One of the most effective methods for neutralising limerence is also one of the most obvious: stop spending time with LO. No contact FTW! But given the amazing capacity for limerents to daydream, plain dream, and generally relentlessly obsess about LO, actually being in their presence isn’t necessarily a requirement to sustain the addiction. So why does no contact work? Why is it one of the few effective strategies for wresting back control of ourselves?
1) You don’t have to see them anymore
Well, wow. What an insight.
Obviously it helps to not see LO anymore. Seeing them triggers the ingrained cycle of physiological arousal, anxiety, and potential pleasure, which moves them to the centre of your attention. Also, spending time with them (especially if the meeting is enjoyable) is likely to reinforce the associative memory between LO and reward. This is obviously a barrier to overcoming your LO addiction, so not seeing them anymore removes that barrier.
No contact means no more overarousal, and no more behavioural reinforcement.
2) It starves the fire
The fuel and oxygen of limerence are reverie and uncertainty. Without the possibility of future meetings, uncertainty is eliminated – there will be no more reciprocation or rejection. Eventually, the fuel of old memories will be used up, and the flames will fade to glowing embers.
A potential downside here is that your memory of LO is likely to relax back to an idealised version of them. LO as the elaborate mental construction that you have sculpted, perfectly shaped to your emotional needs. So if, in reality, LO is a bit of a dick, you are depriving yourself of potential negative experiences which can be useful in extinguishing desire. While this could be problematic, it is probably offset by the gain that you will not have new positive memories of LO to incorporate into fresh fantasies and ruminations.
Even though the mental avatar of LO remains with us, their image in our mind’s eye loses focus over time, without new reinforcement.
3) You become free
Most limerents allocate an inordinate amount of mental bandwidth to thinking about LO. This could be rehearsing imagined future conversations or events. It could be going over previous interactions and forensically scouring them for evidence of reciprocation. It could be planning charming or witty retorts to impress LO, in case a particular topic of conversation comes up.
Imagine being freed of all that. No more meetings means no more wasted energy planning for those meetings. Just think how much mental capacity that frees up for exciting new enterprises!
Even more importantly, freedom from future LO planning means you have the headspace to reorient yourself back to who you were before the Madness came. That’s a really important step if you are going to be able to make good choices about how your actual, real future will pan out.
4) You demonstrate personal decisiveness
The best basis for no contact is making the active decision yourself to end contact. You have taken a positive step. That is huge, psychologically. You are telling yourself that you know better than your junkie brain, and that you are in charge of your behaviour from now on. No more subordinating your needs to getting an LO fix. No more surrendering your moods to someone else’s behaviour. You are in the driving seat and aiming for the open road.
The benefits of no contact really start to stack up. Beyond the obvious relief from LO’s company, no contact is a virtuous cycle of short-term relief, middle-term recovery of your old mental clarity, and preparing yourself for a long-term future in which limerence is a tamed beast. It’s worth it, if you can.
Mrs A says
Well said! Yes it is worth it and NC is the best method. What is hard is to take the first step AND stay on the path. It’s easy to stumble and fall back to old patterns, at first. After about 4 months of NC I still catch myself in reverie rather frequently, especially when under stress. It’s quite an internal battle, but I tell myself I have to reclaim my freedom, my territory i.e. headspace and heartspace. I tried to avoid places with associative memories of LO, but decided the best method is to be brave and confront it, even thoughit did wreak havoc emotionally when I went to those places. The key is to keep my schedule full, seek out new experience, be active, and do not contact LO. It’s really about management and determination to me. The emotional storm would always calm down and I reemerged with mental clarity and a renewed sense of personal power and freedom. If I can manage it once I can manage it again.
This is what I needed today. This is what I will need on many more days.
It’s not easy, but will be worth it in the long run!
In practical terms, NC works because it separates the threat (i.e., LO) from the vulnerability (i.e., Limerent) thereby reducing the influence the LO exerts on the Limerent.
There are two components to influence, effectiveness ( or impact) and exposure. It’s real life application of calculus in that influence is the area under curve with Impact on one axis and Exposure on the other. An unwitting LO may not have a lot of impact but, over time, he/she can have a lot of influence. A brief encounter with a complicit LO or an LO that really sings to you can have you walking into walls. If you’re working on a NC strategy, especially in in professional environment, it helps to understand that.
Because of the circumstances of the relationship, I never went through the idealization relapse with LO #2. I had a brief period of idealization with LO #4 but it wasn’t the first phase after we went NC, it was the second. As the significance of the LE with LO #4 faded and the finality of things settled in, the idealization faded along with it.
Aaah I also really needed this today, thank you. Three months into NC and although absolutely sure it’s the right thing, some days it is really hard. I miss LO, and find myself thinking I shouldn’t have gone NC, should have found a way to make friendship work. This blog gets me through those days.
3 months of no contact is hard to do (voluntarily). Good for you and I hope it gets easier as the days roll by.
Thanks so much Lee. It’s a lonely old business, as I guess you must know, so I appreciate that 🙏
NC was thrust upon Mr. Lee & sometimes I see him mooning, but far less frequently than before she left for a new job. He avoided her as much as possible before she left but that wasn t always possible.
Your choosing to go NC reflects well upon you. I know it’s tough. Worth it though!
Three months NC is great, Limerspan. Stay strong!
Re-reading this excellent post as I’ve been presented with the option of NC now. LO is leaving my workplace and whilst there’s still a few weeks of necessary contact ahead, after that I’ll have the chance to go full NC. The question is whether I just do it, and effectively ghost her, or whether I explain my reasons (without full disclosure)?
There is a middle way between ghosting and disclosure. Civil, positive, but not emotional. If she texts after she leaves, take a while to respond, and be friendly but neutral. Take a little longer each time. Be less responsive and less engaged, and she will get the message.
You can choose to part with her on friendly but professional terms, just as you would any other employee. It would be better for both of you, and with much less risk of recrimination or anger. The only real cost is to your pride. You don’t get to confirm to yourself that there was something “real” between you, and it wasn’t that you were being a fool or being manipulated. If you try to dance on the line of disclosure in the hope that you can pick up a hint of how she felt about you, it will feed the limerence uncertainty (and you may tip over the line and regret it).
I may be wrong, but I think you will respect yourself more in the future if you disentangle cleanly, than if you use your last period of contact as a final opportunity to hint about something deeper between you.
Thank you, that staged withdrawal makes a lot of sense, and is less hurtful to her than ghosting. I know full disclosure is a likely bad move but as we’ve already hinted at something deeper, my thoughts were that I could refer to that conversation but not go further.
Yes, it’s controlled deceleration rather than slamming the brakes on. Sometimes emergency stops are required, but in your situation it’s more a case of wanting to part on good terms but without any further damage to your professional or personal lives. That deeper connection happened and was hinted at, but you made the choice to not escalate it or prolong it.
If it helps: on my LO’s last day, I had all sorts of plans about how I was going to phrase my last goodbye, how I was going to respond to requests to stay in touch etc. When it came to it, none of that preparation made any difference. LO was in a right emotional state and so was I and we played out a masterclass in clumsy miscommunication. I basically got through the day in “boss mode” (i.e. focus on tying up the last loose ends of business), she opted for “dam up all emotions”.
It was frustrating, but about an hour from close of play I realised that my future life was going to be free of all this emotional turmoil. It was a relief. The sacrifices of not knowing for sure how she felt, and not being able to express how I felt, were worth making – and mostly about my vanity, ultimately.
You really don’t know how she’ll respond.
In her goodbye, LO #4 said, “I wish you no ill will.” (nice of her)
When I relapsed 2 years ago and posted something on her site’s FB page, the post lasted 8 minutes and I lasted 9 minutes before she blocked me. That was the last action I did that elicited a direct response from her.
She didn’t do exactly what I asked but she did enough to prevent the recurrence of future robo-emails. So, I sent an email on the business account thanking her and wishing her a happy birthday. She’d know that I knew. I expected silence in return.
Four hours later I had an email from her personal account. It was only 4 words but it was a direct response. Once again, I miscalculated. Lesson learned: 2 yrs of NC and I could elicit a response from her. The limerent Scharnhorst would have taken that and ran with it. The post-limerent Scharnhorst sees it as warning.
Be careful. There’s usually an unexpected consequence.
I don’t know. I’m doing a withdrawal, blocking myself from apps, not checking as much, but as long as I haven’t unfollowed/blocked her? The connection to the “drug” is still there. I can always get around these blocks.
It’s sad, as she’s a good friend, but I think I have to quit her cold turkey.
“I know full disclosure is a likely bad move but as we’ve already hinted at something deeper, my thoughts were that I could refer to that conversation but not go further.”
First off, you’re only controlling one side of the conversation, she may want to take it further. You think you know how she’ll respond but you don’t know until you try it. Nothing about that conversation will take you anywhere you really want to be.
A more subtle disclosure but disclosure none the less. Why bring it up? If you’re serious about getting free, don’t refer to it.
Now, if you want to prolong “the dance,” go for it and make sure to include the possibility of a comeback later on. At this point, she’s expendable. You can probably get as good a buzz playing back that conversation in your head later, revising what you said over and over, and wondering if she’ll ever take you up on it than you had actually dealing with her. Nothing like when the text notification goes off or checking the one email account to get your mind going and the letdown when it’s not her. That’s cyclical and you may be able to manage it. It can be quite enlivening on a dull day.
The upside is you’ve moved the limerence back into your own head. The downside is that you didn’t get rid of the limerence and she might come back. Also, there’s no guarantee it won’t get away from you, again.
Hi. I know this is almost a year old post but I hope it’s okay to let some emotions out for a minute or two. I’ve been in a LE for 7 years and counting but I never knew what limerence was up until a couple weeks ago. My LO and I have only chatted online and have never met in person but my obsession with him is insane. Before I discovered limerence and this blog I seriously thought I had some sort of mental illness. My limerence for him has been the source of much joy but has also delt a tremendous amount of suffering. We had 5 years of no contact but the silence between us didn’t remove him from my mind. I deleted social media. I stopped going online all together. I went as far as trading in my smart phone for a flip phone to reduce the urge to contact him or search for him online. Nothing worked. I tried moving on with my life. I tried to forget him. I thought, eventually, this will pass. Sadly, my addiction to this man is extreme. I live with constant withdrawal pain that nothing in this life can ease. Even when I’m not consciously thinking of him, I am still thinking of him. All it takes is one deep breath or the warmth of the sun on my skin and my LO is with me.. then BAM! Instant depression. I am extremely frustrated with my limerence. I want this haunting to cease. I made the mistake of seeking him out and messaging him a couple months ago. Honestly, I wasn’t in love mode. I was angry. I had no idea of limerence at the time and I didn’t understand how a guy I don’t even know, have never met and haven’t talked to in years could cause such destruction within my entire being. Truthfully, I wasn’t angry with him. I was upset with my own agony and desperate for relief. I didn’t know how else to stop the pain. I have a pretty great life but I can’t enjoy anything because of my limerence. Even the parts of my life that are fantastic. Nothing can compare to that … feeling. I am someone who has been numb for most of her existence. To meet someone who actually makes you feel alive. It’s tough to forget. Even though I know better. I, of course, could not control myself after contacting my LO. When I’m around him I’m completely crazy. I type things to him that I know are ridiculous but I send it anyway. Out of pure embarassment I removed myself from the situation and deleted the account I created. I don’t want to be this way. I want him out of my mind. Out of my life. I don’t want to waste anymore years on this man. No contact hasn’t worked in the past. I’ve already disclosed to him many times. Transference on purpose is impossible for me. And in my crazy mind, he is like God. Nothing can make me think less of him. So what do I do if my second bout of no contact fails? Put a bullet in my head?
