It’s not easy to get rid of limerence, but there are some tactics that can turn down the volume on the emotional overwhelm, and help you take back control of your life. Here are four of the best.
For all its promise of ecstasy, limerence can be an oppressive and disruptive force in life. Most often, it is when limerence develops for somebody inappropriate – when one or both of you are already committed, when your romantic feelings are unrequited, or when you become limerent for a toxic LO who is bad for you. I think most people who have experienced limerence have at some stage wanted to turn it off. So, is that possible?
Short post today!
Ha, ha. I am funny.
Given the impossibility of turning off limerence, the next best thing is to develop tactics for hastening its natural demise. So, what are the best options?
1) No contact
The best and tried-and-tested strategy, that merely requires superhuman discipline. No contact with LO will, inevitably, surely, lead to a fading of the limerence. If nothing else, it does give enough distance for objectivity to reassert itself and allow you to recall LOs obvious unsuitability and negative qualities. Of course, if LO is actually admirable, then this is not so promising. Smart arsery-aside, no contact is a very sensible strategy. Starve the source of limerent reinforcement. View the LO as a danger to your wellbeing, and cut all ties. Avoid their company wherever possible. Absolutely no social media contact. Get into the habit of always choosing the option that diminishes the chance of accidental contact. Absolutely, under no circumstances, allow your limerent brain to persuade you that you have got your feelings under control and you can be friends with LO now. Yeah, friends. No harm in that. Just friends. Who like to play chicken with the cripplingly intrusive thoughts that add so much spice to their life.
Sometimes, no contact is not possible for practical reasons. So next you could try…
2) Psychological deprogramming
The goal here is to reverse the mental training that you’ve diligently carried out that makes LO seem to be the most desirable and rewarding thing in existence. By the time you’re fully limerent, you’ll have a wildly distorted view of LO – you have, in fact, objectified them and made them into an impossibly desirable paragon. You need to undo that programming if you are going to recover.
One useful tactic to trick your brain into devaluing LO. It’s not a noble strategy this, but it can be effective. When in the company of LO, instead of reflecting on how lovely it is the way their chin has an adorable chubby crease as it merges with their oh-so-kissable neck, find a flaw and fixate on it. Your luck’s in if they have wonky teeth, or a prominent spot, or a receding hairline. The basic goal is to counter your traitor brain’s attempts to idealise the LO by feeding it negative data.
Appearance may not be the best approach here, as it is, after all, still their body and therefore hugely desirable by definition. More potent can be the memory of past shame.
An inevitable aspect of limerence is some encounter with LO – perhaps where your flirting was a bit clumsy or LO was in a bad mood – when you were hoping for a bit of sparkle, but instead got the horrible stomach-lurching rejection (or at least, obvious failure to reciprocate). I’m good at shame. I do shame well. If you do too, use this as fuel. Next time you are chatting with LO, and feeling all happy and chilled, REMEMBER THE SHAME. Remember that feeling of being foolish and ridiculous and rejected and wallow in it. Let it seep into you while LO is telling you all about the problems they are having with their SO (that you could obviously save them from).
Make the shame taint every good experience with the LO. No mercy.
This sort of aversion conditioning can be very effective at reversing your false belief that LO is the wellspring of all good feelings.
Assuming avoidance and aversion haven’t worked, your next hope is transference. You need a new LO. One who is suitable, or at least less toxic. If you have a SO, try and reconnect with them. Suggest new adventures. Get out of the ordinary routine. If you are keeping the limerence from them, this might be difficult to explain, but damn it, give it a try. If you don’t have an SO, then the world is your oyster. That limerence is a huge pent-up mass of romantic power. Unleash it on a worthy recipient. Cast around for someone else who gives you the glimmer, and seek their company at the expense of LO.
A possible byproduct of this, of course, is that LO may notice, and then get jealous, and finally see your value and then… oh, God damn it limerence, you monster!
Your last option is disclosure. Tell LO, straight to their face.
This will work, assuming that your LO isn’t a manipulative piece of shit. Disclose to them how strong your feelings are, that you don’t want to just be friends with them, that you want a romantic relationship, and that you hope that they feel the same way too. Really make it impossible for them to feign misunderstanding or confusion. If they laugh and change the subject, change it right back.
This might seem catastrophic. You will ruin a beautiful friendship. But be honest with yourself: it isn’t beautiful. Or a friendship. And after you’ve been honest with yourself, be honest with them. If they feel the same way about you, then you have got your heart’s desire. If they do not, then the uncertainty that is the essence of limerence is ended. They will probably now avoid your company, helpfully precipitating the no contact strategy. You will know that you can never pretend that you are just enjoying their company as a friend, and maybe one day their feelings may deepen…etc. It might hurt like a bastard at the time, but it’s a good strategy for living an authentic life to directly tell people that you care about, how you actually feel.
There are occasions where disclosure is not appropriate, of course. If they or you have a SO, and you do not want those relationships to end (side note: if you do want those relationships to end, then end them before you disclose. Nobody said being a decent human being was safe and easy). If they are vulnerable, and there is a power imbalance of some sort (professional being the most obvious). Finally, if you do disclose, and the LO evades the issue, makes light of it, or gives you a vague or non-committal response, you are probably limerent for someone who is going to make your life a misery of indecision and insecurity. You are better off without them. Seriously. Go back to strategy 1, and repeat until you win.
*Yes, I know it’s a volcano.
Want more ideas? Download a free e-book on how to take control of your fate and master limerence (in ten steps): click here
Deprogramming the limerent brain
Limerent Emeritus says
When I was getting out of my LE which had gone from a “friendly online relationship” to what met 2/3 of the criteria for a full blown emotional affair, I tried #1 first. It didn’t work too well.
By that time, I was well aware of the minefield that I’d sailed into. It wasn’t a question of knowing what the right answer was, it was a question of pulling it off without hitting any mines in the process.
So, after thinking it through, I decided to go to #4. We’d gotten into this mess after she’d broken up with her allegedly cheating boyfriend and she started reaching out to me. I thought that if I came clean and told her I’d become attracted to her, she’d see the irony in reaching out to a married guy, throw the flag, and end things. Not necessarily noble but, at the time, she was big on not being lied to and things would end honestly. It backfired and she wanted to get closer. The thing was, the closer she got, the higher my anxiety got. She got on my wife’s radar. It was not pleasant.
I told a friend that I’d disclosed and she said, “You really told her that? For a smart guy, you make some really bad assumptions.” This was the same woman who when I told her what was happening said, “Get away from her and stay away from her. Stay involved with this woman and this will not end well for you.” Sometimes, people will tell you things, if you’re smart enough to listen to them.
Logistics were in my favor and my distancing was eventually enough for her to end the acquaintance. She made the call that I tried to make but didn’t.
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, disclosure can be a high risk strategy. The most frustrating being an ambiguous response from a flaky LO, or thinking you know how LO will react but misjudging. It’s often unpredictable.
You have a wise friend. That’s a blessing!
Limerent Emertius says
One upside of disclosure as an exit strategy is that if it works, it eliminates that seed for rationalizing the need to return for closure.
No hope, no uncertainty, no upside to maintaining the relationship, and no “unfinished business” to bring you back.
Absolutely. Also, disclosure means no room for hiding in “friendship” while hoping that one day, somehow, everything will change and you’ll know exactly how they feel about you. And seize the perfect moment and perfect words to persuade them of your appeal. Fear about disclosure is often fear that if you lose the cloak of friendship, you’ll lose an opportunity for future persuasion. Uncertainty means there’s hope.
Disclosure cuts all of that false hope and uncertainty away.
what if your LO is married your not but they led you on telling you they are divorced then messed around and said keep it professional because he is married when questioned he said he’s divorced from baby mama for 7 years but didn’t state he married someone else. he apologized But it’s too late I am obsessed he had his hands all over my body and I’ve not felt like this about anyone in my life before. he was asking me what do I want do I want to f*** buddy because he’s married he can’t have a relationship and stupid me tells him I don’t want to relationship I don’t know what I want but I know I haven’t felt like this way before. So I don’t know what to do he looks at my stories on Instagram and I get so happy.
Hi ; thx for sharing . I am married and was having an online emotional affair with a married man for almost a year …never met . After 3 months he fizzled out and we didn’t communicate for 3 weeks . Decided to wish him Happy thanksgiving and our conversations soon started to get hot . Many attempts to meet but never happened . I went on vacation and during he blocked me online after being quite responsive to my conversations …I disclosed a very sensual dream to him and he loved it and wished me loving safe travels . A week into my vacation with no contact he blocked me . I am crushed and depressed . I did not try to reach out to him . Frankly ; I am embarrassed … that I didn’t see it coming . We chatted all day from good morning beautiful to good night sexy. This hurts ; I just want to get over this .
Limerent Emeritus says
You’ve come to the right place.
The virtual LE has it’s own set of dynamics. Not only did I never met LO #4, I never even talked to her directly. No eye contact, no body language, no voice inflection, nada. We’re looking at spelling, punctuation, verb tense, consistency of communication, pattern of responses, word selection, etc. LO #4 had a pattern to her usual missives but when I went directly at her, her whole style changed. The closer I hit to home, the more her pattern of responses changed, sometimes down to a single word. Her word selection seemed to reflect she didn’t know what she wanted to say or couldn’t articulate it. If we were sitting across the table from each other, we could get an idea of what’s happening and ask questions.
There are any number of reasons why your LO blocked you. Maybe his wife found out. LO #2 sent me a FB friend request 25 years after we said goodbye. I checked her out. The problem was once I did that, she kept coming up in my search string so I blocked her for about 5 years. I recently unblocked her and it’s ok now. LO #4 and I were briefly FB friends. That caused a lot of anxiety and I suggested we not be friends. She blocked me. He could be playing games with you and blocked you for sport.
This is great fuel for keeping the rumination mill running. We know it doesn’t matter why they block us and it actually makes things easier but where’s the fun in that?
It’s always better when your LO leaves by choice. LO #4 was gracious enough to actually say goodbye and that was nice of her. It doesn’t sound like you’ll get that kind of closure from him. You don’t really need it but it’s nice when you get it. If you scored LO’s like figure skating, LO #4 scores pretty well in both Technical Merit and Artistic Impression. LO #2 stunk in both.
Don’t be surprised if he reappears. He’s given you time. Use it to defend yourself.
Just a purely personal opinion, but I feel there’s something slightly selfish about disclosure. In my view, it unnecessarily burdens others who have no way of “real” way of fixing the obsession that lies within the limerent.
Again, I stress, this is how I feel. I would never tell my LO…what’s he supposed to do with that information? And I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me Bc I wouldn’t have anyway of helping them because limerence is such a personal situation to be in, the only real solution or remedy is for the limerent to do the work – the personal inside work. Yes, do the work. There are no short cuts. I’ve read about disclosure as a part of healing or whatever – but, I think keeping your dignity is a really important aspect of self worth. Disclosure is risky and garners no fool proof reward in the long run.
I’d never do it or recommend it.
Limerent Emeritus says
I agree with you that that disclosure is selfish. We don’t disclose for their benefit, we do it for ours.
By the time I disclosed to LO #2, I’d known her for several years. I disclosed after I was well into the Emotional Affair. Disclosure made things worse for awhile. But, we were both aware of the turf we were on.
For me, the biggest benefit of disclosure is I don’t live with that particular “what if?” We knew exactly why we were saying goodbye and acknowledged it. I like that.
I would think it is not selfish to disclose to someone that you have romantic feelings for them and if they are not in a space where they feel the same way you need to disengage for your own personal peace. If you think it is unnecessarily burdensome to tell someone they are a source of distress for you, that doesn’t have to be a part of the conversation to get the same outcome of disclosure for the sake of closure or a relationship that moves forward in a romantic way.
Now if the person is married or there is some other dynamic like the article mentions that is inappropriate to disclose, I do think it’s not appropriate to disclose in those scenarios.
Except when that person lies.
He went after me, not vice versa. I fell for him emotionally. I didn’t know he was married, because he was deceptive. I disclosed because I wanted clarity. Then he went no contact, which caused me tremendous pain as I didn’t know why. It surfaced few months later: married, 3 kids, gave me even the wrong name.
Selfish? Me? Disclosing and demanding clarity is what saved me.
But what if you work with the guy?
I overthink everything and am terrified that he is faking his flirting with me. He has given me little to no reasons to think this way but the past DOES come back to haunt a person.
Loved the article, very humorous on a very tricky subject. I am in a happy marriage, although I am struggling (as a male) with my wife post-menopause (no sex!).
I fixated on a much younger girl at the gym that I felt we had a connection when we worked out together, so much that she was in my head all the time. I didn’t even know about Limerence, but did a google search on what I was feeling and found that this describes my feelings perfectly.
I chose to disclose to her, really in the hope that she felt the same, how could I feel so much and yet she felt nothing? (probably something to do with the 20 year age gap!)
She was really lovely about it, kind and caring, and I now feel so stupid and foolish. What was I thinking! I still think she is gorgeous, but coming to the reality that nothing is going to happen.
One of the things that is helping me get over her is that when we actually had a conversation I realised that there is a big divide between her views and mine, probably again due to the age gap thing, and so I keep thinking of this when I find myself drifting into daydream territory. I also gave her far too much information about myself and probably scared the shit out of her 🙂 I’m really embarrassed by that.
I have stopped messaging her, but still need to “un-friend” her from Facebook so I don’t see her posts etc and get those feelings bubbling up inside again. I am reluctant to do that, because I like seeing her, but I know I must do it.
Thanks for your article, very helpful.
As the wife of someone who found himself with limerence for a few women during our marriage, each time these “friendships” developed into full blown affairs. My husband would describe himself in a happy marriage too. Yet he had obsessive thoughts & responded to the LO flirty advances. Unable to help himself he fell into affairs that he convinced himself were “unique & special” in order to hide the shame of infidelity. An emotional limerence is still an act of betrayal, just because your LO didn’t respond to your advances or because nothing physical happened you have still betrayed your wife in your happy marriage. Once my husband confessed of his infidelity (and we embarked on a long but very successful recovery) his “unique & special love” for his AP fizzled. His eyes & mind were open to the complicated thoughts he was having. And he was able to get therapy that healed his limerence & broken way of thinking. My advice, tell your wife what’s happened & go to a good couples counsellor. I wish you well.
Mary Lou says
I opted to disclose my feelings, repeatedly over a span of four years. My declarations of great love have always been met by his silence and aversion. I am now back on the no contact train, and I’m going to marry someone else. I love my SO, it’s just not with the same intensity. I will avoid, create mental aversions, and transfer my loving emotions to my fiancé. I really hope this works. I’m an older woman, and I want to love my SO and marry him with no reservations.
This is the best advice I’ve seen and also the only time I’ve laughed about my “condition”! I really appreciate this post and how artfully and humorously it is presented. The part about viewing your LO as a threat to your well being is awesome, I’ve had the thought that I had to save myself, even if suddenly avoiding LO made my issue even more obvious and suspicious. It was and it did and there was no need for me to disclose when I suddenly started avoiding him – too obvious, but it killed 2 birds with one stone I guess. And the memory of past shame technique is spot on effective.
I’m still battling after a year but I’m about 60% better. Getting there. Thank you.
Thanks for the comments (and praise!) Limerent!! Glad that the post was useful. Good luck battling on to 100%…
Hanging on says
I agree. This has been so therapeutic. I get so serious with all this limerance! Glad to know I’m not the only one dealing with this!
I did not know if this term or that it existed. It Now very much seems to fit and has been going on in my life for 27 years and cost me 2 long term relationships. I have been suicidal with this and I hope I’m dealing with it now, starting with a bit of number 1 and seeing how it goes. Very hard when the LO is a very deep and close friend. But if I can accept that this is what I have been experiencing all these years, perhaps I can get over it to.
My limerent feelings started when a FB friend snuck some love songs for me into a couple of messages. Threw me off balance. I fell into limerence which is not comfortable nor helps keep a clear mind. We are both single but impossible circumstances, distance and some other things. It changed the dynamics of a nice and easy newborn friendship that may or may not grow into something but very difficult when you do not know someone or can not see them.
This worked for me as well. No contact (Covid was helpful for this since I had to work from home for several months) and remembering times when he blew me off and I felt rejected were huge helps. We are both back at work and things are cordial and surprisingly normal. As someone who is married, I am so glad I did not disclose, as that would have opened up a major can of worms.
I have had Limerent feelings came up with a man 25 years ago. I was single, not dating, lonely and raising 3 kids without assistance. Thought he would be SO FUN and he was until I fell in Limerence. I was part of a harem of women who adored him, yuck. I eventually blocked all contact for EIGHT FREAKING YEARS, then thought I could reach out in friendship after he received a significant award for his long career….. wrong, it started back up all over again. ouch
This is brilliant and so lovely to have it put in light-hearted terms. As we are both single and I’ve tried everything else to no avail, this has persuaded me to go for disclosure, if and when we ever meet again. Really I’ve nothing to loose apart from months or years of heartache and self-delusion. I was widowed, quite young, 18 months ago, and this fantasy – with the vagueness and uncertainty that defines limerence – has helped in a strange way to put some light into those dark times. But it’s also added to the pain. The times I spend with LO are lovely. I think he does care and is unsure. Just not enough and probably never will be. I will loose a lovely friendship, but I’ll also be able to get on with my life and face reality, which I must.
Thanks for the lovely comment ditto85. Sorry to hear of your loss, but wishing you the best of luck (in limerence and love) in the future – with LO or without.
I, too, was recently widowed at a relatively young age. I found my interest in LO to originally be a helpful distraction from my grief, however now it is consuming nearly all my thoughts and time. I did disclose as I believed the feelings were reciprocated, but was rejected in a somewhat ambiguous way. Now I am finding signs everywhere that he is interested, but I think I am deluding myself. I need to move on from this, but as we work and live in the same place I cannot avoid him. I took several weeks away, during which I thought I could “get over it” but it didn’t work and I spent most of my time thinking of him. I can’t even properly grieve and deal with the death of my husband, so consumed am I with these fantasies that give me a thread of hope for the future. Maybe the focusing on negative traits will help. Thanks for the great article.
Anonymous, let me first extend my sincere condolences….what a sad loss for you. I do think that like drugs, limerence delays the emotional healing from a traumatic event. I have a friend whose limerence escalated after her dad died and she said she couldn’t properly grieve her dad until the LE ended much later. I too had been limerent before and after my Mum died and now that I am NC and I am finding that I am healing from the limerence little by little, but the grieving for Mum is escalating again, 2 years after she has passed away. I think this is healthy and a sign that I have things in the right order finally. When your limerence dies down you will be able to grieve as you need to. And it will! Try to use as much though control as you can! Be strong and take charge so the thoughts are eventually suffocated! I know then you can properly grieve and heart can heal. Wishing you the best.
My heart goes out to you Anonymous. That’s an awful place to be – torn by grieving on one side and distressing limerence on the other.
If your LO has given you an ambiguous response, it is a good idea to try and limit contact as much as you can (within work constraints). I say that because the uncertainty is going to keep you spinning your wheels and ruminating and wondering and trapped in the limerence. The best way out of that trap is to take purposeful action yourself to get away from LO and try to focus on new goals in life. You’ve been through a massive upheaval so that’s going to be really hard, but the limerence may be sort of acting as a sedative in a weird way – like your subconscious is trying to distract you from pain, perhaps.
Like many of us find, the short term boost in mood comes at a larger longer-term cost, so if you can decisively separate emotionally from LO it would hasten the healing.
Wishing you all the best.
Hi, Im going through this for a a year and a half already, My LO is someone who I work with and she’s married and Happy, It’s hard for me because i get to see her everyday and its emotional torture, agony and heartache, This has been really disturbing. I am thinking of resigning from my job but I cant since I still have to help my family financially, Looking forward to the day that Im totally free
If you are married or in a committed relationship, I’d suggest disclosure to a therapist and/or your spouse/partner. Attractions and infatuations are normal even in committed relationships; private obsessions or serial LOs are not. Disclosure to anyone pops the bubble, which is part of what keeps the limmerence experience alive. Expose it to the light of day and things will change one way or another. Keep it hidden and you are likely hurt yourself, your partner, your LO, and/or the LOs partner (and any children involved in the mix).
I don’t agree with disclosing to the partner especially if it’s someone whom you want to spend the rest of your life with. These limerents are fantasies nothing more. They will never come close to the bond we have with our spouse and telling the fantasy to them destroys relationships. It is up to the one who is addicted to get help not for the spouse to be pulled in to the extreme suffering.
I think if your behavior is crossing lines then you might want to.
I know what limerence is now but I didn’t for about two years.
I thought I was deep in love. A life-changing, poetic love.
No, I was addicted to the high.
I knew something was wrong. I realized I was off. I didn’t understand.
People become infatuated and have affairs.
Limerence is a nightmare.
One other technique that I stumbled on at the height of my limerence was forcing myself to try a couple of addicting phone games. My limerent brain was too stupid to read books at this point, and they couldn’t really compare to the limerent fantasy world I was living in, but I forced myself to get into Candy Crush again, and another super dumb but also addicting game. It was the weakest effort, but it took the edge off in moments of desperation, and it also became a part of my daily life as I traveled through a year of recovery. Especially for a brain that loves addiction, this is a poor substitute, but you can see how it could slightly work. It helped me – it was like my brain was finally able to get distracted for brief snatches of time, almost like transference, but to an electronic phone game.
I normally would not recommend wasting time on phone games, but in this case, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Nice idea. I’m not a gamer, but the idea of replacing a destructive addiction with a neutral one (assuming no in game purchases, I guess) is smart. Agree about the reading too – it’s my go-to comfort blanket when non-limerent, but hopeless during limerence.
Hanging on says
Yes, Candy Crush helped me through it as well!
I chose #4, as I felt it unfair for someone in my social circle to unknowingly inspire that feeling. I didn’t know that it would lead to what was probably the gentlest honest rejection ever, nor was I ready for any development then.
If you do reject someone who admits the feeling, be clear. I took “I don’t feel that way,” followed quickly by, “I’m not ready for a relationship” to suggest that there was a chance when he was ready. Just the first sentence would have left me in no doubt, while being as gentle as possible.
#1 was not possible, as going to the same place regularly and having mutual friends preludes that. And I can’t avoid that place
#2 came up blank. Yes, I tried really hard. Found positives I hadn’t thought of before instead.
#3 I was trying to stick a dead marriage together to start with, and worked really hard at finding my partner attractive again. When that couldn’t work (only I was trying), I tried pretending to myself that I found a different friend attractive. That got confusing, as a few people picked up on the misdirection
Reminding myself that my LO now has a girlfriend and that nothing would ever happen anyway helps
Oh yes, the “soft rejection”. Meant well, but harder to cope with than a blunt “No”,
Found positives I hadn’t thought of before instead. 🙂 Damned virtuous LOs are the worst.
Focussing on how nothing will ever happen is wise – if you can’t avoid LO, keep working on eliminating the uncertainty by yourself.
What if you disclose, they are interested, they want kids, you have two and don’t want more, you can not compromise, it is agony, you realize no contact is the only way, they keep contacting you, you hold their hand and cry about what can’t be, you want desperately to be friends as least, but know you can’t. I’ve run through all four and need a 5th option…
I really hope you are single or divorced because of the LEo’s desire for children. If either of you are married and not divorced, the ‘ick’ (and potentially infecting a committed partner with an STD) factor comes into play.
“they keep contacting you”
IMO, sadly, you have to shut that down entirely. Change your phone number, get a new email account, let messages roll to voice mail, block from social media, etc. Otherwisr, you are engaging & maximizing and prolonging the pain.
“you hold their hand and cry about what can’t be,”
There are a lot of things that can’t or won’t be. When you’re engaging with this person you are not committed to ending it.
She wants to bear children and you do not. That means you have to shut it down. Time is a factor and the sooner she has dealt with the end, the better.
You may have to be cruel to be kind. She may ‘hate you, she may even truly hate you, but if you are no longer in her life it doesn’t matter if she thinks of you at all.
I’m so sorry. It’s a tough situation.
It’s a real drag when two peoples’ vision of life don’t line up. It’s even worse when they both have equally valid positions. You’re both entitled to pursue your individual ideas of happiness. Your not wanting more kids is as equally as valid as her wanting her own kids. Unfortunately, kids are a “no compromise” situation. You either have them or you don’t. The decision to have or not to have children when you hold the opposite view isn’t a compromise, it’s a sacrifice.
If there’s ever a candidate for resentment to appear later it’s this one. She concedes and, if things don’t work out, that club might come out of the closet. You kept her from her dream. You concede and the kid is born severely disabled or becomes a drug addled delinquent. you might be the one wielding that bat.
It’s not that you can’t be friends, it’s that you’ll likely be holding yourselves back if you do. The other thing you may face is your reaction to one of you eventually moving on. You’ll say it won’t bother you, but it will, at least for awhile. But, that doesn’t mean moving on isn’t the right thing to do.
30 years ago, I thought I’d be at this point in my life with LO #2. She didn’t share that vision. Happiness isn’t a zero-sum game. Another downside of life, is you can’t guarantee the future so you just have to make a decision and go with it.
It sounds as if the barrier for you is the impossibility of a long term relationship – and you are right that kids/no kids is an insurmountable barrier. While I definitely am an advocate of planning ahead, already having these conversations in the middle of limerence is surprising (I’m reading your words as suggesting you are at a pre-commitment stage). There are no certainties in life, of course, but if you are sure that there’s no future in the relationship, you really only have one option: No Contact, properly. If you try to comfort LO and remain available to them and seek them when your own pain seems unbearable, it is very likely that you will prolong your own limerence, and delay the opportunity for LO to find a partner that does want kids.
Perhaps option 5 could be: tell yourself that if you truly care for LO, you should free them to find a partner who can meet their need for children. If that means shutting them out of your life, you just have to make that sacrifice. It will be hard on you (and them), but doing the right thing sometimes is hard.
Good luck, and best wishes.
We were friends for a year, then I disclosed and a relationship was a possibility, except for wanting marriage and kids…so I went NC and eight months later I got an email and I thought minds had changed. But, it was just an attempt at reestablishing a friendship. I guess I misread “I think about you every day” “I have more than just friend feelings for you” “I want you in my life”
Pretty hard to misinterpret those statements!
A charitable guess would be that they missed your friendship and were conflicted about seeing whether a relationship was possible after all. A less charitable guess is that they were feeling lonely and wanted some narcissistic supply. Who knows where the truth lies, but getting back in touch and upending your life again after 8 months of no contact is not very friendly…?
Thanks so much for this. Just putting a name to it and acknowledging it’s existence is such a help. It’s about me, NOT him & your post helps me come to terms with that.
Ulysses Alves says
:’D yes. You are really funny, and i REALLY laughed at your joke (fortunately it was a joke!) in the beginning of the post. Thank you for taking a smile out of my face, because this limerance thing is really giving me the creeps!
Has anyone ever been able to get limerence to go away forever, because mine will just come back with someone else. So, I guess my thinking is if I HAVE to live in this torturous hell because there is no real “cure” then should t the LO at least like me too?
I think limerence is a trait that some people have – like introversion or agreeableness or proneness to anxiety. Like any other personality trait, I think the effects can be moderated with practice and discipline (and the will to change). But, I’m not sure you can ever eliminate it completely, and I’m also not sure that is a particularly desirable goal. Limerence can be wonderful, when reciprocated by a good LO.
My hope with this site is that by learning and talking about it, limerents can develop the techniques needed to control the worst effects of limerence when it is a bane on life, but embrace it when it is a good thing.
This is a great statement doctor.
Maybe you’re destined to be an active limerent forever and maybe you aren’t. Using the addiction model, for some addicts sobriety may be relatively easy and for others every day is a epic struggle.
People aren’t who they are because of the relationships they have, they have the relationships they have because of who they are. Limerence isn’t a cause, it’s an effect. Addressing limerent behavior is treating a symptom not a cause. Dealing with limerence may be more like diabetes that you’re forced to manage forever than an infection that you can treat and it’s gone. But, once they get the protocol down, many diabetics have very happy and productive lives.
If you want to at least get your limerence down to a manageable level, I recommend you start with DrL’s blogs relating to “glimmer.” The “glimmer” is kind of a litmus test for limerents.
The first benefit is if you understand what your “glimmer” is, you see someone may be a threat (i.e., potential LO) and you can take steps to avoid it. If someone has it, there are topics you just avoid with them. The second benefit is by understanding the glimmer, you can gain insight into what attracts you to them which can help you reduce your vulnerability to them. That can take a lot of work and take you to places you had no intention of going. Digging into that one can not only change how you react to limerent stimuli, it can affect your whole life.
But, if you do the work, you’ve learned to identify and avoid threats and you’ve reduced your vulnerability to the threats you can’t avoid. Hence, your risk goes down.
I just ended a good “friendship” over this. She got pissed off, blocked me on every social network known to man and then showed all the suggestive texts that I had sent her to my mutual friends.
Found this term today! thank god.
I was addicted to this woman who was 9 years older than me. The obsession nearly cost me my job, definitely ruined my reputation ( I am the crazy guy who went to the girl’s house uninvited to ask her why she wasn’t picking up my calls) and I lost all my mutual friends.
But I knew this was an addiction and was totally convinced that she was a narcissist and love bombed me into this hell. On the surface it was purely a friendship but our hugs were longer, kisses on the neck and cheeks and a bite on the cheek definitely muddled things up for me.
Wow, that was very unkind of her. I suggest checking out Narcissistic LO blog…I think you dealt with truly ruthless one!
It really is an insane roller-coaster ride. That being said, being limerent for a married person is not an experience I’d wish on anyone.
Has Dr. Limerence done any writing on clarifying the mess of affectionate feelings the limerent typically has for the LO? Is the friendship I enjoy with this woman an illusion created by limerence, or is the limerence an unwelcome by-product of the friendship?
I feel like the real tragedy of the situation is that not only is romance out of the question, but our friendship is probably doomed as well due to this absurd infatuation.
Limerence Lawyer says
I developed limerence from a very intimate and deep friendship with a married man. The problem is, I can’t avoid him, because we are law partners. We spend ridiculous amounts of time with each other–we are the only lawyers we know in the states we practice that do almost all evidentiary hearings/trials together. WE don’t even charge our clients for two lawyers. We both have a deep need to be together, and we have an exceptional relationship. He decided to leave the firm, and that (re-triggered) my Limerence for him that had waxed and waned over the years–that commenced in our first year of law school together. We would travel together, find excuses to go on trips where there was really no functional reason to..The problem is–IT IS reciprocated, but it could be just because he likes the attention–a lot? I can not tell the difference. There is this assumption that Limerence is not reciprocated, but I think often its not just one’s person’s “perception” as much as it is that each individual in the relationship are having different relationships with each other. The Limerence in my case, came from something REAL. I feel that limerence “cheapens” the relationship, but it was the intimate emotional relationship with this (married) law partner, sparked the limerence. The relationship is real, but it triggered my obsession–once I ‘exposed’ the fact I believed we had a “relationship” outside of just being law partners, he didn’t deny it–he acted as if it was a given. That made things WORSE. It hurt his marriage–and triggered him telling me that he was leaving the firm. He is as upset about it as I am (I think) he is not eating or sleeping as I am not. Both taking xanex. But I understand–his marriage comes first, and I do not want to take his family away from him, I love him too much to do that–but I check every box of Limerence test and I’ve had a similar relationship before with my best friend who was a gay man–how also reciprocated in somewhat romantic ways–Any way, how the hell do I determine what is going on???? Please help!
LL, it does sound as though you have been almost a second wife to your law partner for the last 12 years, which obviously suited him too. I suppose some fruitful questions to ask yourself now are: 1) why do you think you tolerated the asymmetry of him having an actual wife and family plus a “work wife” (horrible phrase, but seems apt), while you only got to have a day-relationship on limited terms? 2) Now that he has decided to resolve the conflict by leaving the firm, is this an opportunity for you to reinvent yourself professionally and personally? and 3) Most important of all: what do you want your life to be like?
I’m guessing that the answer to the final question might be “I want my life to still have LO in it,” but given that does not seem to be a viable option, or a healthy one, you probably need to think more creatively.
The theme of this blog is that purposeful living is the best “cure” for limerence. It’s easy to state it, but not easy to develop the mental clarity and resilience to achieve it. My best advice is that it is incremental work. Find small goals that you can set yourself to move in a positive direction. It’s surprising how these psychological gains can add up like compound interest and reshape your view of yourself and your life. At first glance, it strikes me as unusual that for a successful professional woman you are allowing other people to determine major aspects of your life. So, maybe some small but concrete steps towards asserting your independence would be a good starting point for breaking the habit of dependence.
From what you say, your partner reciprocates your feelings of emotional co-dependence but – critically – he has decided to break that connection to prioritise his marriage, even though it is hurting him. That’s a purposeful decision: he is making a personal sacrifice that will cause him emotional pain, because his marriage is the most important part of his life. Unfortunately for you, his purposeful decision has also caused you emotional pain, that you didn’t willingly take on yourself.
The only way I can think of to counter that, is to accept that he is detaching, and strike out in your own purposeful direction. What do you want your post-LO life to be like? How about continuing with your professional success (or pivoting to a new career), and also seeking a new partner for all aspects of your life? Why should you not find someone as desirable as your LO, who is also available for romantic love?
Many people (myself included) make a stark reappraisal of their lives and choices in their early forties. Often, that involves the severing of unhealthy relationships. There is still half a life ahead of you, and lots of opportunities to take more control over your own fate. Try and tap into your rational mind and see that this 12 year partnership was always going to end painfully – how else could it have played out? – accept that that inevitable time has come now, and be thankful that you are still young enough to embark on a second half of life with good prospects for a better future.
