There’s been a lot of discussion in the comments of late about social media and how it just makes limerence sooo much worse. I’ve not contributed much to this, for the simple if unorthodox reason that I don’t really use any social media.
This isn’t a high-minded decision. It’s not a commentary along the lines of purposeful-living-don’t-need-no-Facebook (although there is an interesting discussion to be had there), it’s just that I never got started.
At one point I did try to sign up for Facebook, because someone I admired invited me into a private group. The outcome was a bodged registration effort that resulted in me being perma-banned for some algorithmic transgression (I hadn’t even put any information on my account, so it couldn’t have been anything to do with my admitted undesirability). I’m guessing it was something to do with trying to register the same email address twice, but the upshot is that I took it as an omen that the universe was kindly saving me from a massive time sink.
Anyway, that preamble is just to say that I haven’t much personal insight about the perils of social media for limerents. However, others do, and ScotsGlimmerLass sent me a great email recently with lots of insights worth discussing.
So, today’s post is a sort of hybrid case study/comment tennis thing where I riff off her ideas and hopefully spark some new ones.
(SGL in quotes)
One aspect of modern life that particularly aggravates limerence / hinders recovery in my case, is social media. In fact, my LE would never have happened, I believe, without the ability of my LO to friend request me after our seeing each other.
Social media definitely lowers the barrier to entry for nucleation. Meet someone, feel the glimmer, receive that first friend request and… access a massive database of information about their life.
People didn’t use to curate their life, loves and passions in an easily accessible form for limerents to obsess over. You had to get to know them by spending time with them, or ask for their number and phone them up – which would be a much more direct indicator of romantic interest.
In principle, though, the new easy access of social media could go either way. You could discover that they like something you hate, which cools your ardour before you’ve properly started idealising them. But equally, it could be a treasure trove of rumination material if they turn out to be every bit as attractive as your glimmery brain wants them to be.
It takes so much less effort now to find out about an LO’s private life. It’s like an accelerator pedal for limerence.
Limerence is obviously a form of addiction and for me my EA was carried entirely out via Facebook and Messenger – tools that have been specifically designed to be inherently addictive!
Oh, yeah. This is a killer point. It’s like a doubling of addictive behaviours. You want to seek LO for the dopamine hits, and you want to check social media for the dopamine hits. So browsing for LO satisfies two cravings at once, and mutually reinforces two reward-seeking habits under one impulsive behaviour.
It’s like trying to give up coffee, when your favourite pastime is hanging out with your friends in the coffee house. The addictions compound each other.
Social media also dovetails with other specific limerent traits & habits –
Idealising the LO / ignoring their faults. Their social media will be their “highlights”, the persona they want to project to the world. As will our own. (Ironically one of the things I despise most about my LO is the amount of time he spends on FB – and on bad days I can track it minute by minute. It’s deeply unattractive. My SO by contrast doesn’t do SM – and that’s a trait I admire).
Auto-idealisation. As if our brains weren’t already masters at glorifying them, the input from social media comes pre-polished to present them at their best. You’re feeding your subconscious the equivalent of highly refined LO sugar.
And yes, this feature of social media is also an opportunity for you to quietly steer your own persona towards the ideal, and casually start making them aware of your own merits. You may even be able to track their likes and engagement and really get analytical about what they respond to.
That way lies madness.
– ability to ruminate over LO by endlessly scrolling through their posts & photographs. Awful.
Yep, it’s a database of rumination material to work with – and completely innocuous in principle. It’s not like a personal photo, or text, or letter. It’s just sitting there on a semi-public site for anyone to casually browse. No incriminating traces if you’ve been careful with browsing histories. What a temptation.
– taking on LO’s interests and likes – they are all laid out there for all to see…
– I also ended up only posting comments or photos with my LO and his reaction in mind. Very sad.
Oh God yes, the temptation multiplies. It’s bad enough rehearsing what you’re going to say or do ahead of each actual physical encounter with LO. If you can also spend your time between encounters “preparing the ground” by posting carefully targeted messages, your whole life can be corralled into trying to impress LO. Which leads to:
– the interface of the smartphone and social media mean that this is all available and reinforcing our limerence 24/7.
There’s no escape!
Until you actively seek freedom.
– the ability to see if your LO is online fuels uncertainty ( will they message me?) and also jealousy (they’ve been online for 1 hour – who are they talking to?)
Cyberstalking is another limerence reinforcer. Although, actually this uncertainty can also follow a text or even letter – it’s the knowing they’ve heard from you, but having to wait anxiously for a response.
It’s the instant gratification of messaging, access to photos, even the voice of the person you’re obsessed with, and how hard it is then to detox from them. Oh delete their number i used to say blithely to younger single friends after break ups. How naive. How much harder to totally forget them when you see them everywhere online and begin the dance of “you block and I’ll block. Oh? You’ve unblocked – why? I might unblock to see if you need to say something to me” and so on”.
If the limerence wasn’t bad enough, there’s the whole social sensitivity thing too. Is blocking too aggressive? OK, I’m going to block, but… you have to block too. In fact you go first. No, I feel better now, so it’s safe to unblock, but then what will they think about that…
And, down the limerence plughole you go.
Anyway, just some stream of consciousness stuff regarding Zuckerberg & co’s evil empire. Clearly, the answer for me is to delete Facebook.
Thanks SGL. Great stuff.
I have to say that I’m increasingly glad that by a combination of lack of interest and lack of action I’ve avoided the worst excesses of social media. It really is a major aggravating factor for limerence, and also a barrier to purposeful living. Unless your purpose is to become [pauses and takes a steadying breath before typing] an Influencer, I suppose.
Anyway. Final conclusion: let’s all delete Facebook!
Dr L – thanks for taking my musings and framing them into a thoughtful blog post. Limerence, at the start when it was exciting and exhilarating, made me feel like a teenager. End stage, miserable limerence makes me feel mortified for feeling and acting like a teenager (see: use of social media and messaging as described above).
I am now nearly 3 weeks into NC. The last few days have been utterly dreadful and social media was fuelling that (even though we have blocked each other but when you have friends in common there are sources of limerent rumination to be found elsewhere). I’ve deleted social media and every last scrap of anything LO related on my phone / notes / deleted folder etc etc. I feel bereft (and dreamt about him all last night as though my subconscious was trying to fill that void). But I know it will help ultimately. It’s the only way of making NC truly NC in my case.
Hope everyone else is doing well, esp those in early phases of NC or LC.
ps: only just noticed the word jazz photo. 😂😂. “Jazz, nice!!”
Hi, I do not mean to comment on a comment but couldn’t work out how to post. I think I have experienced Limerance throughout my life and I’m now neck deep in an episode and just started NC.
I married one of my LOs many years ago and I’m still married to him with young children. Mostly happily. But in the last 5 years I’ve had 2 episodes of Limerance – one was with my new boss – I walked into the job interview and the ‘glimmer’ was immediate and the limerance lasted more than two years but never went past some flirting and ultimately him backing off (he was married also).
Free of limerance for a couple of years, I experienced a death in the family, someone close to me. I felt terrible and low and sad for a long time. Then bang, I met a person while travelling and the glimmer was immediate. He had similar traits to the previous LO, face and jaw shape and an accent and it drew me in. Myself and this LO live on opposite sides of the world but started a EA and a PA via message, video and in person when travelling. It was very intense and I think my LO May be limerant as well, although perhaps not as bad as me.
Like most that I’ve read on this blog, the highs and the pleasure was extreme but 10 months in, the pleasure started to turn to pain for both of us. We agreed to No Contact recently and it’s very very difficult. He has left the door open for further contact only when in same city (maybe 3 times per year) without the daily messaging. It’s tempting but I suspect will drag out my pain?
It’s not until now in my life that I realise that I have this pattern with men. I’m lucky in the fact that men seem to find me attractive which in some way it makes it worse as when there is a glimmer it is not hard to get the LO on board for more. It’s very destructive and I worry about hurting my family.
I want to know how to move forward.
Hi Jayne. I’m sure others with better advice / further along in healing will be along shortly. Just to say our stories have similarities. You can see mine here in 30 Sept. https://livingwithlimerence.com/2019/09/28/can-limerence-explain-twin-flames/#comments
Mine also occurred after a significant bereavement. I am very sorry for your loss. There is certainly a big connection with people looking for the ultimate proof of being “alive” in some kind of affair particularly us limerents.
My LO & I (particularly I) have gone through all sorts of permutations and bargaining to allow us to continue to be in contact (including planning only physical meet ups once or twice a year when we are in each other’s country). The blunt fact is that taking your LOs option for that will only cause you both more pain and stop you both from moving on. The future promise of contact will keep him in your brain, fuel rumination and stop you from properly being present for your own SO and children. I imagine (but don’t know as logistics thankfully prevented my LO and I ever becoming physical ) that having a physical meeting would plunge you deeper into limerence.
I’ve been doing Dr L’s emergency deprogramming course which I think is very good. I need to get back to it – I’m a little stuck at the part that is all about gradually tapering contact when your LO is a work colleague as this doesn’t apply to me.
I guess be thankful that, like me, you CAN not see your LO and that he lives on the other side of the world (I really feel for those who have unavoidable contact with their LOs). Also – you haven’t been caught, yet (neither have I) but think of the pain and damage that would cause if it happened. I’m trying to take the opportunity to move on before that damage occurred although there is a strong argument to say that I should tell my SO what has been going on …
Wishing you luck. There is so much to read on here that applies and can help. SGL
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. What you say is absolutely correct and I hope I can be strong in the next two weeks when I’m in his city.
This is incredibly difficult
Wishing you lots of luck. Can you delete his contact details so as to have no means of contacting him? Do you definitely need to make the trip? Best wishes SGL
I tried deleting his contact details but then I found them in another way and added them back. I can’t bring myself to delete everything. He is sticking to the no contact really well and says it has to continue. The catch up in a couple of weeks is still on the table pending schedules.
I am struggling to move on without getting depressed about it. The no contact seems to be making it worse!
Jayne. I can tell you that the NC does SEEM harder to begin with than the roller coaster of contact. But it gets easier & is worth it. I know it messes with your brain (WHY can he did NC so easily / better than me) etc but ditch that thought. Personally I have a sneaking suspicion that (overall) men might be a little better than women when it comes to NC.
It’s still in my head – the thought / hope that LO will break NC, particularly at weekends. But it’s getting easier.
I think most important is to stop thinking what LO is thinking. Does he feel the same? Is he suffering? Has he moved on? Does he miss me? Does he care? Does he even realize I am going NC? All of this is irrelevant. Because YOU take a decision that is best for you, no matter what the other person thinks or feels. And the other person’s reaction should not have an influence on your decision anymore.
If one knows game theory: it’s as if you remove the other persons options. You no longer base your decision on the other person’s options, you basically remove them all together and just focus on yourself.
It’s hard, and so easy to fall back to take the perspective of LO. I am hurting him, he suffers if I go NC, he loses a friend… all of that becomes irrelevant as your well bring takes priority. And your well being unfortunately comes with collateral damage for LO.
I’m going through something similar, how this play out for you? This is excruciating
I agree 100% with this post about social media fueling limerence. In my case, I have not been in direct contact with my LO, but I can see information about them (even though LO does not have any public social media accounts) but I also started to monitor LO’s SO’s public posts (LO’s SO is much more active on SM) in which they or their relationship is mentioned, which is like breadcrumbs or clues as to what is happening in their relationship. It is very addicting. The one thing that I did learn through this is that, at least for me, this desire to learn more about people comes from empathy, and I found myself identifying with and really “liking” LO’s SO from their posts. So this actually made me not want to pursue LO further, because I felt like LO’s SO was such a great person and clearly loved and understood them. In fact I think I would like to be friends with LO’s SO.
