One of the philosophical pillars of this site is that limerence isn’t in itself a problem; it becomes a problem when the circumstances of a particular limerence episode cause a transition into full-blown person addiction. This might seem like a fine distinction, but it’s an important one. A useful analogy to clarify things could be pair-bonding. Forming a bond with someone isn’t a bad thing, but there are obvious problems with bonding with someone toxic, or married, or emotionally unavailable, or inappropriate in any of a wide range of other interesting ways.
Another philosophical pillar of the site is that recovery depends on you making an active decision to free yourself from the limerence. Until you make the choice that you want to end it, you’re never going to succeed. A begging spouse, the risk of professional harm, the embarrassment of public censure – these are powerful forces, but until you resolve to take action, they will probably only cause you to feel bad while you carry on with your limerence-seeking behaviour. You have to be resolute to actually stop.
Resolve is a good foundation stone for recovery. You can resolve to change your behaviour even though you know it will be difficult. You can resolve to not respond to a provocative LO even though you really want to. Resolve rises above the toil of moment to moment coping, and is a sort of guiding star – “I will do this despite it being hard, because I know it is the right thing to do”. Resolve is a strong determination to do something on principled grounds, not because it is easy or expedient.
But it can also be psychologically risky.
Resolving to do something important and then doing it brings major rewards – and not the glittery, giddy rewards of limerence, the lasting reward of reinforcing your self image as a decent, reliable and effective person. Resolving to do something and then giving up has the opposite effect. You reinforce a negative self image as someone unreliable and weak willed. This is especially insidious if you are using limerence for mood regulation because resolving but failing will make you seek comfort through LO-medication. So, the critical thing is knowing when and how to use resolve effectively, and then making it as likely as possible that you will successfully follow through.
Let’s tackle that challenge. What can you do to maximise your resolve to end unwanted limerence?
1) Be realistic
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Resolving to concentrate on overcoming limerence is realistic; resolving to never make contact with LO ever again is not. Resolving to reduce the frequency of your daydreaming is achievable; resolving to never think of them again is not.
Resolve is not about expunging all weaknesses and acting always with perfect judgement. Resolve is about the direction that you are taking, the compass you are using to orient yourself, and the principles that you are going to use as a guide to behaviour. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll have moments of weakness. A big part of success is responding to failures by learning from them and doing incrementally better next time. Resolve to be better, not perfect.
2) Take responsibility
You’re in charge. The limerence is happening in your head, and so you are the one most able to fix it. Although that responsibility could be a burden, it’s also a comfort. If you want to recover, it is in your power to do so. That’s why it’s so important to focus on your behaviour and not theirs. They could be deliberately tempting you, they could try and keep you hooked, but you don’t have to rise to the bait.
By focusing your resolve on your own behaviour you massively simplify the problem. “I will not respond to texts from LO after 8 pm.” Nobody else is involved in your ability to stick to that resolution. Nobody else can undermine it. You have simplified the problem down to one where you have full responsibility.
3) Accept the labour
Meaningful resolve always comes with labour. Resisting limerence will take work, and if you accept that from the outset it won’t come as such an unpleasant surprise. Some of that labour will involve the personal discomfort of confronting your failings, your bad choices, and the events in your past that made you vulnerable to limerence. More acutely, though, the labour will be coping with the pain of loss.
I’ve talked before about the tangle of complex emotions caused by disenfranchised grief that often follows No Contact with an LO. You are resolving to do something testing, to keep going when you are tired of maintaining discipline, to stick to your principles when you want to give in to false comforts. There will be relapses and backsteps, days when you contact LO on flimsy premises, days when the craving is so bad you want to relapse. There will be days when you wonder if the pain of limerence is maybe preferable to the pain of withdrawal, because at least it comes with a few thrills.
On days like that, when your motivation and discipline are flagging, remember that you signed up for this labour. It’s the inescapable cost of recovery. If you have to, resort to bloody-minded stubbornness to stay on course. There is nobility in stubbornly trudging through the rain and the mud, especially when it’s the only way to get back to the warmth of home and hearth.
More than that, though, labour is a good in itself. It builds strength, it builds resilience, and in fact, it’s the only way to build anything of value. So, when your resolve is shaken, don’t give up. Accept the labour, get down on your hands and knees, and start filling the cracks in your rocked foundations with fresh cement.
4) Focus beyond the limerence
The final principle, and probably the most important, is that you have to have something worth fighting for. The most immediate benefit of sticking to your resolve is freedom. Freedom from the intrusive thoughts, emotional turmoil, and the disruption to your life, but there are other benefits too. Clarity of thinking, for one. Emerging from limerence can genuinely feel like emerging from brain fog – you remember all the things you used to think about and care about, and remember what it’s like to have a mind that is calmer, more rational, and more logical. This is great, but can also be a bit abstract, so it really helps to have a more concrete plans for how the future will be better after limerence.
This is where the purposeful living element of recovery is so powerful. This is the “why” of why you want to be better. What do you want your life to be like? What do you want to spend your energy and ambition on? Instead of simply hoping to get over LO, resolve to make your life fundamentally better in important ways. You have to be able to look beyond the labour of recovery and see something valuable that you are working towards. What are you striving for? Perhaps it is a vastly better relationship with your spouse and family. Perhaps it’s a new job, or better yet, a new vocation. Perhaps it’s a artistic dream, or a practical one. Maybe it’s time to build that dream home, retrain as a doctor, write a book, get healthy, create beauty? Whatever it is, it should be aspirational and inspirational.
It’s amazing what pillars, foundations, and concrete ambitions can achieve.
Wow, Dr L. I think this is my favourite post to date! Thank you for taking the time to write it. You’re right; Progress not perfection and trudging along when necessary still sounds good to me.
Thanks, Holly. “Progress not perfection” is a good general maxim. Maybe even a mantra to mutter while trudging through the mud…
The “labour of coping with the pain of loss”. That’s it exactly. I’m on Day 8 of a goal of not initiating text or e-mail contact with my LO for 21 days in a row. The sense of something meaningful really being over now is crushing. I feel like I’m walking around carrying twenty extra pounds inside my heart.
Love it, Midlifer. 21 days without initiating is a great goal. Totally within your control, and ambitious without being unrealistic. Exactly in the psychological sweet spot. Stick with it!
Isn’t there a somewhat transitory aspect to all relationships? Can you try and think that this will liberate you to experience something even more meaningful, Midlifer? Rather than staring mournfully at the closing door, can you turn around and look through the door(s) that could be opening? You seem like such a wonderful, thoughtful person. Surely there are lots of well deserving friends or acquaintenances who would love to spend more time with you if given an opportunity. Could that lift a pound or two from your heart?
Bert that’s a kind thing to say and really good advice!
Midlifer I’m trying to do just what Bert suggested and am accepting all invitations and generating them too! Trying to be there for my friends and really not focus just on myself and you know what? The weight IS lifting off my shoulders and I am healing. LO has been toppled off the pedestal I had him on and the huge gaping hole in my heart is closing and the ennui lifting. It will happen for you too!!!
Thank you so much, Bert and Jaideux and Dr L.
Bert, I appreciate your kind words and wise advice. I’m trying this out and I think it helps. Warm regards to all.
Man Dr.L, I feel almost like you wrote this one for me. There is so much applicable here. I’m going to have to re-read it a few times. Yesterday alone had a TON of this in it, moments of weakness, LO tempting, backsliding, reinforcing my own decisions to stubbornly trudge through this, unpacking what was going on in my own head, etc.
On that topic, there’s a Churchill quote I’ve been repeating to myself a lot lately, hell I probably learned it here somewhere, but it’s gold: “When you’re going through hell, keep going”
“When you’re going through hell, keep going”
Yep, one of my favourites too.
Very well written piece, DrL, as usual.
I have neither heard from nor seen LO, since our last catch-up. I am not even counting the days of NC. There were a few moments where I wanted to text LO, a few weak moments where I wished to find a stupid reason to reach out and have a relapse. But I didn’t – I signed up for the labor. I have a plan and I stick to it. And you know what? Live is ok. The withdrawal pains are getting less, and there is beauty in other aspects of my life. Not occupying myself with LO has given me time to focus on other things: my kids, my work, my SO and my uni work. And it feels good not to constantly be distracted by LO thoughts.
My next test of limerence freedom will be the xmas party, where LO and his LO most likely will be. I will prepare myself mentally for it, wear my anti limerence armor and surround myself with fun and interesting people. I’m sure it’s gonna be fine.
Good plan. And also a good example of how important mindset is to recovery. The difference between “Oh no, what will happen, what will LO do, how will I feel?” and “this will be testing, but I have a plan and aim to have fun.”
I am 6 months No Contact . I haven’t seen my LO for nearly 8 months as I have avoided places where I know she will be.
I often ask myself how she, is where she is etc.But I find it empowering that I haven’t demeaned myself by calling etc.
I have found it hard work and I have recently been going through a phase of wanting to reach out. My advice to anyone thinking of reaching out… Remember the 5 worst, most embarrassing episodes with your LO and replay them in your head. Or roleplay in your head a negative reaction to your breaking NC, be that either a call or text or personal encounter.
I have kept a journal for 6 months where I write all of my feelings and everything down and it is cathartic.
If you think about LO where she is, what she does, keep telling yourself, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to know. She lives her live, you live yours. If she’s sad, happy, angry, ecstatic… it doesn’t matter. It does not impact your live, your mood or your thoughts. At least that’s what I kept telling myself when I thought about LO. It helped to gain mental distance.
Sarah, the idea of “she lives her life, I live mine” is so incredibly sad to me. I totally get what you’re saying and part of me knows that is true and healthy but I cannot for the life of me accept it. The sadness in that concept almost brings me to tears. That and your comment below about accepting the fact that me and LO will never be under any circumstances. So sad. That concept is the same to me as grieving the death of a very close friend or family member.
I didn’t mean to hurt you with my comments, B. Yes, losing an LO feels very much like losing someone close, a few people I have commented that on here.
I wish you the strength to find a way that works for you to get out of this limerence fog and live a happy, purposeful life again.
But this is what we go through when an LE or LO is lost, grief.
I have found it hard work accepting the loss and realising that there is no future. But it’s important in any situation like this to be kind to yourself and recognise that you are in recovery. It will, like all grief , take time to get over.
There may come a time, post-LE, where returning to your LO just looks lame.
Here’s a clip from “Almost Live,” a TV show from the 80s-90s. It had a regular feature called “The Lame List.” The band is Soundgarden.
They could add a new item, “Returning to your LO after you said goodbye.”
OT: If you want to see some hilarious clips, Google “Almost Live Worst Girlfriend In The World.” There are a series of them.
This one’s for lowendj! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLSrKYTd_Us
Hahaha! Love the Yoko moment!
I rarely comment here but I feel the need to unburden myself and hopefully find some support from this community. My LE is about 9 months in. Work colleague, so NC is not an option. Disclosure has already occurred, mostly because I was losing my grip on sanity and I had convinced myself she was also limerent for me. But alas, she wasn’t. She admitted attraction to me and thoughts of me when we’re apart. We are both married. I feel so much shame and loneliness. The blog a few posts back about LO who won’t go away was so enlightening. I can’t imagine she is narcissistic (she is perfect to me after all!) but I do think she enjoys keeping me around. I envy her that she can have a crush but not let herself fall into a LE. I try to convince myself she is becoming limerent more recently, with her actions and behavior toward me. Why else would she intentionally put herself around me unnecessarily more and more if she thinks I’m a creep? And because we work together I know I took a HUGE risk with disclosure. I handed her a grenade with which she could have blown up my life but she didn’t. She is that much more special to me for not doing that. I feel such strong attachment to her, I miss her so badly when we’re apart that I feel physical symptoms (headaches, neck tension/pain, insomnia). My weekends (when I don’t see her) are hell. Depression is setting in. I’m off work all week next week so I won’t see her for a while. And today is her birthday of all things and I can’t stop thinking about her. I love my wife so much and our marriage is stronger now than it ever has been, although this is the one thing I feel like I can’t talk to wife about. I am sick with limerence and afraid I don’t have the will power to take control. I just want to give up.
