What’s the best way to deal with the psychological disturbance of limerence? In the short term, there are ways to manage the symptoms, but a more lasting solution means looking at the deep roots of your life.
Limerence is not actually a disease, and so talk of a cure is perhaps a bit misleading. Limerence does seem to be a common feature of many people’s experience of love, but in the context of seeking cures, we are focussing on times when limerence is detrimental to someone’s health and happiness – when it has shifted from euphoric intoxication to exhausting obsession.
In the previous post I talked about ways to get rid of limerence, or at least ways to get rid of limerence for a specific LO. That’s great as a decisive response, but limerence doesn’t just spring from nowhere. It might be triggered by the sudden appearance of a new limerent object, but there must also be some deeper psychological vulnerability that primes us to succumb.
Many serial limerents come to a point in life where they wish to be able to control, or at least moderate, their core sensitivity to limerence. While not a cure as such, the best strategy I know for managing limerence – and a great deal else – is to live a purposeful life.
That needs some explanation.
There are several aspects to what I would call a purposeful life, and they are interconnected. Overall, the idea is that you do not act in an unthinking way. You prioritise long term goals over immediate thrills. You pursue activities because they give you satisfaction, rather than gratification. But the main thing is that you recognise the most powerful choice you can make in life is how you act.
Feelings are complex, mercurial things, stimulated by subconscious drives that are hard to untangle, and while they should be acknowledged and respected, it is our actions that define us. Judge others and yourself by your actions, not your feelings or motives.
All very high-falutin’, but what are the requirements for living more purposefully and how can it help with limerence?
The first element is self-awareness, and the key issue is honesty. Be absolutely honest with yourself about who you are and what you are doing, and why. Especially if it is something ignoble. You will never find peace until you understand yourself properly, and are able to transcend the little lies and rationalisations that we all tell ourselves to maintain our self-image.
Through adolescence and early adulthood we tend to try on different personas and see how they fit. This is normal and healthy self-exploration, but as adulthood progresses, we need to come to an acceptance of who we are at our core, if we are to live authentic lives. It is OK to not want to go on an overseas adventure to South America because you find it frightening, as long as you are honest with yourself about your reasons (and don’t pretend to yourself that you really are the sort of person who is fine with being in the middle of the Patagonian wilderness without shelter or support, but it’s just not possible at the moment because of job commitments).
I don’t subscribe to the “say yes to everything” school of thought. Don’t set yourself goals that are antithetical to your nature because you think you should aspire to them. Home in on your true self, and accept yourself completely, and then you can make informed decisions about when you should do something that is frightening because it is worth doing. There are times when your fears hold you back from self-fulfilment, and there are times when your fears are protecting you from danger. Without self-awareness it is hard to tell the difference.
In terms of limerence, this means being honest about your motives when making decisions about LO. Recognise when you are doing something because it might give you a fix, rather than because it is the right thing to do. Then forgive yourself for being human, but do the right thing, with purpose. The way to get good at this self-analysis is to…
2. Understand your drives
We are all of us a hugely complex milieu of influences. I am not sure we are ever able to fully understand the foundation of our own temperaments and psychological makeup, but there are lessons to be learned from examining our most powerful drives. Even if you never get to the heart of why you have a tendency to self-sabotage, for example, correctly recognising the pattern and then taking purposeful steps to counter the behaviour in future can be transformative.
Sometimes, the origin of these drives can be pretty grim. Disordered bonding in childhood through abuse, neglect or trauma is not going to be properly overcome with a good think. Therapy is a very good idea, but with the usual caveat that finding a good therapist is no small feat. Given the range of lived experiences out there, I’m not going to try and draw universal truths here. I’m going to illustrate the idea with a personal anecdote:
I have only ever become limerent for “damsels in distress”. Specifically, women who are bold and confident on the outside, but hiding an emotional wound within. I don’t fully understand why, but it is probably a combination of cultural conditioning, romantic notions of knights in shining armour, and a mother with abandonment anxieties. Regardless of the fractional contributions of each influence, I am now very aware of the fact that I am vulnerable to limerence with women that fit this model. Armed with that awareness, I can take positive steps to respond in a more sophisticated way in the future, recognising that my own triggers are being activated, and not that this person before me is a wondrous but broken soul, who doesn’t understand how wonderful she is and needs me to save her.
The same strategy of searching for triggers applies to many other aspects of life: when and why do you start procrastinating? Why can’t you seem to get some jobs finished? What sends you into a rage, and causes you to pick arguments for their own sake? Why does that thing that they do (you know, that thing, urgh) irritate you so much?
Getting a handle on your drives and triggers, even if you don’t fully understand their basis, can allow you to change your behaviour. To act differently. To act purposefully to overcome your vulnerabilities. Then you can choose…
3. What do you want to do?
“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This is one of my favourite quotes for two reasons: it highlights our tendency to self-aggrandisement, and it (less obviously) highlights the importance of doing over being.
There is a natural tendency to identify ourselves by what we do for a living. “I am a lumberjack”, for example. But linking self-esteem to identity can be destructive. “I am a writer”, is actually quite significantly different from “I write for a living”.
Understanding yourself and your drives can lead you through this distinction. If you want to express a new idea, or share your life experience with other people, then you sit down and write. If you want “to be a writer” then you are aspiring to the notion of an imagined identity, with associated cultural and personal expectations. You may shop for the perfect writing desk. You may strategise about the most promising genre for a bestseller. You may get defensive if people ask how the writing is going, because, as you see it, there is an implicit criticism of your identity as a writer by making you confront why you haven’t written anything.
We judge others by what they have done, because that is the only measure that really matters. You may be a wonderful, sensitive, romantic soul, full of ideas and potential (I hope so, because those people are great). However, other people do not have access to that interior world; they can only see what you have done. So, make sure you are doing something that you care about, and enjoy, and do it with purpose.
4. The pursuit of happiness
The final aspect of a purposeful life comes from this last notion: do something that you care about, because it will bring you happiness. Proper happiness. Lasting satisfaction of time well spent, a life lived with purpose, and an ambition fulfilled. Not the transient pleasure of spectacle, or the passive distraction of entertainment, or the thrill of an illicit high. Happiness comes from self-esteem and self-actualisation, and they come most reliably from concrete achievement.
Limerence is not a route to a purposeful life. If anything, limerence is a signal from your subconscious that something is not right, that you are craving something new, and seeking relief from an emotional ache that you feel someone else can fix. But, living a purposeful life can protect you from unwanted limerence, empower you to act when you become limerent for someone who actually could be a worthy SO, and enable you to direct the energy that limerence can give you towards worthwhile endeavours.
It might take a lifetime to solve the problem of why you are how you are, and why you fall so spectacularly for some people.
But you stand a much better chance, and will have a much better time of it, if you live purposefully.
Want to learn more? Download a free e-book on how to take control of your fate and master limerence (in ten steps): click here
Limerent Emeritus says
“I have only ever become limerent for “damsels in distress”. Specifically, women who are bold and confident on the outside, but hiding an emotional wound within.” (bonus points if she’s a redhead)
In my life, I have dealt with 3 of these women with 3 different outcomes.
#1 – I had 4 yr relationship to the level of a declined marriage proposal. There was a real relationship with a real person that didn’t pan out. (redhead #1)
#2 – The first woman I seriously pursued after breaking up was also a damsel in distress. However, she made it clear up front she wasn’t interested in me. We were able to craft a friendship for several years after we both got married. I didn’t feel any sense of loss.
#3 – At the time I met the third woman (redhead #2) on a hobby site, there were some problems in my marriage. Over time, our discussion branched into other areas and I got the damsel in distress vibe from her. I pushed the boundary a little. I expected to get push back from her but I didn’t. I think that was when the LE began. In our later exchanges, she validated the vibe. We ended up parting company. I felt like I’d been dumped by a woman I never actually met.
The question is have I always been susceptible to limerence but just never encountered the right conditions (i.e. dormant) or is tendency to limerence something that can develop over time?
I’ve wondered before if my affinity for damsels in distress is like finding out you’re allergic to bee stings. Bees are benign, beneficial to the ecosystem but can kill you if you’re allergic to them.
It’s an interesting question – can you become “sensitized” to limerence? Part of the difficulty I guess is that you have to go through a few episodes of limerence before you start to recognize it as a pattern, rather than the more obvious assumption that the first person you become limerent for must just be really special.
Like you I’ve only had a few LOs in my life (3 or 4), so it took the last episode for me to really recognize this was a behavioural feature of mine. Others have LOADS of limerent episodes, so I guess they know sooner.
Another complication is that the strength of limerence can wax and wane with stress or grief or other external factors. Some people report midlife as an especially vulnerable time too. I also wonder if it will dwindle with older age…
Old wife says
My husband is 63. We’ve been married 39 years. He just had his first limerence. I thought he was getting dementia. But omg he was 20 yearsvyounger overnight. Wish he could feel that good wothout the limerence.
No it doesn’t
I am that woman. LOL Having limerent feelings for someone I do not want anything more than a friendship with. Both single but not in either of our best interests. Maybe confident, wounded redheads are his weakness, too. LOL He snuck in some love songs to me in a couple of our messages, tons of cupid hearts and flirting and it threw me over the edge, changed the dynamics of this nice blossoming friendship. These feelings are not affection, not “love”. They are insane, confusing and uncomfortable. Maybe my feelings are just caution lights going off.
Limerent Emeritus says
Both of the “confident, wounded redheads” I tangled with turned out to be more trouble than they were worth. But, I can only tag one of them as a villain.
Stimulated by last week’s posts about nostalgia, I looked at my old college yearbooks while I was working out on the elliptical. I ran across a picture of who was probably the second redhead I was attracted to, the first one being in HS. We never even dated. She started out as an engineering major. I knew her from several classes and didn’t think much of her. She switched majors and we didn’t encounter each other for a time. A few semesters later, we had another class together. This time I was very attracted to her. But, it was like we were from two different planets and it didn’t go anywhere. I don’t remember ever seeing her after that class ended.
When I looked at the yearbook, it said she was an accounting major. I thought that I’d only made runs at two accountants that didn’t go anywhere but it turns out it was actually three. Accountants and I just don’t seem to get along.
Redhead or not, some deficiencies can’t be overcome.
I’ve struggled with Limerence since first starting dating as a young teenager.. saving the “damsel in distress”
Your write up is extremely helpful and has put into words what I have been struggling with for years.
Now the work starts….thanks.
Kim Ballard says
I rarely comment on articles or blogs–unsure if I’m doing this correctly. Because of not properly attuning with my mother and being distanced by her emotionally when my sister was born and cuter and “easier” than I as a complex, smart, talented kid (very much aligned with my father who emotionally and intellectually intimidated my mother) I had a pattern (I’m 59 now and didn’t see the “problem” until now) of gravitating toward and following strong women–not so much as mother figures (two fabulous aunts rather filled the mother figure love) but as mentors and examples of what my father projected for me (subliminally). We moved every three or four years so I constantly found new strong women 2 or 3 decades older … so now I lost everything recently then lost interest in everything–my vocation, my creative drive (writing fiction, music), reading…and in despair I collapsed at work and a wonderful woman that meets that strong-woman friend (and one of my next tier up bosses, for whom I have worked about 5 years and have had a very good working relationship) “rescued” me from very near suicide. I am a deeply committed Christian but have struggled with trusting God–I’m told because of the breach as a small child (I was 6 when I was told I was too old to be loved and played with like my sister, four years younger). This woman fit the pattern of that strong woman in my life but this time (20 years in one place, one profession, one residence without a “mentor” so losing my identity (a friend believes I lost my identity in 2014 when my dad died and my mom turned into a 17 year old boy crazy woman I didn’t recognize)…so that perhaps made me susceptible to the limerence that developed because she was so attentive, attuned with me, became the vehicle through home God came and she drew me back to God…we became friends but because I had no interest in anything in my life, I’d already lost interest–hence the suicidal thoughts–a friendship with her became my only interest. I believe the friendship was real, but I became “pushy” especially when she became so busy we could not ever have time together….last night my trauma therapist finally came down very hard on me and introduced me to the term and reality of limerence. I have been forbidden to make contact with her, perseverate, talk about her (like I’m doing now) and focus on me…looking at the patterns in my family that have led to not only this but what to remake myself and create new interest (still don’t have any but my music had started to come back)…I want to share everything I think and feel and the progress I’m making and it is clear she cares about me, but she has strong boundaries and the relationship has become evident of a strong limerence. so what is my question…I’ve learned that what I need to do is develop my relationship with God (an anxious attachment ha!) and build other relationships (which terrifies me) and begin to make plans for my future (which seems impossible without being sure she will stay in my life)…is there hope that I can rid the limerence (illness–I know you said it’s not really an illness but it now feels like one based on the reading my therapist gave me) and approach my friend with honesty (?) and seek a real friendship–or is that desire itself evidence that the limerence is deep and fatal (to the relationship)…?
There is a lot in your story I cannot really help with. I have not been in most of the situations that you have lived though and endured. So aside from only knowing you as a person, based on what you posted, I can only really say anything on the limerence itself.
Limerence is meant to be a vehicle for pair bonding. It’s intended to be a good thing. And from case studies that I have read here and elsewhere (since learning what limerence is) there are all kinds of limerence. Not all of them are fueled by a romantic or sexual end. As an adult that struggles to make and keep friendships the older I get I can understanding your yearning for a connection with this woman. And per say there is nothing wrong with that. Unless the limerence itself is distressing because this woman has no intention to reciprocate your desire for a connection than I am not sure I agree with your therapist’s diagnosis. But I am also no professional either. So take that with a grain of salt.
One thing you have an advantage of over me; she is she. I honestly think I wanted a friendship with LO that got mixed up in other feelings for her due to a lot of other things going on in my life. Opposite sex friendships can be a struggle because we are all human. But now she is gone and if that was ever a possibility it is lost now. I say don’t let it pass you by. Friendships can be a wonderful thing in our lives. I’d say be honest with her and maybe, just maybe a wonderful thing will happen. And with that connection, if it is meant to be, will quiet the limerence.
I disagree with both the response below as well as your therapist–try to lose the Christianity and very possibly this woman as well. Really ask yourself if these have been net positive things in your life (outside of the initial saving from suicide), and if your intentions at -this moment- could remotely be “real friendship” with her. It will be FAR better for you in the long run if you are able to rebuild yourself and your sense of self without any crutches. The grasping, needy energy is going to hold you back and make the journey longer. Find YOU again, pursue hobbies and casual relationships/acquaintances that give you -calm- and -relaxation-, not the drugged up on brain chemicals effect with wild emotions.
