This still holds up as the best version of Pride and Prejudice ever filmed.
Darcy’s first proposal:
In vain I have struggled; it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed[…] I beg you, most fervently to relieve my suffering, and consent to be my wife.
We’ve all been there, eh? If only he had left out the bit of the speech that I cut out with an ellipsis, he might have got away with it. But… too much pride. Or prejudice.
Then again, he’d done wrong by Jane, due to his snobbery, so he had to redeem himself before he deserved Lizzie.
Nevertheless, this is a very good object lesson in how to disclose your feelings if you want your LO to leave you alone. The vibe to aim for:
I’m totally in love with you, but your family is common, you’re much poorer than me, and it totally goes against my better judgement. I actually wish I wasn’t in love with you, to be honest. In fact, I’ve tried desperately to resist it to save myself, but haven’t got the willpower.
But, you know, regretfully I am in love with you, so please give me what I want now, thankyou.
Of course, if you actually are the richest man in Derbyshire that might still fail to work, but for most other people it’s a winning strategy for sure.
Snark aside, I think there are some lessons in this scene for limerents who cannot repress their feelings, and feel compelled to disclose.
First, it might not work. Darcy remained limerent for Lizzie despite her overt rejection of his proposal.
Second, if you do decide to disclose, it’s hard to predict how it will go. Darcy did not expect to be rejected. He got no relief from his suffering, despite screwing up his courage to declare his feelings.
Third, Lizzie was a heedless LO at this stage, so it came completely out of the blue. She had formed a dislike for him in the belief that he was a selfish and callous man, and so was ill disposed towards him in general. But, this scene seems to be the start of a reversal in her opinion of him – or at least a mental repositioning in her mind from disagreeable acquaintance to wealthy suitor. Was this the snowball that started the avalanche of her ultimate acceptance of his second proposal?
Clearly, it’s a bit silly to use fictional characters as case studies for understanding limerence, but in my defence Jane Austen was a genius and they are archetypes.
Plus, we all tell ourselves stories when trying to make sense of our own romantic dramas.
Anyway. Basic message = disclosure is risky, unpredictable, and might make everything more complicated.
Ha! Something to lighten the mood!
Thanks Dr L.!
I think I love you.
Actually, I’ve been having great success with visualising the LO as a stale-curry-smelling Burberry-cap-wearing, Buckfast/Jägermeister-swilling plague locust. I think it’s working because I had an unpleasant dream about them just last night.
Imma add elements of your disclaimer to a future “empty chair” conditioning session.
A virtuoso move. I salute you.
Hal Wilkerson says
I like this one better. Craig chose his LO – wisely.
Man, I wish my LO would have been that honest with me! It was no, then maybe, then I can’t leave you alone as you stoke my ego so much… meh.
Limerent Emeritus says
As someone who has had his marriage proposal declined [the therapist explained that rejection implies something wrong with either the offer or the person extending the offer and my proposal was neither], I agree with #1 & #2. I’m 1-1 in marriage proposals. For a time, I was 0-2 since my wife didn’t accept immediately but she didn’t flat out refuse and move across the country. My wife asked me once if I’d ever remarry. I told her maybe, if for no other reason than to break the tie.
After our brief breakup a few months prior, LO #2 and I discussed marriage. I told her that the only difference between being married to her and not being married was that I’d be doing the same things I was doing then but for two people. But, being the believer in longshots that I am, I proposed anyway.
From her immediate and unequivocal response, “No, I won’t marry you,” it was pretty clear that LO #2 had considered the possibility I might propose. I don’t remember a thing from the time LO #2 declined and I bought her pepper spray because she was traveling alone. I offered to buy her a gun and teach her how to use it but she declined that, too. The therapist said that was traumatic and I’ve repressed the memories of that period. I’ll spot the therapist that one.
This clip came out a few months before I met LO #2. It was 0300 at her place when I proposed so I couldn’t very well throw her out of her own apartment.
Cheers : “Give Me A Ring Sometime”
“I was crazy about you even when I hated you,” would prove to be prophetic.
LO #4 may have been unaware but my disclosure was nowhere near the level of a proposal.
Ooh, yeah. Good line.
For those who have disclosed, I’m curious about what you said. The actual verbiage. I am of the mindset that announcing you are in love with someone you may have flirted with a bit at work or have had a casual friendship with may be a bit heavy. Is there a slightly less “laying my feelings at your feet” way of doing it?
I’d be interested too. I think disclosing limerence would actually be quite an effective way of wrecking things, and I suspect most limerents intuit this and play it cooler.
“You know how we’ve chatted from time to time over the conference table at the monthly meetings… well, I just wanted to say that you are the most dazzlingly beautiful person I have ever met, and I think about you constantly from the moment I wake to the moment I fall asleep. Would you like to hear about the highly detailed fantasy I’ve developed about us taking a Caribbean holiday together?”
I worked with my LO for several years before she was laid off in 2014. During that time, we became quite close (she called me her “work husband”), and we both acknowledged at one point that we were basically having an emotional affair. I did everything BUT fully disclose to her during that time. In fact, I think I was telegraphing my feelings pretty clearly — frequently complimenting her, telling her how beautiful and special she was, what a big heart she had, etc. Her replies were always along the lines of “oh wow, that’s so sweet, thank you!”
Fast-forward to 2018. She’s in a new job, but we’re still staying in touch, and we even meet up for lunches and breakfasts from time to time. However, she gradually starts pulling away from me; she takes much longer to reply to my Facebook messages, for example. And then during one lunch meet-up, she tells me: “I’ve met someone, and me and my husband are getting a divorce.” (She’d spent several years detailing her marriage problems to me in EXTREME detail — alcoholic, abusive husband, sex life died, etc.) It was a gut punch, but I kept playing it cool during the lunch date and did not disclose.
A few weeks later, though, I did disclose. I got a very flat “sorry, but I only ever considered you to be a friend.” I even apologized for being dishonest about my feelings and not disclosing earlier. Her reply? “It’s OK. I’ve been misunderstood before.”
I told her I had to unfriend her on FB because it was too painful to follow her. She said she understood. A few months later, though, I refriended her. I apologized again for disclosing, thinking we could “just be friends.” (Though secretly hoping for more.) But then I got mad again, and I unfriended her again, this time without explanation. Reading other posts on here about going “no contact” have validated that decision.
As I’ve thought about the whole situation with my LO over the past months, I’ve gotten angry about it. Yes, I wasn’t fully honest about my feelings toward her, but she’s a grown adult woman who is very beautiful and has surely been hit on/flirted with many, many times. She really couldn’t tell that a decade of fairly over-the-top compliments and praise was more than the machinations of a “friend”? She could have made it CLEAR that she only thought of me as a friend very early in the process of me expressing so many glowingly positive feelings toward her. Something along the lines of “look, I really appreciate all the wonderful compliments you give me, and you’re a great guy and a great colleague, but I don’t have any romantic feelings toward you.”
A while back in another thread here, I described how her mother friended me on Facebook at the exact moment she’d fled to her parents’ home because her alcoholic husband had fallen off the wagon. The LO and I had been chatting on Facebook the same day that happened. When I pointed out that her mom had friended me on FB and that I thought it was funny (“old people on Facebook, LOL,” something along those lines), her reply was a very coy “Well, it could be a good sign!” I asked her to explain what that meant and she never did.
All in all, I feel like she was just using me for narcissistic validation.
“Yes, I wasn’t fully honest about my feelings toward her, but she’s a grown adult woman who is very beautiful and has surely been hit on/flirted with many, many times. She really couldn’t tell that a decade of fairly over-the-top compliments and praise was more than the machinations of a “friend”? ”
This is why I am a big fan of disclosing early. I am also a big believer that if something doesn’t move forward pretty quickly after two people meet, it probably wont. YMMV
“All in all, I feel like she was just using me for narcissistic validation.”
You’re right. She knew. Women usually know. She didn’t care.
Would you want to be with someone who uses people? Who, on some level, cannot care for anyone besides herself?
It’s very hard to look at our LOs realistically.
I’m going to disagree with that a little bit. Yes, I’m sure she was aware he found her appealing, but men find a lot of women appealing. I’ve had male friends compliment me, but I never assumed they were limerent for me and wanted anything more from me other than friendship and maybe sex (in some cases) if I was down for it. They were usually either already married or openly dating other women, and we would talk about those dates.
A man doesn’t invest years and all that time listening without it being more than friendship to him.
A few months or even a year, sure, but this went on for a decade.
Except for my clueless teen years, I could tell when a man was interested in more than friendship.
Or maybe she’s so self involved that she didn’t notice or care. She at least had to suspect.
“A few months or even a year, sure, but this went on for a decade.”
I would agree with that. With only a couple of exceptions, my friendships with guys did implode after a few months or so (at most a couple of years) if I didn’t pick up and move on their sexual innuendo. She may have been a narcissist who enjoyed the attention. I suspect that she genuinely cared about him and was getting enough out of it that she didn’t want to end the friendship. Women are capable of emotional closeness without sexual closeness. I think for men that if there emotional closeness, they assume sexual closeness isn’t far behind. It’s because women are allowed to have close friendships in a way that men aren’t. But it still falls to him to let his feelings be known early on and walk if she didn’t reciprocate. Ten years is a long time to hang around. In an ideal world, yes, she would have asked him if he was starting to think of their relationship as more than friendship and left him alone if he had said yes. But I don’t think most people are that generous. And what if he had said that he was fine with being friends?
Allie 1 says
Agree Marcia. It is not someone else’s fault for not guessing accurately what is going in within us when we fail to make it clear to them.
“It is not someone else’s fault for not guessing accurately what is going in within us when we fail to make it clear to them.”
Yes, and also that the only person who’s going to protect you is you.
Allie and Marcia,
I’ll continue to disagree
I was open with LO and disclosed.
When I did, he said he already knew I cared. I had shown it in numerous ways.
People often know.
Obviously, people can do what they like. If they like the support of that friendship and they don’t care that much for the other person’s feelings, they can continue to take the support, knowing that they are likely hurting another person.
No one has ever said to me, “I can see our continuing to have contact is hurting you because you want something more than I do, and I’ll leave you alone.” Has someone ever said that for you? To expect the other person to have my best interest at heart is not a reasonable expectation. I had an LO years ago who was an FWB, and he clearly knew I wanted more. But he wasn’t going to stop the gray train of convenient sex. It was up to me to walk.
I’ve cut off contact with men twice since my divorce because both wanted more.
I liked them as friends but it was plain.
You don’t always have to say the words.
If you cut those men off out of concern for their feelings, I applaud that. But I’m assuming you were dating these men and a romantic context was obvious. The original poster was friends with a married woman and, to my understanding, their relationship was always platonic. Different scenario altogether. If he wasn’t getting what he needed or wanted, it was his job to put up the boundary.
Allie 1 says
“No one has ever said to me, “I can see our continuing to have contact is hurting you because you want something more than I do, and I’ll leave you alone.””
I detest the idea of someone else making that decision for me. It is for me to decide what is best for me and if I need distance from someone, I should tell them or create it through with my actions. I would not want someone else to impose that on me.
No, I was not dating them. Both, however, during conversations revealed that they were interested in more. They commented on my looks, indicated they were jealous when I talked about dates.
I made it clear that I viewed them as friends.
In both of these situations, the friendships lasted for months.
I was in the midst of a similar situation with LO – who knew I cared at that point – I didn’t feel it was right to do it to them. Projection? Very likely.
If my LO had flat out said: “You’re not right for me.” Limerence would not have happened.
When their comments and subtle hints continued, I ended communications.
I felt it was the right thing to do at the time. Definitely a result/ reflection of my struggle with LO.
“I made it clear that I viewed them as friends.”
I didn’t do that with my male friends. I made assumptions. They were married and talking about their wives or were single and talking about the women they were dating. And they were well aware of my feelings for my LO. Nothing had happened physically between me and these friends, and they hadn’t tried. But a male friend once asked me, “Did you tell them you were only friends?” And I hadn’t. I mean, to me, who talks about other people with someone they are interested in? But that’s me. But they weren’t being upfront with me, either. They all went through the side door and not the front. They started making sexual comments at me months into the friendship. I felt a bit manipulated. They should have been clear about their intentions all along. But I was acting selfishly. I enjoyed them as people and enjoyed the emotional support and looked to my LO for the highs of limerence. In retrospect, I don’t think men and women can be friends. Not one-on-one friends, spending time together and confiding in each other type of friends. One of the two usually catches feelings.
I agree. One is bound to start to care for the other.
Sounds as if your friends were hoping something would happen eventually.
With one, especially, I told him I was in love with LO (he knew him). I think he thought it would fade over time.
I told him I was not interested in him except as a friend.
Later though, he was jealous when I talked about certain things and was angry when I told him I was going to move for a new job. It wasn’t good for him to be so connected to me. Again, I viewed this through limerence. I’m sure his feelings faded as soon as our communication stopped.
