In the last post we analysed closure, and why it’s an illusion.
Seeking closure is one of the commonest excuses that limerents give for why they need to stay friends with their LOs. Their emotional goal is to pass through the limerence and emerge as a infatuation-free friend who is able to hang out without getting any of the negative effects of an obsessive, life-engulfing craving.
What we didn’t cover, though, was how the motives and behaviour of the LO complicate everything.
Oftentimes, it is very hard for the limerent to disengage, because the LO values their friendship and actively tries to persuade the limerent to stick with it. Sometimes this is entirely innocent – if for example the limerent has not disclosed their feelings, and so the LO is blithely unaware of the emotional impact they are having on their friend. Other times, though, it’s more overt and the limerent has disclosed. The LO knows they are besotted, but keeps pushing to maintain the friendship, regardless. Why? Why would they do that when they know you are struggling with your feelings?
Well, there are a few options…
1) You’re a good friend
The most obvious explanation. They really value your friendship and don’t want to lose it because of all the benefits you bring. That’s flattering, of course. Who wouldn’t want to feel valued in that way?
One reason it could well be true is that, generally speaking, limerents go out of their way to make their LOs happy. It’s a major motivational force for the limerent, and it can be very energising and enjoyable for the LO on the receiving end of it. From the LO’s perspective, you are the kind of friend who is really, genuinely interested in their life. You hang on their every word – really listening and caring about their adventures and misadventures and problems. You find them charming and adorable. You light up in their company. It’s great to have someone like you in their life.
But – and I think everyone knew there was a elephant-sized but coming – it’s not really authentic. I mean, it’s authentic that you feel that way, but it’s not an authentic friendship connection. It’s a deeper desire, and one more driven by the urge to emotionally bond and romantically connect than simple camaraderie or a meeting of minds.
There is also a hint of selfishness around the LO wanting to keep this going. Now that they know that you are more deeply affected, wanting to keep that regard coming when they know it is causing you emotional pain – it’s not exactly selfless.
The final wrinkle in this scenario is that you might actually succeed in your goal. Let’s say you manage to hang on through this until the limerence finally fades to background: what then. Will you still be the same kind of friend? Will you still see them the same way, and get the same quality of enjoyment from their company? Honestly?
For a sceptical perspective, you could ask the legions of limerents out there who wonder what on earth they ever saw in their LO, after the fog has lifted…
2) They want to spare you pain
I’d argue that most healthy people will respond to the discovery that their friend is infatuated with them with a mixture of surprise, embarrassment and sadness. The wisest thing to do (they usually realise) is to let the friendship cool. They can’t reciprocate, they wish it hadn’t happened, and they know that trying to keep the act up now that the truth is out, is exactly that – an act.
In conflict with that realisation, is the empathy they feel for their limerent friend. They don’t want to hurt them. They don’t want them to feel the shock of rejection. Most likely, they themselves know what it feels like to finally build up the courage to admit their feelings for someone, only to have it be unrequited. For the LO, they know it would be a crushing enough blow to know you’re not attracted to them, to double that up with “and I don’t even want to hang out with you anymore” seems callously cruel.
Most people will resolve that by playing the game of let’s pretend. Let’s pretend we can carry on as before. Yes, phew, that solves the immediate problem! And the larger problem of how on earth you are going to reframe the context of your friendship can just be kicked down the road a bit.
In many ways, that probably is the least painful way of managing the situation. But, once the short-term pain has softened a bit, it would be much better all round to disengage.
3) They are a non-limerent
The next case is that your LO is a non-limerent. They do not understand what you are going through. To them, romantic attraction does not lead to total emotional overwhelm. They are able to regulate their sexual and emotional responses more reliably, and are resilient enough to “get over it” through willpower and reasoning. They will therefore assume that you are able to do the same, and so should make the attempt.
These LOs will be hard to cope with, because they are actually behaving perfectly reasonably, and they will be able to still interact with you as a happy and stable friend without much difficulty. They are used to having close friendships with people other than their significant other even if they are attracted to them, and are not at risk of toppling over into obsession.
It will be hard to resist the impulse to try and match their apparent maturity and self-control, but the attempt overlooks the fundamental difference between you and them in terms of emotional makeup.
4) They are limerent for you
The opposite scenario. They are caught in the push-pull dance with you. Both of you know that it should stop, that you should part ways and stop circling back for another hit, but both of you are addicted. In this set up, it is likely that you will either indulge in mutual denial and pretend you can cope with friendship (because you both crave more contact), or you will – in a moment of clarity – agree that no contact is necessary.
Those moments of clarity, though. They don’t last.
One or other of you will weaken first and start bargaining.
5) They are a narcissist
We know about these guys. They want to keep you hooked. They love your attention, your adoration, your validation of their appeal. They gobble it up with all the restraint of a starving dog in a sausage factory. If you ask them to respect your choice to go no contact, they will withdraw with all the speed and enthusiasm of a depressed snail. Or they’ll go for the false agreement, and then break it the next day because they miss you.
They love the power, they want you hooked, and no way are they going to willingly surrender your “friendship”.
There will be lots of possible motives for an LO telling you they don’t want to lose you as a friend, lots of reasons why they would hope that you can still stay close. Some are honest and sincere, some are not. But ultimately, they are asking for a big sacrifice by you – keeping yourself in emotional limbo in the hope that the limerence will pass eventually.
If you want more control over your life, to live with more purpose, to achieve more, and to thrive emotionally, romantically, personally and professionally, your best chance is to accept the loss and move on.
There are lots of splendid people in the world to befriend. Try and find some who don’t turn your world upside down.
> “you could ask the legions of limerents out there who wonder what on earth they ever saw in their LO, after the fog has lifted…”
That’s so true. When I was a teen, I felt the glimmer for a girl who was almost the same age as me, and I couldn’t understand why I became so infatuated for her just after trying to start a conversation (small talk) with her. Maybe it was because, my mother being a narcissist (which I nowadays realise it) I wasn’t used to having anyoene talking to me besides for when they needed something from me. But, in this case, the conversation was very simple (I think I asked this girl about the glasses she was holding in her hands), but she did answer to what I asked, and all of a sudden I felt the glimmer. I think this was one of my first LEs, and I became so confused but at the same time to infatuated, that I wanted to make this girl happy no matter what it would cost from me, but as usual, I didn’t find enough courage to disclose my feelings to her, so I kept it in secret in the hopes that my actions would talk louder than my words could. I blushed everytime when she was around at the same environment I me, I talked good things about her to my friends, and I even got to the point to wash her bike after she lended it to me in certain ocasion. It felt so beautiful a connection, and I was already starting to daydreaming about marrying her.
But then, one day (and I’m thankful to God for having allowed me to always see someone through when a person is not really what they are trying to show me on the outside, just like my narcissist mother, I bet), this girl went of her way and started to davalue me. I don’t remember why, and I didn’t understand why, but almost suddenly she began to verbally abuse me, to make fun of me, and to take me for granted. Talk about Idolise, Devalue, Discard narcissist stages. I then started to hate myself for having becoming infatuated for someone who would devalue me so much, and I also was mad with myself that I was stuck, unable to stop “liking” this girl even though it was pretty clear she didn’t deserve my “love” (my limerence, actually). It was funny, and also sad, that this girl would mock me for kowing that I liked her. She really, literally, together with her aunt, were taking me for granted and making fun of me for they know how I felt, and they were like trying to force me to just ask her out, and date her and so on. But how could I? I couldn’t betray myself and allow me to go on in such a doomed releationship. I had to do something, fast!
So I came out with a plan, a vindictive plan maybe, but I was just a child and facing so much emotional pressure that I was about to blow up (either me or someone else)! Then I regreted having falling for this girl, and I promised myself that I would never allow myself to give her my heart again, and I also declared war againt that infatuation. I commited myself to devalue this girl to the most devaluation I could find possible to devalue her in case she or her aunt would ever make the least comment on the subject again. If she, or her aunt would make fun of me again, I told myself, I would make they know without a doubt that I didn’t like her anymore, and that they were all wrong, and that I wasn’t happy with that confusion anymore. That was my childhood mind, and at that time I really found no other options, so I had to stick to whatever I got to protect myself from ongoing harm. Of course, I wouldn’t do this today, and I just back off from from these monsters when I see the small signals that shows they are not a good match to me. Unfortunately, the current LO I’m trying to disconnect from is not really a bad person, so it’s even harder to give limerence and end in this case, but let’s just finish the story I am tolding here in the comment for now.
For my surprise, after giving myself the ultimatum of never ever having eyes for that girl again, she and her aunt felt things had changed, and stopped mocking me and making fun of me. They started to respect me. And that made me even more mad with them and with the LE. It took sometime before they build their courage to confront me one more time, and that was the last time they did it. As soon as that woman started mocking me about I liking her niece, I immediately told them in unmistakable terms: “This girl is uglier than a female pig in the mire!”. No need to say, the girl started crying, and her aunt went from mocking and making fun of me to shaming and gilt tripping me on why I could do that, and she said a lot of other things, while her niece kept there, crying deeply for I din’t know why. Even though I still had feelings for her, I had to say that to make my brain or heart to stop making me think I wanted her in my life. I started to feel better, as if a big concrete block had just fell from my shoulders, and finally I could look at that girl without feeling emotionally crippled and weak. I didn’t feel better because I saw her crying, but I felt better because I had at last been able to free myself from that madness of limerence. And as I told above, I didn’t really understand why that girl started crying, and it was no fake cry, she was really, deeply, feelingly crying for having heard those words of mine. Maybe becase I hurt her ego, or because she also had feelings for me but was unable to healthly express them and was used to mock people when she liked them. I just don’t know, I by that time I didn’t really care. She was the one who was taking advantage of my feelings, and stomping over my heart, and making nothing of all the things I had done for her. So, it didn’t make any sense to me that she would cry. She was not being honest either with me or with herself, and she was not being nice too. She was mean, and I had just free myself from her charm.
Sorry for going this deep in my own memories. I think I’m starting to really dislike limerence now that I see it happening again and again in my life. But I just would like to make this point: nowadays, as Dr L told in the post, I don’t know how or why I could have fallen for this girl. Today I look at her, she has married someone else, she mocks her own children and his own husband, and I don’t know why I was so infatuated with her at that time. She is not beautifull, either. When I was under that LE, I though she was the most beautiful girl in the world. And my father always told me she was thin, skinny, but I didn’t agree. I didn’t see so. But he was right! There are some videos and pictures of her taken in our church, and when I look at them, I can’t believe she was so thin as in the video. Of course I was not the most handsome boy either, but, it remains that limerence has the power to make us overlook LOs flaws, and forces us to like the person it chooses for us to be in infatuated with. It just give you no choices.
“There are lots of splendid people in the world to befriend. Try and find some who don’t turn your world upside down.”
One more quote to keep, DrL! 🙂
So timely and spot on as always. I’ve been no contact with my LO for several months and he keeps finding excuses to text or call. I’ve capitulated in my past NC attempts but not this time. I keep thinking how if I had caused such agony to a limerent friend the last thing I would do is contrive reasons to contact them. And yes, he knows of my agony. But his last text was so mysterious, asking me if I had given the information to someone whose name I didn’t recognize. I was so tempted to inquire!!! Prividentially I had a friend visiting who strongly encouraged me to delete the text. Victory!!!!! And honestly, thankfully, mercifully … his appeal is fading. The fog is lifting!!!!!!
Ah, sneaky! Using mystery as a clever attempt at re-hooking. Was it a genuine message, or was it a mistaken text meant for someone else? Only one way to find out…
Maybe we should compile a list of “strategies LOs have tried to re-engage” 🙂
My current LO tried to act as if nothing had happened after I disclosed that I liked her and got rejected by her. She saw I was backing off from the friendship, and tried to greet me as usual each time she saw me for the first time each day. But I am really serious about putting an end in this fake friendship, so she is disengaging also, and things are a bit creepy between us now. I think it’s looking pretty much like the way as it was when I started fancing her, so it’s really a way back for what everything is heading to. Maybe pretending nothing had ever happened was her way to try reengage (which I chooses to reject), but I’m not sure. Limerence is never what it looks like. So much confusing.
Yes Dr. L! What a great idea! I have quite a list. 🙂
Seems that once crystallization has occurred this process just needs to run its undulating course. If you could get your friend to understand the difference between normal NRE and Limerence then that may help.
Looking back at my countless LE’s IF someone, anyone had an idea of what Limerence was and got me the help I needed at a much earlier age I think my life would have been much better.
Anonymous Limerent says
I assume you posted in answer to my situation, but you replied to a different comment.
I did send my friend a link to Wikipedia: NRE but he said that didn’t fit him at all.
I know it just needs to run its course now but that doesn’t change the way he is feeling (i.e. Not liking it). I’m really looking for something to say to him or how to talk to him to help him.
Also, I told my friend about what hell it can be (not telling him my own situation, of course) and that awareness should really be raised. Like you and, I’m sure, most people experiencing this phenomenon, I too wish that I’d been told about limerence before it preyed on me. That’s why I’m so eager to help my friend – because maybe I can save him for the future, and then something good will have come from this.
Anonymous Limerent says
Okay, so I have a situation. Not do with me, though.