Thank you for writing this! I have found This particular conversation the most beneficial and helpful of all the things I have read about this ” condition” . Thank you for your transparency, I hope you have been reward by the universe!
Thanks for all of the valuable comments. I am very deep inside my head and obsessing over this woman that I work with. I dream about her all the time. I am married and have not told anyone of my LO. She works in our office only a few hours a week, so I do not get to see much of her. I so want to tell her how I feel about her but am very afraid of hurting anyone, so I just live with the constant heartache and distraction. I have fallen hard for her…I don’t know what I am going to do.
“I am married and have not told anyone of my LO. ”
Mr. Lee told me about it (last year) and while that wasn’t a moment I care to repeat in our marriage, he told me before it had a chance to get physical, or before he started telling her more about our marriage then he told me, etc.
There was a recent fumble on our 25th wedding anniversary, but he has since realized how he had fumbled it and has gotten back on track.
Admittedly, his LO left earlier this year so now she isn’t a physical presence that couldn’t be ignored entirely, so that really helped a lot. Doesn’t mean there are days that are harder than others.
” I so want to tell her how I feel about her but am very afraid of hurting anyone”
If you tell your LO how you feel about her, exactly how will that improve your relationship with your wife? Before you set out to pursue your LO, be a mensch tell your wife first. Otherwise, you may find yourself using your wife. How?
Predicated on the idea that your marriage is a good marriage with ups, downs, in-laws and never quite enough money – but not perfect, of course.
“For the limerent, the spouse provides stability, a home life, children (if applicable), history, security, family, community, etc. Meanwhile, the LO offers excitement, emotional escape, sexual intensity (physical or mental flights of fancy and longing) and maybe even a newfound raison d’etre. As such, it is unsurprising that limerents would often prefer (in their dreams) to maintain the status quo, hoping their spouse will make continue to make sacrifices to keep happy while they enjoy the sizzle of the LO.”
Not telling your wife about this deprives her of free agency. This is a big secret to lug around and she may be laboring under completely different worries. She may have noticed you being a bit ‘distant’ and has chalked it up to work or health worries and is quietly, or not so quietly, picking up steam on other things to give you some down time.
Embrace the real. If that means separating from and possibly divorcing your wife, or her divorcing you, that is something you should seriously consider doing before disclosing to your LO. After all, your wife deserves the courtesy of being told what is going on. You may be surprised by her response. What if she is also limerent for someone else? Or has been?
I hope for the best for you and your situation. Don’t drift. Drive.
I am a happily married woman with children. A friend of mine passed away and I’ve tried to be there for her husband because they were married for many years. I’ve known them both for 17 years. Recently he told me that he has fallen in love with me and is limerence with me. I’ve told him that I will not be nothing more than a friend. He can’t seem to leave me alone and I don’t want to hurt him in any way. My husband is aware of the situation and suggest that I should stop all communication with him. What is the best way to handle my grieving friend.
I am sure you have a lot of compassion for your grieving friend, but you are actually not helping him by allowing any contact.
You can perhaps tell him you wish him the best, and you understand his pain, but you are focusing on your marriage and family now. You could also direct him to this site! There is a wonderful deprogramming course here that could help him ‘get over’ you.
It’s easy to fall into limerence when one has just lost a loved one, the brain is franticly looking for comfort and sometimes chooses limerence as a way to self-soothe and self-medicate.
It’s very unhealthy and it’s better to go through the grieving process without a limerent object in the picture.
He might benefit from grief counseling.
You are actually being kind to him by excusing yourself completely from his life.
Wishing you the best, and him too….
Allie 1 says
Hi Angel. That is a really tough spot! You don’t want to cause your friend any more hurt and you want to help him through this difficult time. But I have to agree with Jaideux above – you can’t do both any more. Ultimately no contact is the best way to help him. He is most likely using limerence like a drug to medicate the pain of his grief so is in essence is an unhealthy addiction. The longer this continues for him, the more pain it will cause when it ends. And end it must for his sake, so he has a chance to eventually start to live life purposefully again.
Personally I would be completely honest with him about your intention to cut communication and why. Make your boundaries extremely clear with no wiggle room whatsoever for his limerent mind to find even a tiny crumb of hope. No “if things were different….”. This will hurt him but it is a necessary hurt that will help him recover.
You may want to consider gradually weaning him off your company rather than an abrupt cut off? If you can, explain your intentions. As a limerent, having your LO execute NC or a phased withdrawal on you when you are not in the loop is very painful and serves only to ramp up your emotions, paranoia and rumination. I am talking from first hand experience here. Give him as much certainty as you can. And stick to your guns however much he tries to persuade you to stay.
Wishing you well.
Your situation sounds very similar to mine (and ironically you have the same first name as my LO!)
I have fully disclosed to my husband, which was tough – especially on him. He still doesn’t fully understand it. We agreed boundaries regarding contact with LO which I have stuck by. I’ve been seeing a counsellor too – she helped me view it objectively and to try and work out what needed work within myself and my marriage.
6 months in and with no sign of the limerence fading I’ve handed my notice in at work. I’m hoping no contact will help it fade.
Good luck to you. Hope things work out as well as possible.
If Mr. Lee’s experience is typical, not being around LO will help a great deal. They are not in touch via email, telephone, letter, carrier pigeon, etc. She does pop into his head and skew his responses occasionally (25th wedding anniversary!) but since her departure he has decided to face the anxieties that added fuel to his limerence fire. They are now banked rather than blazing.
I hope that you find a new job soon, limerence doesn’t pop up again, and that you and your husband are able to go forward with renewed energy.
Sophie, it would be helpful to know how that has gone for you.
I work with a lovely woman, we are both single but I’m 10 years older, and we have several lifestyle differences that would make us an unlikely couple on paper.
I’ve come to the conclusion that changing jobs is the only way to claim back my sanity (I personally feel I am going insane some days, unable to control the direction of my thoughts which ALWAYS come back to her – much harder sitting 4 feet away from her 5 days a week).
I am actively looking for another job,
Totally understand how tough that must be – especially 5 days a week (I only worked one day per week)
If I’m honest, when I have a good shift at my new job, its fine.
When things don’t go right (like this evening!!) I end up cross with myself for not managing my feelings better so I didn’t have to change jobs and simultaneously wishing LO was there to give me a hug (we got a little too close – if you want the details they are in the comments under “Emotional Affairs”)
Neither is a particularly helpful response, it is still work in progress nearly 3 months since no contact! It doesn’t help that I have to work at times when I can get childcare, so the new job isn’t something I ever saw myself doing, but it pays the (therapists) bills.
Good luck with your job search. Really hope things work out for you.
It’s all so overwhelming and involuntary. To begin to unravel the causes is difficult enough, but doing it while under the spell of limerence is far harder.
Please don’t tell you LO. I did this recently, and the consequences have been devastating all round. I feel so bad. Like others, I will seek other employment, and I bitterly regret the hurt I have caused my wife, the LO, and other people around me.
Keep your same sex friends close. They are the only people who can hear it all, and really forgive you.
This has been very helpful. I too fall into the ‘damsel in distress’ trap, and that bit about strong women with broken souls could have come directly from my own brain.
Thanks again for writing this
Hello. I feel I have suffered from this in some form since my adolescence. The first was a boy I had seen once and managed to drag out into 2 year long, elaborated fantasy based on anecdotal tit bits fed to me by school friends who knew us both. Most recently is a gentleman whom I met through friends whilst living in another country. We had a brief, romantic encounter and have seen each other twice in about 6 years. We sporadically keep in touch via Facebook largely initiated by me. He never leaves my thoughts for very long. I have a wonderful circle of friends, supportive family, am successful in my career and varied interests. How do I move past this to form meaningful romantic attachments that have a basis in reality. I have never been in a serious relationship although have been sexually active. My attachment style would probably be avoidant-ambivalent. Any advice you have would be much appreciated and thank you so much for creating this page. I didnt even know this existed!
It’s a slow process, because you have a lifetime of habits to overcome, but the best strategy I know of is to focus on what you want from life, and then try and plan a pathway from where you are now to where you want to be. Identify what barriers are holding you back, and think about how you could change your behaviour to get around them.
Opinions differ on the value of therapy, but any method that helps you to understand yourself better is good in my book. Beware pat explanations “Oh, you’re co-dependent that explains everything”, but try to recognise patterns of behaviour that are sabotaging your ability to live a fulfilling life. A very useful skill to cultivate is the ability to observe your behaviour in a slightly detached way. So, let’s say in your case you are getting involved with someone new and then you feel anxiety about how close you are getting, this could be looked at two ways: “I feel anxious, that’s a bad sign, there’s something wrong, start avoiding.” or “I feel anxious, that may well be my tendency to be avoidant kicking in, I should try and understand what’s triggering me.”
Whatever the underlying cause of limerence, whether or not someone needs professional support, or whether any specific relationship is healthy or damaging, the central truth for me is this: you will always benefit from understanding yourself better and striving to live a purposeful life.
Thank you so much! I have just discovered the existence of Limerence and it does fit my life to a T. I have spent decades working the CODA 12 steps, recycling the self-help program through the years as events required to regain some sanity but it never reached the depth and source of my pain. Now I have a realistic framework to begin to understand and hopefully learn to heal and recover from this LE that has quietly driven my life’s choices for the past forty plus years. Removing myself from contact with my LO decades ago, moving on with two marriages, (first ended in ugly divorce and two children that don’t talk to me, second ended a couple of years ago leaving me a lonely widow). My Limerence has resurfaced in a mighty way recently during the isolation of COVID and I long for a Hallmark resolution where these two star crossed lovers find each other in their senior years and overcome all obstacles and live happily ever after. This is a favorite fantasy of mine. How do I let go with love and open my heart to a healthy IRL relationship?
ugh. Same. Just heard this term and it fits me to a T. I could have written most of what you wrote above. I mean not exactly but the Hallmark idea and lifelong intense crushes, more intense and greater numbers than any of my friends.
Thank you. I think I am already trying to put this into practice but as you say there are a lifetime of habits to overcome. I am going to continue reading your blog because it’s been incredibly helpful. As hard as this can be, there is some reassurance in not being alone. I think any studies into the chemical occurrences in the brain of a limerent would be very interesting.
I’m glad I stumbled on this… I believe I have experienced this to an extent 3 times. I have had 2 actual relationships but the Limerence was not in those relationships… the Limerence is for people I perceive as strong and free willed but the romantic relationships have always been with men I felt would never leave me and love me in a way that the Limerence never even had an opportunity to because I am terrified of the overwhelming emotions. I avoid the Limerence with the exception of one who is a friend of 10yrs who is aware of the Limerence but we both have agreed we would not work as a couple and value our friendship more/are focused on ourselves at the moment. In my two actual relationships I became obsessed with making the men love me to the point I wasted all my time and money doing things to make myself admirable to them while not actually striving towards my goals. I broke if both these relationships when I realised what I was doing including a marriage. I was very unhappy in these relationships and am sad to admit they became like a game in the end to win the persons affections – which I did – in the hopes they would heal my own emotional scars and make me feel whole. I’m 26 and am in the process of seeking help for my ptsd and possible bipolar. I have just been accepted into uni and plan on becoming a travel nurse so I can put my energy to better use and carve out a life I am proud of. I am terrified of sex and dating now as I feel when my interest gets sparked I lose all rationality and have no control over my emotions. My thoughts become intrusively shaped around doing things to interest the person. I have taken a break from social media and dating to work on this. I actually found that during the unravelling of my relationship with my ex husband I was seeking out experiences and quotes I could post in social media to try and grab the attention of my fantasies rather than for the sake of actual enjoyment and this was extremely disturbing.
Three multi-year limerance experiences. One in adolescence, one in university, one in adulthood that is ongoing. All three were men are men who had the trappings of success (clothes, well spoken, educated) who only ever managed to achieve moderate success and plateaued early in their careers. Cool, smart, well-dressed types.
In contrast, all the men who were interested in me (who I avoided because I was too busy being preoccupied with LOs) turned out very successful and ended up happily married to other women. I grew up with an abusive, mentally ill mother and a workaholic father, and in turn have become an alcoholic and a workaholic with a paralyzingly fear of intimacy. One of these men just announced on Facebook that he and his wife are expecting their first child. And I realize that I’ve sabotaged any chance I ever had at actual love.
There is always hope. And the fact that you have now come to realise how you have ended up in your current circumstances is the critical first step in turning things around. It’s a bitter pill to look back on our choices and regret them, without doubt, but you do also get to learn from them, and start to make better choices in the future. It’ll take work to start to unlearn the habits of a lifetime, but it is possible. Professional help might be a bonus if you can find someone whose approach to therapy gels with you, but the key thing is to start on the deep work of getting to know yourself better, being utterly truthful with yourself, and caring for yourself. Then take a few, cautious steps towards trying out new things, purposeful things, projects you’ve always wanted to try, travel, meeting new people – whatever most inspires and moves you. Take it slow and steady, but plot a roadmap to where you want your life to be, and then take the first step in the right direction.
A purposeful life is well worth living.
All best wishes,
You only know what you’ve been shown. They may be successful, married and expecting a child but that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling too.
If you had married anybody, you still would have brought yourself into the relationship and it was very recently that you realized that you have unhealthy habits. Which is good, in a sense. Imagine dismantling a joint life while still juggling alcoholism, overworking (are you really working or do you come in early and work late because you aren’t particularly productive and need to make up for lapses during normal work hours?) limerence, possessions, child custody, retirement accounts, etc.
You can work on that which undermines you, maybe acquire some balance in your life and come to be more of a “thank you” person than one who says “I’m sorry” more than is necessary.
Try keeping a journal. I prefer hardbound journals that can be written in rather than typing. It’s more difficult to undo what you’ve written in ink than that which you’ve typed so it is harder to hide from yourself.
It’s difficult not to dwell on some arbitrary timetable of what you should have done “by now”. If there are people who push it on you (you know the ones!) try to minimize their opportunities to do so. See them less, be prepared to change the topic or tell them you don’t wish to discuss it, etc.
Have you started looking for a therapist? It can be dangerous to stop drinking entirely (AWS with DTs is no joke. 30% of people who have DT also develop aspiration pneumonia) so you may need to consider medical assistance.
Best of luck to you.
I’m 32. There aren’t any men left. I don’t want children. I checked match.com and there are only 2 men between 30 and 44 within a 300 mile radius of me who say they don’t want kids and neither is at all attractive to me. All my friends are married and their lives are filled up with couple stuff and kids. I’m on my own as the odd woman out because I waited too long.
I agree with Lee that what is said on match.com is not the greatest barometer of the candidate pool. If I’m a guy on a dating site, I’m probably going to list some characteristics that give me the best chance for hits. Wanting to have children is a no-brainer, as men believe that’s what women want to hear.
