Busy times in the Dr L household, so here’s a link to a podcast that I did with Tim and Sharon Tedder over at AffairHealing.com:
…in which I ramble on about all things limerence and neuroscience, and use myself as a case study.
I was listening to your guest podcast. First of all… I was wondering was your voice modified? Or is that your real voice (not technically savvy enough to take an educated guess).
Well done though. It was a good reminder of the limerence basics, what it is, what happens to you etc. Key phrase for me was “this stuff happens in your brain, and that is where you need to deprogram”. Especially with my charity event coming up, I have been mentally preparing myself for staying as neutral as possible with LO. I have run through scenarios of how I should behave. It usually ends up badly though, with me either trying to imagine getting closer to him (rethink: how do I subtly stay away from him on the group pic and not touch him, but not make it obvious to him that I avoid him?) or how do I not make a snarky comment bringing up his LO? Whenever I think of him, his LO pops up and kinda ruins it, but as you mentioned in the podcast, that’s one way of messing up my memory. Make it a negative memory.
Every time I fuck up my scenario by having some sort of an emotion, I try to wind back and rethink through it with me trying to be neutral and normal. Let’s see how that will go.
Bottom line: he moved on. He ended the affair (he was single, I wasn’t, yet I couldn’t stay away), then he started having an LO. There is no reason for me at all to still be hung up on him. Just takes a while to reprogram my brain, I guess.
As you mentioned in the podcast, DrL, you cannot stay friends with your LO. Although he thinks I will reach out to him once I am “ready to be friends”, I am not sure I will be able to (or even want to). Being friends to him is equal to what I call an EA, and that won’t happen again. I told him to respect my wish of NC and stay away from me which he agreed to by me promising that once I am over him, I will reach out. I told him it will take months if not years… so let’s see. But it will for sure NEVER be the same.
” I told him to respect my wish of NC and stay away from me which he agreed to by me promising that once I am over him, I will reach out.”
Nice double bind. It’s not if he comes around again, it’s when.
No, he’s not going to come around anymore. This is done and in the past and what was will never be again. Even if circumstances changed (and we were both available) it would not happen.
I still have to deal with my emotions as it still has some affect on me (but it’s more negative than happy thoughts). It still does something to me and I will need time. I need to fully understand why it happened to ensure it never happens again. But it will never be what it was again, and I doubt that it will be anything more than a friendly how are you should we see each other again.
This charity event is one yearly instance where we are bound to see each other, then maybe our Christmas event where I could possibly bump into him, but there are hundreds of people, so I can easily get out of his way there.
He has his own issues to deal with, in particular, he said people always leave him… and I just confirm his statement as well. But I have to put my needs above his, I cannot save him. No more knight in shining armor.
I was talking about him, not you. He left a possibility of a comeback. My bet is at some point, he’ll use it.
Stay the course, don’t engage him, and the next time you encounter each other, “So, still not over me?” How will you respond to that?
One thing about more negative LOs is you may decide to end things but they’ll decide when it’s over.
No I think from how I know him, he’s done. He is quite passive and accommodating, in the sense that he doesn’t “demand or claim” anything (trying to find the right word here, that doesn’t really explain it well). He has very little self-esteem (which to me is surprising as he really has no reason for that), and given his fear of people leaving him, tries to do everything to make them stay. He doesn’t push for things, he’s rather passive in that sense, probably thinking he doesn’t deserve good things in his life (one might wonder what even caught my attention by how I describe him – but I guess we both sought something that the other one was willing/able to give at the time). He’s got a good heart, but has his own baggage to deal with, and I cannot save him. I know he thinks our connection is special (he said I was there for him when no one else was) and that we could be great friends. He would be incredibly disappointed if I don’t hold up to my promise of reaching out eventually, he said he’s willing to wait years (which I don’t intend to do). But I eventually confirm what everyone else has done in his life – leave. I feel bad about it, but I have my own thing to deal with. I think he as a person and how he is was a special mix that came together that led to everything that happened.
Oh and to your question how I respond: I will not give him any indication that I am not over him. As far as he should know, I am good. Living my life. Trying to life purposeful. Wishing him all the best with his life too.
“He doesn’t push for things, he’s rather passive in that sense, probably thinking he doesn’t deserve good things in his life (one might wonder what even caught my attention by how I describe him – but I guess we both sought something that the other one was willing/able to give at the time).”
Something got your attention, and as DrL so eloquently puts it, “There is nothing so alluring as a damaged soul you’re sure you can fix (“The Glimmer Givers”).” What were you trying to save him from?