“To meet someone who actually makes you feel alive.”
But, you didn’t really meet him. You don’t actually know the person you met online. I hope you haven’t sent him money!
I’m really sorry though. To have spent years of your life in love with an image must be very frustrating.
“My LO and I have only chatted online and have never met in person but my obsession with him is insane.”
Have you hired a therapist and a psychiatrist? You might benefit from some combination of therapies because this doesn’t sound like it’s strictly limerence (to me).
I hope something works for you.
Hi Marina, and welcome.
A bullet to the head is definitely top of the list of bad solutions to this problem.
It does sound like you are stuck in a mental loop, which is the trap of limerence once it gets established. I am a bit confused about your contact with LO – is it all online? You mention being around him; is that just virtual?
Limerence for an online LO helps to illustrate one of the guiding principles for recovery: this is all going on in your head. LO is definitely not a God. If you have disclosed and he’s continued to keep in touch, he’s probably not even an especially nice person, as he seems to be keeping you hanging on.
I think you need to confront the fact that the solution to this is to do the deep work of looking inward to understand what it is you are seeking from this illusory connection. A therapist could be a good idea (if you can find a match). If nothing else, it will be an opportunity to unburden yourself of this pent up energy and angst, while exploring what is going on in your deep emotions.
Wishing you luck,
Anonymous Limerent says
The universe 🌌 has its own wicked sense of humour…
Day #2 of NC today and, after yesterday’s pseudo-effective results, I thought today might be the start of a revolution.
But, day of days, this was the one occasion for about 5 months when LO actually interested with me. She just asked me to pass her something, but that’s all it took to send me spiralling into a day-long wave of depression.
So, yeah… Fate feasts on innocents’ pain.
P.S. Does tomorrow count as day #3 or is it back to day #1?
You didn’t initiate it and a response was the social norm.
First post from me, so I’ll start by thanking DrL for creating an excellent resource on a subject that has/had taken over my life to a large extent until recently. I plan to add some posts in the coming weeks/months on various subjects in the hopes that my experiences can be of some use to someone in the same way that this blog and the many comments have helped me.
I found this site about a month into NC. I didn’t call it NoContact then, I just remembered it as the day I said goodbye. I had fallen in love with my LO at work (yet another new term for me) about a year earlier. For a whole set of reasons, such as being somewhat shy, worried about repercussions at work in case it didn’t work out, and oh, I’d almost forget, being married to a loving SO, the relationship stayed in an indetermined state I’d call intimate friendship. My feelings quickly progressed to a limerent obsession.
A year later, after having been to the emotional peaks of the Mount Everest and the abyssal troughs of despair several times over, causing myself and my SO significant stress, I finally decided I needed to break off all contact. I needed to not just reduce it, but go cold turkey. This I knew, because reducing contact, which I had tried, had repeatedly failed.
I’m reporting now from a position about 3 months into NC. I can attest to the benefits. It was the hardest thing I remember doing, apart from disclosing to my SO 8 months earlier. I knew I was hurting myself greatly, and I knew I was hurting my LO as well, even if I still cannot judge to what extent. But I also knew the alternative was unsustainable.
Three months on, my head has cleared. It took about two months before I again started to have thoughts and ambitions that did not in some way revolve around my LO. I am again starting to function at work and finding some pleasure and fulfilment in things that had lost all flavour to me before.
I wish I did not have to go NC. My LO had become a good and dear friend, and I still wish her all the best. But I could not be a real friend to her. It was not for lack of trying, but every time I had convinced myself my feelings were now under control, and I really felt nothing except pure platonic friendship, she would say or do something that would again launch me on a rollercoaster of feelings and thoughts. So, while it hurt like hell at the time, and still hits me hard when I least expect it, I cannot regret the decision.
“but every time I had convinced myself my feelings were now under control, and I really felt nothing except pure platonic friendship, she would say or do something that would again launch me on a rollercoaster of feelings and thoughts”
Exactly how I feel! It drives me nuts! I’ll have NC with LO, my thoughts of him are less (ie: instead of thinking about him every waking hour he’ll pop into my head intermittently throughout the day) but then I’ll bump into him which will give me a jolt, I’ll talk to him without having an apoplectic fit, he gives me a certain look and might say something and off I go again into another cycle of limerence. And so the thoughts start up again………
@Christopher, you seem like the poster child for Doing NC right. Congratulations!
@Marina…are you doing any better? My heart broke when reading your post.
For myself I was LC for 2.5 months and then now NC for almost 2 months. I am doing much better and feel that I am starting to come back to life, but feel like my senses are dulled, like I have had a lobotomy. Every so often I am engulfed in a wave of nostalgia, self-pity and pathetic melodrama but it passes. I am slowly but surely healing. This site has been phenomenally helpful and I am forever in it’s debt. Thanks Dr. L!
Rereading like crazy. Posting here rather than unblocking and messaging LO…
Lost count of how far into NC I am, but earlier a close relative of mine who works with LO was talking about him (doesn’t do this often).
Add into the mix a week which has been testing my patience with both kids and SO.
Temptation to message just to see how he is is really high at the moment. I know this would not be a purposeful choice and would undo everything I’ve achieved so far. Feeling tempted to contact feels like a step backwards. It will pass…
Deep breaths, Sophie. Eyes on the prize!
It will pass, and you’ll be proud and relieved if you held your nerve through the wobble…
While it won’t undo “everything” if you reach out, you will definitely not feel great about yourself. Come tomorrow, most people won’t understand how difficult it was to restrain yourself. But we will. You can do it.
Thank you both for your support!
Reached the end of my shift without contacting LO between calls and it is now too late- even at the height of the LE I would never contact him this late.
Inner parent 1 : Inner toddler 0
Andrew James says
Sorry, my first post and it’s a long one. My LO is a woman at work. She joined when I was in quite a vulnerable place after I lost my parents within a few months of each other and I was kind of angry at the world. I became withdrawn and unsociable at work and this included towards her as well. The thing is, she is really interested in people and has social skills that are off the scale so it wasn’t long before she got me talking. This bought me out of my shell and I soon I had become much more social at work and became fairly popular again. At the time I was also living with quite bad insomnia and she was really kind to me (“whenever you’re feeling bad, just come and find me and we’ll have 5 minutes alone time together”), which really helped me through that. We became quite good work friends and were always talking and having a laugh and talking about quite personal stuff but I soon found that I was completely besotted with her (hadn’t heard of limerence then) and realised that my life and everything I did had begun to be all about her and trying to impress her. We were quite close for about a year until she suddenly became really good friends with woman at work and started to distance herself from me. This really upset me and I started to get depressed and moody, which pushed her further away and soon I was in a downward spiral. We’ve still always sort of got on since then, but it’s never been the same, although we still go out for coffee and lunchtime walks now and again. This hasn’t helped lessen my limerence though, which is still just as bad as ever and is frankly, quite exhausting if I’m honest. She does have a dark side as well. She looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth but she’s very flirty and clearly loves to be surrounded be men (luckily I work with nearly all women and there’s only one other man at work) and tbh it seems that people are mostly there to entertain her, she also kicked the woman to the kerb and became best friends with someone else’s at work and is now in the process of doing the same thing again. Although she is very attractive, she’s essentially insecure and is a self confessed (to me) attention seeker. She doesn’t get attached to people and can pick them up and leave them without a second thought. Despite all of this (of course) I’m still obsessed and have tried to distance myself from her but with no success. There is light on the horizon though as she is leaving for another job and will be gone in three weeks time. She will be living in another town and there is no chance of me seeing her again, so I’m hoping this will do the trick. I’m devastated she’s going but really excited about the prospect of getting my life back as well.
Andrew – firstly, welcome and that sure sounds like limerence. Against all logic and evidence to the contrary you can’t but obsess over someone who isn’t worth it. It’s amazingly frustrating isn’t it? I just don’t think people get unless they’ve been through it.
The good news is that her moving on will be the start of your recovery. Don’t expect instant relief, you’re on a slow climb out of a deep hole, but this will be the turning point. No contact is the only way forward in my opinion.
I’m 6m into my NC from my workplace LO and things have improved steadily over that time. Like your LO mine moved on, unfortunately not to a new town so I still overhear conversations about her, and people ask me about her, such was the closeness of the relationship, but not having new interactions is a massive help. A few tips – make it as clean a break as possible, no social media, delete her contact details, get rid of her stuff from the office. A total cleanse. Then focus on you, why this has happened to you, and what you can do to improve your life, and stop it happening again. Best of luck!
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I definitely intend not contacting her, although she has other friends at work who will and will probably go to see her. The other town is only 40 mins drive away and they are likely to talk about her when they’ve been to visit. The point is that I won’t see her myself, so hopefully it’ll all gradually fade. I can honestly say I’ve never been affected this way before and I’m in my mi 50s so it all took me rather by surprise. I’m guessing it must have been connected to my parents dying within a couple of months of each other a few years ago.
For me, about the worst thing about the whole situation is how it’s made me act. One minute I’m deliriously happy when we’re talking, the next, I’m in a deep depression when she is not paying me attention or she is laughing and joking with someone else. These mood swings have had the effect of pushing her away, I’m sure, as they’re not exactly attractive traits and she has said on more than one occasion that I can be exhausting at times- something I wholeheartedly agree with. She is still friendly towards me, but is much more distant than she used to be when we first started talking. She used to be very touchy feely and was always complimenting me and saying nice things, but this has all gradually disappeared over the last year or so. I’m really shocked that I’m able to behave this way as I’ve always been a very easy going, fun loving, shrug my shoulders type person until all this happened, but I seem unable to control it. As I say, she is off in a couple of weeks (counting down the days) but i hate the fact that she will go away thinking that I’m this slightly sad git who was sulky and prone to mood swings, although there’s nothing I can do to change that perception now, of course.
Yes – I had all of that as well. What is so odd is that you know you’re over reacting and yet you can’t help it. The logical part of your brain is there saying “come on, you’re being harsh there” and the other part just doesn’t care and overrides it.
I was my LO’s boss and because she was young she’d do some pretty silly things and I’d have to tell her off. Maybe with other people I’d let it go, but with her it meant more, so it felt like a personal snub, disrespect, which of course was a dagger to my limerent heart that wanted the opposite. So I had to deal with it, and have the tough conversation (creating alone time together of course….). She asked me once if someone else had done what she did would I have been as upset about it. I said no, and we just looked at each other in awkward silence before one of us moved the conversation on!
On day 1 of NC (4th try in 2 years). Reading comments here are very helpful knowing I’m not the only person with similar LE and some have passed thru to mental and emotional freedom.
I was faithfully married 35 years when I met my LO. She’s close in age, single parent with teens. My children all adults. We were in lifestyle fitness group of friends together. We soon were in a 6 month PA. The PA was blissful, but she had busy/hectic life (some self-imposed), so not lots of time for me. Which should have been perfect with my being married. But alas, the LE had me in its grips and I could not get enough of her and wanted to divorce and be with her forever.
I disclosed to LO in middle of our PA. She said she loved me, but having gone thru a messy divorce said she did not want that for me (us). I suspect she just wanted a non-committal PA for physical release. She ended one for me she had prior said. But she wouldn’t tell me this directly.
After she ended the PA (for my marriage she said), she wanted to be very close platonic friends. What else could a Limerent do, but agree to keep the LO in my life. We texted everyday and I saw her often, mostly alone. Sometimes with group of our fitness friends. But I was on rollercoaster emotional ride. Seeing or texting her were always highs and happy times. All other times were lows, missing and pining for the next contact with her. I was now in EA, but one-sided, though she does love me as platonic friend.