This leads to another topic that I would like to see addressed in a blog post/topic sometime, and that is emotional transference. I recently read an interesting article about a study that found that 70% of couples have at one point had romantic feelings for another person, and it can actually be a good thing for the couple. The article said that women are more likely to use strategies such as emotional transference to regulate their feelings and apply to their partner the desire they feel for the other person, thus enhancing their couple. This is my experience and from what I read it is more common than I would have thought. Is emotional transference something that can be practiced? Is it a good way to handle limerence?
WhatsApp was the big problem for me. Those two ticks and the last seen… limerent’s nightmare! LO would do this infuriating thing where she’d send me a message, I’d reply, she’d then leave it “unread” for about 24hrs and then reply. Drove me crazy waiting for the response, checking to see if she’d been online (she had). She’d regularly change her picture too, generally to one of her dressed up to go out or on holiday wearing v little and of course I’d notice and blow it up full screen without fail. Anytime my phone buzzed I instantly hoped it was a message from her.
We weren’t connected on Instagram (her account was private too) and she didn’t really use FB so I didn’t have that particular pain, although I could see her Twitter if I searched for it. We were connected on LinkedIn and when I went NC I unconnected to avoid any reminders. Although we’ve got 100s of shared connections so her posts have popped into my feed occasionally, and of course I still check to see who has seen my posts in the hope she has… (you can see firm, town etc so I can figure it out).
Social media is such limerence fuel and I’m acutely aware of that so am disciplined in not searching her up. It’s a rabbit hole that is hard to escape from and that knowledge has helped me avoid it and been a big part of my recovery.
Oh yeah whatsapp, vincent. Same here, drove me crazy to assume (know) he’s having conversations with me and his LO at the same time.
Uuuugh – I’m laughing that despite coming off social media my Apple News just showed me a very niche story connected to something very specific connected to LO and where he lives. My fault however as I spent a lot of time looking at stuff connected to this on Facebook. Damn algorithms!
Vincent & Sarah your Whatapp hell sounds real! Yuk.
Me to guys. I would wait until LO appeared online. I would wait and keep checking and then once he appeared online it must mean he was thinking of me to showing he reciprocated. That was very early on though. Slowly but surely I’ve diminished all these crazy stories I made up in my head.
Makes me sound nuts doesn’t it but even when he appeared online it was some sort of hit I got.. ugh how messed up is limerence.
And to add, social media is the devil and prolongs limerence needlessly. I would make up all the scenarios as to why I couldn’t unfollow LO but it’s been 2 weeks now and I feel the social media stalking was hopefully the last hawcrux. I still am curious but as I’m marking the days off on my calendar, it’s really giving me an incentive to stick at it.
Rachel – I got exactly the same “hit” when I could see my LO was online (that little green dot!!) and was certain he was looking and seeing I was online and wanting to message me. Totally nuts as you say.
I can remember the very first time he messaged me at night as he could see I was on FB and said “hey are you awake?” It was one of those crossing a line moments that I wish I could go back to and stop everything (even though at the time it felt great).
I’ve downloaded an app called Day Plus on which I am counting – days of NC, days off social media and days of no wine (I discovered that even one or two glasses was enough to plummet my mood in the most disproportionate way alongside reducing my resolve for NC or no social media stalking). It easily helps to tick off the days.
The main thing I just can’t recall is what the hell I used to think about when I was driving / walking / living before this awful thing took hold. It’s still him about 80% of the time. 😥
SGL yes the green dot. I know that feeling well.
It’s really hard and I was where you was once. But bit by bit Im climbing way out of it. It takes time. A lot of time! Is there something that you can throw yourself into. Can you start training in something or take a new hobby. It might feel dull and pointless but eventually this will re wire your brain and you’ll start to enjoy life again.
I would say I’m currently at the end of limerence. I see LO as an annoyance now but I could easily fall back if I let my guard down. How I’m feeling right now is I’m going through the day on a slight auto pilot. Not much joy and I’m exhausted. Perhaps a little depressed but it’s only a period in my life which I know can’t last.
Start putting yourself first not LO. Look after you!
Great advice Rachel. I do a lot of training / exercise normally. Annoyingly I have an injury at the moment – but it helps to get back to it. It’s heartening to hear you talk
of the “end of limerence”. Thank you.
I’ve made an even more exhaustive list of the character and physical attributes of LO that I don’t like. It’s pretty clear when I read it that I don’t have a genuine attraction to LO at all – it’s just some weird thing that happened due to some sadness / attachment wound / self-esteem issues that I have, combined with LO showing a strong interest and attraction. Pathetic really.
There may be some pathos, sure, but it’s more poignant than pathetic. It’s really good that an objective list helped you see through the limerence fog and realise that it’s your own personal pain driving it, not their specialness. Once you get out of the limerence trap, you can then concentrate on understanding where that vulnerability came from, and taking purposeful steps to address it.
Thanks Dr L. Self-loathing and shame probably aren’t the most productive emotions right now. But yes there is some pathos in realising intellectually that my LO is not someone I would or should be attracted to were I single. It’s also useful to know it – even if my brain still doesn’t FEEL that way and craves LO.
Me too. Our EA actually started over Instagram and I think my LE started by deep-scrolling her charming, edgy, funny and of course super-cute Instagram backlog. I even asked her out on our first date over Instagram(!) But we transitioned to WhatsApp and like you say, it’s torture to see those double checks appear but never turn blue. Like, why is she not reading my message? And then they turn blue and she doesn’t respond, but she’s changing her profile pic and posting new things on Instagram so I mean, what, less than nothing to her? Why yes, yes I do.
“WhatsApp was the big problem for me. Those two ticks and the last seen… limerent’s nightmare!”
I just wanted to mention, I’ve noticed more and more people are rejigging their privacy settings so even if they have seen your message in WhatsApp it shows as two grey (rather than blue ticks). Soon, those ticks will be meaningless.
But the tricky limerent can still check on things like: timing of the LO’s “last seen” – just one minute after your last post or message. Our ability to create fodder is legion.
Oh yeah, and don’t even go into why Instagram is just a perfect show piece to posture for LO.
One of the things about Instagram that drove me crazy what why my LO always showed up as the FIRST liker on any Instagram post he liked – he might not be the first person to like it, but the minute he did, he bumped right up to the first position so the notification says “LO and 7 others liked this”. What is the algorithm picking up??? He never posted on Insta, so it wasn’t that I was viewing any of his stuff, so the algorithm couldn’t be picking up on my lack of interaction with his non-existing material. Does that mean he’s looking at my stuff? More than anyone else? Is he “playing it cool” by not liking everything I post (but the algorithm can tell he’s looking at it more than anyone else)? Is he stalking me?
Social media can be simply crazy making.
This happened to me with my LO. She was always at the top of the list and at the time I was purposefully staying away from her content. Was she viewing my content the most? I started to wonder all this as well and yes, it can drive you crazy. My LO and I are no longer connected on IG. I dropped her months back and then she dropped me a few months later.
WOW Rachel thats amazing – to hear someone say ‘end of limerence’
Do you work with them – I work with them in a team that overlaps – any advice…. I dont enjoy the social circle of my team mates because im busy ignoring her but i cant isolate myself
The last relapse I had something snapped. I think I fully moved my mind to LO=pain and somebody I should avoid. When you avoid them it gets easier.
I know how hard it is when you can not go full NC it drags on and on. Going around in constant circles. But there has to come a point where enough is enough. I made the decision to stay with SO and I have to stick by it.
The trick is to really fixate on their flaws. If you do this enough your perception of LO changes. When I see LO my guard is up and I’m there ready to fixate on flaws. I even mock what he says in my mind with a funny voice. I didn’t really notice my LO said ennit a lot and now everytime he says that I chuckle to myself.
I’ve seen from your posts that you lo is physically attractive and she’s very aware of this. To me I would focus on that. Personally, I find these types of people very untattractive. I love it when somebody doesn’t see how beautiful they are. It has a sense of sweetness.
I truly believe limerence will end once you are ready. I thought I was doing my best to get over it but I was still viewing his FB and trying to initiate emotive conversations. It’s actually an amazing feeling when you start to take control. LO’s are only people at the end of the day. Why should they have so much of a hold over us.
I’ve also started a new hobby which I love. I volunteer at times and help real people in need. This helps with perspective and also you have the feel good feeling of knowing your helping others. This may not be for you but I guarantee theres something out there for you to focus on. It’s a long struggle but I do think once you fully commit to over coming this then you move away from LO.
When I think of the deep care my SO has for me and I compare the flase feelings of limerence it gives me a wake up call. You can do this. You have to go as much LC as you can and be very strict with yourself. I didn’t realize how much social media was keeping me hooked.
Amazing Rachel! Sounds like you have set your mind and are on the right path! What’s important (and you rightfully say) is to keep your guard up. You are in the driver seat, you are in control. And you also realize that you could be sucked back in, I think that’s an important realization as well, so never lower the guard. Keep going, Rachel! Glad you are doing so well
Thanks Sarah. It’s ups and downs isn’t it. Whilst I don’t feel great I can’t be bothered to keep self harming myself with limerence.
I’m in a social situation soon with LO. So I’m not drinking and also that guard will be fully up ready to notice all the flaws and not let myself get all light with good feels.
However it will be a test!
I think we have all been vulnerable right? SO gives care, but LO gives new exciting attention – after a while SO care becomes expected – but when we get the unexpected we validate that ‘hey we can still get attention’. But we should leave it there and think thats nice and move on.
Problem is liking it again and again and again – and then the brain WANTS IT and we become reliant on it…
SO’s are great – not at fault usually…. we just get used to the attention and for some the lustful drive of sex if not feeling it with SO.
I can pick on flaws on my LO yes, they get angry and always talk about people and their faults… When i first met her i found her a winger…. and I hate that… but now i dont care – LOL…I wouldnt want to live with her and marry her – its just the same as what you and Sarah have been saying – wanting her to want me and like me.
Im glad your doing well Rachel – Sarah too – good to get female views on this as I have learnt that I have been a bit too niave. Because i havnt done sweet things for SO or others in may years – Im 39 – I felt happy that i had a heart that wanted to do things for LO and buy her things and check she got home ok etc etc…. kinda felt i wasnt cold hearted and gave me hope.
I’m 36, Kevin. And I thought I wouldn’t ever feel those butterflies ever again… guess that can happen at any age. My neighbor (multiple times a grandma) just had a new boyfriend 🙂 wonder how she feels.
I’ve heard from several 70-somethings and one 80-something who are going through limerence. Age doesn’t seem to weary it!
Kevin. Could you do these sweet things for your SO? It might not be as euphoric as with LO but at least it’s real.
I wasn’t keen on my LO to begin with either.. there’s definitely a common lesson to be learnt here .. Listen to our gut!
I met LO about 7 years before I started working with him permanently. We had both been seconded to keep things running and sort them out after a merger of two units that had resulted in all the staff leaving.
I spent a week working with him and left most days in tears – I thought he was too arrogant. The situation was extremely stressful – 6 of us brought in from across the area who didn’t know the specifics for those particular units and were not used to working together.
So first impressions weren’t great.
However, during the 7 years I saw him from time to time at conferences and workshops. I still thought he was arrogant but he always acted like he knew me well, which was a little disconcerting.
Once I took the job working with him regularly, I was a little hesitant because he had a reputation for being difficult to work with, but other factors such as hours, pay and commute time were more important.
Funny how things change so much. We ended up working really well together and part of the reason I left that job and that field completely was because I didn’t think I’d find that working relationship again with anyone else. Possibly the limerence talking. Given what other former colleagues have said leaving there was no bad thing in general anyway.
Sorry to ramble!
Yeah they can come anytime so true
I call limerence a flame addiction – like a moth tempted by the flame of a candle – keeps going close getting a buzz… keeps going and loving the buzz of the flame and flying off….BUT suddenly its got too close and gets burnt… thats what happends to us….
