships feel completely different to me compared to the early years so not sure anyone can really know how they would feel if they had never been there.
The idea of having sex with someone while they are thinking about someone else might sound a bit icky, but it is not at all unusual for long term marrieds, though I suspect very few would ever admit that to their spouse!
I’m in the same boat, Allie and Ryan. Limerent for someone senior at work… despite both of us somewhat disclosed some interest one evening after an office party, ever since that we both never mentioned it again. At work we continue to treat each other professionally, privately we have no contact whatsoever (which I am so glad for).
I feel at the moment I have accepted the fact that disclosure was extremely stupid (mutually), but it is what it is and it seems we are aligned that it should not be mentioned ever again.
I focus on work and dealing with him strictly professionally, and do cross my fingers that I will not slip and show any signs of interest anymore. It sometimes is a bit hard when I see him in person, which doesn’t happen very often.
I agree with Marcia. I also think it a depends on how the limerent is handling the LE. In Nov of 2021, my husband met his LO which quickly catapulted into full blown limerence. We have been married 22 years, together 25. I was pretty sure I knew him, but, when I questioned the “friendship” he downplayed it for months. Finally in Feb , I get the whole, “I don’t think I want to be married anymore,” and along with that, an entire laundry list of complaints about me as a partner. Nothing really insurmountable. Yet, my husband kept a mental list of all the things that bothered him, he rewrote history, vilified me, etc. I took all of that to heart, feeling like an absolute monster. Once I confronted him about the affair, with proof, he had nowhere to go, but to confess. Now, had he not disclosed, eventually he would have been caught, but, I was so glad to find out he was just in limerence. I wasn’t a monster, he’s just a cheating husband. This was his first LE. My LE presented different. I didn’t vilify him. I didn’t want to lose the marriage. I wanted to keep my friendship (EA) under wraps because it was an escape from my purposeless life. So, I do allow my husband some grace, as pissed off as I have been with him. I know what it is like, I also know how it can damn near break you. But, I made it way to the other side. I feel nothing for my old LO. Even old songs or the scent of his cologne do not conjure up wonderful memories of being blissed out on dopamine. I get sick to my stomach remembering how much I risked. How much control I lost.
My husband won’t even let me talk about limerence. Because as you all know, this is the real deal. He is in love with her and she is in love with him…Lol! Soul Mates right?! I only make light of it, because I know that just like depression, limerence lies to the limerent. I wish I could help him, but, he won’t allow it. So, I am busy taking care of our kids while he gets through this. He does not want to stop ruminating and hoping to win her back, so, I may be in for the long haul, should I decide to stand for my marriage, though I am not sure. We just separated yesterday, and I have our divorce documents ready to go, if I feel this is too damaging to me or our kids. His LO wants nothing to do with him. The limerence was mutual, but, he lied to her so much. When I disclosed, the real nature of our marriage in crisis, she apologized and ended things with him. Still, I don’t wish this on anyone. And I am one of the “stronger” standing spouses, lol. I do wish there was a vaccine for limerence if you wanted it. It’s a fascinating phenomenon to study, but hell to endure.
Please don’t disclose to LO. It will only cause problems.
I don’t see any benefit in disclosing to SO either. If I understand correctly, your SO is only experiencing positive changes as a result of your LE. Just let her enjoy it.
Limerent Emeritus says
And, we’re back!
In chronological order:
This thread brings up an interesting point: that while we are looking for a magic bullet that slays limerence in all our cases, the truth is, there are many roads to Oz.
From what I have read on this site, some require disclosure, others not; some require NC, others remain friends with LO. Our causes are varied as well (which explains a bit why the way to get rid of it is different). A person using it for mood repair, might approach it differently from someone who is just coasting in life without a purpose, or one who is experiencing a sexless marriage, etc. How you respond to limerence when you have good SO is different from that if you have an objectively (not limerence-addled) bad relationship with SO. The thing is to identify what your issue is, and to fix it the way that works for you, preferably targeting the root cause, but possibly even as just dealing with the symptoms.
This site is wonderful for exploring the many aspects of limerence, but not all would apply to every limerent.
And for those who like a guiding principle, how about “first do no harm”. If, for example, like Marcia, one is an SO who would feel harmed and disturbed by non-disclosure, then disclose. Or for one like Ryan’s SO who would be unduly burdened unnecessarily (because he is dealing with it well, in his own way), don’t disclose. Just do what is respectful and does the least harm.
Another possible guiding principle could be, be ethical. For Marcia that would obviously include disclosure to SO, but in Ryan’s case, no because he hasn’t acted on the limerence.