Bram, your question….Is the friendship I enjoy with this woman an illusion created by limerence, or is the limerence an unwelcome by-product of the friendship? I feel the latter. I’ve had relationships go bad and never behaved or felt as I have in this situation. It seems to me it takes a certain personality type to bring us to obsessing over someone we cannot have or will never have again. I believe they know what they are doing and play a cat and mouse game as long as they are allowed to. I read we choose and want to ‘be’ ‘limerent’ but unless I’m giving in to my now long since mastered basic personality ‘dysfunctions’ why would I want to be miserable? I was not brought to a state of ‘limerence’ before this but I do see how the relationship brought out my own basic long ago recognized personality ‘glitches’…I’d forgotten them over the years and it took a unique ‘situation’ to bring them back to the surface. Lesson learned. Limerence is supposed to be a noun and I’m still trying to figure out why….it has been a state of mind for me after a culmination of events not me as a person…I did not choose to respond to the ending of the relationship the way I did. But once I saw how I was/am behaving I can change it…
– Can’t we just be friends?
– Limerence and the friendzone
– I’m totally over this. Let’s go for coffee!
– The Glimmer givers
Thanks for the pointers, Scharnhorst!
I am new here, and I can say that the limerence is my life! I allways have special someone on my mind,man or a woman, unsuitable weather too young,or old,or married or tabooed because of profesional circumctances..i change LO random,but they last very long..I dont see a pattern, not in my childhood history or any trauma .every limerence are a bit traumatic experiences to me.They leed me deep in despare, I struggle not to convience my feelings ,but usually I do something impulsively at the end..one of them, I ended briefly, by sending an SMS, to manipulative femaile friend, saying, We will not be seing each other anymore, all out of the blue, and she and our other friends were shocked for weeks, but I could not stand that pressure anymore, because i felt she knew what I feel and tried to keep me bounded for her needs. Ah,I am woman ,and my limerences are bisexual! I could wtite more and more, and say at the end I concluded one thing: I have choosen limerences instead of an real comitment deliberatly although I have nice feature and am inteligent well educated and amusing person , cause I feel fullfilment in all aspects of it, what you mentioned..It is my drug..I am sometimes very depressed and holpless case but glad to love someone so deeply and frantic that I even believe it has some purpose in ther life too..right now,there is no room for any other person, especially real one,in my mind, because I am focused day and night on My LO and it lasts 3 years now. .it is impossible to be together he and I ,and drives me sexually. .Everything I see or do gets me back to think of him. If we are not seeing each other as we do not these past months,it has no ting to fo to make it less enchanting. I was googling thousend times to find some help and suddenly,luckily!!!! found this blog. Hope it will heip. God bless you all here! T.
I found this site and the term ‘limerence’ was new to me. Divorced, fell in love, 8 months of him love bombing me and was changing my whole life to be with him at his urging. I truly believe he is a Narcissist and 8 months after 8 months of promises of love and a future, always followed by drama and personal slights, I cannot seem to move forward, 9 months later. I was never OCD or unable to overcome break-ups with time, until now. It’s driving me nuts. I’m depressed, dispare and constant thought of him. I try to think the insane and horrible way he treated me but then rationalize that some was ‘good’. Barely any part of it was good. My soul is crying help! help! make it stop! He’s moved on, how do I? 1 through 4 haven’t worked or only worked temporarily. This is just crazy!
Welcome to the blog. Sorry to hear what you’ve been going through with your narcissistic LO. This post may be useful for understanding why the behaviour you describe is such effective emotional manipulation. It’s encouraging that you recognise how toxic it is. Hope the site can help you find strategies to cope, and to start getting your mind straight…
Thank you so much. I think one immediate comfort is finding a ‘label’ other than OCD and a few others. I’m a Psychology major and worked in human resources and security for years in a tough industry, paid well to evaluate personnel problems and business problems. It’s been quite a surprise to be taken for such a ride in my personal life and not see it coming or be able to apply techniques to heal to the situation I got myself into. I’ve done quite a bit of research and reading the last several months on the effect of narcissistic relationships and the effects it has on people. I’m classic. I’ve also had many discussions with an MS in Social Work and am surprised at how little we can study and apply as they don’t get help. DSM has info on personality disorders of course but seems a slippery slope. The mans name pops in my head and I play out conversations and past pleasures as well as dramas over and over…it’s quite insane. During the day, the middle of the night,…More later, you may not want to publish this one, that would be ok. I need to get into the site and read what others are saying and feeling. Why have I not heard the term limerence? Did I miss that class?
You’re definitely not alone.
LO #4 was “Narc Bait.” It seemed like she never met a Narc she didn’t try to rehabilitate.
She spent 7 years with her last guy and from what she told me, he wasn’t the first. Considering her line of work, you’d have thought she’d known better. But, we all have blind spots. One of mine was an attraction to women with a history of dissatisfying relationships, usually involving infidelity.
There’s a lot of literature that says codependents are often attracted to narcs. There’s also some overlap between codependence and limerence. This is as a concise explanation of the difference as I’ve seen. http://www.andreaharrn.co.uk/co-dependent-limerent/#sthash.ToIGNzaS.dpbs
A lot of therapists are unfamiliar with limerents. Mine tagged me as co-dependent but co-dependence didn’t fit the relational dynamics. I posted more in the “Therapy for limerence” blog.
A simple trip to Wikipedia just gave me a ton of understanding of the term and state of being. It appears the term was coined in the 70’s from research done in the 60’s on relationships and again I am/was behaving in a classic fashion in several areas. I have wallowed around in this mire long enough. Educating oneself is strength! Please go read it. I realize now I have been in some ways strong enough to move forward but still grasping for straws for the renewal of the relationship. Now I am going to find the strength to delete all former love letters, emails, texts and messages from and to him and block some people associated with him on social media. Several psychological areas are absolutely ‘me’ and I realize now how they cropped up again and why. How empowering! I am convinced he is a ‘Narc’ and am completely dedicated to not secumming to the pitfalls of being ‘stuck’ in the repercussions of having been taken for this ride…WOW!
By the way Scharnhorst, thank you for your response. Knowing ourselves is a huge step in avoiding many behaviors unhealthy for us. I had been married 25 yrs to a highly non sexual passive-aggressive man and did not suffer the effect of his behavior until we were thrown together after his job loss and I began to suffer the repercussions of his total lack of business acumen. I had been in business 34 yrs total and 22 my last one. Now retired after 8 yrs of PA sabotage I ‘gifted’ him the business legally and got out of the business as well as the marriage before I was completely financially and emotionally ruined. I got into the relationship with the ‘narc’ way too soon and now see things much more clearly. I was a perfect target though I will not use the term ‘victim’, hopefully I’ll begin to see myself as a survivor soon. Almost every part of the ‘definition’ described what I have been doing, feeling and acting. I read the Wikipedia article and just kept saying to myself WOW! It’s amazing to find this site and almost overnight realize and find strength to work toward my ‘wellness’! One word…Limerence…perfect! I won’t say I haven’t though of him this morning but did sleep better last night and the thoughts I have had are vastly different than they have been the last 9 months. It’s still going to take some work and I had already decided to take 6 months to a year before pursuing any relationship. To find the happy me again and have the ‘good’ me to offer someone. Again, WOW! Let the healing continue!
Tangling with a Cluster B can definitely mess with your head. I have 2 profession opinions LO #2 had a Cluster B personality disorder. I tried to get her in front of a marriage counselor even though we weren’t married. She declined. Her idea of “professional help” was to undergo a Past Life Regression and a Tarot Card reading (no joke). I actually asked her to marry me and she declined. As one therapist put it, “You were lucky she didn’t marry you. Your life could have been so much worse.”
I used to think that the events of my life didn’t line up well. After doing the work. it turns out that not only does it make sense, but to someone who knew what they were looking at, the events were, if not predictable, not surprising.
Discovering limerence was the missing piece of explaining the dynamics of some of the relationships I’ve had. It explains what I was feeling, why I responded the way I did, and what made the relationship seem to ebb and flow. You can find some possible reasons you’re limerent here but we all have to do our own digging to know for sure.
I still think of her 30 years later but she no longer has an effect on my life. You’ll likely never forget him but it’s possible to get past him.
I wish you the best in your journey. It sounds like you’re on the road to success and happiness.
Tarot Cards and Past Life Regression? Truly laughing out loud! And you wanted to marry her…we are sometime not rational in some situations aren’t we? I feel I dodged a bullet too. Even knowing that I persisted. He wanted to, or said he did, get married and I was selling out and packing up my life to move 750 miles just to do that even with all the warning signs. The smartest thing I did was call his ex girlfriend last May. That is funny too because it was months over at that point, but not for this little ‘Limerent’! LOL! Oh boy did she have an earful for me. A user, not worth the pain of the hangnail on my little finger, lousy in bed, (before prostate cancer interesting) never gave gifts, demanding…she had grown tired of it and was going to break up with him bu the got prostate cancer and she felt she could not at that time. That gives some insight to me also as to how I played right into trying to ‘help’ him in his recovery which probably has not nor will happen as Narc’s can’t get intimate enough do what is necessary to recover from that type cancer and he had already stopped doing some of what was necessary. I felt tenderness and somewhat sorry for him. I still feel sorry for him but for a different reason now. Most of what she said was the same I had experienced. But after a month recovery stay at her home, it was over. No she wasn’t interested in him any more and she was like me, successful, independent but she had truly moved on. I didn’t have the same support force she had. She’s still working and I was retiring…He was here with me texting her and trying to rekindle their relationship, hovering as the term is for narc’s who stay out of your life long enough for you to get your act together and then swoop in again and discard their current love object. I had already begun the process of distancing myself from him, I thought! They love to tear down strong women. Females with Narc PD are more rare but from what I have witnessed and realized in my now months long studies is they probably do the same to men. What you said about discovering Limerence holds true for me too. How it happened, the ebb and flow, how I responded etc. Our basic insecurities, even though perhaps well overcome long ago will at times come home to roost. I now feel confident I will get better each day. Need to get busy…I pray for all of us caught up in such an intensely painful situation find their AH HA moment!
For the record, I had asked her to marry me 2 years earlier. After she declined, she moved across the country but we stayed together on paper for a year. We broke up and the short version is she came back after nearly a year after my successor allegedly cheated on her. There are bits and pieces of the story in other blogs.
At the time, I thought reconciliation was possible. I put seeing a marriage counselor. Shortly after, she told me about the PLR & Tarot Card reading. If you’re interested, I’ll,post about them. It’s outside the scope of,limerence but It’s pretty funny.
Just me says
Hi! Just found you guys – so happy to meet you. Thanks for this article (and many others!).
I’ve only ever had 1 LO get out of hand I’ve been obsessed with him for 4 years now. I had no idea I was limerant — I’ve never had a relationship before, so I thought that it was normal to just be totally obsessed with the guy (I mean, that’s how it looks in the movies, right? lol).
Anyway, I pined from a distance for 3 YEARS! I only saw him very rarely and sporadically – like five times a year. But I thought about him every single day and did everything I could to make myself as perfect as possible for him. Those 3 years were hell, but they were also kind of pleasant???
Anyway, I finally took the “nuclear option” and said “hey, I like you – do you want to go get a coffee with me sometime?” – Since we were both single it wasn’t actually dangerous or anything – but it still is the “nuclear” option because I knew that if he didn’t reciprocate then I would’ve completely blown any chance of pretending to be casual. It’s crazy hard to be that vulnerable and put your heart out there. He rejected me and said he was interested in someone else. That was when I realized that this wasn’t just normal attraction.
I’ve dealt with other rejections before and been fine, like, whatever. This one, though, nearly killed me. Like no sleep, no appetite, suddenly thinking about him a million times a day. I really scared my family. That was when I started researching to figure out what was wrong with me because I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like THIS! Learning about limerence was the AHA moment. It’s been a year since I disclosed, and I’m still not over it. I’m still regretful and terribly embarrassed and obsessed with him. I’m a lot better though. I sleep. I eat. I don’t do great at work, but I’m doing better. What’s helped the most has been getting my dopamine and seratonin levels up – I just recently did that with a doctor. Now I think I need to just keep on keeping on and try to get him out of my mind.
I keep wondering if I’ll ever find anyone to share my life with . . . a “normal” healthy relationship. I kind of want that but also, I can’t imagine a “normal” relationship being anything as good as just imagining being with my LO. It was such a high – and the life I imagined for me and LO was like fireworks and cotton candy. And I know that if he’d said and we’d actually had a relationship then reality would’ve set it, but because I didn’t experience it all I have to look back on is the fireworks and cotton candy. I’ve tried to imagine a life and love with various other people and it seems nice, but not as nice. I feel meh about it.
Thank you for letting me ramble!
The limerence paradox in one pithy sentence!
Thanks for your rambling, Stella. With respect to your last comments – holding out hope for a relationship that follows from limerence is not unreasonable, but only advisable after you’ve done some thinking about who you tend to become limerent for. If your LOs turn out to be unreliable people, then trying to bond with them will be painful (and possibly futile). There’s a post on that dilemma, here:
Any advice would be so appreciated!
I have had extremely deep feelings for one man, going on 6 years now (OMG!). 4 of those years we were in college together. He knew I liked him within months of us meeting and didn’t return my feelings, but we remained friends. After graduation I thought I would finally get over him because we weren’t in contact, but here I am 1.5 years after graduating (without physically seeing him at all and six months without speaking) and I think about him still, multiple times a day. I dream about him. I look at his social media almost religiously. All I want is his love, attention, and affection.
The contact six months ago I referred to, I told him that I would unfollow him and I wouldn’t be contacting him in the future because of my feelings for him, and how I needed to do so to let go. He said he understood. And now I feel like I made the biggest mistake. At least before, I could talk to him. Now, I just ruminate on the past and pray he texts me. He doesn’t. He’s in medical school living his best life.
I’ve made lists of all the reasons he doesn’t deserve me-the minute ways he’s imperfect. I’ve prayed. I sought therapy, where I was told I was normal and I’d get over him. I’ve tried dating apps. I’ve blocked his social media, only to crave seeing his face and unblock him hours later. Nothing I do seems to lessen my feelings for him.
What do I do??! This is the heaviest weight I’ve ever had to bear, and trust me I’ve gone through some things. Nothing compares to how painful this is.
Sorry to hear what you’re going through – many here can relate to the debilitating weight of prolonged limerence.
As I am sure you know (and I would guess your therapist would have said too) the only way past this is to focus your life away from LO and onto your future. It sounds as though LO has been quite respectful and honest with you about not reciprocating your feelings. That’s good, as it is a clear answer, but bad in that it is probably harder to get over limerence for a kind person.
The part of your comment that jumped out the most for me was this:
Going No Contact wasn’t a mistake. It was your best move.
Staying in contact with LO, trying to be their friend, keeping up with their lives and maintaining a relationship of some sort, is what keeps limerents trapped in limbo. I’ve written a few posts about why friendship with LOs is almost always impossible. It’s painfully hard to detach from good people who care for us, but it’s a necessary sacrifice to take control of your life and start seeking a positive future. However good a friend they could be, they are not right for you and they are stopping you from finding a proper partner. Until you come to terms with that and steel yourself to face the future, you will always be held back.
Finally, welcome to the site! Hope you find more help here.
“I look at his social media almost religiously”; “I’ve blocked his social media, only to crave seeing his face and unblock him hours later.”
It’s like a teeny tiny hit and all it does is leaving you craving more AND hating yourself for doing it.
“Nothing I do seems to lessen my feelings for him.”
Unblocking his social media isn’t going to lessen your feelings. Cold turkey is the first step. It’s really hard to stick with though. If every time you want to look you decided to go do something instead (walk around the block, for example) at least you would be substituting a healthier action for yourself.
I agree with cold turkey being necessary. I think about my LO all the time, but I have been “improving” since going No Contact. I would not be improving if I were to act against the spirit of No Contact. You are still getting your fix, though now it is much less and is hurting just as much. It must be difficult to grow up and becoming limerent in the age of social media. I have never had a social media account, which has helped me from following my LO. I do have plenty of past emails and pics that I have not looked up in a long time, though I’d like to do that. I guess that is my version of “blocking” her on social media.
I didn’t want to type any of this, as a large part of me wants to reach out to my LO to say what’s up. And a part of me wants her to text/email me, even though that will both anger me and excite me. I still do expect to see her name in my Inbox. I still have a ways to go.
Tired, I empathise a lot with this. Similar experience with therapy. And also the regular viewing of social media and internet. It only feeds the fire. What has been helping me recently is to treat this like an alcoholic would treat their addiction. To celebrate every day that I don’t have a drink (look online in this case – it’s also now my only ‘contact’.) Every night I mark my progress with this and other goals in my life on the Daylio app. Another day complete no contact. The fire is less intense. I can’t lie and say that I have entirely given up hope of LO being in touch. But I have freed up a lot of rumination and obsessing time! Which leaves more time to focus on that purposeful life. And if – I know I know – we ever meet again, he will be meeting with a more sane person, not someone with an uncontrollable obsession. I know that even looking once will unleash the flames, it really is like being an alcoholic. One day I hope it will have just died out and I won’t even think about it. I think this is the only way and I’m becoming optimistic.
I’m so sorry, Tired. I’m in the same boat as you. Been limerent for a guy for 4 years.
And I stalked him on Instagram. Multiple times a day. But I realized that I just wasn’t getting better. So I knew I had to stop.
I have to second what Ditto and others say. Take it one day at a time. Ditto recommends Daylio. I use the Day Count app and also a paper calendar where I strike a line through every day I don’t look at his social media (Google Jerry Seinfeld’s don’t break the chain method).
And it’s important to forgive yourself when you slip up. In August I had a 27 day no social media streak that I broke for 4 days. But then I decided to try again. Currently on a 31 day streak. And I really do feel less crazy and more in control.
Sorry I’m posting on here so much! Just excited I found you guys! Will cool it now 🙂
And forgive your
Tired – I’ll add to the chorus of people telling you to go NC…. like you my first LO was my college crush, in my case girlfriend for the first year, “friend” for years 2-3. Again like you at the end of our time there I told her I had to cut contact as the only way to get over her. A few months later i relented after she wrote me a beautiful letter saying how important I was to her etc.
This was a massive mistake. Cue 15+ years of on-off contact and me comparing everyone to the image of her in my mind. There is no doubt she had a major bearing on my life and loves ever since.
We met up this year for the first time in many years and I started to see she wasn’t the person I’d built up into some sort of unattainable goddess. She told me she always regretted not staying with me and wished she married me. In that moment the Limerence vanished. Everything I wanted for a couple of decades dissapeared.
But trust me, you don’t want to wait that long for closure, it has been torturous, especially for the first few years.
@stella I have also just achieved a 31 streak of rock solid no contact. My next goal is 60 days. Definitely feeling much less crazy, much more optimistic- but it’s still one day at a time. Wondering how you are getting on with your streak?
What you’re describing sounds a little like the concept of the “Phantom Ex” discussed in “Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. I’ve read it. It’s pretty good but has some shortcomings.
In a nutshell, a “Phantom Ex” is an ex we hang on to, idealize. and compare subsequent potential partners to who inevitably come up short against the “Phantom Ex.” It’s a particularly insidious trait avoidants use to distance themselves from suitable candidates. After all, it’s not our fault he/she can’t measure up to the Phantom Ex.
The Phantom Ex holds the place of honor in the Pantheon of Exes and is often thought of as “the one that got away” Even if you do get past them, they can haunt you for a long time.
Am I the only one disclosure doesn’t help for? I’m single — all the guys I’ve fallen for have been single. Disclosure always ended in rejection, but the limerence persisted. Got worse, even. The aching for them got mixed in with an obsessive paranoia that my LOs were somehow better, more worthwhile, likable people than me. What’s up with that?
Disclosure is always a high risk strategy. The major advantage is that it ends uncertainty (unless LO gives an ambiguous response) – and uncertainty is usually fuel for limerence.
From what you’ve said, it sounds as though you’ve got into a pattern of limerence-for-people-you-can’t-have, if rejection makes you crave them even more. It’s not an uncommon syndrome. I hope you know intellectually (if not emotionally) that the LOs aren’t “better” than you. With an awkward tangle between limerence and self-esteem it’s hard to form good bonds. I think that’s where you need to look for some relief: self reflection on why someone declining to be with you (as one of our regular commenters recently phrased it) triggers deepened limerence and paranoia. A professional could be useful for helping you untangle that.
So, one of the things I noticed going through your blog was the idea that the fantasies about my LO are supposed to be pleasant — reciprocation and fulfillment. But I noticed that in my case, the fantasies invariably re-enact rejection and misunderstanding. My therapist asked me why I had such intense desire for someone who, EVEN in my imagination, makes me feel so terrible. Because I DO NOT feel I deserve this in the slightest. And I think ultimately it comes down to a scarcity mindset. I feel this passion for men so infrequently, I subconsciously feel I HAVE TO find a way to make it work, even when it’s clear I never will. I’ve been trying to focus on the idea that I WILL feel this way for another man; even if it takes years to find him, I will fall this strongly again. I can’t tell you what a relief it is. The thoughts of him, and the anxieties they conjure up are still persistent, but I feel less inclined to fight with him in my head.
It’s usually the case that the fantasies are pleasant at first, but like most addictions, limerence can certainly become a burden. From what you say, Marcatissimo, you may have a bad case of intrusive thoughts – i.e. you are not fantasising to get an LO “hit”, so much as having the memories or imagined rejections invade your mind. Definitely worth exploring that more with your therapist.
There’s always hope to find a good match in the future, and your chances are likely to be much improved by doing the work now to understand yourself and your limerence triggers.
Ulysses Alves says
I think I’ve read this post three or more times already. It’s such an important subject knowing how to mitigate limerence.
Now that I’ve read it more than once, I have a doubt that I would like you help me with it if possible. Are the first three strategies (no contact, averse conditioning and transference) intended to be used only when we don’t want to crave the LO? Or can these strategies be used also when the LO is worthy of seeking to have a relationship with? In this last case maybe the strategies could be used as an attempt to reduce limerence so that it doesn’t backfire our interest for the LO.
Ulysses I think I understand how you feel. If we make the person repugnant to ourselves, what if they suddenly realize they do indeed love us? Weill we ever be able to go back to that state where we adored them so? Where they brought us to ecstatic heights simply by smiling at us?
In recent history I sadly decided that the feelings are not and never will be mutual. This has allowed me to do the evil deed of destroying what I suppose was a fantasy version of who they are versus the imperfect human reality. I have poisoned a childlike devotion and lost a measure of innocence in the process.
The benefit of course is that I have reclaimed my soul and my dignity and have spared myself further emotional damage. And if my single LO goes on to find the girl of his dreams the pain will now be tolerable instead of devastating. And… before that happens I may find the boy of my dreams who adores me as much as I adore him!
Even if not, I have settled into a new life that includes old loves long neglected while limerent such as ballet classes and book clubs. I’m more content than I expected to be.
I wish you all the best.
“Are the first three strategies (no contact, averse conditioning and transference) intended to be used only when we don’t want to crave the LO?”
In “What is Limerence,” DrL says, ” But like any other addiction, after a while the exquisite spike of pleasure can devolve into a habit, and then a craving, and then an impediment to the proper, healthy sources of happiness and fulfillment in life.”
The “impediment” can fall into two broad categories. The first is you could become limerent for an entirely suitable candidate but the limerent behaviors are so extreme you can’t get out of bed because you’re so obsessed. DrL has several blogs that talk about how limerence can be a very positive effect in their relationships. Why can some people do recreational drugs daily without consequence and some people OD on the first hit?
The second category is you repeatedly become limerent for unsuitable candidates. The consequences can range from a lifetime of failed relationships with candidates of similar characteristics that leave you unfulfilled to tangling with a sociopath that leaves you a completely broken person. Anybody can be taken in by a narcissist or sociopath but limerents may be more susceptible to it happening again.
I’ve said it before. I allowed myself to develop an LE with LO #2 as a place I could escape to during the problems I was having in my marriage. It was working pretty well too until LO #4’s life changed and she went from a pleasant distraction in my head to an, anxiety causing threat capable of causing real damage to my marriage that I had to actively manage. It wasn’t fun anymore. I know how close I came to having things blow up and as http://www.despair.com says, “Luck doesn’t last a lifetime unless you die early.”
So, if there is no downside to a Limerent Experience, i.e., you’re both available and the behaviors aren’t disruptive, there’s no reason to try to end it. If you can harness it, an LE can be be like a hit of nitrous oxide. You can have a mellow buzz and come out clean when it’s time. The trick is in learning to harness it.
Ulysses Alves says
Thanks! This makes me understand it better.
I would say that if your LO is someone who you would like to have a relationship with, then disclosure is the most purposeful strategy. The problem there – and I think this is what you are implying – is if you want LO but they are not available and so disclosure would be inappropriate. Then it is a pragmatic decision. If you want the limerence to end, then it’s perfectly legitimate to use whatever psychological tricks you can to reverse the association between LO and “reward”. Alternatively (and this is explosive) you could disclose, and then explain that you will go no contact as you understand that they are not available.
What you absolutely don’t want to do is try and get them to start a relationship with you in the hope that they will leave their current partner. Because then you’ll have started a relationship on lousy terms with someone untrustworthy.
Ulysses Alves says
Thanks for replying back. No, actually my LO is single and I’m single too. So in theory there’s no obstacle for me to disclose It to her besides the extra high level of anxiety I feel when she’s around. It was not like this just two weeks ago. I’ve always thought she was a beautiful gal, but I had never given much atention to her in romantic terms. Well, some glances at most, but the last time we had a conversation I felt the glimmer and then her maneirism, voice tone and face were suddenly much more beautiful than I had ever noticed before. After this I started wondering and checking if she might fancy me too.
The problem is now things started to get creepy between us. I know she’s noticed my behaviour change, that I avoid making eye contact if she is close enough to start a dialog. So I avoid interacting with her when she’s close but still try to “read” her at distance, so I’m unwittingly giving mixed signals of avoidance and interest to her. Of course this is totally counter productive and very silly, but it’s not the first time It happens to me, so I’m sure I’m limerent, and limerent for this specific girl at this time. But I would like to change how things could turn this time around.
Another problem is I fear I may be letting time pass bye without taking initiative to tell her how I feel, and it looks like now her friends and family members all know what’s going on, so that things are getting even more complicated, because now the uncertainty is not only about if she likes me or not, but also If her social circle would be favorable about the two of us joining together. Even her brother is looking a bit different than he used to act around me. Of course this could be just my imagination, but the odds of he acting differently are high because his apparent change in behaviour started right after I asked him for her sister phone number, so It might not be just coincidence. By the way, I had to ask it because I had deleted her number in a failed attempt to go no contact, and now I deleted It again! So crazy how It makes me feel with a little chat conversation with her via messages.
My hope is that I have not messed things up to a irreversible situation yet, then I could try disclosing and finding out what she thinks. But what I do know is that this kind of thing has never worked in my life, and I was never able to romantically connect with any of my past LOs. Rather, limerence made me lose every degree of connection I had before getting limerent for them.
Disclosure would be the purposeful step. But, disclosure of romantic feelings, rather than disclosure of limerence. It would overwhelm most people to find out they had been idealised 🙂
When things have gone wrong in the past, was it because you sort of wanted to maintain the same friendship connection with them, but the limerence took over and made it impossible for you to behave “normally”? If so, you could think about the idea that I talk about on the blog from time to time: that we cannot be authentic friends with LOs. Once you’ve started feeling limerent, there’s no way to go back to a romantically-neutral friendship. That’s a bit of a shame, but if you accept that it’s true, then your best hope is to try and find out whether she is interested in you too. It sounds like there is cause for hope.
Whatever choice you make, do your best to act in an honest and respectful way and you should come out of it OK.
Limerent and in pain. says
I’m afraid I have a tendency towards limerence. It used to be very frequent when I was little. I remember being limerent as far back as age 7, and then every freakin’ year till I graduated.
Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever had so much as a taste of normal, non-limerent romantic love.
I haven’t been limerent in 11 years. Not because I got over it, but because I simply didn’t get near anyone. Breaking up with the last guy sort of broke me, and the fact that I don’t really find most of my countrymen attractive… and they don’t seem to be all that into me, either… sort of kept this at bay.
But now… I’m limerent for a guy at work. It’s been coming on gently, but I’m so enmeshed in it now that I honestly couldn’t see my way back to normalcy.
Thank you so much for posting this. These tips really seem like something I could try.
Well… at least option 2, at any rate. 1, 3, and 4 are 100% out of the question.
I wish I could do option 1, but I’m currently assigned as his personal instructor in a new position. I’m forced to spend whole days with him, having 1 on 1 conversations, working side by side well into the night, sharing lunches.
I’m in a special kind of hell.
Option 4 is out of the question because… he’s married, with two children. And like I said, he’s a coworker, and from a legal standpoint, where I live, things are very dicey for office declarations of affection. I could be facing a $40k lawsuit, if it goes wrong.
Definitely not an option.
And as to option 3… well, if I were any good at that, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place, I think. I’ve been single for the past decade. I rarely date, and I rarely find anyone I want TO date.
Like I said, the last guy broke me… and I wasn’t that open to suggestions before he did, too.
I’ll try option 2.
I’ve (obviously) found various moments where there were mixed signals. I’d catch him staring at me sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, when we’re working together. And he doesn’t avoid touching me like most people in the company do (like I said… VERY dicey legal situation. People are pretty jumpy and big on avoidance. No one touches the opposite sex if they can help it, and if they can’t they tend to apologize a lot. $40k is a scary number). His face lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees me. And he keeps reacting to my every post on FB. I think he actually has an alert set for them.
But then, there was that time when I accidentally (I swear to God, it was not planned) stood too close to him and he literally jumped back. And there was that lunch when he told me that no matter the fact that he was against marriage for so long before he married, he in no way regrets having married his wife.
I’ll latch onto those moments. Latch onto how crappy they made me feel, how uncomfortable I was.
Hopefully, that’ll work.
It’ll suck. But no more than looking at these feelings, which are so alien to me, and so outside me, and being pained by them.
And alien, they are. I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but I look at some of the thoughts that run through my head and I can’t believe I’m hearing them! It’s not me.
And I want it to stop (and I don’t) and I want to go back to normal (and I don’t) and I want this to be over (and I really just want to have him, instead… and I really freakin’ DON’T).
Anyway… option 2.
Hi Limerent and in pain,
Welcome, but sorry to hear what you are going through – and hope the aversion tactic works. This post may help too, if you haven’t read it yet. And god yes, the flip flop between craving LO and craving escape is maddening.
Limerent for a co-worker is a tough (and familiar) battle. I’m working on a post on that very theme at the moment. Should be up in a day or two, I hope.
Limerent and in pain. says
Haven’t read it before, but I have now.
Oh, I have no problems imagining him suddenly saying “What the hell am I doing? I love my wife! I have kids! I’m not doing this!!”
Will do my best to paint that in as vivid a colour as I can manage.
I’m a 16-year-old high school student in New York and just wanted to say how happy I am to have found this! I consider myself lucky to be able to diagnose these symptoms so early in my life and deal with them so I don’t have to get embroiled into the endless situations in these comments. Thanks for making this a great resource!
sigghhhhhhh……huffffff……..OMG……..WTF…….and other expressions. Limerence….it has a name….I am a limerent. I am aged 54, single and once deliciously happy in my bubble of singleness and wonderfulness and happy clappy freedom of heart and soul. And then I was contacted on Facebook by him. A blast from the past, knew him from decades ago, still have lots of mutual friends blah blah blah, marriage in freefall, lets meet for coffee and catch up. That was 3 months ago. We are both in limerence. Thankfully he managed to stop the 50 to 60 messages a day we would send (he always contacted first at 3 minutes past 8 in the morning when he got to work). He took me off messenger which was a relief as we both knew our emotional entanglement was off the scale. I was really relieved but went through some withdrawal. He now only phones. He used to only phone once a week but it is now escalating and although I am getting my naughty limerent behaviours in check, I can see he is still struggling. I disclosed my feelings and told him they were feelings not acceptable to have for a married man. I hoped he would bugger off then. He didn’t. I can see he is trying to stay NC and he gets to Wednesday each week then has to call, sometimes they are frantic calls and his voice is jittery and if we meet up he is clumsy and very very awkward and nervous. We are both in limerence and we need to both stop all contact for him to fix his marriage and me to go back to happy clappy single heaven. This REALLY SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF YOU.
Regards from the Limerent of London Town.
Yeah, it’s mad isn’t it? And especially hard on you when he’s the married one and doing most of the chasing. This bit did make me smile:
If he’s limerent for you, I’m not surprised. It must have doubled his mania!
The theme here is that the first step of recovery is to take control of your own fate and make the purposeful decision to break the limerence cycle. Sounds like you are well on the way. Good luck and best wishes!
Hi, I was recently introduced to your site by a person with a similar issue online and I have found your site really interesting and informative. I have a strange situation in which, in 2013, after 20 years, I went and found an old classmate who had deeply touched and helped me in a really painful time when we were young. We got talking online and I even ended moving back to that city (my hometown) so I could be near him.
But I found out that to my surprise and despair, he turned out to be married, and only somewhat happily. You see where this is going right? We still got closer and closer (and did have a physical affair) but he also made it clear that he will never leave his wife. This caused me a huge amount of turmoil. I moved across the country to where my family is, but we kept in touch online.
About that time, I got interested in religion and a fear of damnation helped me stop communicating with him, as it was “morally wrong”. That was exactly 3 years ago. I cut off all contact and though I thought about him almost every day, I never made a move to contact him. But then a couple of weeks ago, my religious beliefs were shattered and I had nothing holding me back from “checking” on him. I knew I shouldn’t do it! But I emailed him.
Now we are back to communicating like nothing happened (not in a sexual way) and I am again tense and worried and addicted. All through the 3 years, I had tried the aversion thing too but it doesn’t work because my other self knows I am trying to focus on his bad points “unfairly”. I tried transference but it doesn’t work for very long. I had tried talking honestly to him in the past but he seem to have no problem with having me “on the side”. I am doomed. I know this is some sort of personality thing but I just don’t know what to do. I have even started listening to hypnotherapy to help change my brain…
Sorry to hear what you are going through. If it helps with the aversion method: your LO knowing how you feel and still being fine with having you “on the side” shows that he actually is bad, so you needn’t feel you are faking it when you focus on his negative points. He has you trapped, and he doesn’t apparently care. Extramarital sex is fine, but not actual commitment. Good people don’t behave like that.