The clinical literature says it’s not uncommon for people with a history of unstable or unsatisfactory relationships to seek out or respond to people who reinforce their world view. Infidelity loomed large in LO #2’s world view. Her father was in an open affair and 4 of 6 failed relationships I know of involved her cheating with married or being cheated on. From what I heard it may be 5 of 6 but I couldn’t prove it. At the time, I was the sole exception to that. I’d love to know if infidelity has a part in her recent marriage. Her husband is in the same line of work as her father was and if he cheated on his ex, she’d be living the dream.
Your LO may be seeking unsuitable partners (e.g., married) who reinforce his abandonment issues. It happens.
But, as you say, you can’t save him and it’s not your job to try.
He most definitely seeks unsuitable partners. He very quickly builds emotional intimacy with people that are susceptible to it, yet are unavailable (e.g, me, his new LO who was in a 10 year unhappy relationship, his ex girlfriend who got divorced). He mistakes the reciprocity as genuine chance to have found the one, but they (incl. me) were the wrong people to build emotional intimacy with in the first place – nothing good can come from that (or at least highly unlikely). I believe all he wants is someone to share his life with and thinks if he just finds the one, everything will be good – it won’t, as no woman can “save him”, he must learn to be happy with himself first. I believe his abandonment issues stem from his childhood (young parents, divorced, moved around, not much attention from mom, dad moved to another country etc.) his parents now are more like friends that he hangs out with (all three of them live in different countries) and his parental figures (his grandparents) died, hence the sense of loneliness and sadness. Add some body dysmorphia issues into the mix… gorgeous man, completely and surprisingly unaware of it.
What was I trying to save him from? Well in the first place it was just nice that someone appreciated me being there, appreciated that I cared and listend to his unrequited love from his previous LO. Having someone trust me, feeling needed, hearing his thoughts etc. EA followed pretty quickly to no surprise.
How the hell did I not stop this sooner.. it so follows every single step from DrL’s post about when things get physical.
I think I’m getting there, like I know all this, but it takes time (and NC).
Many thanks for reading my posts and for this blog(!), it really helps to share this stuff and not keeping everything just in my head. I’m getting there…
“He is quite passive and accommodating, in the sense that he doesn’t “demand or claim” anything (trying to find the right word here, that doesn’t really explain it well). He has very little self-esteem (which to me is surprising as he really has no reason for that), and given his fear of people leaving him, tries to do everything to make them stay. He doesn’t push for things, he’s rather passive in that sense, probably thinking he doesn’t deserve good things in his life (one might wonder what even caught my attention by how I describe him – but I guess we both sought something that the other one was willing/able to give at the time).”
If it walks like BPD, quacks like BPD, then treat him as though he has BPD and never get sucked back into it. Then evaluate your own history and how you found yourself playing emotional ping-pong.
“Well in the first place it was just nice that someone appreciated me being there, appreciated that I cared and listend to his unrequited love from his previous LO. Having someone trust me, feeling needed, hearing his thoughts etc.”
Yeah, everyone has gaps in their psyche they need to address. Sometimes, you think you HAVE addressed them but they return later, in a new venue.
“…how do I subtly stay away from him on the group pic and not touch him, but not make it obvious to him that I avoid him?”
Bring a date? Find your group of friends that doesn’t include him and stick close to them? Nod at him and then scurry off to the ladies’ room?
Fingers crossed for you Sarah!
Hmm, Lee, interesting. I just googled it and it didn’t really fit at first, until I found “quiet” BPD, that actually makes sense. Don’t know much about it. Stupidly enough that triggers a “how can I help him with that” reaction in me… it’s not my problem,I have my own. Leave it alone.
I think this is your danger point, Sarah, so stay strong! He’ll definitely be hoping for a way back in, as Sharnhorst suggests. You were there when he wanted you, and it is likely he’ll want you there again if/when the loneliness or desire strikes him again. And as you clearly have the “must save damaged soul” impulse, him reaching out for friendship is the ideal way to weaken your resolve.
Meanwhile, you need to focus on what you want and need, and he isn’t it. There’s no value in you backtracking and getting stuck in the limerence futile cycle again. It’s all loss for you (except at the very trivial level of a quick, lacklustre, dopamine hit). Find your purposeful direction and pursue it without regret.
Be careful with researching Borderlines. It’s really interesting but if you’re a little on the obsessive side, you can turn it into a second career. It can also draw unwanted attention if it leaks and there’s a good chance you’ll want to share your newly found knowledge with somebody. SOs are not recommended. Either they’ll think you’re referring to them or it alerts them or reinforces that there’s someone else inside your head. Neither is likely to be taken well.
On the plus side, personality disorders provide a lot of interesting conversation material providing you can find someone who shares your interest. My dental hygienist said she was married to a Narc. We have great discussions twice/year. It also flagged her as PLO. Before it closed, a pub I patronized had 2 bartenders that had been involved with potentially PD’d partners. We’d swap stories. That comes with a danger that it’s something you can bond over and what you’ve done is replaced an old problem with a similar new problem. Don’t ask me how I know this.