Last year I moved 10 hours away in hopes of ending this LE madness (after asking LO one more time to marry me or resume PA.) FYI, my SO is very happy with move as she’s close to her family. I hate it here. Seemed like good compromise, since I initiated the move away from our children due to my LE. SO does not know about PA or EA and would never suspect it based on my personality and hermit tendency.
I’ve disclosed to LO numerous times, explained emotional hell I’m in, on anxiety meds , loss of sleep, can’t live w/o her, can’t focus on wife and marriage because of her, etc. She expresses sympathy, but says she loves me and wants me as close friend if I want to and I won’t divorce due to her.
In her mind, she is a true friend to me (says I’m her closest friend by far), but often ghosts me for hours between texts and I have to move mountains (and my family schedule) to try and see her. Once I’m with her, she’s totally focused on me and its wonderful (platonically last 2 years). She’s been there for me many times when it counts, so she would be good friend if it wasn’t for our past PA and my LE. I just expect and desire more from her because of my LE.
But every day is emotional hell because of text blackouts and trying to arrange next time to see her. I should mention (as part of my daily hell) she loves to flirt, dress sexy and I have to watch this everyday in online group with many other men or on the few group activities I attend in person. I know she’s having sex, and of course always assume it during blackouts where she doesn’t mention what she was doing. She knows I can’t handle (depression, not anger) seeing the flirting or her being with someone else. But she is single, has to live her life, and its her natural personality.
Between NC attempts, I think I can handle the emotional pain, and its worth it because she can be a good friend (she’s my only true friend other than SO). Our longest NC was 5 weeks. I initiated the NC, disclosing the emotional pain I’m in without her and my need to focus on wife and marriage if I can’t be with her. But she always checks in one me, and of course I use that opportunity to resume our close friendship. She always takes me back, but is very clear, no PA.
Sorry for such a long post, but was therapeutic for me to write it, as I begin this next NC attempt. I think it will work this time. The physical distance will help and my 38 year marriage is good and I do not want to have EA, or hurt SO.
However, I feel cheated that this wretched LE is robbing me of having my only real friend, my soul mate and my one true love, in my life. You see the NC problem I face ahead 🙁
p.s. this should probably be under the topic “What to do if you are married but limerent for someone else” that I just saw.
Bob – it is important to appreciate the difference between having feelings for someone and they being good for you. Anyone that puts you in emotional hell every day can’t be good.
As you say she’s single, living her life, seemingly enjoying it and she enjoys your company / affection (delete as appropriate). If she wanted to be with you she would, but she’s chosen not to and made it clear. You want more and so you have an imbalance in the relationship. She gets what she wants from it, you don’t and it’s crushing you.
Kudos for implementing the steps needed for NC, now grab the opportunity for freedom. Throw yourself into your new life and things will improve, for sure. Good luck.
Vincent, thanks for your comment. Very helpful, direct and painful (but needed) to hear.
“If she wanted to be with you she would, but she’s chosen not to and made it clear. You want more and so you have an imbalance in the relationship. She gets what she wants from it, you don’t and it’s crushing you.”
Yes, I see your point, all to clearly. She’s getting what she wants the way our relationship is, even knowing the emotional hell I’m in. When I’m with her or daily texting, I try to keep it as normal for platocic close friends as possible, but send her an email periodically of how much I want to be with her, and the emotional pain not being with her, etc. (I have done it in person too). She thanks me for email, but does not reply or discuss them. So she fully knows the pain I’m in over her, yet says she loves me, and wants me as her best friend.
“Anyone that puts you in emotional hell every day can’t be good.”
It hard for me believe this in her, but I guess it is probably true. I keep wondering why she won’t put me out of my misery and initiate NC. But when I initiate it, she always layer checks how I’m doing and then let’s me come back to her (which I always ask)…as friend.
She knows I’m in an EA with her. After the PA, we still do short lip kisses and lots of hugging and hand holding, but she thinks this is part of normal platonic friendship with someone you love, but can’t be with (e.g. married). This of course fuels my LE even more to want to be with her.
She said she would be with me if I wasn’t married, but not if I divorced to be with her. Catch-22. I love my wife and dont want to hurt her and children to just arbitrarily divorce in the hope of sometime in future being with LO. Plus I know divorce is not right or fair to my wife in our situation. But of course the LE would convince me otherwise, especially if LO ever said yes.
Thanks again for your comment.
Another thing to consider is that we humans are conditioned to want what we can’t have. That’s why uncertainty fuels the LE – there’s something stopping us from reaching our “goal”.
So now see things from her point of view. You regularly confess feelings and offer divorce etc to be with her. She knows she can have you whenever she wants. There’s no mystery, no chase for her at this point. You’ve spelled it all out, and now it’s no longer interesting for her. You’re a back-up plan at best. Even if your goal was to divorce and be with her, your game is wrong.
NC changes the game. Either you eventually forget about her or she realises what she’s lost and comes back. That’s then a whole other decision of course but either way, if you want SO or LO, you need NC at this point.
Vincent, thanks so much for your comment. Very interesting concept. My reason for NC is my emotional rollercoaster and dependence on LO was affecting my marriage…and LO only wanted a close platonic friendship after the PA.
Seems hoping NC would lure LO back would just be for another temporary PA at best (unless I could maintain the mystery – very hard for a limerent). At some point a couple needs to declare their “eternal” love for each other and it won’t make one lose interest, if he/she feels the same for a long term commitment.
Since I’m happily married I shouldn’t want just another PA with LO. Of course, what would I do if my LO threw herself at me? Hopefully I’ll be strong enough to resist and maintain the NC, unless I get a long term commitment upfront.
I have to try and not let the thought she might want me back, slow the healing process I hoped NC would bring.
Her last words to me after my announcing the NC was : “I love you and will miss you as my closest friend, but you have to do what you think is best for your marriage”
Seems pretty final she won’t initiate breaking the NC. Now I have to be strong and not be the one that does. On to day 4 of NC.
Bob, My situation was similar. Single LO, 1 year on and off PA, me unable to stop it, he finally did end it saying we can be best friends, but PA will never happen again, he will make sure of that. Me trying my best to be best friends… it doesn’t work. Took me a long time to realize that.
Vincent’s points are very true: if she wanted to be with you, she could have, but she chooses not to. She gets what she wants from you, at anytime she pleases. She will not throw herself at you, you don’t have to leave the mental backdoor open. There will not be a situation where you two will be together. And as you say, you don’t want to end your marriage. If you did, you would get a divorce, no matter what LO says or does. You moved away, that’s great for NC, make use of that. It’s hard, but stick to it. She might even get in contact to see your reaction. Not because she wants you but because she will miss having your attention at her demand. I know how you feel, I’ve been there. Time to let go. It hurts so much, but it will get better.
I’ve posted this article somewhere else too: https://pairedlife.com/dating/friendshiporinfatuation
I’ve read it over and over again. Being best friends with LO is not the next best thing. There will always be an imbalance and you’ll always want more.
Sarah, thanks so much for your pointed and helpful comments, even though it’s hard hear the truth 🙂 But especially helpful from someone who has also gone through this hell.
The article you shared was spot on the even more disastrous for limerents to try and be friends with their LO
What really got me from the article is I can’t be the friend she needs and deserves. “By choosing to befriend/remain friends with someone you have deep feelings for, you are selfishly dragging them into a rather artificial, unhealthy connection.”
So NC seems the best thing I can do for her, myself and my SO. How I will get thru it I dont know. I cant vilify my LO. She’s been the real friend. She has set clear boundaries on our relationship and never abuses the power she knows she could have over me. I cant expect her to text and be with me all day, every day, just because I obsess over her 24/7.
I dont want to transfer to another LO, as I’m happily married. So I’ll try to make my good marriage, even better.
Did you or LO use NC to break off friendship after PA, or just let it end naturally?
Friendship with LO is always a long shot, Bob, and not even desirable. My thoughts on the topic are here.
Dr L, thanks for your thoughts on the topic. Some highlights for me on your 3 basis’ for friendship comments:
But first, I don’t understand (or experience) this general comment on possibility of friendship with former LO if consummated:
“if the limerence was discharged through a sexual relationship and so no hint of frustrated romance remains.”
After 6 months of PA consummations, my limerence was reinforced and the ensuing 2+ years of close platonic friendship has been a rollercoaster ride, primarily because of the continuing increase of frustrated romance that I now actually knew did exist between us once. I could never transition to former LO, no matter how much I enjoyed and wanted our platonic close friendship to continue.
I guess I don’t understand the concept of “getting it out of your system.” For a limerent, unless the sex was really horrible, I think it would only reinforce the LE.
Utility basis: “…you’d be pretty bad at it. They just want you to sort out the concert tickets, but you want to know Everything About Their Soul.”
Pleasure basis: “You get enough of the dopamine high from their company to keep you craving, but suppress your true feelings for so long that it’s bad for your mental health.”
I usually last about 3 months of suppressing my true feelings (which my LO fully knows) before I freak out and try NC.
Goodness basis: “For an unavailable [added: or unwilling] LO, this depth of friendship would be near impossible to sustain without the descent into limerent obsession. If the limerent has an SO themselves, that relationship will suffer.”
To explain the “consummation” comment: what I mean by that is having a sexual relationship with LO which continues until the point that the limerence naturally starts to fade. So, the “discharge” of limerence due to consummation. Having sex with LO while you are still limerent is definitely not going to help the limerence end!
The point I was trying to make is that friendship is only really possible on the far side of fully consummated limerence; like a complete end with no loose threads. In contrast, if there is still some uncertainty, still some unfinished business, still the temptation of sex, there is very little prospect that a friendship could work. As a personal example: I am no longer limerent for my last LO, but I also know I couldn’t form a genuine friendship with her as I would become limerent again.
“Did you or LO use NC to break off friendship after PA, or just let it end naturally?”
PA ended because I felt too guilty about it, and I saw no way forward. I felt like a teenager making out in the car because you can’t go home. What’s the point… It was not moving anywhere, and I wasn’t willing to sneak around (and drive home to LO) and clearly he couldn’t come over to my house. So I kept on saying it needed to end, just to long to be close to LO again like 3 months later. To be completely honest, I am not sure what I would have done if LO told me to leave SO (he never did, and I preemptively told him I never would) but if he still brought it up and asked me to, I think I would have done it in my crazy lovesick stage. So I am forever thankful for my LO’s passiveness and just going along with whatever I said.
Sorry, bit of a story. Eventually he said let’s not have a PA, what we have is too special to ruin it with a PA, let’s never do that again and stay best friends. He said he can’t wait for me to be single and I wouldn’t want him to either. He soon after pursued a new girl (unconsciously as he claims, until I pointed out that she’s into him and he fueling the EA with her). I became his relationship advisor with her after a while, and I think that was the most painful part of all. Reading their deep meaningful conversations, her telling him she wants to sleep with him and stuff like that (why would he ever even think he has to show me that stuff is beyond me). So I went NC, I said I cannot take this. He said, clearly I am not over him (duh!). He said he gives me whatever I needed (if that’s NC, then he’s ok) but begged me to stay in his life once I am over it.
Well, I am over it, finally, and realize that we can never have that level of intimacy or contact frequency ever again. I do not want an EA with LO. I know he disagrees and he’s not happy with my decision, but I now treat him like any other friend I have, which means no more texting multiple times a day, no more daily checking in etc. conversations are strictly work related. It’s sad that this connection came to an end (as for 2 years it really felt like he was “my person” helping me through everything, being my my side, supported me…
but it’s not his job to do that, it’s my SO’s job and I am working on that.