I also agree with Lee that 32 is not too old for anything. Though when I was 32, I also felt 32 was old but that’s simply because it was the oldest I had ever been! And what I believed and thought at 32 (or any age for that matter) was subject to change one year later. And life is funny, you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I rather wonder if match.com is really the best way to meet men in your areas with whom you may mesh. I don’t know where you live, but in my area there are groups that are designed just for single people to go out and do things in the company of other single people. Not just meeting up at a bar and seeing what happens or speed dating or whatever. But doing things. Art classes, hiking, biking, wine tastings, kayaking, canoeing, scavenger hunts, checking out restaurants, etc. Then there is the sort of service where you meet up with someone for lunch. It’s less pressure than a dinner and it’s designed for working professionals who have very little time in the evenings.
Not everybody wants kids. Not everybody who has kids wanted them at all, or even enjoys being a parent at any point in the process. They’re expensive, noisy, messy and a huge drain of limited resources. Lousy effect on marriages.
Plus you are still coming to terms with limerence and alcoholism; is now the best time to be seeking a partner? I’d focus on figuring who I am without a drink and outside of work. Without trying to incorporate someone else. It might be tempting to just do/enjoy whatever he likes to do and not figure out what YOU enjoy.
32 isn’t old. Most people just start hitting their stride in their 30’s. You don’t want to get pregnant so that alleviates that pressure too.
So while you have a lot to deal with, you’re not 60 looking back on a lifetime of lost opportunities and a serious lifestyle-induced health issues. You got this, H, particularly if you seek and find the right people to help you address them. People who have a license on the line and are bound by confidentiality clauses can be useful.
Thank you for this space to write. It’s a long story so I’ll try to keep it short. It all started when I was four, my first limerent experience, with my neighbor who was three at the time. Seriously, I know this sounds far-fetched but it’s truth I speak! In order that I don’t drag out the monologue to the point I’m no longer a captivating read, I will skip the details of my first L.O. (if that’s what I’m to call it) and just say I recall I grabbed and kissed him, then could never speak to him again. Some may ask, why? Why do I do this to myself? Like I know the answer hah! If I had the answer, would I have repeated it again and again and again? Between the ages of four and the time I married at the age of 25, I must have been limerent over 20 times, never longer than a few months, maybe a couple years, but never, ever with someone with whom I actually had a real in-the-flesh relationship. I married a strong man emotionally that did not give me much emotionally. He kept things to himself, and I was the complete opposite of that. We had children together and spent most of our time working and raising kids. I couldn’t convince him to go out to the movies or a restaurant or spend time relaxing with me in a romantic way, much less travel with me. He always had an excuse, too expensive, he was too tired after working all week, or a criticism about this or that. He would criticize people that traveled, saying it was a waste of time and more than likely if people were thinking they were eating gourmet food in France, for example, they were really being served a dish of dog food. It wore on me. Plus, I never had my own money since I stayed home with the kids and my ex gave me an allowance. Eventually I went back to school and became employable, which I will tell you about later. I had one limerent experience during my marriage, with a man in the church I was going to at the time. My ex wouldn’t attend church with me and it was always a chore to get the kids ready and drag them off to church every Sunday, where my two oldest boys would goof around on the pew while I played bells, me giving them dirty looks and so forth. Perhaps that might explain my mind wandering. It was short-lived, not the least reason being he was married to a friend of mine. Looking back on this, I chuckle to myself, because I have no idea what attracted me to him 🙂 Not at all my type, if I did have a type back then. And don’t ask me to describe my feelings about him. I can’t remember. Isn’t that strange? I have an excellent memory, but I just can’t remember enough about that L.O. now. Around my fourth decade of life, after my last child was nearing the toddler stage, and I had become immersed in my master’s program, I began to become more annoyed with my husband’s refusal to do anything I wanted to do. He was at his happiest puttering around the house on the weekends knocking things off his list, as he put it. When I asked him to go to marriage counseling with me several times, he would refuse and tell me I had an inferiority complex, that I was comparing our relationship and life to some standard that had no basis in reality. He would also quite frequently tell me I should be grateful someone would put up with me and be thankful that I was able to stay home with the kids. Often he would tell me that I was a burden to the family by going back to school. Imagine! He actually told me I should not study on the weekends because of the family responsibilities, but I should study only after all the kids were in bed. Eventually my heart left him, then my head, and finally I had the guts and finesse to leave him. During this particularly stressful period in my life and before I had left my ex, I encountered someone that set off my limerence. I had received some counseling for my personal growth and happiness and my therapist had me complete a personality portrait in order to get an idea of my aspirations and (possibly hidden) fears. Never did I mention limerence to her. The idea hadn’t been introduced to me yet and at that point, I didn’t feel it affected me the way it has over the course of my life. The test was a complete eye-opener! It struck me so hard and all I could do was read more about my personality and other ways of being. This led me to contacting a person who catalyzed one way of interpreting personality, that had listed a number in a book, sort of a coach in that regard. I set up a time to speak with him. The conversation was amazing and I thought he was the best listener and most kind person I had ever spoken with in my entire existence. This set in motion a round of limerence, not aware of what I was doing, not having read Tennov’s book or been introduced to the subject yet. Well over the course of the next year or two, to once again shorten my rather long story, I would transfer my L.O. to his colleague, after learning the first L.O. was actually gay. All of this occurred over the internet. Bad/evil internet (slap!) :-\ Well, not exactly everything was via internet. I attended two conferences with the L.O. entity because after engaging with them in this manner over the internet, my curiosity was piqued, and I was led by my heart to find out what in the world was leading me astray (AKA limerence). I realized neither the original L.O. nor the second L.O. did it for me, although I was unfortunately crystallized in my object de resistance (not a real phrase, just made it up now). The second L.O. was too young for me and was completely out of shape, like he spent all of his time at the computer. But the thing is I experienced many odd coincidences during that time and over a period of several years, one thing after another showed up, concrete things, like a poster of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs placed on my front porch step, which no-one I associated with claimed doing, and people I would never have had any reason to meet before began popping up in my life, many of these people were condescending or gave me the opinion they were working on me, to change me in some way. I felt like a puppet. Because of the interaction I had with the entities mentioned above, and their group, I believe my limerence became their problem and they were interested in solving it. For the grace of the internet and networking, certain people in the vicinity where I was living at the time, became involved. By that time I had learned a great deal about limerence, read Tennov’s book, which, in my humble opinion felt like a simple abstract in comparison to what actually happens in limerence, and maintained a busy ‘single’ lifestyle, sharing the responsibility of raising our troop of kids with my ex and working outside the home. My kids were growing up and I was missing out on most of what they were doing because of my obsession with the L.O. and also the mystery surrounding the synchronizations that were taking place. You may be asking yourself, wouldn’t these odd signs be a perfect example of what has been discussed regarding this condition and you might be asking a good question. However, even if I thought that these occurrences were in fact a product of my imagination, the reality was they were not! I could list many more that would make you all believers, but as I’ve stated before, I want to make this story succinct. The last chapter of this story has been written (in my mind) and the details should be written on paper because I think it would help me get it off my chest so I can move on. There’s another segment of the journey that involves again transferring my limerence to another person. After about five years following the first five years of my limerence with this entity, my feelings gradually began fading. Once I resolved to stop going online to the website and engaging in meaningless drunken banter with these folks, I started looking to move town and make a fresh start. My kids were old enough to live on their own and I needed to move away from my ex. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, picked a few places and finally decided to apply for a job in the town where I grew up. I was very excited about my new prospect, flew into the city and stayed the night with an old friend, planning on renting a car and driving to the destination the next day. Well, here’s the kicker. Apparently an old beau of my friend calls to see if he can stay the night at her house because he’s serving as a shuttle service so to speak from the major airport to small towns in the state. He will be happy to drive me down to the town and be happy to drive me back after the interview so I could catch the flight back to my home state. Never in my wildest imagination did I think this could happen but it did. First thing out of his mouth is, after gesturing to his face, “came from my mom”. Then I immediately knew this was someone that knew me. Hmm…He was very blunt in his communication with me, never once giving me any hints about anything between us, let me say this up front. He simply spoke, I listened, asked a few questions. He told me his life story in five hours. Told me where he grew up, his relationships, children, travels, work, health, finances, everything. I on the other hand, did not say too much about myself, and reason to myself this is because I already told him via the internet. TMI! Always give too much information about myself. Big problem for me. Even in my old age, still doing it. But anyway, we parted after that weekend. Nothing fleshy happened unfortunately. He was very hands-off. Didn’t tell me he loved me or that I was his special one. Nope, nothin! Me on the other hand fell head over heels in love with him. And voila! limerent transport #3 as a fully grown, mature (that’s questionable, but still) woman hits herself over the head with a 2×4 once again. But wait, there’s still more to this story. Oh yes, indeed, there’s more. And I’m sure you all are sitting on the edge of your chair waiting to hear it. I’ve got to continue this sometime because it’s part of my therapy that I’ve outlined for myself in order to cure my limerence this time once and for all. I’ll hopefully be able to write more just not right now. Just a thought before I submit this. To anyone struggling with limerence, I get it. I’m not trying to make light of my situation so others feel bad, truly I’m not. This part of my personality sucks to be honest. I will say one of the best things I’ve found for relieving symptoms of limerence is 1) talk about it and 2) get busy with other things that have nothing to do with intimate or romantic type relationships. It takes a lot of effort and time to limerate (my term, not Tennov’s). In order to counteract the tendency, get busy. Dr Limerent is right about that piece of advice. If you made it to the end of my saga, thank you for reading. The best to everyone that suffers from the effects of limerence, may you find peace and happiness in your lives.
Your story was incredibly helpful to me. Thanks for sharing.
So relieved to know I’m not alone in this situation. I had a relationship with my LO for a little over a year. It was exciting and passionate but also toxic and abusive. It ended years ago and I’m now happily married in what I consider to be a fairly healthy relationship. Despite this and despite a total lack of contact I can’t help but find my thoughts still going back to the LO. I don’t want to be with him but there is something about him and the time we spent together that draws my idle thoughts to him more and more often. I tell myself I just want closure but I think the truth is I just want to make sure he still knows I exist.
Seems totally understandable to me. The fleeting thoughts about the “what ifs” may linger a lifetime, IMO.
I came to this by searching for “how to deal with your office crush” which revealed the word limerent to me for the first time. Definitely me. I have been in such a state for the last 19 years, four different LOs, plus another one earlier in life. Two were performers with whom I maintained a respectable aquaintance (emails, post performance conversations, dinners) until something happened, maybe they lost patience and decided to save me from myself… One is back in my life as a friend after a complete break enforced by her – we share a social hobby. One (the earliest) has passed away and I did eventually come to see her in a normal light. The latest was the reason for me searching for advice on the office crush. Each time, it seems if I lose the LO for whatever reason, I am left wide open to fall for the next. I avoid pursuing normal dating because it doesn’t seem fair on the date if I am in a limerent state, and in the rare occasions when I’m not, supposing it happens again? So it is a relief to discover the word for it. I think I have a purposeful life, I have a worthwhile career with opportunities for progression which I am pursuing, I volunteer, I have two older kids who love me, I have an involving social hobby which brings joy to others… maybe this is just my fate.
I am glad you mentioned having a purposeful life, as so do l but still struggl e with limerence !
Glad to know I’m not alone. Experienced limerence in high school and college. After 10+ years of marriage, am currently limerent with a friend from high school whom I began chatting with online (mutual crush) and admittedly had an emotional affair during difficulties in my own marriage. Agreed to stop talking to LO and am working on getting over him, but it’s tough when the connection is severed by a third party, rather than myself or LO wanting to stop talking. It’s been two months, and I’ve felt a little crazy thinking that I’m still almost constantly thinking of this person when they probably have moved on fairly quickly. I know it was still wrong, but it doesn’t make getting past it any easier, especially when some of the marriage difficulties are still there. Still, knowing it’s a thing that others are dealing with and that there is support does help.
This article was very thoughtful. The anecdote that you provided hit the nail on the head for me. I’ve suffered limerence since I was a small boy. Over thinking and obsessive behavior that drains me. I’m in the middle of a limerence now. I divorced my wife to pursue the LO and we had a brief affair before the LO got married (not to me). Now, a year since it ended, I still dream of her, think about her daily and crave her reciprocation. All this while progressing a new relationship with a wonderful woman. I want to stop these thoughts, but it’s tremendously difficult as I see the LO daily at work.
My actions are destructive. I leave her notes, I share stories with her and I secretly buy her gifts. I know this isn’t fair to her or myself, but I have a glimmer of hope that surfaces when she reciprocates with small gestures like bringing her home cooked baking for me on Monday or acknowledging a sweet note I have left for her. Yet it’s hot and cold. Sometimes she won’t reply at all to a message, and I can see now that she only responds, but never initiates. I believe she is simply trying to be nice but would rather not have to be.
I’m desperately trying to let go and be mentally healthy again.
I 100% understand, my issue exactly. Work limerance, affair, divorce, LO has moved on, still work together. I write her texts but don’t send them. Twice in the last couple weeks (including today) I accidentally hit send… I then delete but she knows… I beat myself up over it, how stupid as I know better… I cannot control it. It is an addiction. Seeking solutions and I am finding that self awareness about it helps. Just recently discovered the concept of limerance and it is 100% me – I always thought something was wrong with me… now I know I am not alone in this struggle
Your not alone.
We have ALL done crazy things while chasing/craving our “drug”
I’m embarrassed when I think of the things I did…..
Cringe worthy for sure!
Wow! I found this because I was trying to figure out if Limerence is what I’m dealing with. I think it is and I’m sad. I have been dealing with this since I was at least 4. I remember being limerant for several people in my kindergarten class all at once. Including the teacher. Growing up I would be limerant for many people, both peers and adults. Often several at the same time. I was told I was a daydreamer and I suppose it was true. I actually had an adult confidant as a teen who needed to pull the plug on me as my Limerence for him began to show. In college it felt like I was limerant for everyone. I actually married a man who I met there. We’ve been married for 16 years. Two kids. I find myself in this limerant state with no fewer than 5 LOs at present. My mind swirls at night and I don’t get a lot of sleep. Truthfully I don’t want a romantic relationship with them. Not at all. I just seem to crave their attention and affection. But I am too painfully shy with them to pursue it. I do find myself making decisions about where to go and what to do based on where I feel I’m most likely to see them. All of them (currently) are married men. Most are old enough to be my father. I have 0 desire to break up any marriages, my own included. I just want this swirling of obsessive thoughts and giddiness to stop. I want to be able to have a normal relationship with people and this gets in the way. Most of the advice I have read encourages one to cut off contact with the LO. In my case that would make me a hermit because there is always-ALWAYS- someone. Or even several someones. I’m afraid the way forward for me is to actually spend more time with my LOs. Eventually, I think, they will be “human” to me (get knocked off the pedestal I have them on) and I will be able to move forward with a more normal view of them and relationship with them. My only concern then is that each LO will simply be replaced by another LO. So I don’t know if there really is any way totally out for me.
Sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time. I struggle with just one LO so having 5 must be a nightmare!!
When I was having counselling, my therapist asked what I was seeking from LO. We explored whether I really saw a future with him, which I didn’t, but it became clear that he was providing me with attention, comfort and validation that was lacking in my marriage at that point in time.
From what you’ve said, you’re craving their attention and affection, and the armchair psychologist in me can’t help wondering if this is a childhood wound that hasn’t been resolved?(I have no qualifications in this field whatsoever, only speaking from personal experience and amateur reading!)
Also your comment “Most of them are old enough to be my father” would suggest that you’re looking for almost parental attention, affection or validation that may have been lacking or inconsistent during childhood?
When I was younger my Dad was often physically present, but his depression, and very reserved upbringing, meant that he often wasn’t there emotionally. He’s done a lot of work and has resolved some issues from his childhood, and subsequently my relationship with him, which I never thought was bad in the first place, has improved considerably. I’ve also had to unlearn some of what I was taught as a child about hiding/not having feelings and being more open emotionally. I’m not blaming my parents at all, but it’s been interesting to explore this.
What I’m trying to suggest is that if it’s a possibility for you, it may be good to explore this with a proper counsellor who can help you unravel what’s going on? They may also help you to learn new behaviours and ways of thinking that may help you to get out of your repeating pattern that results in so many LOs.
The other thing that I’ve noticed is when Ive not been taking time to look after myself, to have that space to deal with emotions properly, then I’m more inclined to lapse back into limerent fantasy. With two kids myself I know how hard it can be, but have also learned lately how important it is.
Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, KS. Your situation is unusual! The vast majority of limerents tend to be “one LO at a time” folks. Occasionally, when single, some limerents who have contacted me have talked about being “receptive” to multiple possible LOs, but once one gets the upper hand, they become the sole object of obsession. So – you seem to have a very active limerence gland!
It’s a challenge to think how to manage this, as it seems that limerence is a feature of many of your interactions. Usually the practical advice would be about tackling a particular case by working on your response to a specific LO. Hard to do if it’s distributed over five people…
I guess the best plan is to go straight to what I sometimes called the “deep work”. Trying to understand the origin of your subconsious drives. What is it that you respond to in your LOs? What in your past my shed light on the emotional sensitivity you have? Many talking therapy proponents say that problems with adult romance are usually about childhood bonding. I’m more sceptical, but understanding yourself and your past better is certainly worthwhile work. Sometimes challenging, but always enlightening.
Ann O'Donnell says
Is it common to be limerent towards someone 30 years younger – my LO is 33.
I wouldn’t say common but there are several posters here that have significantly younger LOs. The topic pops up in different threads now and then.
My last LO was about 15 years younger than me. Limerence notwithstanding, it’s hard for me to grasp a 45yr old woman may be outside my range.
My LO is 26 and I’m 49. It’s a completely odd situation for me. I know the age gap is too much. I ignored her until I started picking up signals that she appeared attracted to me, and then the limerence started. I don’t know if she actually was attracted to me, but as I’ve said before, you start learning to spot the body language of attraction long before you reach my age. Plus, women that age often develop crushes on older men, especially women in her particular situation of having been adopted and never having even an adoptive father. I think my LE stems from my trying to somehow make up for what I felt I never had earlier in life.
Lightbulb. I am now utterly convinced I am a limerant. I was looking for some kind of relief online that could tame some of the physiological effects of going through a pretty tough phase of pining after an LO. I was really hoping someone would say ‘peppermint tea will really settle your stomach and allow you to get on with the day’. Now I’m realising I have had past LOs and tea probably won’t sort this out. I’m married with kids so having an LO is quite impractical, but it’s clear now it stems from way back, so thanks to all other posters as each of you have made me see things in a different light.
🙂 I think you may be right, Anon.
As chance would have it, I actually drink a lot of peppermint tea. It didn’t save me.
I have struggled with being limerent for men who are unavailable. Not emotionally unavailable but married is a new one…Although I didn’t know he is still married bc he is going through a divorce. Before that I was attracted to a guy I didn’t know had a g.f bc he was flirting with me. Before that I was attracted to guys who just weren’t interested in me. One guy I liked was attracted to me but not genuinely interested in me. I just so happen to not be physically attracted to men who are attracted to me.
I’m so pleased that I’ve came across this page as I’ve felt like I’ve been going insane for the last year or so. I’m a mature student at university and I felt a very strong connection with my personal tutor. He wasn’t what I would normally go for physically but I felt a strong pull towards him and found myself being very attracted to him. There were some issues going on within the university with other students (I ended up transferring to a different uni) so I had to contact him quite a bit and meet up with him to discuss issues further. However, I got so used to emailing him that I began finding reasons to email him, and if I had emailed on a Friday the weekends felt like forever as I desperately wanted him to reply. I convinced myself that we must be soul mates/twin flames etc and that our paths crossed for a reason. I was in a relationship when I started my course but meeting my tutor highlighted how unhappy I was in it and I ended the relationship a few months later. That is itself wasn’t so bad but I have since found myself unable to even consider dating anyone else and it’s now been a year. I have been on tinder etc (not great at the best of times) and I found myself getting depressed and aching for my tutor even more as no one was like him. Like I said, I ended up switching Uni’s as things became unbearable there and he looked genuinely upset when I told him I was definitely leaving. He said he had hoped he could have sorted something out so I’d stay but understood why I wanted to leave. As my last few months approached and I eagerly awaited my exam results, I decided we must definitely be right for each other and wrote him an email telling him how I felt (against my friends advice). The email was met with a painful silence, not even a quick sentence saying he didn’t feel the same. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought it through properly and forgot that I still had things to discuss with him re my course, so I’d still need to contact him. When I (I was dying of embarrassment at this point) emailed him again I expected no response however, he sent a very happy email and said he was more than happy to help. I felt very confused. He also said if I wanted to come in and discuss anything he’d be happy to meet (I declined that offer). Again, I was very confused. He ignored my gushing email but didn’t seem uncomfortable at all. However, things changed as I continued to need help with other things and he seemed to become more and more impatient with me. The last straw was when I said I was going to put in a complaint against some other staff members (it really was a horrid place) and he simply replied ‘I hope you feel more supported at your new uni. I no longer feel comfortable being your reference, this is for your benefit more than anything as I can’t guarantee the quality of it’ 😮 I felt flawed! BUT I was still consumed by these feelings for him and the belief that we were soul mates so a month later I sent him a message on Facebook apologising for how things turned out and that I appreciated all of his help etc. He ignored it (surprise, surprise). Then I actually did have to email him the month after that asking him if he’d reconsider being my referee as I was struggling to find another. He ignored it again! Another lecturer who I barely knew agreed to be my referee instead. I then sent him a message 3 days ago wishing him a great Xmas etc and, yip, he ignored it! I couldn’t understand how I could feel so strongly for someone who I knew so little. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just get him out of my head and move on. (It didn’t help that 3 different fortune tellers told me I’d marry someone with his name) It was driving me crazy, and most of my waking thoughts were about him. It had became unhealthy and I just wanted it to stop. So I googled obsessing over someone you aren’t in a relationship with and that’s when I came across this article and all the pieces started coming together. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this as I feel I can now make sense of it and move on. I hope it gets better in time. 🙄
What a great site this is to share the anguish and elation of limerence. I have just turned 60 and have had three. Not to go into too much detail, first, I was married with two v young kids, a woman at work became close with me. After work drinks, in her car, no sex. Second, when I was in my early 40’s, client single mum 3 young girls, left my wife for her. Damn was that dumb, sex was amazing. She left me for a better prospect, which failed. Wife took me back, shouldn’t have. Third, present day, have read of limerence over the years, care for a co worker leaving next week for interstate which hurts. The key difference with her, is I care for her, future and welfare. You bet I will be in tears, sad, etc. but it all about her wellbeing. Is the way to beat it, is about her, not you.
PS met crush one at a funeral recently after all those years, took 10 years to remotely get over her, I was a mess, embraced, sent her an email, good to see her, no reply.
this page may have saved my life, so thank you, not that I feel I am going any less crazy at the moment but has saved me from doing something stupid all the same, it has taken me an age to find out what the hell is wrong with me, im married 18 years, with my other half 25 and never even had this infatuation with him, in fact ive never experienced it in my lifetime. Im 45, 3 children, I suppose this has opened a can of worms for me, the control my other half has had over me. Ive only started going out in the past couple of years with girlfriends as it was never worth the grief, I have three simple rules at home, don’t antagonise him, don’t answer back and don’t refuse sex unwarranted. Hes a good man, loves me dearly and has made changes for me but has his funny ways, I never paid too much heed to them before this, now I realise while he was changing, for the better, so was I and became stronger. Anyway, I can wrap it up in all the shiny paper and put a bow on top I know it doesn’t justify these feelings, which I couldn’t understand because they were so involuntary. I met the LO about 3 years ago, we socialise in the same circle, hes a private relatively private person, I was physically attracted to him the first time I seen him smile but kept it to myself and just looked from afar, at Christmas we had our first conversation on a one to one basis, and I laughed so much, that’s when things took on a life of their own in my brain. I did get very drunk and we sat and talked and I told him how I felt (don’t mix brandy and antibiotics), he started at me for five minutes without talking, told me how truly truly flattered he was and that it wasn’t going to happen because of my husband… we have been out on any occasions since and we are good, no more mention of that night, but now I think ive wanted so much for him to like me/find me physically attractive I got slightly out of control trying to make conversation with him on a one to one basis, and may have ruined any chance of just being able to sit and talk in a group without me acting like a bunny boiler, im usually very very strong, dont have mental breakdowns in public, im non-offensive and not in your face… sorry for babbling, good to get it off my chest. This time last week I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up because I didn’t know what I was going to do .
Breda I wondering what you are doing as the next step. And let not read a statement like go to sleep and not wake up any more.
Hi Breda, and welcome. Really glad the site has helped you. The first step in recovery is figuring out what’s going on, so that’s a good place to be!
It sounds like limerence has hit you at midlife. That’s not uncommon. There are a few posts on the site about midlife limerence that may help. It does seem to be the time when many of us ask some very serious questions about our lives…
Welcome Breda, for a second I had a heart attack because your post is almost identical to my situation, I thought my LO was writing it!! Please know you are not crazy and not alone, I highly recommend reading the various posts here along with all the replies. You will be surprised how many of us are carbon copies of you.
Please keep us posted as to how you are going, we all here are very supportive and I consider myself lucky to have found this group.
Hang in there Breda. I too have experienced the depths of emotional exhaustion that leads you to feeling like just giving up and not existing. But know this: no LO is ever worth that. You will get through this.
thank you so much everyone. I actually managed to sit in my LO’s company last night and not blabber on like a fool, partly because I know by doing that im actually pushing him away. after my last neurotic episode I thought that’s it, he’s never going to speak to me again and it was crushing, like a teenager with a broken heart. I feel an amazing sense of calm around him, thought ok, ill be fine now. He made his farewell last night by shaking hands rather than the usual hug, which was the right thing to do. now knowing it could be a week or more before I see him again, im back to having heart flutters and knots in my stomach…ive a crazy week in work and a big party to organise for the weekend so I really need my head to stay focused.. as for the not waking up, yep, I thought it several times, that it would just be easier than this constant irrational mindset… but at the same time, I know it would achieve nothing and that the constant battle going on in my own head just needs to be dealt with. So I will keep reading the comments and the blogs and knowing that this is really a thing, helps on so many levels…and that I don’t need to be locked up and medicated.
Jonas Nielsen says
I had a relationship for 1 yr. My ex turned into damsel in distress when we had ended the relationship. 3 weeks prior when asked why the relationship didn’t work and what we could do, I spoke the words that I heard in my head “tell her you’re not in love with her”. So it ended. First amicable, then me panicking, and her jumping into a new relationship.
I’m 33 she’s 23. I’ve never been so sad, hurt or obsessed in my entire life. It’s been 8 months. No contact for 6 months. I’ve tried everything but still my health is bad. It feels like I’m fighting for my life everyday. I feel guilt and despair. Its the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I think the trigger was me responding to a nonsense text after I had said goodbye already and gathered what self-respect I had. After that I didn’t sleep for 2 months.
I’m otherwise a healthy individual (or I was). Though this was my first commitmed relationship.
I relate completely to becoming limerent for “damsels in distress” and as you said “specifically, women who are bold and confident on the outside, but hiding an emotional wound within.” This has happened to me a few times, but perhaps never so completely as having become limerent for my best friend’s wife during covid lockdown. I am in the very start of the process of NC, and have looped in my SO – my wife of 30 years – into my struggle. It didn’t take much to explain the situation – she “gets” my struggle and it was been 20 years or so since my last big limerent challenge. Of course, my LO and my SO are also very good friends, and they are mature women so they will be able to continue their relationship despite me going NC with the LO. But it is excruciating.
I recently discovered the term of limerence and found this page. I became limerent with a co worker about two years ago. We were both married but my marriage was bad and needed to end. I do believe she helped me have the courage to end my marriage. She remains married with young children. We both experience limerence with one another. We see one another daily and I am most happy when we are together. She feels the same about me but doesn’t have a bad marriage and doesn’t want to hurt her kids. It’s wonderful and awful all at the same time because we both fantasize about being together and thoughts are definitely obsessive for both of us. I know I should move on and find someone available but I can’t. I feel like she’s my soulmate. This is the only time in my life I’ve experience LE in my life. I don’t know if learning about this phenomenon will help me. Anyways, I just felt like sharing.
Lim Student says
First time posting. Thanks so much for your blog.
I’m a 23 year old female. Single. I have been limerent for my 50+ year old, male, married professor/advisor/mentor for over three years. It took a long time but I am finally maybe sort of feeling like limerence is fading. A bit. I have started to distance myself from my him and keep my contact with him to a minimum. I read a lot about transference, and student crushes on teachers/professors/mentors, especially English professors, and accepted my feelings as pretty common and non-exceptional, cliche even. Everyone thing makes sense and really isn’t that big of a deal if I can just move on. At first, it felt extraordinarily embarrassing to see myself in these stories, not to mention invalidating, but eventually led me stop taking myself so seriously and romanticizing the “relationship.”