I am sorry you are having a tough time.I can relate to the feelings you are having.
I think the fact that you love your wife is crucial here. This is a positive foundation….maintain it at all costs. I think you have to at least go LC with LO…….Get some support here on this site and a therapist..and diarise your feelings. Perhaps longer term va change of department or job may be on the cards.Best wishes.
B, that’s a tough spot to be in.
“…but I do think she enjoys keeping me around.” Yeah, most likely. Why else would someone continue to fuel the feelings in the other person.
“I try to convince myself she is becoming limerent more recently, with her actions and behavior toward me.” Why do you want to convince yourself of that? Because maybe if she’s also limerent for you there’s a chance for you two?
“Why else would she intentionally put herself around me unnecessarily more and more if she thinks I’m a creep?” because she’s human and even if not having narcissistic traits, she probably enjoys the feeling of being wanted and the feeling that someone think she’s special.
Not sure if you have started LC, but if that’s the case, it could also be that she senses that you are trying to stay away so she tries to ensure you are still on the hook.
If you are close to SO and love her, your weekends shouldn’t be that awful.
It also seems that your LO is still on a special pedestal for you, as you said, not telling anyone about your disclosure makes her “even more special”. She is for sure not a bad person. But this LE is a negative experience for you, hence you should try to change something to make it better for you. You gotta decide what’s more important to you, SO or LO (it seems SO from your text above) that means LO’s got to go. You’ll have to distance from her, otherwise the LE won’t end unfortunately.
To answer your question about why I try to convince myself, yes, sadly. I know my limerence has blinded me to the point where I would act on my feelings (assuming LO initiated it) even though it would hurt the one I love the most. I know I probably would even though I also know I would regret it for the rest of my life. That is limerence after all. Just like drug addiction. Dr. L’s posts about insecurity and midlife are EXACTLY me.
As far as the weekend thing goes, every weekend takes the same cycle: Friday leaving work, it is a dark depression, sick to my stomach feeling of missing her. Spending time with my wife slowly helps to relieve that. By Saturday things are brighter. It makes me understand why NC is so important. I start to see how life could be without LO In it. By Sunday I am quite happy although the happiness is somewhat from the thought of seeing her again Monday morning. Over and over it goes.
B, as long as there is some condition that you accept that would change things for you to be with LO (i.e. if x happens, I would be with LO), however unlikely it is, you are not ready mentally to let LO go (and get over the LE). You have to accept the fact that you and LO will never be, under no circumstances, only then will you be able to let go. I have been there, I’ve bargained through any unlikely scenario that could possibly end up with me and LO together. And you’ll be looking for signs that make that happen (like you thinking wether her actions show she might be limerent for you after all) or you may try to actively steer into the direction of getting LO to confess she wants you after all (this is sometimes disguised as trying to get closure, secretly hoping for the unlikely other event to occur, that LO confesses feelings for you too).
Fighting your way out of LE is a lengthy laborious process, but you have to get mentally ready to embark on the journey to limerence freedom. Your mind has to want to get over it.
I have read and re-read every comment here so many times but I keep coming back to this:
“Why else would she intentionally put herself around me unnecessarily more and more if she thinks I’m a creep?” because she’s human and even if not having narcissistic traits, she probably enjoys the feeling of being wanted and the feeling that someone think she’s special.”
Thank you for that clarity. That helps me more than you know. It’s so simple yet so enlightening. Thank you again.
You are welcome 😊
Wow B, your situation is similar to mine, the key differences are that I disclosed to SO and then at a later time to LO.
SO didn’t take it well to say the least.
LO on the other hand took it well and hoped I would be ok. LC 8 months, and NC 5 months.
The first week after disclosing to LO was the most I’ve ever cried.
I am using the resolve to live purposefully and have gained a new appreciation for work, hobbies, family, friends, and especially SO.
Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories, it means a lot to know that you’re not the only one who’s going through this.
Anonymous Limerent says
B, my situation was like yours a few months into my LE. I go to school with her and every night and weekend and holiday was hell.
Now I’m still here, after having avoided and looked away from her at every turn, and I wish I could say it’s better now. It’s not. From my experience, if you think your depression is bad now, it’s got nothing on what’s to come.
Of course, you might be lucky. Or not. Just keep in mind that while this time of constant thoughts of missing your LO may seem terrible now, you’ll be wishing more than anything that you could have it back when your LE really gets going (after deciding to cut her off).
It’s not very nice to hear, but at least if this happens to you, you will have been warned. I had no such privilege.
By the way, this is day #509 of my LE. Wishing it would end.
Also in English recently, we were talking about the poem ‘Exposure’ (Wilfred Owen) and my teacher said that, between the lines, he’s wishing a bomb would go off or guns would fire and it would end, but his torment continued because “nothing happens”. That really struck a chord with me because I realised I’m at the stage where I’m actually hoping for sone confrontation or message from LO pulling me up on my behaviour around her, but nothing is happening so my hell continues.
That might relate to someone else as well.
I never commented here, but I just want to tell you I can relate to your feelings and believe me: it gets better. Some context: i’m married, hooked up with a friend over a year ago, thought it’d be just sex, but i fell hard for him. There are tons of details I could share, but I just want to say that last year (october-december) my mind was in a fog. I could not think of anything else but him, I started hating my job (which I always loved) and it hurt so much. I felt I’d never get better and that those feelings would ruin my life and marriage (didnt disclosure to my SO and dont intend to). It was pain everyday and all day long. If you ask me to remember about that time, I just cant remember.
I just want to tell you that today I’m much better. I still talk to SO (he is a friend, lives in another city) and sometimes it still hurts a little, but I don’t feel depressed anymore and I can pull myself out from obsessive thinking most of the time.
Three things helped me: the first was realizing I was feeling hurt not because I was in love and could not be with him. It was just that it sucks to be rejected (this feeling that we like them more than they like us, I guess you know what I’m talking about). This helped me to get rid of the feeling that i HAD to be with him and make me focus on why I feel so bad about rejection in general. And this leads to the second thing that helped me: therapy. Just talking about what was making me miserable in other parts of my life helped me focus on other aspects that were being neglected. Third thing: I had to realize that all the feelings I thought he had were just in my head. And keeping some distance is difficult because for this fantasy to continue I had to keep in constant contact with him. Once I cut our contact to the minimum (but I didnt go NC), it hurt because I was purposefully letting these fantasies die. It sucks, but it’s necessary. So keep in mind that no, you LO does not like you, it’s all in your head.
I’m not 100%, but I’m better. You’ll get better too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by depression, look for professional help because it is possible to have a better life.
Thanks Scharnhorst…..I liked that!!
Also does anyone remember the film Sideways?…..Where the protagonist, Miles, played by Paul Giamatti, drunkenly calls his ex…..This is a scene which is cringe worthy enough to put anyone off breaking NC. So comic and so tragic…
Yep. Love that film and that scene, especially.
Love your post, Dr. L., as always! It’s comforting to hear the words of someone who has been through it, and calmly presents a plan of how to succeed.
I am five months no contact, and doing well, however, have had an interesting few days. It happened to be my LO’s birthday one day this past week, which brought him to mind more than usual. In a clear moment of weakness, I decided that I should unblock him on FaceBook Messenger, you know, just in case he might possibly want to contact me with something he had to say (good grief). Blocking him (and deleting other forms of communication) has been one of my big steps for recovery because I know there is no way he can contact me and I’m not constantly looking to see if there is a message from him. It literally took me less than an hour to come to my senses and go back and block him again. I felt good about that and my resolve, and even though I slipped momentarily I view it as a successful step towards recovery in knowing that I am continuing to move in the right direction.
One other thing has bothered me a bit also – I’ve been thinking about my LO more than usual lately (that’s the part that bothers me) but not in a good way. Now that I’m out of the “fog” I’m finding myself re-evaluating things and how they happened, seeing him in a more realistic light, and just overall, re-writing the narrative that has kept me hostage for years. I think I’m finally knocking my LO off his pedestal that I’ve had him on for a lifetime. Part of me is bothered that I’m thinking about him more than usual, but then again, I feel like this is work that needs to be done and is probably ok, as long as it’s temporary and helps me move along.
Thanks again for your blog and all the work you’ve done – lifesaving!
Susan ….I have done 6 months NC and, like you, I am going through a phase of thinking about LO a lot. I think this is a bit like when you get a stitch when you are running and have a few more miles to go . You have to grit your teeth and remember this is about you wanting to get over this. …..I think it’s natural to think about them at certain points in the journey.
Hi Robin – I totally agree, and that’s a great analogy. For me, just realizing this is a “stitch” along the way, and not viewing it as a failure, but part of the recovery is important, and being able to do so is a success in and of itself!
Congrats on 6 months – I’m climbing out of the pit along with you. 😉
I have my weak days where I ruminate excessively and think about contact. My therapist told me to roleplay a negative response to me possibly reaching out and to remember the 5 worst times with LO…..
Yes! Thinking about the negative things is actually realizing the real truth of limerence. And I think also that’s what helps us “rewrite” the false narratives that we’ve allowed to develop and dwell in our minds. Not easy. And I have days I want to escape back to that as well. But every day of no contact is a step to freedom!
I also have reached the 6 month NC mark and a major victory. I went to an event where LO also attended. Earlier in the week i was at another event where I talked with mutual friends. A couple of those mutual friend were there, but I interacted with others, and completely ignored her. She did not approach me, but I was prepared if it happened. Some of you who remember my LE probably would guess she would be afraid to. I felt completely in control with no lingering pangs of wanting or wondering. I want to give reassurance to others here that it does get better, and thank everyone who helped me!
Congratulations.lowendj. I am pleased for you (•‿•)
I still am not brave enough to face my LO . She and I used to go to the same nightclub but I haven’t been there for 7 months. …I still have a long way to go before I could anticipate a personal encounter…
Oh, there’s definitely a place I’ve avoided because I know LO goes there. In hindsight, I went there mostly because of her.
I read a book by Susan Elliott recently called Getting past your Breakup……I found a lot of good advice there on NC particularly. But one thing I have done is write and learn 8 positive affirmations which I repeat as often as possible in weak moments. It’s a way of teaching your subconscious something new and positive about yourself instead of being in the constant state of …..Oh woe is me.
I look at it this way.
If my father can come back from the dead in a dream to warn me off of re-engaging LO #2, he can swing a trip back to tell me when it’s ok to re-engage her.
The same holds for LO #4. I had a dream about her in which I almost drove my car off a cliff. Maybe Dad can swing another trip back for LO #4 if the time comes.
While I’m waiting, I don’t foresee ever willingly engaging LO #2. I refuse to give that woman the satisfaction. If anybody blinks, it will be her.
As for LO #4, letting it fade into oblivion provides what little dignity I can muster from the LE.
The point about dignity and avoiding more embarrassing situations is key in keeping me NC. I have decided that any contact with my LO would be self depleting behaviour. She made me behave in a childish way when we were splitting up and I cringe at some of the things I did in the relationship.
But I had many red flags when I first met her but ignored them.I think in the future I must be more alive to narcissist red flags.
I found an old video of me and LO and I was positively giddy. To my horror I realize that I must have appeared exactly like that fish in Dr. L’s post. If only we could time travel and I could make it go away! At least I was able to delete that vid. Begone goofy and embarrassing limerent!
To be clear, I was giddy in the vid, not giddy for finding the vid. Humiliated would describe my reaction on finding it.
I think we all can return to videos in our mind where we replay things and think…..my goodness. For me it was the final telephone conversation with LO where I flew into what my therapist calls an abandonment rage. Not cool and not dignified.
Oh yeah, completely lost my dignity when I confronted LO about my suspicion about his new LO and he told me to stop behaving like a jealous girlfriend. That was the beginning of LC.
And a few weeks later, when I lost it telling LO in tears that I want him out of my life. He begged me to stay in his life, he would do whatever I needed (I told him I need NC), if I promised to be back in his life after I am over him. He gave me a few weeks NC, which became LC with a staged withdrawal plan on my end. I guess he thought, the “connection we have” would resume once I am over him. He didn’t realize that the connection only existed because I was limerent for him. Limerence formed this strong bond, and without it, that bond is gone. I think that shows that my attraction to LO is not because of LO’s specialness, but that my limerence created and fueled LO’s specialness, and without the limerence lens, there isn’t a special connection anymore.