One of my friends started ‘liking’ a girl before the summer holiday and recently (about 1-2 months ago) started going out with her. But he contacted me yesterday to tell me that he couldn’t bear being away from her, felt like he was on cocaine when with her and felt happy when romantic songs came on the radio.
I questioned him some more and he said he couldn’t stop thinking about her, and I showed him some articles on limerence which he said fit his situation. A few things didn’t match, but that may be because he is going out with her?
My friend doesn’t like the feelings he’s having and wants them to stop, but he is in denial that it’s not love. I really don’t know what to do to help.
Maybe some more experienced readers could offer some advice?
Do you know why your friend wants it to stop? From a simple reading of the situation: “he couldn’t bear being away from her, felt like he was on cocaine when with her and felt happy when romantic songs came on the radio.” it doesn’t sound all that awful…
I understand that obsession can feel scary if it’s unfamiliar, but trying to avoid or deny strong emotions is a counterproductive response, usually. They just get displaced. I think your friend needs to become reconciled to the fact that limerence is part of his make up and rather than running away from his LO (who it seems is now his GF?) to try and escape from his feelings, he needs to try and accept the good and the bad of the limerence. Developing the ability to feel the infatuation but behave in a more moderate fashion is the key.
As you probably know, I don’t think the distinction between limerence and love is as clear cut as other people make out. I think limerence is an early stage of romantic love for many people. Even if it doesn’t evolve into stable long-term love, it is part of the initial bonding process.
Anonymous Limerent says
I know it doesn’t seem so bad, but he says he feels like death when he’s away from her (and yes, they are together).
It’s overwhelming and I can understand how it could be horrible, but keep in mind he’s never experienced unreciprocated limerence. He has nothing to compare it to.
I agree completely here. Limerence seems to be the healthy precursor to an eventual long-term union between lovers. It just turns out to be negative when its unreciprocated and/or individuals involved already have a SO. Pretty much all of my past relationships have been limerent (on my side of things anyway) at the start and they temper into a more stable nurturing bond after around 6 months. When we really get to know a person (see them pick their nose for the first time, see them be selfish for the first time etc) the fantasy and elation of NRE fades and we are brought back down to earth. Limerence when you never actually get to know your LO properly can (and will) trap you in a state of infatuation and fantasy almost permanently if you let it. Some of us just realise these things a bit late, and by that point your knee deep in rumination and have unrealistic ideas of who your LO is, and never really knowing who that person is could leave you always wondering.
My biggest and reoccurring LO is an ex who I only went out with for 3 months, was smitten with him, he dumped me as he wasn’t over his ex. I convinced him to be friends with benefits cos I was already hooked. He then finally finished it to chase after his ex. I was a mess, ruminated about him for a long time. 2 years later I had a new SO and was happy and moved on, then Lo contacted me things had not worked out for him and asked if I wanted to meet (he must have known I had a SO from FB). I said no disgusted – but it got me thinking. Fast forward another 2 years, things are not going so well for me with my SO. Guess who I start thinking of? So a ‘friendship’ rekindles with LO into an emotional affair mostly by messages for 2 years. I finally stopped it and told my SO 1 year ago. Now 1 year with only x2 contacts with LO, (6 months since the last). That’s a history of over 7 years!!! Can’t believe he’s had such an impact in my life for sooo long. How much do I really know him after 3 months FWB relationship and 2 years of only texting? He has become the perfect fantasy!!! Still casting a shadow over, in and through me. I’m trying so hard to rid me of him. My mental health is in shatters, I started SSRI 6 months ago. If only I could erase the day we met.
Not sure if this is the same as for your friend, AL, but I usually also didn’t like the state I was in when I dated a guy and felt limerent. What it did for me was that I felt very attached to that person, it felt like this person means so much to me that it made me insecure and I was scared what would happen if that person didn’t feel as strongly about me and maybe even left me, I was scared that it would destroy me. I didn’t want to open my heart this much as it left me very vulnerable. Do you think that could apply with your friend?
Anonymous Limerent says
Possibly, but I think this is more of a straightforward ‘he doesn’t like feeling depressed when he’s away from her’ thing.
He hasn’t said anything about fear of mismatched emotional intensies but I did get the sense that that was a big reason for his denial.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
I totally agree that the intensity of LE attachment is frightening to anyone. When our first daughter was born, my wife and I were lying on the bed admiring her. My wife turned to me with tears in her eyes, and said, “I don’t know what I would do if she died!”
She was so overwhelmed with love for this tiny person that it threatened her own survival, in her mind.
DrL is right, limerence is indistinguishable from love, may be the same thing, and the feelings are out of our control to a degree.
My defense is to recognize the thought patterns that cause it in myself, and stay far, far away from engaging in those thought patterns.
Once it gets going, — YIKES!
Here’s a good Bible verse about the subject: “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.”
This is a great study on the subject, from a Christian point of view:
Thanks for the link! I could not get through these experiences without my faith. I confess everything in prayer and God has answered so many times. Other than this site and God I have no one else to talk to about limerence.
This was a very timely post Dr. L. As I’ve related before, my LO is quite narcissistic and she’s hit all of the things above: “We’re BFFs in the office”; “I don’t want you to feel hurt” leading to the “Let’s pretend” game. And she is perfectly fine with having a close friendship with me without it going anywhere. She likes to keep me around.
To give you a very recent example, last night she contacts me out of the blue on WhatsApp and asks me to download an app called “The Pattern” which evaluates relationships. I’m a bit flattered she initiated contact for once and I know she’s into all this stuff so I download it, enter my information, add her as a contact and – hey would you know it – there’s a “romantic connection” evaluation available.
The summary version reads: “You and LO may feel powerfully drawn together – for good reason. You have an exciting and intoxicating connection. There’s chemistry and attraction, but there’s also depth and feeling. This pattern has a strong pull.” I screen cap that and send it to her: “Hahah of course” she responds. So I keep clicking around and reading more and there’s more good stuff in there which actually sums up our pros and cons quite nicely and how we have a deep connection but may be separated by barriers such as age or work or other commitments. So later that night I send her some more screen caps.
This morning I wake up to a message: “You have to understand I’m in love with [new guy], we’re dating and you can’t send me what you sent me above.” Whoops.
But why then did she ask me to download the app in the first place?! I feel like shit and like she set me up (again) to fail. And I fell for it (again). LOs who won’t let go, indeed.
Fred – she sounds evil! Or at best seriously messed up. Either way, one to give a wide berth…
I’ve followed Fred’s story for a while and I think he knows this! She is very toxic and she is keeping him hooked. Wish you’d tell her to do one! She sounds vile.
Scharnhorst introduced me to the word “fickle” a while back. Welcome to the club. When she gets bored or whatever, she will rotate around again and reach out. Your feelings obviously don’t matter to her.
Toward the end (right before NC part 2), I gave LO multiple chances to show what she could offer me. She failed. Use these negative experiences to pursue indifference. You knew better than to respond with that flammable material. She made the mistake of contacting you, but you are the one who gets hurt. Better luck next time. It will continue to be rough but you can do it.
Thanks guys for the support and insights. And thanks for those who have followed this woeful saga. And to think I expected to get over her back in August and now it’s November.
Yeah that sounds very deliberate, Fred. Like she’s taunting you to overstep the mark to check that she can still hook you, and then re-establishing her dominance by implying you are being inappropriate. I had some similar experiences with my LO – her being super flirty one minute, but then slapping me down for fairly minor banter the next.
I came to the conclusion that it was probably about desire for control. They feel an emotional need to know they can control you, but the moment you start going off script or going past their line of deniability, they react very forcefully. I also realised the only way out was to never take the bait.
I mean, come on, Fred! A relationship analysis app?! Did you really not spot the giant mousetrap surrounding that cheese…? 😉
Aww Fred! That’s awful. I have fallen for this kind of bait so many times. I think “Well well…look at this… can it finally really be happening? I can’t believe it….maybe it’s all going to fall in place now! I KNEW it wasn’t in my head!”. And then … a giant humiliation and reality check comes right after the delicious cheese. I’m so sorry for your pain, I’m so sorry there are people out there whom we have given our heart to (because they invited us to give our heart to them) and then they unceremonially stomp on it.
We deserve better.
Thanks Dr L and Jaideux. In hindsight of course I should’ve seen the mousetrap. But the cheese! And she set it up so well: after a period of LC she approached me Friday for some help at work and was all glimmery and then Monday night she reached our and invited me to try this app. Like Jaideux wrote, I was only thinking “finally we’re getting back to where things used to be with us”. Nope.
The point about plausible deniability was true for my LO as well. In our last couple of texts she did the whole “I don’t know what you’re talking about” thing, describing our relationship as a professional one only. My therapist, who had been following this drama from early on, described her comments as “unbelievably disingenuous”.
I took the bait, and replied listing the many ways in which our relationship went beyond professional. In her reply she ignored my evidence, and said “sorry you feel that way” and stated that she had moved on and was happy with her new life. So frustrating, but also a useful and very off-putting insight into her character.
VIncent, I was right there with you. The only difference was somehow I convinced myself after her last email (letting it sit there for days), that it was absolutely worthless for me to send any response or debate any point. So she got nothing. I’m glad you got the response you needed instead of the response you wanted.
2 years ago, which was during the depth of my excruciating pain, LO did apologize for not having any boundaries, only after telling her of my devastation from her hot and cold responses. I simply didn’t know at the time that there was no way out for me other than complete NC. Which of course I didn’t want because I was beyond addicted to her.
Part of the problem may be that a lot of people don’t know a double bind when they see one. Take the bait, and it’s your fault for ignoring the warning. They don’t have to be intentional. I don’t think any of the Double Binds I encountered were thought out.
In my LEs, I encountered at least 3 Double Binds. Two from LO #2 and one from LO #4.
DB #1 (LO #2): “If I don’t sleep with you, is that the end of the friendship?” If I say yes, it’s open season for her to tell me anything she wants about her relationships. I had no desire to hear about her exploits with other men. When I found somebody and spent time with her, I be accused of lying to LO #2 because I said it wouldn’t affect the friendship. That was the best of the three.
DB #2 (LO #2): “You should find some sweet young thing that adores you and not waste your time with a crusty old broad like me.” That was an invitation to try to convince her she wasn’t a “crusty old broad” and win her back. When it doesn’t work, I’d ignored the warning. My fault, again. That was the Lucy/Charlie Brown football scam.
DB #3 (LO #4): “I don’t think continuing to correspond would be appropriate.” That was probably more gracious than it could have been. LO #4 didn’t flat out say she wanted to end the acquaintance, but that was intent. I could have tried to convince her she was wrong. But, she wasn’t and , as a married man, I’d do it at my peril. LO #4 gave me an out and I took it.
As limerents, we can avoid a lot of grief if we ask the right questions and take them at their word.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Thanks for the explanation of the double bind, Scharny.
This site is pretty interesting.
My LO and I just exchanged some e-mails which were chatty and humorous. So I have some glimmer problems. But the pains are going away slowly.
So about LOs not letting go, I have a rather big down-step to relate. One which I’ve not dared bring up here before but which happened not too long ago. So here goes.
We have an office party every 6 weeks ago. At the last one, LO totally ignored me and I was planning to go home early to not see her being glimmery with others. But a friend asked me to sit down and chat and so I did. Inevitably, LO came along after a while, sat down with us and was fun and flirty. Our knees touched, then our legs. She then ran off to dance and found me again on the balcony where it was quite cold. She jumped down super-close to me, pushing into me for warmth and grasped my hand under the table, interlacing her fingers with mine and pumped my hand. This while I was talking to other people. Just as suddenly she jumped up and disappeared again.
The next time I ran into her, she walked me into the kitchen and said I shouldn’t have been rubbing my legs up against hers, what would people think, she’s already the youngest and blondest employee and people would think she got ahead only because I liked her. I conceded all these points thinking silently “…but it was OK for you to almost sit in my lap?” Then, without warning, she plopped down literally in my lap, nustling her face into my chest. I confess I lost all willpower at that stage and kissed her cheek, ear and neck and she stayed there for a while. Then she asked me to take her home because she knows I’m “not a creep and wouldn’t try anything”.
So we walk to an Uber together, arms around each other, and some stranger on the street even remarks “How cute you two are together!”. This freaks her out but I don’t think it was one of our colleagues. In the Uber she nustles up close again. When I ask rhetorically “What should we do with you?” she says “Pet me” and I stroke and kiss her hair. I then ignore all advice and confess: “The problem is I’m in love with you, you know” and in response she just kisses my hand. Then at the next red light near her flat, she jumps out and is gone.
She goes radio silent over the weekend. On Monday she downplays the whole thing and says she doesn’t remember much of what was said.
You are in a war for your self-respect. She’s chipping away at. The singular most important thing we have as individuals is our self-respect. Don’t let her take it!
You let someone take your self-respect and they own you.
Jeez Fred, she sounds like a manipulative narcissist! It sucks that you have to be around her at all and to have her play with your feelings. The Lucy and Charlie Brown analogy seems to fit nicely. I hope you can create some space between you.
She definitely sounds like she’s not right in her head. As Scharnhorst has said, don’t lose your dignity and self-respect. Run…
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Great story. Lee would say, you’re a horrible cheater. And she’d be right.
But you are being ‘hoovered for narc fuel’.