Part of the embarrassment came from the stepping outside of the romanticized story I had been telling myself, and imagining/realizing how I actually looked to others. I had to confront my own narcissistic defenses and delusions. It was pretty painful to see how much I romanticized not only LO but also myself during this whole thing. This is really embarrassing to admit but in my head, in the story I told myself, I was this attractive, “brilliant,” imaginative young woman, mature, different from her peers, troubled, but kind. A potential genius even! *cringe* I imagined myself as an unwitting seductress, whose innocence and energy enlivened the monotonous life of a depressed middle aged scholar. It was an almost spiritual meeting of minds, complicated by worldly reality.
What I’ve been realizing lately, the more I read similar stories, or talk to people, or see other similar situations play out in real life, is that my view of myself is so far from reality. It’s really embarrassing (sorry to keep using that word) to think about and accept sometimes but it’s the single biggest thing that has helped me get over it. I re-think the whole thing and no longer see myself as the sad, beautiful, irresistible, spontaneous, imaginative heroine, whose flaws are endearing. Instead I see a very lonely, socially awkward, slightly chubby, sexually inexperienced, painfully shy, self-loathing young woman with absolutely no confidence, who tries too hard to impress, cares too much, and really needs to make some friends her own age. Whose cliche crush on her professor is borderline creepy and extremely obvious to everyone around her. I see someone whose life is rather sad, a bit pathetic even, though not in a way that inspires sympathy and compassion in others, but in a way that makes them so uncomfortable it is hard to be around her for long periods of time. I see someone who others pity and feel embarrassed for. I see a nice, professor who tries to raise her self-esteem a bit, encourage her as a student and a writer, only to become the object of her obsession.
I might be a bit dramatic and black and white with my thinking. It’s something I struggle with. Either I’m completely pathetic or completely amazing. Obviously that’s not true. I tried to be somewhat realistic with my reality check. Still, I’m struggling to manage the painful feelings that arise during these “reality checks” because the embarrassment of seeing myself as I truly am (no rose colored glasses) can sometimes tip me into despair and shame which often leads right me back in my delusional limerence bliss because I can’t cope with the feelings, my other methods of soothing aren’t strong enough.
I sometimes feel like limerence is my only defense against a reality I’m struggling to accept or change (though I know I can change myself, it’s a slow process).
This is me exactly 😢 have you found any helpful resources?
Cat, hang in there. You can do this. Be strong.
You write well and I would be entertained by either version of your story if it were a novel. Of course it’s deadly serious as it’s your life and energy you are trying to understand and use well. Maybe both versions of yourself are true. Hope you have forgiven yourself and found a real partner for mutual emotional intimacy.
Lim Student says
Also, I’m making myself sound way too innocent. I realized that I’m NOT innocent. That I was manipulative and immoral. And that I was not empathetic AT ALL to the feelings of his lovely wife and two children as I was pining away after him. Even though I didn’t want anything to happen, I DID genuinely want him to have feelings for me, even though I knew very early on that he was married, and he talked about his wife! Even though I genuinely mistook his politeness and kindness for romantic interest, it doesn’t excuse my attempts, however indirect, to get his emotion support, attention and affection, which was due solely to his wife and children. Not to mention the position I might have been putting him in if he DID have any real feelings for me (highly doubtful) . He was at a vulnerable time in his life and I did encourage his attention. Whatever pain I was going through, however unloved I felt, however traumatized I was by my parents, the sexual abuse, it doesn’t excuse it
Hi Lim Student, and welcome!
You are certainly in good company here. There is nothing to be ashamed of in having an LE, as you will see from reading everyone’s stories. There is so much great material on this site, and the support of the other limerents is invaluable.
Your story certainly elicits feelings of tender hearted compassion in me! It sounds like you are really struggling with your self identity. What really struck me about your story is that what you are calling your “reality check” seems to me to be very self critical rather than realistic. In truth, I suspect the real you is actually mix of the romanticised version and the negative (a.k.a reality check) versions of yourself that you describe. How does a highly imaginative, intelligent, kind, humorous, independent minded, voluptuous, shy, sensitive, innocent and amazing young woman sound? I would certainly want to know her. Repeat this in your head until you believe it!! 50% of all humans are introverts and therefore by definition socially awkward to some degree – and I include myself in that – most people hide it so you may not realise. You can learn to embrace who you are as without the introversion, you would not have the rich imagination. Have you ever tried doing anything to develop your self compassion and self acceptance? I highly recommend books, tapes and Ted talks by Brene Brown – she is great at this sort of thing.
I have an LE for my boss at work, so similar in some ways to your LE dynamic. There is no shame in it, especially since you are single (I am not…eeek!). We all fancy people and those of us with good imaginations really go to town when we do. I must admit that I really love your fantasy, I might even have to borrow it sometime! Sounds like English is the perfect subject for you.
Wishing you well!
Lim Student says
Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply. Your reply made me smile and feel better. Even if only momentarily. I will read it when I’m feeling down. Everyone on this site is so nice and kind. I’m feeling very bad right now, about everything, and I feel bad about feeling bad because nothing should matter this much but it really helps, these little replies and reminders. I hope you are right about me. Thank you!
I have been reading this site about how blissful it can be when the LO expresses mutual interest. But in my experience, when the LO is interested, it is nowhere near the intensity the limerent is feeling, and that can be devastating to learn. Not everyone is a limerent and experiences attraction/infatuation intensely. For the limerent, the LO has shaken them to their very core. For the LO, the limerent may just be reasonably appealing and available, and he/she thinks: Why not?
That is spot-on, Marcia. And the mismatch in desire can become very painful to limerents, even if the LO is agreeable to the idea of a relationship blossoming.
So what do you do about that? It is difficult enough to get two people together who are mutually interested and available at the same time (particularly for people over the age of 30 as the number of people available diminishes). But that it be two people who are both limerents and wildly into each other at the same time and both available? Seems like that is asking for the sun, the moon and the stars to align in a way that never happens.
@Marcia. I have no idea what can be done about this, although it is a valid and fascinating question. Here are two speculative responses (just for fun). First, as a society, we could find a way of pairing off limerents with other limerents and non-limerents with other non-limerents. Haha! Then at least it’s a “level playing field” and some communication difficulties would be avoided.
Alternatively, we could teach limerents how to feel satisfied in relationships with non-limerent partners, since non-limerent people are apparently very much in the majority. I agree – the odds of two people feeling exactly the same way at the same time about each other is very small. And yes, dating pools contract with age.
“Alternatively, we could teach limerents how to feel satisfied in relationships with non-limerent partners, since non-limerent people are apparently very much in the majority.”
This is probably the better solution. Numbers-wise, there are just so many more people who aren’t limerents. And a lot of people who are limerents don’t even know they are. I have just found out about limerence in the last few years but have been experiencing LEs for years. I assumed everyone else also experienced LEs and that I was just unfortunate in not ever permanently landing one of my LOs (with one exception, who I discovered I didn’t even really like after the LE was over). But boy was I wrong! When I have posted on other sites about my intense feelings for an LO, I have been told I need psychological help.
You don’t need to meet a fellow limerent. Normal people can fall head-over-heels in love with someone and experience intense feelings, its just they can manage it without the obsession, the rumination, the acute need for reciprocation, the inability to think about anything else etc, etc.
Remember Limerence is a specific mental state, and not one that I would personally wish upon someone else. I wished for all the world that my LO loved me, but I would have wanted that to be a normal, healthy, genuine love – not an involuntary reaction, borderline disorder.
Once you learn about Limerence, and self-diagnose yourself with it, I think we all wonder if LO feels the same. There will be a post on here somewhere from a couple of years ago with me speculating whether my LO was mutually limerent for me. But its highly unlikely, as c.5% of the population suffer from Limerence. So the chances of you knowing someone else who suffers from it is slim enough, but for them to be mutually limerent for you at the same time? Nah.
Limerence goes with consummation and regular reciprocation. A limerent and non-limerent could meet, have a highly intense relationship that settles into long-term love, absolutely no problem. Early on, one will be more obsessive than the other, but if that’s managed then it will be ok.
Agree with Vincent here. In my experience, being a limerent does not mean all relationships start with an LE. And a limerent and non-limerent can love each other equally deeply and passionately at the same time…..
I have only ever had long term relationships with non-limerents. I was not limerent in 3/4 of those relationships because I was the one being chased, so the mismatch was absent. If anything, they liked me more to begin with. But I did fall deeply in love all three times. I was limerent for my husband so my feelings were far more intense than his in the early stages and as a result I resisted expressing my feelings verbally to begin with. I could express them physically though..and did….joyously 🙂 I could tell he really liked me and he eventually fell deeply in love with me too, it just took him a bit more time. I think us limerent’s need to set our expectations carefully….not all love is “wildly in love” right from the get go, and being “wildly in love” early on is not a predictor for long term relationship success. I guess it depends on what you actually want more – to be “wildly in love”, or to experience a mutually caring and loving, deeply committed, long term relationship?
“A limerent and non-limerent could meet, have a highly intense relationship that settles into long-term love, absolutely no problem. ”
Really? It’s never happened to me. I wound up in a relationship with my LO, but he could have been happy with any number of women he was dating. I don’t know that he ever picked me out specifically (which is every limerent’s dream). I just happened to say yes and hang around the longest, which is how a lot of people date.
@Marcia. Looks like you’ve found the right forum, so welcome!
I’m thinking we should probably make a distinction between lifelong limerents/serial limerents and people who have only experienced limerence once as a sort of anomaly in their lives. Presumably, these two groups of people have different relationship needs/expectations.
“@Marcia. Looks like you’ve found the right forum, so welcome!”
Thank you. I am very impressed with this site.
Another issue I’ve read about several times on this site is that a limerent gets at least a half-applause if he/she is married and hasn’t physically cheated with the LO. I’ve had LEs and I know you become hyper-focused on the LO. They dominate your thoughts. To me, if my husband tells me he’s having an LE for another woman, I feel no comfort in the fact that he hasn’t had a physical affair. His mind is totally preoccupied with someone else and he’s checked out of the marriage, anyway. (In fact, I’d rather he had a physical affair with someone he doesn’t care about than experience an LE.)
Lim Student says
Thank you for this article. I realized my previous comment was not really I. Direct response to this article and more just a jumble of thought. But I just reread this and found it quite useful. And yet — I wonder why it made me feel so ashamed? I can’t really pinpoint anything extraordinarily bad I did during my limerence. I think it’s what you wrote about emotions. I think I used to (secretly) pride myself on being emotional (a stupid as that sounds) because I wasn’t really good at anything else, in terms of practical living. I’ve always just felt light years behind everyone at everything. But I also seemed to be so much more sensitive than them. I don’t even know if that is true, but I felt so bad about myself that I found it as a consolation. But really it’s nothing to be proud of. It’s embarrassing to realize that I’m not a good person, or a very good person, or a practical admirable one.
As for the emotions bit, I do get not listening to them, or rather not acting on them, as a concept, and I can see why that is often the best course in the long wrong but in everyday life (and maybe this is true for everyone, or maybe it is because I’m only 23) but I feel quite overwhelmed by them. I feel like no one ever really addresses that problem, but maybe it’s because there isn’t a solution? everyone is always talking about not acting on your feelings and not identifying with them, but there is still the problem of their existence. I don’t get it when people say “feelings aren’t right or wrong, don’t judge them, don’t identify with them,” etc. as if that were the main issue. The issue is the emotional pain itself. Just because it eventually passes and is mercurial, as you say, doesn’t make it any less painful. And though it passes, it also returns, again and again and again. I feel so desperate and worthless and ashamed and embarrassed and pathetic and ugly and on an on. I hate myself often and feel incredibly nervous and sad for no reason at all sometimes. The one thing that reliably helped in the past was contact with LO. As though he was the one person that made me feel safe and worthwhile. It’s ridiculous but I didn’t feel like that around my friends even. Of course I don’t give in anymore and just sit there with all the negativity and desperation instead of reaching out to LO, and I do what you say, I do not act on the feeling. I feel helpless until it subsides sometimes hours later. Or days. But is one really supposed to live like that? With just a bit of relief in between the negative feelings?
I suppose part of growing up is simply being expected to ignore/manage powerful feelings, accept that reality is not easy, that most of life is painful and hard and make the best of it.
I’m not sure what I’m asking. I’m sorry to be so confusing. This blog is honestly amazing! Thank you!
Lim Student says
Ugh! I’m writing on my phone! So embarrassing. Sorry for the awful spelling and grammar. Careless mistakes!!
@Lim Student. I don’t think emotion is in and of itself much of a problem. I think the problem, during a LE, is we invest all our emotional energies in one person and hope they reciprocate. We don’t spread our emotional energy around enough (on friends, hobbies, pets, work, family, etc) if that makes sense. We become hyper-focused on one person and that’s probably not healthy, not even in a committed relationship. We need whole networks of people in our lives.
I don’t think being emotional has anything to do with being a good or bad person. Having said that, limerence can make people MORE emotional than usual. “Labile” is the word I like to use. If a person is labile, they’re experiencing strong and rapidly changing emotion. Limerence can make people very intense and also make people appear very intense to others. This intensity is probably an outward manifestation of the emotional storm taking place within (heightened mental activity). Your brain is acting as if LO is the only meaningful reward in the world.
Interesting, I was 23 when I experienced my absolute worst limerent symptoms. So go easy on yourself. You’re in a particularly difficult stretch of life, limerent or no, and things will definitely get easier for you as you mature. Hang in there. Nobody has their stuff together at 23! (No truthful 23-year-old I’ve met anyway).
You seem to have a gift for writing. Honestly, if you turned your limerent fantasy into a novel, I’d buy the book. The “heroine” is sweet enough for audiences to like while flawed enough to be interesting. Do you have any interest in fiction writing? Creative work might be a good outlet for your strong emotions and powerful imagination. You already seem to have above-average English skills.
I understand how painful it is to feel intense “love” for someone who doesn’t love you back, or someone who is a completely inappropriate choice of mate. That’s the “compulsory longing” part of limerence. (Painful memories of my late teens and early twenties flooding back here. Yikes!).
Try not to blame yourself for what is happening. Instead, if you can, try to sit back and let the emotion wash over you like a wave. See if you can find the calm and objective “eye of the storm” and stay in that spot, coolly observing your own mental processes. This may help you eventually gain the upper hand on your feelings. Also, remember you’re got a lot of life ahead of you! You’re only 23!
@lim student- welcome!!!