If religion and hypnotherapy don’t have a lasting effect, I would recommend trying the deep work of self-analysis. What are you seeking when you crave LO? What do you actually want out of life? What are your goals? What first step could you take towards them? Professional guidance is also worth considering, as this deep work can dredge up some scary stuff. But it’s the only lasting cure I know of, and without confronting your own drives and motives it’s very hard to take control of the situation and get your life on a purposeful track.
Wishing you all the best.
You’ve tried the DIY route and the monsters in your Closet of Anxieties are too big to face without a team.
I suggest you find a therapist – one who has worked with trauma/PTSD patients a great deal and preferably one who specializes in them. Not because the first one you find will be the perfect fit (although I hope so) or because they will necessarily have familiarity with limerence, but because you are too willing to put yourself last and that sounds like trauma to me.
“I had tried talking honestly to him in the past but he seem to have no problem with having me “on the side”.
Not only is he abusing you, he’s abusing his wife and family. I see infidelity as abuse – it steals time, attention, money from the person to whom he pledged troth and if he is THAT unhappy, he can use his words to discuss it with his wife or a lawyer rather than using his words to keep you as one of the stable. I doubt you were his only partner at any one time apart from his wife. That kind of entitlement grows.
Limbo Dancer says
I think finding this blog might have totally saved me. I didn’t know of limerence until very recently. I knew what an obsession was, I knew I was in the grip of that, but a friend of mine was discussing another situation she knew of and she talked about limerence being involved, and although I didn’t disclose anything to her, I knew from her description of it, that was me. I have read a lot of this blogs topics since that lightbulb moment and I relate to it hugely and I’ve experienced most of what’s been discussed on here & countless relapses. I’ve been in a LE for about 5 years now on & off, we have worked together on his creative projects during this time and that’s how it started. My LO is married, I’m also in a long standing relationship. Kids on both sides. We have not disclosed it to our SO’s, there was mutual limerence at one point & I disclosed it to him first, then after a while he disengaged largely, it just became me primarily in limerence limbo by which point I was also over my head in an EA for sure. It’s never gone physical. Always conducted via email, text, occasionally calls, one to one conversations at meetings etc, & latterly the devil of them all WhatsApp. I have initiated NC many times and then relapsed. Blocked, unblocked on social media etc. The list is endless. I have refused to actually meet in person again since early 2017. LO has always tried to maintain that we should be ‘friends’ and have a good outcome in his book, so is not the initiator of that NC here really, I was the ‘pleaser’ though and thought friendship too was what was needed, and the right mature option and way of dealing with it. How wrong was I! . After each relapse although I have felt weak for relapsing, it has actually chipped away at the limerence. I am currently in NC again after a chance meeting at Christmas reopened it all again. This time I knew I was getting triggered again with comments and my tendency towards passive aggressive behaviour with this at times was coming out again as anger, and I don’t want that anger, fear, guilt, desperate cycle in my life, it is so destructive for all concerned in it, so that it was it. I shut it down, LO was told there would be no good outcome, no friendship, no more creative projects, but I wished him well with his life as diplomatically as I could, I don’t hate him etc, it is just the way it is. From my perspective friendship is not possible where an EA, obsession or limerence is involved. NC is the only way out I feel. I know I feel happier for NC which is something I would have not thought possible or said at all a while back. I’ve been through the stages, painfully one at a time. There is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us and I will continue to read this blog to help me through the weak moments, and I know there will be some, so thank you.
Hi Limbo dancer (great name), and welcome!
I agree about the impossibility of friendship. At best it’s a good-hearted attempt to try not to abandon a relationship that has some good points, but it’s just as commonly a rationalisation to keep getting LO hits. Either way, it’s a doomed hope, in my view.
Good luck with the NC this time. Relapses are super common, but as long as you are coming out of them stronger and wiser (and marginally less limerent) then it sounds like you are going in the right direction (and away from LO!).
Thank you for your post, it helped me. I have just posted something for the first time in my life.
I to went through hell with the blocking and unblocking and WhatsApp evil. I’m sure at some stage he was in limerance too but looks like I’ve continued on this endless train journey and I just don’t know how to get off 😭 I’m desperate!
B Hanson says
My 1st Limmerant Other (LO) was a wife of an abusive husband. We were both young (late 20’s). I was trusted by my wife to visit her and we hung out in a completely non-sexual way. It was the ease and familiarity which brought on my full blown limmerance although this was before Dorothy Tenov and before limmerance was even an invented word! Well they broke up, she remarried, my wife went through hell while I tried to understand what was happening to me. She moved away for family reasons and my obsessive thoughts waned. Weirdly enough I had the odd short infatuation but regained the trust of my wife and raised 4 beautiful children. 35 years later a woman who I got friendly with at work (married, two teenage children) led to my second limmerant episode. Again it was the ease and familiarity of the situation which allowed it to sneak up and ambush me. My wife asks did I not remember my earlier painful episode? One would have assumed that I would but I had buried it so well that it was all but forgotten. Here I was 24 hrs. a day hanging meanings on her every word. Getting some mixed signals and finally admitting to myself that disclosure to my wife was necessary in order to “break” the spell. It did of course but there was much more pain to come while I dealt with the blame instead of the pity I thought I deserved. Things are back to normal now but I have learnt that sacrifice is part of loving and that a tendency to be limmerant, never really leaves a person.
B Hanson says
In addition I might add that in matters of love, when we become infatuated with another (a LO or just a crush) we sometimes blame our significant other (SO) because we assume natural understanding occurs and say to ourselves, “why do I feel this bad?, it must be my significant others fault”. But of course they are just innocent bystanders with no idea of your inner feelings and turmoil. So communication is important but naturally also fraught with difficulty.
Also there are the left over feelings at the end of a LE, that having had such intense out of control feelings and invested so much time and mental energy, that one’s SO and the LO would come to understand your pain but instead it feels like you are seen as an emotional cheater and in my case no contact is allowed by my SO. As well as this the LO is no longer communicating of her own will and it feels like you can’t move on as everybody misunderstands how well intentioned you are. You long to normalize relationships. (Unless of course, you do not have the ability to be normal which would be a painful thing to accept).
A. Wisely says
So this is what happened to me? Aha. A 10-year friendship that kept becoming closer and more intense lead to a year-long romantic relationship where she was the center of my universe… followed by a Hiroshima-like bomb being dropped by her on me. It was a like a stock market crash overnight. I knew the day after she broke it off that I was going to go places I had never been.
I didn’t sleep that night, but was just numb from head to toe, unable to fathom that the euphoric connection I had felt for a year had just been shattered, with absolutely no hope of reconstruction. I went to the doctor the next morning… nauseous, crying, heart racing. He gave me an antidepressant but said I would not begin to feel it for a week. Oh God, I thought -I’m not going to make a week! I leaned on my best friend… incredible pillar of support.
It was only 24 hours out and I confided in him that for the first time in my life I felt suicidal… over the next few days I planned my suicide and wrote letters to myself and her. This was not casual writing, but manic, ceaseless writing of every thought in my head, just trying to find the ground. I was completely in touch with what suicidal ideation means… somehow, and I can’t explain it, planning my suicide gave me a sliver of relief.
I could not eat at all… I weighted 170 and began losing weight within a few days. In one week, down 10 pounds. I went back to the doctor and he prescribed an anti-anxiety drug that took the edge off and allowed me to function somewhat. Within two weeks, down to 151 pounds. I was so scared.
I could write a book about this… well, actually I did. Within a month I had stabilized, but not in a good way, but just not going further down hill.
My friend said I needed to fill this void with new experiences, but for the last year+ every single thing I did every day had some sort of attachment to her… my whole day would be spent connecting what I did to some aspect of her or us. I had wrapped my life around her so tightly. And, again, while it lasted it was an unreal, dreamlike, purposeful, and incredible high every single day.
It took almost 3 months before I went out and did anything with anyone -joined a group of unknown people to begin doing some physical activity. That was the key… new people, new activity. I had something new to begin to build my life back around. I could not look at or even envision an image of the two of us. However, she crept into my dreams and often into my daily thoughts.
One year later, I was still not over her, but the dreams and thoughts of her had subsided… maybe once a day I would see an image of her in my head, or see something that reminded me of her. I started dating again. That helped for sure.
Two years later, I pulled out a couple pictures of her and looked at them… it seemed hard to believe we ever dated. Who were these people in the picture? I would journal to myself often and sometimes I would find it important to mention her in some way, but it was no longer a fixation. I was scared of running into her though. Thank God I did not.
Now, three years later. I feel like I have this under control. I can look at a picture of her or us and I feel no emotional turmoil, no heart racing, no longing. I think part of this was me allowing myself to gradually devalue her worth by recalling her negative qualities (we all have them). I had noticed them when we were dating, but allowed her positives to completely obliterate the negatives. Now I reversed that… sometimes by reconstructing situations we had been in and just reviewing them with a more balanced eye. Some of this, though, just happened subconsciously with no purposeful work done by me to tarnish her character. Three years have gone by and I know I’m OK now. Mainly, what I know is that I’ll never invest all the meaning of my life into one person like that again. It was love that I felt for her, but love plus limerence. I’m in a healthy relationship now and I can say I have an intimate knowledge of how I can keep myself from skating so close to the peril that nearly took my life.
“invested so much time and mental energy” (to another person outside of the primary relationship)
“…that one’s SO and the LO would come to understand your pain but instead it feels like you are seen as an emotional cheater”
Try imagining you are your SO. That you have discovered or been told that you had been devalued and even blamed for your beloved being unhappy and that they had no choice but to become deeply emotionally connected to someone else. Plus you are told that you have to witness and perhaps even COMFORT your partner while they “mourn” the loss of their emotional affair. That takes brass.
In other words, imagine their pain.
“…in my case no contact is allowed by my SO.”
Playing gatekeeper or Jiminy Cricket is exhausting, thankless and often backfires. That sounds as though you disagree with the concept of no contact and it’s being imposed upon you. If you’re not the one proposing and holding yourself accountable, then you are still shortchanging your SO.
Have you read https://livingwithlimerence.com/2018/12/09/limerence-for-a-co-worker and https://livingwithlimerence.com/2018/02/23/flirting-at-work/ ?
LE’s with co-workers add another dimension of risk.
What specific problems are you trying to fix?
Not too sure how to start or even explain my situation but somehow I have to as I cannot take it anymore!
I’m married with 2 young children and have recently broken up with my husband after 2 long years of being in this limerance state.
My husband and I for many years fantasised about having extra marital relationships with his friends whilst we were being intimate. One friend in particular for years and years. One night out it ended up happening and since I have been in this situation. The problem here though is that image tried and tried over and over again to reach out to him. Initially he said it couldn’t happen again because of our partners and when I admitted to him how I felt he said ‘do you, ok we’ll see what happens’ from that point onwards things progressed and he would go on line at specific times, following my patterns over and over again. If I messaged he would ignore me. It’s like he wanted me just the same but we couldn’t so as if an emotional without actually messaging. Many times I questioned my own sanity amd maybe it was all in my head. I tried everything I came of social media for months, it helped for a bit but I felt so miserable and hated everything in my life with my kids and husband. I was honest with my husband and he ended up swing a therapy which explained what I was going through. When he would try to explain and say this was all in my head I hated him so much!! After spending days weeks playing these chasing games on social media I would question it in my head and would end up doing everything to check if it could be in my head but consistency in the conincedences continued and I would burst and message again – when no reply arrived I sobbed and cried for days then would feel better and more concincidences which would start a new cycle of hoping and fantasies. I’m now 2 years and 3 months on and things are bad.
Last summer things got bad and I felt like I was going to break up with my husband for the 3rd time in this process and message him saying ‘I’m leaving’ he read that message and since then he started to post comments on his business page that felt like were an answer to my messages. Since then we have (in my head) doing this back and forth. It’s either this or someone like his friend/girlfriend pretending to be him. Things got so obvious the other day and I started receiving private miss calls on my work mobile (which only LO had as i messaged him of it and said I was moving out on the 10th ( he blocked that number too) in addition to miss calls on several occasions when I answered it was just silence. At this point I started to call his number as private caller and the same would happen he would answer but no speak. I assume it was him all along so I called him and spoke one morning very briefly as he’s reply was ‘why are you calling me you can’t call me I don’t want you to call me.
I said I wanted to clarify the phone calls and checking if he was tricking me or someone else was playing a prank. ‘I’m not tricking you as I wouldn’t do that. I tried and say that I’m not with my husband but he said ‘ I don’t want nothing to do with it leave me out of it!
I feel distraught at this point I had signed a tenancy contract to move out and have since done so in the hope that was all I need to do to be free and single. I feel so stupid and hurt, like I’m ill and that must be something seriously wrong with me. Surely I wouldn’t imagine such details and coincidences over and over again.
Any advise or opinion or view would be appreciated
Welcome YM. Really sorry to hear what you’ve been going through.
It’s a difficult lesson in the dangers of mixing fantasy and reality, and how that can spiral out of control. From the sounds of it, you are in a lot of psychological distress and not clear where to turn. My suggestion would be that, if possible, you get professional support before you make any more decisions – a doctor or therapist. Depending on where you are in the world, that may be easier said than done, but some distance from both your LO and SO is a good idea. Time alone will hopefully give you a chance to try and get your head straight.
The key to this is trying to get emotional equilibrium back and to focus on yourself. You are not likely to make good decisions until you have figured out what you want for your future. Your LO sounds like trouble, and is distancing himself, so take that as a blessing in disguise and go no contact. You don’t have to make decisions now about your marriage; there is time. The main thing is to look after yourself, focus on yourself, and start the recovery process of going no contact with LO.
Wishing you all the best.
YM – I am sorry you are going through such an awful time. Is there a friend or your sister you trust that you can talk to right now, you’ll find it’s a huge relief to just unburden your troubles to an objective 3rd party. After I disclosed to my SO last week I spoke to my best friend yesterday as I wanted an unbiased opinion, it’s interesting what they pick up that we can’t see with our own love struck eyes. Suddenly LO is not so perfect anymore. I also found reading all the articles here was a huge help to start off with.
Also keeping your distance from LO would be best, he sounds like a real piece of work yanking your emotional chain. Goodluck.
I’m too embarrassed to discuss and my sister would not understand she is terribly sadden that I left my husband.
I’ve arranged a Private health GP consultation through works health care plan and should then be screen to the best type of therapy.
Reading the comments certainly helps and I had a better day, removed the Facebook app to avoid the constant checking profiles and business pages looking for a clue reading between the lines. I guess I will never know if this was all in my head or if he really has been playing along feeding this situation without wanting to fully admit.
Ugh. So my old LO is slowly fading but is it common for limerence to want to attach to someone new*? To me based on my prior history it felt like every time I moved on from LO, whomever it was someone new appeared, whether I wanted it to or not. It’s like I only remember breathing without limerence for a little time in my life. It’s exhausting. So long story short I made an appointment to see a specialist about a problem I was having and when she walked into the room I had a trigger. She looked a lot like the LO. It was bizarre. Her hair style and color reminded me of LO. Overtime due to being in contact with said specialist limerence was there but not enough, as I was in deep with main LO. Eventually LO moved away and I still see the specialist and although I had not see her since March and after that I didn’t think much of her, this time I went -2 weeks ago as of today. I’ve been in limerence about her, I won’t * see her for another year though so that’s good but it’s odd. I’ve been doing well and then bam, since IM slowly moving on from LO
I felt like I experienced transference. It’s annoying to say the least. I know if she had not had the same hair cut and color I would not have been triggered. When I found her originally through my research she did not have the dark hair so I thought nothing of it. She must have dyed it because when I met her in person it was darks and styled like LO did. Help. I hate this. I just want to be freed. To make matters worse. This specialist and my husband work at the same hospital. Part of me wants to switch specialist but since since I shouldn’t be seeing her for another year I think I might be in the clear. But I find myself wanting affection from her in more than a professional way. I don’t want to give up on original LO yet I feel her fading and this is how it’s switching and it’s maddening. Help.
Hi. First time reader and commenter
I was wondering what remedy you would suggest for someone in my situation? I’m 27 years old. I’ve been limerant for my LO for about 20 years. Certainly for the last 15. She’s the girl I loved throughout school and currently the only girl I’ve ever loved.
When we were at school together it was excellent. My feelings for this girl would motivate me to get up every day and go to school, knowing that I would see her. We’d have classes together and I would always look forward to those classes. I would generally use any opportunity to be around her or spend time with her.
Of course we left school and since then I haven’t seen or spoken to her. I’ve tried to forget about her and move on with my life but I’ve found that I can’t stop thinking about her. My mind keeps weaving these elaborate fantasies. Or I think about her face, her voice, or times we’ve spent together. Or, more often than not, I’ll end up beating myself up over things I didn’t do that I should have, or things I did that I shouldn’t have done. Stuff like that.
The logical part of me keeps telling me that what I’m hoping for isn’t healthy or realistic, that if she felt the same way about me I would probably know by now. Of course, the irrational part of me keeps telling me that there’s a possibility she feels or felt the same way I do and, for whatever reason, never expressed it.
I can honestly say that I’ve at least attempted all four options
No contact is pretty much a given seeing as I haven’t seen her or spoken to her in ten years. I abhor social media and refuse to use it. When I used to use it I only did so because she did and I wanted to get closer to her. I prevent myself from googling her. But of course this doesn’t do anything to prevent the intrusive thoughts and certainly doesn’t do anything to prevent me from dreaming about her.
Options #2 & 3 didn’t work. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why
I had one real crack at disclosure. It was when I was sixteen/seventeen. LO started dating this other guy and understandably I felt all the painful, negative emotions. Anger, jealousy, etc. Eventually I decided to tell her how I felt, which I’d decided to do over FB. I know it was a non-optimal way to do it but this was over the Christmas break and there didn’t seem to be many opportunities to get her alone. So I sent her a message. I can’t remember exactly what I said. Definitely ‘I love you’. I think I told her for long I’ve felt this way and a bit about ‘why’ I felt the way I did (as if you can really explain that sort of thing) and that I understood if she was repulsed by my feeling the way I did.
She sent me two messages. The first one, which I read second, was very reassuring. At least, that was my gut instinct when I first read it. She said that she wasn’t repulsed, that she thought I was very sweet and kind and caring. She also said that she didn’t know me that well, despite going to school together since we were almost babies. She said that we should talk more about this and she gave me her mobile number.
The second one, which I read first, was less so. Basically she alleged that it wasn’t really me who wrote that message, that it was one of my friends or somebody trying to play a practical joke on her. Which was childish. And annoying. And it basically put things back to square one, though because I read the first message second I didn’t think much of it at the time.
She broke up with this other guy not long after (a year later she told a classmate in my hearing that she never really liked him anyway) but I never tried disclosure again.
Honestly, part of me wants to try disclosure again. To look her directly in the eye where there can be no ambiguity and tell her exactly how I feel about her. But I’m wary of the fact that it’s been nearly ten years since I last saw or spoke to her. She’s moved on with her life. As a way of trying to fight this I often tell myself that she doesn’t love me, care about me or even remember me. Well, what if that’s correct? She’s not going to appreciate me crawling out of the woodwork after ten years to tell her how madly and passionately in love with her I am.
So I’m wondering if my gut instinct is correct and I should try to work towards disclosure? Or if my more logical reasoning is correct and I should try to work harder at options #1 through #3 instead?
Hi Mike, and welcome.
To start by answering your last questions: I don’t think the “aversion conditioning” approach would be useful, as this isn’t a scenario where you are in regular contact with LO and want to stop being limerent for her. Transference is maybe more promising, but we’ll come back to that. Which leaves disclosure. My honest opinion is that it depends on your goal. If your goal is to end the limerence, then it could work. If your goal is to see whether LO is interested in a romantic relationship then I suspect it will fail. I don’t know for sure of course, but my intuition is that most people would be pretty confused and unsettled by an old school friend that they haven’t seen for a decade declaring their love. It isn’t a common scenario, after all!
The larger picture behind this, and one reason why I think transference may be an option, is that you have carried your LO in your heart as a romantic ideal for so long that it is likely to have meant no-one else stood a chance of capturing your affection. You also left the situation with LO in a maddeningly uncertain state – you declared yourself, got a cautiously positive response, but then left her in doubt as to whether it was a real declaration or a practical joke. I’m curious why you didn’t call her and say “it was me, and I meant every word”?
From what you write, it seems as though you feel powerless to act on love – as though it is something that happens to you and that LO is the one who must make decisions. I talk a lot on the site about “purposeful living” as the best strategy for managing limerence. That’s because it means that you act decisively towards your goals, whatever they are. So, if you are single and LO is single, you disclose. It’s painful and you risk rejection, but as you have found, not acting is just a different kind of pain and rejection stretched out over a decade.
So, my best advice would be to spend some time working on yourself. Do the deep work of looking inwards and deciding what you want. What kind of life do you want to be living? What kind of relationship do you want? (goddess worship is not a relationship, btw) What changes could you make to start making progress towards that life? The first step will probably be to ask yourself some uncomfortable questions about why fantasy romantic longing feels more safe to you than a genuine relationship with a real woman (not an ideal woman). It will be slow to start to unpick these habits of thought and behaviour, but time spent getting to know yourself and your drives at a deep level is almost always time well spent. It could also set you up to be in a more self-aware and confident position if you meet a potential partner – which is where the transference could pay off.
Hope that’s some help – and good luck with shaping a new future. You are young still and have time to steer your life onto a more purposeful path.
As Dr L says, disclosing out of nowhere at this point will make her run a mile. You’ll sound crazy. Sorry.
Why not check out her FB or Insta and figure out if she’s single? If so, ping her a breezy message “hey, remember me? How are you?” and see what comes back. If she’s with someone then maybe knowing that will knock her off that pedestal you have her on.
‘I’m curious why you didn’t call her and say “it was me, and I meant every word”? ‘
Believe me, I’ve asked myself that question many times for over ten years now.
I’ll think about the rest of what you’ve said. Thank you very much for your help
At what point should I switch specialists due to limerence ?
Ugh. So my old LO is slowly fading but is it common for limerence to want to attach to someone new*? To me based on my prior history it felt like every time I moved on from LO, whomever it was someone new appeared, whether I wanted it to or not. It’s like I only remember breathing without limerence for a little time in my life. It’s exhausting. So long story short I made an appointment to see a specialist about a problem I was having and when she walked into the room I had a trigger. She looked a lot like the LO. It was bizarre. Her hair style and color reminded me of LO. Overtime due to being in contact with said specialist limerence was there but not enough, as I was in deep with main LO. Eventually LO moved away and I still see the specialist and although I had not see her since March and after that I didn’t think much of her, this time I went -2 weeks ago as of today. I’ve been in limerence about her, I won’t * see her for another year though so that’s good but it’s odd. I’ve been doing well and then bam, since IM slowly moving on from LO
I felt like I experienced transference. It’s annoying to say the least. I know if she had not had the same hair cut and color I would not have been triggered. When I found her originally through my research she did not have the dark hair so I thought nothing of it. She must have dyed it because when I met her in person it was darks and styled like LO did. Help. I hate this. I just want to be freed. To make matters worse. This specialist and my husband work at the same hospital. Part of me wants to switch specialist but since since I shouldn’t be seeing her for another year I think I might be in the clear. But I find myself wanting affection from her in more than a professional way. I don’t want to give up on original LO yet I feel her fading and this is how it’s switching and it’s maddening. Help.
@Mike, I have a little story for you. When I was in high school I developed a light friendship with a quirky, interesting and smart guy. We weren’t super close but one day I invited him over to my house to do our home work together. I was mildly intrigued with him but not dazzled as I was with the charismatic larger than life personalities I was always crushing on. He was quiet and unassuming.
I soon moved to England and didn’t really think of him much in the next many years (decades!). One day I was back in the town I went to high school and went to an art festival with Mum and noticed a booth with lovely paintings for sale and the name of the artist had the same surname as this fellow. Seeing that name triggered warm memories and curiosity and as nobody was at the booth I left a note on the guest book saying that I was a high school friend of (my friends name) and if they were of any relation I would love to hear from him and I left my email address. I then forgot all about it. Six months later, incredibly, I got an email from my high school friend. His parents owned the booth, and they gave him my note, and he had it in his car but lost it. When he had his car detailed six months later they found it. We got reacquainted and exchanged pictures. I was shocked when he said “Of course you are beautiful.”. He then said that he had had a crush on me all through high school and when we did homework together he really wanted to kiss me but couldn’t find the courage. I had no idea he was interested! I do think there was a good chance I would have reciprocated had I known! So…as we got reacquainted he revealed he is now ( just recently) happily remarried, and it turns out his artistic nature has led him to being a very successful architect, designing important building in Los Angeles. I can’t help but wonder how life might have been different for both of us if he had disclosed in high school or at some point in the years to follow. I am sure you can figure out what I think you should do. 🙂
Long post, sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’m in love with a friend who’s unavailable and I didn’t realize how deep I was until it was too late.
He has a long term girlfriend, so I chose not to do anything when I first recognized I was developping a crush. I ignored the warning signs. It was just a crush, so it would go away eventually, right? Right.
Instead of getting better, it keeps getting worse. It’s been 3 years. He moved in with the SO and he’s engaged to her now. It’s even more clear that NOTHING WILL COME FROM THIS but I can’t stop these intense breathtaking feelings. I see him every day. He’s a huge nerd. He has a gross mole on his back with hair growing out of it. And he’s still the most amazing person I’ve ever met.
I’ve been okay so far about pretending he’s just a good friend. I’ve had a genuine go at romantic relationships with other people – I’ve even avoided him during those times because I didn’t want to be an emotional cheat. Didn’t work. I can’t stay away for long. The intrusive thoughts get more and more powerful. It’s irrational. I keep hoping these feelings will go away.
He doesn’t encourage it, not deliberately at least. Sometimes he holds eye contact (oh my heart), and he slips when I show a bit more leg than usual. But he doesn’t stare, he keeps all our hugs brief, he doesn’t sit closer than necessary. Paradoxically the fact that he’s so careful about physical contact makes me think he recognizes the possibilities. Whether that is because he suspects I have a “tiny” crush (ha!) or because he has secret feelings too is an uncertainty that often keeps me up at night.
He gave me a wedding invitation today. He would never have done it if he suspected how deeply I felt. He would cut off contact instead. He’d (probably rightly) think the best way is a clean break.
I didn’t know what limerence was before this. In the past, the guy being unavailable always helped me get over him, but in this case it just feeds the obsession.
But if the fact that he’s engaged wasn’t enough, will it be when he gets married? When he has kids? Or am I just going to get stuck here forever, ruminating about what I could have done and wishing it had been me? This sucks. I want an untainted friendship. I can’t keep away, but I can’t take any more of this.
Anonymous Limerent says
I’m not going to lie; secret feelings on his part are possible. But consider: If he did have feelings for you, what would you do? What would he do? If you’re thinking maybe he would leave SO for you after getting married to her when he knew you, wouldn’t that make him a bad person? Using someone else as a tool? And what would you do? You wouldn’t act upon it, of course. He has a wife. So nothing will ever happen.
Focus on that. Focus on the feeling that he has another woman in his life, how that makes you feel. How nothing can ever happen.
Then focus on his mole.
I hope this helps, but my experience tells me you can only come to the realisation of what is actually going on by yourself, no one can force it out of you.
I’m not going to say good luck because I know how it feels to have people say to you they hope everything will be alright but they actually don’t fully mean it because they don’t know you and they don’t know half of what you’ve gone through in the years of your life you’ve wasted fantasising about one person, and you hate yourself for it.
Plus, it just sort of seems a bit sarcastic/sycophantic.
Hi Gen, and welcome.
That’s a pretty good one sentence summary of limerence misery! You do seem stuck in a mental cycle on him, and to be honest, nothing that he does is likely to change that. He could get married, come out as gay, move to another country… the basic truth of limerence is that it’s happening in your head and that where you need to work on it if you’re going to master it.
I’m also downbeat on the prospect of staying friends with an LO. It’s just too much temptation and exposure – which reinforces the limerence. Friendship is something that you will almost certainly have to sacrifice to get over him. It sucks, but then quite a lot about limerence for the wrong person does. It’s unhappy choices in all directions, so the best plan is to make a purposeful decision to get out of the mess and stride towards a happier (LO-free) future.
There’s lots on the site about friendship and recovery strategies. Hope it helps!
Even if he knew the extent of your crush he still may not get why you just ‘can’t get over’ him, especially once he’s married! But knowing that the (person) addiction is always waiting in the wings, ready to rear it’s ugly yet fraudulently beautiful head, is knowledge and power. Never let your guard down. Don’t give an inch. Fight to the death! (Of limerence). Victory awaits…..for us all.
Thanks Anon, Dr. L and J.
I’ve had a look around the site for the past couple of days. Reading other people’s experiences was incredibly helpful. I need to do a little bit of self reflection I think. Anon: it’s been painful, but I don’t feel like I’ve wasted these years. LO has been incredibly good for me – he’s been with me every step of the way through med school propping each other up, he’s humble and kind and overall admirable and I’m a vain asshole; he makes me want to be better and all that.
I don’t know about fighting it to the death. I have one year left until we graduate, he gets married, and we move to different parts of the country. And then I’ll have to meet new people and focus on the job. That will be enough, I think. Everything else has failed, I can’t NC anyway, when we’re studying/working together and are in the same group of friends and everything he does amazes me.
I don’t want to give up the friendship (yeah I know, whoosh). Wish I could just snap my fingers and everything would be the same except for the in love bit.
My tentative plan: I can take a little bit more of this after all. just a little bit longer soaking in the glow at the cost of some emotional misery, and then it’ll be over, the good and the bad. Hopefully I can hold steady for another year without making a dumb mistake.
I’m definitely not going to the wedding though. I was going to delay the decision just in case I got over him in time, but who am I kidding.
He’ll be disappointed but maybe he’ll be relieved too. And anyway it’s his and his SOs day (ouch), best for me not to be there, limerence or no limerence.
Oh boy, oh boy, Gen.
I’ve been reading this site also after I found it and your comments about thinking that you can just take a little more of the misery and wait it out until school is done …. Is exactly what I kept thinking too—though not school but until I could get back to work now that Covid travel restrictions are lifting. My LO was also really kind and helpful but the misery of putting up with a M-Th living situation every week while LO would go spend every weekend, holiday and long weekend with HER simply proved too much after 3 years. I know this untenable and toxic relationship was unhealthy and had to end but my limerance wouldn’t allow me to get to that point—my only sister was murdered during these three years and I couldn’t even grieve properly for her because I was so obsessed with my feelings and thought of letting go of my LO—that’s an example of how bad my limerance is…. But a month ago, texts that were never supposed to go to my LO accidentally got sent to him and, as a friend said—must have been the work of my guardian Angel because my LO completely ended our 9 year relationship —and I’m now trying NC and will try the aversion strategy as well. It’s been a month today (28 days) with lots of tears and regrets but the last sentence in the mistakenly sent text I would not take back: “I don’t respect him for the deceit, the subterfuge—I don’t want to keep playing this game.”
I miss My LO terribly, we lived together the last 3 years and people would envy how compatibly we could live together, but the emotional misery every week was torture. I got nothing done at all in my life because all I could do was think about every word and action he made—constantly on alert for another lie. I put up with way too much just to hold on to our friendship—and my advice is not to wait another year before you try to move on without your obsession over your LO. It’s not worth it, now this is what I need to keep telling myself and get through another month of NC and another and another….
He was wonderful and he was awful but I hoped and hoped for a different out come until I knew it wasn’t going to get better and then somehow as ppl say, the guardian Angel took charge and made something happen to end it for me. Still hard to accept this now, but it’s really helped today to read everyone else’s postings—DL has really provided an excellent resource with this blog. Thank you to everyone who has written because it’s given me hope of a different kind today—that I can make it back to a Real life again, in time.
I’ve finally built up enough courage to tell LO I was interested in her and to ask her if she felt the same way towards me, and if it would be any possibility of us to start a relationship.
This was not really easy to do, and I think I only gave myself this ultimatum because I have been going through a lot of despair and emotional turmoil since last week, when I saw LO was talking to another guy in a way that didn’t really please my limerent brain, for it looked too much that they were likely arranging to start a relationship o their own. It troubled my heart so much that I had to start thinking really seriously about the likelihood of “losing” LO even before I had at least given it a try to ask about her feelings.
So, I gave my best this past week to try and find out if LO was already in a relationship with said guy, so that I would just give it up as “done” with this limerent experience, and it turned out that they were not, and he was merely still just trying to get her, just like me (but with the limerence part, maybe). Then, as soon as I had got enough evidence LO was “safe”, I started to again ignore the fact that I didn’t have an answer for what she felt about me too, so I started a mind battle of arguing with myself that I really needed to put an end on this madness, and that it would end anyway, be it by LO starting a relationship with someone else or by me asking her directly for an answer. Option 2 chosen.
I had also agreed with myself that LO is a kind person, so she would probably not give me any bad responses just because because I would be asking her about this stuff, so I went up to her, asked if she was in a relationship, for which she answered “No”, and then I told her I was interested in her and that I’d like to know about her feelings and do on. Besides the creepy awkwardness of telling her my side of the story before asking about hers, now I think it was much easier then I thought it would be to disclose my feelings. LO was kind as expected, said she was not interested and gave an explanation that she likes me just a friend, and that she thinks maybe us guys may think she is interested because of how kind she is with all her friends.
Although of course this was not happy ending on the romance side, I nevertheless got a much clearer mind for not having to keep trying to figure it out anymore.
Just wonder if I should keep her now as a friend or if it would be best to cut or reduce all.