You are the puppet and she pulls your strings. Then you do your pathetic little dance and sit up with your tongue out, hoping for a treat. But one isn’t gonna come, because you’re the treat dispenser, not her.
Not being harsh, here, Fred. I am glad I am not in your shoes. I am fascinated by your story. Ironically, you have to pull back, which will intensify her attempts at glimmer.
Keep us posted on your train wreck! You’re too smart and accomplished to let this take you down, hang in there.
Song of the Day: “Puppet Man” – The Fifth Dimension
Oh Scharnhorst, always on point with the right tune!
Thanks MLBIAI. It was only because Lee left that I dared relate this story! 😀 Thanks also for the link and the harsh but true advice. I particularly found this passage telling:
“The extreme narcissist actually seeks out high-empathy individuals to supply this delicious, exceptional quality ego fuel. If you are an individual who happens to be intuitive, empathic, compassionate, authentic, and a person of integrity, often extreme narcissists will target you for high grade premium combustion. They actually take pleasure in emotionally abusing a supply-source after a period of seduction/infatuation/love-bombing.”
We work together so can’t go full NC but will double down on LC again.
MLBIAI, Thanks so much for that link. Very enlightening and unsettling . If I run into my former LO again (and I will, we travel in the same circles) I will not allow him the luxury of knowing the pain he has caused me. I really do appreciate that article.
Fred she seems like an evil (yet beautiful) cat toying with a mouse….letting the mouse run away a little bit and then trapping it again with it’s claws. If things carry on like this I don’t think things will end up going well for the mouse, because we all know the cat has no real compassion for the mouse. The mouse is merely entertainment and a power trip for the cat and any pain it suffers matters not to the evil cat. If you can escape, please do! Save yourself!
Thanks Jaideux. I can’t save myself entirely as I have equity in the company and can’t leave without losing it all. But I can enforce better LC, not take the bait and make better choices in Dr L’s ”moments of choice”. Not going to office parties for instance.
Fred, seriously, she sounds like bad news. She doesn’t sound capable of properly caring for or loving anyone at the moment, esp you. Because she’s got obvious issues of her own. I really wish the best for you, you sound like a nice person who is just a bit of a fallen angel at the moment. I hope it consoles you a tiny bit to know there are lots of us out there rooting for you.
You may lose much more than just equity, Fred. Respect from everyone at the firm, your self-respect, and what seems to be far on the mind at the moment, possibly your SO and family.
She seems unstable and with issues… this will not end well.
Agreed with everyone here Fred. The one thing that I can tell by your messages is the only reason your on LC is because she keeps pulling away.
What if she does follow through one day? This is pretty serious and you will soon get burnt. As Lee said, are there no thoughts for you SO here? I know when your so deluded you can’t see consequences but one day life might force you to see this! This is an addiction and your LO sounds like possibly one of the worst ones out there. you have to take control yourself. I feel things are going to end very badly for you if you don’t get your head sorted very soon
As I said before (and was shot down), you need her to leave the company somehow. That’s your only path to sanity. You’re a big cheese there, find a reason to get rid of her, get her to sign a settlement agreement on the way out with a pay off so there’s no come back. She’ll be the end of you otherwise (as others have said).
Searcher, Sara, Rachael – thanks for the support and concern. It truly helps to get an outside perspective on this. I managed 3 weeks NC this summer, completed Dr. L’s emergency deprogramming course and started therapy. As with so many others, I guess I lulled myself into thinking it was OK to re-establish contact. I’ve related elsewhere how LO called me out on ghosting her. We started doing lunch once a week and things were good, then this office party thing above happened and we only had lunch one more time then it’s been very quiet until she sent me the link to that relationship app. So I feel with your support I can continue down this trajectory to little to no contact (while still working at the same firm). No more lunches, no more initiating contact or social media. Because while I still don’t grasp it emotionally, I intellectually can tell she is bad for me in so many ways and that the results could be catastrophic.
Yeah, she’s aggressively pursuing you for narcissistic supply. I’m not normally so absolutist, but I think you have to see her as a major threat. She currently has all the power.
And yes, reflecting on how your SO would react to discovering all this would be wise. You need to dig yourself out and try and reverse some of the damage, before it gets catastrophically worse. It’s one of the ways you can outflank someone as determined as your LO – disclose to your SO, accept the outcome, and work on repairing your marriage. You regain some self-respect, your wife learns what’s going on in the background of her life, and your LO has no leverage left.
Fred we’ve all been there I’m going through a relapse at the moment. Me and LO flirty chatting and talking emotionally. Yes a big no no! Chasing the high but actually going down the road of nowhere! I feel for you as your LO is pretty messed up and has you hooked like a meth head but you and myself need to take responsibility at some point.
I think we all know our LO’s are not good for us yet we end up on the same place everytime we give in. You can pull this back. I think you will have to do LC rather than cold turkey. You LO scares me if I’m honest with you.
We all know deep down how to get over our LO’s but it’s the doing it which feel impossible! You can do this and I think you have to before your world starts to fall apart.
Thanks everyone. It seems as if you all see my LO more clearly than I do. My therapist agrees with you all, by the way. Even after our first session she said my LO is deeply damaged “a broken girl”.
And Rachael, thanks for relating. “Chasing the high but actually going down the road of nowhere!” is exactly what I’ve been doing these last four months.
Strenghtened by everyone’s supports, kind and harsh words, I will pull this back. It’ll be LC but I have degrees of LC available to me. I will move back to my temporary new desk on the 5th floor, I will close all chat channels with LO (work and personal), I will nod politely if we pass paths and say hello, not initiate a flirty chat. Lunches are out and if there’s another office party, I will sit that out. These will be my tactics for LC.
Long-term, I still haven’t found “purposeful living” but I will work on rekindling my relationship with my SO, be more present and attentive. That’ll be my strategy for ending the LE.
It feels good writing this down. I always did like a to-do list.
@Vincent, I don’t think getting rid of her is a good option. First of all, I think Fred doesn’t actually want her to leave, he’s still too much on her hook.
Second, she is so messed up she would destroy Fred’s reputation and possibly his marriage and family. Imagine all the material she has, all the texts etc. and as Fred mentioned before, people suspect it anyway as they thought he was smitten by her, so any story she’ll tell will be totally credible. No doubt she would make up things and add to the story and she has the hard evidence to proof her point with the texts.
It’s not a good situation to be in, Fred. Wake up!
Agree with DrL’s advice, come clean to SO, at least you neutralize that threat from LO. And maybe you can work things out with SO and SO will help you stay away from LO.
If you do choose to disclose, think it through. Go back through some of the older blogs. Try to anticipate your SO’s response. When I disclosed the EA to my wife, she asked:
“Did you love her?”
I didn’t see that question coming. I said I’d never met her and we never spoke directly. LO #4 reached out when things went south for her and I responded to it. My wife asked again,
“But, did you love her?”
The best I could come up with was, “I don’t think so.”
NO Fred! Walk away! This will not end well.
I feel like Beetlejuice.
There is a third party here that is getting short shrift from you while you flirt with disaster in the form of a sociopath/BPD in a short skirt. Your SO.
“Steiner said she didn’t know it was abuse. I get that. I knew infidelity hurt like a (colorful word edited out by Lee), but I didn’t think it was abuse. It took me a long time to realize that it was intentional. Planned. Justified. That if Steiner was of use as a punching bag, I was of use as a chump. The person that must be triangulated against, cheated on, the dupe who makes the sex naughty. The giver of resources. The front of normalcy. I was all those things. I just didn’t wake up with a bloody head on a bathroom floor.”
Let me highlight the pertinent part again,
“The person that must be triangulated against, cheated on, the dupe who makes the sex (or flirting) naughty. The giver of resources. The front of normalcy.”
You like what she is dishing out Fred or you wouldn’t keep going back to do it again. Character is what you choose to do when you don’t think anyone important is watching.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if she isn’t setting up a lawsuit and will slowly walk over your body with a settlement check. In stilettos.
Lee is back making valid points again! YAY!
Once upon a time Dr. L said he imagined his wife sitting in a corner watching his carryings on with LO (or something like that). That was helpful to bring him back to reality.
Can you imagine your SO watching you as you told LO you loved her? How excruciating that would be for her! Don’t let LO destroy what you have! Be loyal to your SO. Can you imagine if she had a LO and the same things were happening? I am sure you would’t want her working with her LO or giving her stock in the company etc….
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
I was a weak, pallid stand-in for you, Lee. We all tried, but you are irreplaceable.
Clips of the Day: “Fatal Attraction” – 1987; “Body Heat” – 1981
“Fatal Attraction” was on cable over the weekend. I think I saw it with the love-bombing SIL of my co-worker when it came out. My wife distinctly remembers us seeing it together and we didn’t meet until early 1988. My guess is that “Body Heat” was one of the many movies I watched on one of the subs over the years.
It does make you wonder about the person sitting next to you in the theater…
Anonymous Limerent says
Today was Photo Day. Aside from the fact I can’t take a good photo (I just can’t force a smile, it looks really bad 😂) today had some stressful parts.
Firstly, I got into school and thought, like every day, ‘oh, I won’t see LO. Not until first lesson at least.’ But then I saw her, talking to her friends, walking down the stairs after coming out of my form room. She said ‘sorry’ for getting in my way (she didn’t really get in my way) and went down the stairs. Talk about a rough start.
Then it was just normal, medium-level stress for the first part of the day, until after break time, when we had our photos scheduled.
And I’m just not even surprised anymore.
LO’s form is S, mine’s W. So T is in between. We are supposed to get called up in alphabetical order, but like I said, I wasn’t surprised when her form and mine were called up at the same time.
I had to get my photo taken, then stand at the back of the hall to wait for the rest. I had to stand there, with nobody to talk to, to distract me, to tale me away from the stress of LO being in the line a few metres in front of me. While she kept turning around and looking at me. I felt very insecure at that moment.
The rest of the day was just like normal, except that in Maths, she crossed over to my side of the room at the end to talk to her friend – right in front of me.
So today was fun. I’m just not even surprised anymore; I just expect these things, I expect to be screwed over at every turn. It does mean I’m getting better at avoiding her, though.
New commenter. I’ve been voraciously consuming as many back posts as I can in the past few days. It’s such a relief to know that this phenomena isn’t “just me”, that it happens to other people too.
I’ve got a question on this topic. NC isn’t really an option for me, but LC is. I’m doing my best to engage in LC without arousing suspicion from LO, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t working. LO has asked me to lunch twice this week, and one of those times asked “where have YOU been?”. So, yeah…
Here’s my point. LO keeps coming back (yay, reciprocation. maybe. uncertainty. who knows. Really shouldn’t be my concern, multiple barriers. anyway.), and I’m sure I look like a flaky hot-and-cold goddamn mad person, as I’m internally struggling with NC/LC and occasional failures. Essentially, if LO is at all limerant for me (*shrug*, doing my best not to think about that), then I’m essentially flipping intermittent reinforcement onto LO, which might explain why they keep coming back. Aside from the fact that I legitimately care about LO (Again, I know, shouldn’t be my concern), I now have possible extra guilt from doing to LO what has been unintentionally (I believe) done to me.
Is the advice here “Just don’t think about it. get yourself back to normal”? I mean, as if I didn’t have enough guilt already.
Jackson, I don’t believe our guilt is always a mental tool to justify our reasoning for keeping contact with LO. It’s often genuine because we care about LO and how our limerent controlled behaviors affects them.
However, we know we can’t ever be true life-long friends with LO because of our LE. So its more caring and loving to end friendship now, rather than later. Though it will hurt like hell and you will feel guilt that you may be hurting LO because of your inability to be her friend (though you know you want more and hope she does too).
You didn’t mention if either of you disclosed. Sounds like not. I can’t imagine having to go through LO withdraw while being LC, instead of NC, but hopefully she’ll get the message after you’ve politely (work demands) turned down lunch invitations a few times.
No Disclosure. Imagined it a thousand times. Lizard brain got close once, when she called me on attempted NC. Executive brain stepped in with a not-untrue-but-vague-enough explanation. She either accepted it, or took it as a “he’ll tell me one day”. Given the multiple barriers I referenced earlier (our respective SOs are not even the only ones), disclosure is a bad idea if I don’t want my life to go sideways, but man it seems sometimes like it would be so nice not to be carrying that baggage internally only. But as Dr.L pointed out, that steps right into EA territory if I don’t also disclose to my SO, and I can’t do that right now (it is a really, really bad time to do so). Getting, personally, right up to the edge of what I would consider EA is what made me realize I had to step back in the first place, and then once the intrusive thoughts (fuck you dopamine addiction) started, I realized just how bad a problem I had.
I imagine LO probably has an inkling both how I feel, and that something is wrong. I’m not particularly subtle, I like to think I am, but I’m not. LC is doubly hard because I get to see LO’s reactions, know that she’s confused that the person she’s seeing now isn’t the same person she’s known and enjoyed the company of for a year now. Hence my question “what am I doing to her” and whether that’s something I can afford to spend any internal energy on.
Makes me feel like an ass, as if I didn’t already.
Hi Jackson and welcome.