Now we have to let that scar heal and grow that wing back and not go near the flame or other flames…
instead stick to buzzing around an LED spotlight – as they last longer and dont switch off (i.e. your SO)
😂 like the analogy, Kevin
Wowee, I really enjoyed reading your comments, everyone. I too am a limerant. My SO has the big C, time is running out and I’ve developed Limerence for someone with whom I had a fling. Yep, married and had a fling. I keep looking for exits and a way to leave while still being there for my SO (he’s my best friend) is by having fantasies about my LO (oh the hit!) and that green dot on Facebook or the two ticks on Whatsapp. Arghhhh.
I’ve been really trying to just stop it and focus on my poor SO. We are a family and I adore him. Battling this ridiculous addiction has affected my self worth and chipped away at my soul. I’ve reset and I’m starting again. LO is very respectful and agreed it was best for our mental health. Unfortunately for me, I thought that was super sweet and … the fantasies started again. NC is the only way but I’m not quite there yet because I have this fear that I will be alone one day. It’s a reality that my SO won’t be here. Heavy stuff. Trying to keep my priorities in order but it’s so nice to read that others can manage this. I’m not crazy. So thank you.
Hi Holly I am so sorry to hear about your SO’s illness. That must be incredibly stressful and difficult for all of your family. Hoping you can make your NC stick – be kind to yourself. You will find lots of good information help & support here. And yes, you’re not crazy. This is a real neurochemical thing and not much fun .
Hi Holly, that is incredibly tough. You are not crazy and not alone with this.
NC is probably the best course of action to stop limerence. Your SO needs you, yes, but also don’t forget about yourself. You can only be strong for others if you are ok.
Think about what you want and need (considering that limerence may fog that picture), then decide what to do and stick to it. Easier said than done, I know. Wishing you lots of strength on your path.
Hi Holly, and welcome. Really sorry to hear what you are going through. One of the hardest things with limerence is its tendency to flare up during times of stress. It’s kind of like your brain trying to find a source of comfort or pleasure to protect you from the pain, but it’s a really bad “fix” that just makes the situation worse. NC is a good plan.
Wishing you and SO all the best.
“My SO has the big C, time is running out and I’ve developed Limerence for someone with whom I had a fling. Yep, married and had a fling. I keep looking for exits and a way to leave while still being there for my SO”
Well done! You are shopping around for a new love interest without alerting your husband so he doesn’t have a chance to change beneficiaries or his will to those who haven’t betrayed him. I salute you.
Nope, not being deceitful. SO told me I could have safe sex if the situation arose because he is unable to. I’ve just not been able to do it without feeling guilty. I don’t care about the house and money. I care about enjoying our time together. Not sure lightning could ever strike twice; he’s the best man I’ve ever met. Definitely not shopping around.
Scott, this is a site where people are here to support each other. That’s why we discuss sensitive personal experiences. It sounds to me like you are being cruel to Holly. And gratuitously cruel at that. Please stop.
Yep. I’m open minded about comments generally, but Scott’s last response (now deleted) was over the line. This is a support site. Offering a counter view is fine. Gratuitous insults are not.
Second midlifer’s view. Please stop, Scott. What we know from Holly’s side is a very small pixel in the big picture. It’s not on us to judge her based on an incomplete view, but to offer support to each other in difficult situations.
Wow Scott. You don’t know Hollys full situation at all. Nor does she owe it to you to explain. The ethos of commenting here to do so constructively. You appear to have missed that?
Thanks for your support, everyone. As for Scott, I suspect he might merely be a troll who’s in pain.
I really love this site and the support here certainly outweighs that little outburst.
Sorry you had to deal with that Holly. Very unusual in this little protected corner of the internet. You were very gracious with your response. I know personally how hard it is to go through an end-of-life experience with a partner. Much real, heartfelt support to you!
Be strong. Your not alone. We all have different stories and different paths. Try and understand the source of your limerence.
For me I was me not feeling emotionally connected at home with so
Social media is the King of enablers. It’s like pouring petrol on a fire. It can make ones delusion about reality get worse and help keep you locked into an already bad situation. It’s so reassuring that more than a few other people have had a similar experience to me, it felt horribly lonely for a while then. But I reassure myself that I actually do know that it means nothing whatsoever to see an LO ‘online’ or a ‘green dot’, and that my delusion is just a psychological issue I need to work through. Keeping on the right side of reality is grounding and keeps me from letting my LE getting out of hand. I’ve never explicitly told my LO I liked her, but I know she knew (I hinted a few times to test the water but with no reciprocation). When its totally unrequited (seemingly) but there were one or two events where you shared ‘certain moments’ with a person it can be enough to make you feel like you love someone completely (even if both parties have SOs,- both of us did/still do – ouch). As a limerent person I just read into things and thought I felt an intense connection, but alas, it was all in my deluded mind. 2 years on I’ve binned all social media stuff, but it definitely played a central role in enabling me to grow the fantasy. The best thing I could ever recommend is delete all trace of your LO and stay away from social media and stick to it. My heart goes out to everyone on here, limerance is a cruel phenomenon.
I liked your comments guys thank you im not the only one checking hundred times a day if hes connected!! I dont even know why I check but when I see hes online i have an excitement lol its so silly ! Im “lucky” he has no social media hes proper against it but he does have a whatsapp… plus he has sent me a few pictures of himself that I look at regularly…I stop myself from looking at his wifes Facebook its a bit creepy .. so yes social media is definitely a plague in this limerence adventure
Just had a social media relapse and looked at photos of LO online. Just made me tearful & upset. Uuugh. Deleted again and managed not to unblock him even though I wanted to. 😥
I think there are three phases to the social media aspect.
1. There’s no reason I can’t look at them – Theme: “There’s no downside to this.” But, there usually is. See “I’m totally over this. Let’s go for coffee!” Almost every article you read about No Contact will tell you to stay away from social media unless you absolutely have to for reasons like you’re building a case to use in a custody battle or your affair partner is your pastor’s wife and everyone in the congregation will wonder why you two are no longer “friends.”
2. There’s no reason I should look at them – Theme: “There’s no upside to this. There’s nothing in it for me.” This works pretty well but still requires conscious effort.
3. I don’t want to look at them. – Theme: You don’t have to think it through because “It just doesn’t matter.”
You can live with #2 but #3 is way better.
Yes I would agree number 2 at the moment as still curious. But it works! Don’t be hard on yourself SGL. You now know nothing good comes from a social media stalk of LO’s. It hurts. But lesson learnt and be kind to yourself. This will pass, along with everything else with time.
Agreed! Social media is such a trap for a limerant to continue in denial. I’m about 90% in #3, 9.5% #2 and fighting that last half percent!
Looking forward to being in stages 2 or 3. I’m still in the “I know this hurts me and puts LO back in my mind and makes me sad that he is much more committed to NC than me and probably isn’t thinking about me and wow doesn’t he have beautiful eyes but bad spelling – but I still want to look – phase”
Just throwing something in here…with a past LO (someone I admired from a distance) I used to google them just to see what I could find (curiosity always has gotten the better of me). What I guess i was also looking for (together with the obvious need for a dopamine hit- though I didn’t realised it at that time) was evidence that I actually ‘didn’t’ like them as much as I thought. Yes, I was primarily trying to indulge my fantasy of them and just wanted to see pictures, BUT, I was doing my research in a strange objective and impartial way. Throughout my obsession I knew I didn’t know his person at all, so when finding stuff like they were married and pictures of them with babies it really genuinely made me see them in a totally different light, and threw me off them. Checking up on a person you’re basically obsessed with is never something I’d recommend, but it can on occasion prove useful in ways you might not realise. To know your subject well is power, knowledge is power, and finding the truth behind things set me free. Currently looking for all the things ‘not to like’ in my current LO (p.s I’m not a serial limerent, I’ve only had 3 in my life but boy do they stick around!)…works in progress.
I agree here as this is my thought process ocassasionaly but nearly always I end up feeling like shit. I feel like by looking at their social media for whatever reason is keeping the limerence alive. Or it does for me anyways.
I hear you Rachel, my above experience certainly wouldn’t work for all similar cases, and you could spend your life looking for the thing that will finally put you off someone and just never find it or continually miss it. I think with that LE I got lucky and found an escape route. My current LE is potentially one I should just steer clear of completely and give up searching for the bit of knowledge that might set me free. Its already been 2 years, that’s probably long enough ey. In solidarity.
I know the feeling of searching for things to put you off LO as I’ve done the same. But really, there’s nothing much that’s going to instantly put me off. I see LO’s flaws clears as day. It helps at times to put things in perspective but we’re still addicted. It’s hard one becuase in NC you can slowly put the rose tinted glasses on as your not seeing them and seeing them has its benefits for idealation but personally social media drags out limerence needlessly
Here’s one thing I’ve learned from my therapist who specializes in treating obsession: a feature of obsessive thinking generally is the sensation that if you just think about it a little bit longer you’ll finally get to understanding or resolution, hovering just out of reach. Then minutes, hours, days, months, years could go by and that elusive resolution would remain just out of reach. That’s why the remedy is to just cut off the thinking despite its being unresolved, by shifting focus to something, anything, healthier.
Social media seems designed to feed that obsessive sensation of your goal being just out of reach, so it’s lethal for us limerents. I feel lucky neither I nor my LO use any social media.
On the other hand, I have to see him all the time in person. NC is impossible.
This is so good. Thanks for this explanation. It makes a lot of sense
brilliant – thanks… lets go for things that are in reach!! and what we can control.
Midlifer – that’s really useful! I completely recognised that idea of constantly seeking some kind of resolution through constant repetitive rumination. Social media is very much part of that.
I deleted my SM again and had a much better day today. I met with a therapist whom I met on a course I did some years ago. She made me feel so much better and we worked through some of the reasons for my LE and strategies for remaining NC. Hope everyone else is doing well.
ScottsGlimmerLass how did you find your therapist? I’ve been looking for ages and most people charge £50+ putting them out of my reach. Do others on here find that counselling really helps? I sort of feel like once you’ve read everything around the subject its then just down to discipline and gritty determination? Thanks.
SGL open to strategies for maintaining NC 😊..?
So pleased you’ve been seeking help.
Searcher I feel like counselling could help. Counselling is focused on feelings and could help you to learn a lot about your self and get to the root. However, I do believe everything you need to get over limerence is on this website but it’s hard to maintain. Also there are many volunteer counsellors, usually newly qualified who are building up clients. Have a look for charities, the down side there is usually a large waiting list.
I had therapy myself, it’s help is other area of my life tremendously however it had a little effect on limerence itself.
Searcher – I did a residential course and this therapist was one of the facilitators. She knows me (and some of my issues) from that – and is an incredibly warm and comforting person if that makes sense. So I probably had a much more beneficial hour with her than others might with a therapist if that makes sense. I will only see her once every couple of months. It is expensive as you say – I think the cheapest I have seen is £75 per hour. A lot charge much more. It’s very difficult. Rachel’s suggestion of looking at newly qualifieds etc is really good.
In terms of strategies – most were quite specific to other issues in my life. But she did mention community support – which is you guys. So we are doing that. And writing out a list of times when my contact and messaging with LO had arisen to look at when it was a) unmanageable – ie the negative impacts in terms of say not being present for my own family , doing things I wasn’t actually up for doing but was persuaded to please LO. Risk taking. and b) ways in which there was powerlessness in my addiction to LO. She approaches from a twelve step addiction modality I think. Admitting your powerlessness over your addiction is the first step of most 12 Step programmes as I understand it. Which is not meant to be disempowering more that you realise you need extra tools to tackle it.