“Again, I viewed this through limerence. I’m sure his feelings faded as soon as our communication stopped.”
I’m sure that is what happened with my male friends, too. They weren’t pining for me. The one had a small menagerie of women. I don’t know why in the world he’d think I want to be part of that. That is the problem with being friends first. They tell you all the secrets they wouldn’t tell you if they were pursuing you first .. and it’s usually stuff that creeps you out!
With this friend, the longer we talked and the more I got to know him, the less I wanted to do with him. And with LO, I rushed in. If I had known him longer, I would not have fallen for him. But by the time all the truths started coming out, I was in a stupid, sad state of limerence and made excuses.
“With this friend, the longer we talked and the more I got to know him, the less I wanted to do with him. ”
Yes. It’s the Wizard of Oz. You become privy to all their manipulations and machinations in the seduction of other women. They pull the curtain back for you … and you think: Yeah, I’m good. Don’t want to any further. 🙂 That’s why I would highly encourage men to make their romantic interest know right away. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
One of the earliest blogs DrL wrote was https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-and-the-friendzone/
As for platonic relationships,
“But a relationship can never be truly platonic if you have to set up boundaries. A relationship can never be truly platonic if you have to adjust your feelings. A relationship can never truly be platonic if you have to pretend that you are happy with the way things really are…when deep down—you want something more.” – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/can-a-man-and-a-woman-rea_b_8100362
I referenced it in my response to LO #4’s goodbye.
I think some women can be friends with men and be perfectly fine with nothing ever happening. I was completely fine with nothing ever happening with my male friends. I saw them as friends from the get-go. They could have discussed their feelings earlier than they did, but I don’t think it would have changed my feelings. But I don’t think men spend one-one-one, getting-to-know-you time with women they don’t find attractive. I wish it were different. It’s good to get the male perspective.
Limerent Emeritus says
I only have one woman friend. I’ve known her and her husband for over 40 years and I view them as a couple. He and I killed a lot of time together doing things until I moved out of the area. She’d bake me apple pies when I was still single. I didn’t spend any time with her alone.
I have no women buddies. I never have. I have buddies I play golf with. I have buddies I play RPGs with. I have buddies I drink beer with. Some are friends, some aren’t. But, none of them are women. I think my wife would take a very dim view of me spending 6 hours sharing a golf cart with another woman on a regular basis or meeting a woman for beer after my weekly oboe lesson. Luckily for me, I’ve never met a woman I wanted to be just buddies with. I don’t think I could do it.
When I encountered LO #4, the relationship was quasi-professional. We developed an attachment but not a friendship. We had no part in each others’ daily lives. We made no decisions taking each other into consideration. I think I would have enjoyed her company and, if we had been available, would have liked to explore that. When LO #4 said I couldn’t keep things platonic, she was right. I thought I could but I couldn’t. I had become attracted to her.
“I have no women buddies. I never have.”
That was my point. For me, with the male friends I did have, I met them and felt no sexual tension. I didn’t really notice them at first, but over time, seeing them repeatedly at work, I got to like them. Can that not happen for a man? Why is everything about sex? If I had felt sexual tension, we would have had an entirely different interaction pretty much right from the start, IMO. And the reason I think a lot of them waited to say anything or make a (weak) pass was because they already knew the answer. I only have 2 male friends left, and they both live out of state. The last time I saw the one, he tried to get me to go up to his hotel room. And this was AFTER telling me about the woman he was in love with. HUH? Why would that offer be appealing?
Limerent Emeritus says
Several of DrL’s blogs talk about the pair-bonding aspect of limerence. Maybe it’s stronger and more subtle than it appears.
“The last time I saw the one, he tried to get me to go up to his hotel room. And this was AFTER telling me about the woman he was in love with. HUH? Why would that offer be appealing?”
Totally agree with you on that one. But, horny is horny. Sometimes, that’s all it is.
After one spontaneous rack session initiated by LO #2 I asked her, “Why is it when you’re horny it’s affection but when I’m horny it’s lust?”
Her response, “It’s different when I do it.”
But these male friends i dont think were limerent for me. Limerence is rare and not everyone experiences it. We can’t look at everything through the limerence lens or use it as an excuse. They were just looking for strange.
Limerent Emeritus says
“Limerence is rare and not everyone experiences it. We can’t look at everything through the limerence lens or use it as an excuse.”
Once again, what you say is true.
But, the name of the site is “Living with Limerence” so for a lot of us, the underlying context here is limerence and most people here seem to be looking at how limerence affects them, rare or not. I don’t care how many limerents there are or how it affects them, I only really only care about how it affects me. It’s my life and potentially my LO’s and my family’s that limerence could affect.
Limerence is one lens to view life through but it may not be the appropriate lens or the only lens things should be viewed through.
Limerence is an effect, not a cause.
“Limerence is one lens to view life through but it may not be the appropriate lens or the only lens things should be viewed through.”
I think we have to look at most situations as through a NON-limerent lens because most situations don’t involve limerence. They involve a dude making a pass b/c it’s right in front of him. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
I agree that limerence shouldn’t be the lens we look at most relationships through. Of the three more or less LTR relationships I’ve had in my life, two of them were LEs. Two other what I’d call significant relationships were LEs. All 4 of my LEs developed over time with women I attached or wanted to attach to. I can’t think of a single woman I dated other than LOs that I viewed through the lens of limerence.
My marriage isn’t an LE. I was attracted to LOs because of who they reminded me of and entered LEs because of what they represented to me. I may have been attracted to LOs but history suggests I don’t end with them. When it came to LOs, they had to screen past a pretty specific set of filters. Maybe that’s why there have been relatively few of them. I fixed those.
If I ever become available and reenter the market, I don’t think I’d become limerent now.
“Of the three more or less LTR relationships I’ve had in my life, two of them were LEs. Two other what I’d call significant relationships were LEs.”
Ah, I think you stats are unusual. I’ve only had one significant relationship with an LO and I’m sure it wasn’t mutual limerence. The rest were situations where nothing happened or they became an FWB or we dated casually or “hung out. ” Statistically, limerence is rare. Mutual limerence even rarer. That’s why I was saying that we have to look with our non-limerent lens. Hard to do when we are limerents at heart. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
I had been a moderator on LO #4’s website for several years. We got along really well. There’s a detailed post of the timeline buried in one of the posts somewhere.
When she told me that her BF hadn’t stop cheating on her and allegedly assaulted her, she wasn’t the first woman who told me that she was being cheated on, she was the third. I’d seen it before and I knew where it could go. The first two times I was single, this time I wasn’t. I had this image of a snowball coming down the mountain at me. The adult me said to run. The kid me said, “Get outta my way! I got this!”
So, I told LO #4 that I was resigning as a moderator. I told her my time had come but what really drove the decision was that I’d become attracted to her. I told her about being the third woman to tell me something like this and what had happened the first two times. I told LO #4 that I’d seen an EAP counselor and she recommended I get away from LO #4 and stay away from her. I told her that the more she revealed about herself, the more I wanted to know. The more I knew, the more attracted to her I became. I told her that as cool as making a run at her would be, I hoped I was never in a position to find out because if I was in that position, it meant something terrible had happened in my life. I told her heaven help the man she ever really trusted and that I’d envy any man that could earn her affection, trust, and respect. I told her it wasn’t her fault. The full disclosure was in a series of emails over the span of a week or two. It was anything but epic. How could that possibly be misconstrued?
LO #4 said, “Wow, I had no idea. I’m flattered [something no man ever wants to hear from a woman], and under different circumstances, might even be curious [I liked that part.] But, circumstances are what they are.” LO #4 said she understood and if I got things under control, she’d be ok with it. I tried but she started opening up more and I started responding to her again. We drifted into NC. We were three months into it, when LO #4 contacted me again over something utterly trivial. The irony there is earlier in the week, I’d run into the EAP counselor on the street and told her the NC was working.
After I’d disclosed but before we went NC, I told the EAP counselor what I’d said to LO #4, thinking she’d the bigger primate and throw the flag. The EAP counselor said, “You really told her all that?! For a smart guy, you make some really bad assumptions.” At our first meeting, the EAP counselor asked if I was willing to sacrifice my marriage and family for this woman. I wasn’t. The EAP counselor said, “The answer is easy. Get away from her and stay away from her. Stay involved with this woman and this will not end well for you.” Easy to say, harder to pull off.
The disclosure came over 6 years ago. From the time I disclosed until LO #4 threw the flag was about 9-10 months.
You are verbose for an engineer! 🙂 I’m teasing. I admire your honesty and directness in the way you told her. I think most people are far more tentative and vague. Example: I had a male friend who I hung out with one-on-one twice. After that, we never spent time together again, though we would still talk at work. The second time we hung out, he did make some flattering comments about my rear end. 🙂 But that was really about it. And I couldn’t figure out why were never hung out again, until I remembered he said he never dated a woman more than twice if she didn’t sleep with him. So why didn’t he make it clear he saws those as dates and make a proper pass?
Limerent Emeritus says
If you liked the disclosure, you might like the exchanges we had when I went to war with her over stonewalling me.
I told LO #4 that I found her style dismissive. I told LO #4 that LO #2, and I named LO #2 first time ever, did business that way and I didn’t like it any better coming from Lo #4 than I did from LO #2. She said, “Based on what you said, I thought it best not to respond to certain things.” I went at her. I told her that my crystal ball couldn’t read her mind from 2500 miles away and what was she afraid would happen if she did respond? The closer I hit, the shorter and terser her responses got.
I don’t think she appreciated it much but it got her attention and she did become more direct to the point where she said she didn’t think our continuing to correspond would be appropriate. She wasn’t all that direct but I got the point.
LO #4 liked what I wrote. She published 3 of my blogs on her site and shamelessly plagiarized one of them in a chapter in her book. She said my stories contained two of her favorite things, imagery and snark.
“I told LO #4 that LO #2, and I named LO #2 first time ever, did business that way and I didn’t like it any better coming from Lo #4 than I did from LO #2.”
A risky move. Referring to a past person. I’m not saying your motive was similar, but I’ve had guys do that (or refer to current women who supposedly liked them), and it was a very thinly veiled attempt to make me jealous. So of course I provided the opposite reaction — and didn’t react at all.
Limerent Emeritus says
No chance of the jealousy thing. LO #4 knew LO#2 was an old ex and what I’d said about LO #2 wasn’t a compliment. I gave LO #4 enough details to let her know I wasn’t happy with her.
LO #4 brought it up in her goodbye.
I very rarely talk about past LOs with anyone, with the exception of the most recent one, and I only refer to him on here. I hope he will soon join the other LO ghosts! 🙂 But that’s me. 🙂
Disclosure was fortified by whiskey and done over text, so obviously well-thought out. I went something like:
Don’t you ever think about us being together?
I have. You’re very cute. It couldn’t be just a fling though.
Well why don’t we get married? You could dig me a koi pond.
Lol. You should have come over before I drained the hot tub. Seen what happened.
Wasn’t invited. But you know it would’ve been good.
(Some time passes, I’m still drinking, planning my wedding, etc.)
I have a very narrow personality type I’m attracted to. My phone’s about to die. Goodnight.
(Bit stunned am I, man of mystery, this one. Luckily, I’m drunk so the confusion is bearable.)
Wait, are you saying I have a shitty personality?
That was… over five years ago, over two years into our non-situationship whereby I occupy his property, we have a bizarre chemistry that is mostly mutually ignored, and I grow more insane over it by the day.
I am compelled to add a post script here to say that I was at an extremely low point in my life at that time. I was “dating” a terrible, awful married man who would peacock around the place. Show up at ridiculous hours, insist we stop at the bar LO tends recreationally and act the alpha dog there. Truly deplorable behavior. Besides this display, I was openly promiscuous with a roster of others. And by that, I mean involved in abusive and coercive scenarios, all. Midlife crisis or something. I remain disgusted with myself. I’ve not been socially active in nearly any capacity in about five years as a result of trauma from these events. Hero bore witness to all of this. Handled it silently and has never been anything but a gentleman. But he did stop bringing me flowers.
Allie 1 says
I can’t imagine ever disclosing my full limerent feelings to someone – how terrifying. (for me and for them!) Well… maybe I can imagine it but only in my romantic LE fantasies, not in real life 🙂
My SO was once my LO. I have mentioned before that disclosed to him saying “I have feelings for you”. He rejected me ambiguously saying “I think of you as a good friend, there is no spark but that doesn’t mean it cannot be lit”. So I lit it a month or two later with a seductive kiss in the darkened corner of a nightclub.
Strangely all my relationships seem to have been initiated by drunken snogs… a hallmark of mutual shyness I guess.
No relationship if mine has ever been initiated by disclosure of feelings by either party. If you really like each other, you just know it without saying.
“If you really like each other, you just know it without saying.
Yeah, I agree. Disclosure is only necessary if you aren’t sure of what someone feels and/or things are not moving forward naturally.