The thing is, if you haven’t disclosed, the other person will wonder (and likely be very confused) about your behaviour. If they’re a grounded person, they won’t assume you behave strangely because you’re actually in love with them. She will just thing you are a bit odd, or fickle or something. If you can’t disclose, politely finding ways to avoid and totally limit contact has to be the best thing to do. You need to look after your own heart, but no need to be super harsh on the LO if it isn’t necessary. The truth is, if LOs knew what limerent people go through, they would prob understand. Really wish you the best with it all!
As if I wasn’t having enough trouble with LC, and thinking I was doing well, we had a department lunch today. I tried my best to sit in a place LO wouldn’t be near, and surround myself with teammates so there was no chance she’d be near me, but of course she sits down in the one free chair at my table, essentially across the table from me, bops me on the head with a menu, and asks why I haven’t been social lately. :/
And then I got to manage that for the next hour and a half. “Be social enough to look like a human being, but not social enough to engage depths-of-LE habits.” Instead of succeeding, I went back and forth between failing at both. Probably being too hard on myself, but that’s the way it felt at the time. Awkward as all fuck. And all the while wishing I could interact the habitual way where I could have enjoyed it properly. At least it tells me I was correct to turn down those lunch invitations earlier in the week.
The good news is, if you can look at it as good news, I can’t exactly say that the memory of this afternoon is a good memory, and associating negative memories with LO is one path to normalcy I guess.
Jackson ” Makes me feel like an ass, as if I didn’t already.”
I feel this as well with my LO, and of course she’s been so understanding and patient with all my LE craziness (which she fully knows about).
While I have failed with NC 4 times now, it at least starts with who should I be more of an ass towards, LO or SO.
LO who I don’t really know what it would be like living with and if she would even want to live with me if I was available, or SO who I have lived with for 38 years, raised 4 children together and I know will always be there for me. The easy choice is my SO, I just wish my limerent brain would make it easier.
The guilt comes because we allowed the situation to develop that we have to be an ass to either, but of course we’ve been an ass to both already, the SO just doesn’t know it.
Sadly, like most of us here, your limerent brain will not allow you to have a normal fun work husband relationship with your LO. Feeling awkward and an ass will be your normal at work for a while, but with time you’ll should find normalcy. But be prepared for the now avoided LO to up the anti and disclose feelings for you. What would you say and do?
Bob “But be prepared for the now avoided LO to up the anti and disclose feelings for you. What would you say and do?”
Oh man. I hadn’t even truly considered that. Not for real.
I don’t think she would, because I don’t… think… she feels the same. However, I can’t trust my instincts and I know it. They’re ALL out of whack, and I wasn’t ever the greatest at reading people in the first place (Ironically, I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the past few months). I thought she didn’t, then I thought she did, then not, then did, rinse repeat. In the past few weeks I’ve mostly convinced myself that she doesn’t. However, there’s enough uncertainty there that it’s possible, It’s certainly possible. If there wasn’t uncertainty and mixed signals there, I wouldn’t be in this mess nearly so deep.
Maybe if I’m honest I’m just hoping she doesn’t, and wouldn’t. Because until that day happens, I have plausible deniability. I can tell myself “nothing will happen with this because there is no other side.” A disclosure from her, towards me, would be a tremendous kick in the guts. I’m ashamed of myself that I let it get as far as it did (Again, right up to the edge of an EA), but relieved that I pulled myself back before I did anything that would truly violate my own moral code. A couple “we’re just friends, I promise” between me and my wife, and a couple very personal (non-sexual, but still quite emotionally connecting) conversations LO and I, but no lies nor lies-of-omission bigger than that. Nothing to truly cover up.
I like to believe that if the tables flipped and she disclosed to me, I’d be strong enough, for both of us, to keep us from doing anything stupid. Yes, I’d definitely like to believe that.
Don’t get me started ruminating on damsel-in-distressing THAT situation, of all things. lol.
Hey Jackson. Your situation sounds very close to mine, and I can definitely relate to the “oh god, I hope she doesn’t disclose because then what?!” scenario.
Sounds like you are doing all the right things now. Awkward social situations and negative encounters can be really valuable for the mental deprogramming – the trick is to try and associate those bad feelings with LO, to overwrite the previous giddy-with-infatuation feelings.
I’m kind of imagining you wobbling on the very edge of the precipice, arms wheeling in the air as you try to rock back onto your heels. You saved yourself just in time…
Hi Jackson and welcome!
As someone who is now NC after a 7 year LE (and now suffering mightily as I heal) I can say a couple of things I feel fairly sure of.
1. The LO’s know we are into them, they just do. They may play dumb, but they know. They love it. It’s an ego boost.
2. We limerents spend way way too much time worrying about hurting our LO’s feelings. It’s our own hearts we should be worrying about and protecting (who else is going to do it?), and we are the ones at the disadvantage, not them. If there is a SO involved THEIR feelings should be the worry, not the LO. A commitment is a matter of integrity and loyalty is far more important than LO’s feelings.
3. LO’s are not worrying about our feelings. They are worried about getting a hit from our adoration drug that we dispense to them. If they were worried about our feelings they would leave us alone.
4. Lot’s of people not afflicted by limerence wax and wane with work friends (or other kinds of friends). It’s just not that big of a deal. Of course if you are a limerent it’s a whole different animal. But waning on a “friendship” should not be something we feel guilty about. Limerent friendships are not authentic anyway. They are crushes on steroids.
5. Backing away is a power move…getting back your power and your mental health. And if already in a relationship, it empowers it!
There is my two cents! 🙂
Brilliant, Jaideux. Each point is spot on, and just what I need to hear right now, especially point #5. I hope it’ll help new members of our LWL community, too. Thank you.
Midlifer you are so welcome! I’ve been helped by this site so much (and still find it a huge source of strength and comfort) that it makes me happy to think I could give back a wee bit. I wish you success on your journey!
I second that. Great list, Jaideux.
Wow Dr. L …
So honored. But we both know I learned it all here. 🙂
After 6 weeks of NC, my LO texted me a few days ago replying to a text that she thought I sent, but it was one I actually sent a year ago. Seeing this as kismet, I seized the opportunity to restore our friendship and began texting and getting involved in each other’s life again.
Recap – I’m married 38 years. LO is single. 3 years ago had PA for 6 months, then close platonic friendship. Our relationship evolved into externally true friendship, that is, we didn’t flirt or speak intimately . We supported each other, shared our lives and many common interests, just like “real” friends. But of course, I always wanted more and kept the “now” platonic friendship secret from SO. This was my 4th NC attempt and each time I told LO it was because of my one-sided emotional affair with her and betrayal to my SO and marriage.
LO is fully aware of my love for her and how much distress and misery it causes me to be emotionally unfaithful to SO and that I will always want to be more than platonic friends. I can’t say I’m as fully aware of LO’s feelings if I was to divorce and ask to be with her. I do know she loves me as a close platonic friend and doesn’t want me to divorce for her. (I have no desire or reason to divorce other than wanting to be with LO).
Last night I asked LO to resume our close friendship. While waiting for reply, I was (just a little) hoping LO would put me out of my misery and say our friendship was unhealthy for me any my marriage. Instead, as always, she welcomed me back readily. Then I was up all night next to SO, thinking how I would be betraying her and the eventual lies and cover-ups to maintain my secret friendship with LO.
My LO is non-limerent and as mentioned, we’ve been good friends to each other, but of course, Dr. L called me out on the “elephant-sized but.” Also Lee’s admonition about my SO “getting short Shrift” from my LO attention.
So I texted LO this morning, saying again, that for my marriage I needed to go back on no contact. I even said I can’t resist her, so ignore any future texts from me. She sent back a very kind and compassionate text saying she understood, was worried about me and she loved and missed me. And if I ever wanted our friendship back she would be there (I guess she might not ignore me if I text her again).
I don’t think she’s a narcist. As Dr. L said, being non-limerent, she just can’t understand what I’m going through and why can’t we just be friends. She has many male friends, most are married. She is friends with all her former lovers (some still pursue her romantically).
Walking away from our friendship is so hard. I would really want our friendship, if I wasn’t limerent with her. I admire and respect her. I can’t imagine ever thinking “what did I ever see in her?”
I’m extremely introverted (see Dr. L’s blog about this and limerence) and she has been my only close friend in decades. Being very involved with my family (4 kids, 5 grandkids), I don’t need close friends to be happy, but I told myself I deserved one close friend, even if my SO didn’t know about it. Somehow I don’t think Lee would agree with this 🙂 Oh well, back to getting through NC attempt #5, Day 1.
Bob, I have not heard from my LO since walking away from him, leaving it up in the air if and when we see each other again. No text, nothing. I am wondering how he does, if he thinks about me, and if he maybe every once in a while even thinks back to being intimate with me (did it even mean something to him – given he discarded me straight after to pursue his new LO, or if he just misses me as a friend now? I am wondering if he has started to pursue a new LO (he told me about his friend who got recently divorced, she’s perfect to be susceptible to him giving her attention, follows his scheme) but… I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter, he can think, do, pursue whatever he likes. I wrote down two quotes for me to re-read, maybe they help you too, bob:
“3) Mentally wishing LO bon voyage –
When you catch your thoughts drifting back to LO, remember that you have said goodbye.
LO is living their new life, and you are living yours. They will go off and have adventures and disasters, and so will you, but your time together is done. You decided that. Wish them well, and stick to it.” DrL
“Eliminating the belief that maybe someday life will bring us together is critical in throwing away the key. If you hang on to the dream that maybe someday we’ll get together you’ll never fully move on. Tell yourself this relationship is permanently over and will never be.”
Sarah, thanks for those quotes. The hardest will be not hoping for a future with LO.
It’s best to try and think of the reasons why you walked away from your LO and not how he’s doing now, or who he’s with. While together, you would have felt if the relationship meant little to him, but it’s normal to 2nd guess that now. You also know how his limerent mind works. But as you said, it doesn’t matter. The experience is now part of who you are, but your moving on to new and better experiences.
Thanks, Bob! So I guess that means it did mean something to him at the time.
I always say: don’t leave SO for an LO. Only leave SO if you think you would be better off alone than with SO. I hope that was my reason to end things with LO. It is what I told him at least, that I would never leave my SO for him and because I told him that, he never did.
What I am a bit worried is though is if I ended things with LO because he didn’t show me enough commitment to do so. Because I wanted him to tell me to leave SO and didn’t. Because I wanted him to tell me he wants to be with me and stands by my side through everything that is to come if I leave SO. I wonder if that is all true and I would have left SO. Or would I not have the guts to do so. Part of me thinks, if LO promised me the world, I would have believed him. And that’s a scary thought.
I am not sure which of these two versions are true.
I feel you on the “no close friends but LO” front. I think that may be pretty common among introvert limmerants, and why we attach so hard. LO fulfills several roles for us. It may be a large part of why NC is so hard. Among other things, you’re losing one of your only emotional outlets.
Reading your recap, I don’t know how you went from PA to platonic to “true friendship” in such a quick time period (yes 3 years seems quick to me for that transition). It sounds to me like you’re not sure you really have. Sure PA may not be going on, but “forced platonic” isn’t an honest friendship. You said so yourself in your reply to my comment.
You DO deserve close friends, we all do. It’s just life-being-a-bitch resulting in the one you found ultimately being unhealthy for you. Trust me I commiserate with you on this. It’s happened to me multiple times.
Depressingly, it makes me wonder how many true friends of the opposite sex limmerants can have. Anybody that compatible with us is likely to spark glimmer, and we know where that goes if you’re not super vigilant.
Jackson “I don’t know how you went from PA to platonic to “true friendship” ”
I never transitioned in my heart from PA to platonic, so yes, for my part if was forced on me by LO and has been hell these last couple years.
But I truly enjoyed her friendship, it was just the wanting more that was hell. I would endure the misery to keep her friendship if I wasn’t married. But as having any close friend, particularly of opposite gender, would be out of character, I would have to lie and cover-up the friendship with SO. It felt the same as being in an affair and of course I do love LO, so it was still an EA, even if one-sided (mine) and outwardly platonic (definitely not in my mind).
I think it would be especially rare for an introverted limerent to be able to have a true friend of the opposite gender.
I do have one “true friend” that is of the opposite sex, my best friend through late HS, college, and early working career, who ironically enough was LO #3 (current one is #4. after finding this site, I… cataloged), but it took more than a decade of NC after my second LE for LO #3, plus most likely the current existence of LO#4 and ongoing LE for LO #4, to get me to this point with LO #3.
And after reading this site, I’m no longer sure that if circumstances were different that there wouldn’t be a possible LE at the end of that road (LO #3) either. All I can say is right now I honestly feel no stirrings of LE nor glimmer. There is no desire to “be with her”. But I believe Dr.L would say that the pathways to that are still in my brain.
LO #3 has been a ton of help with my current LE for LO #4, and I really truly hope that a real platonic friendship with her isn’t a pipe dream long term.
Other than that, I have had a bunch of “good” friends who were of the opposite sex, but the single unifying theme is I wasn’t truly attracted to any of them.
Amen! I am not going to have any more close friends of the opposite sex. I cannot risk it ever again. My wonderful girlfriends are lovely and loyal and very nurturing, and one day if I find a well matched fellow and can authentically and honestly cultivate an honorable romantic relationship then so be it. Until then I protect my heart, and keep a friendly distance from gentlemen and avoid drama and pain.
(And drug addled excitement).