“Be careful with researching Borderlines.”
Yeah, you want to know enough to get out of their orbit straightaway, but not try and fix them. Most of them are the bane of most therapists’ existences because they drain you dry, say they are taking your recommendations to heart AND working on their problems, but they have the same complaints year after year after year and nothing changes except their hair color.
Some DO want to change and DO put in the very hard work, but those are terrible odds. Put your time and efforts into someone who will appreciate them – yourself (and your SO by extension, I hope).
Wow… I don’t think I have much been exposed to any sorts of mental disorders in my close circle snd don’t know much about it. Been googling everything about quiet BPD. It is interesting. But as you guys said, I shouldn’t focus on that. Good to know to know how to stay away. It did explain quite a bit about LO though.
If you insist on pursuing research, I recommend you head over to Shari Schreiber’s site. Not only will you learn about them, you can also learn possible reasons for why you feel compelled to fix them.
Attraction to people with PDs has a lot in common with limerence. At some point, you begin to realize you’re not so much a victim of your limerence as you are an accessory to it. Nobody holds a gun to your head and forces you to deal with your LO. Probably the worst that can happen with a vindictive LO is you get divorced or fired. Tangle with a vindictive Cluster B, and you can add on getting arrested and/or assaulted.
That’s Dr. L’s real voice. I only know because I bought his “Emergency Deprogramming” course which he narrates.
And just to add, I didn’t mean it in any negative way, really just out of curiosity!
Yes, as Fred says, that’s my real voice. There did seem some audio corruption going on, but must just be the tech limitations of VOIP from UK to US.
Hi Dr. L,
This podcast was very helpful for me as I have an LO currently. I didn’t know what it was until I heard your podcast. I exhibit all the signs of someone in Limerence. I thought I was going crazy because it was so out of my character to obsess over someone, be jealous of him when he spoke to any other woman, and longing for him to connect deeper with me. We are both married to our SO. My husband and I lived apart for 7 months due to work obligations. I longed for a friend. I felt alone in a new country, and longed to connect with someone . This man works across the street from my work and we started conversing, seemed nice and felt as if we connected well. Btw, I have a few male friends back home and we are platonic. So with this one I didn’t think any differently. We went out a handful of times, very casual, nothing sexual (at least on my part). We always had fun. One day, he took me home, and made advances towards me. I was shocked, but I didn’t stop his advances. I was shocked and ashamed at myself. I never thought I would be cheating on my husband, but I was longing for connection and touch. That’s when it all started and that’s when I found out he was married too. I went through 2 years (and it’s still going) of volatile emotions, which affects my life, my moods, my time, my relationship. I still see him once a month, and he flirts with me still. I see no future with this man but I long for a friendship with him. I know I need to break the cord but I’m not ready yet. I’m looking for some sort of closure. Maybe I’m looking for him to express his feelings, because I’ve expressed it to him. I care about him and want to remain friends. It’s probably delusional thinking and I’m constantly in a state of self judgement. I’ve read your blog and I understand what I’m dealing with but taking action is so difficult for me because he’s a nice person (minus this situation). Any extra words of advice you’re able to give me please? I’m constantly in a state of turmoil (and joy when I see him). Thank you again
Welcome, and glad the podcast helped!
The desire to try and salvage a friendship from limerence is very common, and very hard to beat. At one level that’s because we tend to find our LOs to be good company (otherwise, they wouldn’t be so appealing), but at another level it’s a bargaining ploy that our limerent brains use to rationalise why it’s OK for us to still be around them. There is also often some guilt involved – why can’t we just pull ourselves together and be friends? Isn’t it mean to abandon someone who has been an important part of our lives?
I’m very sceptical of the possibility of being friends with an LO. I wrote a blog post on this here. I would say this is even more difficult with an LO who has made advances already, and continues to flirt and push boundaries.
It’s very hard to get your head straight when you are reinforcing the limerence by occasional flirting sessions with an LO. You’ve got into a behavioural pattern that stops the reward-seeking from fading. No contact is the best way of breaking that vicious cycle.
Seeking friendship and closure is a way of keeping them central in your mind – much better to make yourself the centre of your focus and work on your own purposeful goals.
Agree with what DrL wrote, you can’t be friends with LO and get over him.
I was in a similar situation you are now, I tried to remain friends with LO. We have been very close, unfortunately physical as well. We both agreed that we won’t continue the affair but want to stay friends. He was as understanding and even told me he will ensure nothing will ever happen again physically, even if I can’t keep it together snd try to get closer again. Whatever I needed.
I wasn’t ready to go NC, even though people here said it’s the best way to go forward. Well, at some point and after some time trying to hold on to LO in whatever way I could, I did realize that NC is best for me and what I need to detach from LO and reprogram my brain. NC is really the best strategy to get over an LO.