Sarah what you say is so true . Limerence makes them special but they are nothing special.
I dont understand what is happening hes trying nc i think after 5 yrs of him trying to get close to me and me rejecting but slowly getting close to him he started since this week to put some distance and respond to text with short answers and with delays . It hurts this sudden change of attitude . Its like he got it and now lost the limerence for me and im left with mine
Sarah I am rereading your post and this idea of the special connection being fictitious is intriguing. I do have special connections with people that I have not been limerent for so I wonder if I had never been limerent for LO if we would have still had a connection or not. I suppose it doesn’t matter but the fact that we don’t have common interests etc leads me to believe perhaps not!
Maybe there is a special connection because they are limerent for you? Who knows.
I mean of course we have friends that we just click and get along with, and no doubt, it did click with LO on a certain level. But I think “elevating” that connection to something unique, special, or even magical has everything to do with being limerent. And without limerence, it is just a regular connection, a person you get along with a little bit better than with others.
With regards to connect with people: I have a new female colleague at work and we’ve both lived abroad, have the same sense of humor and we just clicked from the start (I’m not into women and neither is she, so there is no romantic level involved here). But having gone through limerence, something in my gut tells me we get along too well. It’s not love bombing but almost like friendship bombing and part of me is happy to have found a new friend at work and a great LO distraction. But part of me is actually skeptical because it is almost too intense too soon, on a friendship level. It’s weird.
Sarah I get that. Seems too good to be true yet again. Trust your instincts! Shields up! You can always lower them later when you feel safe.
@Sarah – re your new platonic friend, I think we have a heightened self-awareness post LE, and can observe this happening to us now. A big step forward I think but still there are decisions to make.
I have similar with a new girl at work where there is some glimmer. Again like LO younger and looking to me for career help, again pretty and blonde and lines are just getting crossed and this time I can see it clearly. She added me on social media and comments on my occasional posts (LO never did), she asked me to lunch this week so I can help her with something, she messaged me on a Saturday to say she’d followed my advice. Nothing substantial yet of course, but I’ve got a decision here (to pull back) before it gets into another LE.
Tricky because transference sure is tempting! I’ve thought about LO much less over the last few weeks as the new girl has been messaging me. But, I know the consequences now, and need to keep this one at arms length.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
“But, I know the consequences now, and need to keep this one at arms length.”
Yeah, how about those consequences, eh? I have a gal who ‘glimmers’ at me via FB–she’s gorgeous, good friends with my wife and daughters, and we share a similar sense of humor. It’s definitely flattering to see her posting on my posts, but wow; I’m wary!
Not of her, because I am probably flattering myself to think she’s interested in me in any way other than platonic. But I FLEE any thoughts beyond the humorous, because, well, I think I’d rather put my nuts in a blender than go through another LE.
My deepest apologies for the crudity! Gentle Reader, that’s what you get from somebody you only know as My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot, as I must remind you upon occasion.
Don’t beat yourself up too much. I recently saw a pic of me with LO that absolutely captured the glimmer. Sigh…
I deleted every single picture and text within 24 hours of her dumping me. So I cannot be reminded.
Since we never met, I have no pictures of LO #4. She has a large online presence, including podcasts and youtube videos so I have a good idea of what she looks and sounds like. That’s why avoiding social media and her site are really important.
LO #2 is second only to my wife in significance in my life. When we were together, I had pictures of her on my nightstand, dressers, fireplace mantle and desk. When we broke up, I took them down. When she told me she was seeing someone, I dropped them off at her grandmother’s and said goodbye. I really liked her grandmother.
When she came back for her cousin’s wedding weeks later, she insisted I take a picture of her. I didn’t understand why. She insisted we stop at a 1-hr photo place and have it developed. My friend said if I had returned those pictures, I’d probably gotten rid of the rest and she wanted to ensure I remembered her. I still have it.
When she visited my house on her next pass through town, she asked if she could look around. I didn’t have any problem with it. As she went from room to room, I could see her looking at the places her pictures once were. She didn’t say anything.
I’ve gotten rid of most of my LO #2 pictures but not all of them. They’re in an album in the basement along with other photos of my life before I got married. My wife understands they’re part of my past and as long as they stay in an album in the basement, she’s ok with them. Well, Ok with most of them. I only remember two pictures of LO #2 and me together. My wife and I were going through a box of old photos and I ran across one. LO #2 had been cut out of the picture. My wife denied doing it but I know I didn’t do it.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
SO cut her out of the picture!
Ahahahaha. That’s pretty funny. If only it was that easy in real life.
And it’s interesting that LO#2 looked around for evidence you still felt something for her.
Today was a rough day.
I ended the evening listening to some music from my youth, digging up songs I listened to during previous LEs in an effort to… well I don’t know really why I’m doing it. I’ve found, now that I know what limerence is and a LE is, I see it everywhere. Mine, and others. Listening to a particularly raw and emotional recording of “Something I Can Never Have” (probably dating myself here), Trent is speaking to my soul. Here is a man who knows what I’m feeling.
And what am I feeling, exactly? Really?
It’s disconcerting and humbling what I’m realizing, discovering, lurching inexorably towards really, is admitting that I’m actually sad not even as much about LO and any sort of lost relationship… moreso it’s that the LE has to end, and I’m the one who is slowly killing it. Because I know I have to. Because I know it’s my responsibility… But I’m killing my own ego boost, my daily highlight, my excitement. The fire in my static slow moving life. I’m killing my own reprieve from responsibility, status quo, and being the man everybody expects me to be… because I have to be that man everybody expects me to be. That I expect myself to be.
I’m smothering a piece of me to save the whole. But I already mourn that part fiercely, and it’s not nearly dead just yet.
… Sorry for the naval gazing, guys. I have nobody else who will relate.
Jackson, That’s exactly how I felt, like I was voluntarily sticking a pin into a beautiful living butterfly, murdering something so exhilarating and unique…but now, as the wings stop moving I realize it wasn’t really beautiful at all, it was actually a poisonous monster that had to die, for the safety of all. But until I went NC, I was convinced the monster (the LE) was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I could never live without gazing at it, transfixed, forever.
And now, remarkably, after feeling the most excruciating emotional agony of my life, (and I have been through a LOT), I am cautiously testing my freedom and … gasp, starting to quietly enjoy life again. I am careful not to reminisce as I know I can quickly lose my bearing and fall overboard, but it’s getting to be smoother sailing every day.
Sorry for all the metaphors….I just couldn’t stop for some reason…
This is the heart of the matter, I think. That part of yourself has actually been neglected for so long that it’s bursting out in limerence. That’s where the purposeful living comes in – when your life feels like a thankless duty you’re highly vulnerable to limerence. The key is to address the dissatisfaction with life, not mourn the need to overrule the limerence urge.
You’ll probably never replace the sugary highs of limerent euphoria, but finding a way to live a more rewarding life is the route to lasting happiness, and protection against the false comfort of limerence.
James Afourkeeff says
Well, I discovered this site yesterday. The day before that, I became aware of a new word – limerence – in a Vsauce video on YouTube. I believe it was titled “Is All Fair In Love And War?” I am a limerent’s limerent – trust me – I have some stories.
In this post, Resolving to recover, there are four points to consider in making a resolution: Be realistic, take responsibility, accept the labor, and focus beyond the limerence. I call BS. You don’t need to waste your time doing any of these things. It can be done in one step, one fell swoop. Here it is:
1) DISCLOSE . . . and wait. Everything will take care of itself, independent of any further input or effort from you.
LOL#??? reported me to management and had me summarily dismissed for gross misconduct; I can never be rehired with this outfit ever again. I never saw her again, I never got a chance to apologize, and I was left with no means of ever redeeming myself or recovering any of the self respect I lost in the eyes of those who knew me there – the execution squad was waiting for me at the door when I arrived for work. This rejection was so total and abrupt, I still do not fully appreciate how badly I f—ked up. You see, there are easier ways to resolve to recover and go NC; let LO make the decision and the arrangements for you! Easy, one step!
You are probably wondering what I could have said to illicit such a rapid and draconian response; the short answer is: nothing particularly unusual, except that I admitted that I liked her and asked her to text first for once. Maybe I should mention that the outfit I worked for was a large and well known department store chain (their initials are W.A.L.L.M.A.R.T.), which is known universally for lacking any competency in dealing with “human issues”. That was six months ago, but now all my thoughts are consumed with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head with tangerine trees under marmalade skies. It all seems like a weird dream to me now. Do you believe me?
My first impression of this blog is very favorable and the people who comment on it seem to be a uniquely thoughtful, compassionate, and intelligent lot. (Look at some posts on other blogs and you will find that many posts are literally unintelligible.) Limerence is a bugger, isn’t it? You will be hearing much more from me. I look forward to sharing ideas and insights with all of you in the near future.
Anonymous Limerent says
You have… interesting ideas.
Just… all of them.
And if you think you know better than this site and all the people on it who all agree on the best method (more or less) then why not start your own?
“…let LO make the decision and the arrangements for you!”
Why would I give my power away like that? The limerence is only an issue in my head, therefore I’m the only one who can deal with it.
The thing I like with this blog is that the strategies suggested all help to improve yourself as an individual, as well as dealing with the limerence in a manner that causes as little pain to others as possible.
Disclosing to SO didn’t kill the limerence like I’d hoped. It put us on a path to an improved marriage, but the limerence remained an issue.
I could have disclosed to LO, but I didn’t want to be responsible for the fallout and impact on my SO and kids, his SO and kids, our colleagues and the general atmosphere at work.
Although I left my job due to limerence, I haven’t ruined my future career prospects in the process. If I wanted to, I could go back relatively easily.
If you’re suggesting disclosure is the best option, I suggest reading: https://livingwithlimerence.com/2018/05/06/when-to-disclose/
I think you guys misunderstand James’ post. He’s tongue-in-cheek saying that disclosing can be a horrible thing, as he’s apparently experienced the worst case scenario.
James I feel you, and I fear your outcome for sure. Sorry it happened to you that way. Sounds like you got the worst kind of LO, the worst kind of disclosure, and the worst kind of company reaction.
I’d say “good riddance to all of them”, but I’m guessing that’s bitter to hear even if true. I’m hoping you’ve made some progress since then on the career front if not the LE front.
I read it that way too. Kind of like “don’t bother with all that subtlety, there’s a simple way to end limerence: blow your life to smithereens!”
Welcome, James, but yes, be warned that sarcasm doesn’t always work as intended (as I’ve learned too)…
That’s definitely true. Very select class of clientele here!
I to did just cut it cold turkey. Its the only way to stop an addiction. Its science saying this, not me. My experience in my life is that yes cold turkey is the only option. ”Reducing” contact with ”I’m gonna text just once a week” type is not gonna turn out well I tell you guys that. Its like an alcoholic or cocaine addict taking the drug once a week in order to ”reduce it”. You can’t stop addiction that way.
I have tried. I have lied so much to myself. Being ”true to yourself” and ”don’t lie to yourself” types of sentences are not cliche, they are true!
It was not until I stopped all contact and went to a dark hell I started to regain a sense of truthfullness to myself. As long as LO was in the picture I lied and decieved myself, stubbornly refused to come to my senses. ”Oh I only see him twise a week, I’m over him!”. Or ”Oh today I said no to lunch, I’m in control!”.
Yeah keep lying…
In the end I screwed things up with hkm, torched that bridge and waited for him to cross the burning bridge. He of course didn’t. He had waited a long time for the end. He was gonna do I polite fade away. I knew that. I was like “Oh hell no! I’m not someone you fade away from! Its either take it or leave it with me!”
I was not gonna sit back and look at his back while he walked away with false smiles and see yous and false texting. I was not gonna be someone he texted out of boredom! When I knew he did not care for real.
In the end he was such a coward and such a fake person. So weak. I HATE his type. The ones who can’t say straight up “no thank you”. Instead they are false bc oh lord everyone has to like them and adore them.
Well not this bitch aka me, I really hate his falsness.
Anyways. Cold turkey, stop it.