Personally I don’t think men and women can truly be friends.
In general Men have female friends in order to pursue them romantically or have them on the back burner. When an opportunity arises, they’ll happily risk the “friendship” for something more.
Women do believe that they can be friends with a man, but in my experience when they look closer at their actual male friends, there is either some history of him making of move, or a belief that he would if offered a chance.
It’s the When Harry met Sally thing, and I’m with Harry.
I’m mostly with you Vincent, but you and I are definitely wired in similar ways. I would say that I can be authentic great friends with a number of married women…that my SO also knows. And some women that I am not attracted to.
I haven’t written anything here before, but this site has been a lifesaver for me. About a half a year into NC with LO with whom I had an EA. It grew over the course of a year- with the last 4-5 months getting very serious- love professed, futures imagined… it was discovered by my SO and I haven’t spoken to my LO since D-day. I had never heard of the term limerence until I began this healing process, and it explains so much! It makes sense of things I’ve experienced since I was young. My LO had been a climbing partner (within a climbing group) for almost 10 years. The glimmer happened about two years ago, and it has been a slow descent since.
Since NC began it has really been a process for me. I believe that LO and I are, were, both limerent; I am still. He seems to be so too. I read something somewhere that said that limerents can live a long time on crumbs. I find it all so confusing!! I love my SO, see that our life together is absolutely the one that I want, and that LO and I would never last together, but the craving hasn’t left. Up until about 2 weeks ago, LO would show up places that I was, and just happen to be driving by… I report all sightings to my SO, and it was multiple times in a week. I know that made getting back to neutral next to impossible. It has stopped, he’s not doing it anymore, but I feel like those crumbs did more for me than I realized, and I am mourning their loss.
The other thing that I’m really struggling with is feelings of huge amounts of guilt for having hurt him- Which was discussed in the article about closure being impossible. The thing that bothers me the most is that we both opened up so much to each other- it was inappropriate but the things we discussed were real, and then it ended and the last communication we had was me saying it had all been a mistake and I regretted it and didn’t want to have any more contact ever. It feels cruel. Even though I know it’s the only way to heal my relationship with my SO. I think often of wanting to apologize and get (impossible) closure.
I am seeing that the things I’ve always wanted in a relationship are actually possible, in reality, with my SO. And we’re being more honest and open and loving with each other than ever. So, when am I just going to be here in reality? When am I going to be free? I’m afraid I’ll never heal fully- that I’ll always have to walk around with a half broken heart.
Hi Janesays. To answer your last question first – you won’t always walk around with that half-broken heart. It gets better. In fact, chances are near certain you will not really be able to remember why you felt that way, and won’t quite believe how messed up you felt. Limerence is like that for most people once the neurochemical storm passes.
It is rough to have to cut off LO abruptly, but it is definitely the right choice. For one thing, it prioritises your husband’s feelings over LO’s feelings, which is the appropriate way around. For another, it is better for both you and LO in the long run to break this cycle of mutual limerent reinforcement. It might seem cruel in the short term, but stringing out an unhealthy EA that was on course to break up at least one marriage is hardly kind!
You’ve taken the responsibility of ending the LE on yourself, and that’s a really important step for recovery. Trying to bargain and find just the right moment or just the right way to finish things neatly is pretty much futile. There’s always unfinished business, so the only solution is to accept that it ends, “finished” or not.
Hey Jaynesays. I have also felt this feeling of never fully over coming this LE but I will and you will to. I can totally relate to the limerence living off crumbs. This is something I feel my LO gives me. Hopefully not your LO has left you alone you will now be able to fully withdraw from LO. Done be fooled into feeling heart broken. As I’m sure you are feeling and very justified. However this is an addiction. As mentioned in posts here, I do not believe in twin flames and like you said in reality you do not want to be with LO. You may have had genuine feelings for LO and I know all is limerents feel bad for our LO’s but you are the only person who can save yourself. I believe if you keep your positivity with your SO and keep working on that. Try and think back to when your LE started and what was going on at the time? Did you need an escape? It might bring more clarity to your feelings. It’s slow but it sounds like you’ve made a tonne of progress already. I try not to look at the road ahead but look how far I’ve come. I remember I was so depressed LO was in my every thought, I couldn’t sleep, eat or focus on anything else. You will heal in time and be glad your LO has left you alone in order to fully withdraw. I wish mine would.
Dr L this post is true to many of us. But I was wondering if you could do a follow on post from this and how to finally move on from LO’s with LC. It appears that many people who can only do LC spiral back. I know there are strategies for deprogramming but is there anything in more depth you can write about regarding LC?
I agree, and that would be timely for me, as it happens. I am on the verge of giving up on LC. But then really going NC would require tearing apart large chunks of my life, as so many of my most fun and meaningful activities are ones that LO does too. But it’s possible that changes that radical are needed. I just don’t know. It’s going to continue to be a world of pain either way. Whatever I decide to do, I’m thankful that I can do it under the care of my therapist.
Midlifer this is also me. If I was to really go NC as far as I can, then I would have to give up my kids clubs which would mean them missing out. That’s not something I will consider.
My sympathies to you, Rachel. That sounds hard.
Thanks midlifer. It makes me feel sad that there’s a whole bunch of us suffering in this stuck feeling…
I lost my climbing community and longtime friendships (didn’t lost the friends necessarily, just the time and activity that bonded us) and it was really hard. Scarier, though, to think of never getting back to neutral and staying sick forever. Why does freedom from this also seem frightening? I know from experience that when it’s done it feels better- but I also feel that being free will feel like a death of sorts. It’s so twisted to be so loyal to my captivity.
This also sounds hard, Janesays. My sympathies to you as well.
LO asked me to lunch again today. 3rd one in a row I’ve turned down. This time I had a legitimate reason, I had business plans with a vendor. I gave LO a quick cheeky reply, which she found amusing, and that was that.
I feel good about it. In fact, I feel so good that I’m concerned it’s just another minor dopamine hit from having a pleasant interaction, no matter how small, with LO.
Man, this constant second-guessing of my own reactions just blows goats.
Lunch was pretty good though. Lol.
Just my two cents, keep interactions neutral. Cheeky reply, making her laugh = making you smile (aka dopamine hit) she will ask again…
Totally right Sarah. I’m taking this advice for myself as well as I’ve slipped. Thanks. I hope your feeling better
Yeah, I’m good. Recovered from my own little mental relapse that happened even without any interaction with LO – stupid brain. Just me feeling a bit melancholic.
I think this path to limerence freedom is like the trajectory of a bouncy ball: at first it makes huge jumps, extreme difference between the high and low, and from a time perspective takes quite a while for that “bounce”. But the more it goes on, the less hight the bouncy ball gets, and the distance between each bounce gets smaller. So to say, your magnitude of limerence relapse (the height of the bounce) is getting less and less, and it takes less and less time to recover from the relapse. Until one day, the ball comes to a stop and your LE will be over.
“So to say, your magnitude of limerence relapse (the height of the bounce) is getting less and less, and it takes less and less time to recover from the relapse. Until one day, the ball comes to a stop and your LE will be over.”
In case you want to do the math…
Yes Sarah I agree. My lows are nowhere near as low as before and I come out of it fairly quickly. Let’s hope the ball stops soon.
“With the constant fraction model, it seems that the ball will require an infinite number of bounces to come to rest. Intuition says that it will take an infinite amount of time for this to occur. Analysis however, shows that in this model, the ball can make an infinite number of bounces in a finite amount of time.”
I take that to support my argument that although my brain says this LE will never be over (Intuition says that it will take an infinite amount of time for this to occur), it actually will be over at some point 🙂
You’re probably right. It goes against my nature, so it’s hard. Making people laugh is just a thing I do, mostly without even thinking about it.
I’m pretty sure it’s a deep-seated need to try and make people like me, which I’m sure you can see dovetails nicely with limerent tendencies.
That’s just my natural interaction with people, so I will have to watch it, but on the other hand I’m specifically trying NOT to pre-prepare responses to any interaction with LO, because that entails thinking about interacting with her, which almost instantly turns into waaayyy more time thinking about her than I would like. *sigh*
Not preparing for an LO interaction is a big step.
So an interaction with LO today has made me realise how deluded I’ve been for a while now thinking I am in control on my limerence. I’ve looked through my search history and I’ve googled my LO over 10 times a day recently. Not only him but his SO. I’ve freaked myself out seeing it in black and white realising how obsessed I actually am still. I feel heavily messed up again and slipped back into a bigger relapse than I thought. I am also searching for answers on here when I know what needs to be done. I just wanted to say thank you to everybody for your support on here, it’s been a life saver in a time of true darkness but it’s time I had a break and really pushed to move on from this. This person I am at the moment isn’t me and I don’t want to be like this anymore. Thank you again
Oh, Rachel, take care of yourself. Thank you for all your support too.
Rachel, thank you for all the support you gave me! I wish you all the strength there is to get your LE under control and reach sweet freedom.
We’re here if you need us! 😘 good luck!
Today was a great LC day. At first. Crashed HARD though at the end, and wanted to share.
This morning was the first time I remember driving to work and not having more than one or two involuntary thoughts. After a week and a half of targeted, consistent, LC/NC, I got my first taste of getting my old normal thought process back, and it was fantastic. I hadn’t even fully realized what I was missing.
Early in the day, LO text messaged me with a technical question. I answered neutrally, nothing more, and closed the convo immediately after. Later on she showed up looking for a spare part, I handed it to her, and went back to my conversation with a peer. No highs, no lows, professional interaction. Great success.
Come lunchtime, I was expecting the possibility of a lunch invite from her (anybody following me knows that’s a common occurrence) and I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d say “no” yet again, or say “yes” in the spirit of phased withdrawal attempting to avoid awkward confrontation, but there was no invite. If I’m honest, I was disappointed, because who doesn’t want to to feel wanted, even if you know it’s bad for you. Talked some sense into myself and reminded me that this is actually what I need, even if it’s not what I want. Got back on an even keel.
However, late in the afternoon she came into my office (shared office, several of us in here) and sat down at a spare desk. Now, for context, this isn’t uncommon. We’ve all got laptops and are free to work from anywhere in the building if we so please. I greeted her when she walked in, in a friendly, if not exuberant, fashion, and didn’t say anything else to her. I’m pretty sure that over the next hour LO may have said even less to me, the whole time she was there. She had conversations both professional and friendly (if not particularly personal) with my boss and my co-worker, but didn’t even engage me once.
I gotta be honest, it drove me NUTS. To be fair, I wasn’t talking to her either, because I’m purposely engaging in LC/NC, but LO doesn’t know that. I’ve never discussed any of this with her, and to the best of my knowledge I’m one of her best, if not her best, friend in the office, so I just don’t get it.
So I crashed. I don’t think it was outwardly obvious (no odd reactions from my coworkers), but I got only a little work done the rest of the day after she left, and on the ride home, I’m going back and forth between full-on intrusive thoughts of “What was she doing? Was that calculated (possibly, but to what end)? Is she just that flaky and oblivious (probably. I am not blind to her flaws)?” and telling myself “You are way, WAY over-reacting to this and need to snap out of it”. Cycles of this.
Until finally, finally, I get it. I’m not mad at LO. Not truly. I’m mad at me.
I’m better than this. I should be able to exercise more control over my emotions any my reactions. This afternoon shouldn’t, and doesn’t matter, to my self-worth. I don’t need anybody else’s approval. Moreover, LO participating in NC, whether I asked her to or she decided to on her own, for whatever reason, is what I NEED. I should be thanking her.
Once I realized what was really going on, the anger left and was replaced by a mix of sadness and shame, which I’m still sorting. I’m not particularly great with feelings, but I’m processing. Being able to talk to you guys help so, so much. I’m so thankful I found this place. I feel the trials and tribulations of each and every one of you. I’ve been there.
Jackson, my LO surprised me with an invitation to his wedding (I didn’t know he was dating) and of course my limerent world turned upside down but I now keep thinking how this was a GIFT! Previously I couldn’t maintain NC although I tried several times, but this was just the catalyst I needed and I am doing quite well, 100% NC in fact for 9 months! He’s tried to reach out a few times but I am not available to him any longer. So….her giving you NC or at leas LC is a gift to you! Take it and run!
I don’t expect it to last, The reason I posted it here is because LO keeps coming back… but here’s to hoping.
Worst part is I know that deep down I don’t want LO to go cold on me. I just know that I need it.
Do you dream about your LO? If so, what do your dreams tell you?
When I told the therapist about my dreams of LO #2 & LO #4, she said that they indicated that I knew the right answer but I didn’t want to accept it. DrL has a blog about LO dreams.
Only once, that I recall, many months ago. It was very much a “cuddly, familiar, bonding” type of dream. It intensified the LE and desire for reciprocation. I had been hovering on the edge of “I can handle a normal close friendship with LO, like a responsible monogamous adult”, and plunged me headlong into dumb.
I’d count this as a positive day, Jackson. You might have felt crappy at the end, but you’ve correctly diagnosed the actual cause and focused on processing your own emotional response. That’s the shift in mindset needed for recovery. Sort of shifting from a generic wail of “Why is this happening to meeee?” to a more analytical, “why is this happening to me?”