Ulysses I disclosed to my LO in an exceedingly similar fashion….I was worried that he was interested in someone else, etc….well, he was kind and said he had ‘considered me’ and was ever so flattered that I would even be interested in him! … but he needed to focus on other things and he had things to work out (he was relocating far away and was still pining over an ex) but he very much wanted to stay friends and I thought that I would because he was such a lovely person and a good friend. Fast forward 7 years…..the attachment (on my end) got deeper and deeper and we were more and more intertwined (I thought) and he was so determined to stay close no matter where we were in the world….and he insisted on meeting up whenever in town….his family loved me, took me on vacations, he and I went on vacations together, people often thought we were married and he never corrected them, and on and on… then I was blindsided by his unexpected marriage. Didn’t even know he was dating! So…what a strange friendship! Anyway, I wish I had gone no contact after I disclosed. I would have saved myself the most excruciating pain of my entire life….that 10 months later is slowly healing but the scar tissue I fear will cause me discomfort for a lifetime. If I can save someone from making the mistake I did by telling my little story…..
Thank you, Jaideux, for alerting me. I’m sorry you have had to pass through this, though. For your comment and also from what I’ve just googled about this, keeping friends is really the worst route to take after rejection. I’ll make an effort on disciplining myself, which looks like to be one of most positive outcome I have had from this LE.
Ulysses, that’s a very constructive way to look at things. I too want to excel in self-discipline! I read a wonderful essay by Tim Urban (Wait but Why) on toxic friendships and he called our limerent type of friendships “half marriages”. He said that this is one of the most toxic types of friendships that exist and if we don’t walk away it’s just one long drawn out rejection (in my case so many years long!) and we all know that’s not a medically sound treatment for anyones heart ! 😉
Hey, congrats Ulysses! Disclosing to LO was a really important and purposeful step. Courageous too.
It’s a pity of course that it didn’t work out, but that is how taking a chance usually goes. The most important thing is to break the cycle of waiting and hoping and wasting your life away.
In terms of trying to stay friends – I would say that’s likely to be a bad idea for you. Much better to keep up the purposeful living and start looking for new romantic opportunities with people who are a better match. It sounds like your LO is a decent person (and interestingly, aware of the fact that she attracts a lot of men…) so she should understand your pulling back from the friendship.
Thank you, Dr L. Your website has been of great help to me and likely to many others also going through this madness called limerence. I think I might have read this article on getting rid of limerence at least half a dozen of times, if not more. Many of moves were positively influenced by what I read in this blog, and I felt much more in control of the situation after I started taking purposeful steps like you often talk in your blog posts. Also, it was really enlivening to read my own story written here on the site and you and your fellow readers giving light and positive thoughts on how I should proceed. Thanks a lot, Dr L and everyone here on LwL website. God bless.
@jaideux, found that post about being in a half marriage you mentioned – loved it, posting it here.
“Somewhere in your life, you’re probably part of a friendship that would be a marriage if only the other person weren’t very, very, extremely not interested in that happening. 1 for 2 on yes votes—just one vote away—so close.
You might be on either side of this—and either way it’s one of the least healthy parts of your life. Fun!
If you’re on the if only side of things, probably the right move is to get your fucking shit together? Ya know? This friendship is one long, continuous rejection of you as a human being, and you’re just wallowing there in your yearning like a sobbing little seal. Plus, duh, if you gather your self-respect and move on with your life, it’ll raise their perception of your value and they might actually become interested in you.
If you’re on the oh yeah definitely not side of the situation, here’s what’s happening—there’s this suffering human in the world, and you know they’re suffering, and you fucking love it, because it gives your little ego a succulent sponge bath every time you hang out with them. You enjoy it so much you probably even lead them on intentionally, don’t you—you make sure to keep just enough ambiguity in the situation that their bleeding heart continues to lather your ego from head to toe at your whim.
Both of you—go do something else.”
WOW jaideux… what a way to keep someone on standby. And I can so understand how you felt. Being close to his family, having him give you all these signs (not correcting them if they think you’re married etc) I can see how that keeps you posted and think maybe he just needs to realize you are the perfect match.
Unfortunately, he always had the out and justification “but I told you I am not interested, I was always clear on that”.
And that blindside… I can see how painful that must have been for you.
Sarah, thanks for understanding. It’s all been so confusing but this site helps to sort things out. I am trying to look forward and not dwell on the confounding past. We will all get over these LE’s! 🙂
I think if I were in your shoes I would be very angry… angry at myself, at him, at his wife… (or let’s say that’s what I am now, angry at myself, my LO, my LO’s LO ;))
I think true greatness will come from being above all that and leaving it behind and get over those feelings. I’m still working on that. I’m not as angry as I used to be, but it still creeps up. I don’t wish my LO anything bad, I truly want him to be happy. But my feelings (the good and the bad) are not fully gone yet. Once I can neutrally look at this and be completely at ease, I have reached my freedom. And I assume you feel similarly?
@Jaideux wow your story has really hit me hard. Im sorry that you’ve had to go through this for so long being stuck in limerence is not cool.
From an outsider your LO is not a nice one. To keep you in the illusion but not telling you he is getting married. Awful! What a total jerk. That’s no friend. All I can say is I’m glad he’s married her and not you. He sounds shady, I really do wish you all the best on your road to freedom. Concentrate on yourself.
Thanks Rachel and Sarah….I am healing little by little. Wishing the best for you and all limerent sufferers!
Yep, had that experience too—completely blindsided when I found out my LO of 4 years started another relationship without telling me! But I hung on thinking it was just some infatuation and wouldn’t last—fast forward 3 years, he even had a commitment ceremony w her and honeymoon and rings etc which he only wore on weekends when w her…. But also never told me about it! I stayed with him anyway even knowing this, still hoping there was a chance for “us”—and he fed my fantasy by being ambiguous every time I brought up building a life together in the future. His words: “I do love you, that’s why we’re still having this conversation.” Why couldn’t I walk away? Any sane person would have. Learning about limerance today, makes me understand why. Finally set boundaries in my last parting letter—and said “Goodbye” now it’s NC and the aversion strategy for me. Thankfully I have other friends to encourage me to stick with the program.
Hi Ulysses, I think it’s good you disclosed, now you have clarity.
Agree with jaideux, staying close friends is probably not the best idea. If you still see PO at work, I’d probably just stay friendly (like you would with any other colleague)
Good luck with your recovery, I think now you’re set on a good path to end the LE.
“Just wonder if I should keep her now as a friend or if it would be best to cut or reduce all.”
My experience says to cut and run. Think of it this way: If you’re looking for a real relationship, does this person have a place in your life when you find it? My guess is probably not.
It may seem like a decent idea to allow them to hang around while you look for a better offer. It may give you something to do and something to think about while you’re looking but the sooner you get rid of your LO, the better. One of the last things you need when starting a promising relationship is jettisoning old baggage.
Hi Ulysses. Good for you for disclosing to your LO. You have your answer – and it’s a “no”, kindly expressed by a nice person. That that as the gift it is. A chance to move on and find someone who reciprocates your love (and she’s out there! for sure!).
I’m a strong advocate that although your LO would be able to handle a friendship, it would not be of benefit to someone who harboured romantic feelings. We can’t just suddenly switch our feelings to 100% platonic so essentially you’d be “pretending” to a greater or lesser degree. And the limerent part of your brain would always be seeking little clues that she’d changed her mind, was feeling warmer towards you etc. Also – it would cause you pain to see her start a romantic relationship with someone else and overall being friends with her might stop you looking around to find someone right for you.
Dr L’s posts re friendship possibility are clear. Unless your limerence is totally over you can’t ever be served with a “friendship” with your LO. Us limerents worry about this upsetting out LOs – but you’ve got to look after yourself and also their depth of feeling is obvs much less. They’ve generally got plenty of actual friends and offer “friendship” as a way of letting us down gently etc rather than a true desire to actually be friends.
Jaideux’s tale is a salutary one. Jaideux – that’s a truly vile LO. glad you’re getting through it.
Thanks SGL…well, I would like to think of him as oblivious (perhaps deliberately?) and not very self-aware…..but like us all, he has good and bad qualities. I take responsibility for not setting boundaries like I should. I’ve learned a lot! I really agree with your thought about pretending….I have to admit I think keeping my feelings to myself was not totally honest, and if I had been repeatedly clear and honest (no matter how awkward and uncomfortable) this episode would surely have ended years earlier.
@Jaideux – yes simplistic of me to call your LO “vile” given I don’t know him or you IRL 😉. But certainly oblivious of your feelings and potential hurt. Don’t blame yourself though. Sounds like he was giving lots of mixed messages. Hope you continue to heal & move on.
@SGL Thank you! That’s my hope for all of us….to forgive and move on and never let this happen again. Once a limerent…always the potential to be a limerent again….so it’s important to be hypervigilant and have loads of self control…not taking that hit…..because it’s really, really not worth it.
Jaydeux—you’re saying all the thoughts I’ve had too—from one limerant to another. DL and others are right—just being friends is not going to work for us. Really need to put our LO in the past.
I just keep checking his social media. What is wrong with me why am I doing this to myself and what am I hoping to achieve.. spiralling a little.
Don’t torture yourself, Rachel. There is nothing on there that you need to know.
That’s so true I just don’t know what I need to do to completely let go…
Urrrrrrggghh social media is literally my biggest problem as mine was a long distance EA. Endless back and forth of one or other blocking at my request. We’ve stuck to a block for a week now. But I need to stop myself checking that he’s still blocked by searching his name in FB ….
It’s so hard.
Tomorrow will be 9 weeks since my last social media drive-by. Every day I go into work, I cross off the day before on the calendar. Since it’s a long weekend, assuming I make it through today, I’ll cross off 4 days. It’s crude but mildly satisfying.
Thanks guys. That’s a good idea Scarny I will start marking them as of tomorrow!
Good job Scharny! 🙂
I had to remove myself from social media to avoid temptation of seeing LO online. This means losing contact with all my friends online. It’s worth it though. This past week of NC, I just feel sadness and loss over LO, but not the daily emotional roller coaster between meetings and texts.
I updated my PC and phone registry to block the online site, so I can’t even get to it to sign in.
Something this drastic may be harder if your online site is also for keeping up with family and close friends. But you could try it for just a couple weeks to get over immediate separation from LO pain and put up a short message on your site that you’ll be offline for a couple weeks.
That’s great Bob I have done the same I have blocked the website so I can’t even log in that way. It’ll be good for me as no good comes from social media anyway. Extreme measures. I’m going to try and avoid social media for a few days and then maybe log on at the weekend just to check the notifications but not actually check social media.
Just make sure you have a plan in place if they contact you via text or phone.
Had the urge to send LO a link to a news article concerning his native country… could have asked about his vacation while doing so… BUT… I didn’t! Win for today. 🙂
Thats a great win! Imagine the consequences if you did contact him. Well done.
Kevin I’m sure LO won’t text me as he hasn’t done in so long but I’ll have to think of a plan….
Rachel: “no good comes from social media anyway.”
My settings allow FB and my other fitness site to send me an email if I get a message on my profile page. I know it won’t be from LO, but not having to sign in to check notifications avoids the temptation to just check to see what LO is up to.
Good luck with your social media blackout.
Have a plan that when you want to check social media you play some honest music that makes you feel bigger and mentally stronger and watch that urge go away
“I know I should be all in my feelings
Staring at the ceiling
But here’s the truth
Wallowing in it would be such a waste
That isn’t gonna fix it anyway”
Sigrid is great! Dynamite is so apt too… “I don’t belong in your universe… for better or for worse…”
I saw Sigrid live at a festival over the summer. She was brilliant – and so refreshing to see a young woman in the music business come out wearing a lovely comfy pair of jeans, t shirt and her hair in a pony tail. She was full of joy & talent & a delight to watch. Top choice Sarah 🙌
Good win Sarah
Keep it up.
Honest music = upbeat and inspiring music
Rachel Williams says
Thanks that’s a great idea and cool tune Sarah I’ll have to think of some.
I’m feeling a little better today but I do see limerence as a form of mental illness. When it takes over I start to feel insecure about everything. Anxious and depressed. It’s a wave that I ride as I been there before but I can literally feel it’s seeping in my mind and body. Not fun!
I started a list of why I am awesome, and the first two sentences was quoting you Rachel (I have a caring nature) and you Kevin (I seem to be a genuine person), because that really made my day the other day. Then I added a whole bunch of other things. I can mask my insecurities and introverted nature quite well in public, but I easily question myself and I figured I can read through that list when I need a little self-confidence boost. It’s my FU, LO, I’m the prize that you are not having list 🙂
Good for you Sarah
And yeah FU LO
The weekend your messages you sent me were amazing I read them more multiple times than I have ever brushed my teeth I reckon. They really gave me perspective and direction. You write so well and love the directness and pragmatism.
That’s awesome Sarah I’m going to do the same! What a great positive idea.
https://youtu.be/BxRQNO8vg2Y Song for your feel good music list, rachel
With a paragraph for jaideux it it: “Maybe you’ll get married
And she will kiss your feet
While I give all my rides away
I won’t loose no sleep
Maybe on your honeymoon
You’ll think of me
But if you don’t won’t shed a tear
Yeah I can guarantee”
Rachel: “I’m feeling a little better today but I do see limerence as a form of mental illness.”
We just have to survive one day at a time and it will get better over time, though, sometimes it feels like one minute at a time.
I feel the same about limerence. For many of us, it’s an unhealthy and unwanted intrusion in our lives that holds us captive in our obsessive thought life. I think infatuation can be positive in an early reciprocated relationship, but limerence (to me) takes the [temporary] obsessive and intrusive thoughts of infatuation into an unhealthy extreme.
How are you doing Bob? I’m still NC but had a bad couple of days where I seemed to give into lots of reverie and intrusive thoughts. I’ve got a lot of work to do today so hoping today is better. Onwards & upwards!
Rachel – I’ve really felt this last couple of weeks that the limerence has tipped over into mental illness. It’s so horrible. I hope you continue to feel better.
Best wishes to all. SGL
Hi SGL, I’m doing much worse, but holding onto NC…barely. I guess we’ve both hit the “Laborious Maintenance” phase of DrL’s NC post. Like you, I have same increase in reverie and intrusive thoughts, but at the same time I’m having some reality check thoughts. I relive the emotional highs of moments with LO together, but then I recall the emotional lows that I suffered through each day.
I hope your day goes well. Yes, I agree keeping ones mind busy and distracted by real life helps keep out thoughts of our limerent fantasy world with LO.
That’s good that he doesn’t. Does he know your under NC
No he doesn’t. So I guess it is a possibility… The chit chat texting stopped a while ago.
No he doesn’t. So I guess it is a possibility… The chit chat texting stopped a while ago.
Oh I just really want to text LO to see how his vacation is going. I know he’s doing something he’s been dreaming of since he was a child these past two days. I know it must have been amazing for him. BUT… I should stay strong. I’ll hear about it when I see him at some point. Then would be appropriate to ask him how it was.
The inner limerent in me is thinking: if he can’t share this amazing experience with me, who will he tell? Who’s the person to ask how it was? Who will he tell all about it? (Feeling a bit jealous…) maybe it is no one, but I am sad it’s not me anymore.
I’m feeling the same about reaching out. I can’t seem to snap out of it.. but then I think. Do I want this feeling to end or do I want to drag it out even longer that it needs to be. I want to reach a place of indifference and by continuing to act as friends with LO the longer it will take to reach indifference. It hard, it’s tough and it’s boring. However, I ask myself do I want to continue craving LO or not…. The answer it’s not. So I’m going to stick it out and roll with the lows. You got this Sarah you don’t need to know. It doesn’t really matter does it. Everything passes. This sadness will pass.
Yeah, I will definitely not reach out. There is no point. Just haven’t reached indifference yet…
Be strong. You have made us strong remember from your own inner strength.
You will feel prouder that you didn’t contact him in the medium term. In the short term will feel good but then what if he doesn’t respond. What if he looses trust in your words of going NC. Be true to your words, true to yourself and true to your SO
Yeah it wouldn’t be good. No point reaching out. We’re not besties anymore. He’s just a friend.
“I’ll hear about it when I see him at some point. Then would be appropriate to ask him how it was.”
Is that the Imp of Rationalization or the Gremlin of Justification I see whispering in your ear?
The voice that says treat him like everyone else…
Civility is never out of fashion but, if you’re so inclined, you can get away with a lot hiding behind its mask.
Sarah “The voice that says treat him like everyone else…”
I’ve tried this for over 2 years with my LO. I really wanted to make it work, because like you, we were besties. I tried NC 3 times before, and after a week or so, I was like what was the problem with me. Of course, I can handle just being friends, it’s what I want since I love my SO.
So I restored close friendship with LO and my platonic resolve would last a few weeks having my close friend back. But then my limerent addictive thoughts came back with renewed fervor and I no longer just wanted friendship with LO. I wanted to be with her every moment, share every thought and feeling with her.
Naturally, this had effect on my marriage. I again resented SO for keeping me from my LO. Again, the secret texting and meetings. Again, the emotional lows between those texts and meetings.
All the while knowing my LO really only wanted platonic friendship, while I wanted so much more. I could not be the friend my LO wanted and needed, because it was tainted with my limerent thoughts. I could not be the husband my SO wanted and needed because my thoughts were always on LO.
I feel the same sadness not being there for my LO to share her thoughts and experiences with. But I realize that part of this sadness is my missing the thrill of having contact with LO. I don’t think that’s how just a friend feels.
We may be holding our LO back from finding someone who could really be the close friend they need and deserve. We may be holding back from being the friend and life companion our SO needs and deserves.
Good luck with your LC/NC progress.
Really well said and I 2nd that. Seeing LO as a friend is a lovely idea but not realistic as sad as or is. Unfortunately the harsh reality LO is not your friend he’s your addiction. Every time I try to rationalize with myself about being friends with LO I get right back. Even when I view him as a friend becuase lets be honest they aren’t friends are they. We feel more for them and they are unstable.
Again like Bob said part of my sadness in not recieving a text from LO and getting that buzz. I know if LO text me now I would be all light and happy and that isn’t right. Stay strong and remember LO=addiction.
Rachel: “I know if LO text me now I would be all light and happy and that isn’t right”
Oh, how I can relate to this.
The times I’ve messaged LO in a state of relapse, I haven’t really got the high I was hoping for. He cuts me short and seems disinterested. LO use to be an enabler now I think he’s got the message and doesn’t bother. Which is good in the sense of my recovery but also makes me feel so low that he’s very much in my head.
Oh yeah, nono, being close friends is off the table. Even being friends is out of question… with treat him like anyone else I meant more like a work colleague. Like essentially we still work for the same company, but luckily in buildings so far away we can’t even meet for lunch anymore. Only like once every few months.
I am sad because he knows that I know how much this experience means to him. And he also knows I know the exact dates of this event happening. So by me not asking him about it, I do send him a clear message that I don’t care enough anymore to ask about it (well I do care, of course, and I am thinking about him, but he doesn’t need to know that). In a sense I am sad I send him the message that I don’t care, because I do. But again… we are no longer close friends, and I can ask when I meet him in a work colleague catch up kinda manner (whenever that happens). I WILL NOT TEXT HIM. One more conscious step to limerence freedom.
Bob- such a great post.
I’m in the midst of a NC phase that was interrupted 3 weeks ago by an email from LO asking me to keep in contact with her, if only a few times per week. Why don’t I talk to her anymore? How do I communicate to LO that the infrequency is actually the problem for my limerent self? And ramped up contact keeps me “high” but is a serious problem with living purposefully (and LO would undoubtedly fall short of my hopes of a timely response when I’m waiting for the hit)? So much stuff that is not worth getting into with LO. There is no way for her to understand the psychological work that I’ve done to have reached this point. How her and I are a toxic mixture that does not work (FOR ME) with all of the barriers that exist.
I did send two short responses saying that I don’t know what benefits I get from our relationship anymore (The truth is the benefits aren’t worth the significant downsides), and that I don’t reach out due to feeling rejected by lack of meaningful or timely responses from her. LO sent another response asking if I’d really rather be nothing versus being good friends.
I had spent a lot of time thinking about potential responses to LO, but nothing I say will avoid me waiting for a response. So I am not responding at all.
Oh thinker, I am pretty sure I will have that conversation with LO at some point, whether I’d rather be nothing than being friends. I hope it won’t happen, but I think it may come up and I want to be prepared for that conversation.
My thoughts are same as yours, it doesn’t benefit me, it’s rather toxic and it hurts me, so in that sense, yeah, I’d rather be nothing than trying to be friends. Cause I’ll never be a friend. Not that I don’t want to, but it doesn’t work for me.
“LO sent another response asking if I’d really rather be nothing versus being good friends.”
Use a variant of the same line LO #4 used on me, “I don’t think continuing to correspond would be appropriate.” It was elegant.
I didn’t question LO #4, but if your LO questions you, your response is, “Because that’s the way I feel. The discussion is over.” They’re not entitled to an explanation and you shouldn’t give them one. Your feelings are just as important as theirs and deserve as much respect. Set the boundary and enforce it.
You close the books and you don’t respond after that. If they persist, blocking them is entirely appropriate. You warned them.
Thinker, we’re almost in exact same situation and mindset . I’ve been where you are telling LO I’m in too much emotional pain to be a good friend and complaining about LO not spending enough time on me.
Of course LO would (and rightly so) get hurt/defensive that we don’t value their friendship enough and are annoyed that we don’t appreciate the time and investment they do put into our friendship.
But as you said, LO can’t understand our limerent brain and addiction. LO has made time and emotional commitment to us, but when they text us, we drop everything to respond immediately. It hurts, when they don’t do the same and treat us a regular friend (however close, its still only on a friend basis). Logically we can appreciate the time they put into us, but emotionally its never enough.
This NC attempt I told LO the core/root reason. I want our friendship so much, but I think of her 24/7 and romantically love her too much to focus on my SO and marriage (as LO said before she wants me to do). LO gave a very nice and sweet response (which is why I love her).
“toxic mixture that does not work (FOR ME)”
Respectfully (since I’ve tried it twice) I think telling LO you don’t get enough benefit from friendship may not have been the right way to end friendship. You’ll feel guilty that you hurt LO and that’s not really what you want, nor I think what you really feel. It’s not about weighing the benefits, its about our emotional health and knowing we can’t be the true friend they need and deserve.
I do think you owe LO a response, but it has to be loving, firm and final…one that you won’t feel quilt about and you don’t need or expect a response (even though your heart wants one).
Bob, we definitely have many parallels. You have validated and reinforced many of my prior thoughts and actions. Thank you.
“LO has made time and emotional commitment to us, but when they text us, we drop everything to respond immediately. It hurts, when they don’t do the same and treat us a regular friend (however close, its still only on a friend basis). Logically we can appreciate the time they put into us, but emotionally its never enough.”
So I stopped responding immediately earlier this year, when I felt LO retreat. I was able to get a small fix (email from LO) and wait until when convenient for me to send a response, if necessary, which could mean the next day. This was a landmark shift for me from the days of making sure I sent back a timely response (and then wait). And that was an adjustment from the time when both LO and I were both in deep, when everything revolved around each other (a euphoria unlike any feeling I had ever experienced).
“Respectfully (since I’ve tried it twice) I think telling LO you don’t get enough benefit from friendship may not have been the right way to end friendship.”
No doubt. This was in response to LO after a one month NC period, and I put it out there without getting too wordy. She didn’t like that one, but who cares!
And Scharnhorst, I like your advice here (and in many other areas of the forum). I don’t think I was REALLY ready to close the door before. I think I needed some more “micro-humiliations” (more proof) in order to get there. Also, it is not in my DNA to end relationships.
I know I will run into LO one day (we travel in the same circles) and although I have carefully not responded to his texts and phone calls and unfollowed him on social media I live in fear of this chance meeting. I know he will ask what in the world is the reason for me disappearing so completely. A very wise friend advised me to say when/if we meet: “Because I have decided this is best.”
And then graciously take your leave.
I think this is a good line because in it you imply that you have taken back your power….and there so many people this decision may be best for: you, them, any SO’s, etc. But there is no need to define the comment, let their imaginations run wild. It’s polite, decisive, and importantly, you retain your dignity. I hope this line can help someone else…
I hope you won’t bump into LO for a long time. And if you do, you say exactly that!
It’s only a matter of time before I bump into LO. She works less than a mile away, we know 100s of the same people and are in the same industry. Thankfully we don’t live near each other so it won’t be when I’m with my SO.
The last words I said to her were that if I did see her In the future I’d smile and keep on walking. It remains to be seen if I can stick to that but that’s my plan. I’ll know I’m over her when I stop thinking about that happening… 🙁
Reading both your comments thinker and Sarah initially it made me feel jealous. Jealous that my LO clearly doesn’t give to hoots about me. I had a few important going on in the last few months and he hasn’t message. Only something in passing conversation. It gutted me the first few times it happened and he’d always check in on me and now absolutely zilch.
However I am now thinking that this is good for my recovery. I used to find it so hard when he used to message all the time trying to keep LC and now it’s full on NC only a few times a week at children’s stuff. The only thing I can suggest is really maintain the LC.. LO will get the message and then that’s a new problem. They won’t bother you anymore. Which is obviously the plan but doesn’t take away the pain.
LO’s are extremely toxic and I feel that I could be toxic for my LO. Wether he was limerent or not I know he had feeling for me and at times he said his head was scrambled. Not stalking his social media has been really helpful. I’m just hoping my curiousity doesn’t get the better of me. LO had a big work deal today and I’ve been so tempted to message. Even convinced myself at one point before chucking my phone. Thing is like I said about it’s easier for me now as LO doesn’t care about me or shows he does and my stubbornness counteracts my Lim brain. Why should I reach out and be nice. He never does so bugger to him. Also I think of my SO. Forget my cravings it’s SO that I’m disrespecting. I try and convince myself that what’s a little friendly message. Usually that’s fine but I know deep down it’s not so that’s unfair on him.
Rachel: “Jealous that my LO clearly doesn’t give to hoots about me. ” This makes me sad for you. Perhaps Scarnhorst’s Linda Ronstadt song applies to your LO situation, but it does sound your LO cares for you. Maybe he’s feeling the same as you and that’s why he doesn’t message. That the relationship is desired, but toxic for both of you. It’s best to think that, but not explore it with LO.
Your not reaching out to him, shouldn’t be in context of being nice or not (you don’t need added guilt). It’s about not giving into the cravings for LO and respecting your SO. It makes it much easier if we don’t know what our LO is up to, so we don’t feel the temptation to be “friends.” In this case, ignorance is indeed bliss (or at least less emotionally painful).
It may look like your LO doesn’t care about you. The way your two lives are intertwined, it is possible he was/is limerent for you, and as you say, he said he had feelings for you too. There are probably seven different narratives you could come up with for why LO behaves this or that way if you analyze his behavior. But truth is, it shouldn’t matter. All that matters is that LO is not good for you, it hurts you and that needs to change. Analyzing LO does not help. So whether he does or does not care about you is completely irrelevant at this point. Pick a narrative that works for you so that you can best find your piece of mine.
For myself, I choose the narrative that LO is over me and has romantically moved on. He cares for me as a friend and wants me in his life (but he thinks we can continue with an EA, he doesn’t realize that’s what it is), however that is not compatible with what I want. I wanted LO, but LO hurt me very much and that pain doesn’t go away if he stays a prominent component of my life. I care for LO and I do believe he has issues and may have seen me as a special person that understood him in certain ways. As much as it hurts, LO has to go. I am not his placeholder gf until he finds someone else. For my sanity and my marriage.
And I’m glad you chucked the phone away Rachel. No texting LO. We can do it.
Taking great strength from your words Sarah & Rachel. I slipped and took a look at my LO social media profile from someone else’s phone yesterday but still NC. Its hard. I miss him & feel lonely. But don’t miss the torture of knowing he COULD message me and wasn’t. At least now I know he CAN’T.
SGL I’m glad our posts are helping you. It’s bloody hard but you are still very early on and like Dr L described it’s like going up and down a mountain. Relapses are 100% expected. Just remember as said above. You’ve made the decision to end this and therefore LO is non of your concern. This is something I am still coming to terms with however it is still very true. Keep plodding on its a long process for sure but it will be worth it for your sanity and your family. When the fog clears you will be pleased you stuck it out.
All this talk about social media stalking made me check LO’s fb page and his whatsapp profile pic to see if he had posted anything from his vacay… of course he hasn’t. And I am kinda glad there’s nothing new. I don’t need an update.
I have to confess I have been thinking about some stupid LO fantasies. Different life, different world, LO and I happily ever after. The good thing is: it’s a different reality, so nothing to be transferred to real life. The bad: FU LO, get out of my head. Why oh why is LO fantasy back in my head (doesn’t help that SO is away on business trip).
I think I need to try my hardest to ban those fantasies from my mind. I have to find strategies to nip this in the bud and don’t let me spin the story further in my head. Distraction, anything I can do to immediately stop the image and occupy my mind with something else.
Yes its about keeping busy – Its not easy…today i saw my LO at work after 2 weeks as I have successfully been dodging her and she had some days off – she said have i been hibernating ? Luckily where i work its a big campus and we work across the campus so I did say ‘we must be just missing each other across the campus’…but she did notice me not being around – We did have some whats app messages yesterday as she was wondering where i was as not seen me around…
Thats just care and curiosity as a friend. I have got rid of the uncertainty – before I would think ‘does that mean she is seeking me and missing me’…so I have progressed to be more rational now as I know she is just being friendly.
Before any interaction I would glorify to mean she is into me too – but now although I get a buzz of it at the time – it just slides away as Dr L has made me understand that its just feeding the limerence. I find it slightly harder that cos she doesnt know how i feel that I cant avoid/be less interactive without her thinking something is wrong – but luckily she has only said it once and i have been doing LC for 2-3 months now…..so not had many times when i have had to ‘explain myself’. Anyway the biggest thing Is to keep mind busy – I have the path of getting over LO with seeing her every day and not telling her why im acting differently…but i believe I can when the mind has something else to focus on.
Stay Strong Sarah – have a ‘go to thing’ when LO comes into mind to shift the thought pattern.
Yeah it wold be easy to twist your LO’s sentences to believe that she misses you from a limerent perspective. Glad you see it clearer now that helps you to stay on your path to limerence freedom.
I just got a head full on another front (family related) which makes it pretty clear that I don’t need any additional LO distractions that add further unnecessary stress to my life. Maybe I should consider talking to a therapist… In this particular moment I am damn glad I never confided in my mom about this whole LO mess (she’s the closest person I have and if I ever considered telling anyone, it would have been her). One more moment where I am glad that no one but LO and I know.
Sarah: “I have to find strategies to nip this in the bud and don’t let me spin the story further in my head. Distraction, anything”
I just read the short book “Dealing with Limerence” by Gary Cooper. Its a short “how to” book. He advocates switchwords and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), taping or pressing acupressure personal therapy. The books comes with instructional illustrations and links to youtube videos. I tried EFT last night at 4am when I woke up and needed to write an email to LO. It did help, even if only a placebo. It was an effective distraction at the very least.
On a lighter note, I also saw this Limerence romance book on Amazon. As bad as our Limerence is and how toxic some LO’s are, it might be worse being limerent for a Vampire 🙂 Not sure DrL would advocate reading limerent love stories, but I do love a good vampire romance novel. It is interesting to see Limerence becoming well know enough to have a romance novel with it as the focus – it was only a matter of time.
“After a chance encounter with Mr Breckt- the mysterious new owner of The Island, Mia’s thoughts are constantly consumed with the handsome and powerful stranger. But there is much more to her fixation of him than she realizes.”
Limerence (The Obsession Series Book 1) by Claire C Riley
Hi Sarah. I’m sorry that your finding it difficult at the moment. Please take a step back and remember that what you (we) are going through is not easy. I am to really struggling also so it may be of comfort that to know that your are not alone. Like many others.
My set back back brought back fantasies and they are by far the more harmful. It really does heighten the sense of delusion. My craving for LO is pretty high but it give me strength that I do not want to feel like this anymore and I must ride it out.
Remember nothing last forever no matter how intense and long this goes on for. I feel like when your truely commit to letting LO go freedom is in close sight.
I find it easier for view LO as an object and see any wanta for communication cravings like you said to me previously.
Everytime I crave I ask myself why. Usually I feel shit or down or lonely or whatever. Also why am I prone to limerence. This stems from idealising people and low self esteem. I’m working on myself.
Talking to a therapist can deffinatly help. But I think if you completely cut your LO out of your life unless absolutely necessary your road to recovery would be easier.
Again I’m sorry your struggling and keep telling yourself LO is a fantasy and not real. Besides do you really wanna be looking at them stained teeth for the rest of yourlife…
Also Sarah. Have you tried meditation. Try not to battle with the fantasies as this only makes them stronger. Try to mock yourself by saying oh look here’s another stupid fantasy. Silly brain glitching again. The more power your give you fantasies and they and fight them the stronger they become.
Stay amazing and remember your worth.
Those stained teeth are horrible… I think I’d have to consider getting the “california white” for him or whatever that is called nowadays.
I really was considering texting LO, as he knows the family history and disputes and he was always there to listen. But I chucked the phone away. As you say only reason I’d text him is to make me feel better, but I would ruin my progress so far. SO will have to listen when he comes home tonight. His job, suck it up. 🙂
I am not the best at meditation. I tied a mindfulness course once at the height of my limerence… free time for reveries… so much for mindfulness.
“Stay amazing and remember your worth.” Yes, Yes and Yes.
@bob: I’ll look at those recommendations!!
Ok, time to play another game….
You and your Mom are walking through the Pantheon of your life. All the important people of your life on on display there. Some of whom Mom knows about and many who she doesn’t know about.
You come to some guy. Mom asks, “Who’s that?” You respond, “Oh, he’s the guy I lost my virginity to in college.” Mom smiles.
You come to your LO. Same question. This time the response is, “The guy I had the affair with in 2017. We could talk about anything but he had really bad teeth.” Mom’s response could be anything from, “How could you?!” to “If you haven’t done an Ancestry.com test, yet, it might be better for all of us if you didn’t.”
You can have all kinds of fun playing this game.