Reading all these stories makes me feel sad for what people are going through. So much pain, grief, loss. Hugs to you all. I also feel that, being married, I haven’t tried to go the PA route, yet part of me envies those who have done it…yet you say it only makes the longing worse, so on the whole it seems better I haven’t done it. It may not be helping me to read so much about other people’s PAs, though. Maybe it’s one of those times when I need to take a break from this site. But I love this site.
So, ambivalence. Unfortunately such a familiar feeling.
I’m anticipating taking a significant step later today that will gracefully serve to distance me further from LO. I think it’ll be effective in getting that job done and I feel both sadness and relief about that.
Good luck with that step Midlifer!
I know what you mean about the PA. I suppose it’s the end goal of our limerent brains. So even though we rationally know it hasn’t brought happiness to those who “went there” we feel envy. Mind you we also know, intellectually that our own LOs and LEs have brought us a lot of pain, but still the other part of our brain seeks it out – using often very sneaky tricks.
Thank you, SGL! 🙂
You are so right. Good luck to you too with your NC.
Midlifer, there is nothing to be envious about. It’s despicable and I wish I could change the past. I am the biggest cheerleader for anyone tempted to go PA to not do it and to do everything in their power to stay away. It does not bring joy, just more pain and it’s short lived.
We have talked about PA being the “ultimate betrayal” and “the act that is the worst of them all” somewhere in the comments and why that is. An EA is also bad and also hurts SO very much and could lead to someone mistrust and file for divorce at some point… it’s a spectrum, where do you draw a line?
Thank you, Sarah. My heartfelt sympathy to you. I appreciate your sharing your painfully acquired wisdom to help us. Warm regards to you, and to all readers and commenters here and to Dr L too.
Thanks Midlifer. I have to say this site has been so valuable to me. I had no one to talk to about this (other than LO, no one knew and I intended to keep it that way), not even any therapist, so it was mostly just conversations with myself in my head… it helped so much to share my story here, to get people’s feedback, advice and the occasional head-washing. I was very hesitant at first to share details as I was afraid someone may stumble across it and figure out it is me. But I guess there is a certain level of anonymity to this site and it really helped to finally share my experience with someone and have some support in getting through it. So huge thank you to the whole community.
Midlifer, best of luck and courage with your plan today.
“I’m anticipating taking a significant step later today that will gracefully serve to distance me further from LO. I think it’ll be effective in getting that job done and I feel both sadness and relief about that.”
I can empathize with the mixed feelings of sadness and relief over action we have to do to break the LE destructive cycle in our life’s. I go back and forth during the day (sometimes during the minute) over which feeling is more dominant. So we have to rely more on logic and the knowledge what we’ve embarked on is the best solution for ourselves and everyone in our life’s, including our LO.
I also am very thankful for this blog and the help and empathy of others who are facing/faced the same effects of being limerent.
Thanks Bob. I admire your restraint in not going on the fitness site. I do use FB for being in contact with friends & family across the globe. But you highlight a good point – I don’t NEED to do so. I have tried in the past to to delete FB and Messenger because of this – but always end up reinstating it. I will do I think for the next week which will be easier now I know I can no longer see anything about LO at all there. Yay! Gosh I’ve cried so many tears about this guy it’s ridiculous.
Luckily I have a very busy weekend & week coming up and a trip abroad the following weekend all of which should help.
Good luck to all that are early on their NC journey – or further along and fighting the good fight 😀🙌
@bob – hope you are onward to Day 4. I am but only just about…
I think it’s called being a dry drunk – so last couple of days I did all my usual limerent behaviour bar actually contacting LO. Discovered on Monday he’s unblocked me again. In the past he has said “ I just don’t like blocking”. Of course my limerent brain starts waiting / hoping for a message from him. I spend time reading messages looking at photos, limerent music etc. I write a letter to him (which I won’t send) – wondering is there some deeper significance in the fact we can never let each other go. (My rational brain knows that the reason for this is – I am deeply limerent for him. He has / had some lesser limerence for me – and just generally likes the thought of me on tap and the unboundaried nature of our messages. My brain is mimicking the sensation of falling in love with someone I don’t actually really know or particularly want to be with when I think of a lot of his characteristics).
BUT – I’m going to take the fact that I didn’t make contact as a win. Plus rereading some of the early messages is now feeling quite seedy. I can now see certain things as “lines” and ways of pulling me in.
Also – I’ve now blocked him so I can’t see that’s he’s online (I spend a huge amount of time working out when he’s asleep, up etc due to different time zones. I even get a little dopamine high when I see we are online at the same time). This also removes the uncertainty “will he message me? what will he say?” that fuels my limerent fire.
I’m definitely feeling less strongly about him.
Going to keep on working Dr L’s deprogramming course and aim for the big goal – him not being the first thing I think of in the morning.
@Sarah – your words are so true!!! Thank you for reposting that article on friendship. It was SO helpful to me first time I read it. I hope it helps Bob too. It’s easier for me to dispel the friends myth (even though my LO constantly pushes it as an option when I discuss NC. We then invariably can’t even pass on conversation without it descending to stuff you really don’t talk about with friends 😳). I do understand it’s much harder for you in that you have become a big part of yr LO’s life but because you have been altering your behaviour to mimic friendship it isn’t truly authentic. It’s tough. I feel I want to be friends with LO but know sadly we can never be.
Good luck for today. SGL
SGL, I empathize with your just barely making thru another day of NC. I did the same, unable to sleep at 3am. I got half way writing email to LO, using the excuse of trying to explain what limerence is and why its the reason I had to initiate NC. I hadn’t yet read Sarah’s cited article, so I didn’t yet know to add the NC was for her own good, because I can’t be the friend she deserves (that would have sounded good, right?).
Anyway, fortunately I deleted it before completion. I’d be afraid to leave it as a draft unsent. There’s always the possibility it could get sent by accident.
I can’t block her. That’s just to abrupt to do for someone I love and had been her closest friend for almost 3 years and suddenly declared NC on her. She won’t contact me, unless she really is upset wondering how I’m doing. I’ve done some bizarre life changes during prior NC’s. I’m not this time (this blog is helping), but I owe her a short reassuring “I’m OK” reply if she asks. It’s up to me to be strong and ensure I don’t try to restore our friendship. She already said she would If I wanted and thought I could handle it…I can’t.
My EA is definitely one-sided. For over 2 years, my LO has firmly made it clear, in words and action, she only wants a very close platonic friendship. We don’t flirt or go anywhere near the sex topic since the PA (well I tried for a while after), and all she says is thanks and I need new glasses when I tell her how beautiful she is.
To her she wanted a real friendship and hoped I would get to that point. When I’m sane, I was truly happy in our platonic friendship to have a friend (in addition to SO) to share regular life stuff with, even boring stuff like housework. But then my limerent brain would double its attack to make me want more. Having the PA memory didn’t help. I don’t understand the concept of consummation to get it out of your system (but I think my LO did). But I guess I now need to read the article Dr L just cited to reinforce why I should not try to be my LO’s friend (and reread the one Sarah cited) 🙁
SGL, if you don’t mind my asking, does your marriage relationship help give you the strength and desire to stick with NC? I assume your SO is not aware of your EA.
@Bob. Well done for not sending that email. I have to ask myself when I am tempted with stuff likr that (and I am all the time) “what is the REAL point of sending that”. Normally, when I get right down to it, it’s my limerent brain wanting a fix. And I know I’ll always get a response when I send some kind of an emotive message. But it doesn’t achieve anything except getting me in deeper.
In your case, there’s no real benefit to your LO understanding limerence, is there? You’ve made your intense feelings very clear over the period of your post PA , EA. She’s not in any doubt. Understanding limerence is only a worthwhile exercise if you’re a miserable limerent or the SO of a limerent.
Yes – interesting Dr L’s mention of consummating as a possible path to ending a LE. I agree that for many limerents that might fuel the fire. But for others even it was “good” the reality of the fact they were cheating etc (if they have SOs) night help bring them to their senses. My LO & I have discussed whether a PA might be “easier” to bring things to an end, get it out of our system etc etc. That’s nonsense and I’m fairly sure it would just drag me in further. Luckily, the matter of 8,000 + miles is enough to stop it from happening for the short term (and I hope a lessening wish on my part to ever do that).
Your question re my SO. He doesn’t know and I don’t intend disclosing (certainly until I am fully over this.) Although I did do a long role play with my therapist (the only person IRL who knows) about it last week. If I’m really truly honest, at the moment thoughts of my SO aren’t my primary motivator for escaping this LE and thus keeping NC. I feel guilt but not as much as I should and that’s the scary part of all of this. I’ve transgressed against my long held moral code – I’ve never done anything remotely like this in 18 years of marriage. I know it’s deeply unfair & a betrayal of my SO. I just hope I can beat it. Good luck with NC today
@SGL: PA will not end it, it will fuel it further. LO suggested that “that one time” will be like a goodbye for us. As a limerent, IT IS NOT A GOODBYE, it’s the start to pull you in even deeper emotionally/mentally. For him it was the end, for me the beginning of more torture.
I think consummation as the end state is if after that act, all barriers are removed and you could, if you wanted to, be in a relationship and then realizing that LO is not that magical. If the barriers are still up (and you are still married) then it won’t end it. Because you still want it and can’t have it. But you have one more memory in your brain to reminisce about.
SGL: should you ever be in the same location as LO, do under no circumstances put yourself into a position where something could happen. No hotel room, no private alley where you could possibly kiss. Stay in public, amongst people, at all times. Take separate cabs home.
“Yes – interesting Dr L’s mention of consummating as a possible path to ending a LE. ”
Maybe we need to ask DrL his definition of “consummation.” To me, it has a broader definition. It likely would include sex but it doesn’t have to. In the two LE’s I “consummated” both included sex but in the broader context, I was able to see the LEs to their conclusion. I was free to pursue them to success or failure.
In the case of LO #3, she shut me down before I attached to her. I never went into an LE with her. LO #3 did want to remain friends even after we both had new SOs. It worked for several years until she left the area. However, our acquaintance was always as part of a couple. We didn’t maintain contact outside limited social situations.
In the case of LO #4, I wasn’t available to pursue a relationship with her. But, even though I knew it was a non-starter, I developed some very intense feelings for her. On one shoulder, when she told me what happened, I wanted to be the shoulder she buried her face in and hold her as she cried. I’d played that role pre-marriage. I know what that feels like and I like it. That woman showed up at my door at 11PM a week later and asked if we could spend the night together. On the other shoulder, I never want my wife to think there’s anyplace I’d rather be or anyone else I’d rather be with than her. I never want her to question loving me, trusting me, or taking a chance on me.
See the problem? Those are two irreconcilable positions. As good as I am at this kind of thing, I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t helping when LO #4 was blowing hot and cold. Every scenario I charted out ended badly. I tried to position things so the LE would die a natural death but LO #4 decided she’d had enough and called it. It felt like I’d been dumped by a woman I never met but it was the right call and made my life easier.
Sarah – this very good advice! Yes the idea of consummation as a “goodbye” is never going to work for the limerent who is deep in a LE. I know that. I will never be in the same place as my LO unless we have actively chosen to make that happen by communication before either of us travelling to the other’s country. Like your (very honest & compelling) description of how, I’d your LO had asked you to you would have left your SO – I know that a few weeks back I would have found a way to jump on a plane and fly half way round the world to see LO if he’d asked me. Insane. Now I’d still be tempted but hopefully say no. (And being NC means he can’t ask of course!)
Scharnhost – how recently was your LO#4 episode? I’m impressed by your detailed recall of all your 4 LEs. Mind you the ability to recall detail – plus a vivid imagination can be limerents great downfall I guess….