It was 7 years ago but I remember it word for word:
“I say this without any expectation or hope but I want you to know that no matter what you are loved from the tips of your toes to the top of your too short hair and you always will be. If ever you feel alone, know that it’s there waiting for you to wrap yourself up inside. Until our paths cross again. Goodbye.”
I didn’t wait to see if he read my message or get a reply. I deleted the account I used to talk to him so that I wouldn’t be tempted to keep going back to torture myself.
I say this with all due respect because none of this is easy, but reading that makes me feel a lot better about “We should bang it out sometime.”
A few months in, I was struggling with letting go of LO.
We were still in touch on a regular basis. Some of the hardest months of my life.
I wrote him a letter telling him that I loved him and needed him to tell me that he would never love me. I felt that I could not move on otherwise.
Bizarre, but limerence, man. I needed rejection. Did not understand why at the time.
Of course, he didn’t respond.
He always did enough to make me think things might change.
I continued to care and a couple of months later, I decided to take a job and move to a different part of the country. Not his part of the country and he called me right away to talk about it.
A male friend suggested that I offer to move near him. No way would I have said those words.
If LO cared, he didn’t say it. Even if he did back then, love is action, not words.
If he had been even a decent friend, he would have written me back or called and said that he appreciated the letter, but that I was not the right person for him.
Here’s what I emailed, paraphrased: “Nice to see you again, welcome back! Hope this doesn’t add to your life stress but if we’re going to start working in the same building I need to tell you what you might already suspect: I’ve had a huge crush on you for awhile. I know it’s totally inappropriate because we’re both married. It’s called ‘limerence’ and I’ve experienced it before, only now I know the name for it. I hope that you find this more flattering than creepy. You don’t have to respond, and I won’t bring it up again.”
I think you’re post today is funny, but I think there are at least a decent number of women who would be ok with a rude, botched disclosure form COLIN FIRTH. 🙂
Allie 1 says
Oh yes!!! I could forgive him a lot.
Oh so true, Marcia. I would take a botched disclosure from Colin Firth and his wet shirt any day. The snowball that started the avalanche of Lizzy’s love, was — by her own admission — her first view of the shades of Pemberley. 🙂 Jane Austin’s amazingly cheeky!
Tousled hair, wet shirt … needs a toweling off. 🙂
And I would be happy to do so 🙂 !!! Same with the bath scene…
Years ago I worked backstage at a professional theatre. The (very cute) male lead in one of the shows needed help changing clothes between scenes … and I of course volunteered for the job. 🙂
That’s awesome, Marcia! What a trooper you are 😁
In college I disclosed to an LO. He told me how amazing he thought I was and that I was such a great friend to him that he’d even thought of having me as the best man in his wedding.
And that was a wrap.
I suspect no limerent discloses if they truly want No for an answer…their mind may think they want a No, so they can move on, but secretly they long for a Yes.
And they are playing a little trick on themselves.
Non limerents just move on without dramatic disclosings if things don’t organically move forward. No big deal!
But a limerent not disclosing and quietly writhing in limerent quicksand is horrible,
disclosing and not getting a clear answer and then continuing to writhe in limerent quicksand is even more horrible,
but if the limerent and the LO are both available, simply saying, ‘hey why don’t we date and see how things go?’ and then if interest is unreciprocated LEAVE THE BUILDING and don’t look back is in my opinion is the only way to proceed and not in the least horrible.
Limerent Emeritus says
“I suspect no limerent discloses if they truly want No for an answer…their mind may think they want a No, so they can move on, but secretly they long for a Yes.”
Not entirely true. I wanted “No” for an answer. I just wanted LO #4 to do the dirty work for me. I knew the right answer. I was unwilling to carry it out so I took the Passive-Aggressive route and tried to get her to do it for me.
It’s a lousy way to do business with someone you care about and it doesn’t always work the way you intend. Another thing I told LO #4 was I never wanted to be on the list of people who hurt her or let her down. I think I failed that one.
Or did you want “No… but I am actually in love with you Limerent Emeritus,” for an answer?
Limerent Emeritus says
“No… but I am actually in love with you Limerent Emeritus,” for an answer?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to draw her out.
But, for her to say that would have been way over the top. LO #4 said some very nice things to me. She called me her Rock while all the crap was going down for her. She said it felt good to be appreciated and knowing I had her back. She said she “valued” [didn’t care for the word much] my support and encouragement and would miss it when I was gone.
But, the nicest things she said were that I was the one who opened her eyes to what was happening in her relationship and she would always be grateful to me for that. That bothered me because if it was true, I was the catalyst for a chain of events that ended up with her being assaulted. Not the legacy I was shooing for. The other thing she said was in her goodbye when she said she’d been thinking about things for the last few weeks. Another woman was thinking about me!!!! LO #4 then not only acknowledged the elephant in the room by bringing my wife into the discussion, she killed it.
Checkmate! I knew by the end of her first paragraph that I was a dead man. Shari Schreiber says that when you end a relationship, be careful how you handle the goodbye since it’s what people usually remember first about you.
In my response to her goodbye, I told her that she made the right call. I told her that some people you meet in life are like a piece of fine art. It will never be yours and you don’t even get to touch it. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate it when you see it.
No, the sweet spot would have been something along the lines of her saying, “I’ll miss you. I think we could have had a lot of fun together but we’ll probably never have the chance to explore it.”
“”No… but I am actually in love with you,” for an answer?”
I think this is what most limerents want. Deep down they want to disclose and get a yes. I never verbally disclosed my feelings but I would either verbally or physically make a sexual pass, and of course I didn’t want to be slapped in the face and told, “I don’t feel that way about you.” I wanted the other person to dive in and enjoy the experience with me. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
“I never verbally disclosed my feelings but I would either verbally or physically make a sexual pass, and of course I didn’t want to be slapped in the face and told, “I don’t feel that way about you.” I wanted the other person to dive in and enjoy the experience with me.”
So, were you offering those guys anything other than sex? How often did you say you move or change jobs? You sound like great FWB material. Dirty little secret: A lot of guys like consistency, reliability, and stability in an LTR. Establishing and maintaining a relationship takes some effort but dealing with high-maintenance people gets old. Really old. There’s a fine line between assertive and obnoxious.
As a FWB, LO #2 was outstanding. As a girlfriend, LO #2 was pretty good. As an Ex, she stunk. LO #2 and I negotiated everything. When we started having sex, when we became exclusive, what the breakup meant so neither of us could claim we didn’t know something. With my wife, stuff just happened.
As for being slapped in the face, disclosure carries that risk. When I tested the first boundary with LO #4, I expected her to tell me, “Buzz off, creep!”
But, she didn’t.
“So, were you offering those guys anything other than sex?”
It’s hard for me to answer that. My last LO was married, so the situation would have been limited. Did I want a full-blown affair? Yes. What that meant I don’t know but of course I was limerent for him so I thought I wanted the whole nine. The LO before that was a guy I dated. I definitely wanted the whole nine. Or so I thought. But I suspect that means something different to me than it does to you. I wanted a serious relationship but not marriage or even living together.
“Dirty little secret: A lot of guys like consistency, reliability, and stability in an LTR.
They do? 🙂 I just find the ones who push for that right out of the gate … not as interesting. 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
“I wanted a serious relationship but not marriage or even living together.”
If have that with a married man, you’re a mistress.
If you have that with an available man, you’re a FWB.
Based on what you said, your primary method of indicating interest is making a pass at the guy. And, from a few rolls in the rack with you, he’s supposed to read your mind and figure out how to be close but not too close? Show you just the right amount of attention, not too much or not too little? Be there when you want him but on his own when you don’t? Supportive but not intrusive? Be a bad boy but not too bad? Do you expect a monogamous relationship? Is it ok for him to sleep around? Is it ok for you to sleep around?
How do you define commitment and what are you offering in return? It sounds like you come down somewhere between “Pretty Woman” and “50 Shades of Gray.” It sounds like you want him to do all the work. It’s his problem if he can’t READ YOUR MIND.
What did you say your attachment style was again?
A few night of a little crazy is ok but a steady diet of it gets old. It sounds like you get bored easily, expect the man to do all the heavy lifting, and are hurt when your uncommunicated expectations aren’t met. Correct me if I’m wrong here.
Men don’t attach to those kind of women for long. They dismiss them or divorce them.
“If have that with a married man, you’re a mistress.”
Well, I guess but what were you expecting from your interaction with LO #4? Are you not married? What can you do with a married person other than have a physical and/or emotional affair? I guess if someone is polyamorous, they have a secondary relationship.
“If you have that with an available man, you’re a FWB.”
So, if I am understanding you correctly, you are having an FWB with an available person unless you are married and/or living together? I would wholeheartedly disagree with that.
In terms of the guy I dated, I didn’t expect him to read my mind. We sat down and talked about what we wanted, and they were different things. With him, I walked, but he knew why. Everyone has different definitions of what a relationship is, just as they have different definitions of friendship or even expectations from family.
Since this might not be clear, my defintion of an FWB is basically a f*** buddy. Someone you may know as a casual friend and they call you up every now and then for sex but that’s it. Dating is actually going out on dates … doing activities together, getting to know each other, with sex involved as part of it at some point.
Limerent Emeritus says
I’m married and when I encountered LO #4, she was living with her BF. There were serious problems in my marriage but she had nothing to do with them and I didn’t think LO #4 would make my life any better aside from being able to talk someone about topics of mutual interest. LO #4 thought that he was going to propose to her. [Interestingly, he married the woman he was cheating with less than a year after LO #4 moved out.] That was one of the factors that led me to believe LO #4 wasn’t a threat. We were:
1. On opposite coasts
2. Had never actually met or ever talked to each other directly
3. Had no mutual professional or personal acquaintances
4. Both in established relationships
5. Neither of us were looking for trouble
We drifted into a comfortable acquaintance. We never broached the subject of actually talking to each other. You want Jane Austen? All our communications were via PM or email. It had a very 19th century feel to it. Actually talking to each other would have made everything real. Not ever talking to each other played a big part in my damage control strategy. If it blew up, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to deny what happened, my mitigation plan was to minimize its significance. It happened but since we never met or even talked to each other, how important could it be?
I understand threat and risk. I set up the insider program for a major sector of critical infrastructure. Threats are dynamic and have context. I know they can change. With respect to LO #4, I had no reason to expect it would. But, they did, and she reached out to me.
It shouldn’t have been a problem but LO #4 unknowingly hit a very specific vulnerability in me that had been dormant for two decades. I needed to know what about LO #4 I found so compelling (i.e., glimmer) that I was considering knowingly acting against my own best interest and assuming risk I didn’t have to for a woman who had offered me absolutely nothing. I knew it wasn’t her, it was me. After we said goodbye it took me three months with the EAP counselor to identify and correct it. I can’t afford to ever let it happen again. I might not be as lucky the next time.
As for the EA, I didn’t know anything about them before my last LE but I knew a lot about them after I came out of it.
As for LO #4, until I disclosed, she was an unwitting enabler. When she broke NC and reestablished contact with a known married man, she was entirely complicit [I like that word]. I had to scramble to reestablish my boundaries. When I did, it was obvious where my loyalty was LO #4 didn’t like it. The goodbye followed shortly after.
On FWBs, the relationship you said you want was like the first two years of my relationship with LO #2. We had keys to each others’ cars but not our houses. Not once did we ever drop in on each other unannounced. I don’t think we ever spent more than 4 days together at one time in the 4 years we were together. At the end of a long weekend, we couldn’t wait to retreat to our respective sanctuaries for awhile. We weren’t mad at each other but we’d had our fill of each other.
I thought things started going south after she declined my proposal but it actually started going south when I got out of the Navy almost a year earlier. After that, I was more consistently available and I wanted to advance things. I decided that I wanted to play house with her and share our lives together. I thought she wanted that too but she didn’t. What you want isn’t all that hard to understand but it might be hard to pull off.
I was terrified I’d get a yes. Thankfully that didn’t happen.
Such interesting comments in this thread. Thought-provoking.
I feel content with how I my LE ended and that’s all that really matters to me, since I have to live with myself.
“You want Jane Austen?”
No, I want Colin Firth. 🙂
” If it blew up, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to deny what happened, my mitigation plan was to minimize its significance.”
Why would you want to enter a situation where you needed a possible “mitigation plan”? Seems like you would only do that if you knew you were dipping your toe in a potentially dangerous pond. 🙂
“What you want isn’t all that hard to understand but it might be hard to pull off.”
I need my own space. I just have to have somewhere I can go and shut the door and know that if I want to, I can walk around unshowered for days! The female grooming is so tedious. I need downtime.
I went to lunch this weekend with 2 friends, one of whom is married, and it’s always kind of a big deal if we meet up … because, OMG, what will the husband eat for lunch? Forget ever going out to dinner. He couldn’t possibly make his own evening meal. 🙂 I don’t understand that way of thinking nor do I ever want to be out at dinner with friends and be calling the dude to find out what I should order for him.