Reading your comments broke my heart a little. We’re all of us a mixture of all the things you wrote. I agree with Allie that you are, most likely, both awkward and amazing- and that’s a wonderful combination. And it’s totally human to be attracted to people who make us feel safe and seen- not selfish and horrible. And, frankly, there’s nothing quite like a good English professor to fit that bill exactly! From what you posted, it sounds like it’s your inner turmoil that’s the biggest problem, which means that you’ve found exactly the right group of people to talk to. That’s the biggest struggle for all of us. I would like to add, though, that it also sounds like you’ve had some additional trauma in your life, and that you might benefit from finding someone safe to work through those things with. You’re not alone in that either, and it can be profoundly freeing to let those things go and begin to heal. It can make it possible to find balance, and to bring your self-image more toward the middle where it belongs.
I can’t remember who suggested it, but I agree that you seem to have a gift with words; maybe you should consider writing, even privately, as a way of getting some fresh air around some of your thoughts and feelings.
Best of luck to you!
It was Sammy- and I love the word Labile!! Perfect.
“Labile” is the word I suggested. But credit where credit is due – Allie was the first person to point out Lim Student’s flair with language.
I agree with you provided we become limerent for suitable candidates which many of our LOs aren’t. Toss in that limerents seem to be creatures of habit. We each have our glimmer and it doesn’t seem to change on its own.
It never occurred to me that my LOs could have more problems than I did.
Oh yes, 100% – it should ideally be a suitable candidate. I Just don’t think the answer is to try to find another limerent. It’s hard enough anyway without limiting your options.
I told my wife about LO and my “crush” on her as I described it.
I am not convinced it was a good idea, ultimately. I don’t think my therapist thinks so either. Sure, I got points for honesty, for claiming that this situation was not making me happy but rather burdened. I want to get better, to be more completely here for my wife.
But if we are judged by what we do, not what we think, then I could have just doubled down on my good husband actions, and kept this burden to myself. It wouldn’t have planted seeds of doubt in her head, wouldn’t have sullied the air between us. In the end, getting it off my chest benefited me more than her.
But I’ve always been an open book. I don’t like hiding much at all from my spouse.
Can I add a fire opinion? Part of me does NOT want to part with my going on 3 years LE. As much torture, mental anguish, despair, depression, melancholy, physical pain it has brought me. It’s now part of my identity.
“Part of me does NOT want to part with my going on 3 years LE. As much torture, mental anguish, despair, depression, melancholy, physical pain it has brought me. It’s now part of my identity.”
They certainly can be part of your identity, maybe to the point of defining it. One of my LEs sent me on my current arc in life.
If you did part with your LE, what would you replace it with? LEs can leave pretty big holes.
@anxious soul- I wonder if maybe a part of it is like mourning a death? Knowing that you no longer have the person, but being terrified of relinquishing the past or the ruminations or the pain even- scared of looking into the void. Crippling yet familiar and dubiously comfortable. I can certainly understand that. Letting go completely is so difficult, and yet I think that rather than it being a part of you, it is more like a siphon that has attached to you. Or like an ailment that you’ve accommodated for so long that the memory of health has faded…
I can understand these feelings. I’ve been thinking about this lately too. I have gotten so much better and freer, but there’s still a part of me that doesn’t know how to FULLY let go of the beautiful (false) dream that was created in my LE. I know that on the other side of this there’s good, but I’m not quite sure how to take those last couple steps. I suppose we just keep moving forward and let time and distance and intentional living do their work.
Once you get enough time and distance, you can look back and actually see something. If look hard enough, you can identify specific “nodes” that had the potential to really affect your life and ask “what if?” Questions you asked or didn’t ask. Offers you made. Offers someone made to you that you accepted or declined. Most decisions we make are mundane. But, some of them aren’t.
For example, when LO #2 stood in my living room and said, “If I sleep with you now, you’ll own me again.” Where would I be today if I’d slept with her instead of asking her to leave? I suspect I wouldn’t be married to the woman I’m married to now but that’s pure speculation. It might not have altered the outcome but it would have definitely altered the route.
When I started working with a therapist, I asked why I felt like I had to deal with this stuff, 25 or 50 years after it happened. The therapist said because I finally felt safe enough to do it. The people that I might have to confront were either dead and the ones who weren’t may as well have been and they were far away. Enough time and distance had occurred that those people had no ability to affect my life, anymore.
It also helped explain part of my anxiety over LO #4. She was in the here and now and she did have the ability to affect my life.
You might be surprised how you view things a few years down the road.
Slow day at work.
Sadly, I view things the same as I did 4 years ago. I fell hard for someone whom I could never fully have (we were both single and casually dated but he decided he was still on the quest to find “the one”)… years later, I’m still pining after and he’s still looking for the one… fn Greek tragedy!
If you play your cards right, AS, you can create a shrine to him that you can take to the grave. You can immortalize him as the “Phantom-Ex,” the one you compare all comers to and fail them against. The one against all comers will come up short by comparison. You can spend decades looking under rocks and turning over leaves in your head on that quest to figure out what you could have done or said differently.
It gets old but it works nicely with the Greek Tragedy motif.
One thing that helped me was realising that it was the dream, not the LO, that was the emotional root of the pain. LO represents some sort of latent promise or possibility that affects you at a deep level.
The real trick is to try to find new, healthier goals that sate the emotional hunger.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s progress, I think, to realize that.
“One thing that helped me was realising that it was the dream, not the LO, that was the emotional root of the pain. LO represents some sort of latent promise or possibility that affects you at a deep level.”
If you’re saying what I think you’re saying, DRL, that’s really profound. So it’s not the person that causes us pain, but our dreams and fantasies regarding the person? I’ve never thought about the fantasy causing me pain before – this is a new way of looking at things.
continuing with this idea of the fantasy being the real crux of the problem, I’ve been asking myself just what exactly the fantasy is. There were a handful of things about my LO that checked my boxes of attraction perfectly- things that are just completely appealing to me. But, strangely, those aren’t the things that I go back to if I’m ruminating. Those are real, tangible things that I can imagine becoming ordinary over time. Rather it’s this overarching feeling of loss of a dream that gets me. And then it occured to me this morning that it’s almost a balance of loss of a fantasy about him and loss of a fantasy about me. For him, it’s maybe as basic as the archetype of being rescued by a knight in shining armor. And for me, it’s losing the sense of myself as the beautiful powerful heroine (obviously conflicting archetypes, but my head is obviously FULL of these kinds of contradictions.) So basically he rescues me and I rescue him….and then things are romantic and uncomplicated and passionate and easy and beautiful for ever after. It’s no wonder, then, that having an actual ongoing and normal relationship with LO would kill the limerence- it’s all fluff and smoke to begin with. I basically want to write myself into a cliche book. HA!!!
Song of the Day (redux): “Chasing Cars” – Snow Patrol (2006)
@Janesays, this one’s for you.
“If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
Yeah, sometimes we don’t want to save them as much as we want them to save us. We search the Cracker Jack box for the prize in them when what we really want is for them to find the prize in us.
Ha! Yes, that’s very true!
I found that using thought control, not allowing myself to ruminate on the beautiful parts of the LE (I told myself that now LO was married, I would honor that marriage by not allowing myself to soak in the sweet waters of sentimental and nostalgic longing), and even though memories would pop up I would refuse to give them audience….and in time the novelistic splendor of the LE died a natural death, and I didn’t have to deliberately try to kill it. It was perhaps the best way for the LE to die….rather than experience it’s writhing death throes right at the outset. I think my brain and heart healed enough to let the LE quietly die.
But at first NC I must say I felt the most excruciating emotional agony of my life.
Now I feel fine…and am continuing to welcome back cherished old friends that have reappeared in my life…almost like the void LO left when dismissed created a vacuum that drew in these wondrous folks that truly, deeply love me, with no agenda or selfish motive.
Ending a LE is a wonderful thing! (Eventually).
I am in therapy at the moment. Just started it in fact, triggered by my mid-life crises and professional curveball. This also triggered my pining for my LO.
My therapist made me realize that I had never “mourned” death until now as I had never experienced it. The breakup was death of the relationship and I was living in denial. I even realized that “letting go” was unknown to me, making me fantasize about the passion that once was.
My LO, despite us having left on cordial terms, didn’t invite me to her wedding. This was because I cut ties when I left as it was painful for me. I didn’t begrudge her as we had not spoken in 3 years, though there was a twang of sadness that we had grown so far apart, led by me.
But this LE has taught me that I never mourned the relationship ending. I tried desperately to find other women and never accepted that she had moved on to happiness. (It’s another matter that she said she would marry the guy she left me for and then dumped him as soon as she graduated and married another guy within 4 months ). I was too busy suppressing my feelings and chasing other women.
Nonetheless this LE recurrence makes me realize that I need to move on. This LE should be a mourning and I am beginning to feel good for her. I have wished she has had happiness of kids even though I really don’t need to.
I should even be happy that the relationship is over and I have other things to do. Volcanic ash is supposed to create very fertile environments
Limerent Emeritus says
Your next assignment: https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-loneliness-of-no-contact/
I like your therapist.
When I first discussed my relationship with a trusted friend who had gone on to be an LCSW and knew LO #2 when we were dating told me that I’d never mourned the loss of that relationship. She said I’d rolled from that one right into marriage. My friend said it was ok to mourn and time to let it out.
I would take the dog on long walks into the woods, make sure no one was around and cry. Sometimes, I’d sit in the car when I got home and cry before I went it. Luckily, we live in a place with a lot of pollen and my “allergies” were horrible for awhile.
If you’re not familiar with The 5 Stages of Grief,” I recommend that you check it out.
Things do get better. It may just take awhile.
Just my two cents, but the only problem with the idea of “mourning the relationship” is that I think it can invite more rumination. I’m using a generic example, but if you are with someone and they end it, you are mourning something that doesn’t exist anymore. You’re mourning what you wanted to happen and are probably looking at the relationship through rose-colored glasses because no great love affair happens if one party is willing to walk out the door. I find — and this may not work for other people — that one of the things that helps is to look at the cold, hard reality of what is actually happening. If one person wants to be with someone and the other party is is unavailable, for example, it’s so easy for the excuse to be: They can’t be with me because of circumstance. But that’s not really the truth. Plenty of people get out of what they’re in to be with someone else. And if the other party isn’t willing to do that, it’s not a love opportunity that is missed. It’s a door that was never open. For me, when my mind take an LO rumination drive, which it still does from time to time, I try to be as brutally honest with myself as possible. It’s not fun in any way, but it ends more quickly the “what could have been” fantasizing and the dwelling on someone who is long gone and doesn’t deserve that much mental/emotional bandwidth.
@Limerent Emeritus: I went through the post. My issue is that I had 10 years of no-contact. I was used to it.
Slipping back into it very hard at the moment.
I too feel I got married even as I was recovering. Perhaps I felt I was too old, and perhaps I felt that pressured by my wife as she didnt just want casually dating. I felt it was unfair of me to string her along, especially since I cared for her and I knew what stringing a person along does to the person. My LE did it as she used me as an emotional crutch.
You are right. So I listed down today why we didn’t work out. I realized that many of the reasons were hers and not mine. I am no saint. I did yell at her as she wanted us to be friends (without benefits) and she using me as an emotional crutch.
She really couldn’t commit and it explains why she left the guy she had left me for. When we were friends, she told me within 2 weeks of dating that she had fallen in love with him. (She had told me within a month of our dating as well and then she started wanting to break up and then later asking me to marry her while we were 21).
I am not a cribber or a person who finds fault with others. Its just not my nature. Having to do this to find closure makes me retch but I think I have to do it.
I suppressed my limerent feelings the whole day yesterday. I then had a dream of us meeting and even my wife being present. We were meeting up on a retreat. Nothing happened amongst us in the dream and we were distant with each other.
Work is starting up and I am looking forward to it
Just deleted all mails and chats from my Gmail. My effort at mourning death
I wish you luck. I found out somewhat recently that a former LO had passed away. He had contacted me through LinkedIn about a year before he died after more than a decade of no contact. And for a few hours, I mourned the “what if?” scenario. But then I realized he’d only sent me a message asking to join my network. He never sent me a personal message. And then I remembered why I broke things off with him … He’d only wanted a f*** buddy. I’m sure he thought he was giving more, but he really wasn’t. And he’d hardly come after me after the break up, asking for an actual relationship. So what, exactly, was I mourning?
@Anxious_Soul. I can almost understand what you mean. I assume you’re getting some positive emotions e.g. joy, excitement, hope as well as the despair and melancholy out of the LE? Or are you only experiencing anguish at the moment, but still don’t want to let go?
That there is a pithy summary of the limerence trap, Sammy.
I’ve let go of the fantasy a while ago but I’m addicted to the pain. The pain behind knowing I will never meet someone like “that” again. I understand fully two parties may perceive the experience differently.but to me he’ll always be the one who yes, broke my heart but whom I still admire greatly. Just a great man who is most likely a dissmissive avoidant in his approach to interpersonal relationships. My loss. His indifference wins.
I’ve let go of the fantasy a while ago but I’m addicted to the pain. .
Another chord just went off in my head.
so much this.
my life feels empty without a LO to focus my everything on. and it’s ridiculous bc I have a VERY full, happy, privileged AF life and good, trusted friends. who are wonderful, interesting people.
but limerence is like a damn siren song. maybe now that I have a name for it I can stop trying to hear it wherever I go.
I am 57 and can’t believe I have gone my whole life without ever hearing the word limerence. It is incredibly comforting to know that this is an actual condition. I have had inexplicable emotional over-attachments since childhood, and am struggling with managing one now. It feels like a light just got turned on for me. Really quite stunned. Thank you for this page.
Kaye, welcome and like you I have suffered ’emotional over-attachments’ since childhood and finally now, it all makes sense and I can see things far more objectively. I don’t think I am being over dramatic in saying it’s been life changing!
Glad to have you here and be prepared to learn a lot, heal a lot, and sometimes even laugh a lot!
I’m right there with you, Kaye. At 47 with a parade of LOs over the years. And I only found out about limerence a month ago. You’re not alone (as you can see from this site). I’m learning a lot more about myself as well. And things that hadn’t made sense to me are beginning to make a lot of sense.
Seems totally understandable to me. The fleeting thoughts about the “what ifs” may linger a lifetime, IMO.