Bit of a ramble. SGL x
Thanks for posting that Midlifer. I guess I’d come to a similar conclusion myself, so it’s nice to have a professional’s view too. That just-out-of-reach sensation dawned on me as I was working on myself at the start of NC. I was trying to get the bottom of why this LE happened to me, encouraged by what other limerence sites suggest – “doing the digging” (Usually to childhood) to fix this.
The thing is, it’s not math, there’s no one answer (for me anyway). Looking back my LE was created by a unique cocktail of emotions, history, circumstances and timing on my side, but also LO’s. Remove any one of a number of factors and it probably doesn’t happen at all.
I got to a point where I think I understand it enough, I have a narrative I can accept, and so I’ve now moved on from the introspection and instead am focusing on my physical health, family, career and hobbies. Purposeful living.
I really felt like I was prolonging the LE by wallowing in it, searching for that perfect explanation, under the banner of “analysis”. I’ve stopped with the therapy now for the same reason and I guess the final step is to stop reading and posting here….
You”ll know when you are ready to let go of this site, Vincent. 😊
“I’ve stopped with the therapy now for the same reason and I guess the final step is to stop reading and posting here….”
Once you’re there, “LE” will mean “Limerent Emeritus.”
from Midlifer: “That’s why the remedy is to just cut off the thinking despite its being unresolved, by shifting focus to something, anything, healthier.”
The toughest part for me (recently) was the unresolved aspect. I had received a lot of information from LO, but I still never felt like I got enough and deep down I don’t think i wanted the uncertainty to end. So I just stopped communicating. This has eventually cut off the obsessive rumination, even though things are still unresolved in my mind. For me, time has been the biggest factor; I don’t see how I could have materially accelerated the winding down of my limerence. I do not think I could have made true progress without going NC. If LO is in my life, then I am going to care about her, which will keep me in the game. Another piece of the puzzle is that I needed to further bond with SO in order to push LO into the background.
I connect 100% with what Vincent is saying. While I did not seek counseling, it would have helped so much during the darkness to return me to daily functioning mode. Now, I have enough information and the narrative that I need to move on.
The ‘not knowing’ and lack of resolution is also what I have found so powerfully compelling in my self-destructive search for the truth. ‘Just letting go’ seems to be the hardest part of all.
I’ve been off these forums for precisely this reason: reading and posting about my experience prolonged it. I’m still in therapy however (the £150 variety – ouch!) but my therapist has gently but firmly moved me on from the LE and LO and into other needs and behaviours that only partially manifested as an LE.
I’m very glad that people have found it helpful to see that point I learned from my therapist! I appreciate seeing your reflections, too, as it offers me an opportunity to gain an ever-healthier perspective. Cheers all round. 😊
Cheers & Happy Hallowe’en to all! I feel happy as today (touch wood about hand an hour to bed time) is the first day I’ve not cried in 2.5 months. Onwards & upwards.
Ah. That’s great. I’m so pleased. There’s light to all this darkness.
Thanks Rachel. Hope you are doing well too. SGL
I looked up my LO on the internet to confirm he was married. I thought that would help me move on and feel guilty. When I see him approaching I tell myself, “here comes ______’s husband” to reduce the likelihood of fantasy. Fortunately, he does not appear to have social media.
Two things I have learned in my LE. It has no value and it is a lesson in humility. I boosted my ego from this false relationship/ made up person/ characteristics I pretended I had. The value that came from it was the work I did to move on, which has been a lesson in humility but something I have grown from. Everything in the LE that felt like it was building me up ended up being something else I had to fix.
I realized when I talked to LO I was not really being me. I was guarded and filtered things I said. Typical Limerence. Whatever LO thought of me/ felt about me was based on someone that wasn’t genuinely me. So lately when he is around I make a solid effort not to be guarded or filtered. I decided my opinion of me counted more than his and I already know the ugly truth about me and am totally aware of my flaws. I know this sounds counterintuitive to the limerent condition of not being able to function normally around an LO but that is exactly why I knew I had to do it. After about 2 years of this LE I became thoroughly sick of myself. I also repeatedly told myself he was a flawed person too and did not deserve the status I had given him in my mind.
The key for me was building myself up without blowing up my ego and creating something else that was false and would need work later. No one has to be fantastic. Not me. Not LO.
Today, we had a normal conversation that lasted several minutes and I did not get weird in any way afterward.
Great comment peg I can relate to every single word!
Me too Peg and Rachel… not being myself around LO, the little lies (to myself and LO), resulting in negative impacts on self-esteem. What a vortex.
I had the complete opposite experience, I didn’t filter myself at all and have shown LO literally every side of me (even I know he is keeping his apartment spotless (almost to OCD level) whereas my house looks like a bomb exploded with the only goal to not have stuff grown where it shouldn’t). Not sure if I unconsciously tried to scare LO away by showing him how incompatible we are, I always said he wouldn’t be able to live with me, but anyway, that didn’t work. Even showed him where our personalities would clash, where I don’t value stuff that is important to him etc.
Love this, it makes so much sense and I can relate to it as well thank you for sharing Peg.
Part of me being down at work I think it’s because I have Limited contact and get less of the ego boost that she can provide. That is one of the reasons why I’m feeling down I realised so I need to remember that I have to generate my own boost and not rely on LO
Another thing that helped, and this might have been the final step, was that I knew that a little tiny part of me did not want to let go of the LE. I was still having fantasies but without the total dopamine rush. It didn’t seem like that was what I was looking for any more. The fantasies became more like stories to entertain myself. As long as I had that little tiny part with its infant grip on the LE I would be stuck. I started focusing on the moments of relief and how good they felt (like when I knew he wasn’t at work). I thought about what life was like before the whole thing started. It might have been boring, mundane, meaningless (my job) but I had mental clarity and could function then. I wanted that back. Making that more important than anything I thought I could get from him was empowering.
So I had a nice moment yesterday: I was on my way home, at the train station, some upbeat music in my ear that just made me want to dance (justin timberland – can’t stop this feeling) and I felt good – and LO had nothing to do with that at all. LO hasn’t been on my mind. It felt like I had my life back, without the need for LO at all.
LO texts me now every once in a while (a meme or a video) I laugh and say thanks. Not even a conversation anymore. LO asked if I wanted to go for a drink. I said yes. I don’t feel like I need to force NC anymore, I think I am ok seeing LO occasionally and treat him like an acquaintance/colleague. It feels that this LE is in the past and just memory and I can think about it as that: a memory about a past time in my life that affected me once greatly.
I’m still cautious and keeping my guard up, that will have to stay a while to protect myself. But I feel I see it for what it is, and even if LO did a 180-change and come with a grand gesture, I think I can say no thanks, and walk away.
The feeling of clearing things with LO is gone. I don’t want him to know or understand anymore because it doesn’t matter if he can see my view. It is irrelevant.
Sarah. Im really pleased your feeling better. Sorry I’m not trying to rain on your parade but are you sure this doesn’t fall under the ‘Im fine let’s go for coffee’? Is the reason why your feeling better is because you have that distance?
I’m only being a friend here as everytime I feel ok and I think we can be friendly I go back.
I had to spend quite a bit of time with LO this week and it’s deffinatly set me back a little. Not massively but I more thoughts about him and anxiety. I know this will pass though.
As long as you keep your guard up, like I did. However I was with a lot of other people I don’t feel like I would benefit from a one and one meet up.
Valid point, Rachel. And thanks for being a friend! I’ll tell you how I feel next Tuesday, then we see if I am kidding myself.
Just one more point. I am not taking the moral high ground here. Believe me I am in no position to do so, but trying to save you from further pain.
Do you thinking meeting with LO, someone you had a PA with, is living a purposeful life? This is what I’ve told myself. I could have easily said to LO do you fancy a coffee. However I know nothing good would come of it and also it’s not the right thing to do.
I hope next Tuesday goes well for you ☺️
And to your question if he’s living a purposeful live? No I don’t think so. I think he is lonely, has his issues and is unhappy with himself and his life. And I think me removing myself from his life does hurt him. He previously said people always leave him, no matter what he does, people go. So I unfortunately prove his point.
I’m kind of with Rachel on this one. I don’t see the upside of having a drink with him? If the thought of cancelling the drink with him (if you are truly honest with yourself) makes you feel a little sad – then that’s surely limerence still lurking quietly…
I say this with the truly great parallel of having a LO who is on the other side of the world. If I had any chance of having one to one drinks with him I would literally be the WORST at not doing it…. so I am aware of the level of hypocrisy here. SGL
Thx Rachel and SGL, I see where you are coming from.
I think what I am trying to do is showing him that that this is where I draw a line, we are not close, not meant for each other and we have no special connection. I think he’s trying to hold on to whatever it was he thinks we could have. I am not shutting him out. I did NC and I needed it very badly. I am now showing him as what I see him, not as a close friend, no EA (or anything else to that matter), just a colleague that I occasionally see. I want him to realize as well that whatever we had is in the past and that it isn’t the same anymore. That he can let go as well. He always thought I go NC to get over him and reach out to him when I am ready to be friends. But we can’t be friends. I really think these are his last attempts of not giving up just yet.
Any thoughts? What would be a better way to handle this? Am I unfair to him now?
My thoughts on this, Sarah: there is a danger that you are being a bit overconfident and looking to prove to yourself that you can handle it. It could work. It could be that you are over him now, especially as it does sound as though the dynamic has shifted to him pursuing you.
That said, do you really want to put yourself in the situation that you are having “consolation drinks” with an old affair partner who is still pursuing you? Overall the dynamic seems pretty unhealthy – you are each blowing hot and cold with each other as your other relationships improve or deteriorate.
Now that you’ve committed to the drink you could approach it in an analytical way: that you are going to learn how the interaction plays out, and nothing more.
Ultimately, though, if you have decided to commit to SO 100%, an old affair partner really has no positive role to play in your life…
I think you’re right with the point that the dynamic has changed, that he’s the one reaching out. I will continue to have (very little) interaction with him at work, we still work at the same company. Going fully NC does mean I am not over him. I do want to take that drink as another opportunity to see how I am, guards up, work talk only, so I think you are spot on with me trying to prove to myself I can handle it.
Honestly, I do think that LO is soon out of my life, as clearly this is not working for him (and anything else is not working for me). I will see how it goes. I do feel ok about it.
And, Galadriel takes the Ring from Frodo…
I know this is a lord of the ring reference, but I never watched the movies, Scharny 🙈
So I figured I provide a quick update on drinks with LO last night:
Think of it as a scene from a movie you’d see two people at a high table at a bar having a beer while having a (boring) conversation and on the side you’d hear the girl’s thoughts as he blabs on.
So to dissect this a bit: the night before the drinks I had a dream about being intimate with LO, which worried me as I thought is that what my unconscious is seeking? Thinking about the dream did not cause further butterflies though.
Walking towards the bar, I felt fine. No anxiousness, no butterflies, nothing. Just having a drink with a colleague.
At drinks, conversations stayed unemotional, non-personal. He told me about his vacation and how he broke his finger, we talked about work and people at work. All fine.
Now what went on in my head:
First of all, I noticed that he is an attractive person, nice face, very muscular body, I can see how I find that attractive – even though he has no idea of his own image, he is good looking. It was too dark to notice the color of his teeth 😂
I reflected right there in the moment on how I used to react differently before. Like I used to take any chance to slightly touch him, his arm when making a point, I would have touched his weird cask on his finger, or his hand while checking out his new watch etc. I refrained from doing anything like that. It was funny to realize though how different I used to be.
Also, I consciously moved away from him far enough to not allow him to accidentally touch me (with his leg, or my arm when making a point etc).
We did have moments where we laughed, joked around, but always on an acceptable level. No inside jokes, no flirty comments, no sexual references etc.
I did notice as well that he used to offer to carry my extra stuff, like my laptop case etc. which I always appreciated very much and saw him as quite the gentleman. he doesn’t do that anymore. And that is fine, I’m a big girl I can carry my own stuff 😉
I also felt fine on my way home. I went on with life and did what I usually do on the train. Listen to music, watch some youtube videos. Unlike other times where I would be in thoughts about him.