Why dragging the pain out?!
James Afourkeeff says
Thank you Jackson, you hit the nail on the head! I suffered the absolute worst case scenario, even as I calculate it. I must say that I have found some perverse comfort in knowing that I have kissed the lower boundry, I cannot have a WORSE outcome going forward, save going to jail for a crime or something.
The reaction I got from other participants surprised me a little bit, but it shouldn’t have. I have kind of an obtuse sense of humor, they probably thought I was trolling them. Maybe my last LO thought I was trolling her! And therein lies the problem, the rumination, the essence of Limerence.
Clip of the Day: “You F—D Up, You Trusted Us” – “Animal House” (1978) [or what you might hear from a truly honest LO]
This was on yesterday. My first date with LO #1 was seeing this movie with her in college. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
I loved the image of having to stick a pin in a beautiful butterfly, only to realize that it wasn’t a butterfly at all, and that the transfixtion was a sickness (to paraphrase). That’s so true. It feels like a death to let go of the LO and the limerence, and I suppose it is. But I also think DrL. is exactly right- that addition works so much better than subtraction: adding meaning, adding intentional action, and not just trying desperatly to let go.
I’ve had a hard morning- crossed paths with LO and my whole self flooded with all the chemicals. Still no contact- just passing with no talking or eye contact, far enough away not even to be seen, but I could cry and the craving is flooding me.
I loved this post so much. Onward!! When you’re walking through hell, just keep going. Right?
I understand that one for sure. I get an adrenaline hit just from seeing LO down the hallway, or in the parking lot. Hell I got it one time from seeing somebody who is the same height as LO in a case of mistaken identity for a minute.
And yes, keep going is about all you can do.
You get used to it.
Saturday, a buddy of mine and I went out for a beer. LO #4 said she really liked Pilsners and soft German pretzels. Every time I see “Pilsner” or German pretzels on the menu, LO #4 flashes across my brain. I can’t bring myself to drink one but my wife really likes German pretzels. The place didn’t have any Pilsners on tap but they served what I ordered in a Pilsner glass. It’s another attachment to be broken.
Who says the cosmos doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Ha, I hyperventilate just seeing LO’s car driving past. That alone will give me an euphoric high for the next twenty four hours . How sad am I!!
About as sad as all the rest of us 😉
The other day someone sat in a seat in front of me and for a few seconds I thought it was LO ! In the past I would have had the most pleasant sensation, almost like a little glimmery chill … but this time I felt a wave of anxiety, almost panic. He turned his head and I when I realized it wasn’t him I felt vast relief. I’m taking this as significant progress.
I had the same thing- saw
Someone running and thought it was him and flooded.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how the LE is such a loss of control- which I think is really appealing to me, until….. I realize I’ve lost control. Maybe it’s that romantic notion of being swept away.
LO had ceased the “accidental” drive-by’s for a few weeks, and it was such a loss and a relief. Sighting this morning and then again later in the day. And I felt relief that he’s not totally gone, and also like now I’ll start wondering if I’m going to see him again. The uncertainty drug.
And so I ask myself, do I really want to heal? How long do I intend to occupy this totally pointless limbo? It’s over. It’s never coming back; it’s time to close all the doors and windows. I need to accept the suffering of that as the price to freedom and redemption. Sometimes I read everything on this site and it makes sense and I love it- and then I have a day like today, and I realize that it actually makes sense and that I really need it. So I’m going to go back and read and study and keep trying.
I have that to. Seing someone from afar with similar body build or jacket etc and my heart skept a beat sometimes. Now I won’t react to similarities. Since I have not seen nor texted with him in almost 1 year I feel like I will never see him again. We live in the same city, we running on to each other in metro or commuter trains are a possibility.
My anxiety is worse though. Whenever I see a man in his age with children I feel like a got stuck by a knife in my heart! I can’t help it. Everytime I see images of him being happy with his gf and with a child, It gives me anxiety attacks. I even dtarted cry in the commuter train ones when I saw someone similar to him with a toddler. It was mortifying as I won’t even cry infront of my family….
Thinking about him with his gf and possible family is worse then pain of losing him
I love this “flooded” or “flooded with chemicals”. It captures exactly what can still happen to me with LO (though less now). Two incidents in particular stand out:
1. After reciprocation for a wonderful week sliding into nothingness and a few summer weeks apart she posted such an incredibly cool and sexy selfie from our office elevator (shrug, it has great lighting for selfies) that I flooded and was literally shaking, my heart was beating so fast at what I’d lost.
2. After another few summer weeks apart where her text messages dwindled into nothing, she texted me that she’d met someone else she really cared about and was dating. That was a flooding too, but into numbness and queasiness. I felt physically ill.
I haven’t had a good day. I saw my LO in a store with evidently a new flame. I was shocked when I saw her. She looked at me with total emptiness. I have done 6 months NC and avoided where I think she will be and then today …..bang there she was.
Wow, that blows… and hurts a lot.
She’s moved on with her life, take it as a sign to move on with yours… it will hurt for a while, unfortunately.
It was totally unexpected ……..I have spent the rest of the day ruminating and feeling sorry. But there we go.I guess I was going to run into her sooner or later.
You said you were shocked but how did it feel?
When LO #2 told me over the phone that she was seeing someone, it felt like somebody kicked me in the stomach and I thought I’d throw up on my bed. Then, the coolest thing happened. I suddenly got this overwhelming wave of calm like someone had given me a shot of Demerol. She’d moved on, it was over, and I didn’t care. It was like I was stoned. I later learned that was a trauma response.
“Acute trauma by definition exposes the individual to an extraordinary event wherein his or her sense of control is violated…The purpose of defense mechanisms are to restore homeostasis as soon as possible to preserve adaptive capacity…This innate mechanism for self-preservation also exists in trauma…Arousal is off the scales, fear is pumping, and suddenly a remarkable calm takes over. The person is calm, time seems to slow down, there is no pain, and a comforting acceptance of his fate occurs… the mechanisms of dissociation and emotional detachment have intervened and prevented panic.” – Robert Neborsky, “A Clinical Model for the Comprehensive Treatment of Trauma Using an Affect-Experiencing Attachment Theory Approach”
And, it didn’t take long for the dissociation and detachment to kick in. DrL could probably explain what chemicals flooded what parts of my brain.
I felt numb, sick and shaking. I left the store and walked a good 5 miles home, forgetting that I had parked the car outside the bloody store. I still feel very shaken….. I can only liken it to when you avoid a very close shave…. I remember once walking in front of a car by mistake and nearly getting run down…..It felt like that….almost pure terror.
The most encouraging thing I can tell you is that my experience only happened to me once. At the time we weren’t together as a couple but we hadn’t said goodbye. That wouldn’t happen for another year but the trauma response never happened again.
It didn’t happen in my subsequent meetings with her, it didn’t happen when I learned she got married the first time, and it didn’t happen when I learned she got remarried. She’d told me once that her greatest fear was to grow old and die alone. She also told me there was nothing to bind me to her although she declined my marriage proposal. My thought was marriage might legally bind him to her but it’s no guarantee she won’t grow old and die alone. Then, again, I can be really cynical.
My guess is if it happens again, the worst is over.
I hope the worse is over. I felt foolish just walking straight out but I feel in a very dark mood tonight. I guess this is a new stage in moving on…. But what is really weird is that she has been on my mind a lot recently after 6 months NC and then I do see her…..
James Afourkeeff says
Wow! I used to think I was the only one that did stuff like this. The only encouragement I can give is that it does subside eventually, but it never goes away entirely. Purposeful Living is key; because limerence is an integral part of us, any improvements you make in your life are all preparations for the next one. And who knows, you might actually win next time!
Anonymous Limerent says
I get how that happened; one time I ran into LO at the shop, but was with my sister so I couldn’t leave. Instead, I had to (very unsubtly) hide from LO in a different aisle and (giving no reason to my sister as to why) I didn’t get anything because I felt like I’d had my stomach torn out and flung through a window, which surprisingly made me lose my appetite.
And just last week, I had had the most stressful afternoon I’ve had in a long time and I had to suffer LO standing a metre away rom me, facing me and talking to her friend for a good 10 minutes (although it may only have been 5). I walked out of school so quickly, with such crippling fear, that I physically couldn’t stop and my legs really hurt. Luckily I ran into my friend at some point, who pulled me back to stop me from walking.
So, yeah… I can imagine that!
So, yesterday, I received a lunch invitation from a common friend of LO and I. It’s a group of 4 of us (LO and I included) from the charity event that meets up every few months for a lunch for the past 3 years. And… nothing happened to my inner mental state 🙂 I felt fine, I accepted. It’s on the day of the xmas party so I thought it might even take the edge off when seeing LO in the eve (because how do you react, just briefly say hi and excuse yourself to find other people? Do you stay and small talk?) it’ll make it less awkward, I think.
So I have to say, I have not heard from LO since last catching up, he has not reached out on any channel and I sm glad. My life is good without him. I am cheerily listening to music again, I am having fun with my colleagues at work, I enjoy my free evenings (that used to be texting LO for hours), and… in all the day dreaming, LO does not show up anymore. I am not rescuing him in anyway, he’s not rescuing me, we’re not partners in crime, there is no special connection anymore. And when I think about us being intimate, it doesn’t give me does butterflies in my stomach anymore. I don’t want to touch him anymore. I also don’t feel the urge to explain my feelings to him anymore, no urge to talk to him about what happened. So all in all, I think, this limerence is being properly managed and contained now 😊 and if I can do it, so can you guys! It’s possible. Life will be good again!!!
That’s great, Sarah! Congrats.
Freedom feels good, eh?
Feels awesome ☺️
Wow! Congratulations Sarah – that’s great. I’m happy for you.
I’m not quite there yet. After the disastrous WhatsApp messages about her relationship app (see comment on previous post) LO and I avoided each other. There have been no texts and we’ve barely acknowledged each other for two weeks. Our weekly lunches had already dried up and she made no attempt to restart them (neither did I). After two weeks of the NC (or the closest two people who work on the same floor can get to NC) we did talk about work things yesterday. As is so often the case with LO, we quickly veered off into other subjects. It felt good to talk to her but no butterflies. She made a quip about my guitar playing asking if that was my midlife crisis and I said no, something else was my midlife crisis and looked pointedly at her but she didn’t seem to acknowledge that.
There are less daydreams but I do still get depressed thinking about her so there’s still some way to go. I guess what is so disappointing is finding out how little I meant / mean to her now. After the brief period of reciprocation and the long decline into some weird “friends” limbo, she has not once suggested lunch or reached out. So I have channeled some Scharnholst-fuelled self-respect and not asked her either. I don’t know, I suspect she may not be doing it on purpose, I think she’s just that used to everyone (at least every man) asking her out, doing things for her, paying her way and in my case it just had to stop.
Hi Fred, I understand it feels like hard going but I hope you can take pride in the progress you have made. Sounds you’re in a better place than a couple of weeks ago. I am happy for you about that positive change.
One characteristic of my LE is the desire to shower LO with secret gifts. There is something about buying her things that I take careful note of that I know she will love. As well as the rush of keeping it secret (from my SO and from hers) – which is consistent with my other midlife issues (e.g. the desire to take risks, act recklessly, spend money, etc). I am reminded of the scene in the film Love Actually where the guy’s wife discovers the necklace he bought for his secretary. Even knowing how terribly that turns out in the film, I do it nevertheless. I realize that’s messed up. One time LO admitted to me she had to lie to her SO about who gave her a particularly expensive (and meaningful) gift I had bought for her. Of course if she had just not accepted it because of that, I would have been crushed and the LE probably would have dwindled. But she accepted it. And (presumably) lied to her SO. For me. The thought of that was so special to me. Again, totally messed up I know. Anyone else dealt with this?
Gift giving is a technique to establish and maintain an attachment. It’s listed as a potential indicator of an EA.
I sent LO #4 a few targeted gifts. Oddly, she had me send them to her via her mother. I thought she just didn’t want me to have her address but it would also bypass any questions from her SO as to where they came from.
If she kept them, she’ll remember who gave them to her.