Restless Heart says
This has been extremely helpful to me. I’m just discovering Limerence and am happy to put a name to this particular condition. I may jump from Limerence to Limerence throughout most of my life, but at this point in time I am starting to recognize it. My LO is my ex and Im desperately trying to move on from the obsessive thoughts. The relationship ended over a year ago but we have continued to be physical occasionally throughout. And by just occasionally I mean that it was very consistent in the beginning (like every two weeks) for about 7 months but since I have moved away, has been only once in 8 months. I moved to try to move on. What I can’t get over is the constant obsessive thoughts daily over my LO and hope for future encounters or messages or likes on social media. I’m confused and annoyed at myself for this constant hope. I convince myself that any interaction from him is confirmation that he still loves me, but his actions should speak louder than words. Or his lack of action. I’m constantly comparing others to him and desperately wish to find someone else to consume my thoughts. However, I would like to get over him first to be fare to the next person. At this point I don’t even know what I want. The only thing I am sure about is that this has to stop. I cannot keep holding onto something that may just be in my head. The abrupt ending of the relationship didn’t help with things either. I can’t wrap my brain around it. Especially with the constant physical contact right after the relationship ended. The circumstances of the relationship don’t help either. There is a huge age gap and a lot of pressure from both sides. I cannot decide if he is fighting his feelings for me as well because of the family and friend pressure, or if it’s just in my head. Im so over it…
However, I would like to get over him first to be fare to the next person.
I think you could revisit this stance. I did this. You feel that men are interested only in long term relationships.
Discovery is a wonderful thing. I had a girl who was infatuated with me for over 7 years and she was thrilled that I broke up with my girlfriend and LO. We were friends through the process and went out a couple of times as well.
She asked me if I wished to take it further and understood when I told her that I was still a mess and didn’t want to burden her. She was being pushed into an arranged marriage and wanted me to refuse first.
We are great friends and shared notes on our children. I treasure her friendship and her frank opinions.
I had no idea this *thing* I feel had a name… I didn’t know so many other people felt this way, and I certainly did not know there were steps to cure it…
My mind is blown, but I feel I’ve woken up somehow, to myself, to the truth about my feelings, and to a way to think around it.
Man, I feel it’s incredibly overwhelming (As I’m sure everybody here does).
It’s like constantly being at a 10 when everyone else as at about a 3.
Curious Lim says
Oh wow. Thank you for sharing all of these beautiful, soul-awakening experiences.
What do you think are some cues that indicate you might be someone’s LO?
I fit the bold-intrepid-and-confident-although-broken-inside phenotype, and the person I came here to understand (because I was curious about him) was a sensitive empath who seemed to feel like he was missing something in his life when he met me. I felt a jolt and an out-of-this-world recognition when I looked in his eyes. It was insane and scary the first few times.
We won’t meet again, and I haven’t seen him since before the pandemic. Nothing could ever happen between us, and we are not similar in age (the other party being more than a few years older) but I wonder if he sensed that I felt something I didn’t realize I could feel when we talked that day. I remember sitting in perfect silence (for a few seconds, minutes, a quarter of an hour- I don’t know, I stopped sensing the passing of time). I just felt completely at ease sitting with him in silence in the summer on the grass. I had never felt that way before or since.
I keep wondering, what was the other side of that comfortable silence like? Does he ever think about me?
Things did not end well, with a spectacularly gruesome, world-news-making, tragic end for one person, leaving some of us traumatized, and me feeling a little shunned and ostracized on top of everything, being blamed for something I had nothing to do with. I work hard to focus and stay motivated, and I try to actively un-think about this time in my life. I wish I had some answers and am sad we won’t meet again to resolve any of this. Sad and odd though it is, two years since we last met, I wish he knew I miss him still.
This one applies but you have to sort of reverse some of it:
Curious Lim says
He never stalked me. I doubt we will meet again.
I came to this website because I’m curious about what he felt, and what he thought I felt. He always looked so intense. Was it even limerence?
Sad and odd though it is, two years since we last met, I wish he knew I miss him still.
The chord just went off in my brain.
Cute potato says
Hello! So, I have a cousin of mine that I had a crush on since childhood. We are from a conservative household so I couldn’t really confess. Anyways he always gave me signs that he liked me, e.g. brushing my hair behind my ear (I was around 15, he was 20) , complementing me, and then gradually he stopped. But then he started it again and it began to bother me a lot because I was constantly in a mental anguish as to whether he like me or not? I did fall for other guys, dated one as well, even developed HOCD for a while, but now my feelings are back full fledge. I cannot implement the distance thing because he is a relative and cannot straight up ask him if he will go out with me or not 🙁 I’m 19 now and he is 24, we just met like two days ago and he was back with the flirting thing though it was a bit different (I was fixing my hair in front of the window and he got annoyed saying everyone must have been looking at me, also we went outside and he wouldn’t let me talk a walk outside because there were ALOT of men). Anyways my obsession is back and I have been replaying these two events non stop from the past two days and feel really wrecked. Also, I think there’s a fear beneath that if he marries someone else how will I cope and I get really frustrated with myself when I think these thoughts. I do NOT want to be that women who goes crazy for one fricking guy. At the same time I can’t help liking him because he seems sweet. UGH! What do I do? My therapist told me to treat him like a brother which I cannot, PLEASE help me and give me some tips. Is Limerence?
The juxtaposition of ecstasy & agony that marks limerence is a special kind of Hell.
Paul Franklin says
My primary cure was simple – get busy doing something else.
I am 40 now. Happily married with kids, but yet every now and then I have a powerful dream about a girl I haven’t physically seen in almost 20 years.
My main case with “Limerence” happened when I was 21, a senior in college. A girl in my class and I had semi-flirted for a year or so, but suddenly were thrust into constant contact and she seemed to really enjoy my company and me hers. Eventually the signals were so strong I told her how I felt and she gave me the “don’t want to ruin our friendship, etc” line. Fine, right? Over, right? So I thought…
But then her signals only increased. I started dating someone else and it was like she wanted to be with me all the time. Mixed signals galore and confusing as all hell.
We were both in the military and went our separate ways (duty stations), but I didn’t date for 2 YEARS. Those were miserable years where Limerence consumed me. Especially when a friend mentioned she had moved in with her new boyfriend.
3 YEARS later when I was stationed overseas and incredibly busy with my work… I finally realized maybe it had started to die. A good thing to, because when I got back to the states 2 years after that I found that she just got engaged to another classmate of mine (a better catch to be honest). Would have devastated me, but thankfully the vicious part of Limerence had ended thanks to my years of overseas duty and busyness.
That being said, every now and again I have a powerful dream about her and it bothers me the whole next day or two. I wish I could just erase her from memory, but still haven’t figured out how.
If anyone has any thoughts, I’m all ears.
Dr L says
Hi Paul, and welcome. It sounds like your limerence lasted for a while because of the frustration of not getting closure. This post,/a> might be a good place to start in getting beyond it.
Limerent Emeritus says
If you haven’t, take a look at https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-dreams/
Dreams can tell you a lot. Some are more obvious than others. Some dreams can just slap you upside the head with the message.
But, if you analyze them, you can learn things like what may have triggered the dream which can lead to other areas of investigation.
Some dreams are more helpful than others but you can probably learn at least something from all of them.
Thanks. A lot to explore here. I am a 39F and am at the tail end of divorce from my 54M spouse of 17 years. He was abusive and ordered out of the house 1.5 years ago. I have full custody of the children and am focusing well but I think I am a limerent. I know it was limerence that drew me towards my not great husband and now I have had two episodes of it with other men in the last 6 months. I’m not afraid of acting on it now as I feel I can control my behavior where I’m not going to actively pursue these men, it’s the constant distraction that I hate. I’m trying to focus on the children or my career goals, home maintenance, hobbies and then, bam, the fantasies just take over. I realize I am trying to escape my life with this. This is what I did with my first husband. I sought to escape responsibility, but I acted on that one! For me the fantasies are of them adoring me, doing anything for me, they just want and need me badly. Probably related to my insecurities that I’m not enough as I am.
Allie 1 says
Hi Michelle, welcome to LwL.
The above really resonates with me. I start off enjoying the pleasurable escapism of it, until eventually it consumes me but by then it is too late.
“the fantasies are of them adoring me, doing anything for me, they just want and need me badly”
I am not especially insecure but oh yes… 100% this for me too! But mutual.
Instead of redheads, I am one who is a sucker for the good-looking intelligent woman with a never-say-die attitude. Perhaps it stems from my mother who embodies this.
My first experience with limerence was when I was 14. Fell for a girl who strung me along and was pretty. She clearly enjoyed my company but couldn’t commit.
I even remember when I was attracted to her. She gave me “a look” as she was talking to my dad (we all lived close to each other)
The second one was a girl I dated and fell in love with. I wasn’t the ugliest or dumbest bloke in college and she definitely was amongst the prettiest. My ex was a brilliant woman and really pushed me intellectually. I worshipped the ground she walked on but within a few weeks of dating she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be with me. Thanks to my perseverance it prolonged for 2 years when she finally left me for a good guy. Broke me up.
I did well academically and professionally and married a beautiful woman. Our sex life though sucked because my wife doesn’t consider intimacy essential. My ex and I necked like pigeons. We have a beautiful child and I do love my wife for who she is.
I read in the post that mid-life crises triggers limerance. I concur. A bad professional decision made me lonely and I checked my ex out 15 years since we last corresponded and discovered she is killing it in her professional career and still looks like she did then. I search inside and I don’t love her but miss that feeling and this causes me to obsess over her. I even wrote to her just wishing that all is well and congratulating her, though she didnt reply.
What annoys me today is why are these thoughts coming back. I really want to let go and here I am trying to figure out my feelings for someone who is married (with kids?) and who probably hasn’t thought of me in over a decade
Forgot to mention that she dumped the guy she left me for after a few years and even having met his parents. I honestly didn’t care she did, though a part of me did feel that he deserved it for breaking the bro-code.
When I heard she got married, it didnt affect me. I dont know why it does now of all times
Limerent Emeritus says
Have you read: https://livingwithlimerence.com/case-study-limerent-for-an-ex/ ?
Just read your post. Is exactly my case.
I just hope I will be strong.
Can’t imagine that others are going through exactly what I am going through.
This blog is a life saver.
I know I have to soldier through. I have picked up your book as well.
I know this is a a tough period I have to get through and I have come to terms that there were unresolved feelings from earlier.
I do wish my LO the best but I need to wish myself the best and forgive myself for my feelings and be grateful that I have a wonderful life even without my LO.
The uncertainty is a great point. It is the bliss of knowing that there may be a path, even if in reality there doesn’t exist one.
Since I read it, every time I remember, I tell myself that it is the cocaine of uncertainty that is bringing me back.
Limerent Emeritus says
Song of the Thread: “Jam Up and Jelly Tight” – Tommy Roe (1970)
“You won’t say you will but
There’s a chance that you might”
One of the great bubblegum classics of the era.
I keep coming back to the blog as my limerence is like the tide. Keeps coming and going.
Anyway, as I read this blog, I ask myself what the role of passions have in mitigating limerence.
Is limerence confined to those without strong hobbies or passions. This seems true with me. Its probably why I have days when it doesn’t affect me. The days are inevitably those with a lot of work.
I guess it is kind of. Purposeful living and all that init. When you’ve been hit with the limerence bomb, they become a passion of sorts. Now that is sweet and sexy if you are actually together and you are both interested in that. But when your just ruminating you are thinking that you are doing something which you are not doing. Cause all your doing is thinking. When you have something else to focus your passions on, some reason to for lack of a better phrase, to live, then you don’t have to engage with your passion by thinking, but can follow it through and do something that you are passionate about, like maybe gardening or dancing or football or maybe even your work etc. . At the end of the day aren’t we all passionate about our LO’s and want to do them :). You have to realise that you can’t (LO is unavailable to you in some way) or actually don’t want to be with your LO (i.e. you value your pre-existing relationship with SO, or your LO is a dodgy person or just a bad match). If your both single and your LO is open to a relationship and not dodgy, then you can feel free to fall head over heels for each other (still have to watch your landing). When your in your limerent reverie you can pursue your passion with no real risk, because its just thoughts in your head. That can make it quite attractive, that you can bliss out by just going to your thoughts. But you know its empty, and thats what makes you sad. Empty passion. Its what encourages you to act. What discourages you from acting is the fear of losing out on that supply. Losing out on the comfort and of losing out on what you have with them.
But and this is a time tested phrase: You gotta risk it for the biscuit. The risk is losing what you have with them. The reward is getting closer. Its the game that people plays. Its just higher stakes with limerence, the risk and reward is higher. Why is the risk higher you may ask? Because you built it up didn’t ya, and the risk is you don’t get the reward ever, because you blunder. The funny thing is if you don’t risk you are almost guaranteed to get the same outcome anyways.
Limerence is you brain crying for you to take a risk on someone and give yourself up to them and try to get them to do the same for you. Its unfortunate that it can do that at the most inappropriate times (when you or LO is not available) and sometimes for inappropriate people. But well not everyone can be fortunate all the time.
Limerence is falling in love with uncertainty, people fall in love all the time. But you only ruminate on it if you let yourself do it. If you put things in perspective at the start after you’ve been glimmered and you focus on other aspects of your life like the strong hobbies and stuff, then you can stop it in its tracks. You can still fall in love of course. But on your terms. When your just drifting along, then you can get pulled in by the current of falling in love and trapped in the holding pattern of limerence if there is uncertainty. When you have something a purpose in your life, then you have an oar and you can steer yourself away from falling in love if that is not part of your plans and not what you want to do. It can be harder for some people but with the oar it is definitely possible, although it can be tiring work. The good thing if you’ve got a nice SO, is they can help you too.
This is completely unrelated to your comment. Have you ever heard of the drug + set + setting model for drug experiences. Our drug of choice is falling in love. LO is the trigger for this. The Set is what you bring to the table. It is your life experiences and stuff and your mindset. Not everyone experiences limerence. Also this is where the purposeful living part can come in. The setting is the thing that helps give us limerence. The setting is uncertainty, due to a variety of barriers.
This is a long comment and this is also not related to your comment. This might be how you feel during limerence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RHBAd5YUR8
Wow, what a revelation! I have been researching twin flames for the last twelve years and thought I had met mine who is twenty two years younger than myself. We where together for two years. After reading all the information support and guidance on this page I have realised that I am limerence rather than a twin flame. I am at an all time low, depressed and have felt recently like I just can’t get myself to move forward. After reading these posts I wonder where do I turn to for help? I was seeing a therapist recently who to be quite honest couldn’t make head nor tale of my life, real or the fantasy one! I have been this way since my early adolescence. My first LO lasted for twenty years, I was with him for five years but the fantasy continued rent free in my mind for 15 years, in the hope that one day we would reunite. After much research into twin flames I and because of all the brainwashing around twin flame unions I believed until tonight that my first LO was my false twin flame and my last LO was my real twin flame. All of this has been driving me absolutely crazy. I almost wrote a letter to my second LO last week after not speaking to him for almost 10 years, what have I been doing with my life? I now live alone and believe my limerence has got worse since my son left home twelve months ago and find myself immersed in fantasy land again, in the hopes that one day soon I will reunite with my second LO. Please could someone shine a light at the end of this dark tunnel? Any books I could read? Websites I could look into? I just cannot carry on like this it’s absolutely wrecking my life, I have totally isolated myself because of all of my thoughts, my actions recently have concerned family members as they believe I am mentally unwell, now at long last I have some answers but I don’t know what to do with all this new information, any further support and guidance would be gratefully received. Many blessings
Dr L says
Welcome, Tracy! Glad you found us 🙂
There is a lot on the site about limerence, and even a couple of articles on Twin Flames (and why limerents often relate to the concept). The complete blog archive is here. And there is a Resources page too, with lots more on limerence and how to recover from an unwanted episode.