😂 hilarious, scharny!
Well, my mom knows everyone important in my life, people that live on three continents (where I’ve worked), including the guy I lost my virginity to.
Plus, she knows LO. She has met him on various occasions. I used to bring various and random people home, that’s nothing new and no odd behavior for me.
In that case, I got nothin’
Love your thought games though, scharnhorst.
Well, I caved and send an email to LO this morning on day 11 of NC (now day 1). I just explained why I had to go NC without going into the clinical explanation of limerence.
I had to give her the power in continuing our NC, not me. After my NC text, LO texted me last saying I was her best friend, she loves me, will miss me and this will be hard on her. I didn’t respond, and its been eating at me these last 11 days.
It meant I was the one holding the power of our NC. I’d always be wondering, would she have resumed our PA, or even more , if I had responded. Now, with her having the power of responding or not, it feels I have more closure that the relationship is over.
A risky move to be sure to get rid of this limerence. I have no real hope she’d want to resume our PA, but maybe try and pull me back into her friend zone, which I can’t handle (after trying for 2+ years).
Bob. If you feel like that this a closure for you then I’m pleased you broke NC. When I have tried to make some sort of closure it was always my Lim brain working its way to get a hit as I painfully learn afterwards. I’m on day 3 of LC and no social medial stalking. I see LO frequently therefore i can never go NC.
What if she does respond, will this start s relapse back up?
I hope you can continue with NC as I would run with the chance of complete NC. Take care of yourself
Rachel, I admire and am in awe of you and others that have to get over your limerence on LC due to work, family, etc.. I couldn’t do it. I had to also give up our circle of friends and the online fitness group (similar to FB) we all participate in. I could not see LO’s posts, friends showing pics with LO, etc.. Since I moved away last year, most of these friends are online only now. Though I do visit the area once a month and have kept up with many (as long as it didn’t interfere with seeing LO).
It might depend on how LO responds, but my resolve now is make sure there is closure, but on as friendly and loving terms as possible. We’re good now if she doesn’t respond. I don’t think she will. This is my 4th NC attempt. She has to realize by now that I just can’t handle only being friends and it’s not worth the investment of her time to try again.
Thanks Bob it’s really hard and there are good days and bad days. on the worst days earlier this year I was sucidal thinking I had no way out. When I look back to then it really does show me how far I’ve come. Even though I am still in the fog, i am so much more under control than before. LO actually sent me a meme last night. As if! He never messages me. It’s like they have a radar or something. I replied with a emoji and end of. My heart rate went up and I felt all light at the thought that it must mean LO thinks of me. But really it means nothing. I’m not counting that a breaking NC still haven’t checked his social media nor have I reached out.
I do have head clear days like today I feel myself and in control but I’m wondering if that’s cuz LO messaged me. There have been periods of weeks where my limerence is there but very much in the back ground.
Regarding your LO, you can’t bank on LO for anything you have to make your own future and go back to NC. LO is not your future, concentrate on your family and things you love. Love in the moment as best you can.
Be wary of bargaining, Bob. It’s a natural impulse to want closure and separation on good terms, but if you keep circling back to try and “make it perfect” you’ll end up still tethered to LO.
If it’s done, it’s done. No need for redos.
DR L, WHY DO YOU COME HERE AND MAKE VALID POINTS. GO AWAY SO I CAN CONTINUE MY SUFFERING…
As it was one year ago when I went NC for the first time, I know nothing can be gained from meeting LO again or explaining my reasoning to her any further. It’s unfortunate for me that this realization hurts and makes me angry. I tried to bargain my way into a relationship with LO after NC ended a year ago (partially due to forced LC), and it was nice for a couple of months when I got my hits and we resumed some emotional closeness and frequency of contact. But it doesn’t last, and that is in addition to the overarching element of it being disloyal to my SO. I have also been thinking of the “perfect closure”, even as I know that it is impossible.
All the work that I have done has shown me that my LO has a borderline personality and I was a perfect fit for our codependent relationship. Had we both been available, maybe we would have worked through these elements and made it work. But we have our separate families, and these barriers make it a toxic relationship for me. Bob, I think you know what needs to be done but it can be VERY difficult to get there. You will. I will.
I know where the landmines are hidden, because I trod on most of them.
It does sometimes feel like I’m standing bloodied and bruised watching others follow me through the minefield and desperately waving my arms and signalling “No! Go right, Go right!”
DrL “Be wary of bargaining, Bob”
So true. Been there, done that (hopefully not this time). Had the same results has Thinker, but 3 times before. Though my NC’s were much shorter. I’m not very strong.
But I do feel good after my email yesterday. I didn’t ask her to take me back, just reexplained why I’m going NC again with a bit more detail than my short text initiating NC. Since LO hasn’t replied (as I suspected and hoped), I do feel closure that she’s choosing not to reply. Hopefully LO’s finally realized what’s best for both of us is to put me out of my misery and end the relationship (LO knows I can’t resist her if she contacts me).
Thinker: “Bob, I think you know what needs to be done but it can be VERY difficult to get there. You will. I will.”
I hope we make it this time. We both recognize the importance of our SO and we have DrL guiding us and the support of others here to make it through this emotional minefield.
If I were to guess, I would say it’s more likely to be because you were able to understand the contact for what it was (nothing significant), to handle it well, and to respond within the limits that you decided on.
The clear headedness usually comes from feeling that you are in the driver’s seat, and understand what’s happening.
Very well said, DrL! So spot on as usual.
LO did text me today as well, update from vacation. And… it was ok!
I am glad I didn’t reach out to him to ask how his vacation is. I needed an LO fix and I didn’t reach out to get one. As you say, it is nothing significant that he texted me, I see it for what it is. And I feel in control responding in a friendly manner.
Rachel, absolutely second every word DrL wrote: you handled it well and never forget, you are in the driver seat.
Sarah “I feel in control responding in a friendly manner.”
Way to be strong. An inspiration to us all (especially me).
Just a thought…isn’t any kind of response furthering the contact and thus furthering the limerence? I know I thought I had things under control so many times….I would step way back, and then when contacted respond with reserve and civility and didn’t even feel emotionally charged! I think this emboldened LO to carry on with our “friendship” because obviously I was fine! Maybe you CAN get over a crush and just be lovely platonic friends after all!
But it was all a trick. My heart tricked me. I would get sucked back in and then I would step back again. It was like a sinister tango.
The contact was still a hit…I just didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until I went NC…completely, not even responding to texts and voice mails…did I realize how insidiously deep the addiction was. And now, after 8 months of pure and absolute NC I have to acknowledge that it’s going to continue to be a long and painful road for me to fully heal.
But back to choosing NC: I am typically polite to the extreme so not answering LO rankled my sensibilities of manners to the core, but I felt it had to be done. I had to save myself. Only then was I truly in the drivers seat. Only then could I really begin to heal. But…everyone is different I suppose. Some must be far stronger than I !!!
Jaideux, very fair points, and what you bring up is what I actually fear. That I am kidding myself.
I do not want a platonic friendship with LO, that will never work. I cannot have LO around me. What I am hoping is that I treat LO like any other working colleague and thus reduce contact so much that it will allow me to neutralize my feelings for LO.
I am not sure that is possible though. Maybe I am just still one step away from realizing that I rudely (against my nature) have to cut ties and show an image of me to LO that I feel does not represent who I am, knowing that I hurt LO with that. But on the other hand, I hurt myself by keeping LC, and I disrespect SO (he just doesn’t know it). And it is my decision to prioritize who’s feelings come first. So in that sense, maybe I am still just a step away from being in the mental state that you are jaideux, and I’ll have to get there.
I echo everything Jaideux said. You can not maintain friendship with LO. You just can’t. It sucks but it’s the harsh reality. I was to tricked so many times. The slightest contact I received a hit. Even trying to make things neutural I’m really sorry to be so harsh really is just another trick. It’s hard becuase we don’t want to hurt are LO’s but like you said your hurting yourself. Everytime I tried to have a neutral friendship my mind would so spin and there again I’d be left with a craving. We do have to get there ourselves in afraid.
In march I emailed Dr L and he said I sounded like I was bargaining for more contact and I was certain I wasn’t but really I can see now I was. Any form of communication is prolonging your agony. Thats why I wish I could go NC completely but I have to make sure I go NC as much as I can and there is no bargaining involved. My mind still tires, sometimes very hard but I do identity now or as a craving rather than any other story I tried to spin.
I do feel some sort of friendship can happen but not for a long time. I can see and speak to previous LO’s with no emotion now and it seems crazy I was stuck on them for so long. Truth is by the time your at that stage you might not even want to be friends with them as your seeing their true colours.
Yeah, and it’s not even conscious is it? It’s not like you’re scheming “ah, if I send on this text then maybe they will get back in touch and give me the reciprocation I want”, it’s just you’re trying to find some comfort from the emotional pain of feeling you’ve not “finished things properly”.
But, of course, there is no proper finish, except for freeing yourself.
Yeah, I can see your point, Rachel. It may as well be that I am bargaining for contact again. Pretty sure you are right about that one. I have only had a few text exchanges about his vacation and I can see what effect there is on me. It’s not that bad, still think I am alright, but I have to counteract that now, and steer it back in the other direction again. Thanks for making me aware.
Exactly. I’m hoping the last nail in this limerence coffin is the social media stalking. I would bargain with myself by say, what’s a little stalk on his Instagram going to do? Perhaps it will confirm that I’m over this? But really it was the last little bit of contact that was keeping me hooked.
“But, of course, there is no proper finish, except for freeing yourself”
Exactly the only way out is by doing this ourselves. Learned this the hard way unfortunately but hopefully has set me up for future LE. Being very firm with myself is the most important no bargaining whatsoever now. No matter how tempted I get it’s over.
I’ve only recently discovered limerence. I always thought my extremely obsessive “crushes” were normal. Thank you for all of this. Nice to know I’m not alone.
I’ve never met my current LO in person. Total EA. We met online and just have so much in common that it’s bizarre. Started off friendly and neutral, but once the LO (who has an SO) discovered that I’m married, it very quickly escalated to something more sexual. Probably should have been a warning sign for me. The LO obviously thinks that I’m not likely to pursue anything real because of my current relationship. And maybe that’s correct, but clearly no one has told my brain that. I cannot stop myself obsessing about my LO.
I know I’m just a crutch for the LO. They are away from home, and bored and lonely at the moment, and I enjoy the company. Once they return home to their SO, I will be ignored again. And I am half dreading/ half looking forward to that moment.
I have tried Option 1, but I’m not great at it. Perhaps when they return to their real world, and move on, I will be able to do the same.
In terms of option 2, in real life I doubt I would even be attracted to my LO, but it’s hard not to enjoy the attention. I know it’s incredibly superficial but I think I like their mind more than their appearance. I will use their impending and inevitable disinterest as a time to focus on their flaws, both physically and intellectually, and hopefully find a way to fight through this.
In terms of option 3, I also realize that they are a symptom of my failing marriage and not the cause. I don’t know if I want to work harder on my marriage, because I don’t know if it’s even worth it. I probably need therapy for that question. But to quote “Do I wanna know” by the Arctic Monkeys “Maybe I’m too busy being yours to fall for somebody new”, if I’m stuck on this LO, I don’t have to deal with my marriage and I don’t have to find someone else who might actually like me back, which would cause all sorts of real problems for me. Damn, this being an adult thing.
Option 4 – disclosure. Once again, have a listen to “Do I Wanna Know”. The Hozier version is lovely. The person who wrote this song is almost definitely a limerent with lyrics like “Do I wanna know, if this feelin’ flows both ways?”. I will try the first 2 options, and hope they work. If they don’t, I may go for option 4, but honestly, I don’t think it will come to that. Right? Right?
All I know is that I can’t keep feeling this way. Like my world is falling apart when my LO doesn’t speak to me or is less than friendly. I’m tired of this.
I live that song. I also never met my LO in person, which is a major cause of the limerent feelings. I feel like if we’d meet in person it’d be 100% resolved, but the pandemic is stopping that. Do you feel the frustration of not having met in person? How do you feel it fuels the limerence?
Love* that song… I guess also live it.
Thank you for this post. After reading it, I’ve decided to write out my own story because it’s paining me so much. I’m separated from my husband, but cannot divorce just yet for various reasons. A few months ago I met my LO, an attractive boy who is quite a bit younger than me. There was nothing compatible about our backgrounds, but we felt an irresistible attraction to each other. He wooed me with the sweetest words, even after learning that I was still married and trying to move to a different city in the near future. We had a physical affair that lasted a month and a half. I suffer from depression and was completely miserable before meeting him. I was trapped in a marriage that I didn’t want, and a job I didn’t like. He was a ray of light that illuminated me and brightened up my dreary life.
Of course, he knew that this affair wouldn’t last. His interest quickly faded over time. Over the past week, he straight up ignored me. I understand that he’s young and deserves an honest, lasting relationship, but it hurt so much when he finally came to me and said that he didn’t want to continue our relationship anymore because it was going nowhere. He offered to be friends, but I refused in hopes of implementing NC. I knew he was never mine to lose, yet I still can’t stop thinking of him and the time we spent together. Everything in my room reminds me of him. I can’t sleep at night, and I’m constantly on the verge of breaking down in tears. I will inevitably run into him again sometime, and I don’t know what I’ll do.
Hi Elisa it sounds like your having a really hard time at the moment and can totally understand the pain your feeling. The emergency deprogramming course on this website is very enlightening and helps you to recover by helping you with plan in order to get out of your limerence episode. It sounds as though your LO was very much a tonic for you when you were going through a hard time.
Also have you thought about counselling. It’s an amazing therapy which will help you express your emotions and help you with the deep work that’s required in order to get over the limerence.
You will find lots of support on this site and I hope you find a small comfort in knowing that you are not alone in the emotionally crippling experience and it is something that you can recover from.
Thank you Rachel. I do have a counsellor that I see weekly, but the whole breakup happened so suddenly and I was completely unprepared. As you said, I was relying on him as a tonic. He was very good with words, and provided me with the comfort and affection I badly lacked and needed.
This was my first experience with an LE. Up until recently, I lived a relatively peaceful life, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Now I’m living alone in a new city, with no one around to support me, hence the dependence on my LO. It’s not going to be easy learning how to cope on my own, and erasing all the good memories we shared.
If you are separated from your husband, why would it go nowhere?
Because there’s a huge gap in our ages, levels of education, upbringing etc that we’d run into lots of problems if we actually dated seriously. And on top of that, I’m very unhappy living where I am and I’m desperately trying to find a job somewhere else.
Dr. Nolongerlim Jones says
I love this article! However, I am completely against transference for reasons I won’t go into here – would make for an incredibly long post that I will save for my own blog (site). In short, when it comes to true transference (not just the act of consciously deciding to pick someone else – which wouldn’t work in my opinion because if we could do that, I’m pretty sure we would), in a nutshell, transference is the redirection of feelings and desires unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object, thus unpacking what makes us choose our LO in the first place is the key to unlocking those desires unconsciously retained from childhood.
Malcolm Johnson says
I’ve been stuck on the same person for 8 years. I even used someone else to get over her because I was jealous of her getting married. This bitch is cheating on her husband as we speak. She refuses to admit to cheating on me which is complete bullshit though. I’ve wasted so much time on a whore that I dislike myself. My mother died recently, the LO messaged my best friend and asked how I was doing. She was “concerned” because the last time we spoke I was depressed. When in reality her marriage has gone to shit which is the only reason she wanted to contact me. I got mad at this because if she’s unfaithful to her husband she definitely fucked around me. So I finally realized how much of a whore this chick is and I sent a message letting her know how I felt. That was my way of pushing her away for good.
I’m definitely picking up on the anger, Malcolm. It’s a good wake up call to recognise you don’t like yourself, but the critical thing is to respond constructively. Blaming your LO for the situation is not going to help you. You’re radiating toxicity at the moment. Anger can be useful for counteracting the idealisation of an LO, but it’s best kept internal, rather than turning into hate rage.
Just within the paragraph you’ve shared, you concede you used someone else to try and get over LO, and yet you are savaging her for doing the same to you.
The best way to push her away for good is to make the purposeful decision to walk away and make your own life better. This community is all about striving to be better, not about hating on LOs. No matter how poor their character. That’s just an invitation to fester in resentment…
Malcolm Johnson says
I’m radiating toxicity? Explain…
The language you’ve used to describe your LO is dehumanising, and comes across as though you’ve flipped from idealising her (typical in limerence) to demonising her. It reads like you are blaming her for your limerence.
I don’t doubt that you are better off away from her, and just on the facts, she sounds like an unpleasant cheater. But, it’s important to acknowledge our own role in becoming limerent. It happens in our own heads, and convincing ourselves that our LOs are the ones to blame for our feelings is an evasion. Hating them still keeps them central.
Malcolm Johnson says
Ok I really just want to learn more so I can move on. Thank you for taking the time out to reply. Accountability isn’t my strong suit at this point but I’ll be ok.
So I literally just discovered the term ‘limerence’ and I feel it perfectly describes what I’ve been experiencing and have experienced several times before. However, the main suggestions all seem to be to cut the person out of your life. My ‘LO’ is my best friend. To cut her out of my life would be immature on my part and devastating for her. That’s not me trying to justify anything. Any thoughts?
The question is how much of a negative impact limerence has on you, your mental health, your life, how bad it makes you feel and your capability of managing your emotions.
I see where you are coming from, and cutting LO from your life at this point indeed seems rash (without knowing your full background).
But as said, if your suffering gets too big, you may find that if you have tried everything else, NC is the only thing left to try.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Matt: I agree with Sarah. I also think your situation and your LO’s are important considerations. For example, are either or both of you in a long-term relationship? If you are both single, is it worth trying to turn it into a little more than just a friendship, or are you certain you would always remain in the “friend zone?” I have a feeling one of my female friends has a bit of a crush on me, but she has never said a word out of place (I am married). Even if I were single, I am not sure if she would say anything because that kind of thing can ruin a good friendship if the feeling isn’t reciprocated (I like her as a friend, but I would never be interested in her romantically). Still, I have had many good platonic friendships with women (for one thing, I work in a field totally dominated by women). I do believe that men and women can be just friends — and I sometimes think it can work even if one or both parties is attracted to the other — but it can be dicey when it moves beyond pure physical attraction and the feelings aren’t mutual and/or one or both parties is unavailable. All the best in sorting this one out. It is a tough one because you want to avoid losing your best friend if at all possible!
Hi Matt, and welcome. I’ve written a couple of posts on trying to stay friends with an LO. Here and here.
The message is fairly negative, I’m afraid. If you try to keep her as a friend only, then you are probably condemning yourself to limerence limbo.
Out of interest: have you told her how you feel? Or are you not free to have a romantic relationship with her?
I would usually advocate a purposeful response – straightforwardly disclosing your attraction. If you want to have a romantic relationship then it’s probably best to pursue it. It will be hard to eliminate limerence if you are deliberately misleading her (and yourself) about the nature of your true feelings. I do agree that men and women can be platonic friends, but am sceptical of the value of trying to remain a platonic friend to a LO.
Lovelorn Friend says
Came upon your site after having reached my wits’ end with my LE. Thanks for this! I’ve known my LO for a while, but we’ve only built what I hope is a true friendship over the past few years. I’ve since realized I’ve been in limerence for much of that time, and am worried about how genuine friendship on my end has been with that in mind—but that’s a different story.
I have trouble with 1 because we actually are, my sincerity concerns aside, good friends who are in very regular contact over long distance. Even if I block him across platforms, I’d probably have to answer for it somehow as it’s pretty abrupt…but I have started with blocking his number because we almost-exclusively text. 2 is difficult for the reasons you outlined, and we’ve never even had an argument so I don’t have any negative memories to mine for shame. As for 3, I’d rather not have another LE; I’m young and don’t want this to color the rest of my life as it has my past.
I’m feeling stuck, particularly with lockdown dragging on, so strategy #4 is my best bet it seems (yikes). Again, we’re good friends—I’m not afraid of him saying I’m detestable or anything, but disclosing and going no contact seems like a fast track to losing him as a friend. I just can’t be happy for him as he pursues romantic partners (we’re both single) while I’m trying to break my obsessive thought patterns here! When I know he’s been on a date or is hooking up with someone I’m truly inconsolable. I don’t know if I’m ready for that loss, but this fixation is impacting my ability to work, invest in other relationships, have a solitary thought. Under lockdown my brain can’t entertain anything else. Hoping for some tips or insight, maybe even encouragement?
Hi LF, it is such a good site isn’t it. Sorry to hear you are so stuck. I agree that No.4 is your best bet. It might be scary but will hopefully give you closure one way or another. My first LE was with a best friend at uni. Towards the end of our third and final year I became very infatuated with him. I eventually plucked up the courage to disclose my feelings and he responded with a kind but definate no, and immediately took me off to the pub for a few drinks to help me calm my obvious humiliation. I felt slightly awkward around him at first but we soon got our friendship back on track. He started dating someone else which I hated at first but that hammered down the final nail in my LE coffin, allowing me to live fully again. Good luck!
Lovelorn Friend says
Thanks, Allie! I’m glad to hear you were able to move on, and that your friend was kind through it all. Still digging for courage myself…hope things go similarly non-nuclear when I find it.
Have you read
– https://livingwithlimerence.com/2019/03/17/the-definition-of-limerence/ The flowchart is pretty good.
And, if you want to go outside LWL, take a look at
If you’re both available, what’s stopping you from pursuing a romantic relationship? Fear? Disclosure will likely alter things. It could get better, it could get worse, or maybe, once things are out in the open, you can settle into a truly long-term friendship. The hidden agenda should be gone. If you search “disclosure” on The Blog page, a number of blogs will come up.
Is anyone still reading this?
I am considering the nuclear “disclosure” option. My LO is a co-worker. We’re both married, and equal in our rank, and work in the same department to where total avoidance and no contact isn’t feasible. I find that, on the days that I don’t see her due to my being off-work or I’m at work and she’s not, I do fine–but when she’s there, she initiates contact with me, I’m in heaven, only to crash later post-reciprocation as I realize we can never be together this way.
(She never contacts me outside of work even though she has the means to do so, and while she absolutely initiates contact with me at work, and is very chatty, I imagine it’s strictly in the realm of us as co-workers, and besides I’m not in a position to leave my wife–plus I am fine with only my wife during those days when she’s faded from memory, I merely long for her if we’ve had a recent encounter.)
Anyway, I want to do disclosure/nuclear since NC isn’t possible and since when I see her again I end up feeling disappointed all over again just as I’m getting over her, however I fear that such could lead to a sexual harassment complaint and hence loss of my job. I would disclose NOT in the spirit of “I hope we can be together” but more as a means of explaining why I’m now keeping my distance, “I know you probably see me as a friendly co-worker but I see you as more and I realize it can never be, so I’m going to be distancing myself for the sake of my own sanity.”
If I just keep playing along like everything is OK, then I keep suffering from the roller-coaster after seeing her. If I felt disclosure had no risk of me losing my job via sexual harassment, that’s the way I would go.
In your situation, nothing good is likely to come from disclosure.
Have you read “Limerence for a Coworker?” It gives some reasons why not to do it.
Also, check out “When to Disclose” and “When not to Disclose.” You seem to fall into the latter.
Disclosure is a crapshoot. I did it but I did it under ideal conditions.
Hi LRH. Am in a similar situation but LO is my boss. I have raised this question on this site before as I am similarly tempted to disclose to get clarity and find a way to work together more easily. The advice given is always “don’t”. Ignoring the whole harassment risk, if she reciprocates, it will most likely deepen your limerent addiction. It is like trying to stop taking heroin by taking a massive dose. It won’t take long before this spills over into your weekends. I have also heard from someone (B) that has done this and found he ended up craving another disclosure once the euphoria from the first wore off. The advice is to go for a quiet gradual staged withdrawal aiming to go as far LC as you can. Make your unavailability clear through your behaviour not your words. I also think disclosing like that when it cannot go anywhere is unfair to her as it may add fuel to her fire, maybe eventually causing her misery also. Limerence is a sod isn’t it!
Hi LRH, and welcome.
I agree with Scharnhorst and Allie – there’s a lot more downside to disclosure in your situation than upside.
If you feel that the right thing to do is limit contact, you should go ahead and do that. You don’t need to declare your reasons why to LO, and if she queries why you are spending less time with her, you can give a neutral answer. Disclosing puts her on the spot about how to respond, and it could be seen as inappropriate conduct.
And as Scharnhorst says, there are a couple more posts on the site that cover this in more detail:
When not to disclose
I don’t know if the referenced blogs talk about it but disclosure is seldom completed in one pass. It’s covered in several threads.
No sooner than you finished disclosing than you want a “do over.” There’s something you missed, some eloquently nuanced phrase you thought of that conveys your message better. Yeah, just a little tweak, she’ll understand everything, look at you with those wonderful eyes and it will all be over. So, you make another pass at it and the same things happen. The hole gets wider and deeper. Oh, yeah, if you’re LO doesn’t react well, it can set off a stream of apologies along with the explanations. You may apologize anyway. It never gets better. Trust me on this one.
You can end up getting caught in this loop, well, more of a death spiral, until your LO decides she wants nothing to do with you. If she had any respect for you before, she probably doesn’t now. If you’re lucky, she won’t tell anybody in the office. Keeping your dignity can be hard when only she knows let alone when everyone is snickering at you.
Disclosure can be quite a lever to get things moving but you’re never sure which way things will fall.
I’ll add to the chorus of don’t do it, and that’s from someone who has had the same thoughts in a very similar situation. You seem to know that for her it’s a strictly work related relationship. She never contacts you outside of work – that’s a very clear sign she’s not into you I’m afraid. So can you imagine how she’d take a declaration of love from you? She might be horrified, and you could come across as pretty crazy. Sorry to be blunt.
These feelings will fade. It sounds quite mild based on your description, given you’re able to forget her after some time apart. Focus on spending as little time with her as possible, redouble your efforts at home and let time do it’s thing.
Vicarious Limerent says
Yep, and with #MeToo, I wouldn’t touch any kind of declaration of romantic feelings in the workplace with a ten-foot pole! I am lucky to have met my LO in a bar rather than at work, otherwise I might end up in similar trouble.
The attached link explains about attachment and limerence. I did not pay too much attention to the attachment style but it explains why purposeful living is so important to over come limerence. Also some reasons where the deep rooted limerence has come from.
I like this woman!
I watched the Dismissive-Avoidant & Limerence video. She nailed my LE with LO #4, right down to how I assumed LO #4 was no risk and why my anxiety went through the roof when she changed the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7mahM35mUQ
I also watched the video on Dismissive-Avoidant/Fearful-Avoidant relationships (LO #2). She nailed that one, too.
Thanks for the link!
I know I find it fascinating. Regardless of your attachment type I think it relates to a lot of people of here. Although I am the anxious preoccupied attachment I’m afraid to say.
I am approaching the 1st year of NC, and I am finding myself off kilter. Sometimes this limerence feels like such a heavy rock on my chest, and it’s wearying. So, on a scale of 1-10 I’m probably only at a 3 or so (in terms of intrusive thoughts, etc.). But I’m feeling a sadness that I’m having trouble shaking, and, worse, understanding. I see clearly all the things I’m supposed to see: our ultimate incompatibility, the real and wonderful life that I have with my family… I’m living with purpose….and I feel like crying. Sometimes I fear that I’ve permanently broken something inside myself- that I’ll be walking around with a gimp heart forever I’ve had a handful of limerent experiences in my life- all unrequited. This latest LE is the only mutual limerent experience I’ve ever had, and it was like an earthquake in my life. I was shocked at my behavior, at the weakness of my ethical resolve, at my blindness to the consequences of my actions, and to the crazy strength of my emotions. Presently, I am so blown away by the emotional aftershocks. If I were just working on supporting my SO in his recovery from my betrayal that would be one thing- maybe that’s where I was so naive. Maybe I thought I could just mess with everything and then put it back together? But I never thought that it would come out- which is demented. I thought, at some magical time, I would get the strength to walk away and just neatly put it behind me- that because it was never physical in any way that it wasn’t as real… In our small town, everything feels like a trigger, all of my music feels emotionally loaded to me…yesterday my SO and I were taking a walk and I thought I saw LO coming toward us. I said “there he is” , but it ended up being someone so far from him that SO and I started pointing out people who clearly weren’t him and laughing about it. But that’s how I feel- I’m on high alert and it’s driving me crazy.
so, I guess, just putting it out there.
Vicarious Limerent says
This is such a great comment. I too am wondering if my marriage and life will ever be the same again. In some ways, my LE was a catalyst for change and the canary in the coalmine telling me things weren’t good. In that respect, I believe things will be better for me overall no matter what, but I feel really sad about my relationship with my wife. I am finding it difficult to be affectionate with her and I still feel quite guilty — despite the fact she was bossy, controlling, negative, mean, boring, lazy and even quite abusive towards me. Will things ever be the same? How can I even bring up the topic of counselling at this point? She is going to be so angry and hurt when I try to get her to go to counselling with me, and she will make it out to be my problem and mine alone when there was fault on her part too and some very good reasons why I became limerent in the first place.
Much like you, I know there is little chance of me ever being with my LO and I may never even see her again. It is really just a fantasy, and I need to stop thinking about this woman so much (although things have improved a bit in that regard over the past month or so). Still, I can’t stop thinking about how much better life could possibly be with someone else (not necessarily my LO, but the possibility of ending up with her does cross my mind quite often — I even fantasize about marrying her). I also tend to think I see my LO’s face in every crowd. I thought I saw her outside a supermarket near where she lives a few weeks back. I am not sure if it was her, but the woman in question was looking at me, so who knows (I don’t always recognize people from a distance). I am feeling that sadness too, and a sense of everything being in limbo as the current crisis continues. I am also disappointed in myself in many ways, so I think your feelings are very common among limerents in committed relationships. On the other hand, I think limerence can be a learning opportunity, and we should try to be self-aware enough to understand what our experiences are telling us. The concept of living a purposeful life is helpful. Good luck as you navigate through this and find peace and happiness in your life!
Ah Jayne. It’s really not easy but remember you are not you brain! I think Corona vrius has taken away so much of our life and enjoyment that we are going back to our subconscious urges/desires and also gives us time to reflect on the past. Remember these feelings do pass and you will get through this.
Perhaps the technique of noting could help you. Notice the sadness, awknoledge it and let it pass. Sometimes you have to be firm with yourself and force yourself to think of something else or remember limerence is a sneaky trick. LO has no power over you but he does if you let him. I’ve had to just grit out some sad feelings recently and also feelings of loss with my LO. But I accept this life is better and I couldn’t go back to our toxic…. Thing. besides I miss my defence mechanism that I’ve had for years and my attachment I have with others. Ensure you have a good self care routine. I feel like this is very understated! I know the feeling of being on high alert all the time with your LO since my LO lives on my block, but you have to constantly reassure yourself that your ok and there’s nothing to worry about. That something you’ve broke inside of yourself is mostly the void you were trying to fulfill by limerence. It’s very hard to know what exactly that is. So maybe some more self work is needed.
Finally, I love your husband’s sense of humour in this. Sounds like a great guy.
Rachel- thank you so much! My SO is an amazing guy! You’re right, and thank you for the reminder, it will pass. It will absolutely pass. And this is just my brain looking for something that can’t be found there- and I can focus on my life trusting that all is actually well, even when it feels threatening or weird.
Self-care isn’t always my strong suit- I will try to be better and more intentional about it. Thank you for your support- just saying something felt like a bit of relief.
I can’t imagine my LO living on my block; I had forgotten that part of your story. I guess it just goes to show that we can all find our way out if we work toward it and live purposefully.
I really enjoy my self care which has been upped in the pandemic. I’m doing more yoga and Pilates, my skincare routine I use as a time for relaxation, I light a relaxing candle every night before bed and read a little and i try to do more meditation. I to get lost in a limerence narrative but something I learned from the link I posted above is that we have to find wholeness and happiness from within. Personally I latch on to people for a safe feeling, a stimulant, confidence boost and an escape. All of which is toxic when you attempt to fill all the voids from another person. I am in a weird state at the moment when LO is the first thing I think about and night and the morning. I am much more in control but it’s still there. I have constant triggers becuase I can bump into him or his family anytime in out for a walk. But I tell myself, it’s just a person and try not to let it affect me to much.
I have been limerent over someone for many years and they know it. I have tried the complete cut them out of my life at two times, once was nearly a year. It was ok for a long period, but then I started having recurrent dreams and then it was huge anxiety and guilt, I couldn’t live with not knowing what was happening to them. So I went back. They are tolerant of me within their community of online friends. They stay distant, don’t reply to everything, but once in a while say they appreciate me. It’s also that I tell them that I just want friendship and that is true. More clearly I tell them that I’d rather have the friendship than none of them. It feels like a relief around them, they make me laugh. They have been with people and I respect that. Some nights are harder but I tell myself: this is the deal I got into. We aren’t true friends, we haven’t spend 1 on 1 time, but I get clues that it is slowly developing, because I’ve been there when there have been hardship. Ok I’ll admit: I’d love it if we were close friends, and I think I fucked it all up because of this limerence thing. What about sexual desire? I never dared asked them “am I allowed to look for sex?”. It sounds like a stupid question to ask, but say they answered “of course (idiot)!”, I would just go and find it. Falling in love to that degree, though? Sounds impossible. Never knew about it before and since that one could be so enthralled by someone else. The person understands mental diseases so that explains why they aren’t running away when they see me, but it’s possible that they don’t dare tell me that they want me to go away. I asked the question directly at two occasions and the subject was avoided, and instead the person said (on the same day) to the group of people we are in “I want to be clear here that I love everyone of you”. I feel that it was their way to respond. I must say I suffer from loneliness a lot so the reason I am not pushed away is likely because: why send someone back to loneliness, when they aren’t causing any real harm. Anyway, it’s not easy.
** or for the geologists out there – the ‘Plinian option’.
Plinian covers the most destructive class of volcanic eruptions. Asked resident of Pompeii… exactly.