All in all, I feel like this is some sort of closure for me. It’s done, in the past, and I have no desire to try to get closer to him anymore. I used to feel so connected to him before. Now he’s just a regular person, nothing special.
Oh and to add: we said goodbye like colleagues, friendly, when he asked “when will I see you again?” I didn’t understand him so he repeated “when will I see you again” My facial expression must have been weird as I didn’t know what to say, didn’t expect that question to be honest, so I just said “I don’t know, we will see”, turned around and walked away. THE END
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
I’m glad that you have regained control. It’s a good feeling to know you’re back to somewhat normal.
I’m fairly certain that there’s no way I’ll fall back into limerence at this point. “I’m Totally Over This. Let’s Go For Coffee!” aside, I got burned so badly by limerence that sometimes I regard my LO with fascination, asking myself, “What did I ever see in her that made me so crazy?”
And it’s not teeth or anything physical so much. It might be her behavior towards me has changed, because I believe she got limerent towards me first, and now she treats me differently.
Yikes! Glad I’m feeling much more myself.
And I’m glad that you’re able to handle a grown-up drink with LO and I love the way you responded, “I don’t know, we will see.”
Wow! In your face, limerence!
Really pleased the meet went well and you feel like you had closure. I feel like a different person. I really can’t be bothered with LO anymore I’m so exhausted after months and months of being limerent I feel back to myself and I need to recovered from this obsession now my mind has been returned. I wouldn’t say I’m completely over LO but really I have no interest in him and I do find him v boring. I just want to sleep and feel content.
I know what you mean about not feeling connected, I don’t feel connected to him at all. Rewind one year ago he was in my every thought. Time and distant is definitely a healer.
Yeah, it’s not so much the physical attraction that got me hooked, that was more of an added unexpected benefit. I never cared much about appearance in my relationships. What got me hooked was the attention and validation I received from him. And I really feel that he had that special unfortunate combination of having boundary issues (and other issues), as well as maybe being limerent for me too, that all lead to this. But who knows.
His behavior towards me definitely changed as well, that’s noticeable.
That moment of “what was I thinking” is definitely worth a lot, showing that the fog in your brain is clearing. I’m not sure I am fully there yet as I feel like I should be more disgusted with myself over what I have done (with regards to the PA) or be more guilt-ridden about it. Maybe that has yet to come. Not that I say it was all ok or justified, of course it was wrong in every aspect and I know that. I hope I am never in such a limerent situation again. But knowing what limerence is etc. should help to identify it at early stage and counteract immediately.
Sarah that how I knew I was getting over it. The guilt hit me and I felt so paranoid. The illusion popped! I feel the same these past few years have been rough. But limerence for me has taught me so much. My marriage has serious issues that only until recently ive realised. Limerence is a Maladaptive stress response. Ive done so much deep work and improved myself. Just a shame it took so long to get over.
Honestly Sarah.. run this person has more than a box for of issues and unfortunately he is not your problem. He has had an affair with a married woman, therefore it’s well within your right to say this isn’t fair on my SO even though you don’t want anything now there was a time when the line was crossed.
It really is up to you Sarah but I can see this person is playing with your emotions (internationally or not) about everyone doing this to him. Your not doing it to him your removing yourself for your family (and yourself).
You once said to me about letting go.. and I feel that it’s time for you to. I know it must be hard to go total NC. It’s your situation and I havent walked in your shoes. Personally I think it would be best for everybody including your LO by the sounds of it if you don’t meet for drinks. This situation/relationship isn’t healthy and sounds toxic. It isn’t easy Sarah i know but what’s more important. it’s a question I ask myself everytime I want to reach out or meet up. My LO or SO and for me it’s about time I put my SO before anyone right now.
Perhaps Dr L you offer his advice on how her views this situation.
I have this time hop app, that shows you what you have done today in previous years. I thought I deleted all pictures of LO, think again, of course there was a picture. Today two years ago, he met my kids for the first time, and my younger one in particular was drawn to him. At some point, he took his hand and said he wants to go home, and started to walk towards the exit with LO (he was usually rather shy with strangers).
It brings up what I thought of LO back then. I was very surprised how good he was with both of them, it was a big plus point for LO at the time.
But now, it’s just a memory. After all the info I have now and after everything that happened in the past two years, I can see that there is no future. That event was at the very beginning of my limerence, prob even before the testing the waters stage. I think that scene added to the glimmer. How times have changed.
Sorry to ramble, I’ve been in bed sick these past few days, so way too much time at hand to think. But good news, not once was I fantasizing about LO.
Ah Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. It’s good to hear that it brought up feelings of what you thought LO was back then. No that’s in the past. It sounds like your moving on now and he’s leaving you alone. As sad as it feels at times at least you have the distance to heal. I vowed to make this Christmas an LO free one. I have had a rollercoaster of a year but will not allow limerence to have an affect on this Christmas! Upwards and onwards for you Sarah! Life is better without LO. Even in the relapses, when they pass, I realise that life is so much better.
Yeah, he’s definitely leaving me alone. I think we both can move on now, that’s good. I may or may not see him at the xmas party, but there are 2000 people, so even if I bump into him it won’t be much more than a hi how are you. He may not even go.
Good luck to you too, Rachel. It is so hard to not be able to go full NC! But you’ve come so far, you will get there. Crappy shitty year will soon be over. But we don’t need to wait for new years resolutions, it starts right now – let’s get our freedom back!
No time like the present! I think LC is bitter sweet. Sometimes LO slips back into my version of LO and then when I see him reminds me he really is a bit of a idiot. So if I didn’t see him then the perfect version of LO would be in my mind. But then again he does enable me. I find the whole limerence dance quite boring now.
Yes and even if you do see him, it doesn’t really matter, have your imaginary steel armour built up around you. He won’t be able to get to you even if he tries. You’ll be so blasé to LO who won’t even recognise this version of you.
I’ve had limerence all my life I never knew it was called limerence until now. I’ve always been a strong person and overcame my LOs in recent years. looking back now I can never understand why I was so obsessed with these men! That was my single days. Today I’m a 35 year old mum with 2 little girls and married. I have had a few limerence since being married (8years now) my hubby knows of all my crushes, he gets so very upset as you can understand which makes me feel so horrible but then he gets over it because he knows nothing comes of it mainly because I’ll never chase or talk to the LO (I don’t chase guys ever!) plus I’m always trying to work through and put him above everything. My most latest one which I’m still recovering from has been the hardest I’ve ever had and I think social media is definitely the reason for making it hard to overcome. It’s honestly to the point of looking at the LOs stories through third party websites. I’m an emotional wreck! what makes it worse is my little ones are seeing me on my phone! I’m like a teenager in high school or a single 20 year old lurking through her phone 24-7. I know it’s a joke but this is honestly how serious my limerence is. We don’t even follow each other I just found him on social media. My LO was a young guy who I use to see around in my job (retail) of 2yrs he’s not the type I would usually go for either, at first there was nothing I had no emotional feelings for him and we never noticed each other but then I started getting urges that I needed to grab his attention, and somehow it worked! without Me going to him. Not to brag either but I’m attractive in my own way not perfect but I did get a lot of attention from guys when I was in this job but never gave them the time of day. What was always on my mind was the LO. The stupid thing is I never got to speak to the LO at all! In the whole year or 2 years I was in this job I could never bring myself to go and chat to him. It was obvious there was a build up of attraction between us and a lot of flirty looks and smiles and I could feel some tension and nerves but I could never bring myself to go and talk to him. He tried to initiate conversation a few times to watch me and Would say hi, and wave to show interest, he stared at me a lot and it honestly felt like he liked me. But then I noticed that if I ignored looking in his direction he started to do the same. And would just ignore me completely it felt like playing cat and mouse games! he was Extremely flirty with other girls too and it seemed like at times I would walk past he’s doing it intentionally to get at me! This is when I just couldn’t be in this job, I was going home day in and day out dreaming about him obsessing, and think of secretly seeing him and I would go to work and feel the same, yet I could never go and talk to him. Or him to me! In the end we just ignored each other and I just left I couldn’t keep hanging on to a complete stranger also I don’t know if he really was interested as we never even spoke to one another maybe he liked his women? I didn’t give him my name or anything, I walked away from that job because I couldnt cope with the emotional and mental side of knowing this guy is right there and would just mess around with my mind if I came around. Plus it’s way too much to deal with when you have little children and marriage. The limerence has been eating into my health lately I sit and stalk him sometimes I hang on to my phone with this pathetic false hope that he actually knows I am there. It’s a lot better that I’m not around him physically, it’s been 2months since being away from my job however the social media part is what is making it harder to move on. Im trying to start my business so I can’t just close my account nor block his account either I feel that could be abit awkward to do. It looks as though he has a girl etc but don’t even know if that’s legit as he flirted with a lot of women so I don’t see that as real But could be sex? But then again maybe I’m wrong and just obsessed! It’s so bad I really want to move on from this behaviour but social media is holding me from doing so!
Tee that sounds terrible! You’ve made the first step in ending the limerence by leaving the job. Well done! I think if you block LO and focus on your new business and your family who needs you (kids have only one childhood and they need you for every minute of it, not fair to give their time to some random guy) you will get over this. My biggest jump in progress was when I stopped following my LO. It was so empowering! You will have serious withdrawals but you can get through this. Don’t waste a minute! Take back your life and show yourself that you are in charge, not limerence! You will be so glad you did. And if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your husband who loves you and your sweet babies. I’m cheering for you! You can do it! You can be happy again!
Thankyou Jaideux, just what I needed to hear. Today was a much better day with my little girlies, we shared dinner tonight and had a laugh while hubby worked back late. Makes my heart so warm to have my mind on my little ones! Although I’m not going to lie I did check my LO insta page once today, didn’t look through pics I had to tell myself to get off!! right away, Which I did. The lurking is never ending. I guess it gets better one day at a time. I am taking all my mind off to concentrate on what I love and until I find a new job in the new year. May have to give the LO a block for now I think. On my way to happiness again! Thanks for the advice 🙂
Tee you’re doing so well! You’re finding your inner strength and making great progress! Reading your comment put a huge smile on my face! Keep up the good work… you are doing the right thing even though it’s really hard. Brava!
Limerent Dragon Lady says
I love it, “Block or un-block” and on and on it goes. I’m glad I never became my LO’s “friend”… I long from a distance and have no cyber-reciprocation. I have blocked other LOs simply to stop myself from looking at them, I KNOW they aren’t looking at my page. I can always un-block, but it’s the hassle of it that stops me and gives me a break from the LE. De-activating your account is another great tool to give yourself a break and stop ruminating. It’s so easy to just sign back in though, I took the bookmark to social media out to give myself that extra hassle to stop myself from looking. It’s actually many more clicks and screen maneuevers to deactive your account than to just sign back in. Recently, I see my LO has declared his new relationship status and it sent me into a cyber-investigative frenzy. Of course, it doesn’t say who the SO is… but I figured it out. Then I blocked HER, so I would stop sizing her up. They both have a million friends and followers which helps me detach because… I’m not INTO social media at that level, I just feel stuck using it as part of modern life. It helped me turn off to my LO a bit, because I don’t admire people much who need to bathe themselves in all that attention online. I’m so ancient I also, remember life before we related to each other by whoring out our experiences of anything and everything on Zuckerberg’s hideous narcissistic mirrored cyber-tube. “Like” me doing this or that, Jeezus, I’m awesome! Yeah, I got baggage. One thing that DID help me detach more…. she sure likes some crappy music… El-Oh-Freaking El.