The LE with LO #4 started around 2010. We said goodbye on New Years Day, 2016. The milestones of that LE are in the comments to https://livingwithlimerence.com/2019/03/23/barriers-and-uncertainty/#comments
Unfortunately, I have a pretty good memory. One of the things about being on a nuclear submarine is we live in a very literal world and we repeat everything back. That gives you resistance to gaslighting. With respect to LO #2, I wrote a 12+ page history of the relationship that became the basis for therapy sessions. I’ve since deleted it but I still have a 3 page document of LO #2’s most famous quotes. I’ve worked with several therapists over the years and none of them thought LO #2 and I could have crafted a viable relationship. Maybe they were just saying that since I was married and they didn’t want to introduce potential problems into my marriage.
I think LO #1 was memorable because she was such a unique person. I lost my virginity to her, and she was the first woman I ever said “I love you” to. She didn’t say it back. I learned a lot from her. She crammed more living into 21 years than a lot of people will do in a lifetime. I’ll never forget coming out of the bathroom, getting hit by a blast of cold air, and hearing, “Click, SNAP! Click, SNAP!” I came around the corner to see LO #1, buck naked, dry-firing my .44 magnum out the open window into the university quad. I remember hoping that the cops responding to the report of a naked woman pointing a pistol out of a dorm room were cops I knew. I was about a month from graduating and getting my commission. I’d likely be arrested, get tossed out of school for keeping a weapon in my dorm room, and the Navy would deny me a commission and either conscript as an enlisted person or boot me entirely. All because of some tall, skinny, blonde who was cheating on her boyfriend with me. Luckily, if anyone saw her, they didn’t report it.
I remember holding a drunk LO #3 by the belt as she leaned over the rail of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at 0300. People in cars stopped because they thought she was a jumper. We made it out before the cops showed up.
You don’t forget people like that.
When I met my wife, I didn’t know what a good/normal relationship was. But, after LOs #1-#3, I had a real good idea of what one wasn’t.
Wow! Those are some incidents there. LO1 and the gun! Wowzers. But yes your memory is incredible I must say.
SGL, hope your surviving another day of NC. We have to fall back to our moral code and vows to our SO. Even if we haven’t told SO, I’m sure they noticed our distraction and disinterest in them, because of minds are obsessed on someone else. If we could turn the positive aspects of limerence (our attention, compliments, do anything to please them, etc..) to our SO’s I think they might respond to us the way we hope our LO would. Our SO is the one who has already signed on to love us and be our partner in life. Even a good marriage would be better. Focusing our mind on our SO will help us keep from dwelling in misery thru this NC with LO.
“In your case, there’s no real benefit to your LO understanding limerence, is there? You’ve made your intense feelings very clear over the period of your post PA , EA. She’s not in any doubt. Understanding limerence is only a worthwhile exercise if you’re a miserable limerent or the SO of a limerent.”
I intended to write LO today, but your post helped me avoid it. Yes, she already knows everything, including me summarizing it again when I declared NC.
True, giving a clinical lecture on limerence would probably not benefit the LO. How would it go “I have this mental condition called Limerence. It makes me obsessed over you 24/7 and you trigger chemical reactions in my brain that gives me a high. I have OCD and an addiction to you. So I can’t control wanting to be with you.”
Sounds really romantic, and loving, right? (not). She would not get out of this explanation that I do really love her and want so much to continue our friendship because of who she is as a person, not as a limerent object. Its this limerent brain that won’t let me be the friend she deserves and is effecting my marriage (which LO truly wants me to be happy in – because she wants us as lifelong friends).
@Bob – I’m glad my comment helped you not send that email. Not because I think there would be any real detriment to your LO in the scientific description of limerence (but it’s interesting that that was how you interpreted it – I was thinking of YOUR benefit, as you are struggling and she is not (or certainly not as much) ) – but I know myself that any contact starts a conversation and gets me back in deep.
You are completely right about our SOs. If I could put a fraction of my energy that I expend on this into him – things would be much much better. He has certainly noticed that I’ve been very emotionally volatile the last few months. So unfair on him. I’m glad you’re focusing on that & your SO.
I’ve had a kind of shitty day. Was spending lots of time seeing when LO was online, looking at what he’s posted, blah blah (now that he unblocked me on FB). So “had” (hmmm still got the mild limerent buzz because I was messaging him) to message him to say he HAD to block me too. I did it while he was asleep and then blocked so I wouldn’t get a response (normally I wait to see what he says …. we end up having deep “conversations” and it just extends the pain / or he convinces me not to block “we can just change the behaviour and be friends” ). So I’ve just seen he’s woken up and read the messages – I only know this because he’s blocked me, as requested. It hits me so hard each time this happens even though I’ve asked him to do it. It’s so childish. I know Dr L says we can’t give the power of NC to our LO’s – but I just can’t seem to get any time under my belt without checking to see has he unblocked and that in itself fuels my limerence and makes me think “oh he can’t live without me” . It’s so exhausting. Anyway off to bed and tomorrow will be better knowing I have no means of contacting him. Another bloody Day 1.
Sarah “but it’s not his [LO] job to do that, it’s my SO’s job and I am working on that.”
This is a major factor in my deciding I couldn’t continue in friendship with LO. I was leaning on LO for support when I was down and sharing with LO happy moments, instead of my SO.
Thanks for sharing your story. That would be quite painful to have an LO share their love life with you and expect advice. Another example where we can’t be true friends with our LO.
DrL “The point I was trying to make is that friendship is only really possible on the far side of fully consummated limerence”
Ah, this makes sense, thanks. I just don’t see how I would ever be on the far side of my limerence, especially since we had the added physical bonding. Maybe I have some other mental process going on…attachment? The LO was only my second sex partner (wish I had a better word). My SO of 38 years was my 1st. Maybe the rarity of it makes it that much more meaningful to me.
SGL “I’ve had a kind of shitty day. Was spending lots of time seeing when LO was online…”
Sorry to hear this for you. Hopefully better tomorrow. I can understand the temptation to check if LO is online. I’m in an online fitness group where we have many mutual friends. I can’t participate in this group now because I don’t want to be tempted to follow LO (if you share your activity, you can actually see where they go, how long they were there and who they were with – kind of creepy). Plus I could see a picture of her from her own or other friends offline meeting, so that would send me into a downward spiral. So in addition to LO, I’m losing contact with that circle of friends. But it’s worth it to me.
Do you have lots of friends and family that you need to be on FB to stay in contact with? It would be best just to avoid signing on due to the temptation to see if your blocked or not. I would never be able to block my LO, so its best I just don’t even go online where she could be.
I don’t think you had a setback all the way to Day 1. Maybe only half a day of recovery lost 🙂 Tomorrow is another opportunity to continue your walk to freedom.
Have you done any disaster planning? Let’s say this goes south and your wife finds out about it. How do you think she’ll respond? Will she throw you out? Will she clean out your bank account? How will she spin this to your kids? Will she call you out in front of 100 friends and relatives at your cousin’s wedding? Somebody will have that on their phone. You may even be able to get the video from the wedding photographer.
On the other hand, people have been able to pull off this kind of thing for years and their LO never figures it out. If that’s the route you want to go, go for it. But, accept it for what it is and for who you are. Limerence explains things but it doesn’t justify anything. Betrayal is betrayal. You may feel sorry for it or you may not. Whomever you betrayed may never know. But, you can never take it back.
You’ll never get out until you want to get out.
It should be, “On the other hand, people have been able to pull off this kind of thing for years and their SO never figures it out.”
Hi Scharnhorst, thanks for your comments.
“Have you done any disaster planning? Let’s say this goes south and your wife finds out about it….You may feel sorry for it or you may not.”
I can’t predict totally how she’d respond, but I know she’d be more hurt than vengeful. After seeing many of our friends go thru affairs and/or divorce, my wife has said numerous times not to tell her if I ever had an affair.
I would not want to know if she had an affair. I can’t see myself feeling more hurt and betrayed by learning it other than thru her confession. Especially if it was in the past and there are no more contact with him. It’s already been 2 years since my PA, though I realize I’m just now trying to end my EA.
Some say the SO has a right to know and make their own decision how they handle the news, but I’m not going to cause her unnecessary hurt and pain by telling her (I realize my PA/EA already created the potential for hurting her).
I do have a hermit lifestyle and introverted personality that would make her think my having a PA/EA unbelievable (as I thought so too). However, I believe she had to suspect something, but chose to ignore it. Over the period of the PA/EA she has noticed and often said I was acting strangely at times. But she’s never inquired deeper.
I don’t feel guilt compelling me to confess to relieve any inner turmoil (which would be a selfish reason to tell her). I do feel sorry and regret that I betrayed her trust and our marriage vows.
From what I read and personally experienced is that the limerent does not usually feel guilt over the LO. My LO is the one I truly love and the universe intended me to be with (so the limerent brain says). I was resentful of the SO keeping me from happiness with my LO (I don’t feel resentment now).
But I completely agree with what you said ” Limerence explains things but it doesn’t justify anything.”
I no longer justify what I did. It was wrong and horrible (but I’d probably do it again if my LO asked me “again” to have a PA with her – just being honest). But I hope and pray she does not ask me.
I can only hope the SO never finds out so she doesn’t have to go through the pain of being betrayed (and of course so I don’t suffer the consequences). I also hope I don’t have a need to make a deathbed confession. That would be the ultimate in selfishness.
As to damage control, I moved 10 hours away, destroyed all text, emails and pictures of LO/us (though there will always be a digital trail somewhere).
Hopefully I never have to face the devastating consequences you mentioned (but I would deserve them for what I did to SO – but hopefully she’ll never find out).
Hi Bob. You’ve got a lot going on there and you’ve certainly had a long history with this LO. I’m also on Day 2 of NC (so you know, nothing like an expert, quite the opposite 😂) although my LE was much shorter. (About 3.5months – long distance but someone I knew from my past with whom I have other connections – I’m also married ). I have started Dr L’s emergency deprogramming course – and am finding it really helpful. Take a look – it might help you to get through this and make it stick.
I’ve done various NC attempts before and start to feel that freedom of not constantly checking for messages, posting things with the sole intention of grabbing his attention etc etc. When I’ve relapsed and there’s that awful, inevitable come down after the initial high of recontact, I’m so cross with myself as I’ve wasted that previous period of detox and am back to square one (knowing this can’t go on, hoping it will be different, torturing myself and my LO, bargaining with myself, preparing to go NC again, finding ways to make my NC non-absolute “oh maybe don’t contact each other until either of us is travelling to the others country” blah blah blah.). It’s so exhausting.
The one thing it’s worth realising is since your PA became an EA again it certainly wasn’t a friendship (of course I’ve done that with my LO too – it’s a bullshit excuse the limerent brain comes up with as a way to keep a limerent fix – alongside adding a nice dash of uncertainty into the mix “ Who will be the first to say something that crosses the platonic line” – all of which fuels the limerence and your agony. )
To be blunt – your LO is not your real true friend. Neither is mine. Friends don’t or shouldn’t do things continuously to cause the other person pain. And you’ve told her how much pain this causes you. Nor is she the one true love of your life either. (I am directing these comments to myself by the way). Sounds like she enjoys your attention. She enjoys being able to dictate when you have contact (maybe at times when she has less going on in her life romantically or just needs an ego boost).
You’ve taken the first step and gone NC of your own accord. Brilliant! (My NC this time was done by my LO – but I’ve blocked as well as I know I need to never go back to this). I totally know how incredibly sad the thought of never having contact again is – but I’m not going to future trip. I’m going to just have no contact for the next hour, the next day ( to use the old AA analogy). I’m just going to do the next right thing.
I hope you keep going and use freeing yourself as a way to build a purposeful and fulfilling life in this new area and reconnect with your SO. Best of luck. SGL.