Everything I’ve read, including here, is pointing towards “something is missing or some need is unaddressed” in my subconscious, but I can’t figure out what it is, not yet anyway. On a conceptual level, I can know that this LE (my first in a decade and a half) is a symptom of something else, but the very nature of LE and intrusive thoughts and trying to think about the problem without thinking about LO is so damn difficult. I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I truly both understand and accept that this is “all me”. Knowing that I need to is not at all the same as actually doing so, unfortunately.
Work in progress.
Got two weeks of easy NC coming up (LO is on vacation, then I am, back to back) so hopefully I can get some clarity in there.
What I have learned from my experience, slowly, is that if you can manage to sit with these aversive states of emptiness, longing, grief, heartache — they create space for some awareness to emerge of what it is in you that is crying out for your attention. To make it bearable, you can follow sort of a sine wave, cycling back and forth between sitting with the aversive states and doing some positive concrete form of self-care (like calling a non-LO friend just to chat and catch up with them). Knowing that you will have the recurrent buffer of positive activity helps you bear up through the aversive-state phases of the cycle long enough at a time for some deep insights to emerge eventually. The key thing is to accept that you are feeling that way and not be frustrated and wish it would instantly go away, but rather focus on feeling it, because cumulatively that will teach you things. I hope this is helpful.
It’s not “all you”. You just got caught in the crosshairs of someone who enjoyed becoming a LO, and you were a bit vulnerable to becoming one. It takes two to tango, and it takes two to populate a LE. Shields up!
I don’t completely disagree Jaideux. I didn’t realize I was prone to limerence until this LE and until I found this site (I didn’t even know what limerence was before this site, I thought it was just me being stupid about relationships in my outh), but I totally am. For sure.
However… LO #4 is my 5th major LE in my lifetime (LO #3 actually got two separate LEs, years apart), but this is the first one in 15 years. The first one since I met and married my wife. The first one since I became a mature adult with an understanding of adult responsibilities and an understanding of real love. It’s NOT the first time I’ve experienced the glimmer though in those 15 years. I didn’t know what to call those “hey, this person is extra interesting” notions at the time, but in retrospect that, glimmer is what it was. None of it ever went anywhere though, not until LO #4.
This is telling me that something is different this time. Maybe you’re right, and LO #4 let my limerent tendencies go further than any other glimmer, maybe even led them on. That may be true. She’s told me once that she had a problem at previous jobs with male coworkers disclosing crushes and such to her, when all she wanted was their friendship. That sounds like somebody who is a compulsive flirt, but I don’t really think she is. I think she’s just being herself, which is somebody with a vivacious and playful personality, although I think she DOES like the attention.
All that said however, I’m a big believer in personal responsibility. I cannot and will not say this is true for anybody else on the site, but in my case I let this go too far. In fact, if I’m honest with myself, I instigated. I put on the charm (such as I have). I gave her more attention than I gave anybody else, and she liked it. And I liked that she liked it, because it gave me an ego boost. It still does. I don’t know why I think I need the ego boost, at this stage in my life. I’m approaching mid-life (some would say I’m already there). Maybe I feel like I need to prove “I can still attract somebody” even if there’s objectively no need to do so. I love my wife. I don’t truly want anybody else, and I certainly don’t want to ruin what we have or start over at this stage of my life. Through it all, I’ve told myself that LO#4 was just somebody I wanted to be friends with (objectively I did, and still do), but it was always just a little bit more. I made excuses, to myself, but that’s what it was. I was “buying lumber for a house I’ll never build”. Trust me, I see the pointlessness in this, clear as day, but I’m still doing it. The shame is real. Maybe I thought the fact that we both were in long term committed relationships made it “safe”, because I “knew it could never go anywhere”.
And of course, due to my tendency towards limerence, and the fact that I’m putting extra attention towards a LO who is naturally a bit flakey (I’m not the only person who knows LO to note this), along the mutual SOs which originally made me consider her “safe” to charm, means the intermittent reinforcement and barriers and uncertainty all add up to “I done played myself”.
I got myself in this mess. LO may have helped, but I stepped onto the slippery slope. I didn’t realize at the time what I was doing, at all. I’ll be far more cautious in the future, and I STILL have to figure out what the deep-seated need I’m trying to fulfil is.
I do really appreciate your (and everybody else’s) advice and opinions. Check my assumptions, please. lol.
I think you are spot on with all your thoughts. I think similarly and have similar experience. My husband and I lived 2.5 years on different continents, and never has anything happened. But like you, there was the glimmer a few times that never went any further. Until this LE, when something was different.
As Jaideux said, it takes two to tango and that it developed further is very much dependent on LO, as your LO likes the attention and consciously or unconsciously even reinforced it. And as you say, she is a bit of a flirt, so she’s well aware of how other people perceive her.
You felt safe by both your commitments to an SO, but if you’re honest that is just pushing responsibility to circumstances. Unfortunately that is not a good enough reason to actually stay away.
I think you have the right attitude taking ownership and accountability (aka you got yourself into this, you got on that slippery slope and it is you that needs to get off of it). With that determination, I think you’ll be able to get over this LE!
“I didn’t realize at the time what I was doing, at all. I’ll be far more cautious in the future, and I STILL have to figure out what the deep-seated need I’m trying to fulfil is.”
How much does your wife know about this? The reason I ask is it may affect that process. A therapist might help but working with one is usually pretty overt. I was lucky in that I have an EAP program at work and did a lot of it on company time.
My wife and I are currently working with different therapists to address long-standing issues in our marriage. Those issues led to an environment that was conducive to the LE and indirectly led me to encountering LO #4. I went over my LEs with the therapist. I went into detail on the last one. I said we knew something was there but I really didn’t see how things developed as they did. I told the therapist I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing but not where LO #4 might be coming from. She said that from how I told the story, it probably wasn’t all that hard to figure out.
The therapist said that LO #4 was putting out all this stuff but I read between the lines. The therapist said LO #4 felt I was listening to her and she felt heard. The therapist said that feeling heard is really powerful and she responded to it. I told the therapist LO #4 had once told me that it felt nice to be appreciated. The therapist said that supported the point. The therapist said when things went south for her, LO #4 reached out because she felt she could talk to me and she trusted me. I responded to that. I told the therapist I tend to be really loyal to people who trust me. I told the therapist that once someone trusts me, I’ll bust my fanny to keep it and show it wasn’t misplaced. I told the therapist I told LO #4 that I never want her to regret trusting me and reaching out to me. The subject of trust came up more than once during the LE. One of the first vibes I got from LO #4 was she didn’t trust the guy she was with and I told her that, indirectly. The therapist said that probably contributed to her feeling heard. If I could pick that out of what she was saying, I had to be listening.
The therapist said that kind of misplaced loyalty can be a vulnerability and was what got me into the EA. Loyalty to an attractive, intelligent, charming redhead with a delightfully snarky sense of humor who’s not my wife was not a smart move. It was good attribute applied in an inappropriate circumstance.
LO #4 wasn’t aware of my vulnerability, the baggage I carry, and how she played into it. Until I disclosed to her, LO #4 was an unwitting participant. In the disclosure, I told her she’d played into an unidentified vulnerability I had but not what it was.
If you’re interested in some DIY work on why you might be limerent, I recommend you check out https://sharischreiber.com/do-you-love-to-be-needed/ . Schreiber’s site is more directed at co-dependents attracted to partners with Cluster B personality disorders. Co-dependence and limerence are different but there’s overlap that makes it worth checking out. You may or not find something you relate to.
Jackson…..I personally think she knows what she is doing and probably has a touch of the narcissist in her. I think, I might, in those circumstances, choose a long trip to the toilet or some where else where you could avoid the direct, prolonged presence. Photocopying room is always a great excuse too. If you make a habit of doing limited contact in these situations, she may not do this again or lose her interest if you appear to lose yours.
I think managing limerence is a lot about replacing old habits with new ones. If she always has lunch in the works restaurant at 13.00….You take yours at 12.00 or whatever…so that avoidance becomes the norm. My former LO was always in a coffee shop nearby….I found a new one. It is massively empowering to not be where they are… but to take control back. I call my strategy for avoiding my LO..testudo. I say every morning….. nothing will break my shield. Childish perhaps but I like it.
First time poster here, suffering a work based limerence, I’ve been working as a professor’s aide for about 4 years without much incident. My job is primarily to motivate college students to do deeper personal study on their own time. Well, after one day’s lecture a student, normally silent, came up and asked me demurely about my interest in Japanese culture. I mentioned demurely because she had a method of gazing at me, she’d look for like half a second then flit her eyes elsewhere. At the time, I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. I was a little surprised. This continued with increasing frequency. This is where the limerence started to pick up. She was so incredibly shy, I think that may be one of my triggers actually. I didn’t want to compromise myself by extending contact further, and my limerence was still somewhat low. But, I did massively look forward to attending that particular lecture every day.
I even made Christmas presents for every student in that lecture, a laminated bookmark (which I only wanted to give to her of course, but could cover my tracks by giving to everyone) Eventually, that class was over. I then managed to parley with my department to get into another class she was in. She appeared overjoyed to see me there. We’d continue after class banter, she started to lean into me occasionally. To “accidentally” touch the same thing at the same time I did causing our hands to touch. Needless to say, this drove me mad. The highs were incredible.
I mentioned that there was an upcoming new manga book club. She seemed incredibly excited about it. I never asked her to join it with me, but I went and she was there. The frequency of our “accidental” touches increased, we’d always sit next to each other. That continued for about three months until she took time off to study for a huge exam. During that time she didn’t come. I hadn’t made it a point to get her number or anything because I was mostly happy just sitting next to her at the book club. Before she had left she invited me to a music festival. I was kind of blindsided by the invite, but obviously happy. I had intended to go anyway though. There I met some of her friends along with a guy she seemed interested in. In hindsight, I wonder if she invited me specifically for me to see him. It’s still a conspiracy theory though even now. I just know what it crushed me to see them together. It was after the festival that I realized that this situation was pretty messed up.
I’d have been pretty down after all this if it weren’t for the party we both went to. It was after the music festival and I was still feeling some kind of way about being snubbed. During the din and the ruckus of the party, we both got a chance to talk. It was her, I and a previous professor. I mentioned (to the professor) how it would be nice to keep in contact with students even after they graduate and how I want to stay in the city even after this year (my contract was about up). My LO took that opportunity to mention how she was planning on staying in the city too, to pursue a graduate degree, and made a point to lean into my shoulder as well.
That would be pretty solid evidence of at least some kind of feeling towards me I thought. But even after that, we got a chance to talk just the two of us. I, after mustering up some courage, managed to tell her a heartfelt thank you for always being there with me in the manga book club.
She didn’t say anything but she gave me a look. It’s a look I’ve never seen anyone ever give anyone else in my life. Like a curious stare, but also hungry, but also kind. I should have asked what it was but I was too shooketh.
After the party, I went to the manga book club without her for a while. I wasn’t really sure she’d come back. It was painful to be there while she wasn’t. I mentioned over text how much I was looking forward to her coming back. She reacted positively. That raised my spirits a little. We saw each other in passing occasionally, she’d compulsively draw her hair behind her ear. I researched this of course, it can mean openness and interest. I wonder.
She did come back. Things were a little different though, we didn’t have “accidental” brushes anymore. We still sat together but she’d sometimes sit somewhere else, about every other day. Then, rather suddenly, the manga book club disbanded. She had long since finished the last class I was a teacher’s assistant for. We lost our “reason” to be together. I suggested some ideas to hang out but she didn’t respond.
We come to today. I see her sometimes, but rarely. She seems genuinely interested when we speak. But she still has the same guy from the festival around. I really just want to go NC, she’s on my mind constantly, I remember when we used to sit together…
The big problem is the texting. She’s completely withdrawn. Only I send messages now, I talk about Christmas, memories, etc. She only responds when I show signs of stopping the messages, she’ll say “Thanks for always texting me!” and “I’m really sorry I haven’t been able to respond.” Just getting something from her, and knowing she reads the messages feeds my compulsions. I think she’s drawing positive regard. I still feel terrible that she never responds. She used to.
But I remember what I said at that party. I’m afraid to go NC because what if she has some reason for not responding?? What if she does still want to hang out after she graduates? What if NC ruins that? She won’t say, she won’t send anything. Thus my limerence continues. Thus my messages continue. What should I do?
Absolution: “what if she has some reason for not responding??”
LOs all have a reason for not responding my friend. All of them.
Trying to figure out what that reason is, will drive you mad. Because the reason changes. It’s whatever your limerent brain needs it to be at that moment. Limerence isn’t in search of truth, it’s in search of the next high. Trust me I know it well.
Personally, Reading everybody’s experiences here, I think there is a real reason, for every LO, why they’re so often maddeningly inconsistent. It’s the flip side of limerence. We’re taking hits off of their attention… and they’re taking hits off of our attention. They WANT to have somebody fawn over them, because… who wouldn’t?
I think the greatest defense against LOs tendency towards periodic reinforcing of our LE is to:
1. Recognize that’s what’s going on. Not a fortuitous re-connection, or a reconsideration of the relationship between you two, etc.
2. Accept, and become ok with, uncertainty.
I will not claim I’m great at any of this personally. But I’m trying.