Miss Anon says
I have cut off all social media connection and have reached an all new level of anxiety, withdrawal pain. Is this because it now feels really final? How can I deal with the complete loss of hope, loss of the dream. I am so tired of the suffering and yet it won’t stop, I fear it never will.
Miss A: we carry them in our hearts forever, my oldest LO Rebecca for 20 years. What will get better over time is the realization that they just weren’t into you, that you want mutuality they can’t or won’t offer.
Miss Anon, that’s good pain. I am indeed going through the same thing right now. That pain will harden you a bit, and make you realize that something that doesn’t feel good isn’t real love. It’s an illusion that our hearts insist is real, but our minds know isn’t. The more you listen to your rational side, the more you will attack the uncertainty, one of the main pillars of limerence. There is no uncertainty when you realize nothing can happen.
I am working so hard on this right now.
Sorry to hear so many of your are suffering right now. I have also had a relapse, I was enjoying my life for the past few months, relatively limerence free and almost smug about seeing through the illusion. However situation has it some communication with LO has set me back. The key I feel to getting over limerence to accept that it is a fantasy, not real and an escape. Nothing to do with LO.
The problem I have been facing is that I got caught up on the rumination and starting going along with the narrative. Mindfulness is key. Also what I think helps is focusing on yourself. Is anybody worth this feeling of absolute despair? Absolutely not. Really love yourself and give yourself some respect and dignity. Your LO is likely not thinking about you so don’t you give your power away.
Anyways these are my thoughts which I am myself working on. There is hope when you decide to cut off from your LO and let them live their life.
Really well-put, Rachel. Thanks.
I attacked the broadside of “the glimmer” by thinking about how much I truly was averse to a couple of LO’s beliefs. I was shaking my head wondering how I fell for a person involved in this particular thing. I knew it was the glimmer; it was blinding me to my true opinions, and even values.
What’s weird as I was doing some meditation last night and all the nice limerence memories were coming to the surface… I could actually see the limerence trick right there. My LO has been awful to me at times and currently has ghosted me which upset me. Yet, there I was remembering only the good memories. My plan ATM is everytime a nice yummy memory comes up, I’m going to drag up a bad one and have that as prominence in my mind.
Glad I could help.
While I was meditating last night, all the nice yummy happy memories were coming to the surface about LO. Which is rediculious as there have been many bad memories in which LO has been pretty sucky to me. I could see the limerence trick right there and then. Why was I not thinking about LO in a balanced real way. So, everytime I think of LO with a nice memory I am going to drag up an horrible memory in which he made me feel like crap and let that sink it. The truth!
Oops posted twice
I think relapses will happen from time to time, god knows what triggers it and it’s not always straight forward. I realized, being anxious about an upcoming presentation, had me back in ruminations a while back. I was like, why is he on my mind again? Why do I think about him? I thought I was done with that. But it has nothing to do with LO or me longing for LO, I think it was rather a coping mechanism to distract me from being anxious that I made a habit before. Once I realized that, I felt so much better.
As you say, Rachel, it’s a fantasy, nothing else. If I think about LO, I imagine him having found a nice girl, spending quality time with her, having a good time being locked up in quarantine now and me being far away from his mind. I want him to be happy (thinking that he’s miserable may only trigger the rescuer in me, so I am staying far away from imagining that ;)). He has his live, I have mine. And mine is not so bad after all. We are best far away from each other. No Contact. Like if we don’t exist in each others life. 🙂
Be mindful, focus on yourself, be purposeful… it really is the key.
Glad to hear you have been doing well Sarah. I’ve slipped quite a bit but feel back on track now.
When is he moving?
@Rachel: “everytime a nice yummy memory comes up, I’m going to drag up a bad one”
Good plan! I’m constantly going from good to bad thoughts about LO in my mind. Now I started compiling a list of bad things about him (humiliating memories, behaviors that I dislike,…) and pull that list up as soon as I start drifting into daydreaming.
@sarah was supposed to be February but dragging on and on now. Not even sure if he is….
🙁 hopefully he still is and it’s just delayed.
In the meantime, stay as far away from him as possible. Hopefully this quarantine time helps with that. You can do it! 🙂 stay strong.
Thank you and I am but I have bumped into him a couple of times and just got blanked. So I should thank him for that really.
Excellent anti-rumination fodder!
Emma – ” I’m constantly going from good to bad thoughts about LO in my mind. ”
Same! I like your idea of compiling a list of bad qualities, I might steal that idea! My mind is also see-sawing between good memories and shitty behaviour from him. I don’t want to focus too much on his bad behaviour as it really upsets me and then I can’t sleep. I try and squash the good ones.
Rachel – is your LO fobbing you off? Mine did that, it really hurt.
I was listening to some meditation posts on YouTube about letting go, the presenter was explaining how if a person treats you badly (could be LO or friend) they are disrespecting you as a person and you have to cut the behaviour off. Don’t validate bad behaviour as it rewards them and lowers self respect and they will perpetuate that behaviour. It’s made me determined that when lockdown finishes and if I see LO (which I know I will) if he turns his face and ignores me then so will I.
In the past I used to grovel, ask what’s wrong, try and fix things…. not anymore. They aren’t worthy.
Iam tired of being people’s pissing-pole of insecurities.
Years ago, my twice-divorced father told me the most important thing you have is your self-respect. If somebody can get that from you, you’re screwed.
When LO #2 and LO #4, attacked mine, I went after them. LO #2 made me so angry once, I wanted to backhand her with my fist. I never got anywhere near that angry with LO #4 when I thought she was being dismissive and demeaning but she knew I wasn’t happy with her.
The therapist told me, “You don’t take being demeaned well. That helped you.”
Nobody respects a doormat.
Lee-Anne yes he has. It did hurt but I am getting over it more each day and I see it as it’s his loss. Im quite a decent person to have around and I always make people laugh and smile. Plus do I really want to be in limerence with him for another how many years? I’ve already wasted 2 years in this state. So Eff him I don’t even want him in my life anymore if he behaves so disrespectfully. He maybe avoiding me becuase he still has feelings, in which case that’s fine I respect that and it’s best for us both. I just need to keep this mindset going.
Scharnhorst, yes, doormat indeed. Some people think it’s their birth right to treat others like shit. Good for you in not taking it and pushing back, that takes balls.
Rachel, good mindset to be in you’ve done well. You clearly have set something in him off, otherwise why behave that way. I am looking forward to the day I don’t feel one-iota of a flicker of emotion for my LO, that day can’t come soon enough for me.
It’s astonishing the power of social media on a limerent. Something as innocuous as a new profile pic, and I am ruined. I know I should hide her from my feed, but that’s about as effective as locking the liquor cabinet when the alcoholic still has the key. How can another person’s mere existence have such power over me. I hate this so much.
Vicarious Limerent says
You aren’t the only one. Each and every time my LO changes her profile pic, I break my heart for some reason (invariably the pictures are beautiful and sexy). Still, I haven’t looked now for about four weeks! For all I know, she has changed it again. That has to be a record for me. Resisting the urge for as long as you can is a great test!
B, that’s me exactly, I can’t stay away from the computer and Facebook for more than an hour or so…I have to keep checking, is he on there, has he posted, did he ‘like’ anything that I posted….and of course the inevitable sadness when there’s no response to my post, and then the euphoria, if he happens to respond in any way….then the cycle begins all over again….trying to figure what to post that might elicit a response…..what powerful hold this boy has over me….at 76, I should be able to dismiss this whole insane thing, yet here I am…………..
Vicarious, four weeks, that’s just amazing, I can’t even go NC for four hours! and this has dragged on for over a year now….sometimes I think that I’ll run out of lifetime, before this limerence is conquered….and of course being stuck at home during this Covid thing, really doesn’t help……..sigh…back to social media….
Vicarious Limerent says
It is tough for sure, Maureen. I am five weeks now without looking!
No contact is super hard as well. I was my LO’s Facebook friend, but I unfriended her several months ago. It broke my heart to have to do it. I kick myself daily about the fact I could have still had a nice Facebook friend who would have been none the wiser. At least I let her know it was nothing personal (and gave her a partial explanation — although I’m sure she has no idea of the depths of my feelings). She took it rather well. Still, not being her Facebook friend probably helps me in my recovery.
Yup. What you say rings a bell. Maybe it’s the “illusion of intimacy” that social media affords – the fact (possibly too much) of other people’s lives is on display. You can find out things about your “crush” they wouldn’t tell you in person. Or come across pictures of them looking unforgivably gorgeous. Honestly, social media is the worst thing for recovering limerents. Happily, I don’t have to use it.
Yes Vicarious, I’m friends with LO on Facebook as well….which is the only contact I have…he’s on the other side of the world, not to mention 45 years my junior, which makes it even more extraordinary, seeing that we have nothing in common what so ever, except for a short coach tour of Europe…..(he was our tour leader)….but the very thought of losing contact sends me into a total panic…..now id I could just figure out why……..one day I’ll be brave enough to click that ‘unfriend’ button….
Unfollowing on social media was the best thing I ever did to jumpstart recovery. Of course at times I am wildly curious and sometimes friends mention something about his posts…but I feel like it was a true power move to unfriend and it was a gift I gave myself. As Scharnhorst says “it doesn’t matter” anymore…what they are doing, or if they are thinking about us. It’s over, because we decided it is and we don’t need them anymore. And that is a very, very good thing. And of course at first it’s all about “fake it until you make it”, and then it becomes real. Which is an indescribable relief.
Jaideux, I would love to give myself that gift, but the very thought of it terrifies me….I panic if I don’t see him on social media for a few hours….ridiculous I know……I try to think back to how it was before we met….I was always busy in my retirement, crafts, family, tried the keyboard, tried the guitar, so many things, now I can’t seem to get interested in anything….seems I have only one hobby now, and he’s on social media…..and of course Covid just seems to have made things worse….
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/january-nelson/2020/05/5-reasons-im-actually-glad-my-almost-blocked-me/
When I asked LO #4 if it was ok that we not be FB friends, I got, “No problem” back in 5 minutes. When I checked, she’d not only unfriended me, she’d blocked me. She also banned me from her professional FB page.
I thought that was kind of bitchy on her part but I kind of like it. They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Her response was not indifferent.
I blocked LO #2 and her now husband for awhile after I got a friend request from her. I got tired of seeing them come up every time I typed in certain letters in a search. I reclaimed 4 letters of the alphabet! I eventually unblocked them but they no longer appear in my search recommendations.
Your comment compelled me to write here and say you’ve made me think of a song by Cake called ‘Friend is a Four-Letter Word’: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iUMDtbWq0kc
The song is also a good jab to my limerent self for being deluded into thinking that being friends with LO is even remotely possible.
Yeah, it can take awhile to reach that point but when you do, life is so much simpler without your LO constantly lurking in the background in your head.
They’ll still pop in. It can take a long time to disarm a trigger and events can become hurdles. But, once you get over the hump, it’s “Ehhh…what was I doing again before I was so rudely interrupted?” And, you go back to whatever it was you were doing.
I have kind of a bitchy streak. It comes in handy every so often. I refuse to let them run my life just out of principle. It may not be the high road to acceptance but it can get you there.
Thank you for your site. I’m really grateful for all your thoughts and hard work. (I just wish someone would authoritatively tell me what to do. Therapists are very poor at this.) With covid, a lot of people were spending more time online. The good news is I set a new record on my Kindle app for reading books. The bad news is that through Messenger, I slowly fell in love, hard.
I was particularly struck by your comment regarding the power of uncertainty. This is my sordid story. It includes my questionable strategies moving forward, and I fear I will not have closure for another year. Please see question below.
Oh God, oh God, oh Gawd, … it started when he saw something I posted in a Facebook group about prayer and meditation at an astrologically significant time window. With covid et al, it seemed like a nice idea. Anyway, he friended me and we began messaging one another.