(Smart arse geologist signing out)
For LOs to put an end to the creepy behavior for good.
She shouldn’t say she is a friend. Her reaction is almost filled with disdain. The difficulty with Limerents and Los is when the LO is being affectionate because they appreciate the Limerent in some ways. If you think the Limerent is creepy than you don’t care for them. I forgot which philosopher once said that desire turn people quickly into monsters in the gaze of people who don’t reciprocate it. I know, as a limerent, what it is like to not reciprocate desire. I liked them as a person so I just told them I had no sexual desire whatsoever, but that I appreciated their company, simply because it can be comforting when it’s hard to find a lover, to know someone out there likes you just as you are. If I thought someone was “creepy”, than I would tell them and cut all ties, but I want to have to intelligence to know that love isn’t just “creepy” just because you don’t reciprocate the feeling.
“to” intelligence, was meant to be “the” intelligence.
“The difficulty with Limerents and Los is when the LO is being affectionate because they appreciate the Limerent in some ways.”
This is so true. I do think many LEs start out as genuine friendships and then limerence creeps up on one of the parties, and things become weird and awkward when Desire supplants Affection as the dominant drive.
Of course, there must be some LEs when the limerent always liked the LO in a romantic way e.g. “the love at first sight” scenario. I think a friendship-turned-limerence experience is more painful to endure and break off than an always-limerent experience. The water has become murky in the first case. In the second case, you know you’re overinvolved from the start (this isn’t platonic) and you probably already feel guilty.
I used to daydream about going back to school and achieving some high ranking career – which is possible for me, I know it.. But then I would think, “oh I won’t have time for LO if I do that. What if he’s in town and I have a class or exam?”
Ridiculous!! I’m done with the self betrayal for an LO that would and could only ever reciprocate physically. I am worth more than that!
I felt a shift this evening when I found myself looking forward to an activity over talking to LO. I’m going to keep on the path that I’m on. Thank you Dr. L and commenters – without this valuable insight I don’t know where I’d be.
Fastest way to get rid of limerence?
Get married to them.
Ha ha ha! Sadly that is absolutely true. Having kids with them also works a treat.
No contact – So difficult in the age of social media. LO is always a few keystrokes away. Crap.
Psychological deprogramming – I felt weird “devaluing” LO based on her slightly too-long nose and teeth that would bring a smile to the face of a livestock veterinarian. Or her splotchy skin. It just felt wrong to think less of a person because of the way they were born. Plus, the imperfections make LO “herself.” So I tried focusing on the things that are her own fault, like her lack of personality and arrogantly dismissive attitude. But again, curses be upon social media, for now I have found out that she was abandoned as a baby, grew up with only her adopted mother and no other family, and she’s actually just terribly shy and introverted, has extreme anxiety, and wants to break out of it but she can’t. Crap.
Transference – I do NOT need a new LO. That’s like switching from beer to bourbon to cure alcoholism. SO is emotionally and physically distant, too. Crap.
Disclosure – For me? Nope. Nada. Completely inappropriate in about 14 different ways given my situation. Crap.
Oddly enough, I feel like if I could see LO truly happy with another guy who understands her and brings her out of her shell, then my LE would die out. Kind of another form of transference.
I think you’ve given yourself a bit of a pass on No Contact there @Matt. Yes a social media drive-by is always going to be possible, but you have to stop yourself from doing it. It’s a trial of willpower and self-discipline. You’ll slip up now and again, and it will set you back when you do, but the longer you can go between slip-ups, the more progress you’ll make.
I had a little search when she liked a post of mine a couple of months ago, but I hadn’t done that for about 8 months. I remember it well as i was in New York, had some time to kill on my own for once, and I sat in a coffee shop just scrolling through all her time lines. A total binge, and I felt dreadful afterwards. So I resolved not to do it again, and I was doing well until her little wave in my direction. But I go again…
I second Vincent re: online stuff,
I’m glad I’m not on Instagram my LO is an obsessive user.
I’ve actually disengaged from social media for few months now. In general I didn’t get much from it in the end. I get that everybody is different. I have friends with family in many countries and they use various platforms a lot to stay in touch. I didn’t really need it for that. I feel a lot better for not checking it all the time. Never mind limerence that was intrusive enough in my day!
Then again, whatever you do Vincent is right. You’ll slip up (I have visited LOs FB page, though it’s very very rarely updated and then only occasional switching of profile pics). But the battle lines have to be drawn somewhere!
You got me on that – I lack the willpower to not look at her social media. But I’m kind of glad I did, because it filled me in on why she’s the way she is. I know we’re supposed to “focus on the bad” of our LOs to help inject the reality that can break the LE, but I don’t feel right essentially making up reasons to dislike somebody. I found myself focusing on her avoidant behavior as it were on purpose (and perhaps some of it was), but it’s largely due to introversion and social anxiety. Of the 3 LOs across my life, the only one who I feel right thinking she wasn’t a good person was LO2. I expect that with time, my current LE will fade anyway.
My most recent LO is the only one where social media has been an issue. During my more vulnerable periods I find it difficult to not want to do social media drive-bys. Fortunate for my recovery she is good at ghosting and disappearing. Still in the period of relapse recovery from most recent LE so I may need to loop back around to comment on what worked. At the moment remembering the sound of boredom in her voice the last time we spoke has helped, especially when I remind myself that conversation happened over a YEAR AND A HALF ago. The limerent part of my brain, of course, still experiences things like they happening right now, in the present. But the reminder of how have not the same as I remember in my ‘limerent mind’s eye’ for a year and a half seems to help.
Also, I read somewhere that the dopamine rush is more about the anticipation of the reward (for example, getting back in touch/hearing from my LO) than the actual reward. I’ve concretized this by asking myself, “Would you really get that much pleasure out of hearing from her again?” The answer is no because at the most it would probably be a very flat “doing ok, hope you are too” response. Or perhaps she’d share briefly what she has been up to with her SO. Not very rewarding to my limerent brain. Like…no thanks. lol. Anyway…somehow this allows me to take a step back and see things a bit more objectively.
…I’m STILL going to pubs chosen with half a mind of bumping into LO… 😑
…it’s the one chink in my NC…
Luckily no sign of LO as yet…
My wife’s aunt lived two blocks from LO #2’s parents’ house and to get to her aunt’s we had to drive past it.
In the half dozen or so times we visited my wife’s aunt, none of them were out when we went by. One time, we took my daughter to the beach which was a few blocks in a different direction. LO #2 and I spent a lot of time there.
Just being in that neighborhood made me nervous.
Of the 4 options available to defeat limerence:
1. No contact. If I had been given the chance, it’s an option I might’ve taken due to it being, in my view, a harsh, but effective method of tackling limerence. In my case, it wasn’t an option with my first 3 LOs, but, a variation of this has somewhat helped to mitigate the limerence for LO4 (having moved away, I don’t see them that often, except when they come back to visit), despite how much I miss them being around. A bit of a double-edged sword in my case, as the NC’s helping clear the limerence, but the side of me that enjoys their company as a friend misses them dearly.
2. Psychological deprogramming. Never had the willpower to practice a form of this option with LOs 1, 2 and 3; have used a variation with helping to alleviate my ongoing limerence for LO4, but again, it hasn’t been easy for me on this journey. Definitely an effective option if limerent is helped by a therapist too.
3. Transferrence. Can be an option, but, that only risks repeating the cycle of limerence if it goes from one person to another. Not exactly an ideal solution.
4. Disclosure. Would only recommend if there’s a chance for reciprocation, ending the limerence through rejection by LO that the limerent will accept, and not damaging any other relationships in the process.
In my experience, none of these options, other than 2, were a solution to each LE I’ve suffered or suffering. NC wasn’t an option for LOs 1, 2 & 3; and what’s happened with LO4 is involuntary, and while their absence has helped, as I noted above, I miss them being around because they are a friend of mine. The closest thing to psychological deprogramming was mentally trying to calm oneself down from the excesses of my raging emotions, so yes and no on that front.
As mentioned above, transferrence wasn’t an option nor would I have taken it. With disclosure, not really an option either as I barely knew LOs 1, 2 and 3, and to disclose my intense feelings when they weren’t that overtly familiar with me would have made me look like a weirdo. With LO4, it would have destroyed any chance of a friendship with them and the exisiting one with their parent, so, again, not feasible.
Mentally, the most effective limerence cleansers were “Seeing LO in a relationship” and “Rejection by LO”. That happened with LOs 1 & 3, though the former, I was experiencing a level of limerence withdrawal at the time, and seeing them with a partner helped kill it for good. LO3 rejected the idea of us becoming closer through a friendship, which woke me up from the limerence-induced fog I was in about them. LO2 faded over time and ran its course, while my limerence for LO4 is easing through a combination of NC and mentally wanting to work on developing a real friendship with them. It’s extremely hard, but worth it in my view.
I honestly think, if therapy were more widely available, with a mixture of some psychological deprogramming and NC, that could make an effective treatment for ridding oneself of limerence, short of a drug being developed to control it.
Song of the Day: “Separate Ways” Journey (1983)
It can seem better when we think we pass on our LOs to someone worthy of them. Of course, they’re not ours to pass on.
The only problem with this song is that he hasn’t relinquished her. He left things open for a come back.
I don’t remember what we were talking about exactly but I told the therapist I’d relinquished LO #2 a long time ago. The therapist said that was an interesting word to use since most people would just say they gave up. I told her because it was the correct word.
Relinquish means to renounce a claim and I’d tried to claim her. To relinquish is more than just to give up on someone. To really be free of an LO, you have to relinquish them.
@Sharn – Journey is one of my favorite groups. And “Separate Ways” one of my favorite songs. Unfortunately I am at a place at the moment where I do not feel it is in my best interest to listen to it. (I know all y’all know what I mean.) Good point about the relinquishing piece. So much of my LEs have involved possession and my limerent brain holding on in ‘tooth and nail’ fear. Eventual relinquishing of previous LOs (still in the throes of the current one) has meant freedom.
Dr l any advice on relapse? I was nc for 6-7 months and recently had another problem with another girl and relapsed a bit. I didn’t get into a conversation with her or anything but I looked at her social media and sent her a message before blocking her on messenger. Did that ruin my nc run? Is my brain trying to trick itself into thinking it’s ok be around her or is it ok as long as I go back to nc?
I’m in no contact, but the problem is I still work with someone who is a close friend of my LO and talks about them sometimes. If I only I could be in no contact with that person, things would be great. 😛 I can’t transfer my feelings, the only single person I know doesn’t seem interested in me, and seems like might be an abusive partner in potential relationship. So… I’m just waiting for it to end or something else happening.
I’m confused how comments from 2017 can show up under a blog post from 2020??
Anyway, I am really worried about the “friendship” I’ve started. I feel like I have a responsibility to it, the same way I had a duty to be a normal coworker to my previous LO. Going NC to this person, who works in the same field as me could lead to some negative rumors about me – “Weird – he’s a married guy who would flirt with me, now he’s ghosted me.”
The idea I have in my head, that I really want to do, but have been told it’s not a great idea, is to go NC, but AFTER disclosing to LO, in a coming clean kind of way. Something like —“Listen, LO, I’ve really enjoyed becoming friends with you over the past year but I’m afraid I haven’t been totally honest with you. After I first met you, after our first few conversations, I really, really became interested in you, and have remained so. It has developed into a pretty hard crush, I’m embarrassed to say – but then, can you blame me? Anyway, it’s been way too distracting for me to have those feelings, and to be a good husband. I’m afraid I need to take a pretty hard, potentially long break from our friendship. I’m very sorry, but I think after that period, I could emerge as a better husband and father, and hopefully, a better friend to you as well. I’m sorry that I let my feelings get away from me, and that I could’t have shared them sooner.”
“I’m confused how comments from 2017 can show up under a blog post from 2020??” – DrL is reposting some of the original blogs. At the moment, there’s no master index and you have to go to the “Blog” page, scroll down and go to the last page to start at the beginning.
As for you situation, check out https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-for-a-co-worker/ & https://livingwithlimerence.com/when-not-to-disclose/
A lot of the best work no longer shows up on the “Recent Post” list.
Well, if you think NC could generate negative rumors, what if she tells the industry about your disclosure? What was speculation will be replaced by fact. As DrL put it, you’re handing her grenade. How much respect could you lose if she doesn’t keep the secret?
Plus, this sort of thing has a bad habit of mushrooming on you. You’ll drive yourself crazy thinking about what you said or what you didn’t say, or how you could have said it better. You could get stuck in an apology cycle. Those are a lot of fun.
If NC is professionally damaging, go LC instead and keep quiet.
The “back to basics” post explains this, DJ. I’m currently revising and updating some of the classics.
Thanks I’ve read both of those. She’s not an immediate coworker, just a person in the same loose field of entertainment. So I can largely control (as does the pandemic) when I see her. And disclosure wouldn’t risk anything in my work situation. It could just make things weird between us, I guess.
I think you have to ask yourself what do you want to achieve with the disclosure? Is it to make yourself feel better, is it to provoke her into saying “that’s how I feel too!”? Then ask what happens next, what does she do with that info you’ve handed over to her? What are the potential bad outcomes?
After having been totally honest with yourself and weighed it all up, maybe it is the best course of action. I wrestled with that exact thought with my workplace LO, but in the end the potential consequences of an HR incident or just the damage to my reputation were too much for me and I didn’t do it. But what would I have done if she’d said she felt the same? I had resolved to go NC and move on with my life and my SO had demanded I get rid of LO. That info would have been a hand grenade with the pin pulled out…. So thankfully I didn’t have to make that call.
It’s hard to see right now DJ, but in the future when you finally get over this LE, you will most likely feel really embarrassed if you’ve disclose. In the present you will make it really awkward for your LO. It is kinder for LO for you to sort it out yourself.
I finally feel nothing for my LO, 18 months since the onset, seven months since last contact, 13 months since concerted effort to stop and get over the LE. I am sooo glad I never said anything beyond the bounds of our professional relationship. The embarrassment is all self contained. And if there is ever another interaction in the future, LO in all innocence, will feel fine about the exchange. I feel good and proud that in my actions, I could maintain respect and consideration for someone that I objectified in my concealed emotions.
Thanks for all this excellent insight. What’s agonizing about this condition is its mercurial nature. Some days I see clearly through my delusion. Other days I fear every second not pursuing her is a waste of my life. I dive into her social pages, looking for clues, keys to her mind and heart in carefully curated photos. All while being married to a wonderful woman who wonders where my mind and heart are at times. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
The days when you see clearly are the truth, DJ. That’s what your mind will be like when you have recovered from limerence.
It’s also worth considering that that’s what your mind will be like even in the scenario that you did end up with your LO, after the limerence has burnt itself out through consummation.
Except you’d also have a broken marriage and wrecked life to deal with…
I guess, though, and a therapist told me this as well, it’s very possible that my dreamy visions of being with LO are also “the truth.” It’s possible, since I’m a good judge of people, that she is indeed all she’s cracked up to be. That we could have countless days and nights of pure bliss together. This is true of thousands, millions of women who aren’t my wife. The uncertainty is what I have to live with. To get certainty on this, I would need to attempt to begin an affair, which my friendly LO may very well have zero interest in. This would risk my marriage, home and family life, reputation within my family, my extended family’s access to my wife. Could be an utter disaster. So it’s this “I’ll never know” that is an especially jagged pill to swallow. That’s what I need to get down though.
@DJ: I think that the first lesson that you would learn if you embarked on an affair is that you’ve become an untrustworthy person. In a way that would immediately lower the status of your LO in your eyes, maybe without you being aware of it, as it would mean the same about her. The illicit nature of an affair is very seductive, and maybe for a moment we can believe that the “love” is so strong that it can’t be fought, but that can’t last. We’re so pulled, us humans, to the idea of endless bliss..but it’s a mirage. And everyone around us will tell us that, even as we’re eating sand and telling ourselves it’s water. All of my romantic notions that were resting in the back of my head came to life in this latest LE: in technicolor. And it’s the fantasy that I’m finding it the hardest to relinquish. It isn’t the person so much as mourning the death of a very potent childs fantasy. But, really, it’s a freedom to let it go, and it allows me to be where I am in an authentic and honest way.
Have re-read this reply a few times now janesays. So incredibly well put, thank you for sharing….but darn you at the same time :-).
It hits me really hard every time I read it because it resonates so strongly with me, but at the same time I absolutely do not want to admit to myself that this is, and will be, my truth too. I want to hold on to my delusion for a bit longer.
I understand that completely. I was “lucky” that the ending was out of my control, as I had tried a few times to walk away and failed miserably every time. I truly felt like I would suffer so much without him in my life- that the loneliness would be unbearable. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was how much emotional debt I was incurring, and when the bill came due it was totally overwhelming. I neatly evaded the harm that it would cause my SO, the potential harm to my family (which has only happened a little bit, but which is frightening to me still) the harm to his family, the harm to my LO, which is something that I know is real, even though he was as responsible as me, and the depth to which I was breaking my own heart. And I also see that I was heading toward a full-blown affair that truly could have destroyed everything. The statistics are so grim for a good outcome in these kinds of things- like 2%. I knew that, I knew that it had to end, and I felt so completely powerless to stop. I’m not totally free from the aftershocks of this LE yet, but I would say that it’s down from a 10 to a 2. My marriage has, in many ways, never been better, but I have left my SO with scars and hurt that may never fully heal. And maybe I won’t either. I’ll never be the same person as I was before this happened- I lost some innocence and integrity that I sorely wish I could have back. And I won’t ever let anything like this ever happen again. As DrL says, I now see it as a threat to be avoided rather than a hit to be enjoyed. I do wish that I knew what limerence was while I was in the thick of it, but, honestly, I was so fogged out I don’t know if I would have really been able to hear it.
Quote of the day;
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”
Great reply, thanks. Good points.
Hi, my problem I’m not sure if it’s limerence. And why did 3 years of physical distance and no contact not help?!
My story: I met a guy once a long time ago and on first sight I had a reaction to him like not to most others before. Then we talked again online after that meeting and he indicated interest in meeting me again. That night afterwards I had a feeling I never did for anyone else like that… I shut it down instantly though because he was married and so I knew we were not going to go out together. I didn’t try to identify the feeling but I definitely felt that I never wanted to feel this emotion again. It was so powerful. So I shut it down and never felt it again afterwards for a decade. But then the story didn’t end here. He still chased me on/off for a full decade until he finally got to emotionally affect me enough … But only because he eventually claimed that his wife turned a lesbian. So he overall affected me emotionally more than anyone else ever before in a sense. He does have good qualities too but also talked and behaved me emotionally like no one else before. And for a long time.
Yes at one point (8 years into our story) he did finally explicitly say that he has considered “us”, with the risk of falling in love and that he really feels I am very special to him and all that, he talked about a lot of this, but I rejected him at that point as I figured he meant he thinks it would just be some stormy affair that would end because of his kids eventually …. but stupidly enough, even after my refusal to get into it more emotionally, we stayed in contact and still had an affair, except not emotional. We called it FWB. … but he chased me emotionally sometimes anyway, just a lot less after I asked him not to. I mean he still acted very friendly and said he missed me etc. He just did not mention those more emotional things anymore because I asked him not to bring it up again.
So all that led to a day where after 8 years of I finally suddenly had more intense emotions suddenly hit me and then more emotions would gradually come out. I wanted to talk to him about it but I was scared delaying the talk. I just wanted to enjoy things with him until the talk… I know that was the wrong decision, lol. So we sometimes did meet and I enjoyed things with him more and more. After a few months of that, I had the original shut down emotion coming out too and expressed to him (nonverbally, sorry, long story, but this was done as we were having sex basically. We had sex before it too but this was special). He then wanted to meet me more. But after that….we did set up another meeting but he got sick. Then we didn’t meet for a few weeks because of life getting in the way. I didn’t consciously feel my emotions anymore (I’m not a very emotional person by default and I specifically always had issues in the romantic area emotionally) but I was set on continuing this direction and I tried to initiate talking again and he didn’t respond. I shrugged and went about my life, figured we’d talk sometime later somehow.
Not thinking of him alot. But then a week after that I suddenly had intense negative emotions hit me. Burn in chest crying for hours for days until it felt like I caught the cold etc etc… The grief was really bad in the chest. I stopped the crying when it started feeling like I got the cold. I got prone to injury too in my sports training. But I had no idea what all this meant…. I just knew we had to talk and I tried to talk it out with him, if we would go ahead with real dating. It was very hard chasing him as he became avoidant, and noncommittal, then he would not take responsibility as he clearly only wanted an emotional affair, and not real dating, and so eventually I got very angry and ended things with him. I told him I’m so sick of him I don’t even want to be friends, and so I don’t want him to reply. He did not reply. I then blocked him on messenger programs, I eventually deleted him on facebook too. All this was nearly 3 years ago. I have barely functioned in these 3 years, almost got fired from work due to being constantly late, had horrible episodes, could train less and less and sports is my life!! I can barely train by now. So… I had some intense bits of emotions initially but after about 8 months of no contact those faded a lot. I still had bad emotions, still barely functioning…. slowly, very slowly getting better…
But then I did notice after 2 years that it’s like I’m almost hallucinating about his person because I repressed all thought and emotion about him so hard. And then that scared me enough and I allowed it to come to the surface. That soon unexpectedly resulted in some short-lived but strong feelings. Not too bad, they went away soon. This repeated a few months later, the same short-lived strong feelings. Then again nothing. Then now a week ago or so, I had to push very hard to meet a deadline and intense emotions started up and became very intrusive since then. It’s so bad, like I wasted my whole day now resting from the overworking (overworking because I’m still so low on functioning. I’m not actually working more than other people but it’s constantly stress and overwork for my low functionality but I have to keep working or I’ll die otherwise. That’s the only thing that kept me alive), but I couldn’t even get out of bed all day, I slept, or felt acute depression and could barely move, or I read a psychology book and then I ended up feeling the intense emotions again. For long times. Extremely strong, losing my head so much that if he had messaged me (he won’t after 3 years) I’m sure I’d not have been able to stay silent and would’ve messaged back…. I really feel out of control in those moments and that’s scary to me lol. It’s not usual for me to lose my head that much.
This despite me trying to talk myself out of it all, remembering and actually feeling that he has acted selfish shit towards me etc etc. I read up now on limerence and hell it fits?! Except I abhor fantasising about specific things about him. I’m a too sober realist for that. So I don’t fantasise (except sometimes sexually), I don’t like to even think of his person usually (outside the sexual stuff), as I usually feel negative about his person and the memories with him also usually feel negative. So no fantasy, I just have the raw intense addictive emotions extremely bad, I don’t think of or imagine anything specifically other than feeling the emotions strongly. Or I go back to having acute depression and again due to his shit. But why did PHYSICAL DISTANCE AND FULL NO CONTACT FOR 3 YEARS NOT HELP???? Why do these intense emotion things only come out now with full force like this? God I’m glad they didn’t 3 years ago or I’d have had a real big problem with cutting him off… : P
And the negative emotions are getting better only very very slowly. It’s so tiring, still trying to stay on the surface and it still not healing enough. Or whatever this thing is….. I lost all my other relationships (friendships) too over this, I got so low after I cut him off. I also almost fucked up family relationships but luckily those got saved. Etc….. My whole life went upside down like that. I just feel traumatised. And now alternatively these strong positive emotions. What the hell? Any thoughts?
Sorry, got that wrong:
“So all that led to a day where after 8 years of I finally suddenly had more intense emotions”
That was 10 years into the story at that point.
And it’s at over 13 years now with the 3 years of no contact….
Oh one more thing. When 10 years into the story with him my emotioms suddenly hit me and started to surface, I didn’t take them seriously. I watched them coming up while I was sitting next to him in the car… And I bought into NONE of it consciously. I just decided it would be a nice opportunity to see if sex is more enjoyable that way with him. Call me an idiot lol. …… We met again after that pretty soon. But when about a week later I started having a strong suicidal impulse and it wouldn’t go away in 3 seconds like I expected it to (me and emotions are a complex relationship, hey), was when I started getting delusional about the whole thing. Like after I finally managed to get the suicidal impulse to stop, I suddenly conjured up some stupid emotional image of how we would be working out dating happily…and I DID buy into that image. That is where I got delusional. Is when I decided I need to talk to him to be clear to see if he wants this future with me or not (as his kids pretty much grew up too by then), but then for long months I was too scared to, lol. Until I crashed into the extreme grief…. Then that was compelling enough that I did finally talk to him but it wasn’t cool anymore, I was obviously too upset and angry by then. And his crappy avoidance on top of all of it. Well, just wanted to add this to the story.
Where I said “It was very hard chasing him as he became avoidant, and noncommittal”
I mean he was not able or willing to even say what he wants or if he really cannot go ahead beyond just an affair with me. Once I forced him into picking between “no” and “yes” and he said “no”, but then when I got angry at him (for having strung me along), he quickly went back on it and said “it’s not as simple as “no””….
And he overall claimed he is thinking about all his life including my place in his life, but then later claimed he wasn’t spending time on that at all. That’s where it was left. And he kept saying he doesn’t know what our future would be like, what we would be doing. So it definitely stayed like an open-ended question… but I did decide instead of him too when I cut him off.
Maybe that contributes to the issue, I don’t know. I.e him leaving it open-ended. Amnd I didn’t follow him on social media for years either, a couple of days ago I decided to check (public profile only as I unfriended him years ago), but only to see if he’s maybe dead because then this is no longer open-ended Lol. Unfortunately he didn’t seem dead… The reality check did feel good though for a short time. It felt like I was back to normal reality and no I did not feel intense emotions checking out his photos or posts. The intense emotions are only when I’m away from reality like that.
But the more I try to not focus on him, the more I try to feel that this truly ended, and how he was so selfish towards me, and that it’s all very sad but I’ll surely move on blah blah, the worse the rebound will be when the intense emotions do come out again. As if me doing what I should do to get rid of the “limerence”, i.e full avoidance, will just make it worse. Even though the avoidance, that is supposed to be the “right thing” to do yeah?? I also have tried hard to just beat the emotions out of me for a long time. Like aggressively beat it out of myself (not literal beating of course). I tried everything really… Yes I mentioned sexual fantasies but I did not have those for a long time either. Doubt that alone would be the issue. They are intrusive too really, I don’t want to think of him like that but I eventually do and then I just indulge in it for a while then it leaves me alone for a while before it comes back. Same for these intense “limerence” emotions…
I’m just annoyed for having had to kill my emotions about him for a full decade, then getting burnt so fast when I did allow the luxury of feeling them to myself for a short time, then 3 years of fucking suffering then now this “limerence” full force…
I don’t know, does that make sense to anyone?
@Uh. First of all, thanks for sharing! You’ve reminded me how painful a limerent episode is, especially when you’re still in the thick of one. Are you doing okay? Please talk to a counsellor if you’re having suicidal thoughts, or at least surround yourself with loving friends if at all possible. Limerence can take us to some dark places and we need to stay connected with loved ones.
You’ve really suffered as a result of your LE and you have my complete sympathy. I know this is probably not what you want to hear right now, but no man (or woman) on earth is worth that amount of anguish, logically speaking. I.e. even if he committed to you tomorrow, how could he compensate you for all the misery? The answer is he couldn’t – not even if he were a millionaire, because peace of mind is worth more than money. If you were open about your feelings with him, it was wrong of him to keep you hanging on. He should have ended things cleanly.
Limerence is triggered in vulnerable people by a potential romantic partner giving mixed signals. We think about this person all the time. At first, the fantasies are pleasurable and feel voluntary. We think we’re in control of the situation. We feel an other-worldly connection to LO. We believe (assume?) LO must feel the same way about us and is giving us little clues to prove it. And then obsession strikes.
We can’t stop thinking about LO even when we want to focus on other things. The mind has been metaphorically captured by alien forces. Daily life becomes an almost unbearable struggle. We wonder if we will ever feel “normal” again. The only thing that seems to give life meaning is LO (or another chance of contact with LO) and everything we do and see reminds us of him/her.
Glad you found this site. Keep reading the articles. Hopefully, as you go along, you’ll gain more insight into what’s going on inside your head.
One thing, by the way, that really helped me get rid of the emotion (after NC) was writing poetry. I wrote masses and masses of really bad poetry inspired by LO and then destroyed said poetry. My reason for destroying the poetry (apart from its poor quality) was to burn symbolically “the psychic bridge” that existed between me and LO. I know it sounds silly, but it made me feel a lot better at the time.
Please take care of yourself. You are not a bad person because this has happened to you. It sounds like you are someone who has tried hard to do the right thing. I ended up in hospital because of my own awful experience with limerence. I always considered myself a good person and had no idea how to cope when limerence struck.
Hey Sammy. (I’m Uh, I just registered since then with this nick.) Thanks for your answer and your sympathy very much. I do have a therapist, and my family is OK now, though I had problems with them initially. But when I “came out” about how I’m suicidal, that helped them understand that I really was in a bad place. (I had a stronger than ever suicidal impulse probably as a medication side effect but at the time it was scary as hell so I decided the responsible thing to do was tell them about it. And it was…)
And yeah, my logical brain knows that no one is worth that amount of anguish. This is why the intense stuff feels so irrational and out of control lol. My rational mind is completely opposed to it until it gets too strong and then my head is gone for a while (not too long at a time but it’s longer than it should be). So yeah. The rational control that suppressed it for 3 years just burned out so it can’t be suppressed anymore is how it feels. Maybe I overdid that control because I should have faced and processed the emotions first… to put them in the right place in my mind.
What you describe about how limerence is triggered makes complete sense adjusted to my situation and to my brain:). What I mean is, yeah, potential partner, for sure, and the delusion I had about how I can implement us getting together, it did feel OK enough. I mean I made plans based on it about how to talk to him so I definitely felt in control back then, yes. The guy in my case did talk about very significant feelings originally so I was not really guessing at small cues.
I’m now thinking, maybe this whole thing about there being obstacles to love making the emotions intensify probably has some evolutionary purpose. When there are actual obstacles that can be overcome then this gives you the motivation… But in this case, there was no real obstacle to overcome, just lies on his side.
So yes… first it was enjoyable like you say and I did feel in control of the situation. Until it all got messed up ….. when I tried to take action after my emotions got even more intense and more significant-seeming. That was yes, when I tried to talk to him. You are right, if he had ended things cleanly, it would have been a lot easier for me afterwards. But no, he had to abuse me a bit more. Anyway that’s not about just the limerence emotions anymore, so I’m not getting into that part.
And then yes now it’s like the alien forces you speak of, lol. The obsession never went away except after his bad reaction, it turned into obsession on the negative aspects. And now it’s again about the intense good emotions. But this time, I’m set on sorting them out for good. And this site is great for that too.
Poetry, ha, lol, I don’t think I can do that. The psychic bridge thing makes sense. Me deleting their facebook was like that.
Can I ask what made you end up in hospital? Anxiety, suicide attempt? I hope you are doing good and OK by now.
@Kata. Yes, I ended up in hospital following a suicide attempt and I believe this suicide attempt can be attributed to the “mental chaos” I experienced as a direct result of limerence. I had a nervous breakdown, although my shrink told me I was “too young” to have a nervous breakdown! Happily, this suicide attempt was a long time ago (about fifteen years ago) and I’m pleased to say I’m doing so much better now. My mental health has been fairly good for the last five years.
Nonetheless, I have always been haunted by the troubling experience (limerence) I went through in my late teens/early twenties. I’m someone who likes to put everything into boxes, tie up all loose ends, and this site has helped me make sense of an otherwise bewildering chapter in my life. I became limerent for a close friend who gave me signals that blurred the line between friendship and romance.
The “relationship” we had was very confusing. I can see in hindsight it was addiction on my part, and not love. (I just craved this girl’s attention and/or her physical presence). I was very offended one year because she left a Christmas present for me at my house, and didn’t bother to ring the doorbell. I didn’t want a fancy present – I just wanted to see HER in the flesh one more time! Haha.
Of course, that’s before she mysteriously ditched me and refused to take my calls.
(I think maybe her boyfriend had a hand in that – not that I blame him at all. Seems like he was the only person acting sensibly in the situation. I actually respect LO’s boyfriend way more now than I respect LO). But yes, back to my point, the pain took a long, long time to disappear completely. Years even. It’s like climbing a spiral staircase – just when you think you’ve finished climbing, another flight of stairs appears above you. (The road to recovery is LONG).
So glad I don’t dream about LO anymore. It sucks to be so dependent on another person emotionally, and for that person to be so artless, unhelpful and oblivious. I feel really embarrassed about this particular limerent episode now.
Ah I see. I actually quit the dangerous manipulation from the “LO” (I’m sorry I don’t even see him as qualifying as an actual LO, I still reject my emotional experience for the most part), when I saw it was going to be a nervous breakdown otherwise. I saw the downhill so I was not going to go down it.
BTW I can understand that you say you respect the LO’s bf more than the LO themselves, lol.
Your staircase analogy was just a tiny little bit scary tbh. : p …. I feel so burned out after these 3 years of the bad emotions, bad aftereffects, fighting to stay on the surface, repressing the “positive emotions”, if I have to climb just that many more stairs I don’t know what I’ll do. Fuck that. Sorry but yeah.
Actually your last lines were interesting too. What would you say comprised the emotional dependence? I quit basically (besides that gut feeling of impending nervous breakdown – I did avoid the nervous breakdown itself) also because I didn’t want to become emotionally dependent. They wanted me to be, I think …
Oh also. You say. “I became limerent for a close friend who gave me signals that blurred the line between friendship and romance.”
He tried to be – or pretended to try to be – a close friend of mine. Maybe he did feel like he wanted to be a close friend, sure, but it was ridiculous. And yes, of course tried to blur the line. FWB in my interpretation simply means being buddies and sex buddies, but not close friends, no way. The love bombing I read about on this site also fits actually. Many good articles 🙂
Of course, when I asked to stop the explicitly err, emotional love bombing, it still continued in a more subtle way… That didn’t help that this went on for many years with me ignoring it (but subconsciously it got to me eventually).