Yes. I agree totally. I get reinforcement just by seeing her name somewhere. I appreciate that this isn’t healthy but still, I want the high. I need to go NC. I have to, otherwise, I won’t be able to move forward. But, what if she does want to reconnect?!
She probably will want to reconnect if you go NC. She wants you, at least your attention, in her life. It’s an ego boost, it’s a bright spot in her life, plus she probably honestly does like you personally.
But, and this is a big but, she most likely (be brutally honest with yourself here, you have to) doesn’t view the dynamic between the two of you the way you do… or at least the way you would want her to.
You are in a power discrepancy relationship where she has virtually all of it, and that is not healthy for you. You have to pull back for your own mental well being. If she gets lonely for you company, that’s ok. It’s good, even.
When she comes back, do not jump immediately. Take honest stock about her actions and tone. Is she coming back for the kind of interaction you want? If not you either need to be clear and unambiguous about what you want (as others have suggested), or you need to walk away with your head held high.
I’ll be honest. Given the age of the LO involved, this probably won’t work out. Most people in college don’t truly know who they are and what they really want… But that’s ok. Maybe you find each other again in ten years. More likely you find somebody better.
In the mean time, give those other dates their fair chance. Speaking from experience here.
Absolution, I agree with Jackson, there is always a reason holding LO back, and you go mad trying to figuring it out.
Have you thought about disclosing to her? Then you will hear what she has to say about all of this. It seems that she is in a relationship with this other guy, so I don’t see much chance in turning that around, but you never know? At least it may give you some closure?
My guess is that she had feelings for you, but somehow this other guy may have been there at the right place and right time snd she went with it.
Especially also since she’s not proactively texting anymore, it seems that maybe there was something there that has now changed and she is keeping the distance, but not letting you fully go for whatever reason: left over feelings? Or just memories?
Thanks to both of you Sarah and Jackson, for responding!
I’ve considered full disclosure. I mean she quite obviously knows how I feel from the fact that I keep messaging her. I can’t meet her reliably because she doesn’t respond to requests to meet or talk. It’s always spontaneous when we happen to meet. Add to that that I don’t want to fully disclose over text because I’m almost entirely sure she’ll not respond to that either. Then I’ll be burning even more with nothing left.
The distance is the most painful part. I wish I knew what she was thinking. If there are mitigating factors I don’t know about. My limerent brain has created the story that things will change once she graduates. Then she’ll be free to come back around and things will return to how they used to be. But she hasn’t said that and there’s really not much to suggest it either. So I’m just holding on to prayers and whispers. Feelings, memories, I’m willing to take those and make them into a future, if allowed…
It sounds very painful, Absolution, I feel ya.
Is there any legal or moral reason as to why you couldn’t be in a relationship as you work at the uni she’s a student at?
If you asked to meet and talk and she declines, I think that’s a strong sign she does not want to hear your side (for whatever reason). Put yourself in her shoes, if there was something holding you back, wouldn’t you want to tell the other person or hint it in any way or give some explanation? Maybe you don’t do it proactively, but if given the chance, wouldn’t you take it?
You give her that opportunity by asking to meet, and she actively avoids it. I think that is also a statement.
Absolution I have to tell you that Sarah and Jackson are right! With my LO, I disclosed, he made a vague and confusing yet complementary response, that sort of gave me hope, but not exactly….it was really bewildering and in hindsight disclosing was just a big waste of time and emotion and counter productive. I tried to cut him of a few times (go NC) but he would get super clingy and I just wasn’t strong enough at that time to stay the course. He basically kept me wrapped around his finger for SEVEN YEARS. And now I am totally NC, and he is married and I am doing the massive job of healing a pulverized heart that now has severe trust issues.
So my advice to you is, cut her off! She seems to be toying with you and you deserve better. Why feed her ego? She put you under her spell from the beginning and maybe she does find you to be special, but she needs to know you’re not going to be waiting around forever (like I did) and if you snooze you lose. Don’t waste your life on someone that doesn’t adore you like you adore them! If she reaches out to you ask her directly “would you be interested in going on a date?” and accept nothing but clarity. All my friends begged me to move on during my LE and I was terrified that if I did I might lose a chance we would end up together and we would live happily ever after. But in hindsight if I did have a chance I ruined it by hanging on. He told me he had ‘considered’ me but maybe my super availability made me LESS interesting. I now think that it’s for the best we are not together (what kind of character defect must a person have that leads a person on for years and how would that translate in a committed relationship?) but I have learned…never, ever, ever get settled in the Friend Zone. It leads to misery! Get out as soon as you can!
“I mean she quite obviously knows how I feel from the fact that I keep messaging her. “
Trouble is, being too keen puts people off, you end up looking desperate. Putting some time and space between you has a double benefit – she might start to wonder why you’ve disappeared and realise what she’s missing and secondly you can start to get over her and find someone else (I’m assuming you’re single).
Based on what you’ve said this situation sounds pretty straightforward. She likes you but is now with someone else. You’re currently in the friends zone I suspect. When things started up with you maybe they weren’t together but this other guy has beat you to it. They might split up and she’ll come back to you, she might marry him. Who knows, but I would treat this as a missed opportunity and go out there to find another.
Agree with Vincent. “Based on what you’ve said this situation sounds pretty straightforward. She likes you but is now with someone else. You’re currently in the friends zone I suspect. When things started up with you maybe they weren’t together but this other guy has beat you to it. They might split up and she’ll come back to you, she might marry him. Who knows, but I would treat this as a missed opportunity and go out there to find another.” that summarizes my thoughts as well
As to Sarah’s point, it’s more of a moral dilemma. That might also have something to do with her reluctance.
I would agree with you if she actively avoided me when we happened to meet naturally but she always smiles super big and is more animated when we talk than at any time I’ve seen her in any other situation. I mean the ideal situation is she’s kind of immature and doesn’t know what she wants, and wants to hold on to both me and him. I mean that’s not really ideal in any real sense but… You see what I mean.
To Vincent’s point, and thanks for the comment! I completely understand, overeagerness is highly unattractive. I am indeed single. There are at least a few other women who have shown some interest and I actually have a date set up next week, but these women aren’t her…
I’m afraid to get to close to anyone if for instance my LO is waiting for something.
Song of the Day: “Love the One You’re With – Stephen Stills (1970)
LO #1 & LO #3 were both roommates of women I was initially interested in. The months I spent with LO #1 were some of the best of my life. LO #3 and I never left the gate.
Who knows? One of those other women might make you a better offer. Considering your LO is offering you nothing, anything divided by zero is infinity. Ok, technically, dividing by zero is undefined but the analogy works better with infinity.
To go to Vincent’s point of it might bring your LO around, be careful with that. Dating someone and dumping them should your LO come around is a really crappy thing to do to someone who’s dealing with you in good faith. I did it to someone and it’s the one thing in life that’s caused me lasting regret. LO #2 and I broke up and I started dating someone else. LO #2 made noises about coming back. We had a few years of past and I thought we had a future so I dumped the other woman to get back together with LO #2.
If dumping her wasn’t bad enough, I did it really poorly. I still remember her standing in my living room with tears streaming down her cheeks and telling me, “She’s (LO #2) using you!” I told her that was a chance I had to take. I don’t regret the decision to get back together with LO #2 but if I could have one “do over” in life, it would be to spare that woman the pain I caused her. It turned out she was right but by the time I learned that, I could never face that woman again.
Casually dating someone is fine but make sure the person you’re dating is on the same page. You may think you’re just killing time but the woman you’re with may have other ideas.
Yes, I don’t want to deceive any dating partners I may have. At the same time, it would be nice to at least have the possibility of transference. I just don’t like the idea of pining after LO whilst courting other people. It feels disingenuous.
I should just go NC. No goodbyes, and avoidance. Replace texting with journaling. Ok! From now onward!!
It’s only disingenuous if you’re holding out on the possibility you having a relationship with your LO. When I was dating the other woman after the first breakup, I was dating her in good faith. I had no idea LO #2 would want to reconcile. But, after that, I made the decision that if we ever broke up again, I’d never turn over another woman to get back with LO #2.
Meeting my wife gave me the reason I needed cut LO #2 out of my life entirely. My wife knew early on that I’d asked LO #2 to marry me and that she was still lurking in the background. My wife flat out told me she had concerns that I was still seeing LO #2 and I’d dump her to get back with LO #2. My wife had no idea I’d actually done that before.
In the end, it was a no brainer.
I’m sorry if this seems blunt, but I feel I need to contribute something that might reflect her point of view: at some point most girls get tired of a guy who never makes a move to ask her out. I think she clearly signalled with the subtle flirting of going up to you, smiling, hair twirling, etc. that she wanted you to pursue her. While you might be happy to stay home and think about her, she wants to actually be with you, or if not you, someone else, in the here and now, getting to know each other, going out to places, having fun, and doing exciting things to each other’s bodies. It’s no consolation to her, when she’s spending yet another Saturday night alone, that you might be thinking about her.
Thanks for the message, Satch! I agree with your assessment. I did actually have a chance to seal the deal at one point but I dropped the ball. I wonder sometimes if that’s why she’s gone cold.
I do very much want a second chance though. Willing to wait for it.
Yeah, Satch… I agree and have been in that position. There was a guy at work that I was interested in, he never made a move and neither did I as I was unsure and in a less senior position so I would have been embarrassed if I misinterpreted the situation. I hinted going out for drinks etc., he never went for it. I eventually met someone and am now married to him. People later told me that he planned to ask me out after coming to my bday party. Too bad I introduced my boyfriend at that party to everyone.
Absolution, it might be time to move on… This may have been a missed opportunity. Do what you must, by all means, to maybe turn this around, but I think the window may be closed. Definitely don’t hang on to the eventual possibility in the future. You’ll just waste time waiting around and maybe even missing out on a great girl worthy of you right in front of you.
@Absolution. I agree that dating is hugely intimidating, especially if you really like a girl and need to completely win her over, “seal the deal” as you say. And it’s hard to date other girls, they may have similarly high expectations. I think it’s important to lower your goals, to something like “go out for coffee and have a nice chat”. That’s it, don’t have any higher expectations than that. If you succeed with that, you’ve met your goal, and can set a slightly more challenging one. In my opinion, most things in life are like lifting weights, you can’t expect to lift like Arnie right off the bat, you have to build up strength by starting small and training those muscles with kindness.
It might be time to set her aside in your mind and focus on your self-development, as Dr. Limmerence advises. I think I’ve gained the most confidence from breaking my own bad habits, that’s a huge boost. Maybe join some kind of activity where you interact with girls one on one, in a friendly way, with no expectations. Join a yoga class, my lord they’ll adore you. Maybe read Mars and Venus on a Date, or Dating for Dummies, or another book that explains about stages of intimacy, male/female expectations, and so forth. I’m about to turn 60 years old, so I feel entitled to be a know-it-all.
@Satch Thanks again for the comment!
I’ll try some of your suggestions. I’m always looking for new books to read. Mars and Venus on a Date sounds pretty interesting.
There are certainly plenty of things I need to do to get myself in a better place mentally. I just haven’t done them, that’s the best place to start I’m guessing.
Yes! What Vincent said!
I could really put this comment under this blog post or the recent social media one as it relates to both. And I’m still fairly new to this blog and I’m not sure how the comment threads work so maybe no one will read this but I’m putting it out there into the void nevertheless.
I work with LO so NC really isn’t an option. There are weekends and long holidays like this one (10 days), where I can really feel the benefit of NC and the healing it provides. I’m spending time with my SO and her family and thinking about LO less and less. I know facebook has an algorithm that pretty much knows which friends’ pages you check the most and it automatically puts those friends’ newest updates right at the top. I always see LO’s new stuff minutes after she posts it. And it always hits me in the gut anytime i see anything new from her. I assume she sees the same on mine since she admitted a mutual crush when I disclosed. She has also dropped little nuggets of info here and there that tells me she has sifted through my Facebook. And by the way, the comments in the social media blog post about posting stuff with LO in mind is absolutely true.
So anyway, today I make a rare post about how beautiful my SO is (which I never do because I find it so annoying when others do!). Within 10 minutes, LO has updated her profile to include a pic of her and her SO. I know she is actively on FB but she doesn’t post much. So naturally I start thinking she did that in an attempt to make me jealous or pull me back. And she logged off FB and hasn’t been back on in hours. Like she had it ready in response to something I would post. It could all just be coincidence and my limerent brain has overanalyzed yet again. I know it’s pathetic of me to assume this had anything to do with me. But it’s even more pathetic of LO if it’s true.
Hey B. This sounds a little like my situation. Mutual disclosure, married with kids. Firstly, what was your intention of putting that post on FB in the first place? Was it to get a reaction.. answer this yourself honestly. Even a little reaction.
My best advice would be to come off social media. I to am very much guilty of these game playing that I do on a semi subconscious level.
Realistically you need to come of social medal or delete LO. Every I post has my LO in mind somewhere and I hate it. So I just don’t post. I unfollow LO but it does take will power of steel not to snoop. I wish I could go NC as I spriral back once I start to heal. You need to go as LC as you can. But I’m not the best one to advice a as LO creeps back into my life and mind as my guard drops and I start to feel like I’m moving on. Good luck in the future. Try and focus on your so and family the next few days. I’ve been bad today with LO but tomorrow. The hell with him… It’s all about family. Last Xmas LO was on my mind constantly and although LO is not constantly on my mind I know he still has a place there and will not budge.