Hi SGL, thanks so much for your relatable comments. I hope you have now survived day 2 of NC, as I have…barely.
It is hard, because we really do have friendship that I miss already. We do not discuss having sex (I do in my mind). We discuss family and life trials, our common interests, encourage one another, etc.. But as you aptly said: “She enjoys being able to dictate when you have contact (maybe at times when she has less going on in her life romantically or just needs an ego boost).”
I think this is true. Many days she ignores my texts for hours and I get a short [obligatory?] before bed text, which leaves most of my comments and questions that day unreplied. Other days, very chatty with many texts. So yes, the contact level (text and in-person)is almost always on her terms, but there have also been many times she’s been there for me during some life trials. So this makes NC hard to lose that. Then again, I should be looking to my SO to be there for me…which she will and does when I let her.
Oh, how I can relate to your comment of one benefit of NC;
“start to feel that freedom of not constantly checking for messages, posting things with the sole intention of grabbing his attention etc”
Thanks for mentioning the emergency deprogramming course. I’ll check it out. Good luck with Day 3 of your NC. As you said, we both will need to follow the AA method for our addiction withdrawal.
p.s. SGL, the only reason I’m going NC is because I’m married and it’s not fair to my wife for me to be so emotionally involved with another woman. To include the LE highs and lows and changing as much of my life as possible to be in contact with my LO – without hurting my family (I hope).
Assuming LO would not marry me if I was single (she says she would, but I have doubts), I would stay on the LE roller coaster ride, regardless of the pain, to keep her friendship (even if mostly on her terms). She’s brought me into events with her family, children, etc. I’m invested in her, and she’s invested time into me (just not as much as I want).
I’m retired (late 50’s) so could financially sustain a life with my LO addiction and with my thoughts and emotions revolving around her 24/7, and “I would.” Benadryl has been very useful to help me fall sleep these last few years, otherwise I’m awake all night thinking of her.
Only my marriage is giving me the motive, strength and will power to try NC again, with the firm conviction and resolve it will last this time.
I really think my LE makes me expect to much from LO and why it’s so hard to lose her friendship. This damn LE make me too emotionally unstable and dependent on her to remain friends while I’m in a good marriage. I should be able to be married and have her as a regular close friend (with my wife’s knowledge) if I didn’t have all this LE emotional baggage/addiction.
Some say its possible to restore friendship with a former LO, but I dont believe she will ever be former. Not after almost 3 years with LE stronger than ever, and me knowing her more than many people know someone before they live together.
On to NC day 3 🙁
“I’m retired (late 50’s) so could financially sustain a life with my LO addiction and with my thoughts and emotions revolving around her 24/7, and “I would.” ”
Just a thought on this. It makes me quite sad, how we limerents short change ourselves. (Setting aside how much our betrayal short changes our SO and much worse) Yes, you COULD do that. But it wouldn’t be much of a life, would it? 😥
SGL, I understand and agree with your comment “It makes me quite sad, how we limerents short change ourselves…”
I’m learning here that, that even if I could endure the emotional pain, I could never be the friend I would want to be and that my LO deserves. So I reluctantly recant my statement that “I would.” 🙁
LO is on holiday this week with her friends. She was nervous in hiring and driving a car in a foreign country. I’ve been better st not initiating messages recently. But feel like checking in on her to see if the driving experience is ok.
DO NOT CONTACT HER, KEVIN!!!
OK. amazing how they need dissolves from hearing that from people who get it
Don’t do it!!
I unintentionally but unavoidably bumped into (not literally sadly/fortunately!!) my LO today.
First time I’ve seen him in months.
We both said “Hi” at the same time then both went about what we were doing.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.
What used to feel like a very close friendship is reduced to a polite but almost indifferent passing comment.
Crystal clear there’s no reciprocation.
When will my limerent brain get it?!?
So, as you have full control of this interaction (or lack of) DON’T DO IT!!!
Kevin – I think the fact that you are questioning sending the message is your answer, but it also shows some great progress.
I’ve noticed that awareness in myself lately. Not with LO as we’re NC but there’s someone else at work, similar situation to with LO and quite possibly a chance of a re-run. She’s been very flirty in the past and last week we exchanged a few messages late at night that weren’t work related by the end. I had an opportunity last night to continue the conversation but I stopped myself. I could see these were the types of steps I took with LO that fuelled the LE and I just don’t want to go through it all again. Quite proud of myself!!
Have you ever officially shutdown your LO? You don’t have to but it takes away the uncertainty that comes with simply ghosting them.
LO #4 was very gracious in shutting me down. At that point we weren’t NC but we’d hit the rocks in our exchanges. I sent her an email that said I realize things had gotten awkward and asked it we could start fresh in the New Year. She came back with:
“I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I don’t think continuing to correspond would be appropriate.” She laid out her reasons, which were valid, and closed with, “I hope you can understand my position.” She put me in a box. From that point on, anything I’d say to her would only prove her right. It was tactful and elegant.
It was one of the nicest goodbyes I’ve ever gotten from a woman.
Closing the books probably doesn’t justify breaking NC but if you do break NC, you can come away with something for it.
Pro tip: If you ever have a conversation like that, make sure you phrase it correctly. LO #4 said it correctly “I hope you can understand my position.” She wasn’t presuming anything. LO #2 asked if I’d meet her for a drink and followed it up with “I’ll understand if you don’t.” I found it arrogant and presumptuous. She asked a question and whether she understood why I might do something or not do something was immaterial.
I was planning on ghosting her but we ended up falling out before she left my firm and so we had the shutdown. Her pattern of behaviour upset me, I said that’s it we’re done, she then left in silence. A few months later I relapsed and texted but she shoved it back in my face. We both agreed to leave things be and I said if I saw her around I’d just walk on by. So there’s no uncertainty. No pride or satisfaction either mind you, and a little embarrassment with my limerence fuelled behaviour, but there’s nothing that can be done now. It’s as dead as can be.
When I stopped NC for the charity event, I told LO at goodbye that I don’t want things to be weird and that he does not have to walk on eggshells around me (aka adjust his behavior in anticipation of my feelings) i said if you feel like texting me, do that. I am there if he needs me (truly needs me – I know sometimes he is in a dark place). He said he is looking forward to “going back to normal”… i corrected him immediately and said “new normal”. He did send me a joke or a meme every once in a while, i am polite, i reply to it. That’s it. He soon stopped. But not because he takes my feelings into account and if he should or shouldn’t text me, but (hopefully) now he realizes, I don’t want him to text me. Because I redefined our friendship. Not sure you get my point, what I am trying to say is I turned around our connection to fit my terms and conditions, not his. If I want to reach out to him, I can, and if I want to keep it on a certain intimacy level, I decide to keep it at that level. I am in the driver seat of dictating how close I let this relationship go, instead of being reactive to what he wants and needs and let my emotions steer the contact… does that make sense?
Thank you all so much for your comments.
I didn’t contact and felt logically and emotionally that it was right not to after all of your individual messages. Thank you
Amazing what power exists when people unite.
I was just chasing a temporary ‘hit’ after all.
Can do this guys
Social accountability for the win!
What a great tribe.
Thank you all so much for your comments.
I didn’t contact and felt logically and emotionally that it was right not to after all of your individual messages. Thank you
Amazing what power exists when people unite.
I was just chasing a temporary ‘hit’ after all.
Can do this guys !
Good job Kevin! You did better than me. But tomorrow is another day!
My wife introduced me to Anne of Green Gables (a childhood favourite of hers), and I always liked the quote “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet”.
There’s very little that can’t be made better with an Anne of Green Gables quote. That’s one to remember.
Kevin, good that Sarah was able to respond quickly and decisively and your at level to receive and see wisdom in such advice. We limerents (especially male) will use the protector role as a good and noble reason to resume contact. I know I would have to go NC. If I knew my LO needed anything, I’d be there. I’m not at your level yet, so thanks for setting a good example.
I understand the benefits of no contact; I’ve been NC for about 5 months now. However, sometimes it seems that NC fuels the obsessive thoughts because you have no new input to show you that LO maybe wasn’t really into you after all. I only found out about limerence after I was already NC. Now I feel like I need to see LO again through this new lense, so I can (hopefully) see things more clearly. For now, all I do is re-play past encounters in my head, which is better than actually thinking about taking action (which is repulsive to me now) but now I don’t even have to see LO to get sucked into limerent thinking, just re-playing past experiences has become an even stronger trigger. I write this knowing that I actually might see LO again soon though not by choice, since LO works at my children’s school and is filling in for another teacher in my children’s after school program starting next month. I am hoping that seeing LO again with a new perspective will allow me to see their flaws, disinterest, etc. and snap me out of it. Fingers crossed.
PS: ” I am hoping that seeing LO again with a new perspective will allow me to see their flaws, disinterest, etc. and snap me out of it.”
Sometimes that might work, but if you have actual positive experiences with LO to fantasize about , new memories might reinforce and deepen why he/she is your LO. That has been my case for almost 3 years now with many in-person experiences in real life situations and daily texting.
Unless the LO is a real jerk, I think it would take living with your LO and time before you even noticed their flaws, much less snap your out of your LE.
As I understand, limerence is much stronger than infatuation and takes much more routine life interaction and time to turn into true love….or snap you out of LE.
I would not recommend breaking NC in hopes it would stop your limerent thinking. See #1 benefit above on the danger of reinforcing associate memory between LO and reward (experiencing pleasure when you contact them).
I’ve read one way is to try and turn those positive memories into negative ones in your mind (even if your creating a lie). This is harder if you also think of LO as a friend and/or have to see them…like you will at school sometimes. But it’s still only in your mind. You would just have to be careful not to let untrue negative thoughts become outward if you have to give a polite greeting at school. I think someone here mentioned snapping a rubber band on their wrists when they start fantasizing about their LO to associate something negative with those thoughts. I think these or similar methods may be safer than attempting contact in hopes of discovering flaws…for many it will backfire.
Just my thoughts and I struggle on day 4 of my NC attempt.
I like this article.
It sort of relates to disenfranchised grief. I can’t say I fell in love with LO #4 but under different circumstances, I think I could have.
Hi. I’m married and NC for four weeks with an unreciprocating LO of a year. I’ve been intentionally not looking at her social media feeds, but today one popped up top of the list, a particularly beautiful lovely photo. I could see myself inserted in this photo, to share that moment with her. This amazing smart kind talented beautiful caring woman fires every blessed neuron in my soul. About an hour later, it got so painful (because I wanted to be there with her, or call her, or Facetime her, or text her, or anything to break NC), that I did something very hard: I unfollowed her accounts. This feels right. And heartbreaking. Despite these profound feelings I just have to ask myself this question, over and over: Is she the right thing for me now? And the answer comes back every time a hard no.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
It’s the only thing to do.
You did it and I applaud you.
Very brave of you, ParadoxHiway!
Sorry to ask as I don’t remember your story: when you write “unreciprocating LO”, do you mean you have disclosed to her and she doesn’t feel the same way, or do you mean she never seemed to notice your feelings and you didn’t have any interaction with her?
Thanks for asking. She and I are in the same general field and interact at national events. Although we have known each other professionally and quite cordially and appropriately (I’m married) for a few years, out of nowhere one evening a year ago – boom! That moment of recognition and connection was immediate and intense and joyful and time-bending like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I now see it was just one-way. At our last event a few months back my feelings unconsciously came out in inappropriate behavior (trying to be with her too much) which was annoying and embarrassing to her. I apologized, made it right, and dialed it all back, way back, to no contact. To her credit, she’s wise to stay clear of someone married. I have not disclosed to her consciously, as in honest direct conversation; nor will I. As the saying goes, no good can come of that.
Yes I remember now.