And they saw nothing wrong with blurring that line. Even when I wanted them to be accountable eventually. Not good.
I have an SO and my LO doesn’t. It has been bugging me and I am clear in developing and furthering my relationship with SO. Is it wise to disclose to LO that I developed limerence for her that is why I would need to create distance between us. She is with me at work and we got close and am also helping her with some of her masteral work (MA).
MAPT. Purely my opinion but… I would not disclose to her if she’s a colleague/you mentor her. Just consistently keep very clear boundaries, keep ALL the emotion out of all your behaviours and talk. You don’t need to declare you are creating distance. If she asks, you can just say you realised it’s not appropriate behaviour as you are married. Don’t need to disclose your feelings for that.
There are posters here that are SMEs on this topic.
“Is it wise to disclose to LO that I developed limerence for her that is why I would need to create distance between us.”
No. That is a huge mistake and can lead to very bad things happening to you.
Instead try this, “I need to devote more time and effort in other areas but of course you can email me if you have specific questions regarding your work.”
I wouldn’t even bring up inappropriate behavior because why pull the pin on that hand grenade?
Oh one last thing. Maybe you have experience with this since your LO was pretty messy with boundaries too? They were really so bad at blurring EVERYTHING. One day they’d say they’d like to learn to not string anyone along even accidentally, another day they’d throw a manipulative sob story at me. It was definitely quite the mind fuck. Just a lot of random drama really. Who knows anymore what was real and what was not. I know when I tried to call it polyamory and martyrdom, he did get offended/upset like I never saw him get offended/upset before. 🙂 Thanks if you got any input on this. 🙂 But essentially I’d just like to put it away as “oh fuck this deeply manipulative personality”.
Thanks! They weren’t “officially” into polyamory, just their lax boundaries felt that way to me. They were fine with being *close* friends and have sex, and yet not want to be together in an exclusive way because he’d have another “close friend” (the wife, apparently, which I didn’t know about for a long time either, i.e. that they were on such truly good terms). That is what felt like polyamory to me. He also apparently pulled off the close friend thing+sex with someone else before me. (Still had the wife then too yeah except supposedly the sex was already becoming bad between them.) And I did learn that he left her when she became “too emotionally dependent” on him. He spoke of that in a distasteful way, like pretty much devaluing her just because she had more feelings than he did. I wasn’t going to get into that with him myself.
And this is part of why these emotions that eventually came out for me have felt so irrational. I remember how it started, when I suddenly started having strong emotions for him, I could see him as a really good person forgetting about his bad side. Yeah, so irrational. I kept rationality as far as… I did want to talk to him about the bad things to see if there was an explanation for them. So, 75% irrational, 25% rational. The crash happened when it became 100% irrational Iguess.
I’m currently pretty rational and realised the above and so I can’t even understand what all this emotionality was. I know, falling in love is supposed to be a very irrational state …… I just never experienced it like that before, is all. Never in the truly irrational way. That must be why it shook my world like that.
Thanks again so much for this site and letting me talk about all this on here. I really never have been able to TALK (well, write) about all this out loud.
… Oh of course the emotions are not gone. I again can’t understand them. Lol. But they are toned down in intensity for now. I will try to keep stress low so they do not get too intense hopefully and try to keep processing the emotions. Also if I try to keep processing them regularly enough then they can’t get too intense from repression. Maybe…
Keep peeling those layers off the onion.
Thanks 🙂 Right now I most feel the need to build up some sensible narrative…find the most fitting meaning for the emotions, Iguess. We’ll see.
Do the work and not only will you understand how you got to where you are, looking back, you could have almost predicted it.
Scharnhorst, yeah, it’s been interesting. And intense ….. intense work on intense emotions. They are morphing to new emotions unexpectedly. I have never imagined this before. I could totally see myself coming out of this being able to do a lot more than before… I read about that in the articles here. Though, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like that I could’ve almost predicted it lol, that’d be nice. A nice bonus.
All in all I really don’t believe just trying to exercise discipline/self-control on this is enough, since for 3 years I did that and it wasn’t enough. But then I was overdoing that discipline maybe anyway, because I never indulged before in the emotions (3 years ago) and I do allow that now until I realise there is some new message offered by them that’s ready to be processed.
Maybe just general emotion management/emotional processing approaches are recommended for this? … (I am in therapy so I learned a lot on that already.) I mean… Instead of either fantasising about the LO or just exercising emotional control to kill the emotions/feelings, directly face and focus on them and on what message and insight they offer. Or is this part of the process and I just missed it in the articles so far? I still got a lot to read.
“Maybe just general emotion management/emotional processing approaches are recommended for this? … (I am in therapy so I learned a lot on that already.) I mean… Instead of either fantasising about the LO or just exercising emotional control to kill the emotions/feelings, directly face and focus on them and on what message and insight they offer.”
Dr. Marion Solomon contends that when many people enter therapy they’re not seeking real change. They want to become comfortable in their pathology. A lot of therapists are much better at the latter, if for no other reason than it’s easier.
Have you read the blogs about “glimmer?” I think “glimmer” is the starting point for figuring things out. Once you know what attracts you to them, you can work on why that attraction exists. That’s where things get really interesting because that can take you places you had no idea you’d be going.
Take a look at https://sharischreiber.com/do-you-love-to-be-needed/. It may or may not apply to you. If it does, it can be a good place to start.
Thanks, I don’t think I can figure out anything yet about this glimmer thing. I think he just… had the skill to make me more emotionally receptive than my usual (online first), and then when I first met him IRL I was easily impressed by him on first sight….some mood I can’t really name. And then I don’t know, I was just more emotional about him than what’s usual for me. And then he wouldn’t leave me alone, would chase me for a long time. If only he had left me alone back then. I so hate that he didn’t. Don’t ask what his skill was to make me more emotionally receptive, all I remember is I felt he was fun, entertaining and attentive as hell. I remember telling everyone (friends) after meeting him for the first/second time, oh how attentive he is. I will have to work a LOT more on all this to know what this was.
I don’t really know what to comment on the idea/issue about therapy.
Thanks for the link. I’m not a caregiver type, that was more the guy than me. I’ll quote from the link, he was doing this to me, “tenacious (and vaguely familiar) pursuit to seduce the object of desire into returning his attention and ardor”. And in general he was a very helpful caregiving type. Or put that mask on pretty well, at least.
I’ll quote more,
“The person you choose to love and partner with, mirrors your own level of emotional development. If you are truly seeking an authentic and intimate relationship, you won’t attach to or remain with someone who’s not, because he/she isn’t a ‘match’ for your fundamental needs and desires.”
— I wholeheartedly agree. Part of why I dumped this guy.
“This same “friend” would only return my calls, when she could discern I was struggling–but I’d have to wait a week or two to hear back from her, if I just wanted a few minutes of simple, friendly phone interchange. She would offer to take me to non-emergent medical appointments which felt infantilizing to me, but we’d often have to plan weeks in advance, for a social get-together. Does this make sense to you? It didn’t for me, either.”
— This hits me hard, as I left such a friend. It wasn’t friendship enough for me.
“The cost of not resolving core wounds is reflected in every decision and life choice we make professionally and personally, and it crucially impacts romantic endeavors. A caring, mutually nurturing and enhancing relational experience is completely foreign to most Caregivers. They’ve seldom (if ever) received affection, support and positive mirroring from a non-abandoning source, nor have they experienced loving, that’s unaccompanied by pain.”
— This makes sense, because I did experience neglect and (temporary but repeated) abandonment as a kid, I just did not feel emotionally about it. I am starting to tune into how it feels when the err, relational experience is actually good. I am working on it, increasing my receptivity to that.
Hey Scharnhorst. Gonna respond to your comment now on therapy as I didn’t know what to say to that before. Apparently I was right and I needed exactly just that, emotional processing. That was the missing piece to getting over the “LE” stuff. Thanks again for all your previous input!!
What are LO, SO, etc.?
Could you please spell out your acronyms at the start?
Scroll to the top, then slowly scroll down and look to the right hand side of the page. There is a box containing a glossary of terms.
LO = Limerent Object
SO = Significant Other
I’d like some advice please: I am right into a phase of limerence ( I have been through that state of mind soo many times when I was younger that I know the signs). I am married with two small children, (4yo and 8mo), but, for about one month and a half, I have been attracted by a cashier at the store where I go. I felt that something nice happened the very first time I met this girl, something special, but back then, I thought “wow, that’s cool to meet such a nice person, smart, funny, etc…” but I thought it was just happy to have a nice contact with somebody ,due to the current pressure (lockdown, covid, etc). So, from that point on, every time I went to the store (once a week) I made sure to go to that person to pay my items, and every time there was a bit more chat. Beside that, everything was ok at home with my partner and my children so I didn’t get warned and thought that was just a nice weekly 3 minutes social time. Until last week, when I started thinking more and more about that girl, nearly permanently, affecting my ability to focus on my husband/father duties, as well as my job. It was about manageable though (like for example I was easily able to refrain myself to go to the supermarket to see her), and I was aware that it was limerence, therefore, a toxic thing, given my father/husband situation. But this week, I can’t behave myself, I constantly want to see that girl, I am torn between my willing to try to go further (I don’t know much about her, even not the surname) and my super high level of guilty to my family, who seem to start being a bit affected by my behavior changes (I am struggling a lot to remain commited in the everyday family life), which increases a lot my level of depression.
I am planning to ask the store girl her social media details (or to give mines ), so to have a connection with her ( deep down, I am expecting even more a proper rejection, which would allow me to move on, rather than a possibility to go further, which would bring such a mess into my life). Do you think this is a good idea? I have tried the things listed above, but I can’t move on, I always end up going back to the store to see her. Like I said, I’ve been through Limerence many many times when I was younger, and every time, the thing that saved me was a clear rejection. This said, when my level of depression is at its peak, I am fantazing on being with her, even though I know that’s crazy. What would you do? Do you think it’s a good idea to try to get a personal contact with that person? I know that sounds crazy, but form my perspective, the best way to move on is to go even further on the bad path.
No, no and nooooooooooo!
I am single and my last LO was single, but after a period of very, very close “friendship” I revealed my feelings, thinking that I would get a clear rejection or reassurance that the feelings were mutual. I got a very ambiguous rejection becaue he “needed to work things out in his head” and then he accelerated his pursuit of our “friendship” and bought me chocolates and insisted on spending lots of time with me.
The relationship never became more than friendship (to him) and derailed my life in many ways for the next few years until he married. I am still recovering from the experience 2 years later, with no contact for almost that long.
So my advice is -it’s too risky to hope for rejection so you can move on. What if she leads you on? You will be in even worse of a situation. And what about loyalty to your spouse? If your wife felt the way you do about a fellow, would you want her to ask him for his social media contact? Of course not!
I suggest you take Dr. L’s amazing deprogramming course. I am in the middle of it and realize I should have taken it years ago. I am a serial limerent like you and I now think there is hope for avoiding limerence for the rest of my life.
I wish you the best, and I know all of us do!
Act fast and act decisively! Shop somewhere else! Deprogram yourself….or suffer the toxic consequences to you and your family!
Thanks for you insight. I think we agree on the importance of not getting further, but like you say : act fast, and to me acting fast would be to precipitate things (I am pretty sure to get a rejection, I think I have started being identified as a stalker, but as usual with limerence: uncertainty rules) . But you’re right, I am gonna try avoidance.
Hi Johnny, welcome to LwL!
My simple answer to your question is no, do not do it. Think of your limerence as a drug addiction, where your drug is ruminating about, or contact with, your LO. Increasing your personal contact with her is just upping your dose of drug and making you more addicted, not less. Ask yourself – if you could wave a magic wand and remove this craving such that it had never existed, would you? I think most happily married limerent’s with families would choose this, despite the narcotic buzz their LE gives them. Your LE is relatively new so it will be easier and faster to re-programme your mind now rather than later. Immerse yourself in the fantastic resources on this site and work out what you need to add to your life to remove your need for an LE/LO.
Wishing you well.
Thanks for your advice.
To be honest, I have experienced in the past some cases as such as being very obsessed on some person because of the unaccessibility, (In my present case with the girl from the store, that’s very much what is it about), and once I had access to more chat and more information, pictures, etc, via FB, or so, I noticed a loss of interest because the person was somehow “demystified” and I could realize how much we hadn’t a lot in common. That’s it. But you’re right, the opposite could happen, who knows, which would be unconvenient. but to be honest, I am not even expecting this person to accept to share her social media contacts, which would be close enough to a rejection to me 🙂
Thanks again for your help,
Article of the Day: https://sharischreiber.com/must-you-hate-someone-to-end-a-relationship/
A short article by Shari Schreiber. Unfortunately, she tightened up her site and you have to pay $10 to access a lot of her best work.
I need some guidance, I really thought I had far more self control, but here, I am. Not exactly sure how I got into this position but now. My LO, is a coworker reporting to me. I suspected all this started with some social events outside of work and spending time together, which then resulted in the coworker sending me daily instant messages, some work related, some not, some topics crossed the sexual nature and she has opened up so much about her private life. To such an extend that, I started to like the amount of messages and actually get excited when there is a message. There is a pattern, huge volume of messages, then a quite week or two, then it all starts again. Now, she has pulled away and I’m at a loss, the professional part of the relationship is still there and we continue to be professional. Both of us are married and we have not done anything yet, other then the chatting. I know this is wrong on every level but my head is spinning and I can only think of her to such an extent that I have disconnected from my wife and I even think there might have been some productivity impact. I’m not sure what to do. I do know, I need to stop this and ensure that it does not escalate, also, I’m not really sure how she feels, so, I might be making all this up in my head. Help pls!!!
The first thing is to get a grip on yourself so you don’t do something you’ll really regret, personally or professionally. Limerence at work is a recurrent theme on LwL and there are some really interesting posts scattered around. They range from giving the LO an equity position in the company to a claimed disbarment. Unfortunately, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” doesn’t trip in the Search bar.
Start here: https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-for-a-co-worker/
The only way to access the earliest blogs is to go to the Blog page and start working your way forward. There’s a lot of good stuff in the early blogs.
Mariana Pereira says
Hey! Finally found the word today for what I have experienced for years in the ‘love’ department. Funny enough I have figured out these techniques on my own in the last few years to help me cope with limerence. Shame is a really big one. But it usually comes after disclosing, I make such a fool of myself that I can’t face the LO anymore. I figured the more ‘out there’ I went and procclaimed my love, the bigger the rejection and humilliation, and luckily there is a limit to as far as I go. I will just retreat after and all my thoughts about the LO are tainted with shame. I guess I still maintain some dignity ahaah even if a fleeting one. Also I noticed I am getting better at recognising when I have a LE and can shut it down quicker before it becomes a full on thing. Hope it means I am growing out of this habit but I fear I will always experience limerance and that will always complicate my relationships with others.
Admitting to myself an LO really isn’t all that interested in me helps to pour cold water on the whole fantasy. But that wouldn’t work in cases of mutual limerence.
I happened to come across this site by chance and began reading about limerence. The more I read, the more I realized just what it was I’ve felt for so long and it suddenly makes sense. I realize now that I suffer from this and have let it simmer for a long time… Now I’m unsure of how I proceed from this point, I understand what the most rational idea is, but that lingering hope keeps me from making a determined decision. I’ll go a bit more into detail here and try to format it so its not a horrible mess haha.
I’ve identified that my LO stems from what I thought was a crush back in early high school ( I guess it was at the time but it progressed into this awful monster), she was someone I fancied; she was pretty/cute (is that creepy?), similar interests and was just smitten with her. Eventually I did ask her out that year, but not before I had embarrassed myself and ruined any hopes of anything meaningful. She rejected me of course, I had creeped her out because of my awkwardness and poor expression of my interest (really embarrassing to talk about) but instead of moving on the feelings lingered… And they continued to linger throughout high school. She’d pass by in the hall and would avoid eye contact or anything, I’d do the same and look away, embarrassed about myself.
Now, I did have other interests throughout this time, those obviously not going anywhere of course. But those feelings for her were still there… at some point I tried to shift my interest to someone else, and it worked for a while, tried asking her out but never gave a proper response which I realize now was probably a good thing nothing ever came of that. Even as graduation approached, I still wanted that interaction with her, ANY interaction, not that I had the courage (or stupidity?) to act on that and try to interact. So, nothing came about and we went our own ways after that. Things were good for a while, until I started to learn more about the real world as a very young adult, went through different universities and the such. Eventually I did get into a relationship with someone and it was great! At least at the start, we were quick to reciprocate each other’s feelings and it progressed quickly. This only lasted for about 2 years, she realized that her dreams were different from mine and wanted something else. That’s fair, things didn’t work out, but that was also my first real relationship, and it still affects me in a way. As I look back at it I see some things that were probably red flags and such, and all I can say about that is I’m glad that’s over whew.
I’ll get back on track here (I swear!). That was a year or two ago, I’ve felt a lot better about myself and things are looking up, but I still find I crave that intimacy and interaction with someone. The companionship and affection from such interactions. I still think about that girl from high school, even found her social media and such (this is where I feel incredibly embarrassed and ashamed) and I will admit I’ve watched those spaces for a while (even during that past relationship, mind these were accounts for art and such but even so, it’s creepy, really creepy). I’ve even interacted with her a few times (unsure if she knows who I am but that’s besides the point), even hoping she’d link her Discord channel on her posts (she’s done this before so i had reason to believe she’d do it again) and maybe through that I could interact with her. My main reason was to try and apologize for how I was in high school, I made her uncomfortable to be around me and to see how someone I liked felt that way.. it hurt in a way and I felt ashamed, I wanted to make up for it. All of these interactions and thoughts and everything… I realize now just how far I’ve fallen into this hole. Now, I know what it is I need to do, but deep down I still crave that interaction, I want to talk to her and see who she is, is she someone I can be friends with? Can I even be friends with someone with these feelings? I want more than that, but I want to do things properly, thinking out scenarios in my head and such.
This is scary to me, realizing what these feelings are, and I feel that this is my wall, something I need to overcome to improve myself. To feel better about myself and gain the confidence in myself to be able to strike out in the world. That was.. a bit but it certainly helped to write out, whether I end up posting this though is uh, I’m not sure. I hope this wasn’t too crass or anything, I wanted to try and share my experience and seek some kind of guidance. I don’t mean to use anyone as therapists of course, but I’m also too embarrassed to seek a therapist right now what with the pandemic and I still live with my parents so this is a bit too personal (but I seem to be okay with discussing it with random people on the internet for some reason…)
“My main reason was to try and apologize for how I was in high school, I made her uncomfortable to be around me and to see how someone I liked felt that way.. it hurt in a way and I felt ashamed, I wanted to make up for it. All of these interactions and thoughts and everything… I realize now just how far I’ve fallen into this hole. Now, I know what it is I need to do, but deep down I still crave that interaction.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us. That was very brave of you. It’s great you know about limerence.
It sounds like you have indeed, as you say, “fallen into the hole” of limerence for this girl. That can’t be a fun place to be. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain.
I think the general consensus here at LwL is we can’t be friends with our LOs – not while we still have these feelings for them, not while we still want more. It’s a conflict of interests. Recovery from obsession/addiction is very unlikely if we keep hanging around the very source of our drug-like high.
Can you be true friends to this young woman if you’re “craving” that interaction with her at the same time? I think not. The situation has definitely moved into romantic territory. Logically speaking, things can only progress in a satisfactory way (to your limerent brain) if she desires a passionate bond with you too, and she’s already knocked you back once. The odds don’t look so good, my friend.
It’s sweet you had a crush on this girl, but here’s a thought. Maybe you don’t owe her an apology? Hey, high school is tough. Literally everybody during those years acts weird and awkward, especially around attractive members of the opposite/preferred sex. It’s not a crime to fancy someone who doesn’t fancy you back. Happens all the time – human nature. However, you don’t really want to bother someone who’s maybe “moved on” from their high school years either.
Thank you again for sharing. Hope I didn’t sound too harsh. Is there some emotional void in your life that fantasies of this girl seem to be filling?
I appreciate the response, I don’t think it sounded harsh at all. I think your reasoning is very sound. Looking back at it now, it’s quite embarrassing and silly to think about.
“Is there some emotional void in your life that fantasies of this girl seem to be filling?”
That’s a definite possibility, I feel like the pressure of finding someone makes my mind run wild. I envy the kind of things couples do together and share.
I hope that in time I can move on in a healthy way, it feels like I go through episodes of these emotions that bring my thoughts back to this. I don’t believe it’ll be easy, but I also want to move pass this and live for myself.
@Sunday. Shortly after my LO ghosted me, I went to a fair with my sister, who had just gotten together with her boyfriend/now-partner. Sister & boyfriend were very happy & affectionate that day and while I was happy for my sister, I felt sad also I had no one to share such romantic moments with. Seeing the happiness of other couples in love can certainly deepen our feelings of loneliness.
I’m 6 days into NC. Prior to that I had gone 15 days but then had a brief text conversation because my LO is going to be in town. Tomorrow. Fuck. We have had an intense LE together, fully reciprocal, at least in words, for just over a year.
I’m trying to get over this thing and just get back to my life. I couldn’t have imagined it would be this fucking hard. My SO and I have had a good life, and were happy with each other for decades until my LE began just over a year ago. My SO didn’t deserve any of this.
Come to find out, my LO recently moved on to a new LO of her own. I am so blown away that I was on the verge of completely blowing up my life to be with this person. I’m feeling like such a fucking idiot, but at the same time missing my LO.
I’m just hoping this fog lifts soon. To see others on here still struggling after months of NC is discouraging to be honest. At least my LO lives in a different state and we rarely saw each other physically, even though we were in daily contact, sometimes for hours by text.
I actually was in a relationship with my LO of 3 years, It ended for multiple reasons.
– scary mental disorder that his mother wouldn’t disclose even to My parens, It included Anger issues
– toxicity and victimism
-my mother not approving of the relationship for reason (1).
I rebounded in a kind of limerence a few months After breaking up, having broken up with another guy, and i Just now start to get slowly Better After seeing interest from him vanish pretty much completely.
That sort of limerence, that didn’t include a desire to get back together but Just lingering thoughts of his face, lasted this long due to his mixed responses to my disclosures, like “i don’t love you anymore, sure i wished to have a family with you but it’s ok, old story” giving me a sense of “Oh God It Will never end”
He now stopped responding to My peeps altogether.
My feelings transformed in some kind of nostalgic affection After the last chat with him, in which he did still want to make me smile talking about our common interests, but stopped “chasing” me obsessively even After DAYS of an interrupted chat, that pretty much made me realize that he truly isn’t in love anymore.
Due to his personality i have an innate refusal to rekindle the relationship, but i still dread separating from the mere thought of him, he defined My Life for pretty much 6 years and It Is pretty much inconcievable for My brain to have a Life without him, i Say My brain because i as in myself Is more than capable of, expecially in recent times.
I Also fear of not ever falling in love with someone else, that no One Will be enough.
I can easily stop the stream of thoughts but i then feel like a part of me got ripped out and i get back there to not suffer.
I desire to move on from him and live a good Life like i did before i Met that person.
What’s your advice for My situation?
I’m really struggling at the minute, limerence has become a long term debilitating issue in my life over the last 10 years.
I’m happily married to my partner of 16 years, we have two children and have a really happy family life that we’ve built together. I love my spouse and we do have a brilliant marriage. Very supportive, loving and fun. Yet even though I’m filled with gratitude for the life I have and how lucky I am to have my family, this deep sinking feeling is never too far away. For the last 10 years I have been plagued with intrusive thoughts about my LO. We met each other on a night with my work friends and instantly had this deep connection and attraction to each other, at the time my partner and I had decided to take a break as we were both still so young. This new friendship quickly snow balled into something a lot deeper and we connected in so many different ways that I had never experienced before. We had this intense passion towards each other and every time we saw each other it was a level of happiness, excitement and attraction I’d never felt before or since. Life got in the way and our relationship had to come to an abrupt end although I feel that if circumstances had been different that we would have progressed into a relationship together. I have done everything I can think of to switch off the limerent part of my brain, I no longer have any form of communication or interaction with my LO for the last 10 years, no social media, nothing at all. And yet the memories and feelings that take up so much space in my mind are still causing me emotional turmoil. I cannot stand myself. I feel ashamed and sickened by myself for still feeling this way. Even though I have such a loving spouse who I love and adore, its still not enough to eliminate these feelings for my LO and that causes me to feel so much guilt and self hate. I would never betray my spouse or my children by having an affair and I would never contact my LO because I know that once contact was established it would be a slippery slope.
I’m really at a loss. Am I destined to feel this way forever? This time 10 years ago I felt utterly heart broken and I thought that this would subside with time but it hasn’t, it really really hasn’t. When I have a particularly bad day it drags my mood down completely into something similar that I would have experienced when suffering with depression in the past. On my bad days I cannot control the constant thoughts about my LO and fantasising about what could have been and if I were to see them right there and then I don’t think I could control myself. I think of hypothetical ways that we could possibly meet again someday and how that would feel. I also think what if we were meant to be or what if we’re meant to meet again? And then the guilt and the shame comes flooding back.
I have no right to be unhappy and feel forlorn, and yet I do.
Where do I go next?
Your situation breaks my heart. I think if I were you I would read all I can on this site and then do the de-programming course offered here. It helped me a lot. I think that you are feeding the addiction, keeping fuel on the everlasting fire so it won’t die down, but you really can break the cycle and start to heal. Sounds like your life is one that you really want to fully enjoy and this is what I hope for you! Don’t despair…there really is a way to break free from this mental prison of torture.
Almost like 5 years ago I fell in love with my best friend’s younger sister. Tbh, I never had a gf and she started getting closer to me, like touching me a lot, caressing my hair and hugging me. I was really confused due to my inexperience.
Everything back then was a recipe for disaster: she’s 8 years younger than me, she was a minor back then, at that time I was really depressed with low self esteem and insecure. I was really confused about my feelings (haven’t fallen in love before that, even though I was 24). I started putting some distance between us and eventually she got the message (kinda wished I would’ve handled the situation better, though).
She moved on and started dating another man. The problem is, I didn’t move on. I thought that eventually my feelings for her will dissapear and everything would be like before, WRONG.
Since then I’ve improved a lot in many ways: I’m not depressed, I’m more confident, I’m more friendly and talkative with others, I treat myself good and I try to love myself everyday.
But I cannot stop thinking about her, and this is making me feel miserable. We still talk, we have a good relationship (we have even shared personal problems). I wish I could just dissapear my attraction for her and keep being good friends.
How in the world am I gonna say to my best friend’s sister, to a person I’ve known for like 15 years now, that I don’t want to see her again in my life because I have an unhealthy obsession with her? That’s just too painful and sad, even the thought of doing that makes me sad as hell (sorry, I’ve always been a sensitive man).
But I know I need help, because this is just too painful and I’ve been dealing with this pain everyday for 5 years now.
I met my latest LO just 3 times. Have been no contact for 3 months and the feelings are just as strong. Doesnt help that I’ve got other anxieties going on at the moment too. Anyway, Headspace mindfulness meditations are quite good for it. Just letting the limerent thoughts pass without getting involved in them. Not always easy to do, but helps sometimes. There are probably free ones on YouTube.
Baisil Sunny says
Hey….so I came about this new idea of limerence. There’s this girl I like in college. She’s my friend I guess or atleast she acts like it. But she likes this other guy and it drives me crazy. I’m obsessed with her, I can’t think of anything but her and it’s destroying my life. I am a medical student and so there’s so much to learn. I can’t study for my exams nor feel interested in any daily activities. I just want to sleep forever because the pain goes away. I’ve been really depressed and just want to die. I really like her and she knows about it. She knows I have a crush on her and we have talked about it.Do think this is limerence? If so how can I escape this. Everytime I think I want to let go of it and never speak to her again it Hurts me too much. I can’t even think of letting her go. I always want to be with her even if she ignores me and causes me anguish. All I think of is her 24/7.
I go for like a max of 3 days without talking to her and then it gets completely heavy and I feel my heart racing. I’m so depressed
And honestly I wish I could just pass away slowly. Like I would be so happy if someone just euthanized me . I’ve talked to 2 or 3 therapist online but all they’ve said are philosophical stuff about letting go and seeing her happy. Like stuff like that sounds nice to hear and I could say those things 10,000 times to myself but it doesn’t change how I feel in my Mind.. my mind is killing me and I dont know what to do.
The girl that I talked about actually got proposed by the senior. I’m so devastated. I feel so jealous everytime the thought of them 2 together comes in my head. Like seriously she has told him way more about herself than me. I’m so jealous almost like I want her for myself. I’ve heard that once the LO tells that she doesn’t have the same feelings for u, then the limerence dies off but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Do u have any tips to overcome this jealousy and stop thinking about them together especially considering me and the LO are gonna have to meet each other everyday whether we talk or not.
Update: The girl told me she isn’t comfortable talking to me anymore and that we should just stop talking. But how can we be friends one day and just stop all of a sudden. I feel so distraught. I dont know how I will survive the next few days or if feeling will ever go. I failed all 3 of my first year medical exams.
It certainly sounds like limerence, Baisil. In terms of what you can do, there is a lot on the site now that offers practical advice on how to reverse the mental training that leads to limerence.
Best place to start is the resources page. Good luck.
Hi. I am in a limerant relationship and it is a nightmare. It feels like a cancer i want to cut out of my body. i want to move to antarctica. i need this to stop. The LO is someone i am very close to and work with. We are both in long term relationships. He is extremely famous, I am a doctor. We are publicly associated with each other. You can imagine what a disaster this is. We met thanks to my profession several years ago and have gotten closer and closer over the years. About this time last year i realized that i was in love with him, or so i thought, now i think it is limerance. He is a very kind, good person. He is dependent on me for a number of things in his life. i have intentionally made myself not dependent on him for anything. I think all our friends think we are having an affair. We are not. Not a single inappropriate word or gesture has occurred between us. And i love this man so much it is killing me. I feel like there is a connection between us, he treats me differently from everyone else in his world, but i don’t think he is in love with me and it’s impossible for us to be in a relationship. But i can’t stay away from him and he can’t stay away from me. There is a mutual emotional dependence. we text constantly, minute we are up til all hours. we do really great work together, largely thanks to the gifts he has made to my hospital (because of me). he is wealthy and beloved and has brands all over the country that I cannot escape. A retail store he owns is a block from my home. He has told me he loves me, and i know he genuinely does, but i don’t think it is romantic and even if it were it will never happen. i love the work we do together and the thought of never seeing him again feels awful. but i can’t go on like this, it is getting worse. NC is just not going to work because i will see reminders of him everywhere. am i doomed?
My heart goes out to you! I wonder if you can gradually distance yourself, even if it affects your career, you have to save your sanity!
If he is not in love with you it’s not mutual limerence, which is good because you say you cannot ‘make it happen’ even if he felt the same.
I was in a LO that lasted several years, I know he loved me (he told me so!) but again it was platonic for him. He also was wealthy and generous and handsome and charming and called me daily and texted constantly and I thought we had a bond that was extraordinary. Many people thought we were dating, and he didn’t always correct them, and neither did I. I suppose it was to a degree extraordinary, but he only saw me as a friend. I look back and although I think it was irresponsible for him to give me so much attention, it was up to me to set boundaries. I was the one in love, (or limerence) I was the one whose life was being taken over by it. He had no such problem, I was just a companion of sorts while he simultaneously had many many other relationships (and eventually married) and many other professional projects. I was far less important to him than he was to me. It was an imbalance of power.
So I think you have to find the strength to reclaim your control. Be proud of the fact you have done nothing inappropriate, and face the fact that it’s not going to happen between you (a romantic relationship) and you are going to slowly step away. Start by not responding to texts after 6:00 pm, and train him to not be so dependent on you, wean him off of you. Set concrete goals of separation and meet them. You will win and one day it won’t matter that there are reminders everywhere, like the retail store. You will just acknowledge that yes, he owns the store but so what?
It’s taken me a long time to be free, but today I saw a picture of him and his wife recently on someones social media and they looked happy together and I actually felt really good about that and felt no longing or bitterness or heartbreak. I would not have dreamed this possible when in the midst of the LE. I am so pleased that I worked so hard to break free and have maintained my distance. It’s totally worth it to have my sanity back. Sure, I don’t have the incredible high of being with him, but I have my dignity and sanity. Most importantly, I don’t have the excruciating disappointment of unrequited love. You can do it! Wishing you the best…
paradox highway says
Ask him to date you. Old school dating. If he declines, you know there’s no future. And please, cut back on the texting. You’re ultimately just increasing your own pain.
“An inevitable aspect of limerence is some encounter with LO – perhaps where your flirting was a bit clumsy or LO was in a bad mood – when you were hoping for a bit of sparkle, but instead got the horrible stomach-lurching rejection (or at least, obvious failure to reciprocate). I’m good at shame. I do shame well. If you do too, use this as fuel. Next time you are chatting with LO, and feeling all happy and chilled, REMEMBER THE SHAME.”
I’m very susceptible to feelings to shame, too. That is to say, I’m easily shamed.
It really surprises me that anyone can stay in a limerent episode that long, given these shame-inducing moments of rejection or disinterest from LO are bound to crop up from time to time…
Either my LOs are masters of ambiguity (was that really a rebuff or am I just imagining things?) or I’m wearing rose-coloured glasses when around LOs.
A classic example of shame might be when an LO is far less interested in having a given conversation, say, than the limerent, and bows out of the exchange too soon. Yet, at other times, they act like they’re all ears. So confusing!!
Thank you for this, going through the comments, I think it’s great how we normalize it and address the problem and possible save relationships. I actually disclosed to my fiancé about someone I was with and taking a risk of losing my 3 year old the time, I was brave and as a Christian thought it was best to tell the truth. My fiancé ended up telling me about the few women he was with. We aren’t together. In my opinion, if we normalize our LE’s with our circle of friends or our SO, we can come up with a process to help navigate through the damn cock tail of emotions our lovely brains put us through lol; As well as teach our kids how to control the LE emotions! You have a bae and an LE, its GONNA happen 🙂 it’s how are you going to handle the situation 😉
The simple truth is no affection no connection but the lemerent (me) is for ever hopeful and believes she/he can market themselves beyond the L0, seeming apathy.