We discussed our previous struggles and wounds with organized religion, our exes, children, etc. Later I found out he wrote a book about coming out of fundamentalist Christianity. I got the Kindle version and read it, thinking it would tell me more about where he was coming from than exchanging a hundred messages. Later, I read one of his manuscripts and provided feedback, and for fun I sent him his birthday astrology and a Hasidic soul plan numerology thing. It all made for good discussion fodder along with the quantum field, energy medicine, etc. We talked about how it would be fun to meet. I had airline miles, so it would have been easy. We did video chat, so it’s not like we didn’t have some idea of what the other looked or sounded like.
One morning three months after our initial contact, I had the thought that “I am not too old for him” and out of my heart chakra gushed this love bubble. By this time, he had finally gotten around to telling me more intimate details of his life, and I wanted to test his humor; so I contrived a joke about something he shared with me about his tenuous FWB.
It was well received, returning a line full of “Ha-ha’s” and two emoji’s with heart eyes. This was followed up with another comment with more heart-eyed emojis. Not knowing how to interpret these emojis was like squirting lighter fluid on an open flame. At that point, I felt like I had not choice but to tell him how I felt. I wrote a several part message that included loose ends in case this was the end.
At this point, we had been messaging one another twice a day almost every day. The next morning he acknowledged the message and said he wouldn’t have time to give it an adequate reply until later that evening, which was courteous. When he did reply, he said he hadn’t pondered us, and that he didn’t feel the way I did.
I understand most people would expect this to be a healthy ending to the story. They might even be rooting for it, but of course, it is not.
Partly out of pluck, and partly out of sarcasm, I told him that his message had been rejected and needed to be re-written for the sake of the hearts he may break in the future. I called foul on one point, and I deliberately tossed back another knowing he’d feel a bit embarrassed and would be motivated to clarify.
So, why continue to pursue someone when they say they don’t feel the same way? There are four reasons. The first is that he does not seem to be in touch with his emotions (he doesn’t seem to know how he feels about many things). The second is that he has not met me in person. The third is that he has continued messages with the same frequency as before; and the fourth is that he has not given me definitive answers to “no probability” questions. In short, I have mixed messages. It would be different if we had met for lunch and could assess the chemistry.
Over a period of nearly a month, I might circle back once each week and attempt to get some form of clarification. I even created a SurveyMonkey survey so he could rate me against his wish list along with some humorous questions. Unfortunately, he can be very literal as well as being out of touch with his feelings.
This last week, he may have been tired, but I bristled at some of judgements about a couple of questions which he did not really answer. I told him I needed a break from social media, and reminded him he has my email address and phone number. I deactivated myself from Facebook and Messenger and I removed them from all my devices.
I suppose you might like to take a breath of relief at this being the end of the story. Nope. Sorry.
At one point, I offered him a spare cell phone; and being that I won’t be through with a new school program (yet another career change) until next summer, I said I’d keep him on my radar. I feel like I need to send him the phone to be a person of integrity, and I don’t know that I’ll have closure until I meet him face to face.
Question: Am I an idiot, or does the uncertainty level make leaving the door open reasonable?
I’ve journaled. I’ve found seven potential negatives against six potential positives, but there are so many unknowns, and there are times where I viscerally feel myself giving him a side hug. I’ve just never experienced anything like this before, but I think I can manage the next year of uncertainty by working and studying. I’m not in a position to “get back out there and start dating.”
From Dr. L’s “When to disclose” blog post:
“If they continue to give mixed messages or keep you hanging, then you have learned what kind of character they have. They are either chronically indecisive or enjoy the asymmetry of the relationship. Avoid people like that. Now, some people may see this as overly hasty, and point out that many people react badly to being rushed or given an ultimatum when it comes to love. But you’re not asking for a ring, you’re just expressing your own feelings and asking about theirs. If that’s too much for them, then you’re trying to bond to someone who can’t even commit to admitting their own feelings. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect such a person to make their mind up”.
I think you already made your intentions and feelings very clear to him. If, after knowing that, he keeps on going as if nothing happened, I think it would be better for your own sanity to act as if you’ve gotten a firm “no”. He knows how to contact you if he has a change of heart, and if you still have feelings for him by then… well, the road’s open. But keeping on agonizing over the feelings of a guy who seems to be incapable of making up his own mind is going to make you more harm than good.
Funny thing, your story reminds me a lot of my current LE, only that at least my LO was way more clear in her lack of interest towards me. The corona crisis sure has made a number in lot of people’s minds…
Thanks! I recall reading this.
Maybe I’m too good at making up excuses for him, and I have wondered what he is getting out of it (messaging me twice a day). Yes, I think I send witty one-liners, and I may be meeting a friendship need, but his “hadn’t thought about us because of distance” and having not met me face to face made for a weak rejection based on how he writes. At this point, I need to decide whether I can manage him living in the back of my head for a year.
Your situation sounds interesting, T. I hope you don’t mind me putting in my twenty cents’ worth…
First, if someone does send our strong romantic signals, and you like them, I don’t think it’s wildly inappropriate to ask them to clarity their feelings. You’re not asking for a commitment; you’re simply asking them about how they feel. If they’re serious about you, they should be able to indicate some degree of sincere interest or not. You disclosed and it does sound like you got a clear “nay”.
If your friend is very literal and out of touch with his emotions in general, there could be a simple explanation for that. I understand men on the spectrum can have these traits. Could your friend be on the autism spectrum? It sounds like you have a lot of intellectual stuff in common. It’s possible you’re talking to someone who’s neurodiverse. An autistic person is unlikely to be intentionally leading you on. If he is flirting with you. he’d see such flirting as a harmless game. He may not understand he’s breaking your heart. He’d see you as a playmate.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pin such high hopes on someone you haven’t met in person, regardless of brain type. This man sounds more like a fun friend than a romantic prospect to me. Remember, too, that if he is on the spectrum, people on the spectrum are very honest. If he says he doesn’t feel the same way, and he’s autistic, well, that’s the truth right there, honey. Game over. Enjoy this friendship for what it is – an intellectually stimulating game.
I don’t want to make generalisations about gender. (I’m assuming you’re a woman and your LO is a man). However, I have seen all too many women twist themselves into knots over a man who is very likely uninterested in romance. Perhaps this is one fish best left in the sea? Hope you don’t mind me weighing in. I have autistic traits myself and have seen women (usually female family members) become very frustrated dealing with a male they can’t “decipher”. And women are so wonderfully persistent in trying to “decipher” the men they love!!
Autism is just one possibility, though. Please feel free to consider what others have to say. I could be completely wrong in my assessment of your friend. It does sound, however, like you’re trying a lot harder to get him into your life than vice versa. The emotional investment in this relationship is lopsided. You’ve fallen pretty hard for him from the sound of things and he hasn’t fallen for you.
A literal person gave you a clear no. And he seemed to think that answer wasn’t worth agonising over. What else do you need to hear? The logical answer: walk away. Having said that, I empathise with your confused feelings right now. Limerence is extremely disorientating, even to smart people, and once the “spell” has been cast you will feel like you can’t trust your own judgements anymore. I have been there myself and it’s simultaneously painful and exhilarating.
Welcome to the site! Hopefully the thoughtful articles and friendly comments can help you navigate the curious human phenomenon that is limerence!
Thank you for your time and thoughts. That’s the problem, it wasn’t a literal “no” but more of a “I hadn’t considered it because of distance.” And then there are the mixed messages, which were not so much flirts, as statements subject to interpretation. I’ve also hit the ball squarely in his court (twice) and received no answer indicating a definite “no.”
Isn’t it possible that people don’t fall for each other on the same timetable? Doesn’t love sometimes grow out of friendship? Or has the old “marry your best friend” cliche now been debunked by decades of divorce?
You’re right, but I guess I got a very weak “nay.” I wouldn’t expect him to have feelings without having met me face to face (for some reason, I don’t think video chatting counts). I knew that my emotions were excessive for the circumstances, and it was my opinion that normal people would not feel this way over Messenger.
You are correct. I am putting more into this than he is. Again, perhaps making excuses for him, he’s divorced with two kids and tethered to his area. He’s also been laid off and there are other characters in his story. I wouldn’t expect him to make a visit to my area; but I have tons of flight points, and my son is grown and out on his own. In any case, the timing is off for me to be in a relationship with anyone for the next year; but after that, I will have a new vocation with geographic independence. Hopefully, all of this will have completely deflated by then, and I won’t be relocating to his area only to inflict more pain on myself.
Having gone through similar traumas, I can understand him being out of touch with his feelings. As I look back, I can see that I was perhaps over invested in his growth and success well before our first video chat (of which we only had three).
In mentioning trauma, we each may be emotionally or sexually stunted, having missed typical adolescent development milestones. I spent nearly 30 years in church and therapy which encouraged *not* feeling or entertaining various types of thoughts.
Granted, from sifting through the rubble of my faith, to studying other religions, to energy medicine, The Law of One, etc., this has only been the second time I’ve experimenting with holding an open heart chakra for someone. It had sort of become a spiritual goal, in order to better love my fellow humans, thus fulfilling the goal of the eleventh commandment, etc. Regardless of the past or in the works spiritual beliefs, I was not prepared for experiencing feelings like this. There was a euphoria that lasted for weeks.
(He’s not autistic. That was last year. I was struck with his innocent honesty. I’d been asked by a friend to try to help him professionally (I was a Certified General) with a property problem. I got *way* too involved in trying to solve his problems (it was expensive) before I realized he did not have the resources or support to make headway. Had I had the full scope of his problems, I would have prioritized differently, but he was easier to pull back from, although it lingered for months. I still wonder and worry about him, but I don’t want to investigate. His family of origin, relatives, and society had all let him down.)
In love, I knew I was the least likely person to be objective about the situation; but now in grief, I can’t say that it’s much clearer. Maybe I’m trying to protect myself from a more painful reality of being too old or undesirable; but heck $31K in cosmetic surgery and I could be passable. 😏 Anyway, you are correct. It’s disorienting, humbling, confusing, and isolating.
The thing about deactivating Facebook and Messenger is that it really is pretty isolating during these atypically restictive times. Yes, I can email or text a subset of people I used to interact with in Messenger. At this point, seeing his face icon in the left column is too much. Knowing when he was online (green dot) was too much. I’d try hiding the chat, but if he wrote he’d reappear. I tried blocking him, but I’d find myself checking the spam chat list. I don’t want to unfriend him. It seemed rude, but I don’t want his posts in my feed. We also belong to one of the same groups on Facebook, and I didn’t want to see any of his comments. Finally, getting of the. Facebook/Messenger platform off all my devices was the only answer.
Regardless of party lines and articles, I have known people who have eventually had become friends when one had a crush, but I don’t know that this is realistic in my case. I’m sure I will get over him during the months ahead, but the thought of meeting him in a year seems a bit dangerous at this point.
I know people “ghost” one another and otherwise use social protocols, so I feel conflicted about not following through on things I said I would do. I appreciated the blog about closure, but this would be a first for abandoning any closure protocol. Is telling him I’m taking a Messenger vacation enough?
What concerns me about this site is that there does not seem to be any room for loving someone romantically. We’re supposed to find the glimmer and back away because we’re all addicts. It’s not exactly a hopeful and inspiring future.
P.S. I’ve also cataloged and reverse-engineered any fantasies.
Thanks for this post! Social media has been a huge fuel for my obsession with my current/past LO. Here’s my story.
Spring 2006. I’m working for a large company; married for about a year to a woman who also works for this large company. Coming into work one day, the elevator opens, and out walks the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Dark hair (a big hook for me), perfect figure, and a tastefully insouciant urban fashion sense. My jaw literally dropped. I was hit with a lightning bolt like Michael Corleone when he saw Apollonia in The Godfather.