That’s a great question. I honestly thought I was doing it with good intentions. I know my SO thrives off affirmation and that’s not easy for me to express but I wanted to do this. She has actually worked extremely hard to lose a lot of weight and get in shape (incidentally her weight loss journey has coincided almost exactly with my LE. Weird). I know she wouldn’t post something herself about it so I did it. Maybe I thought LO would see it but here’s the thing. After I disclosed, it became apparent that although there was a mutual crush, it was not mutual limerence. LO and I have had a few awkward conversations about it. She knows that I have struggled with this but she doesn’t seem to. She even mentioned getting another job to force NC. There have been times even where I think my LE might make her uncomfortable. So I would think that her seeing me happy with SO would be a positive for her. If I’m right about this, she is pure narcissistic, as has been written about by Dr. L. It helps for me to think this is the case, as it makes her that much more unattractive.
B I have little doubt that your LO’s post was in response to yours. Your analyzing is likely correct.
But. I think Rachel is spot on. Social media is gonna kill your attempts to keep LO out of your head. And you need to keep LO out of your head. If y ou’re willing to take some advice from somebody who is backsliding on LC himself… Don’t focus on whether the LE is mutual or whether LO is a narcissistic or what LO is thinking about at all. Down that path lies madness.
If you must, just assume that your LO is conflicted herself. Humans are messy beings. She may not be trying to hurt you. Maybe she is. Maybe she doesn’t know what she means to do. Assigning any “she did this to signal X to me” meaning to her actions in your head means you’re linking her actions to yourself in your head, reinforcing the mental bond, no matter what “X” is. Do your best to let it go.
You can’t expect an LO to honor our needs, it’s nice if they do, but they’re not responsible for us, only we are.
Gotta love social media! I am not friends with my LO on social media, our respective SO’s would have a mutual cow if we did. However I’ve really had to be strong not to stalk him on FB/Insta and look at his photos, so far it’s day 8 of N/C and I haven’t snuck a peek……yet.
I know he’s looked at my Insta account in the past on several occasions as he’s let slip a few bits of very specific information that he’d only know if he’d looked. Occasionally LO will come up in my feed on FB as we have mutual friends, I am assuming it’s the same for him.
So far LO has only crossed my mind about 20 times, winning 😒
Merry Christmas everyone, may your mind be LO-free today.
Agree with the others, don’t analyze every bit that LO does, it will just prevent you from healing. Luckily my LO doesn’t post a thing so no need to check if there is anything new.
I’ve had one last contact with LO, I’ve texted him after the xmas party as I heard he’s sick. I texted him to ask how he is. I think I did that to sorta give a sign that I don’t want things to be awkward should we see each other again. He politely replied without much questions, it was a short conversation. I think I also did it to signal that I am not avoiding him (although I guess I am), but that I am ok. I don’t know maybe my limerent brain is doing this justification now and my motives are different. I’d hope to think they aren’t.
Too much has happened between LO and I so I think even the friendship train has passed now (and I think he realized that now too). So I can now fully move on to leave this part of my life behind me and in the past.
I hate that I still think about LO so much, he just pops up in my head, so many things are triggering it. Xmas of course… 2 years ago I literally had like a live feed with LO, I’ve pretty much updated him about everything, food, presents, people (that was pre PA), then last year I had little internet connection as I was on sea but I still sent an update to him every once in a while (that was after end of PA 3)… and now? I don’t want to text LO, I don’t want him in my life at all. Yet he still pops up so many times. I hope I’ll be able to keep LO out of my mind for good in 2020.
Two of my LOs fell in the non-limerent category (option 3). They were empathic people in general, but not empathic regarding limerent suffering, obviously having never experienced limerent suffering themselves. I must admit, I felt extremely invalidated and/or “emotionally invisible” in these so-called friendships. The LO’s lack of empathy for me became a source of friction almost.
I.e. in both cases, my “friend” (LO) was causing me pain and yet couldn’t acknowledge they were the cause of the pain. Maybe they assumed there was something wrong with me (mental illness?) because I seemed increasingly upset around them, and couldn’t really articulate how or why I was upset. We couldn’t “talk it through”. Talking only make things worse, magnified the negative emotions involved. I felt like shouting: “Why can’t you see me?”
When I removed myself from the orbit of these two LOs (too painful to continue the association), the pain lessened significantly although rumination took a while to die down. In hindsight, my LOs must have found their effect on me troubling. Imagine trying to be a good person and a good friend but everything you say and do causes another human unbearable distress. What to make of it? Who wants to say, “I am a good person, and through kind actions I have somehow caused another enormous suffering.” It doesn’t square with traditional ideas of morality.
Good people aren’t supposed to bring unhappiness to other good people, right? But limerence laughs in the face of how relationships are supposed to work. Because of limerence, I have become a little bit wary of all friendships.
“I am a good person, and through kind actions I have somehow caused another enormous suffering……Good people aren’t supposed to bring unhappiness to other good people” – I think in the case of an LE, it is not an LO being kind that causes the suffering but how the limerent engages with that. So it is the limerent that causes their own suffering, not the kind friend.
That said, I agree on the friendship wariness front….I have many male friends but my best friends have almost always been female…..safe as no risk of infatuation.
“I think in the case of an LE, it is not an LO being kind that causes the suffering but how the limerent engages with that. So it is the limerent that causes their own suffering, not the kind friend.”
Thanks, Allie. Yes, you’re absolutely right in the point you make.
What I probably meant to say was: “If they didn’t give me any positive feedback in the first place, I’d have never become hooked!” Haha! But that’s a bit like blaming drugs for drug addiction and not the addict. I may have become addicted naively, but now I know about addiction and its potentially unpleasant side-effects, I have to make responsible choices.
Did you disclose to them Sammy? Did they know you had feelings for them?
Yes and no. One of them sort of guessed something was up, but assumed I was only interested in her sexually. She misinterpreted limerence as physical attraction only (a desire for casual sex, not romantic bonding). She sent me a very long-winded, wordy email that was almost impossible to decipher. I guess she was saying “no”, which was/is absolutely fine by me, but said it in such a convoluted way it was hard to find the “no”. (I really wish people, male and female alike, would just learn to be blunt).
Anyway, the whole experience was so embarrassing I did and I didn’t want to interact with her anymore, though she still assumed we were the best of mates, which felt bizarre (at least to me!). She probably always saw us as great friends. We’d known each other at least five years, since high school and I’d been close friends with her brother. She told me her secrets.
Unfortunately, I’d never seen her as purely a friend. My imagination cast her as something more. The very first day I saw her I felt like I knew her already. (I actually wondered if she was a distant relative, because the sense of “recognition” was so uncanny, frightening even). And yes, I felt a strange burst of pleasure whenever I was around her, although I had no idea what this “chemical rush” could possibly be. It felt stronger than other crushes I’d had; I didn’t fantasise about doing anything sexual with her. I was having trouble categorising the budding connection.
After the email, we still talked to each other on the phone and exchanged regular emails. For a while, it seemed as if things had righted themselves. But the emotional pain in my chest wouldn’t go away. The pain in my head wouldn’t go away. I became afraid to read her emails, because I was afraid she’d say something else that my brain would interpret as judgemental.
I craved her approval. I became terrified of displeasing her. Six months later, I attempted suicide, though I never explicitly connected the suicide attempt to my friendship with her. I was simply “losing control” of my own thoughts. I thought I was going crazy. I even asked my treating psychiatrist if he thought I was crazy. He declined to answer, but prescribed me antidepressants, which do actually help with limerent symptoms, as they make you feel flat/numb. He thought I had some kind of “adjustment disorder”. (A fancy way of saying “patient is stressed out by current life circumstances and vulnerable to stress in general”).
Eventually, girl and I drifted apart. Or, rather, we abruptly stopped talking to each other. I think she was sick of my neediness and wanted a break.
And I was sick of being patronised, sick of her pretending to be my devoted friend when she wasn’t. Some months before this, she did send me a gracious message about a week after I was discharged from hospital. Funny thing is: in the chaos surrounding my suicide attempt, I’d temporarily forgotten all about her and was shocked to get her letter!
I disclosed quite early on to the other LO, who I met many years later when I was about 30. She wouldn’t give me a clear answer yes or no. I think she enjoyed certain “benefits” of our entanglement (sex, attention, etc) and didn’t want to lose those benefits by being frank with me.
We had an on-again, off-again love affair for just over six years, but finally I put my foot down and said “no more”. The ambiguous romantic dance we were doing just didn’t feel satisfying. (Interestingly, my limerent craving for her did drop noticeably at the three-year mark, although it didn’t end completely until after I ended the friendship for good out of an intellectual desire to know what “emotional autonomy” might feel like).
There were no tears or tantrums this time round. I asked her not to contact me, and I haven’t seen her or heard a peep out of her since. In this regard, she is an honourable person at least. The really odd thing is I honestly wouldn’t have pursued either female if not for limerence. The chemical high created by limerence was the only thing that made these bonds desirable. Limerence made the lack of common goals seem irrelevant.
Sorry for the rambling response. But good to get all that off my chest! 🙂
Being a member of this forum has helped me refine my thoughts on limerence and I’ve always believed I’ve had 3 LEs in life, but now I think it’s just the 2 – the 2 that I describe in detail above. I’ve had many pleasant crushes that certainly had the POTENTIAL to turn into limerence, but never reached critical density. I think my third LO wasn’t a true LO, but an “almost LO”. There was some overlap between this person and one of my other LOs. The other LO won that contest!
So, just to recap, I’ve had two experiences of full-blown limerence – one in my late teens/early twenties and one spanning the first half of my thirties. Before LE1, some years of anxiety and between LE1 and LE2 some very anxious years indeed.
Forgive me for being so pedantic, but I feel excited, like I’m seeing my life in perspective for the first time, understanding where the puzzle pieces fit. Hopefully now I can find a way to deal with anxiety without resorting to limerence – assuming I’ve used limerence in the past to escape my negative emotions.
Thank you for your question, Emma. Your inquiry has enabled me to put some complicated feelings into what I feel is an emotionally satisfying context.
This is my story For me we both are limerant for eachother, but I think I am more for him than he is me. he was a very flirtatious person and would commonly flirt with me in class (i am a 15 yo girl lol) and then our flirting led to him asking to date later that afternoon on call. and he’s lowkey kind of a player but i didn’t care bc it was kind of a desperate time at that time. I had never been asked out before by a dude. and i was very flattered that he chose me. so after i hung up the call i immediately told my bsf (who is also My ex girlfriend but it was a cringe middle school relationship, and decided after two years of being together “we really are just friends”) but she informed me that he is kind of a shitty person and i can date him if i want but it would be unlikely that it would go well. then the next day She texts me not to date him and that i am not that desperate.. but i would have been lying if i told her i wasn’t. I wanted to, but i began to feel a bit anxious and i did what she said and told him it would be better if we were just friends. because i was the type of person to fall for anyone that is nice to me and lovedd attention back then. and i told him that.After that we were fine being just friends and i had blocked out my feelings for him and did not feel them anymore for a few months, and we hung out together as friends outside of school too. hes the type of person that doesn’t have a filter and would say whatever. who would make remarks about you for shock .often times he would say things that could be counted as flirting but i kind of thought “that’s just how he is”but once day we went out to a roller rink then he couldn’t skate and we got bored and left it was dark and cold at night and we were walking to a pizza restaurant and since it was so cold he started like huddling up to me and like he wrapped his jacket around me and we were walking pretty close together with my arm wrapped around him and his around me etc..then the feelings all came flooding back to me again but worse than before. the next day i could not stop thinking about it. and it just got worse and worse from there and he started kind of flirting with me again. but this is around the time that my LO and that friend got in a massive argument and she hates his guts. but she has always reacted very overly strongly to most situations. but this is where the limerance starts. I start feeling like i need to hide my feeling for him around my bsf, but that also feels wrong so i think i need to get over him, long story short i failed to , and the uncertainty starts where we are both very on and off. and i want him so badly but i know that it would not benefit me to have him and realistically i never will be able to. kind of my fault but i just wish he had not done that to my bsf cause we do get along and he is so good at casual conversation and so silly and stupid but also crappy sometimes. also LO dates other people. we have fun talking about it but it doesn’t last long and then he is flirting with me again. a close friend of LO’s actually asked me out. we went on one date and stopped and my LO referred to himself as our wingman, but it’s not the same as HIM. it was kind of to distract myself from him and maybe his close friend was better?after that i decided to do a focusing on myself journey and it significantly helped.i’m no way desperate or lonely at all now actually i’m the opposite that’s a bit embarrassing that i was. now its that i enjoy thinking about him and hate it at the same time, and i like the feeling of being a limerant for him but at the same time don’t and cannot stop.it feels exhilarating but also annoying. i like what we have because it is not boring. yesterday he told me he has a love hate relationship with me, and i also do with him so at least we feel the same way?? yesterday was also the last day my LO was going to be in my classes so i think he was trying to rizz me up one last time because he thought he might not see me anymore ? which didn’t help. i know he wants me and he was bold by saying that he knows i want him. I never ride the bus to get home but tomorrow i will start to just so i can see him. it’s hard to move on.i am so delusional. i also think my case is sort of unique