In doing this one adopts a multitude of tactics and if the L0 is a friendly person it just exaserpates the Lemerent to believe its journey is with hope…and so one day goes into another with glimmers and dimmers until one day.? Happy ending?… I wish!!
Hi, it seems I have a limerent relationship with my former English teacher. I’ve always been into older women. Thing is, I’m only a minor, and pursuing a romantic relationship with someone older than me could result in legal consequences.
I have trouble taking my mind off her. We share a lot in common. It feels like I can talk to her about anything. She makes me happy, ecstatically happy, but it breaks my heart that our relationship could not turn into something more. I actually met her in a remote learning modality and we got closer when she had to mentor me for an international competition. I no longer study in that school. Despite that, we still communicate with each other. I also sometimes call her up because I seriously enjoy talking to her.
I don’t want to completely cut ties with her since she’s an amazing person. I struggle with social anxiety disorder and she’s one of the few people that I feel comfortable talking to. Revealing my romantic feelings for her is definitely a bad idea since she has mentioned many times that teenage boys coming on to her makes her uncomfortable. I am a girl, and my gay radar tells me that she’s also into women. I asked her about this but she told me she probably ‘isn’t’ bisexual. Can someone help me out with this?
Limerent for a former English teacher? Oh dear. Oh dear. What is it about English teachers that makes them so darn attractive? Could it be their marvellous facility with words? 😜
I haven’t been in your precise situation, but I think it’s important to remember that when we’re in limerence, regardless of age, we see the world through a very misty, romantic, sentimental lens. Everything is sort of filtered through our own desires – specifically, our desire to pair-bond with a given individual. The problem is that most of the people in the world, including your LO most likely, are not necessarily seeing the world through the same misty, romantic, sentimental lens. That is to say, they’re “not in the same emotional movie” as you, the limerent, and not hearing the same music playing in the background.
Right now, you might think you’re in some exquisite film noir, and your LO is your dazzling co-star. It’s only a matter of time before the script brings you together!!
But what if she’s actually in a different movie, in her own movie, and this movie is a big-budget action flick, say, being shot on an entirely different sound stage and at a completely different studio? What is she isn’t your co-star at all? 😉
Just because we feel intensely about someone seemingly admirable doesn’t mean they feel intensely about us too, as beautiful as intense feelings are. The beautiful feelings you have are real, but they may not be requited. And as you already point out, your LO is not in a position to be in a relationship with you even if she did requite your feelings. Wishing you well, sweetie – your mind is literally in a lucid dream-state/extended trance right now… Know what I mean? 😛
What’s wrong with wonky teeth?! Find a flaw and fixate on it?! I couldn’t read past that bit. We live in a society that focuses on flaws be it wonky teeth etc. I myself have what you’d call wonky teeth. Aside from that and me taking it personally. Your actually promoting that people Diss each other as a way to heal from limerance! Noted you said it wasn’t the best strategy… certainly isn’t. Like that would put anyone of would it wonky teeth? Or at least you must be so narrow minded to think that flaws like that are unsightly. What narrow mind you have. Couldn’t be arsed to read the rest
Hey there, Faye…
How you doing, sweetheart? Judging from the sharpness of your tone, it doesn’t sound like you’re having the best day ever. What’s up? 😛
Honestly, between you and me and the kitchen sink, I wouldn’t read too much into the “wonky teeth” allusion. I don’t think DR.L meant anything by it. That’s just INFJ verbal zaniness/tongue-in-cheek humour for you. You’ll get used to it. Writers, huh? 😉
I do have reservations, though, about the effectiveness of devaluing a LO as a recovery strategy. I seem to remember Dorothy Tennov writing somewhere in her book that (according to her research subjects) “nothing is so much fun as taking LO down a peg or two”. So, I think devaluing one’s LO might be counterproductive because it gives limerents an excuse to focus on LO some more. Devaluation can simply become a sneaky way to feed the addiction.
I like Lucy’s advice over at Neurosparkle. She recommends that we see our LOs as problematic (in terms of behaviour) while not dwelling too much on their exact shortcomings. We have to move away from a victim mentality and remember LOs are just people. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we’ve accidentally handed them the power they have over us… 😉
Just found this site and the articles went straight to my heart. The comments too. Let me tell you a story of stupidity, insanity and probably all sorts of disorders that could fill up a medical journal. By comparison, you people will seem like the epitome of normalcy.
I’m 32 and I’ve been limerent half my life for a single person! Unbelievable? Keep reading. We met when we were 7. Really. Same class in school. We stayed in the same class for four years, when she moved to another. We barely spoke, we were children. Not much more to say here, just consider the age.
The trouble started when I met Olive again(let’s call her that) at 15, on an online chat. Those old DC hubs if you remember them. We hit it off, she was smart, funny and beautiful. We went to different high schools, but being a very small town we could easily meet, in fact we sometimes passed each other on our way to our schools.
I was an awkward teen, not that confident, somewhat antisocial(still am), shy cause I was very tall even at that age and you know how kids are. She was the opposite. And I was madly in love. When I saw her it was like she was a couple of milliseconds ahead or behind space-time, not a part of this world. A kind angel with the most beautiful smile.
I confessed my feelings about a year later. Even though I knew she couldn’t feel the same, I had to. It was killing me. Of course, she didn’t like me back like that. Now, there’s nothing strange until now. But normal people get over it. I just couldn’t let her go and I re-entered her life once every few years.
We met a couple of times in college. She knew how I felt, but I cared about her and every time I thought we could be friends. Never worked. I’d get physically ill with jealousy whenever she met someone new. Eventually I realized that’s no way to live, so I left. I met someone new, had a relationship but when we broke up I reverted to old habits.
I never stalked Olive, never made her uncomfortable, never bothered her. God forbid. Just the bad habit of re-entering her life “to be friends”. I care about her and want her to be happy and my life is a living hell without her. So when I’m weak I re-emerge. A few years back she had just got married. It lasted about two months. Don’t know the details.
I was devasted. Vowed to leave for good. A couple of months ago I relapsed. Again, thought we could be friends. She is in another relationship and something died in me once again. Do you wonder what does she have to say about all this? Nothing. Silence and a “stay or not stay, do as you wish” attitude. When I contacted her and said I missed her she told me we could met. We didn’t see each other in about six years. Then she just put it off months at a time.
So a few days ago I left her a message and left her life. Again. I miss her like hell, I’m still somewhat antisocial and I feel like I have a hole in my chest. Feelings of distress, the first evening I found out she was in a relationship I nearly had a panic attack. I think it’s also a form of ocd. Never saw a therapist. I should. I’m severely depressed and unhappy. I make good money, I have few, but good friends. Should be happier. But I’m dying inside when I think of her with another even though I’d like her to be happy, if that makes any sense. There, a very condensed version of my barrel of crazy. Sorry for my English. Not a native.
PS. The even sadder part is that she doesn’t give a damn about me. I’m not sure she ever did.
been there says
The best quality in a woman is that she reciprocates your feelings. If that’s not there, no matter what, you have to move on. I have to remind myself about this, at least once of month, for a woman I’ve loved since 1998. It does get better, I can promise you that.
Hello, do you have any advice for someone in high school with limerence?
I started to notice my limerence when I started in Middle School. It wasn’t very extreme but I was so obsessed about talking to them that I was actually emailing and texting them multiple times every single day. I also wanted to see them a lot and now that I’m realizing it I did really think they were perfect and too nice for their own good. I recently completely got of my limerence for him but I think it ended a little sooner then I thought as I noticed my feelings fading more significantly.
The reason I believe my obsession ended sooner than I thought was because I had two other limerences after meeting him. One of them I worked with and I have to admit I was seeking out someone to obsess on. This one was short lived and not as intense because I only seen him when I worked and I won’t see him again in a few months not to mention I only had to months to be infatuated with him.
But my 3rd and current limerence is taking over my life and I’ve started to notice these intense feelings and obsessions more and more. I first met him during my PE class I noticed he was a really quiet and shy new kid. I was intrigued by him at first by how shy he was and I thought he was pretty cute. Over time I didn’t admit I had a crush on him but I started to become infatuated with to a point where I always wanted to be near him or him just near me.
When I acknowledged I finally had a crush on him, I did something that made my limerence incredibly intense. I had my friend tell him I liked him to get his attention and see if he noticed me. He response was an “Okay” and a smirk. It made me so unsure and I became so obsessed about if he liked me or not. I would always watch him if he would show some sign, but he always gave me mixed feelings. I always had the same thoughts in my mind “I should invite him to join me and my friends” or “I should say something to him” but I usually never did because I’m a huge procrastinator.
When it came to the end of the semester and I knew we were going to switch classes and I wouldn’t be able to see him. I became more desperate and obsessed with him and thought I was doomed. My limerence could have possibly ended from our separation but then he asked my friend about me after a few months of my friend telling him I liked him and him not saying anything that entire time. He was curious about me liking him and then I thought I had a chance with him so my opportunity to get over him faded.
Now I’m no longer in any classes with him but my feelings are just as intense as they were before. Now I’m always trying to bump into him the hallways, I know all his classes, and I even tried to switch to one of his classes. It’s so crazy how obsessed I’ve become. My friends like to bring him up because they knew I had a crush on him and they make me wonder even more about possibilities that probably aren’t real. I want to tell them, but it’s so embarrassing to tell other high school kids that I have this weird problem where I’m obsessed about certain people.
Imagine what they would think. Would they assume I’m some kind of stalker? That I’m crazily obsessed with people and I could be obsessed with them too? What if they think I’m a freak? That I’m some crazy kid that you have to watch out for?
I struggle with limerence, and it has consumed my life through middle school and high school. I try to avoid my LO but I always have this urge to see him! I want to stop having these feelings but I can’t help the fact that he could like me or not! He makes me so confused. He’s really cute and I love his quiet but witty personality. I can’t stop when I need to. I don’t want to like him but I can help it! I’m afraid that other people will notice my obsession… Some have, and I try to make excuses.
I try to do these things, but I always have these thoughts in my mind that try to convince me he could like me, eventually. It’s like trying to fight my own thoughts or even myself.
Limerent Emeritus says
There’s a poster named Anonymous Limerent that’s 16 now, give or take. He was pretty active in the 2018-2019 time frame. He doesn’t post much now. I don’t know if he’s on the private forum. I think you’d relate to him.
If there’s not an active community there, you could start one. Teens don’t make up a large percentage of posters on LwL but there have been a few.
I don’t think there’s a direct way to search across the site for a particular poster.
Do you know which articles he posted on? I want to see if I can relate to other teenagers about limerence and their experiences.
Limerent Emeritus says
Here’s a few:
https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-loneliness-of-limerence/ – lots of posts here
https://livingwithlimerence.com/barriers-and-uncertainty/ – a lot here, too
If you want to hunt him down, you’ll have to go blog-to-blog, hit Ctrl-F and search for him.
Hopefully, there’s something in those you can use.
Wow! His comments really connect with me! I really hope to find more to understand how other teenagers are dealing with limerence. It’s hard to find people in person to relate with because they hide these problems for the same reason I do. It’s so hard to suffer in silence and it really makes you seem alone, like no one can understand your experience or pain. I wonder if certain age groups deal with limerence differently or even perceive it differently?
Limerent Emeritus says
“I wonder if certain age groups deal with limerence differently or even perceive it differently?”
My response is “yeah.” The older you get the more life experience you have, the more agency you have and the more responsibility you’ve taken on along the way. A lot of the things on my mind today I wouldn’t have considered in HS or college. As I got older, I became more tolerant of a lot of things and less tolerant of some others.
Limerence as a teen or young adult probably doesn’t carry the risks associated with limerence as an adult. Limerence in HS isn’t likely to get you fired or destroy your marriage. But, it can be every bit as bewildering and painful. And, it can follow you a long time.
Adolescence is hard enough without limerence making things harder. Limerence can foster a horrible sense of isolation. It’s bad enough for adults, it’s horrible for teens and young adults. Most teens are lucky to have anybody to help them navigate some of the most challenging years of their lives. Finding someone to walk you through limerence is even harder. Hopefully, you have a sympathetic support system around you that has your best interest at heart. They likely won’t understand what you’re going through but they’ll be there for you.
As DrL so eloquently put it, “Yeah, that’s the cocktail. It doesn’t help that we’re most of us fumbling our way into adult life during college/university and trying to pretend we’re totally cool about all this romance stuff. If ever there was a hotbed for uncertainty, it’s a group of emotionally unsophisticated horny young adults acting like they know what they’re doing, when they don’t.” -https://livingwithlimerence.com/my-story/#comment-1280
Limerents run the gamut. Some posters say they’ve been limerents from their mid-single digits. Some people say limerence hit them in midlife, or later, like a bolt from the blue. Some posters say they tend to roll from one LE to the next. Others have LEs years, or decades, apart. No one size fits all.
in https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-at-different-ages/, DrL discusses some of what you asked.
Can you grow out of limerence? Maybe, maybe not. If people do naturally grow out of limerence, you’re probably not going to find them here and if you do, they probably won’t be around long.
Check out https://livingwithlimerence.com/is-limerence-all-bad/ Read the last paragraph. Later, there are posts that explains how hard it is to make limerence work for you.
Did any of that help?
Limerent Emeritus says
A few more things.
People come and go on LwL for a lot of reasons. Ideally, it would be because they’ve found their answers and moved on. Some posters will say that but most don’t. They just quietly disappear.
I’d like to think the AL’s absence is a sign of progress. LwL doesn’t offer him anything anymore. As he got older, hopefully things got better for him.
My money’s on him. AL’s smart, he’s tough, and he’s resilient. He also doesn’t like things the way they are which can motivate change. All things you need to take on limerence.
You’re here asking questions. That implies you’re smart. It sounds like you have what it takes to get through this.
Allie 1 says
Hi Algo, and welcome to LwL. I am 50 yet relate to a lot of what you have written. Thus I think the experience of limerence cuts across all ages and demographics. Browse the site, you will find a plethora of useful and motivational advice that will help you break free of this awful mind state. It can be done as you will see from many commentators.
Wishing you well.
I loved a girl but she doesn’t like but I need her so what should I do
Aman Singh says
I found this post helpful. Thank you for writing it.
What is LO? I know people use abbreviations quite a lot these days, but they are lost on me. I do miss the days when people would just speak in full words and sentences.
LO means Limerent object. You can scroll down to the Glossary of terms.
Thank you for this article.
The main reason I keep resuming contact with LO is the conviction that he has feelings for me, too (we’re both single) and, one day, he’ll just decide to pursue me (he did for a while but it was a failure) and have a committed relationship with me.
There are many obstacles between us-languages (he’s from a different culture), physical distance and social status (we have different careers) and also-mental health issues. We both have psychological issues that stop us from being fully present in a committed relationship.
However, I keep thinking that, if it was for something to happen between us, it would have happened already. I also feel that he’d rather date anyone else than me, that, he’d prefer women who he’s not emotionally engaged with.
One last idea I had for why we aren’t together is because he’s not just into me. People have told me that when someone likes you (especially guys), they take action or at least, they let you see that clearly. They don’t keep you hanging, wondering about them. Because men are hunters, they need to ‘pursue’ the women.
That hasn’t happened with LO. It was always a lukewarm interest from him.
I guess my case may be that I’m crushing on a man who is emotionally unavailable or very neglectful of other people (that’s how I see it).
Why I’m still hooked on him? He has 90% of the traits and qualities I want in a man, minus the emotional availability. He’s artistic, talented, hard working, ambitious, funny, kind, sensitive, sincere and interesting as a person.
I have met many men throughout my life and let me tell you that only 2% of them were even remotely interesting. The majority of them have nothing going on for them, have a job, a hobby and a boring mindset. The men I met were not ‘out of the box’ so knowing what I know about LO, of course it appears attractive.
But I wonder if it’s my problem here. If I haven’t given myself enough chances to meet interesting and artistic men with an out of the box mentality.
If anyone has any response to my comment, I’d appreciate it.
I found your post to be extremely similar to my own situation. Even the sentiment of “guys will let you know and you won’t question it.” When we find people who are different than what we’ve experienced before, it’s easy to attach to something like that. They have value in that way.
Unfortunately, us limerents have a difficult time with exploring that initial value further. I think this especially hard for you because of how uncertain it is. Uncertainty is very difficult for those with limerence (and ocd)
There are many kind, sensitive, artistic men out there. It’s good you’ve identified why you’ve attached to him. Those are traits that exist in other men. Men who are also available for you and do not neglect other people.
Have you ever outright told him your desire for a committed relationship with him? You are both available so I am wondering what is stopping you from just making that initial move? If anything it would possibly relieve the uncertainty if you could get him to tell you where you stand with him romantically.
Wow, loving this site. I discovered I’m limerent a month ago. Just being here and reading all the stuff that applies to me and the solutions and tactics to end the shyt is liberating. Before finding out what limerence is I was going nuts trying to figure out what was wrong with me and all these feelings I was trying to figure out why.
So, looks like “Transference” will have to be put at the top of my list. My LO is a mistress who is in it ONLY for the sex and gift payments. But I’ve fell into LO with her. It’s been maddening. I’m going to be going all in with the Shame tool too!! Never in a million years would I have thought that at my advanced age (62) I’d be obsessing over a pay-for-play situation not to mention even being in one!?!? WTF!?!?
But here I am. I actually wish there was a strategy to GET REVENGE as the more I study LE the more I believe she knows what she is doing and manipulating me to produce as much LE as she can.
I know what you mean with this.
Wouldn’t mind revenge of some kind on mine or my former LO as I found out she was less than truthful after the event. Granted this was online but she was less than truthful and I fell for her even though I really shouldn’t.
Was a total clusterfuck on my part but her lack of honesty at the time barely helped matters.
Femme Fatale says
Great article and I am Glad that I have found it. I have a physical relation with my co-worker, we both are married. After three years of working together he expressed his interest. I did not know how to react but we both are not sexually satisfied in our marriages so somehow I gave in even though I didn’t want to.
Our physical chemistry is great. Somehow I feel he feels strongly for me but never shows and I have never shown too. But recently he is in my mind all the times. If he doesn’t message for 2-3 days and we don’t see each other I get obsessive thoughts about him. Though I never show it to him. Good thing is he will be leaving the organisation and I wish to end this. It’s very diffcult to stop while seeing him couple of times a week.
How do I stop over thinking about him? But i would do anything to know what he feels for me and what’s in his mind.
I know we all are diffrent but is there any ovious sign to notice if he is feels equally attached?
Allie 1 says
Don’t play guessing games, that will just drive you crazy. You need to be direct – ask him, or better, tell him how you feel first.
Although I am not convinced disclosing feelings will help if you both if genuinely want this to end. At some point you will have to let go of wondering how he feels and just accept it will always be mystery, one you wish to put behind you.
I have a major crush on my coworker. The first few months that he worked here, I didn’t really have an interest – thought he was decent looking but wasn’t ungodly distracted by him. Until a few months ago. I had to start working directly with him. We started chatting while working and getting to know eachother and it came SO easily. Ever since then it feels like the tension between us has grown stronger and it’s started to be really, really hard to focus at work. We are both around the same age and single. But the problem is, we work in a very small office (6 people total including me). I have dreams about this man. We have started to talk outside of work here and there and have a lot of common interests. He has shown signs that he may like me too, but he’s incredibly hard to read in this aspect. He’s made comments to me about being oblivious when a girl likes him too. I just don’t know what to do at this point since while he is not my superior, we work so closely together and have to retain a professional relationship. He’s a wonderful person, but I feel like I shouldn’t like him. I can’t get him out of my head and it’s driving me crazy…….
Stephanie, you lucky girl! Lean into this budding relationship. Many of the limerents on this site are married and we suffer because we want what we can’t have. You, on the other hand, are both single. Go get him, Stephanie! Enjoy the ride! Lucky girl!
I recommend you learn about banter, it’s intoxicating.
Definitely do some flirting with plausible deniability.
Texting during non-work hours is a great way to hook him. (Read the New Year’s comments).
You have your eyes on that man, go get him! You can do this! So proud of you.
I would echo Lovisa. You could lean into this and enjoy the ride but be cautious because of the small workplace dynamic. The one thing I would say is this…if it becomes an actual dating relationship, let the boss know because it could impact him or her if it all falls apart. Everyone should be prepared for that possibility and how to deal with it.
Speedwagon…aka…the voice of reason.
I’m having a lot of trouble dealing with limerence for a co-worker (she’s much younger than me–24–plus I’m married), and your site has helped a lot. I actually wasn’t attracted to her at first–she isn’t in my section so at most our interaction would be “good morning”–but one time we talked about my daughter’s track and soccer games (the LO played both in school) and after that she started coming to my office to talk, almost every day at first. At first it was about our shared interest in certain sports, but then she started sharing things about her family, her childhood, funny stories of growing up, her new apartment, how she learned the violin, etc., and showing interest in my stories, too. It felt like “getting to know you” first-date type talk and I was suddenly hit with a limerence bolt-from-the-blue, and couldn’t stop thinking about her. I’d look forward to her visits, and started stopping by her desk to talk about a game or something funny from the weekend.
I didn’t plan this at all, as I said–the feelings just swept in like a tsunami. I haven’t felt like this in years (I had a problem with limerence in the past, but didn’t even know it had a name). She’s very pretty and physically fit, and all the men in the office come up with excuses to stop and talk to her (I wonder how she gets work done). I even get jealous when I hear them, even though she’s just a girl I work with who likes to talk to me, so there’s nothing really to get jealous about. Anyway, I’m getting better with that.
I’ve been like this for about five months now, and I’m trying to avoid her in order to let the feelings subside and maybe vanish altogether. It’s tough because she still stops in my office each day to talk and joke around, but otherwise I’m avoiding contact.
Anyway, thanks for your site and your advice. I actually haven’t shared my feelings with anyone, so even making this comment has helped.
Your story is quite similar to mine. I was taken out of one department and put into another to work with LO one on one. She is also much younger than me. At first she was just a nice sweet lady to work with and we had a huge work load so at first outside of morning pleasantries we pretty much kept it on the job.
Between when she started and we worked together I had know her about a year. And then much like you as we chiseled away at the work load we had more time to small talk and she would talk about herself and her life and listen to my stories too.
When that tidal wave hit I was completely knocked off my feet. I saw her in a whole knew light, what Dr L calls “the glimmer”. When in your eyes everything about them changes from before and you are hooked. The first time is always free.
It’s been almost a year since she left the job and moved on. I have had no contact with her since her last day on the job. But the limerence still festers. Though this site and it’s community have been invaluable for me in my journey to overcome this person addiction.
You are making good steps by trying to limit the interactions that you can. Shows you are trying to make good by yourself, your marriage and spouse. I went way further down the rabbit hole really fast compared to what it sounds like you have. Kudos in making the effort. Even baby steps are still steps of progression. I hoping between Dr. L’s blog posts and this community that we can help you progress towards your goals.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience, and for the words of encouragement, Adam. Your note has helped.
Good luck to you, as well, in overcoming the limerence.
Welcome. You are among good company. I too was hit with limerence for my employee after 3+ years of her working for me and having zero interest. She wasn’t even among any of my “crushes”. Then one day I started getting a vibe off her of more interest in me, right around the time we were collaborating a little more and things in her home life were strained. She also sent me a couple personal texts off work hours. I felt excited about it all and that’s all it took. I fell unexpectedly and hard. She is younger and married, and I’m married too. I had not felt like this in about 25 years. I too have had limerence before in my teens and 20s but I was not prepared for this level of emotion. High highs and lows lows depending on her reciprocation.
The blog posts and LwL community have helped open my eyes to what is going on and helped me manage my emotions. My LE is still strong but I cope by being careful of spending any alone time with LO and by not texting with her (the crescendo to our relationship involved heavy texting). Ultimately in my weakness I disclosed and she claimed friendship feelings only.
You are probably in for a long haul but it sounds like you are on the right track. This woman probably sees you as a safe and friendly older man and she sounds social, so just be careful not to read into her actions as romantic attraction. And do not under any circumstances start texting with her. Texting is a bad rabbit hole for limerence. If she does something that is confusing, come here for advice and perspective. There are a lot of great ladies here that can bring us men back into reality.
Yep, TJ texting, or WhatsApp messaging, is the very devil for limerence. As you can see, there is a lot of useful advice to be gleaned from the lwl blogs and from some very seasoned limerents.
If I knew three years ago what I know now, I would have tried harder to take the tough decisions that my “executive brain” now realises would be for the best.
Take care of yourself.
I appreciate the note.
Great advice, thanks. I’ll be sure to avoid that rabbit hole.
TJ_Webb, I wholehearted second this. Do not, if you do not want to be a Pavlov dog that salivates when he hears the ‘ping’ notification. It brings the torture right into your home and private space.
Welcome Tj_Webb, you have come to the right place. Your situation is common. You are not alone. At some point, you will probably think you see signals of attraction from her. It is a trick that your mind will play on you. She only wants friendship. Feel free to bounce ideas off of the LwL community because we can help you make sense of what you are experiencing.
She has no idea that she is triggering feelings of attraction in you. She thinks you are her friend.
I’m sorry you feel jealous of the other men sometimes. That is also normal and common. She doesn’t know they are attracted to her either. She thinks, “The guys at work are so funny and nice.”
She isn’t going to stop being delightful because she isn’t doing anything wrong. From her perspective, she has friends at work. You have to decide what you can handle. I will be very direct because you need it. We’ve been down this road with other men in your situation.
*****She thinks you are her friend. She only wants friendship from you.******
Do you want to be her friend?
Yep, the jealousy thing, that’s so true. It feels so primal.
More importantly, I really like Lovisa’s comment because it has stirred some memories. I have twice, in recent decades, been the LO of ladies who knew that I was gay. On both occasions I thought “how great to have a lovely enthusiastic new female friend”. It was all tickety-boo until I realised too late that this was not simply friendship.
So, yes, twice I felt flattered this way but I didn’t have a clue what was actually happening. I then became irritated, to be honest, and maybe I was not as kind as I could have been.
I had absolutely no idea. Now, I would be much more understanding.
Oh Frederico, I want to hear those stories! What behaviors did you notice in your friends when you were the LO?
Please only share if you want to, no pressure.
Limerent Emeritus says
Search for the keyword “jealousy” and you’ll get 3 pages of hits.
My LO is a bit of a player and a flirt, and at first the jealousy was awful. Then I realized it did not fit my preferred “narrative” (that what we had was soooo special – how could it be, when he was falling for people left right and center? – in your case you might want to ask how are you different from all the guys she keeps hanging outside her office?) and that feeling of jealousy (which I really do not like), is one of the deprogramming feelings I lean into. Even now, I feel a twinge of jealousy when my LO is friendly with others, but it comes quick and I let myself stew it it a moment (ick) and then I just let it go. She can have him. I actually think that to myself. One little trick that I have is that I gave LO a nickname that contains the quality in him I despise the most (you might not be quite there yet to know what you really dislike in LO’s personality). It’s a little nasty and crude, so I won’t say it here, but when I say it to myself, it really reminds me to have nothing to do with this bad boy. I learnt this nickname trick from one of those ‘how to get over your ex’ articles, and it feels childish, but hey whatever works! I think this technique would live in the family of “devaluing” your LO (many of us here have very different feeling about this technique, with quite a lot of us finding it unpalatable).
It is good you are making comments to express your feelings, it is a lot to keep bottled up to yourself, and this community has been there, done that, and many are still coping! We have all done insane things. Welcome to the tribe.
Thanks, all, for being welcoming and forthcoming with your experiences.
I apologize if I can’t reply to everyone, but know that I’ve taken your word to heart just the same.
Regarding Lovisa’s question, I don’t know if I’ll be able to be her friend. I feel like it’s possible, but interacting with her sometimes just stays in my mind like the ringing of a bell that I can’t stop hearing. Other times, it feels just like a normal work friendship. Since we’re in the same office, I can’t completely avoid her, so I may just have to deal with her daily pop-in, keep it civil and polite, and leave it at that.
Thanks, Emily and Frederico for your thoughts on jealousy. I may put the tactics into practice.
Hey Tj_Webb, if you aren’t interested in trying to be her friend, I have a tip to help you get some space from her. Be boring. It’s called “going gray rock.” Just be boring, not rude, not cold, just boring. If you’re cold, she’ll wonder what she did wrong. If you’re boring, she’ll think you’re boring and she won’t seek you out.
I admire your personal awareness. You recognize that you can’t handle being around her. I can relate. There is a brand of cookie dough that is off limits at my house because I can’t control myself around it. I don’t want to be left unsupervised when that cookie dough is in the fridge. We almost never buy it, but it sneaks into our home maybe twice a year and I’m like, “Please family, eat it before I get to it, please!” I just can’t handle being around that dang cookie dough. What I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty cool you already figured out that you can’t handle being around your LO.
Lost in Space says
Hi TJ – welcome to LwL! Sounds like you’re in the right place. This community has definitely been a lifesaver for me over the past few months as I’ve dealt with limerence for a coworker that nearly blew my whole life apart. It really helps to be able to share your feelings with other people who totally get it.
It sounds like you’re already on the right track in terms of really being in touch with your feelings and realizing you can’t handle just being friends with this woman, avoiding texting her, and limiting your interactions as much as possible. Keep up the good work!
If you don’t mind me asking, how are things with your marriage? For me, I’ve had three limerence experiences during my 20 year marriage, and they’ve all come during rocky patches in my marriage when something was missing (communication, appreciation, excitement, sex, etc) and each time it felt like my relationship with my LO was filling a void in my marriage. I’m currently in couples counseling with my wife and it’s helping a lot both to improve our relationship and to help pull me out of my limerence for my coworker. Are there any issues with your marriage that made you vulnerable to this limerence episode, or any needs that your LO seems to be meeting that your SO isn’t?
“Oh Frederico, I want to hear those stories! What behaviors did you notice in your friends when you were the LO?
Please only share if you want to, no pressure.”
I don’t want to take up too much air time but thank you for this message. You remind me so much of a neighbour (no, not that one!) and your enthusiasm makes me smile. I really don’t want to elaborate at the moment as I feel somewhat “spent”. I’ll bear it in mind though. Take care. f.
I fell hard and fast for a girl I was dating, and am now left with the task of extinguishing it.
We’d worked together for 3 years – me the personal trainer, her the client. But she always had a serious boyfriend, and we never flirted. During the second year, she’d let me play heavy metal during our sessions. She’d always been beautiful, but I developed a mild crush then.
She and the boyfriend break up, she moves away and leaves my gym, but then she asks me out after 6 months. Our first 3 dates are magical. We’re both equally into each other and very excited.
On our 4th date, we have sex for the first time and what I now know is limerence exploded for me. I tell her I want to be exclusive.. and she tells me she’s “just having fun” and is dating multiple people. That she just got out of her long relationship and that it ended badly.
Cue the damsel in distress and my anxiety.
But she spends the next day in bed wrapped in my arms, telling me she feels “safe and comfortable with me, and it’s like we’re the only two people in the world when we’re together.” That she’ll miss me before I’m even gone. She can’t stop smiling while she kisses me. The compliments flow back and forth between us. Her body language is blissful.
Cue uncertainty. She’s into me, but won’t commit.
I leave, and she falls ill the next day. I send her some very sweet and supportive texts, which fall a little flat. Four days later, she tells me we should just be friends and that we’re on “different pages”. A few days later I tell her I still want to see her, and I’m told that no, “the chemistry just isn’t there”.
Double down on uncertainty, because she seemed to be head over heels for me in person. I don’t know if I did something wrong, if she just wanted me for sex, or what. But even with her rejection, my brain screams that she was falling for me.
It’s been 5 weeks, and I’m giving up hope. I asked her last week to talk about why she changed her mind, and she ignored my text.
I’m trying to extinguish the hope. I don’t daydream of a future, just of the right thing to say that would get her to give me a second chance or to talk to me. I want to write her a letter, but my friends, family, and my therapist tell me not to.
I’m moving out of the area in 8 weeks to begin law school, but in my limerence I thought she and I could do a long distance relationship. Maybe daydreaming about school and meeting new people in a new city will be the thing to help me.
I’ll try to go no-contact. I’ll try to introduce negative feedback and to think of her negative qualities… of which I have only her ignoring my text. But this has been a terrible, confusing heartbreak.
I’ve been limerent twice before. Once it led to the most meaningful love of my life. Once it was an avoidant narcissist – that was terrible. But this girl seemed kind and sweet, and it breaks my heart to have it end so quickly and confusingly.
Advice on extinguishment would be appreciated.
I can see how utterly confusing this must be. If I were to speculate, she may be hung up on someone else. When she is with you it was a pleasant distraction and she played the game but when she is away from you she may be thinking of someone else and is not ready to commit to another person. I only speculate this because I was in the same position as her way back in my 20s. Dated a girl for a couple months but was still trying to pursue my ex girlfriend. When I was with this girl it was fun, but I never really wanted to be with her in a long term committed relationship because of my other interests. It’s a shitty way to behave, but at the time I was just uncertain about everything.
Maybe this is for the best since you are going away on a fairly significant new journey in life. I think the new environment and distance will solve everything for you.
Oh gosh, AcousticOverlap, I probably shouldn’t comment on this one. I’m not impressed with your LO’s behavior. It doesn’t line up with my instincts as a woman. Having sex is a big deal to me. I don’t understand how she could say such affectionate things to you and connect with you in such an intimate way if her feelings are casual. Something isn’t right. Maybe Speedwagon is on to something. Maybe she was kind of using you. I don’t know, but I don’t like how she treated you casually after you two connected so intimately. My instinct is that there’s something wrong and you are lucky that you have an out. I think you might be wise to move on. Of course I don’t know the whole story, but that’s my reaction to what you posted.
Cool that you’re heading to law school. Your life is about to get crazy busy. Good luck with everything!