Limerent Emeritus says
“Why would you want to enter a situation where you needed a possible “mitigation plan”? Seems like you would only do that if you knew you were dipping your toe in a potentially dangerous pond.”
Short answer: Because it seemed like a good idea at the time and I didn’t see any real risk. We started off totally benign. And, honestly, when I encountered LO #4, I wasn’t sure I’d be married in a year.
As the EAP counselor said, I made some really bad assumptions. I had no idea that LO #4 and I would attach to each other. The EAP counselor asked what I wanted from all this. I told her I didn’t want to attach to LO #4 and I didn’t want her attaching to me. The EAP counselor looked at the stack of emails and said, “That ship sailed a long time ago.”
You can read all about it here:
Both those blogs are really good.
re: Colin Firth…don’t get it. He doesn’t do a thing for me. Madeleine Stowe maybe or Emerald Fennell if I was 25 years younger 🙂
re: Men who can’t seem to take care of themselves… They’re definitely out there. I once asked a co-worker why there wasn’t somebody all over her. She said she met two kinds of men. The first was talking marriage on the second date, the other was looking for someone to take care of them. She said she wasn’t interested in either. LO #4 once said that her ex “couldn’t open a can of soup” if she wasn’t available to make lunch.
“The EAP counselor looked at the stack of emails and said, “That ship sailed a long time ago.””
At some point you had to have known you were going down a slippery slope.
“re: Men who can’t seem to take care of themselves…”
Colin Firth looks pretty good. He’s in his 60s. But it’s not about his appearance. It’s what he conveys. (Have I lost you already? 🙂 He looks at Scarlett Johanson in “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” like he’s going to tear it up. 🙂
“The first was talking marriage on the second date”
Did I not say that acting like an instant boyfriend was a turnoff?
“LO #4 once said that her ex “couldn’t open a can of soup” if she wasn’t available to make lunch.”
Did he go from his mother’s house to hers? 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
I knew things had turned for LO #4 in early 2014. I asked one of the other mods, an RL friend of LO #4’s, about her extended absence from her site. The mod told me that there was trouble in Paradise and she was trying to work it out.
When LO #4 told me about her extended absence and why, I knew there was a risk. All I asked her was how she wanted me to handle things and when she might be back. She told me he was cheating on her and they were in couples counseling. I didn’t need to know that and I hadn’t asked. Later, when she told me she allegedly assaulted her and she was moving out, I had a feeling I was in way deeper than I intended to be. I had a strong feeling of deja vu and thought she might leave me alone but she didn’t.
I should have gotten out immediately but I didn’t. An unhappy woman who sees me as part of the solution was a compelling draw for me. If I couldn’t turn them around, nobody could. Everybody has a blind spot and that was mine. It has been that way since I was 5 years old until I understood it and fixed it.
Being the confidante of a woman who’s being cheated on is like getting into the backseat of a getaway car fleeing the scene of a crime. You’re not driving. She’s not listening. Her SO is in the front seat with her and if you have an SO, she’s in the backseat with you. You’re going for a ride and since she let you in, she’s probably not going to stop to let you out. You have little, if any, influence on the direction and, if she crashes and burns, there’s a good chance you could go up in flames with her. I knew that from experience.
I understand about the instant boyfriend. I think men feel the same about women. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who fits that category. None of my acquaintances fit.
As for LO #4’s ex, he may have gone from his first marriage straight into a relationship with LO #4. We never went into that great degree of detail. He’s pretty high profile in certain circles. LO #2 said his professional mobility was largely due to people catching on to him. It could be sour grapes. It seemed obvious to me that she was trying to win his heart by being indispensable to him. [“If you need me, you’ll never leave me!” – Shari Schreiber] According to LO #4, the harder she busted her ass, the more indifferent he became to her.
He didn’t do her any favors when he was in a position to. To hear her tell it, he once took her on a business trip. His expenses covered the hotel room but she had to pay her own air fare and rode in coach on an extended overseas flight while he rode in Business Class so he could be fresh on arrival. It wasn’t a matter of money, it was about control. After they broke up, she said a lot of things about him. She also unloaded about his paramour.
That’s kind of how I feel about Madeleine Stowe. There’s just something about her that appeals to me. My wife said she understands most of the celebrities I might be attracted to but Madeleine Stowe totally escapes her.
“An unhappy woman who sees me as part of the solution was a compelling draw for me. ”
I know this sounds strange coming from a person who admits to being ready to have an affair with a married man, but the older I get, the less interest I have in getting involved in the middle of someone else’s drama and relationship. I want someone who’s over the past stuff and ready to start fresh. Which is why back-to-backers scare me, tbh. Not over past stuff. I realize you weren’t in relationship with this woman but you could have been if maybe your marriage didn’t work out (you wrote things had not been going well).
“I understand about the instant boyfriend. I think men feel the same about women. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who fits that category. None of my acquaintances fit.”
Really? I haven’t met many guys, if they are in the “looking for a serious relationship” mindset, who aren’t like that, particularly if they are getting out of something long term and want something else long term.
“It seemed obvious to me that she was trying to win his heart by being indispensable to him. ”
For a lot of women, sexual attraction is closely related to respect. I can’t respect a man who wants me to baby him.
“That’s kind of how I feel about Madeleine Stowe. There’s just something about her that appeals to me.”
I think she is a gorgeous woman. I like Colin Firth, but my favorite is Prince.
Limerent Emeritus says
“For a lot of women, sexual attraction is closely related to respect. I can’t respect a man who wants me to baby him.”
And, if you do respect him, let him know. Respect has to be earned, but once it is, acknowledge it, somehow. People like being around someone who respects them. It’s not hard. Treat them like an equal and don’t dismiss or demean them.
Going slightly tangential, one of the coolest things about being a parent is watching your kids become adults. My kids will always be my children but with every day, they’re becoming my equal. My son and I love to hit the sushi bar together. In a few months, he can legally drink sake. I respect them and I hope they respect me.
I don’t know why having LO #4’s trust and respect mattered to me but it did. I could care less what most people think of me but I cared about what she thought of me. She said, “I trust you have my best interest at heart.” The context was related how I operated as a moderator. Not exactly the same as saying she trusted me but I’ll take it.
Once LO #4 said that, I knew I’d bust my fanny to try to ensure she never felt any differently. She was the monarch, I was the steward.
“She was the monarch, I was the steward.”
I don’t know what that means. I know a lot of the married guys I used to work with would have a chore list when they got home from work, provided by their wives. I asked one guy what would happen if he just went home and didn’t have the list of tasks (or just did whatever he wanted). I don’t think he knew what to do with himself. The wife was the organizer, his organizer, almost giving him a raison d’etre. I have to be honest: It makes tired thinking about providing that for someone else. But maybe you meant something totally different.
Limerent Emeritus says
LO #4 owned the site. I simply carried out her policies. But, I probably took it more seriously than necessary.
If LO #4 trusted me to run it, I didn’t want to let her down or fail in front of her.
Oh, ok. I thought you meant she was your monarch in life. I thought … I’ll pass on that job. 🙂 I have enough trouble making my own decisions. Don’t want to make them for someone else.
Hear, hear. I wish I’d been this purposeful in my dating days, but it took me decades to learn the lesson.
“But if the limerent and the LO are both available, simply saying, ‘hey why don’t we date and see how things go?’ and then if interest is unreciprocated LEAVE THE BUILDING and don’t look back is in my opinion is the only way to proceed and not in the least horrible.”
Or if you get a flim-flam answer, leave the building! A flim-flam answer should be read as a no. (“Let me think about it” …. “I’m not dating right now, I’m not sure,” etc.) Anything less than “I’d like to go on that date. How about next Friday,” is a no. So, yes … leave the building. 🙂
Yep and I’ve always been able to leave without looking back!
I do it pretty regularly in these days, in fact.
LO was the exception.
I coincidentally gave this very advice to a friend recently. He’d got pretty close to a co-worker and when he suggested they stop just hanging out and date because it seemed like that was the situation she told him ‘You really are lovely, and all my friends think it’s crazy we’re not dating, but I don’t want to mess it up, so can we just see how it goes?’ Leaving him pretty confused and after reflection a bit irritated.
All you can say to that is… run. When you’re into somebody you know it, and assuming your available you say yes. That’s the least you should require from the other side.
I’d assume that what he meant by ‘dating’ was ‘having sex’ and I’d be very reluctant to sleep with a coworker, even if I really liked him. For one thing, it’s not professional to sleep around with guys from the office. And, if I fell in love but things didn’t work out, we’d have to keep in contact.
But they’d already been palling around and though he wasn’t explicit, something physical had already occurred. Hence he wanted to make it official. She’s the one blowing hot then cold here. By the way, she still wanted to spend the following Saturday night at his, after that conversation – hence his confiding in me for the advice. In fact, it’s this Saturday just gone… I wouldn’t be surprised if she has got her way with it… men aren’t ALWAYS the ones just after sex, so I hear.
“She’s the one blowing hot then cold here. ”
I don’t think she’s blowing hot and cold. I just think she wants a limited interaction (I’m guessing). The guy I mentioned I was dating wanted to contact me once a week and get together once a week. He wanted more than sex — he wanted someone to listen to him, be supportive, be a companion, do things with, but on his terms and his time, which was a few hours a week. This woman sounds like she wants the close friendship and the sex but doesn’t want to call it dating and wants keep her options open. Again, I’m guessing, although her answer was vague, probably intentionally.
Definitely intentionally vague.
Hence time to leave the building if you’re in anyway invested! 🛫
A suggestion: LTB needs to be another acronym added the limerent’s list: LTB (leave the building!) 🙂
Of course I would rather hear ‘yes’ than ‘no’, but I’d rather hear ‘no’ than wonder.
Our association had been very different prior to that point and the few months leading to it as my behavior declined. He may or may not have been aware then that it was symptomatic of acute illness, but he certainly is now. He presents a much more outwardly cautious, considerate, consistent, and gentle character than I, and shows many kind and helpful traits that improve the quality of my life. It was not “supposed” to be like this. And as I train myself to better recall, my opening to disclose was not, “Do you ever think about us being together?” It was small talk about about a football game inelegantly followed by “We should bang it out sometime.” Very bad form. The rest is accurate. I’m still mad he called me “very cute.” I’m a total smokeshow. The nerve. Anyway, there’s no leaving this building.
Limerent Emeritus says
You certainly aren’t the first “total smokeshow” to have lousy taste in men.
Your story about your ex sounds a lot like LO #4 and her ex although I don’t know if he was still married when they met. I don’t know if LO #4 ever had an affair with a married man but it wouldn’t surprise me if she had.
Have you ever taken a serious look into why that is? Was the married guy your first or was he part of a pattern? What about the married guy appealed to you? It’s coming across as you see your LO as a rescuer.
How’s your self-respect/self-esteem? Anecdotally, beautiful women with low self-esteem seem to be dirt bag magnets.
I would never dignify the married man by calling him my ex anything. We went to school together and had known each other for decades. He groomed me for a year via social media, casual hangouts, etc. He was also concurrently having at least six other extramarital relationships that I was aware of, although ours was the most time consuming. It ended not after he violently raped me, but when he allowed himself to get caught so that his wife could insert herself into the abuse dynamic. It was my empathy for her pain transfered upon me that broke the fugue. After I detailed to him how I had saved 8000 text messages wherein he had written an admission to a class A felony, among various other criminal threats and abhorrent material, the harrassment stopped. Imagine thinking when you delete something from your phone, it doesn’t disappear from the recipient’s. Drunk with power, I guess. Just a thoughtless pillager. Obviously, I never reported.
I very desperately wanted LO to save me, to fight for me. I literally call him Hero. To his face. Not often, but when he’s doing stuff like shoveling snow from my pathway every few hours or wiring new lights in my garden. He wasn’t going to trifle with this irrelevant fool. LO is an actual Gman with a lot on the line. This is another reason he really isn’t allowed to kick it with me. We are both trained. He is active. I am sectioned. Early retirement would be a very generous euphemism. He is a well respected man about town and everywhere else he goes. It’s really fun to watch. You’d love him, too.
My self-image fluctuates. I don’t believe I am capable of being in a healthy adult relationship. I have no model for it and no concept of how I would attenuate my system to one at this point. It is the saddest reality, but the harsh truth. And even if it were acceptable and possible with this man (for I will never desire another), I care about him far too much to consider the eventuality of a loved one or caregiver dealing with someone’s severe chronic neuropsychiatric conditions. If I don’t inherit wealth or join a cult, I will wind up a ward of the state. I mean, there’s always the nuclear option, but I’m not a quitter. It’s why I’m here.
Limerent Emeritus says
This is why God invented therapists.
LwL is a great place but sometimes you need to call in a pro.
I agree, WireMother. It’s great to have you here, and there’s a lot of benefit in community, but the issues you’ve raised go beyond moral support.