My LO gave me a meaningful and expensive gift for my birthday (at that time we ended the PA). I told him before that I considered buying that item for myself for years, but never did because I found it unreasonably priced (not that I couldn’t afford it, but it just seemed too expensive for what it is). It was way too big and I had to lie to my SO, said I bought it for myself for my bday. Now I still have it. Considered giving it back to LO.
I also have gotten other meaningful expensive gifts from him before we had a PA. I don’t like it but I also find it very rude to not accept it. I did tell him I don’t like it and that he should stop. Also because I know I earn quite a bit more than him, I don’t need expensive presents.
Maybe the most significant aspect to giving the gifts to LO#4 was that she was willing to accept them. I told her I’d like to send her a token gift. She could have shut me down and said that it wasn’t appropriate, that it was outside the scope of our acquaintance.
But, she didn’t.
Yeah but to be fair I think it is really hard not to accept a gift… i think I’d only do that if I really didn’t like the person or the person would make me feel terribly uncomfortable due to unrequited feelings (to stalker level)
Actually, unless they’re doing it in a public setting, it’s pretty easy to not accept a gift. It’s enforcing your boundaries. You thank them and tell them you can’t accept it. But, that would send a message you may not want to send to your LO.
I was well aware of when I was testing a boundary. I expected to get told I was out of line but I never was until she said goodbye. It was all part of the dance.
Even if it wasn’t my LO, in general, if I had no feelings for that person, it’s not easy. I find it rude and slightly disrespectful. But that may just be me.
James Afourkeeff says
It has been nearly 6 months to the day of NC, but the other night I had a spontaneous flood of vivid dreams about LO. It was if I had come into direct contact with her. The next day at work, I nearly passed out on the production floor several times. I was kind of in a trancelike state all day, it was scary. So how do you resolve to recover if you are occasionally assailed by LO in your own dreams!? You can’t just leave the scene.
I threw away everything I’d ever gotten from my Lo- and deleted all the text conversations I’d saved….. and all the playlists we’d shared. It was all part of my recovery with my SO, and at the time it was easy because it was a crisis (the discovery of my EA by my SO). I know without actually knowing that my LO hasn’t done the same- and I’m so grateful I did. Because I wouldn’t be able to stay away from them, and having them would make it next to impossible for me to get back to neutral with my LO. The memories are difficult enough to let go of.
And dreams are a tough one- much like limerence itself for me. Thrill, shame, hope and despair all wrapped into one. But I’ve found that I do have a choice upon waking to ruminate or not ruminate…. to act my way into right thinking or to try to think my way into right action (which doesn’t usually work as well for me).
Today was a day of the year very tightly associated with my LO. I planned new traditions and new activities- and I was so happy and peaceful to have gotten through it. We’re going to continue our new family tradition from now on- and I came out closer to my SO and thanking God that I have him instead of my LO (and all the destruction to my life that entails). I’m not out of the woods- but I’m walking, with purpose, in that direction.
I’m really happy for you, Janesays. Thank you so much for sharing your story and insights.
I too threw everything away and deleted all texts and photos. I don’t have a single reminder of LO in my place.
But my ruminating is proving harder to get rid of…..even after 6 months NC…..
My ruminating is proving more difficult to let go of as well.
I’ve lost climbing for now- not safe alone, and lost my group by misuse on my part. It’s a loss and such a change. I’m sure I’ll find my way and a new group- or a new thing to fill me up. The thing about climbing is that there are always descents- and they are times to rest and refocus. Maybe that’s what this is for me. But usually they just feel- In this LE- like I’ve backslid and will never go up again. Even though I’ve lost climbing for now- I can still learn from it. I volunteer for the suffering and work because I know the payoff is stunning- and no one can see the top unless they’ve suffered and focused on getting there. I keep telling myself that this is that- that the top- freedom from this bondage to the wrong thing and the wrong person- will be worth all the struggles that I’m having right now. I just really want to be free to love my right person freely and with both feet. So many things to lay down and let go of to be light enough to climb up.
So glad i found this site and this group.
The ”climbing” used as metaphor is interesting because, I feel the total opposite! I feel like I’m free falling into darkness. And I tried to use my LO and the LE as a way to “lighten” up the darkness or to distract myself from the fact of free falling into.. I don’t know what, life passing by in emptiness? Yes something like that…
Scharnhorst’s Question(s) of the Day: “Is your LE/LO part of your past, your present, and, maybe most important, part of your future? Do you want to solve the problem or only learn how to live with it?”
Limerents can operate in phases:
Post LE Future LE
Now, just because you’re Post LE doesn’t mean you’re Post-Limerent. You have to work to become a Post-Limerent.
I’m Post-Limerent. LO #2 was the central figure in my life at one time but I’ve done the heavy lifting and she’s not coming back. As important as she seemed at the time, LO #4 was a sideshow in my life. I don’t see her coming back, either. Because of the work I did, I don’t see limerence affecting my life in the future.
There comes a point where there just aren’t any more layers to the onion. Interestingly, getting to that point comes with its own sense of loss. I spent a lot of time trying to understand this and now I have a lot more free time on my hands. I want to get my hands on an English Horn and my wife told me as soon as I make enough money with my Oboe to buy one, she’s all in. I’m thinking of heading down to the Metro station with a sign, “Will stop playing Oboe for tips.”
So, if you’re a present limerent, which direction will you drive the issue? Do you see your LO in your future? Do you really want them there? Grief and mourning are part of the acceptance process. We deal with the present and past in the hope of a better future.
Apparently, certain characters don’t copy into the post. It should have been:
“Post LE…Present LE…Future LE”
It didn’t like my attempt at making the … into arrows.
I hope my LO isn’t part of my future. But my brain is doing its best to tell me otherwise. Frankly I think that after only 6 months NC, it is still a lot to ask the brain to move on. Especially when a LE has taken place over several years. I am being kind to myself and saying this will pass, you just need more time……Just like you would to a friend.
The practice of self compassion needs to be more widely practiced by us limerents……I have a tendency to be impatient and self critical with myself when I really should be the opposite. This is because most of us we don’t regard our limerent grieving as proper grieving when in fact we should. It is just as valid a grief form as say losing someone close to you through death. Treat yourselves kindly fellow limerents.
In a way I think it’s more painful than death. When someone dies, they don’t deliberately reject you. You mourn them and know if they were alive you would enjoy happy companionship. When the LE dies, our dreams and hopes die too, but the LO lives happily ever after with their person of choice (but not us!) …a constant reminder that we are not the one they want to be with. Yes we do need self compassion in large measure.
LO is definitely not part of my future, and also hardly part of my present. Only about 6 months ago, it would have been impossible for me to say that. LO meant so much to me and has been a big part for 1,5 years at that time. One of my first posts here were “I must get over limerence, how can I do that while staying best friends with LO?” 😂 completely ridiculous.
Certainly part of my past, we spent 2 years getting progressively closer and she’s left a mark no doubt.
Still part of my present, I haven’t stopped thinking about her or talking about her yet. I’m approaching a year of NC and currently going through the anniversary of a series of events from last year that built up to the end of our relationship. Each one that comes along takes me back to last year and the situation I was in with LO.
Certainly not part of my future however. I have very little desire left to rekindle anything, and I truly wish these dying embers would go cold.
“Will stop playing Oboe for tips.” That’s funny!
Will stop being limerent for tips on how to stop being a limerent. I read Tennov’s book twice way back when, then threw it away thinking I would never need it again. Ha! My last LE (#5) was 20 years ago. Had to go buy her book again this year, before discovering this site.
New approach – I’m actually kind of grateful for this experience. Not for the “sugary highs” – (definitely on a broccoli and kale “diet” now!) but for all the lessons learned. This has been a great opportunity to be humbled, reflective, and to have the mettle tested.
Just this post alone is so great. When do we ever examine the mechanics of how to resolve to accomplish something? And how that applies to recovery, from anything? Lots of potential application going forward.
There is so much wisdom, encouragement and high-principled inspiration in just this paragraph: “Resolve rises above the toil of moment to moment coping, and is a sort of guiding star – “I will do this despite it being hard, because I know it is the right thing to do.” Resolve is a strong determination to do something on principled grounds, not because it is easy or expedient.” The sentiment seems almost anachronistic in today’s fraught, skeptical, untrusting environment; I can practically hear the WW2 era movie soundtrack playing in the background.
This is so uplifting and kind: “Resolve is about the direction that you are taking, the compass you are using to orient yourself, and the principles that you are going to use as a guide to behaviour. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll have moments of weakness. A big part of success is responding to failures by learning from them and doing incrementally better next time. Resolve to be better, not perfect.” Doesn’t it make you just want to grab that compass and attempt to scale the peak? Knowing full well that stumbling along the way is ok?
Thanks Dr. L, again.
Agreed…thanks from me as well Dr. L….the insight, humor, kindness, eloquence and science all blend to a perfect healing balm of comfort and compassion.
Thanks Bert and Jaideux. Much appreciated 🙂
First, please excuse my bad English, I’m not a native speaker.
I just want to tell you how much hope and support your blog gaves me.
I live in a country with very few therapist, also very conservative one, and seeing a therapist is always secret to keep because society marks you as crazy person. Sad but try.
I’m married woman, and my LO is married man. Limerence is mutual, I think, but concrete words have never been told. He is my work colleague and it’s impossible to stop communication completely, but I’m turn it off gradually. But, sometimes it is extremely hard…
Anyway, I didn’t actually want to write about my situation at all, just to send you a very big THANK YOU for all explanation, compassion and hard work on understanding and overcoming limerence. This blog is my closest friend when this subject is in focus.
You’ve already helped me so much. My grandmother used to say, if you have truly helped just one person in your lifetime, you have your safe place in heaven 🙂
I want do a little happy dance and tell everyone something good. The advice here works!
After being limerent for years during my last LE I finally decided to recover.
I went NC, I unfollowed LO on social media, I joined a band, I started learning a foreign language, I threw myself into my immensely satisfying and rewarding job, I became more invested in my volunteer work, I made some new friends and strengthened my bonds with my old ones, and I stopped talking about LO.
And I thought it would take years before I felt even a flicker of happiness (because I thought LO was the keeper of happiness). I was wrong. It’s been about nine months and I feel better than I have in YEARS. Not deleriously euphoric mind you, but quietly happy in a slow burn long lasting kind of way. And I am free of the anxiety of wondering if I will ever be abandoned by LO, and how to win and keep his complete heart. Done. Life is much better now. 🙂
Sounds pretty awesome, Jaideux. I think you are a great example of what you can do when you set your mind into the right state! 🙂
Amazing Jaideux. This makes me happy! I feel that once you’ve reached the point of letting go your mind recovers. My lo is moving in the next 6 months. I will still see him but not as much will be be awesome!
How was your Xmas party Sarah?
That’s awesome news that he’s moving!!
Xmas party was great. LO didn’t attend as he was sick (a co-worker of his told me) and LO’s LO was nowhere to be seen! I had a blast and danced the night away. And nothing is lined up to see LO in the near future.
Wow Sarah and Rachel…the fact you are so happy about this shows how much you have healed! 🙂
What a win!
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
That’s awesome, Jaideaux!
You’re right, being glad not to be around LO is truly a sign of healing. I remember when I was strategizing all kinds of ways to be with LO, or planning what I was going to say to her to impress her, or thinking about her. I would have been disappointed when she didn’t make it to an event.
But last Friday, we had a corporate event and she didn’t show. I don’t think I ever even thought about her.
It’s soooooo nice to have the idiocy losing strength by the day.
Bravo MLBIAI! Soon you will have to change your name! 😉
Hey Jaideux, that’s great news! So happy for you, and thanks for sharing the joy of freedom. Here’s to a glorious future!
Dr. L I would never have made it this far without your brilliant site here. I can never thank you enough!
So been a year since I joined this site…thanks to you all and Dr L I wanted to share progress. You may know my story that my co worker of 6 years became LO over the last 2.5 years. She changed jobs in April… and so did I – WE ENDED UP AT SAME PLACE…not purposely planned.
Main progress is my awareness of not doing ‘sweet’ things anymore. I am now from the outside just acting as a friend – not a puppy dog trying to be sweet and nice to her. Inside though Im still thinking of her. Thats the next phase.