Good there wasn’t an open disclosure, that you would regret now. As you say “No good can come of that”.
Not that it makes NC any easier though. Hang in there!
“That moment of recognition and connection was immediate and intense and joyful and time-bending like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I now see it was just one-way.”
This observation fascinates me. I’d love to hear more from anyone who’s had an experience like this, because it sort of suggests limerence sneaks up on us unawares. Almost like an ambush, although it might feel really good in the moment.
“That moment of recognition and connection was immediate and intense and joyful and time-bending like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I now see it was just one-way.”
Mine was like that. We were leaving work at the same time, alone in the parking lot, and I looked up and saw him. Time stood still. I stared at him, he stared at me. I waved, he waved. And then I got in the car and thought, “Who the heck is that?” It was a moment I will remember for the rest of my days, but here’s my question: WHY, OH WHY, if we can experience moments like that did the Creator (or whatever people believe in) have them mean, at the end of they day, almost nothing? Is He laughing at us?
“Mine was like that. We were leaving work at the same time, alone in the parking lot, and I looked up and saw him. Time stood still. I stared at him, he stared at me. I waved, he waved. And then I got in the car and thought, “Who the heck is that?”
Wow, Marcia. That “brief encounter” you’ve just described sounds really powerful, and I know what you mean when you say “time stood still”, even if all it boils down to at the end of the day is a wave from a colleague!
“Here’s my question: WHY, OH WHY, if we can experience moments like that did the Creator (or whatever people believe in) have them mean, at the end of they day, almost nothing? Is He laughing at us?”
Yup, I know what you mean here too. Those seemingly other-worldly moments that throw us for a loop. If they don’t mean anything, why do we experience them at all? A cosmic joke at our expense? It’s as good an explanation as any. (Apart from technical explanations about brain chemistry gone haywire).
Vicarious Limerent says
It is so incredibly hard to do this when you really want the person in your life, and I can totally relate to feelings I get when I see really nice pictures of my LO (I occasionally look at my LO’s profile pictures even though we aren’t friends on Facebook anymore, but I have deliberately not looked for over a week now, so that is something). Hang in there; it DOES get better! You did the right thing, even if it doesn’t feel like it most of the time.
You did a courageous and purposeful thing, ParadoxHighway. Congrats!
Well done ParadoxHighway, you’ve done really well!
I am on the opposite scale, this enforced Covid-19 self isolation is killing me on top of the N/C with my LO. I am constantly wondering if he’s ok, where he is, what he’s up to, I think I’ve looked at his photos about a bazillion times this past week. We aren’t friends on social media but I can see his movements via mutual friends and his SO, I also keep hoping I’ll bump into him at our local shop (he lives 5 min from my house) just to get a visual that he’s ok.
God only knows how this will go when we go into complete lockdown……
I miss him so much 🙁
I can so relate Lee -Anne
It’s been day 4 of NC with my LO and I constantly want to ask if he is okay, I promised him NC though because it’s hard on him I have a SO but the isolation gives me too much time to think and ruminate. It drives me absolutely nuts. The withdrawal is so bad I have fysical symptoms and sleeping is a luxury. But I know it will get better, I’m supporting you from a distance Lee- Anne
I kept failing at NC so somehow managed to put my efforts towards orchestrating a move to a different hemisphere, dragging my SO & 3 kids with me. We’re 2.5 years into this new life. However I’m only 1.5 years into NC because I kept it up for a whole year online until a good friend basically slapped me to my senses. Eventually we have to go home. This blog is arming me for that day.
3 years of no contact, and I still can’t shake it. This doesn’t work. I expect to live with this pain until the day I die.
Have you been able to fill your life with other things?
My best to you.
3 years is rough, Jennie.
No contact can be necessary, but not sufficient (as scientists like to put it). Have a look around on the site for posts about purposeful living; they may help. Having a positive goal to work towards, and new sources of reward that don’t depend on the phantom promises of limerence, is a very powerful way of breaking out of a limbo of past pain.
Hope you find your way to better days soon.
This is such a well-written article. I read it when I have the urge to initiate contact.
Last time I wrote here was with the announcement that LO and me where together, we where but that didn’t last long, long distance and VERY different needs, in connection made me pull the plug, again. For the second time I broke up with lo in a state of primal panic but it had to be done.
In NC now for 5 weeks.
I read the book dopamine nation and according to science. After 4 weeks without your addiction your brain will be able to slowly regulate the release of dopamine on its own again.
That’s what kept me going the first 4 weeks, I wanted to be able to laugh and enjoy again little things without LO. I wanted my dopamine back!
And of course my limerence is by far not over I can in fact sometimes enjoy moments and laugh genuinely.
I catch myself in dreaming and even turning to the law of attraction to attract Lo Back. ( Which is really really weird since i am the one who ended it!) I have to ground myself and repeat my mantra
” I’m the one who left and for good reason” ” I do not want him back ”
Of course my mind tricks me and manipulates me in thinking we will be happily ever after once he will show up again and miraculously have a complete different personality.
I repeat : I do not want him back.
Limerent Emeritus says
“Let that be an object lesson in the dangers of tampering with the laws of mother nature.” – Batman (1966)
Where’s the canoe?
Good to see you are still here to bring some humour.
The canoe is in my garden.
That’s a step forward since it used to be in my bedroom 🙂
Limerent Emeritus says
You should post a picture. I think a canoe full of blooming tulips would be very pretty.
Allie 1 says
Sorry it didn’t work out as you had hoped Mia. Stay strong x
Thank you Alie, how are you doing ???
So, I have been on the site the past few days. I am having a full blown LE about my ex of 15 years ago.
I was completely NC until December, when I discovered her immense success and saw she looked just like when we dated. Wrote her a friendly email congratulating her and wishing her the best.
I started going through my old emails to remember her. Deleted all her mails to try and enforce NC. I dont visit her social media handles and she’s not on my friends list. But the memories keep flooding back.
I realize this is because I am alone at the moment and my mind wants to clutch on to relationships past. This almost feels tougher than when we broke up. To be fair, while she was really unfair to me during the relationship, she was sweet to me after. I am married and didn’t remember her at all for so long. I don’t know why this is happening and reallly want it to stop. Have had my second dream about her last night.
This is tough. Maybe its the loneliness that is triggering these emotions (insanity?)
So sorry to hear that, in general there is a reason for a LE to start as in a dissatisfaction on something in life.
Old rooted or more recent.
And you are for sure ! Not insane.
Attachment is healthy.
It’s just a little too much attachment on the wrong person but your nerve system doesn’t know that.
Limerick, this is exactly my story. How can I get in touch with you to discuss more?
I agree with you. I guess its the professional stagnancy or the lack of intimacy in our marriage.
I always thought that I was as doing well (perversely better) as her. Make no mistake, I am happy and even proud of her success. She deserves it, because in my mind, she is easily amongst one of the most brilliant women I have met.
I had had to take a lot of professional setbacks because of family issues. This adds to the angst that both spheres are in stress due to life’s curve balls.
I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just need my mind to figure it out
All focus on your values. How do you want to live, is your life congruent and in integrity with what makes you happy in life, with your values.
This is a nice time ( any crisis is ) to sow seeds and have the order re arranged of what is important.
I believe any internal crisis comes from our values being shuffled in the wrong order.
I agree on the values. You are truly perspicacious.
After over a decade of marriage, which despite low intimacy and other issues, never had this.
I do feel I am conflicting with two values which I value very highly
1: Never cheat
2: Be happy for others.
When I search my heart and find no love for LO, I realize its probably the stress of the current and the probable ease with her or probably the fact that her privilege of birth allowed her to do things I could never afford.
This angst combined with the value conflict makes me miserable.
Once again, I speak to myself sometimes wishing I could meet her and give her a big congratulations on all she has achieved. They are truly aspirational to me and more importantly richly deserved. We live very far away and I know this wont happen in this lifetime.
My email could have gone unanswered for many reasons and I pray it isn’t because she got uncomfortable as I wrote to her. We were better than that.
Focusing on myself. Began working out and focusing on my work.
Wish you well. Going to start thinking of you less again
I’m two months into NC and thought after therapy my limerence had gone. But no it’s back and strong. I’m writing on here rather than email my LO/AP. I work alone and I could easily email her, she send a goodbye text a few weeks ago, I didn’t reply. I was so proud of myself. I’m spinning plates as my wife is so sure we are gonna make it. I’m less sure, I’ve hurt her so much and I’m struggling with fighting for her. I’m currently gripping my steering wheel of my van so hard trying to not email her. My hands hurt. I now know what a drug addict feels like. I’m not doing it, I can’t go back to day one. I can’t. I’m crying tears of frustration. What’s wrong with me.
Unconsciously Limerent says
@ S, I know what you mean the urge to text/email/some sort communication with LO is intense. Whenever I feel the need to contact LO, I say a mantra to myself “don’t text, don’t text, no amount of care can make him care for me”. Then, I proceed to occupy my time with something else like hiking, cleaning, dancing around the living room, going to the gym, tending the garden, anything really that floats your boat. I hope you are doing much better than you were a month ago. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel like, yes, I think I am over him and then thoughts of him surface again or I see him at work and boom, all the feelings come back again…We can do this though one day at a time…
Rainbows into rainclouds says
That is so true, no amount of care will make him care for me and I’m trying to cope with NC in the ways you mentioned. Today is day 80 and now I’m beginning to face reality.
I only knew the guy for a few months. He owns a hardware shop and I found him so interesting and we were on the same wavelength. We were making plans for a shared local project but typically I found myself liking him more than I should just because he was showing me some kind of positive regard. Pattern of a lifetime really.
Basically he began to notice I was either in the shop or the community centre most days, not for long but I guess I was hoping for a conversation. He told me albeit kindly that he didn’t have time to talk to me. I could’ve dealt with that till he followed up with these four words. And I don’t want to!!
Coupled with the look of exasperation and irritation he sent my way when I walked in, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I never went back. I lived in hope he’d be sorry and try to contact me but now the hope has died.
Starting to come out of it but at this stage the humiliation and rejection is killing me. I’m afraid the whole town will get to think I’m a person to avoid. Worse is the knowledge I’ve ruined something good. How pathetic is that.
Allie 1 says
So sorry RiR! Your description plays out like every limerent’s worst fear. i.e. that we might be perceived as a nuisance. That very fear is the number one reason why I have never disclosed to LO and guard my feelings to carefully around him!
Maybe your LO was simply doing you a kindness in what he said as such a direct rejection is the best thing an LO can do for us to end our infatuation. Your mind is highly likely to exaggerate the negative of this situation so try not worry about what others think. You are not pathetic at all as there is absolutely nothing wrong with really liking someone but feeling too shy to be direct about it. This is a very normal human experience, most people suffer crushes and infatuations of some degree. If anything, it is rather sweet.
The death of hope is good, it will kill the limerence and enable you to move on to better things.
Wishing you well.
Dr L says
Agreed. That must have been really painful.
But, one useful lesson was that you discovered your LO is a highly disagreeable person. Not many people would be so casually rude! Worth knowing that about his character, and it should help with the mental deprogramming of the addiction.
Rainbows into rainclouds says
Thank you Allie, what you say makes perfect sense. In the here and now I can see that actually, I must have seemed like a stalker to him! Whatever was I thinking? Most limerents would be much more guarded.
Looking back, fantasising and ruminating had gone through the roof so much that what was going on in my head was more real to me than what was happening on planet real world and I assumed he looked forward to talking with me too. Not surprising he nipped it in the bud and you are right that he did me a kindness even though it’s taken me so long to see it objectively.