Feeling incapable of forming a healthy connection and feeling loyalty towards someone who violently raped you are deep wounds that would benefit from the support of a healthcare professional. I’d encourage you to seek that help.
LE, I’d say most psychotherapeutic approaches don’t have anything to do with god…
WireMother, I really hope you might reach out to someone professional who can help you start to make sense of all that you’ve been through. There’s so much going on there that I think you would benefit a great deal from face-to-face, undivided attention from someone who can really be there with you and listen to you and hear you. Hang in there.
Oh, dear. I’ve not represented myself clearly at all. I have zero allegiance to the person who assaulted and battered me. They have not been in my life for over five years.
I am loyal to Hero/LO/Archetype/Landlord/Friend. Yes, messy. We are next door neighbors. I live in his coach house which is three feet from the manse. He manages 15 acres of land on a park like setting and does all household maintenance in addition to any miscellaneous chores I might ask. I nap and garden at my leisure. I pay well below market rent, often quite late, that has not been raised in a seven year tenancy. He’s wordlessly forgiven months of arrears when I was very ill. My intimacy issues are wholly separate from anything associated with him, apart from the shame I carry from how badly I’ve botched things and the lengths I’ve gone to swing the pendulum in reverse to appear as though I have no romantic feelings at all for him when in truth, it is 80% of what I think about on a daily basis.
I was practically born into psychiatric treatment. I’ve had the same Ivy league (FWIW) PhD psychotherapist for 14 years. I recently educated my most recent MD on the definition of limerence. He was very interested to share the information and website with his female practice partner (MSW). Ostensibly because they share clients who could benefit. Mmmhmm. Much longer story short, if clinical treatment has answers to offer, they sure know where to find me.
Limerent Emeritus says
Song of the Day: “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” – Paul Simon (1975)
This one’s a stretch but you can’t spell “L-O-V-E” without “L-O.”
The first two verses are just classic.
As the chorus says, “You don’t need to discuss much.”
I won’t say I acted like Darcy, but my LO was not someone I would have seen across a room and wanted to be with.
When we met, one of the first things he said was “will you be embarrassed to be seen with me?”
We’re different people. Different values.
I thought we had connected on a deep level because of the way we talked and shared. The other stuff didn’t matter.
It was a very tough time for me, mid-divorce, and he was someone I became dependent upon. For emotional support, deep talks.
I was surprised that he didn’t want to try and the loss was/is difficult.
I still think about him. Still miss him.
I’m currently obsessing about LO3. This is the strangest one yet as I only saw him on work zoom meetings and he lives 250 miles away. I haven’t zoomed him for 2 months and have no reason to do so, but I want to. I know nothing about his private life. With LO2 I knew he was married with kids, was a no go. Thought being friends with him was better than nothing, but it wasn’t. This time I feel like I need to hear him say he’s not interested before I can move on. He’s probably forgotten who I am! Is it better just to wait for the feelings to fade?!
Yes! If you tell yourself “this is ridiculous!” and try to stop thinking about him and have no contact in any form, the feelings will fade and you will have saved yourself from going down the miserable rabbit hole of limerence.
Limerent Emeritus says
I kind of disagree with Jaideux this one. Jaideux’s recommendation is solid but it doesn’t do anything for the uncertainty. Right now, you don’t have a solid reason why it can’t work.
If you’re available, he’s available and it’s mutually agreeable, your hurdles are primarily logistical. I’m not a fan of Long Distance Relationships but they work for some people.
It shouldn’t be too hard to make a guess at his private life. Most people have some social media profile. If he doesn’t, there may still be some other ways. Public records at county assessors are a great source of information. You may be able to tell things like when he took out a marriage license, who he/was married to and his property transactions. If he ever bought or sold property in the county, you know. You can access some public documents. They’ll say things like, “XXXX YYYY, a single person.”
If you’re really lucky, you can access public court records. I know when LO #2 filed for divorce. I know that LO #4 got a traffic ticket. If you know where to look, you can see that my wife and I were sued when she rear-ended someone. You can tell which of your neighbors are way behind on their HOA dues or who got busted for DUI or dope. A little creepy, but cool.
If those are dead ends or you think he’s available, you still have another option. You can actually go there. The trick here is coming up with a credible excuse for being in town. Then you contact him, tell him when you’ll be there and ask him if he wants to meet for lunch or dinner. If he agrees, you can find out his status. If he doesn’t, write him off and give up. It may take more time and effort than you’re willing to expend. I don’t know where you live but 250 miles is a 4-6 hour drive for a lot of people. Leave early, meet him for lunch, and you can be back before midnight. All you need is the reason. Watch enough Hallmark or Lifetime RomComs and you might be able to come up with one.
Oh, and the reason needs to hold up. The last thing you need is some coworker blowing your cover in a Zoom meeting you weren’t at. Worst case is something like your LO making a comment about you being in town for the Monet exhibit you visited and your coworker saying that you hate Impressionist art. You need to think it through in advance. Unintended consequences don’t have to be unforeseen consequences. Many RomCom disasters could have been easily avoided but it would have made for a 20 minute movie.
There was a time I really wanted to get to LO #4 but I wasn’t able to come up with a credible reason for traveling 2500 miles to a place I had no reason to go that would screen past my wife or LO #4.
If you want to remove the uncertainty, you can do it. But, you may have to work at it.
Just discreetly ask around what this guy’s romantic status is. There must be at least a person or two you can trust at the company if you’ve worked there any length of time.
Limerent Emeritus says
What fun is that? Think of all the time you can waste “Open Source Collecting” (sounds better than “stalking”) on your LO.
Woke up on the snarky side of the bed this morning….
Because stalking is creepy and unnecessary. It’s running when you can walk. Like how Michael Bolton sings all his songs. Over the top. 🙂
A number of years ago I spent far too long with nothing to do in the vicinity of an LOs workplace.
Only time I’ve got close to stalking I guess…
I’m not sure it FELT creepy at the time. It certainly felt terribly sad and desperate.
I meant that digging through public records seems a little over the top … but the obvious answer to all of this, which, no one, strangely, is mentioning … is to go right to the source. ASK the LO. Are limerents indirect and sneaky by nature? 🙂 I know that can be tricky in certain situations, particularly if you don’t know the person well, but the answer is to develop a rapport and listen carefully to statement like “We went to dinner,” etc. (I’m referring to finding out if the person is available.) Or just point-blank ask. At some point, we have to let go of this hang up about how we are going to look to the other person.
Thanks for all the advice. Still trying to work out the best thing to do. I’d already been thinking of reasons why I could be in his town. The most reasonable one I thought was for a football match, other than that team is in a different division from mine! Doing nothing seems the most sensible thing to do, but I’m miserable about it. I am thinking living alone and having been working from home a lot this past year is part of the problem! I couldn’t find him on social media. Just a formal Twitter account.
Limerent Emeritus says
“I am thinking living alone and having been working from home a lot this past year is part of the problem!”
There’s your reason. Get yourself a room there. Tell him after being cooped up all winter, you had an unexpected attack of spontaneity, and you decided you needed a change of scene for a weekend.
Even if your LO doesn’t pan out and you don’t leave the room, at least it’s a different room.
Allie 1 says
I have been thinking about disclosure a lot recently. I know the LwL ethos is that disclosing is a bad idea, and in some cases I wholeheartedly agree e.g. bad LOs , not-obviously-reciprocating co-workers, married LOs. But not in all cases… I have almost always disclosed to past LOs and have never once regretted it. My disclosures were never huge romantic gestures or full expressions of my feelings, it was just to let them know I was interested. No relationships have ever sprung directly from my disclosing but it has always helped clarify where I stand and/or shrunk my LE one way or another. So you might get an ambiguous response? Then the uncertainty remains and nothing has changed (or just consider ambiguous as a rejection). You might get an unambiguous rejection.. for me that is LE over… phew! And if you get a positive response, bliss awaits. I just don’t see what there is to lose.
I believe one reason my current LE is lasting far longer than usual is because I feel I cannot talk to my LO about it this time. I am always so very tempted to though… the sheer relief it would bring. Humph.
I agree. With LO1 I didn’t tell him how I felt because I knew he was happily married. Now I am unsure of the status of LO2. I never have to see him again, so I suppose I have nothing to lose by disclosing how I feel. Then again it may seem odd as I haven’t seen him for a few months and he’s probably forgotten who I am!
James Afourkeeff says
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I think Darcy’s LO was unrealistically polite in this Pride and Prejudice movie clip. If you disclose to your LO, and your LO also happens to be your boss, she will have someone else do the rejecting for her, and you will be summarily terminated for “gross misconduct”. My experience was much more like this movie clip I’ve pasted here down below.
Brad = me
Jules = the Store Manager
Vincent = the new comanager that sat in as a witness, and
Marcelles Wallace = my LO
Allie 1 says
Eeek! That must have been awful James, sorry you went through that.
Recalling some of your story, I am a bit disgusted with how your ex-employer handled this situation. It seems to me that they took a completely one-sided perspective.
Wishing you well.
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
Yeah, thanks Allie. It’s events like these that will make you question your whole being and your whole perspective understanding of human nature; it had me asking myself “What happened to me? How can people be so unforgiving? What was my life supposed to be?”
What is most troubling to me is that this is not the first time I’ve gone through an intensely humiliating experience due to an LE, and I can’t imagine how it is going to be the last, given that I have never been able to get a specific explanation from the perspective of any of my LO’s as to where I fit in, not even from a secondhand source. It is because of this that I will always wonder what “EXACTLY” is was that I did wrong; or more importantly, what is was that I was doing RIGHT when I caught the attention of an LO.
I hope the information I have learned from sources like this blog will help prepare me for future encounters, but limerence has defined my life.
You probably didn’t do anything right or wrong. Some people will be into you and some people won’t.
Allie 1 says
Attractions and relationships are such a tricky dance aren’t they. I suspect many limerent’s feel similarly in not really knowing why their LOs are not reciprocating any more, after we have perceived some interest.
I have had that experience myself – eons ago, a close friend and I kissed and that lit a spark for me, but only me it seems as I eventually disclosed and was rejected (nicely). Looking back with a few decades more experience, I can see that he liked me but I was just not his type – he was more the stoned hippy type, and he always saw me as very normal and suburban – I would not have fully fitted in with his desired lifestyle.
I also think some people have a roving eye – they become a little interested in one person, then another and so on. But their interest is not sufficient to want to act – they are looking for that extra spark, or someone that presents more of a challenge to them. Unfortunately, I think becoming limerent quickly for someone can put them off if you are unable to hide the intensity.
Maybe the key for you is to back off more, do not act on the limerent intensity, give your LOs space to come to you and if they don’t, throw them a small gesture of interest and back off again. Like fishing. I know it sounds like a game but really it is just trying to act like someone that is not limerent.
“Like fishing. I know it sounds like a game but really it is just trying to act like someone that is not limerent.”
Yeah, to an extent, don’t come on to someone like a freight train immediately. But it’s not possible to be everyone’s type. I was reading that Marlon Brando turned down Elizabeth Taylor. ELIZABETH TAYLOR. In her prime. He thought her butt was too small. I know that being turned down by an LO is extremely painful, but you can’t twist yourself into a pretzel to be something you aren’t.
“Unfortunately, I think becoming limerent quickly for someone can put them off if you are unable to hide the intensity.”
This is a really great observation – how many, many people seem to be put off by the real or apparent intensity of limerence once the limerent party “slips up”, as it were, and betrays their interest in something more…
Tennov wrote in her book that limerence can trigger a phobic reaction in some people, a phobia akin to the fear humans have of snakes and spiders.
I’ve kind of been in this situation myself e.g. a situation where someone acted super-keen on friendship with me, but when I started developing a limerent-type response to them, they backed away, like I had just stepped on their pet cat, or committed some terrible offence. Honestly, a very confusing situation if you’re a young person and a bit new to relationships, or someone like James, who I think has mentioned he might be on the spectrum…
Sometimes, it almost seems like certain LOs do everything in their power to induce limerence in other people, and then act all shocked and offended when they succeed in hooking their fish! Arrgh!
Sometimes, I get the feeling that certain LOs (the mad flirts) are just people who want to have their cake and eat it too. They want loads of admiration and validation and closeness, etc, but only on their terms and only when it suits them. And you can’t ever ask them for anything in return… You only exist to stroke their egos. 😛
I’ve also had LOs who have told me how uncomfortable my apparent attraction to them made them feel, but then continued to pursue friendship with me, as if nothing had happened, not even the discomfiture they had just mentioned. Which was confusing. I mean, comfortable or uncomfortable? Which is it, dude? Make up your mind already! Don’t leave me hanging! E.g. he told me he was uncomfortable three seconds ago, but keeps expecting me to be his bosom bestie and go the extra mile for him always! So weird!!