NC has not been an option as she is a colleague but have been LC. She Hasnt noticed which is a good thing really as saves awkward questions.
Anyway, im going to start Therapy in nexts few weeks as I find I just need more support to get my motivation back and me feeling down a lot is affecting my work and outside interests. My company pays for therapy for upto 6 sessions. I wanted to ask if anyone has any tips on how to get the most out of the sessions and any learnings people have.
Thanks in advance
Hi Kevin, no advice unfortunately, but just wishing you luck and strength to leave your LO behind! Never loose sight of the goal of limerence freedom even if it is hard sometimes! It is worth it in the end.
Best of luck with the sessions!
Having dealt with a few therapists, the more precisely you can define the problem and your desired outcome, the more effective the sessions will likely be, especially when you’re limited as to how many sessions you get. You’d be amazed at how much time you can save by knowing the problem is us not them.
Have you read DrL’s https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/04/07/therapy-for-limerence/?
A general framework is:
1. Define the problem
2. Fix the problem
3. Prevent recurrence
Probably one of the first questions the therapist will ask is why are you there? One of the more interesting quotes about therapy said something like when many people enter therapy, they’re not seeking change, they’re looking to become comfortable with their current pathology. Depending on what you want to accomplish, it may take more than 6 sessions.
Would it be helpful to print out some of your posts from here and show them to the therapist?
Hey Kevin, therapy is a good idea if you’re feeling down. Very important to get the right one though, and it takes time. More than 6 sessions.
Most don’t know about limerence. I was already in therapy when I eventually found the term and it made more sense than anything my therapist had come up with up until that point. She was a relationship specialist and dealt with extra marital relationships in particular. I would regularly discuss the latest with LO and actually felt she was enabling the relationship at times. She dismissed the idea of limerence, despite me explaining how I hit all of the symptoms. She was useful with dealing with my SO, and once I’d gone NC she helped with the aftermath as it was akin to a breakup. But earlier this year I quit the therapy as I felt it was ultimately a waste of money. I’d diagnosed the problem myself and this site helps so much with the treatment, I just felt I was progressing better under my own steam.
Don’t want to put you off, just make sure you get the right one and plan for it to be long term.
Thank you for this article and for the several others that I’ve read so far and found very helpful. I plan to contribute a few (hopefully useful) observations about my recent, tumultuous experience of limerence soon. For now, though, I have what I hope is a fairly straightforward question for you and your readers:
I worked closely with my LO for three years, and it was (I think) a positive, sustaining experience for both of us during that period, in part because we were both careful to observe personal and professional boundaries, avoiding physical contact, private meetings, complaints about spouses, etc.
Since she left our office for a better job, we’ve both made attempts to maintain some kind of friendship with occasional emails and lunches. As Dr Limerence would predict, this hasn’t worked out very well. While the email exchanges and occasional meetings have been superficially fine, I find that (internally) I am unable to sustain the “just friends” thing: too much longing, rumination, etc. I just can’t turn it off.
Following an awkward lunch meeting recently, I fully realized what a foolish and hopeless pursuit it is to try to sustain this “friendship” outside the work context, and I have resolved to go the strict No Contact route to try to wean myself from the obsession.
So here is the question. It is clear that at this most recent lunch and at our previous brief meeting a month or two earlier, she felt pretty uncomfortable. During the earlier conversation, which seemed to me pretty ordinary and innocuous, she said “You’re going to make me cry.” At the recent lunch, she kept her arms crossed the whole time and seemed in a hurry to leave, which I took as a pretty definitive “No thank you: hope ends here” message.
Given that our most recent two encounters, for whatever reason, left her feeling so uncomfortable, and left me feeling bad about that, I am tempted to send a brief note of apology as a final communication prior to the clearly necessary NC regime.
Would this be a decent thing to do or a foolish one?
Don’t contact her and if she contacts you, if the next thing out of her mouth after “hello” isn’t an explanation or apology, don’t offer her one. Unless you have a lot of common acquaintances who’d know if you ghosted her, you don’t need to reply at all.
I do see one exception on replying.
If she suggests a meeting, be honest. Say something like, “Our last meetings didn’t go so well and we don’t need to make it 3 out of 5. Take care of yourself.”
Then you go silent and stay off social media.
I think it’s an ideal time to let the relationship die a natural death. You tried meeting up, it sounds like no one was having fun or wanted to take it anywhere, so why keep doing it? You’re speculating but don’t know how she feels. Maybe she feels exactly as you do and will be relieved to let it go. So why, or for what, would you apologize? There’s no commitment, why make one person into some sort of blamed one who decided, unilaterally, to break it off, and the other person into some sort of rejected one because they didn’t get to be the first to end it. If it turns out she has some sort of expectations, and wants an explanation, then at that point the nicest thing you could do for her would be to hint you’d like to because she’s important and you have feelings but you prefer to not meet any more.
I’d agree with Scharnhorst and Satch, Jason. No need to contact her to explain or apologise. The last meetings didn’t work out, you know that, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve done anything that warrants an apology. Just let things fade away now, and learn the lessons that limerence teaches (painfully).
You won’t fix the unhappy situation by layering apologies over the top, but you could cause even more confusion or discomfort. Best to leave it.
I agree with all the posters above but with an added twist: it’s been brought to my attention that limerents actually are often people pleasers, and have self esteem issues. I would have never ever thought the latter was true, but the fact that we put up with LO’s who toy with us and wax and wane and flash hot and cold leads me to think it’s true. Normal people don’t tolerate such ambiguity, it infuriates them and they move on. Not us limerents!
So……give your self esteem a shot in the arm by NOT apologizing….you’ve been very sweet to her (you know you have!) and loved her with all your heart….and so you maturely accept that it’s time to move on, (her loss!)and it’s time to hold your head up high, arch an eyebrow, and saunter off confidently into the sunset. You did it!
Vicarious Limerent says
So, my wife and I are really trying to turn things around in our marriage and lives. We are starting to develop concrete plans to battle boredom and get some spice back into our lives. I also had a bit of an epiphany this evening driving home from work. I realized I was even boring myself talking and thinking about my LO constantly. I gave myself a pep talk and reminded myself of all of the reasons why my limerence is stupid, irrational and won’t lead to anything. I was also frank with myself that I will lose my job and my marriage (and maybe even my sanity) if I continue down the path I am going. As a result, I have started repeating a mantra to myself every time I start thinking about my LO: “[Insert Full Name] isn’t the solution to your problems. She will only make them worse.” It seems to be helping a bit, even though I have repeated this hundreds of times just in the last few hours. I read somewhere that repeating mantras can help. Does anyone else do this? Of course, all bets are off if I ever run into her, but that may never even happen.
Vicarious Limerent – well done on trying to make your marriage work. Yes I also disrupt my ruminations with mantras, every time LO pops into my head I yell “STOP! He’s not your husband, stop fantasising about him!”, it’s slowly working, yesterday I did a 7 hour shift at work and LO popped into my head once. Minor miracle really! I think mantras work, so keep at it.
I saw LO yesterday and early this morning at school drop offs (quick wave) , although I was happy to see him it was the first time on both occasions my heart didn’t stop and lurch out of my chest. That’s a first for me, I am quietly optimistic!!
@V-Lim and Lee-Anne,
I too had to yell out “STOP” when the intrusive thoughts kept popping in my head. It really helped! I am much better and now the thoughts that pop in are only negative, the giddy-making thoughts are gone! So…definitely reasons to be optimistic!
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Lee-Anne and Jaideux. It does help. I still ruminate sometimes, but maybe 75% of the time I am able to cut it short and refocus my attention elsewhere with my mantra and reminders to myself. I thought about keeping a certain time where I am allowed to ruminate about my LO. I had picked the time when I walk my dog, but my wife has instituted nightly dog walks together, so there goes that time! Probably best to avoid it at any time, although I know I will slip up some of the time. If I could just dramatically reduce the power of my LE for now (as opposed to eliminating it altogether) I would be happy.
Thanks so much for this site, that I am just now discovering.
My LO is in the same field as me, and is someone I have become friends with on Instagram. No contact will be very tough. But I am trying my best to limit interactions, likes, DMs. I am married and this limerence/crush is causing me deep pain and constant intrusive thoughts about her.
One idea I have is to tell her that I have feelings for her that I am not comfortable with, and to preserve my marriage as well as our friendship long-term, I need to unfollow her for a while. This will help make NC much easier. Similar thing happened recently when I got into some casual sports gambling through work guys that became addictive to me. Right after I no longer had access to the gambling website, poof, no more gambling addiction.
Is this idea just a bad, limerent fantasy? I have been rehearsing the speech, in which I tell her how taken with her I am, how special she is. Am I just fantasizing really about the chance to confess my infatuation? Would this possibly come off as flirtatious, inappropriate, crazy? I sense the answer is yes! You are doing a hell of a service here. Bless you.
Have you read:
From what you said, it doesn’t sound like your LO is aware of things. Based on that, disclosure is probably a bad idea. Since Instagram doesn’t notify someone if you unfollow them, she won’t know unless she looks to see who’s following her. If she asks why you haven’t responded to her posts, lie to her. Tell her with all the crap going on in the world, it just slipped your mind.
I did disclose to LO #4 but we were already deep in the weeds. I just let her know how deep I’d gotten. It’s in the links.
Hi DJ, and welcome!
I was going to be a bit less direct, at first, but let’s be honest: the only good that can come out of your disclosure is that you feel a momentary release of the pent up limerent energy that is pushing you to declare yourself. After you have disclosed, however, the comedown could be brutal. She may think it’s really inappropriate, given you are married. She may be flattered, but feel really awkward. She may be a narcissist who decides to keep you hooked as a pet limerent. And how would your wife feel about it all?
Unless you have made a conscious decision that you are unhappy in your marriage and want to leave it (and agree that with your wife before you contact LO), there’s just no scenario where everyone walks away from your disclosure feeling good about the situation. Far better to fantasise about disclosure, even write down your speech, but then decide to purposefully disengage from LO without disclosing.
The strong likelihood is that once you have freed yourself of limerence, you will be glad you kept it to yourself.
Don’t do it DJ.
I disclosed in a letter and now, years later, I regret it with all my heart. I no longer have any contact with LO but our social circles cross tremendously and I shudder to think of who may have read it or will read it. If we had ended up together it would have been the most intense, vulnerable, passionate, sincere, innocent declaration of love the world has known and the genesis of an authentic romantic relationship. But we did not, and now I realize I was a fool, and it was unwise to the extreme to disclose. Now the letter is merely the stuff of potential humiliation and mockery. No good came of it, and the potential for bad continues. I am haunted by the fear of him and people in his (our!) world laughing and being somewhat horrified at that ill conceived letter.
I wish someone would have talked me out of it!
In time you will be so relieved you exercised self control and didn’t disclose.
Don’t do it!
Thanks much. My brain was trying to fool me. It’s a cinematic moment, in my fantasy. And I am ready to roll the cameras and yell “action.” But I have to remember this movie only exists in my head.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Disclosure is yet another limerent daydream whereby we limerents offer a most cherished gift, sacrificing our dignity and self-respect upon the altar of our god/goddess LO, hoping by some means to impress them thereby.
I remember one of my buddies, who was a short, pudgy, poorly coiffed nerd. Somehow in his brain, he thought he qualified as a romantic suitor for a super-hot girl in our high school. Not only was she hot, but her identical twin sister merely magnified the fantasies in our feverish teenage boy brains.
Well, my buddy wrote a letter disclosing his undying love to her and slipped it into her locker. She made copies and pasted it around the school.
We, as his closest friends, drank deeply of the ensuing shame and hysterical laughter, which attended us and our little friend group as we walked around the school together for the next few weeks.
Disclosure? DON’T DO IT.
Regarding the “conscious decision that I am unhappy in my marriage” do you talk much here about limerence plays a role in that evaluation? It’s horrible! In my heart of hearts I know what I have – loving dear wife, who I enjoy a decent sex life with, excellent mother, 20 years of marriage, two kids, great memories. But in the world where LO shines, the assessment isn’t as rosy – limerence says “yeah but” and then lists things like how my wife isn’t as “cool” or “stylish” as LO, isn’t perhaps as cultured or intellectually curious. THOSE thoughts become top of mind instead of the more rational, “Hey, no one is perfect, but what you have built with your wife of 20 years is a bedrock of happiness and fulfillment and contentment. Whatever you do don’t fuck that up.” It is HARD while under the spell of “the drug” that LO has become to think/assess clearly.