I spent the rest of the day rooting through corporate directories to figure out who she was. I eventually found her and learned her name. She worked a few floors above mine in a different department, so chances of running into her were slim. Then a few months later at the company holiday party, I spied her across the room — with her husband. Well, of COURSE she’s married. Someone like that is always married. The limerence faded a bit, though I still thought about her occasionally.
Fast-forward a year later. The department the LO works in merges with mine. Suddenly, she’s sitting 50 feet away from me! Limerence cranks up big time. I introduce myself; we talk. She’s great! We seem to click. Soon, we’re chatting regularly on the workplace IM system. Initially, it’s mundane stuff. But soon it gets deeper, and more personally relevatory. Off we go.
A few months after that, I get an invitation to join Facebook from her. Wow! This feels HUGELY significant. I ask her about it; she says “oh, I basically invited all my e-mail contacts to join.” But being the limerent that I am, I overlook that and think “I guess she really wants to connect with me!” And off we go again. I set up my profile with her specifically in mind. I take dozens of selfies, looking for just the right profile picture. I carefully curate my Facebook page to make myself look cool and interesting for her. Soon, we’re messaging each other frequently on Facebook, and “liking” everything we each post.
Not long after that, she and her husband have a child. It was a setback for the limerence, but I was genuinely happy for her. However, she starts to reveal marital problems to me in great detail. Her husband’s heavy drinking turns into full-blown alcoholism. She also shares that she’s deeply unhappy and looking to leave him. Guess what — I’m unhappy in my marriage as well (my wife struggles with depression and anxiety, and she gained about 100 pounds after we got married).
Later, one of her close relatives committed suicide. This family tragedy leads to more sharing and emotional bonding with the LO (she literally cries on my shoulder about the death in an empty stairwell at work). Bonding escalates over various workplace crises (i.e., more shoulder crying).
One weekend, she has to flee her home with her young child. Her husband fell off the wagon and was being abusive. She took the kid to her parent’s house in a nearby city. We’re chatting on Facebook about it. I’m doing my usual “you have such a huge heart and you’re so special, you deserve better” song and dance that I’ve done for years with her and that she’d never, ever, expressed any discomfort with (indeed, she clearly relished it).
Soon after that chat, I get a Facebook friend request from her mother. Odd, but I accept it. I chat with LO on FB and tell her “so I got a friend request from your mom LOL. Old people on Facebook are funny.” Her reply? “Well, it could be a good sign!” I’m like, “What do you mean by that?” And she dances around the subject and refuses to give a straight answer. Limerence level surges to unprecedented heights. (Soon after, she refers to me as a “cute dude,” which again just propels the limerence upward.)
But not long after, the LO is laid off from her job at the big company. This is utterly devastating to me, because I won’t be able to interact with her every day anymore, but I’m determined to remain in touch with her. We chat frequently on FB Messenger; we arrange a few clandestine lunch and breakfast and after-work meetings when I’m in her city on business (it’s near where I live).
Over time, she talks about how the situation with her husband is worsening, and shares how she’s considering an affair with an older, wealthy but fairly unattractive man (her words, not mine) who had been her boss at a previous job and was always infatuated with her. It’s gutting to hear that, but I maintain a calm facade. (This is my “friend” after all…)
Knowing that I’m unhappy in my marriage, too, the LO asks if I’ve ever had an affair. I tell her that my relationship with her is the closest I’ve come to that (BIG HINT). She responds very positively and says she’s incredibly flattered to hear that. (LIMERENCE AGAIN THROUGH THE ROOF.) I decide to press things a bit and tell her that, “well, you know, you and I have basically been having an emotional affair for the past few years.” She agrees with that! Again, no indication (yet) that I’m “nothing but a friend” to her.
Very soon after that, she tells me she backed away from the affair with the older, rich former boss. (“That would have been a huge mistake,” she said, adding that she wasn’t even attracted to him, but she was feeling desperate because her husband was an unemployed alcoholic fuck-up who she’s having to support and she has a young daughter to think about.) Limerence surges. In my mind, the only thing left is for her to get her divorce, then I reveal my true feelings, leave my wife and we’ll live happily ever after. But of course, I don’t say any of this out loud to her, because I’m trying to maintain that delicate balance between “friend” and “more than friend.”
Then, something strange happens. She begins to pull away from me. My FB messages are ignored for days, or are greeted with a terse “Can’t talk, things are really crazy right now.” She used to literally “like” anything I’d post on Facebook, or she’d post funny things and flirtily tag me in them. That stops, too.
Finally, in Spring 2018, we arrange a lunch date. She opens by saying, “I’ve met someone. I’m in love, and I’ll be getting a divorce from my husband.” I try to make a joke — “wait, you’re supposed to leave your husband for me!” (wink, smile) — but it was like a dagger through my heart.
We finish lunch, hug and depart; all’s well, right? Not at all. I slip into a real depression for the first time in years. I can’t stop thinking about her and how I can’t be with her.
After a couple of weeks, I message the LO and tell her how I really feel about her. The response? “I’m sorry; I only ever thought of you as a friend.” Crushing. Just crushing. I tell her that I need to take a break from her on social media, so I’ll be unfriending her. She says she understands. But I only last a couple of months. I re-friend her on FB and apologize for not being honest about my feelings toward her.
Again, she says she understands — “I’m friendly and I’ve been misunderstood before,” she says, which makes me wonder “how many times?” — and I proceed to initiate the occasional chat with her on FB Messenger. But I can tell she’s not into it; I feel like I’ve become something of a non-person to her.
Last summer, she posted a stupid article on Facebook that was along the lines of “nine ways to tell when you’ve finally found your soul mate.” I was drunk when I saw it, and I immediately started crying. I wanted to be that soul mate, for so long, and with such intensity. Just stupidly devastated by some dumb listicle.
I immediately unfriended her again, because I realized that I am just tormenting myself by continuing to follow her and seeing her in my feed. And a few weeks later, I quit drinking.
One thing that sobriety did was make me see things with more clarity. I realized how she might have been playing with my feelings for her own self-validation. But I also realized that I had so utterly idealized her that it deeply skewed my perception of our “relationship.”
And then this week, I stumbled up on this excellent site, and I have to say it’s been eye-opening. I’ve only had a couple of limerent episodes in my life, but I see myself so much more clearly now. All my interactions with my LO were so deeply influenced by MY perception of things. Yes, she did NOT help; she could have told me 10-plus years ago when I started saying how beautiful and special I thought she was that she wasn’t comfortable with that, or that she didn’t feel the same way.
She didn’t do that. And I feel like on some level she was using me as an emotional tampon/ego booster. Beyond that, our “friendship” was very unbalanced. I did about 80% of the work to keep it going, and I definitely gave more emotional validation than I got in return.
But by the same token, I was the one reading so much into every little statement she made. I am definitely a limerent, and I need to work on that.
By the way, I’ve never told my wife about any of this, and I don’t think I will. Our relationship is not perfect, but we’re in a stable place. I don’t think I’ll be limerently chasing any more rainbows again; I’m in my 50s and it’s time to accept life as it is.
I think I’m going to block my LO on Facebook to remove any temptation to peek at her profile and pictures.
Again, thanks for this blog. So well-done and deeply educational.
I think all the LwL readers no doubt will read your story with total pathos and compassion and real understanding, and as Scharny said, you WILL fit right in.
You will enjoy this topic.
And as a word of comfort, it’s agony now but you definitely will heal. And while there is nothing quite like the desperate craving of the limerent contact, there is also something deeply gratifying in knowing you will never allow yourself to be played again and you have the class to find satisfaction and pleasure in your current situation.
Thanks Jaideux! Just read this post:
She was definitely the “I’ll keep you as backup” LO toward me, though I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be in that position to begin with.
I think my recent long-term LO is also a low-level covert narcissist. (Article: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/23-signs-you-re-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert) She always made a big to-do about what a quiet, sensitive introvert she was, but she sure seems to enjoy taking lots of selfies of her beautiful face and sharing them on social media. (She did some modeling when she was younger.) And she sure seemed to enjoy a decade of attention from me that definitely crossed boundaries for a co-worker without once complaining.
The LO’s mom friending me on Facebook right when the LO was experiencing a crisis in her marriage and then acting all coy about it being a “good sign” was another WTF moment.
And just to be clear: The problem was definitely my limerence for her. More than half, for sure. But I did everything but say “I love you” to her for years and she never protested or said “whoa there, boy.” And then she discarded me as a “friend” very, very quickly when someone else came along
That’s what’s really made me mad in the months since I quit drinking and started thinking clearly — she really wasn’t even a good friend to me.
OK, it’s getting late. Thanks again for the kind words, and glad to be joining this community.
Welcome to the club!
You’ll fit right in.
Thank you! The comments from you and others are nearly as helpful and informative as the Good Doctor L’s posts!
I could have written this post haha, I cant believe how accurate it is. Even before I read this I am no longer in social media and before I became familiar with limerence I always knew something was off. My LO never understood (neither do I) why I constantly deleted my account, unfollow her, didn’t respond to text messages, etc. I was just too anxious, I knew it was addictive for me and it was best for us but how do you explain that? She saw it as childish, as a a seek for attention and uncaring. And actually that’s what broke our friendship. She end up blocking me and the limerence got out of control. Sad
Hello fellow limerents. Its funny, I just actually learned of this word a month ago and was so relieved to see something describe exactly what I was going through to a T. I have read all the comments and thought I would post to briefly describe my current LE and get some words or encouragement.
It started a few months ago. I want to be very vague here so lets just say I met my LO at a place I frequent and he helped me with something. Instantly there was the glimmer, he had texted me shortly after about “business stuff” which quickly became friendly because we bond on sports stuff, I am a huge fan and we both love the same teams. He then asked if we could be “friends”. Since I am married with a child I politely declined and that was the end of that, or so I though. A month later I went back in and we reconnected and the LE started back up again, except this time we took it a step further and started talking on the phone and things got sexual very quickly. Not physically but more telling each other our fantasies, sending pics,etc. I knew I was never going to actually cheat on my husband but I really welcomed this distraction as I am going through a very hard time in my life. He adored me and desired me and gave me so many compliments. I found myself getting dressed up to go into the place he works just so I could see him and he could see me and to stir up more desire for each other, he would even walk me to my car and we would hug for a long time. After knowing this wasn’t going to go anywhere and feeling guilty I texted him that we have to stop and I unfollowed him on social media and blocked his number. The following week I missed him and reached out again and he was very pissed off at me for doing what I did. To be honest, and I am not proud to admit this, but his pull back made him so much more enticing to me. I wanted him more this time. But we had a long phone conversation in which we both expressed our feelings for each other but agreed we can only be friends and want to be in each others lives and we wouldn’t play anymore games. I asked if we could follow each other again and he was being very standoffish, then he said last weekend if I send him pictures of myself he would add me again on social media, well I did, knowing that wasn’t a good idea. What I got the following day was a long text saying he doesn’t think we should follow each other and that he needs to focus on his wife and kids but that he still wants to be friends. We talked a lot about sports and then the conversation got sexual again on his side. I ended up texting him that this is very confusing for me and I felt taken advantage of because he said he would add me if I sent pics but he never did. I told him we should have no contact, and frankly I said that because I thought that would be like an ultimatum and he would chose to follow each other again, but instead he wrote back that it sounded good. We started to argue a little and then I saw that he blocked me completely from social media. I felt so heartbroken and devastated, its been three days and I still feel so much pain. I also feel crazy, like I have a wonderful husband and family, why am I seeking validation and love from this man I hardly know and really wouldn’t even want to be with in real life. Maybe its the fact that he had all the power at the end? I find myself now hoping he will change his mind and unblock me, or I am thinking of trying to look cute and go into his place of work so he can see me. Also our favorite team just started playing again and watching it reminds me of him and hurts so badly. I really feel like im going nuts here. Any words of wisdom? Help!