Sorry for the rant. Your remark must have reminded me of many frustrating experiences I had when I was younger – just co-workers and other friends, etc, giving off mixed signals all the time. And me getting that all-too-familiar pain-in-the-heart feeling as a result from sensing imminent rejection. Rejecter blind to the pain they were causing. Rejecter still demanding special treatment, etc. Ouch! 😛
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
I do not completely agree with you on this one. A lot of people are multidimensional and I think it is quite conceivable for someone to be deeply infatuated with certain aspects of a person and reject everything else about them (although, this is not my MO). Exactly which particular aspects will be important to someone is likely to differ and be specific for each person/LO. I would someday like to know what exactly they were; I’m sure they exist in objective reality.
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
“Sometimes, it almost seems like certain LOs do everything in their power to induce limerence in other people, and then act all shocked and offended when they succeed in hooking their fish! Arrgh!”
Perhaps it is like the proverbial dog that actually somehow catches the car they are chasing — now what do I do with it?!!!
I’m not sure what you are referring to when to when you write that you caught the attention of an LO. When I have become limerent for someone or even very interested, it’s caused by an inexplicable combination of strong physical attraction and the person pushing my psychological buttons, neither of which could be manipulated or controlled by the other person, at least that early in the game. They wouldn’t have known me well enough to know my psychological buttons, and, IMO, physical attraction is something you can’t do anything about.
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
I totally agree with everything you have said here, but I should add that a potential LO has to give me a very strong indication that it is OK to proceed. It is this apparent limerence from her that sets off my limerence. I’ve never been the one who sees some good looking girl and starts stalking her; I have to be given a very good reason.
“I totally agree with everything you have said here, but I should add that a potential LO has to give me a very strong indication that it is OK to proceed. It is this apparent limerence from her that sets off my limerence. ”
Like you, I have never become limerent for someone who shows no interest in me. There has to some obvious mutual sexual chemistry or connection (I am pretty good at determining the difference between friendly and FRIENDLY), but I never assume mutual limerence. Some people will feel connection/chemistry with a wide range of people, and I have no way of knowing if I’m just on the list of many or at the top of the list. I think it may be somewhat rare for two first choices to get together (unfortunately).
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
Some people claim to have done it.
It’s possible, but the older one gets, the stronger the likelihood that a first choice is not available.
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
Yeah, I am all too acutely aware of this. When I meet St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, I am going to raise hell if I’m not granted a second lifetime, since God made it so goddamn hard to figure it all out in one lifetime. Otherwise, I’m going to be more irate than a Walmart Redneck trying to refund a crate full of empty whisky bottles for their full price.
Well, not to sound snarky, but most people adapt to not getting their first choice. They just move down the list of choices until they get a hit! 🙂 And I think they are perfectly happy with it. I mean, you don’t always get your first job choice or first choice of city to live in, etc. Now, for a limerent, not getting a first choice may be a harder pill to swallow, but what are you going to do?
Allie 1 says
I feel your frustration!
There is a nicer reason why someone might back-off when faced with someone’s limerent intensity – I am speaking from personal experience of being the LO here. LOs might have some feelings for limerent but they are a normal “like” / “attracted”, not limerence i.e. obviously not as strong nor as sure as the limerents feelings for LO. A large disparity in feelings can be off-putting early on (uncertainty breeds limerence after all!) and it may make LO believe they could wind up really hurting the limerent if they are not 100% sure. No-one wants to be the bad guy/woman.
Limerent Emeritus says
What’s your definition of settling?
Any decision we make involves some degree of settling. Some things are non-negotiable, other things are negotiable. Not all specs are created equal. I was raised near Chicago. The unofficial motto is “Everything’s negotiable.”
I may want a certain make and model of car in a specific color. I may not be willing to negotiate on the make and model but I might on the color. If a dealer had the make and model of the car that I wanted but another color was less money or it was the high-end model for the same price, I might be willing to negotiate on the color.
My specifications for an SO are an attractive, intelligent, charming, self-sufficient woman with a decent sense of humor, and more important, who loved me, trusted me, and wanted to be with me. Those are the non-negotiables for me.
There’s nothing cooler than being with someone who truly wants to be with you.
The first woman I asked to marry me was LO #2, a 5’4″ redhead who met the first 5 specs in spades but not the last 3. My wife is a 5’2″ blonde who met them and a few others that weren’t on the list. She not only met the specifications, she exceeded them. That’s where enthusiasm comes in.
When LO #2 admitted that she wanted to look around some more, and if she didn’t find anything she liked better she might come back and settle for me, it finally sank in that she didn’t love me, trust me, or want to be with me. I’d known it for over a year but that admission was like getting hit between the eyes with a baseball/cricket bat.
Even better, I knew I’d never trust her again. If we were together either she’d have one eye on the door or I’d always be someone less than what she felt she wanted or was entitled to. Nothing she could ever say or do could erase that. Not that she tried.
Neither of those were acceptable, so she had to go. Less than a year from her admission, I was married to another woman.
I would assume that, for most limerents, settling is not getting with an LO who is also limerent for them. One of my LOs became a serious boyfriend, but he was not a limerent, more like an “I’ll take what’s in front of me” type, so I don’t count him. In fact, there are a lot of them I don’t count. 🙂 Now, it’s entirely possible to end up with an LO and determine the person is wrong for you or to end up with an SO you were not limerent for and determine the person is right for you. But I think most limerents want to experience mutual limerence at least once in their lives in a situation that is significant.
Limerent Emertitus says
“But I think most limerents want to experience mutual limerence at least once in their lives in a situation that is significant.”
I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ve ever been anyone’s LO. I’m not sure I’ve ever met another limerent. 4 women I’ve known might have been limerents. That includes LOs #2 & #4.
When Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” came on the radio and he sang,
“I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire”
LO #2 said, “That’s me. I can do that.”
She told me that sometimes it was like there was “an angel on your tongue,” stolen from U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” She said I could say something and she’d “melt.” It may have been the closest I’ve ever been to being an LO. I think LO #2 had the capability to be a limerent but I don’t know that she was.
The other women I never got close enough to for me to hazard a guess. LO #4 was familiar with the term limerence but I never got her to reveal enough of herself to make a call beyond if she was a limerent, I didn’t make it to LO. She said she was a recovering co-dependent and our acquaintance was never a co-dependent relationship.
Limerent Emeritus says
I may have been wrong about not ever meeting a limerent. I had a distant cousin I posted about elsewhere that seemed to be a Limerent with a capitol “L.”
Thought for the day:
For giggles, I ran some numbers. I used https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/weekinreview/12kolata.html One interesting thing was the article debunked the difference between the number of sexual partners between men and women. Those numbers should be equal.
So, averaging them gets us a median 5.5 sexual partners in the US and 9.5 in the UK. (either they’re more horny or more honest). These were for heterosexuals.
If the rate of limerence is 5% and is uniformly distribution. The odds are 95% of any given partner being non-limerent are %=(.95E5.5)x100=~75%. In the UK that number drops to ~60%. That means 25% (1/4 US, 2/5 UK) are limerents.
Sleep with 13 partners and it’s even money you’ve slept with a limerent.
Branching out, the literature says the rate of Cluster B personality disorders (ASPD, BPD, HPD, & NPD) in the general population is ~10% and some sources think that estimate is low. The old estimates had those spread evenly across the 4 disorders.
Applying the same math and the same number of partners, the odds are 44% that you’ve slept with a Cluster B in the US and 67% you slept with a Cluster B in the UK.
That’s pretty scary. I remember sitting in “Fatal Attraction.” I think it was with the SIL of a coworker. That woman was over the top. As a watched the movie, I began to wonder who I might be sitting next to.
It doesn’t mean that just because you slept with a limerent that you became an LO or got involved in a relationship with a whack job. But, based on the numbers, it’s not all surprising if you did.
You forgot one very key statistic, and I’m not a numbers person, but … if you did sleep with a limerent and, if that person became limerent for you (two big “ifs”) … is this a person you want to have limerent for you? I’m guessing not. I guess I don’t understand the difference between someone who wont’ take no for an answer and go away and limerence. Its’ entirely possible they’re just a narcissist who doesn’t like to be rejected.
Limerent Emeritus says
“You forgot one very key statistic, and I’m not a numbers person, but … if you did sleep with a limerent and, if that person became limerent for you (two big “ifs”) … is this a person you want to have limerent for you? ”
I didn’t forget it. I wasn’t considering it.
My point was to merely point out what the likelihood of encountering a limerent was based on the median number of sexual partners. It wasn’t intended to comment on whether they became limerent for you or not.
You can sleep with any number of limerents of any flavor (Narcs, Borderlines, non-disordered) but if you don’t have their glimmer, you don’t become an LO. You just don’t. It kind of goes back to the question of if you have limerent tendencies but never encounter an potential LO with your glimmer, are you a limerent? The way I read Tennov, the answer would be “No.” You aren’t a limerent until you actually exhibit the behaviors that qualify you as a limerent. Many DSM diagnostic criteria require a person to exhibit at least 5 of 9 criteria to qualify as a diagnosis. Tennov lists 10 criteria and DrL added one more.
Both my wife and LO #2 noted my assertiveness when I pursued them. LO #2 had the glimmer and my wife didn’t but the zeal in which I pursued them was the same. I also went at LO #4 pretty directly. I think it took her aback. The difference was how I responded to them, not how they responded to me.
But, in every case not one of them told me to “Buzz off, creep!” or asked me to stop. Not.One. My wife said she liked that I knew what I wanted and I wanted her. I was able to walk the fine line between assertive and obnoxious.
When it comes to glimmer, they could dip me in Strontium Aluminate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strontium_aluminate), put me under a spotlight, and I wouldn’t glow for anybody.
The best I could muster was LO #2 said I could be “irresistibly cute.”
It’s the most important point. Who cares if you inspire limerence you don’t like?
Limerent Emeritus says
I think you and I are communicating on different levels again.
“It’s the most important point. Who cares if you inspire limerence [in someone] you don’t like?
Why does it matter at all if you like the person you “inspire” to limerence or not? Most people have never heard of limerence let alone thought about how to make limerence work for them.
If you intend to “inspire” limerence in someone and consciously attempt to induce it, how does that make you any different than any other narc or sociopath who leverages a vulnerability against someone? You have glimmer to them and you’re singing to them but if you like the person, it’s ok if you inspire limerence in them? It’s one thing to pick up on on someone’s subtle signals, it’s something else to attempt to use those signals to manipulate them. I picked up on LO #4’s clues and responded to them but I never used them against her.
Maybe it’s your choice of words but that’s how I’m reading them.
Limerence causes people discomfort, pain, and has real world repercussions but it’s ok if you “inspire” limerence in them and you like them? If you really like someone, you try to make their life better, not worse.
We can keep going on this or we can just drop it.
Let’s drop it. You are misinterpreting what I’m writing.
Allie 1 says
Proper consummation of mutual limerence… yes, a very hard dream to let go of.
But what are the chances, given limerence happens to 5% of the population and usually arises because we can’t get the LO?
I suspect most mutual limerence occurs where both people have SOs and know their LO reciprocates with intensity but neither can act due to the mutual barriers.
I guess it might also happen due to mutual shyness or fear of rejection.
Well, if not mutual limerence than someone who is really, really into you. You’re their first choice, they want you, they are burning for you. Not a convenience thing or I’m “trying to get over someone else” and there you were or I’d be happy with a lot of people and you said yes or I just like the validation.
Limerent Emeritus says
“Well, if not mutual limerence than someone who is really, really into you.”
That, I did get.
It took a little time for my wife to come around but once she did, it was nothing but, “Lets do this!”
Years ago, my wife and I were talking to my aunt. She was married to my father’s oldest brother who died in 1974. She never remarried although she could have if she’d wanted to. She said she never would remarry. Her comment was that once you’ve had the best, nothing can replace it. Interestingly, in other conversations, she had some distinctly unflattering, but entirely credible, things to say about my uncle. But, that’s life.
The other side of that coin was we had a neighbor in the early 90s who lost her husband on D-Day, over 45 years earlier. She had a long-time “gentleman caller” that she’d been close to for decades. He’d lost his wife. They never married but they didn’t have to. It was obvious they loved each other and all that was missing was a common address, a piece of paper, and some rings.
Later, my wife and I were having a discussion about whether we’d remarry should one of us die. I told her that I’d probably look for another relationship but it might not include marriage. I told her that one thing I’ve learned from being married is that the right person can add a lot to your life and I think I’d like to have that again if she were gone.
My wife said she thinks she’d be more like my aunt. That she’d never again have a serious relationship with anyone. That’s kind of flattering.
Since things have gotten so much better in our lives, I’m starting to come around more to my aunt’s way of thinking. But, I’m not interested in finding out.
A lot of older women don’t get remarried. A lot of older men do. Within about a year of their spouse’s death. Wife’s friend, the neighbor, etc. 🙂
Allie 1 says
Yeah, I get you now. Anything other than that can never really be enough.
JAMES AFOURKEEFF says
Yes, I think most people stumble into relationships without making it a life or death mission. But if you are not being presented with enough potential opportunities, it seems like trying to accelerate things might help, but it never does — with anything.