DJ, it sounds like what you already have is what everyone really wants….don’t let limerence deceive you and rob you of it. Don’t damage something beautiful that may not ever be able to be fully repaired.
Vicarious Limerent says
I posted a quote from another site a while back where the author cautioned people against making life-altering decisions in a state of limerence because people will often regret those decisions. They just aren’t thinking rationally while under the spell of limerence. My wife and I were all set to call it quits yesterday, but we have decided to try marriage counseling and exploring more shared interests and activities. I also hard a hard, cold dose of reality when my father got furious with me for talking about my LO when I was venting to him and my brother. I was angry and hurt, but somehow it helped me. Time will tell if it has any lasting effects.
Vicarious Limerent says
My father just called me to apologize. He realizes what I am going through, but he was just concerned I wasn’t paying enough attention to some other issues in the family. Still, I thought the likelihood of my marriage ending would be important enough to focus on me and my problems for once.
Be careful. This genie’s going to be tough to get back in the bottle. You’re going to want to disclose even more about your LO to your father, your wife, and others – and they likely to have little sympathy. The distinction between limerence and just being a cheating heart is lost on most people. Good time to get a therapist with whom to disclose fully. Dr. L, I’m sure is available.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ ParadoxHighway: Too late. Basically everyone already knows. I could not hide it because it was so obvious. Only my LO isn’t completely aware (I did partially disclose a while back and she seemed very reasonable about it, possibly flattered, although we are NC now (my decision)). There is some level of sympathy from my family, but not complete understanding. My wife and I are really trying to work things out now. I am insisting on some major changes and that we go to marriage counselling. It may or may not work, but I need to go into this wholeheartedly with the hope and expectation of turning things around.
Does anyone have tales of people who went for it and ended a long-term relationship, went with LO, then the sheen wore off and their life was basically ruined? This has had to happen. I am not sure, but I think the percentage of 2nd marriages working out is lower than first ones. These kind of things are good to hear. They are fantasy-dampening.
There’s a poster in an early blog who was an attorney. If I remember correctly, he became limerent for a client, crossed some lines, and they disbarred him. He stopped posting so we never heard how it ended.
Joe Beam is a guy on YouTube who became limerent and did end up leaving everything to be with his LO. He’s a really good one to listen to in terms of the statistics about failure rate of these relationships, and how limerence ALWAYS ends. (Spoiler: he ended up back with his wife, but not after a train wreck 3 years.) I find him a really good bucket of cold water. Listening to him really helped me to play my LE tape forward. Just thinking about it now gives me a knot in my stomach thinking about what could have happened.
You’re 100% spot on. No one is perfect, and all the style and sophistication and sparkles really are glitter and not gold. I’m glad you found this place
Had an excellent therapy session with a wonderful psych here in CA. He assured me that if I am not factoring in utter devastation in the lives of my children, my wife and my own life, then my “fantasy” just isn’t complete. The only time I cried during the whole session was when I was fully grasping the deep love and appreciation I have for the life I have built with my loving wife and kids. Damn good feeling to have. My sanity is here, under layers of distraction.
DJ it sounds like you have a favorable prognosis. Very happy for you!
Thank you so much! Definitely more work to do. Appreciate the eyes, ears, hearts and minds here.
And of course, the renewed sense of peace and strength had me feeling confident, and thinking that any sort of follow-up or reach out to LO, especially if it’s something that relates to this Corona-related time of isolation, would be be from a stronger position. An innocent, friendly check-in. A link to a song good for relaxation. I know she saw it, but no response. And I’m left disturbed, the uncertainty and lack of dopamine hit agitating me to my core. I picked up the crack pipe! Damnit!
Hi all, is there a forum related to this site, or a limerence forum you know about? Would love to be able to chat more regularly than these comments on different blog posts allow.
In a disclosure-adjacent issue, my LO invited me, my family to an online recurring event in this time of Corona. I felt the need to share this with my SO, but I now suspect this is the limerence talking. “If LO is just a part of OUR life, then it’s fine. She’s a friend!”
I declined the offer and have not told my wife, because I feel her response may be – “Why the fuck are you still talking about this woman?”
Good call, sir!
“Why the fuck are you still talking about this woman?” 😂😂😂😂
This made me laugh!
Good question though 😂
I’m correct, right? It’s just rationalization/the limerence talking?
Also helpful – I find writing Tweets, and Instagram comments, and DMs, then deleting them before sending to be REALLY helpful. It makes it all imaginary dialogue, with zero risk. It’s play-acting, it’s fantasy. Which is what limerence is anyway, right?
Yup, it’s the limerence talking. I used to do it too, “but we are just friends”, yeah right. We certainly were very friendly, but my feelings for him went way beyond friendship.
I like your pretend writing, just don’t accidentally hit the send button 😂
I once stalked LO on Instagram and accidentally hit the friend request button, I nearly dropped my phone in panic as I hastily undid the request while fervently praying he didn’t get notified 🤣🤣
I know the statistics , affair partners don’t really stand a chance, although the statistics vary also, I must admit I’m going to divorce my SO after 15 years ( pretend to myself it’s not to be with my LO but of course I am ) but I must say that I have had doubts in my marriage way before LO hopped along, so if my LO and I don’t work out I will prob not regret it. And even if I will , the drawn is too strong , I can’t fight it. I’m like a rabbit staring in the headlights . I have to be with him.
Well I wish you the best. My first limerent crush was 17 years into our marriage! It’s been otherwise, not perfect, but loving and delightful. I really really don’t want to do damage to my family. My LO is really really treating me like nothing more than a friend. That stings a little, but it’s a healthy dose of reality. She is definitely not into me in the same way, I’m almost positive.
“I’m almost positive”
There it is DJ, the uncertainty!!
Same for me, I’m sure that LO doesn’t have any feelings for me. But but but, those smiles sometimes, those crossing looks… make me melt and doubt. What if…? Is it my limerent brain tricking me? It’s so hard to let go!
Every day my LO is out of contact is 65% blessing, 35% heartache. That’s a solid win over time.
Are there any posts about limerence changing our pereception of our SO? It’s like the inverse of “the glimmer” – we only see LO’s positive attributes and features, but we at the same time only see and notice SO’s shortcomings, negative features and differences with us. It’s not fair!
I wrote a guest post on another blog that is relevant too.
Hi DJ, on the subject of “limerence changing our pereception of our SO”, I remembered this eye-opening comment from @Janesays (thank her for that!):
“I started associating the good, bonded, glittery feelings with LO and the scary, guilty, anxious feelings with SO.”
My other question is there a better place for us all to share in discussion rather than comments? Is there any forum on this site or could we form one?
I get asked this a lot, DJ. The blunt truth is I don’t currently have the time and resources to manage a forum properly. I’ve also thought about Facebook groups or similar, but suspect that people would want to keep their “limerent lives” separate from their everyday lives.
I got LO #4’s attention by posting on her site. She asked me to be a moderator for her. It really strengthened the attachment.
She was the queen and I was her steward.
@DJ, we talked about it before in another blog post comment section, I don’t remember where. Same as today DrL said it was more a question of lack of resources. Some commenters also wrote that they’d prefer having their posts scattered across the blog rather then easily searchable, as they felt they had overshared sometimes.
@DrL, I think you could consider a private subscription forum. I’m sure many of us would be glad to chip in a small fee to be members of a private group. As Scharnhorst says, you could easily find a few of us to help moderating the group. And if it’s private there is much less moderation to do. A private Facebook group could do too, but I guess most prefer to hide behind an avatar. You never know your mother-in-law could suddenly be member of the group! 😬😅
I’m willing to help to set it up if you need. I’m usually not working with WordPress but it’s not that hard. Just let me know.
yeah I just loved that post. Truly inspirational. My LO is quite compassionate and empathetic person. She knows exactly how I feel about her. She also acts in self-interest – I have no problem with that at all – and believe we all do. I give her rewarding part time work, but told her I have to take a break from that to get over her. When I say she acts in self-interest, I should add that she never would if it meant hurting me (or another person). I am feeling very limerent about her and especially as I write this. She is a good person and she is good to me. She just is not romantically interested. The hardest part is I am very much so and thoughts of jealousy etc often enter my head. I want to get over my LO, but I do not want to go NC. Is it possible? I am kind of small about things…I dont let things go, so maybe I will go through the miserable highs and lows if I do not go NC. It just seems to be damned if I do, damned if I do not case. But I do regularly get loud warning sings telling me just to get the hell out.
HELP!!! what should I do?
I think I got carried away with the fact that my LO is a good person and that she is good to me, understands me and to some degree shows great patience with me. So, yesterday I was very limerent about her. Today, the lows are back. I think of what she is doing, how I am fundamentally excluded from most parts of her life and how that, some day, I will probably see her with another man. I try to use negative visualization and imagine this to break me free of the chains. But actually it is too painful and I have to stop the visualization. But the day will likely come, if it has not already. And I am far from ready for it. So, her being great etc notwithstanding, today I feel that overwhelming urge to just get the hell out. I have to admit that most of the time I am very unhappy and the highs that I get are few and far between, with the anxiety I suffer, far outweighing the positives. Limerence is a kind of hell, a prison, and it stops us from getting anywhere in life. It crushes us. That is the fact of the matter. Good luck in getting rid of it, for get rid of it you must.
Hello Steve, I’m feeling for you, and I totally get you as you mentioned your prison.
Unfortunately there is only one way to get out of the prison. Go NC and work on yourself . And if you need hope to get through that ( I’m going to work on myself so one day see will see the new me ) let there be hope.
Letting go of all hope and try to see her flaws etc doest really work at this point. You are not there yet.
Have a dig in where your anxiety comes from, yes it’s hell, but you are already, in even a worse, hell.
You can use us for support, but consider going NC as a serious option, because the moment you do that, the prison door will slowly open.
You love yourself more than you love LO, LO is bringing things to the surface that need attention, that’s why we get so stuck, we lash on because we want the anxiety to go away. I hope this community will get you through this.
Limerance is not only a mental prison but at some point we tend to romanticize it, no? It’s almost like low grade depression, we get use to it so much, we just choose to co-exist with it. That’s why, it takes years for some of us to lift ourselves from its fog. Even (or especially) during NC. Maybe I’m different than most limerants but the longer the NC continues (going on a few months), the worse I feel.
I also still feel awful in NC , but I have no better option, contact here or there will bring me back in anxiety helltown, it’s the last place I want to be stuck in. besides I want to go through the proces allone, I don’t want LO to be part of it. It’s very private and it’s mine. That gives me some comfort.
I agree, Mia. Although NC doesn’t get easier for some of us, the alternative is also a bad idea as it stalls recovery even more… for me, for example, it’s a pride and dignity thing. I’ve already embarrassed myself so much, is how I perceive it. BUT BUT I also struggle immensely with closure, in the most f-ed ways. Get this… my last exchange with LO ended with me saying “let me know if you’d like to speak on Sunday… but your silence is also the answer.” This was over text and as months later I keep staring at the text, I’m stuck on the “the answer” part. Why? Because although I personally love how I ended the conversation, and of course the last line was very premeditated, I regret that I didn’t instead write “silence is AN answer”, because I think that would have been more grammatically correct?
Now I wonder if he understood the message. Either way, months later, he never responded. That’s why NC is driving me crazy, I want to reach out again to correct that statement. I’ve gone insane.
I can relate so much! I think the biggest reason (besides healing etc , kind of important too) is I’m not reaching out is out of embarrassment. I left with a statement and LO would be surprised, and probably turned off if I would show up again and than disappeare again to show up again. Etc
I left saying I did not procesed my divorce properly and I focused on him too much so I did not want contact.
He replied that I could let him know when I processed everything (I read this as: than we can try to be together) and I wrote : I will.
And now I feel so stupid! Since I basically say, I will reach out to you when I’m ready! But I want him to reach out to me !