It’s been a good thing going NC on the whole. When I began to realise he wasn’t trying to find me despite knowing where I’d be, wasn’t missing me, in fact I probably haven’t entered his mind at all. If he ever does think of me, more likely it’d remind him of a scary movie!
Two months ago, I was devising ways of casually bumping into him. Now I dread meeting him. Earlier today I considered going to his shop to apologise and try to justify my actions but I believe that would undo the good I’ve done so far. At least I’m not fantasising so much. I’m not free enough yet to see him and feel nothing though.
Meanwhile on with the mental reprogramming. It can only get better hopefully x
“Two months ago, I was devising ways of casually bumping into him. ”
I call those “drive-bys.” 🙂 I have done those myself. “Oh, I didn’t know you were going to be here.” Of course I knew he was going to be there. But then it dawned on me that having to remind someone I was still alive meant I was already behind the eight ball.
Rainbows into rainclouds says
So good to know someone else has done “drive-bys” Marcia. Love that term🙂!
“Having to remind someone I was alive”. Doesn’t that just bring it home how desperate we can become during an LE. Made me wonder if I would devise drive-bys if any of my friends hadn’t been in touch for a while and the answer sadly is no. I’d leave it to them to call when they were ready.
This is where I see limerence driven by uncertainty. Mostly you can be sure of friends getting in touch as and when. A whole different ball game with LOs.
Honestly I never want to go through this again. Ever. I’ve said that a dozen times before too!
“So good to know someone else has done “drive-bys” Marcia. Love that term🙂!”
More times than I care to remember. 🙂
“Made me wonder if I would devise drive-bys if any of my friends hadn’t been in touch for a while and the answer sadly is no. I’d leave it to them to call when they were ready.”
Depends on level of friendship. A close friend? Yes, I would reach out. Someone I talk to once every four months who I barely see? No, I’d leave it to them. I don’t make much of an effort with people I consider friendly acquaintances.
Allie 1 says
If/when you come across him again, behave as if nothing ever happened. Be acquaintance-friendly but detached.
Rainbows into rainclouds says
Yes, that’s probably the best way to handle it Allie. I’ve been worrying a lot about what I will do. As time goes by maybe he will forget and not even recognise me if I act as if nothing ever happened🙂. Meanwhile I’m keeping well away!!
Rainbows into rainclouds says
Thank you Dr L.
I found the site this week fortunately and am now doing the mental reprogramming, using this painful incident. It is actually working! Whenever LO enters my mind, I am thinking of him as the person he really is (who in actual fact would be a terrible match for me). I had never in all these years heard of mental reprogramming! This coupled with NC is a move in the right direction for sure.
I would also add that hope had to die in order to stop fuelling the fire, at least for me. Allie is right, it helps kill the limerence.
Determined Limmy says
I am ready for the next stage of NC. NC has been the hardest thing to accept as necessary but going though all the phases has now left me at a stage where the pain is 85% gone, and the immediate greatest threat to my life and loved ones is over, but now I have no use for it, and want it gone, as in GONE 100%.
I defined and kept redefining “contact”: I cut down to LC, first every other day, then every weekend, then every 3 days, now a week can pass without me reaching out to LO. In fact, I think I can probably hold out indefinitely now, it is just that LO still does reach out at the one week mark (I try not to wonder too hard why) and that is when I can’t help but reply. And I want the back and forth to keep going. And when it stops, I feel a bit of the old LE wretchedness, humiliation, and a general feeling of being let down. It makes me feel bad. Without exception.
I have gone to re-read every article Dr L has written about NC. I think I am almost ready to go the whole hog. I don’t want to be where, when LO beckons, I jump like a dog. It is humiliating to care whether LO thinks my replies are witty, or if I am a fun friend, or good company … or anything. In fact, I don’t want to care at all what I mean to LO. LO can long for me (and I don’t care) or be indifferent to me (and I don’t care). I am truly sick and tired of being so emotionally reactive to some external force that I have no control over. This is NOT how I want to lead my life, this is NOT the type of person I aspire to be. And even if I accept my susceptibility to limerence, and yes, integrate it, I will not be a slave to it. I’ve been kind to myself, and realistic: I’ve grieved, I’ve gone through the discomfort of loneliness and withdrawal symptoms, I’ve set small manageable targets that I could achieve, I’ve forgiven small relapses, I’ve substituted with alternative sources of satisfaction. But I’m thinking now is the time to make that final, decisive snip and end this once and for all. This moment had to come sometime.
I am setting the date for mid-December before we all break for Christmas. I think it is the perfect opportunity to focus on my family, my SO, my other friends, and to establish some new habits and banish LO from my constant thoughts. This is my redefined NC: I will not reach out to LO at all during the Christmas break after my stated date. If LO reaches out to me, I will be dignified and polite, but NOT scramble to keep the exchange going – one reply, and that’s it. I will NOT ruminate about what they think about my reply or give them any real estate in my mind.
When we enter the new year, when I inevitably have to interact with LO for work, I will lean on the gains I have made over the Christmas break, and keep a professional cordiality, but it will be clear (and it will be true) that I have moved on from the friendship and have other things to occupy my mind.
I am saying this here, on this forum, so as to have some accountability to myself (and to the LwL community).
Dear Limmy. I enjoyed reading your post because it is so well-written and expressive. I chimed exactly with your thoughts and, actually, your words acted as a spur to to remain NC. I have been NC for nearly three months now. Even though I am currently away visiting family, it still hurts like hell and I am dreading the Christmas bit too.
I reckon you’re doing exactly the right thing by persevering and looking at how things will be when your limerence has faded even further.
People have said things like “stay strong, you can do it, it will be worth it” etc. It helped me. I look forward to reading how you are getting on.
The thing that rather surprises me is that the limerence beast, once embedded, can linger, and make waking up seem so awful, for what seems like a very long time.
I wish you the very very best. You can do it!
Agree with Frederico, really well written and I’ve been in this situation that you describe. Why is it sooo damn hard to reach that indifference stage…
Determined Limmy says
Thanks, Sarah! Yes, all I want for Christmas is indifference!
Determined Limmy says
“your words acted as a spur to remain NC”
Thank you for writing Frederico. Knowing that I have helped you in your NC even the slightest bit means a lot to me. It gives my struggle a little value, outside of myself, and I am glad to be of help to someone else. We are not alone in this experience.
Thank you for your encouragement, and for wishing me the best in this next step! I also hope that the suffering caused by limerence will fade even further for you as you persevere. I have read that reaching 3 months is a big deal because it takes that long for your brain to produce a dopamine response to other stimulus. Regardless, it is impressive, and I say this as someone who knows how hard it is.
I will try to report back on the other side of the new year.
Today I have felt the compulsion to add a rider in writing to dissuade myself from breaking no contact with my LO in future. Perhaps it may also dissuade someone else.
My LO has now moved to another town. Limerence was mutual. He is thirty years younger than me, he has a SO and a little girl. The limerence was emotional only but we formed a very strong bond.
He is now ghosting me and, although it hurts like hell, it’s the best thing (according to my ‘executive’ brain).
Our no contact has lasted for three months and I recently went on a busy five day trip to see my family. It was great and, on my return, I sent LO several photos of the trip on WhatsApp, together with a cheery message, and it made me feel good, temporarily….. He read it straightaway but ignored it. I used the now extended “delete for everyone” function and took down the messages this morning after a day or so.
I have now resolved to start no contact again but the sense of failure and the re-opening of old wounds has made me feel physically unwell today and I cannot remember having experienced such self-inflicted pain in a very long time.
Somehow, after a glass of wine, I ignored all the advice from this great site. If anyone is thinking of breaking no contact, don’t text, don’t do it. It’s just not worth it. I convinced myself that a cheery message would be a good note to end on. I was deluding myself.
Determined Limmy says
Frederico, I am so sorry to hear how you are suffering. I think we tend to forget that things we do with “normal friends” like send a cheery message just doesn’t work for our LOs. If a normal friend does not respond, we brush it off lightly. If LOs do not respond, we go crazy.
The date of the NC for me is looming, and I have some interesting things to report too. First, I felt great after making the decision, and I “jumped the gun” a bit, and started, just a teeny bit, dropping off contact even lower. I was thinking to get ahead a bit! But then, I don’t know if it is coincidence, or in response to, but LO started to up the invitations to go for a walk, a coffee … I said yes to one, no to another. Hedging my bets, perhaps? Second, I find out that LO has stopped seeing someone he was dating casually for a while. I did not realize I must have been seeing the fact that he was dating as death of hope, because suddenly my back brain is going “LO is available!” (never mind if I am not). This has raised my limerence quite a bit more than the level it has been for a while. Not good.
You don’t have to point out to me how humiliating it is that LO starts using me as a back-up when he stops dating others. My stupid limerent brain is making up fantasies about how he’s suddenly realized I am the one he truly desires and he was using the other person to get over me, but he just couldn’t! Ugh, really, hind brain?
Again, my heart goes out to you.
After some positive in person overtures from my LO this week I broke LC and texted my LO just a “Hi, how are you?” Message while off work hours. She doesn’t ignore me outright but conversing with her over text flamed out quickly and left me feeling rejected. I am mad at myself for breaking my LC rules, and am feeling down the last few days over her lack of interest in interacting with me.
Time to reset and be more diligent next time. Need to remember this feeling.
Speedwagon. “Reset” seems like a good word. It sucks sometimes doesn’t it.
Determined Limmy. Thanks for personal reply. When this whole thing causes pain, I reckon you just have to bite the bullet by going no contact, trying to concentrate on other things, taking a deep breath and forgiving yourself if there’s a lapse. I also think somehow there are times when you have to forgive LO just for being the LO. All best.
I’m at the two year mark with NC, still think of LO more than I’d like, but grateful I made it this far MC. I am in a new relationship that is not out of control like my limerence one, and it’s a relief. It’s very romantic and exciting, just not making me obsessional. And what a concept: this partner is all in, not withholding or hot and cold.
Last week, a mutual acquaintance of my LO told me that the LO asked for my number. The friend gave it to him. (She had no idea of my struggles or the depre of my relationship wuth LO.) I am intrigued, of course, and started checking my message apps more frequently. I blocked LO from most avenues, but not Whasapp. After a few days, I blocked him there, too. Now I don’t have the urge to check my messages. He definitely won’t be leaving one.
I need more time, and maybe forever, with NC.
Good luck, Gloria. I’m glad you are in a healthy relationship. You mentioned something that I have been pondering…the obsessive nature of limerence. I’ve come to realize that I am going to obsess about something. It’s just my nature. Right now running is my obsession. I think it’s a healthy place to put all that energy. I wonder if all limerents struggle with obsessive thoughts or if it only arises during an LE for some.
Interesting observation, Lovisa. What if a little tendency to obsess wasn’t bad or good, just a neutral trait that could go either way? For forming a healthy habit like exercise, it can be a strength! And to form a habit that benefits you directly, or us, as it were, is a good aim. Whatever we do, we should take care of ourselves. It is when we are strong that we can really be a help to others.
Yes, I like how you said it… “neutral.” Maybe not a bad or good personality trait, just neutral. It can be healthy or hurtful depending on how it’s used. I really like that, thanks. It has been helpful for me to recognize that I have a tendency to obsess over something. Now I can ask myself if my current obsession is serving a good purpose.
Hi guys! Have not written here before, but very thankful for the website – have been struggling with limerence all my life. I’m currently about 1 year in NC – or rather minimal contact/no personal contact with my latest LO. We work at the same place – although not on same projects – which makes it a bit tough. In the past we had had a short lived physical affair. Otherwise NC has helped me a lot, no daydreaming. However when I see him with his partner, all hell breaks loose within me. Anybody else struggling with this type of jealousy (I guess)? Any tips how to handle it?