I keep reading about limerence, in an attempt to understand my own feelings. From what I can gather, I think limerence might differ from other kinds of relationships and/or friendship in general in that a limerent episode often involves two things (1) sugary highs and (2) feelings of resentment, due to the compulsory nature of longing being so painful and inescapable.
Does anyone else think resentment might be an intrinsic part of limerence i.e. when the LO doesn’t reciprocate or pulls back or changes the rules of engagement, as it were? We start resenting formerly beloved LO when LO starts denying us that hit of pleasure? Would that be a good way of putting it? 😛
I’ve had potential LOs “let me down gently” e.g. try to explain to me very politely they weren’t interested and why. (The “why” usually had nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own history). Now that I’m older, I appreciate such … honesty and emotional maturity. But, at the time, it was difficult to take a step back from the situation, because of all the emotional “noise” inside my head.
I’ve also had potential or proper LOs who weren’t upfront, and who seemed to tolerate or even encourage infatuation based on what they could get out of the deal e.g. attention, validation, a loyal and generous friend, etc. In those situations, I felt a bit exploited when the dynamics of the bond became clear.
I’ve also had situations where I’ve suspected people of having feelings for me, although I didn’t really encourage romantic interest. On the other hand, I don’t know if I did enough to discourage romantic interest, either, once I observed the other person’s continuing veiled attraction… It is very flattering to be found attractive, especially if the person doing the desiring is physically attractive himself/herself. It’s hard not to feel charmed by people who have charms.
The individuals who were potentially limerent for me (I can think of one girl and one guy, both from different cultural backgrounds to me, off the top of my head) never came out and stated their interest, though. Just a lot of knowing smiles and longing looks and one or two accidental touches that weren’t accidents, strictly speaking. The girl, for example, rubbed the inside of my wrist once when I was paying a bill. She would always encourage me to hang around, even after I’d finished my meal. The guy once tugged on my shirt, like he wanted to tell me something. But I left before he could tell me what it was, as I was running late.
I never felt threatened by my limerent admirers, even though the male probably did engage in a little light stalking – he’d turn up at the French bakery when I used to eat breakfast, giggle, smile, refuse to talk to me, run away. I think I felt at once puzzled and amused. I didn’t know what to make of the situation, and he certainly wasn’t going to tell me. I think it became some kind of game to us both.
He moved to a different country for work, eventually, before COVID struck, and I haven’t seen him since. He told me, before leaving, he hoped to come back and see me specifically. I thought that would be an awful lot of fuss to make for someone he barely knew. His comments puzzled me, as we didn’t have much of a bond really. All he did was admire me from afar for a couple of years as we moved in the same social circles. I addressed him directly once or twice, in the hopes of having a casual conversation, but he was too shy to respond and clammed up.
I’m not sure if I’m a bad person or not for failing to disillusion him. He never made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t think a relationship could ever develop between us, though, as I genuinely felt/feel no physical attraction to him…
I guess that’s my strange experience of being someone’s LO. The benefits of hindsight, eh? I didn’t think about it much while it was happening, to be honest. I saw my limerent admirer as someone who maybe had a small crush on me. I openly flirted with other male friends in front of him, and it never put him off. 😛
“Does anyone else think resentment might be an intrinsic part of limerence ”
I would even go so far as to use the word hostility once I finally was honest with myself and admitted that, despite all his heavy flirtation, he was never going to act on it, and he probably never had any intention of acting on it. I sometimes would have daydreams about getting to him the way he’d gotten to me. I had visions of running him over with my car (truly :)), but he was like a game piece at an amusement park booth, and he just popped right back up, dusted himself off and went back to work. As in … I couldn’t “get” to him. He was immune.
Allie 1 says
“Does anyone else think resentment might be an intrinsic part of limerence ”
I have never felt like that as fortunately for me, I have ever been successfully played by anyone.
This crazy limerent tendency of mine is in me so I own it 100%. My LOs have not doing anything wrong by being attracted to me, nor have they doing anything wrong in not wanting that attraction to become anything more. These are hard things to talk about so I can’t blame them for not. They are imperfect humans, as am I.
However, if they had deliberately and knowingly cultivated my affections on an ongoing basis, without any intent to act, then yes, I would absolutely resent them.
Limerent Emeritus says
I agree with you.
The only LO I resent is LO #2 for many of the same reasons that I resent my mother for. One of the benefits of therapy was to identify and legitimize that resentment. Things were said and events occurred. They were real and I no longer had to try to rationalize or excuse them. I could choose to forgive them or not. I’m still working on that.
Try getting your head around this:
During her great confession, LO #2 said, “You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried, the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.”
I asked her if I had been playing a game that I couldn’t win. She said, “Pretty much.”
I gave her one more shot at getting back together. She declined and I went NC. But, when she cycled back through, I let her in and went another round with her.
God, I was stupid.
“You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried, the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.””
She may have been s***-testing you to see if you’d ever say no.
Limerent Emeritus says
I did say “No.” But, I couldn’t stick to it.
It wasn’t until she admitted l was Plan B or lower and I almost backhanded her with my fist, that pissed me off enough to kick her to the curb.
Limerent Emeritus says
The thing is, I didn’t think it was morally wrong to knock out a few of her teeth, it was that she wasn’t worth going to jail and ruining my life for.
Damned, executive brain…
I actually like when a man says no. Not just for the sake of saying not but because he if he needs to put up a boundary. I had a co-worker whose mother would call at any time for help. She’d tell him it was an emergency. He’d rush over to her house and she’d need a lightbulb changed. And yet he never put up a boundary with her because I think he was still trying to win her attention, even though he was in his 40s. I don’t know how that didn’t drive his wife crazy. I mean, you’re in the middle of dinner and your mother-in-law calls to have a lightbulb changed and your husband leaves to do it.
Limerent Emeritus says
I had no problem saying “No” to LO #2 on everyday issues or most other people for that matter. I have pretty good boundaries and can usually enforce them.
It was only when it comes to ending relationships that I don’t want to end that I have trouble saying “Enough” and sticking to it. I’ll look under every rock and turn over every leaf before I give up. Sometimes, I might do it twice just in case I missed something.
I tried to end it with LO #4 but couldn’t until she decided to throw the flag. The EAP counselor warned me, “Stay involved with this woman and this will not end well for you.”. But, I think I would have tried to stay in the game as long as LO #4 let me.
It’s a weakness.
I’m the opposite. I don’t assume any relationship is permanent. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Limerent Emeritus says
I’ve only become limerent for women I’ve attached to or want to. I wasn’t only attached to LO #2, I was invested in her. Up to my eyeballs.
Until I attach to them or they call it off, I had no problem walking away once I realized something held no promise. My wife broke two dates. If she had broken off one more, I was ready to ditch her. But, she didn’t. My wife taught on an Air Force Base and lived near it. From the way she behaved the first few months, I thought she was married to some guy on deployment. But, she introduced me to he coworkers and introduced me to her family when they were in town. Those killed the married theory.
It took a month from the time I intellectually knew LO #2 and I had no future until we broke up. I posted about that epiphany elsewhere. I never felt that way before and I hope I never feel that way again. I naively thought we could stay friends until it died a natural death. I was wrong.
Another thing LO #2 said during her great confession was that she told the guy she was sleeping with that I was “still my best friend and I’m not ready to give you up.” Seriously. I thought that was metaphorical but it wasn’t.
So, from the time we split on paper until we said goodbye was about 15 months.
I knew as soon as LO #4 sent me the email saying she’d been assaulted and had left her BF that she had to go. Unfortunately, she unwittingly played into my childhood vulnerability. Despite the warnings, I pushed her pretty hard and when it looked like she responded, I panicked. I think it hit her like a bucket of cold water and she’d had enough. But, she was very gracious about it and I never thought she was operating under anything less than good faith. Overall, it took a year to disengage.
I knew the right answers, I just couldn’t pull it off.
Back to your last comment:
“I’m the opposite. I don’t assume any relationship is permanent. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”
What, then, are you looking for?
I meant that I don’t invest more than the other person does. I match their efforts. It’s taken me a long time to get here as I always felt I was investing more or doing more or trying to nudge things along, and I won’t do it anymore. And sometimes you have to give up the ghost and walk. It’s just the way it is. It’s obvious the other person is half-invested or playing hot and cold because they have a bunch of other people in the que.
Vicarious Limerent says
I am having trouble with my feelings for LO #2. We have become very good friends, and we have hung out one-on-one three times now. She usually checks with me to see if I am going out to committing to a night out with our other friends, and we often drive each other places when we’re going to meet friends. We do enjoy each other’s company, but I’m married (very unhappily so and I’ve mentioned it to my wife many times, but I still won’t physically cheat while I am with her), LO #2 thinks of me as just a friend and I know I’m not her type. The problem is she has recently started to really flirt with other men in front of me. I know she is dating and having casual sex. I am NOT slut-shaming this woman in any way, and I believe wholeheartedly that she can do whatever she wants (on some level, I even want her to meet someone who will love and care for her, but the thought of her actually falling in love with someone bothers me more than the thought she is sleeping with other men — as long as she doesn’t rub my nose in it). She is free to flirt with, date or sleep with any other man. She is a free agent and I have absolutely no claim on her. As a married man who is just her friend, I have absolutely not a leg to stand on in objecting to any of her behaviour. But I adore this woman, and there is no question that she flirted with me quite a bit early on (but not for over a year now). I really think we could have a nice life together if my marriage ever ended, despite there being a few things about her that aren’t exactly perfect for me (and me not being her type). There is no question she at least has an idea how I feel about her.
We are all part of a fairly big group of friends. If I lose her friendship, I will pretty much lose the rest of my friends too — the only people who are willing to hang out with me these days (although I could see hanging out with my male friend once in a while if she isn’t coming out). Things were very bleak and lonely until I hooked up with this crowd a little over a year-and-a-half ago. I really enjoy hanging out with her and my other friends, but I keep on coming back to the idea that I should provide a partial disclosure to her followed by no contact. The problem is it would break my heart to lose her, but I feel deep down that might be the best thing for me in the long-term.
However, when I am completely honest with myself, I do admit that part of my rationale for disclosure is hoping she will declare her undying love for me and beg me not to go no contact. I imagine her bursting into tears and wrapping her arms around me, telling me she feels the same way I do and how wishes I could leave my wife to be with her. But she is more likely to shrug her shoulders and say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but alright, no big deal.” Where does that leave me then? At least I would have an answer that she doesn’t feel the same way about me (which I am 99% sure is true). I would then lose her as a friend, along with several other people.
I want to keep her in my life, but it is becoming more and more painful, particularly as our friendship deepens while, at the same time, she feels more comfortable flirting with and possibly picking up guys right in front of me. Can I ever be “just a friend” to this woman? I have asked people on the private forum whether I should go no contact, and the prevailing feeling is I should just somehow find a way to manage my feelings and keep on telling myself that I’m married and not available to her anyway, and that she could be rejecting me only for that reason. But I keep on coming back to this thought that maybe I should move on in order to recover by cutting her out of my life. The problem is I already experienced transference from LO #1 to LO#2, and I believe that as long as I remain in my marriage (which is deeply unsatisfying), I am just going to meet another LO and experience transference again, so what’s the point in losing a bunch of friends over my inability to manage my inappropriate feelings? Who knows what the future could bring too.
If I did go no contact, there is no way I couldn’t provide at least a partial explanation to her. I feel that I owe it to her, and she would keep on trying to contact me through alternate channels if I simply unfriend, block and ghost her without explanation. I care too much about this lady to do that to her, not to mention the fact that my other friends would be angry and perplexed with me. I wish I could leave my wife, but she will NEVER accept that our marriage is dead. Christmas is coming up, but in the New Year I am going to insist on counselling (I know, I sound like a broken record with that), but I doubt even that will get through to her. She is receiving some professional support and counselling for her relationship with my daughter, and she isn’t getting the message that she has a large part to play in our family struggles, and things won’t change unless she is willing to make some changes too. She is extremely obstinate and refuses to accept that she could be part of the problem. But with my marriage, even if she totally changed, I think it’s too late and the damage has been done. I want out, and nothing is going to change that. With her refusing to accept that, it is really prolonging the agony and making things much more difficult for us all. I have very little hope I could ever be with LO #2 (or even LO #1), but I feel like I wouldn’t be so hung up on one person if I was free to meet other people and date. I don’t know; I am so at a loss. I really feel like I am falling in love with LO #2, and to lose her would kill me, and I might go back into a deep depression after experiencing significant improvement lately. My wife doesn’t know how I feel about LO #2 (although she definitely has figured out I like her), but I don’t think I would be able to hide the sadness from her if I went no contact with LO #2. But could that be something that would help her to realize our marriage is well and truly over? I don’t know; it would open me up to a whole world of hurt.