My limerence is telling me he is not reaching out because I told him I wanted to stop and I will reach out.
Guess I’m just over analyzing, when he really wants to reach out he will reach out.
And he doesn’t.
Has anyone heard or tried the methode ‘ flooding’ ?
So instead of restraining yourself from LO, interact is see hear etc LO as much as possible.
I heard the term on a you tube film when someone talked about limerence and I am tempted to try this as an exposure methode.
While ‘ starving’ works but very slowly, exposure and forcing LO on your system till it looses its meaning / threat / fearlike response to your nerve system might also work.
I’m curious what will happen if I force myself to look at a pic of LO hear his voice on you tube and fill my place with reminders, few episodes per day., either I go crazy or either it works better than the starving and NC for me.
Article of the Day: https://hbr.org/1992/01/successful-change-programs-begin-with-results
1. What exactly are you trying to achieve?
2. How will you measure progress?
3. How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
This approach seems to smack of the “activity-centered fallacy” the article describes.
Thank you Sharn, will read the article carefully.There are forms to use when doing exposure, to registratie long-term and short-term progress in tension to see if it’s dropping.
Will get back about it .
I thought this was a method for treating phobias? I must admit that I am sceptical that this sort of exposure therapy would be effective on what is mostly an addiction. I am no expert of course but this feels instinctively wrong, like it could even deepen the addiction rather than reduce it.
I believe the best approaches are CBT, mindfulness / mindful self-compassion and reprogramming type techniques used to support and accelerate the impact of NC/LC.
Hope all goes well!
Of course self compassion and meditation should be done, it’s super important, and by forcing I don’t mean in an agressive way, just to see a pic of LO for what it is, it’s just a pic of LO, nothing more nothing less and nothing I can’t handle. Now whenever I see a pic hear his name or any reminder gets me hyperarousal, in panic almost.
There’s a thread of logic to this, in the sense that “desensitizing” yourself to a trigger is possible with constant exposure, but it makes most sense when it comes to treating irrational anxiety/phobia that is preventing you from carrying on with everyday life – i.e. the trigger is actually safe and should be neutral as a stimulus.
If you accept the person addiction premise for limerence then it’s the equivalent of an alcoholic surrounding themselves with booze in the hope they’ll get sick of it. It could work, but seems high risk.
Or, you could take a somewhat more extreme approach….
Clip of the Day: “A Clockwork Orange” – 1971
Just substitute “limerence” for “ultra-violence.” There were some unintended consequences and it didn’t hold but, hey, they gave it a shot.
Hm I hear you, but I also see my reaction on a pic as a trauma response I immediately go in fight or flight response. Looking at a pic of LO and experiencing that it’s okay,, that I’m safe and the tension will drop.
LO had his own ringtone, whenever I heard this ringtone, my nerve system would go in panic state, I listened to it 50000 times and now the response is different.
Just trying things to cope and also being super curious on what works and not work in this bizar state .
That man Alan Raubrarge (i know I butchered the spelling) talks about NC is sometimes not helpful bc it’s so painful and “killing” it with overexposure may help. I’ll look for the link.
Yes I’ve seen it, it’s basically to let your system know that the important other is still there ( as in not dead, vanished etc )
Alan Robarge is more on the attachment trauma side than on the people addiction side though. For me I see my limerence as a result of my anxious preoccupied attachment style.
Many of the comments donthave reply option so I’ll respond here: why don’t you just text him saying “I’ve processed my divorce and am ready to talk to you?” If he’s dissmissive avoidant, you may likely never hear from him again.
Thanx AS , He will respond, I’m sure, I’m just not ready
I will be back in limerence prison hell in no time since we can not fly and see each other and I really want to heal some patterns. LO is a symbol of a bigger issue. But maybe one day I will send that message ( it sounds pretty normal and grown up as you wrote it! ) Although I’m also proud as f* and I want him to contact me, but probably that’s my anxious attached part talking , wanting proof ( and more proof, an bottomless pit off proof) he still likes me, being all weird about contacting and not knowing anymore what is normal behaviour.
All I know for sure right now is that I want to heal and grow stronger. As hard as it is I’m doing it without LO.
Love that movie
So how would you interpret “no answer is the answer?” Lol
I should have written “your lack of response will be my answer”, ughhh
Does he thinks I’m done too?
Can someone respond to this? My ocd is driving me crazy. I know this falls under closure is an illusion topic but I keep obsessing how he could have interpreted my parting words. Was it so incorrect to phrase it in the way I have that he won’t get the meaning? I simply meant to say his lack of response will be my answer, as in I will back away and never reach out again. But saying “is the answer” is suggesting we should both be silent?
Was I being passive aggressive? Is he dissmissive avoidant. Or just simply doesn’t give a shit bc he has no regard for my feelings. We agreed to talk prior to me sending that text.
Full context: lO agreed to have a conversation about “our friendship” as I’ve asked him to define it. He was vague about when the conversation would happen saying “yeah, let’s talk sometime” to which I responded with “how about we talk on Sunday?” Then I added “but silence is the answer too.” He never responded again after that and weeks later I’ve been struggling with whether I should have phrased it differently bc I have no idea if he got the meaning of the last sentence in our last exchange. Thoughts?
I think I may have lost the thread a bit here, Anxious, but “your silence is also the answer” seems clear to me.
Sometimes, that is the only answer we can get.
And no, it doesn’t strike me as passive aggressive to basically say: please answer, but if you don’t I’ll know that is my answer.
Ultimately, there is no perfect way to phrase something that will result in someone responding if they actually just don’t want to communicate. The failure is not at your end…
Semantics at play… i didn’t say “your silence is the answer.” I said “silence is the answer too.” I regret not adding the “your.” Hence the obsession. Maybe he thinks I’ve chosen the silence? Had a late night conversation last night with a very secure attachment, rational friend who suggested my message may have confused my Lo. She also stated “most people aren’t that deep”- the last part we laughed about.
Really, what bothers me the most is that he discarded me after the pregnancy and now I have ptsd and the fucker doesn’t give a shit? So so cruel. My therapist said 2 years ago that processing the trauma is my own responsibility.
I gave my sister some advice few weeks ago (I must admit I’m.also the queen of over analyzing when im anxious).
I told her: when you have to analyse or get proof if your guy likes you or not by analysing an exclamation mark , you know enough.
It’s not about the little words we do or don’t use, if I would want contact with someone I would ask ” what do you mean ” if I didn’t understand. Silence is the answer too sound pretty clear.
Thank you, Mia. I received more support from this group than LO. He just discarded me. Ptsd is a long road, indeed.
So, today LO has decided to change her PFP on Whatsapp. She’s now in what seems to be a cliff during sunset, smiling. I admit that my heart skipped a beat when I first saw the new pic, and I watched it for several minutes. And I know is petty, but I’m realizing now that she isn’t as pretty as I remembered her (before her actual photo on Whatsapp she used one of her as a little kid, so my only source of limerent relief were some old Facebook photos from almost ten years ago). Also, I’m noticing small details, like how she painted her nails in a bright pink color, which is a big turn off for me. And you can partly see the hand of her boyfriend in the photo, so it’s obvious that it was him who took it. I a way, the picture represents all the things I need to interiorize in order to extinguish my limerence for her: That she really wasn’t my type, that her personality is probably very different from how I imagined her to be, and most importantly, that she’s already taken.
I’m feeling the craving of watching her photo “just a little bit more”, but I’m aware that there’s no point in keep looking at it now. Fortunately, her chats are buried now under other ones from friends and family, so it should be easy to not fall into it by accident.
This seems like a positive development, Benjamin. The fact that you can look at the picture and think “she’s not the ideal woman I remembered” is much better than being overcome by desire.
You’re coming out of the fog 🙂
Thanks, Dr. It’s good to know that I’m in the right track!
Maybe if you keep looking at the photos you will start to desensitize yourself to them? Devaluing her looks seems superficial to me though. My LO has a yamulka size bald spot and most of my friends who know my story told me that in itself should be a turn off. I don’t see it that way. The bald spot doesn’t bother me because I would never judge someone on their looks. No, it’s not universally appealing to most women when a man has a bald spot and bad posture and whatever else but that’s not the point. Perhaps focusing on their personality flaws is a better strategy?
Yeah, I know that by saying something like “she isn’t as pretty as I remembered her” I’m coming off as dismissive of her looks, but it’s not like that. I still think she’s pretty, it’s just that looking at her photo now I’m realizing how much I idealized her in my mind through limerence.
Same with the nail polish. I tend to associate bright nail polish with very extroverted personalities, someone who likes to go out and cares a lot about her image (and I don’t mean it in a narcissistic kind of way). I have nothing against those kind of women, it’s simply that I can’t think of them and me getting along in a dating context.
The first (and only) time I met LO, it was in an exam, and she wore way simpler clothes and had a more natural look, so in my head I made her out to be some kind of shy, introverted person who likes being by herself and is a bit of a homebody, which mirrors my own personality pretty well and that’s why I probably fell hard for her. Realizing, through such small details like the color of her nails, that she is probably someone very different from what I imagined her to be it’s something that I hope helps me in recovering from the LE. Maybe looking at the photo from time to time to check if I still feel jealously imagining her having a lovely evening with her boyfriend can help, so thanks for the advice, A_S.
Vicarious Limerent says
Yep. My LO recently posted a new picture of herself in a bikini looking sexy as hell (she has a body that would shame women half her age). It isn’t like I didn’t like what I saw, but I’m not the drooling, lovesick mess I would have been a few months back seeing that shot! While I am aware of my LO’s (minor) flaws, I find that particular strategy backfires on me because focusing on her imperfections (we all have them) just makes her feel less unattainable and less out of my league.
How about instead of imagining her having “a lovely” evening with her bf, try imagining something more disturbing like the two of them having sex. I know it’s such a vulgar example but when you think about it practically, they do have sex. Whenever I think about lo having sex with whomever he could be sleeping with these days (well, maybe not recently- covid), I first get that sharp pain in my chest from the emotional pain, but then that pain turns into a thought “but he is most likely with other women.” It’s slowly sinking in. It could be a useful tool for desensitization.
(This comment is directed at VL, since the blog won’t let me reply directly to him)
Well, in my case there’s no risk of seeing her as more attainable, since my LO is already with someone and of course going after people already in a relationship is a big no-no. It would take them breaking up and she suddenly remembering that she left a couple of messages of mine on unread for the idea of us as an item being even considered a possibility.
But yes, seeing that you can look at LO’s photos without being overwhelmed by lovesickness is certainly a liberating sensation.
(This comment is directed at A_S, since the blog won’t let me reply directly to them)
I actually had thoughts like that on the days inmmediately after she rejected me, and honestly, they filled me with so much jealously and impotence that I thought I was going to burst.
I can see your point about how it will help with the desensitization, though. Even now, thinking about LO and her boyfriend having sex still stings a little, although it’s not in the same magnitude as before. You certainly have lots of emotional fortitude to be able to do that periodically, A_S.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Benjamin: My LO is single (as far as I know she still is anyway), but I am married, so she is off limits for me (unless I end my marriage, which is a possibility since my wife and I do have some pretty major issues). I actually do hope in many ways that my LO is with someone by now. She deserves to be happy, and frankly she deserves to be having lots of great sex with someone (lucky guy if she is). I am hoping she isn’t hung up on my brother in-law (I have seen signs recently that she may have given up on him, since he isn’t interested in her). I know she is only really a fantasy for me, but that faint hope of one day being able to chase after her is keeping me going in some ways, although it is killing me in other ways because it is negatively impacting any chance of repairing my marriage (and I simply can’t use that faint hope as motivation for anything because she is highly unlikely ever to be interested in me and I do still love her, despite our issues). At least I am recovering in some ways — slowly but surely!
Vicarious Limerent says
“I do still love my wife” I should have said above. I am multitasking here!
@VL Ah, yeah, reading your comment now I’m recalling that you said before that you were married. Sorry for forgetting about it.
Yeah, is a bit of a complicated situation and I bet that going after LO must be really tempting at times. But it’s good to see that you’re working on the recovery of your marriage and that you’re making progress in dropping the LE!