Allie 1 says
Sorry you are struggling VL. I can relate… NC is a bad option for me also and am kinda glad of that as my LE, while it has a dark side, does give me something too thus I don’t really want to give LO up.
Can you put more thought management techniques into practice? It is not easy to persist as limerent reveries are incredibly tempting, but it is an effective dampener if you stick with it.
“part of my rationale for disclosure is hoping she will declare her undying love for me and beg me not to go no contact. I imagine her bursting into tears and wrapping her arms around me, telling me she feels the same way I do and how wishes I could leave my wife to be with her.”
What would you do if that happened?
On the flip side, rejection would feel really painful but… it might help resolve the LE.
I think the most likely outcome is that she does like you, but is not a limerent, will therefore not satisfy your desire for complete reciprocation and may unwittingly fuel your limerence further. Many people just do not fall in love outside of a relationship – my SO was like that – it took time for his feelings to catch up with mine. She sounds like that to me, otherwise I don’t think serial flings and casual sex would do it for her as much as it seems to. Absolutely no judgement from me either on that front… I actually really envy her ability to find casual satisfying!
Setting aside your limerent feelings for her, from a dispassionate perspective, what type of person is she. Is she kind and compassionate? Is she generous> Is she secure or a pleaser? Or is she a more the fun, lively type that tends to looks out for herself primarily? Is she deep or shallow? Is she humble or narcissistic?
If she is genuinely a good person then personally in your situation, I would disclose my feelings – but I would impress upon her your need for concrete certainty. If she is truly nice then she won’t want you to suffer.
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Allie. I had two really bad days there, but I am starting to feel a bit better today. My mood definitely goes up and down. My problems don’t go away, but some days I’m better able to cope than others. I don’t want to go no contact, but I keep on coming back to it as an option. Yet I think my thoughts of going no contact are really focused on her immediate reaction and not enough based on what no contact would really entail in the long-term. I think I would be pretty miserable to be perfectly honest, and my wife would definitely know something is up if I suddenly stopped going out with my friends.
I think I need to train my mind to stop ruminating and fantasizing about her. I need to focus on her flaws and the parts of her that aren’t a good fit for me. I also need to train myself to be stoic when she gets hit on or ends up with another guy. I know it WILL happen so I have to be prepared for it and not come across like a jealous loser. I am simply not available to this woman anyway. Purposeful living is also a good way of keeping my mind off her, as is staying off social media (and maybe ultimately limiting my exposure to this site).
To answer some of your questions, if she declared her undying love for me, it would be a huge motivation to finally leave my marriage. I would find a way to be with her if that happened. I think she is enjoying playing the field for the moment, but I do think she eventually wants a relationship and she does lament the low quality of single men out there (particularly online). I really mean it when I think she and I could have a really nice life together. Part of the rationale for her engaging in casual sex and hookups is the fact that she is getting older and she recognizes that she isn’t going to keep her looks forever. She was also on her own for a long time after splitting up with her ex, and I believe she is kind of making up for lost time. She is blessed to be a very attractive older woman who could probably get a man half her age, but that won’t always be the case. I believe she is mostly into younger men for casual flings, but she would prefer someone closer to her own age for a relationship (although I do believe she would still like to go a little younger even for a serious relationship — at least I would hope so anyway).
She is kind, empathetic and decent. I do think she cares about other people, and she is a good listener. However, I don’t think LO #2 is above being a little selfish and self-centred at times. She is beautiful, fun, exciting, hilarious, smart, successful and hard-working. But I wouldn’t say she’s humble. I actually think she is a little pompous in some ways. She really enjoys the attention and the fact that men really like her — and it shows. While she is a beautiful woman, I believe she thinks she is even more beautiful than she actually is. Part of the problem is that so many people (men and women) constantly tell her how gorgeous she is and she gets a lot of compliments for how she manages to stay so fit and trim. She is pretty damn impressive — especially for her age — but she’s far from perfect.
As far as disclosure is concerned, I was thinking about hinting at how awesome I think she is and telling her I am just letting her know that as “back pocket information” in case things ever change in our situations. Jealousy is weird between us because I am positive she is also jealous when I talk about other women. I can see that tell-tale jealous look on her face when I do, so what’s up with that? Perhaps, as you say, she does like me on some level, but I doubt very much she’s limerent for me. She did flirt with me for sure in the past (although everything she did was cloaked in plausible deniability).
“As far as disclosure is concerned, I was thinking about hinting at how awesome I think she is and telling her I am just letting her know that as “back pocket information””
If you are going to disclose, really disclose. A mushy disclosure is too easy for the other person to bat away and inspires no confidence.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Marcia, sure. I wouldn’t make it a wishy-washy disclosure. There would be no doubt in her mind how I feel. On the other hand, I wouldn’t tell her I’m obsessed with her and spend most of my days fantasizing about being with her. That would just come across as creepy and inappropriate.
“On the other hand, I wouldn’t tell her I’m obsessed with her and spend most of my days fantasizing about being with her. That would just come across as creepy and inappropriate.”
I never said to say that. But telling her to keep you in the backpocket … That isn’t going to inspire her to throw her arms around you, which is what you say you want. Tell you have feelings for her and you want to be with her. Isn’t that pretty much it?
Limerent Emeritus says
Meeting someone can be quite a catalyst for inspiring change. Meeting my wife was the catalyst I needed to finally pull the plug on LO #2. The relationship was dead but until I met my wife, I was willing to let things drift off into a few years of birthday and Xmas cards until one year, they’d stop coming. After I met my wife, there was absolutely no reason to continue dealing with LO #2. LO #2 was in the way.
Until you’re available, it really doesn’t make much difference what you do as far as your LO goes. If maintaining your social circle is important to you, suck it up and play the game.
When I disclosed to LO #4, she said, “Wow! I had no idea. I’m flattered [something no man wants to hear from a woman] and under different circumstances, I might even be curious [I thought that was ok}. But, circumstances are what they are.” It didn’t take a gypsy to read those tea leaves.
Later, when I said I was detaching, LO #4 sent me the FB friend request. When I panicked and asked that we not be friends, she not only unfriended me, she blocked me. I thought that was bitchy but kind of flattering. If the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference, LO #4 wasn’t indifferent. I kind of like that, too. In her goodbye, LO #4 said, “I wish you no ill will.” Nice of her…[sarcasm intended]
I came up with an interesting aside while contemplating my recent social media relapse. When I encountered her, LO #4 lived in LA and moved in some pretty interesting circles. When she left he BF, she moved to within 15 miles of where I’d moved from. I could get to her with my eyes closed. I gave her directions to stores. I don’t think I could ever be part of her LA world, but I could definitely see myself in her new world. I’m sure it fed the limerence.
I think she may have move back to LA but I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.
I wasn’t looking for trouble and inadvertently ended up attaching to a woman I never actually met and probably never will. Worse, the woman is like gum on the bottom of my psychic shoe. I don’t want her there and she’s no threat to me but I can’t seem to get her out of my head permanently. It’s almost 6 years since goodbye, she still chews up more than her share of head space periodically. She hasn’t contacted me once since goodbye.
The point is that I was never in the game with LO #4. As long as you’re not in the game, what is she to do?
The purposeful route is to get out of your marriage, declare yourself, and see what happens. The less purposeful route is to try and hedge your bet. Declare yourself first and see how she responds.
But, you have to be prepared to accept the response and act accordingly. If she’s into you, are you prepared to end your marriage? Seriously. If she demurs or shuts you down, are you prepared to handle the rejection and potential loss of your social circle?
Or, you can continue to live in Limbo. I hear it’s getting its own Zip Code and Area Code.
“Or, you can continue to live in Limbo. I hear it’s getting its own Zip Code and Area Code.”
It already has its own website. 🙂
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Marcia & @ LE, thanks for your input. I can see both of your points. If I made a full-on declaration of love towards LO #2, she either (1) rejects me and tells me she only thinks of me as a friend; (2) tells me she feels the same; or (3) tells me that she might be interested if I was single, but since I’m not it’s all academic. I doubt very much that #2 is the case, and I actually think #1 is the most likely (even if she does feel a spark for me, I think that is what she would say). There are some things pointing to the possibility there are feelings on her end too, but she has made it clear I’m not her type (although she was pretty amorous with a guy who also isn’t her type the other night). There is the possibility she has one type for a fun short-term fling and another for a long-term relationship, but I don’t know (I know if I ever became single again there is a certain type I would love to have a fling with, but I wouldn’t necessarily settle down with such a woman).
I think you’re right that I should just suck it up for now and learn to live with the jealousy. Otherwise I’m going to be helluva lonely without the only friends who actually want to spend time with me these days. I really am serious that I want separation and divorce. I have told my wife this maybe 100 times, and I am steadfast and relentless in telling her that even when we aren’t fighting. She wants to fight for our marriage at all costs, but I do not agree; I want to end it at all costs, but I sometimes feel guilty for wanting to end a marriage that isn’t 100% terrible 100% of the time. I am hoping counselling will let her see not only that she isn’t a good fit for me, but also that I’m not a good fit for her either. Life is too damn short to waste it being miserable.
You are right LE that meeting someone can so often be a catalyst for change. That was the case when I met LO #1 almost two years ago to the day. Meeting her and becoming limerent for her told me that the state of my marriage, family life and many other aspects of my life were simply unacceptable. I am no longer limerent for her, but she keeps on threatening to come back into my life due to some connections I have with her through other people. But she was really just a fantasy because she was a stranger I met in a bar. She never gave me any validation. LO #2 is so much more real because she is an actual friend (a pretty good friend by now) who has given me at least some validation. I don’t want to destroy that friendship, but if my marriage did end, I would risk it for a chance with her. I adore this woman, and she turns my crank like no one I have ever met, even if there are a few things about her that aren’t ideal for me on paper (although she is pretty much the girl I used to dream about back in high school).
“(I know if I ever became single again there is a certain type I would love to have a fling with, but I wouldn’t necessarily settle down with such a woman).”
This got my attention. 🙂 What do you mean? If it’s just that one is young and one is more age-appropriate, you don’t have to answer. But if it’s something like … a woman with the motorcycle/tattoo dudes versus more relationship-appropriate dudes .. tell me more. 🙂
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Marcia, yeah you kind of nailed it. The fantasy is a bad girl with lots of tattoos, preferably quite curvaceous and a fair bit younger than me. I am not saying there is anything wrong with tattoos at all. In this day and age, they are so common, and really aren’t a signifier of anything. LO #1 has a couple, and she is a Doris Day type, so no big deal, but I’m talking a full-on hard living rocker/biker chick who is heavily tattooed, wears lots of leather and likes to party and drink a lot. (Such a woman wouldn’t be interested in a straitlaced middle-aged, middle class suburban father like me anyway, but I think we probably all have our fantasies; yet we wouldn’t necessarily settle down into a serious relationship with our fantasy types — NOT that such people are necessarily truly BAD people.)
“The fantasy is a bad girl with lots of tattoos, preferably quite curvaceous and a fair bit younger than me. ”
I don’t get the younger thing. As I’ve aged, the men I find appealing have aged with me.
But I do know what you mean about dating someone “inappropriate.” The last guy I dated … I wouldn’t call him a “bad boy” by any stretch of the imagination but we had very different backgrounds, different education levels. He said things that were completely inappropriate for a work situation. One day he told me his entire sexual history. Usually, I would HATE that. I don’t want to hear about other women with a man I’m interested in. But his stories were funny, kind of raunchy and a little strange … it was one of the best conversation I’d had in a while. 🙂 Cerebral he was not … operated on a gut level.
Limerent Emeritus says
Two of the most important lessons you learn in life are:
1. You can’t always get what you want as much as you think you want it.
2. Not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay there as much as you think you want them to.
Most of us learn the first lesson as kids but, as we mature, we learn to apply it in different contexts.
The second is somewhat a corollary of the first. Not everyone has to learn that one but my guess is most of us do at some point in our lives. Often, more than once. And, the second lesson always seems to be painful to learn. At least, all my experiences have been.
I know LO #4 has no place in my life and I’m having trouble crafting a scenario that does. It’s not going to happen. But, she’s still in my head. Maybe that’s the way I’m wired. I don’t let many women inside my head but once one makes it in there, i.e., I attach to them, I can’t seem to get rid of them.
It can be a real bitch sometimes.
Vicarious Limerent says
LO #2 MIGHT have an important place in my life long-term, and great if she does, but I suspect not. As much as I like her, I am totally open to other women when my marriage finally ends. I think that if and when I am finally single and can date, I won’t get nearly as hung up on one woman. I keep on reminding myself of the really attractive woman who was interested in me over the summer until she found out I’m married (she came from across the room to ask me up to dance and admitted she was nervous approaching me because my friend and I were sitting chatting with two other women; she was angry when she found out I’m married). Honestly, she was hotter than either LO #1 or LO #2. Thankfully I never became limerent for her though. Food for thought for sure!
Limerent Emeritus says
Damn the LOs!
Full speed ahead!