Something remarkable happened and I thought I’d share in case it would be of any help.
My limerence for LO is suddenly gone. As in, suddenly. What happened? Well, I hadn’t seen my extended family for awhile (damn pandemic). Recently, I finally saw them all again. The first few days, things were much the same: compelled to reach out to LO, ruminating, etc. But after about a week, I woke up one morning and I realized that I suddenly felt whole again. I had had this pain that was this yawning hole inside of me, and suddenly settling back to being with my birth family again meant that pain was gone. And with it, my yearning for LO! Has anyone EVER had a similar experience to this?? I can hardly believe it, this obsession has been disrupting my life for so long and I was contemplating some drastic measures to stop the torture.
The more I think of it, the more it makes some sort of sense to me. If limerence is a bonding mechanism, it goes to follow that it arises out of a situation where our current bonds are unsatisfactory in some way. So, if we had bonding issues in our family of origin, or growing distance in our bond with our partner, or in my case not seeing family members who I have a bond with for too long a time. I don’t know how we can scale this to other situations that could be of use to others, but its worth knowing about I think.
I am now turning LO in my mind, and it is so strange to see them without limerence. I still see all the positives, as objectively LO is a very nice and attractive person, but the captivation and lovesickness and longing are gone! LO is just a nice, pleasant, attractive person I like, like any other person in my life I appreciate and like (and there are many of those, I have tons of friends).
I am 51 and wish I had read this article years ago as it would have been incredibly helpful. I am recovering from a recent LO who I met through work. I and the LO were both single however there was big age gap and I was a lot older. I ended up leaving my job of 13 years which I was unhappy in anyway, I made the mistake of telling my LO my feelings ha ha. People at work were noticing and they lacked understanding. LO was nice about it but I could tell I needed to get over it as it wouldn’t work. I have a long history of limerence but thought it was just crushes. One good thing out of this it has made me look within deeply this time and put me on a transformative path with me actively taking the reins to steer my life, pursuing my own interests aggressively, taking a few risks rather than settling for a safe but discontented life. This has annoyed a few people that thought they could control me – they thought that I would stay in an unrewarding job forever because I couldn’t do anything else. I’m working less and figuring out ways to lead an interesting life that has meaning and purpose. I have many interests and hobbies and are now meeting new people regularly and do well paid contract work which has made me realise how badly I was being bullied at my previous place of work.
“One good thing out of this it has made me look within deeply this time and put me on a transformative path with me actively taking the reins to steer my life, pursuing my own interests aggressively, taking a few risks rather than settling for a safe but discontented life”
This resonates with me. I posted my current issue with Limerence. I have lived my life “controlling” my emotions and led to my unhappiness and divorce compounded by Limerence – I think the obsession is my subconscious trying to break out. I have untethered my emotions this last year – I went on depression med’s for a while as I never learned how to trust the feelings, but recently I stopped taking them as I realized they just suppress me which I can do myself, what I need to do is learn is how to handle and channel those feelings and emotions. I feel like what most people figured out in their teens I never did – I am 51 with a 15 year old’s emotional capacity.
I’m on that path as well. I didn’t even realize I had deep, suppressed childhood wounds that needed attention.
I do have to thank Limerence for bringing that up.
Good Luck to you!
Jason, I realized that limerence hit me hard when I was coming off depression meds.
Thank you for those steps. It is true that when you have a purpose, attraction to LO wanes. Whenever I pursue and work hard on my writing goals, my thoughts for LO are less and less important. He’s not the centre of my universe (mind), I am, my writing is.
Why do we chose some people to be our LO? That’s an amazing question. Why them? Why him, why the artist who’s sensitive and an introvert like me? Why the person who cannot be easily reached, who’s complex, morose and unavailable?
Maybe because I’m just like him and I wanna overcome all these awful traits that made me suffer so much in relationships and life, in general? I’m definitely someone who’s unavailable in relationships (distant and numb) and LO is like a reminder to overcome this in me because..life is painful when you’re not reaching your full potential-in all areas, not only in romantic relationships.
Allie 1 says
Is it really a choice? Or is it just that certain small (and often actually un-important) details about them fit our subconsciously defined template for love?
Unavailable people are more likely to be LOs for everyone purely by being unavailable. If they (and we) were fully available, we would never become full-on limerent for them. They and us would just really like each other mutually in a normal and healthy way.
Super thorough article. I enjoyed it thank you.
Thanks for the article. I am celebrating over 20 years with my partner but suffered from Limerence when younger just thinking it was an intense crush – or valid because I had been in a relationship (if idealized) with the person but then took years to get over them and stop fantasizing.
I’ve done a lot of personal growth recently and learned about this concept and negative patterns I’ve had so when a guy said some flattering but slightly off things to me whom I barely knew it gave me a chance to pause and watch myself starting the process.
My first reaction was flattery and confusion. Then embarrassment as I wonder if he thought I needed to be rescued. I no longer feel that way but it is a hard fantasy to shake. I didn’t want to need or be needed falsely by someone. I knew he didn’t know who I was. I stewed for a week before responding to him excited but regretful that he was taking up head space. Upon reflection I realized I had misinterpreted at least one confusing comment.
I didn’t want to withdraw (a typical defense) in case I was jumping to conclusions and I didn’t want to let the tiny fantasy fester. So, I communicated with him and set up a time to talk. I figured that at the least this would dispel any illusions about me he had once he learned more about who I am – like I was doing both of us a favor.
And I hoped I could be open and curious about him knowing I have stronger boundaries in case my worst suspicions about his feelings were true. I wondered if we could even be friends since we had a unique experience in common.
I’m proud of myself! We had a nice conversation and he hasn’t responded to my text from over a week ago so I take it he’s not romantically interested if he ever was. He’s still LO material but now I have so much data against the fantasy that I could have built. I’d like to know him more but won’t pursue a friendship unless he does. Perhaps I got lucky that he’s not more “awesome” or isn’t pursuing me? I’m trying to work on friendships with women from the same experience but I’ve rarely had luck with maintaining friends of either gender.
I think my response from now on about people I dislike, have transference about, think might become a LO will be to test and dispel my fears quickly. I assumed this guy would be poorly suited to me if I got to know him (even though he is very handsome and such an ego boost). I was searching online for whether or not people talk about this as a way to get over some LO like when you don’t know enough about them to see them as a full person. It’s helped me break the spell I felt he started and see that I can be curious without running away.
Still, It sucks to be so guarded because I don’t want to fall into Limerence around men. It feels like all it takes sometimes is for them to be kind and not look like a troll. I guess I have more work to do. Ah hah! This could be an excuse for holding on to the weight I’ve gained – fear of encouraging more LO opportunities? Fear my boundaries are too weak.
I just came across this page and didn’t even know what limerence was before… it has been very helpful to see that this is “real thing” as it has been causing suffering and sabotaged all my relationships. I haven’t seen my LO in 16 years and yet he has been the one against whom I have compared every SO and love interest since with disastrous effects, so now I am alone. I realise that I have created neural super highways in my brain and I am at a loss about what to do. No contact isn’t an option is there hasn’t been any contact for over a decade, it has been all in my head. stopping a behaviour seems manageable but a thought? It seems impossible.
I should add that this was in high school and he *may* have had crush on me too. I was too insecure to at on anything and so I never got closure. Rationally I am well aware that I would probably even like him that much if I met him today, but emotionally everyone that isn’t him feels lacking, boring, depressing.
Oh Mia, that would be frustrating. I recommend you check out the
Crappy Childhood Fairy
on YouTube and see if her stuff rings true to you.
Steven Pruett says
I am 54. And TIL that I have a limerant mind. It started when I was 14. A girl. A huge crush. It happened for every girlfriend after that. Divorced now after 23 years of marriage. Thank God I married a wonderful person. The wisdom on these pages is like finding the meaning of life. THANK YOU. I finally understand what is behind this powerful, amazing, imprisoning feeling. By all other accounts I am a successful professional with many accomplishments, but upon activation of this trigger, which happened three weeks ago for the first time in 24 years, and I am an irrational fixated weirdo- tempered by experience, respect, and good nature. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to sort this out and help figure what the hell is going on.
I am hoping that posting here will somewhat help me. I dated someone 24 years younger than me on and off for the last year. I am 49. This is the third time I have suffered from this The first two years it took me about 2 years to get over the rumination and constant thoughts. Now that I have recognised the pattern I have been able to establish that I have a tendency to chase immature, damaged women that I want to rescue. I now know that this comes from trauma in my childhood and adolescent years. I am hoping that by working on those issues that I can learn not to idolise women who are emotionally unavailable and that I can gain some sense or worth and love for myself and avoid these situations.
If it’s any consolation to anyone. For the first few weeks after we broke up I acted like a complete child. Sent her long emails which I’m sure she didn’t care about, I stalked her social media and messaged her mother and brother that she was back with her abusive ex (though I suspect that was I lie she told me anyway)
Now I have ensured I have no way to contact her and I never will again. I focus on sleeping well which ensures I have less anxiety.
I focus on filling my life with the things that make me happy. I am on a journey of self discovery and trying to work through the insecurities I have from having two emotionally immature partners one of who is a severely damaged narcissist. I work with my father on a daily basis and accept he did the best job he could.
The point being that when I sleep well I feel great and don’t think of her that much. I focus on why I felt I needed to have someone who would solve my childhood issues. And more importantly what I need to repair the wounds that created this situation.
Hope this helps someone
I came to the exact realization Michael.
My Limerence, as painful as it is, took me on a wacky, wild, hurt inner child adventure.
(I didn’t realize at the time that it was childhood neglect that caused it.)
Even though this “Limerence” is the worst thing that I have ever come up against, I can actually say I’m glad it happened.
We will come out better, stronger and more healed.
I realize I have “suffered” from Limerence most of my life (I am 51). I just recently discovered the term when I searched articles about obsession. Reading about it was a relief in that it gave me clarity to what I never understood. I get obsessed with a woman and cannot let go, do not want to let go, read into every little thing and see hope, every interaction is like a drug to me, they are perfect, … I cannot control it. First time was my high school sweetheart, I obsessed over a decade after it was over. Nothing bad, but was in my head, fantasy and hope never faded. Recently again, woman at work, had affair, now divorced. Affair over, she has repeatedly informed me it is over, logically I know and accept it, but I don’t know how to get past the obsession… we still work together so I see her all the time and have to interact with her daily which makes it sooo difficult. Looking for ways to cope. It is an addiction, it feeds me dopamine in a way nothing else does.. . Just struggling
Yikes Jason. I’m sorry to hear that your limerence lead to an affair and divorce. And you’re still limerent, but LO moved on? That sounds extra hard. Can you pour yourself into something meaningful like a hobby or project? Maybe you could find a service opportunity?
Well it’s now probably my third week of Limerance. And I know it’s not real, but my brain is doing its best to make me believe this is real. This is all about a woman at work. Someone who I have worked with now for about the last 16 months.
So how did this all start I keep asking myself, why the constant longing for this LO. Why is she in my thoughts every hour that ticks by. I suppose it all started with her calling me one day and asking if I would like to go to the cafe with her at break. I agreed thinking nothing of it, just two work friends going for a bite to eat. I must say i enjoyed her company very much, but I didn’t think anymore of it. Then she asked me to go again with her on a few other occasions to the cafe.
And when we were together I felt this warmth from her. Her company was nice, I started to like her more than just a work friend. Then i was off work for two weeks. Then the Limerance started.
While I was off work, I found myself with this constant thought I just being with her, wanting to see her, this hope she felt the same. So mind is now just more or less filled with thoughts about the LO. I’m not thinking straight, I email her. I tell her how nice she is, how much I enjoy her company. How I am looking forward to seeing her at work. She replies, it seems a nice a reply, she says she enjoys my company as well, she also looks forward to seeing me at work.
I return to work after two weeks of Limerance, actually lost weight and a good few hours of sleep along the way in this horrible mind journey of Euphoria, anxiety, nervous tension, fear, dread. Thinking she would come and greet me warmly on my return to work when she see me, of course this didn’t happen. She waited until I went to her. This was horrible as my legs felt weird my stomach not so better. She seemed nervous, anxious herself, like she didn’t know what to say or do. I just could sense how she felt awkward so I made my excuses and said I’ll see her later. We then bumped into each other again. She offered to help me with my work. I could still sense she felt a bit nervous around me, so I done my best to lighten the mood and by the time we had finished work she seemed far more relaxed, more herself. Meanwhile I go home and still think of her constantly. Next day, she is anxious it seems to me again, we spend a bit of time working with each other again that day. It starts nervously, both of us, ends with smiles and warm see you laters.
I go home of course you know the drill. Now I got through a whole week of seeing her everyday, now it’s been two more days this week, things feel a bit more normal, not how it was before far from it, I’m caught in a thought loop still, I’m seeing her becoming a bit less nervous a bit less anxious. Now here is why I haven’t gone through with anything, she is married, and after two previous disasters of Limerance in my life where I went through with my thoughts, there is absolutely no chance of me doing the same this time. I learnt the hard way. I’m not going to kill our friendship through unrealistic aims of wooing her somehow, I know it’s unattainable, not going to happen, never was, its beyond reach so to speak.
So now I’m the process of doing my best to stop this longing, I have now got to re train my brain back to how it was before this state of awful Limerance, somehow, because I’m not leaving my job. I have to get back to how things were before, when I didn’t have these constant thoughts. I am sure I can eventually get there, not sure how long it will be. But have noticed a few differences, I’m beginning to accept what it is I am going through here, my general mood has improved, I can now engage much better in conversations with people, my appetite is returning slowly, and actually feel like I might start getting more sleep again. I know there is zero chance, I know when I see her I might get a bit nervous, but I’m hoping as the weeks pass things improve, my brain returns to its normal state of non Limerance, I believe it will. I think I’m just at the beginning of that now.
Your descriptions of limerence are brilliant, Jay, and I feel sure they will resonate with many users here. There is a lot of helpful advice to be found in the blogs and comments. I’m not really certain why I’m still here, to be honest, as I have been trying to wean myself off the site and move on. It’s so incredibly helpful, or addictive, to read the posts though. Today I am on a roll, boosted by some very wise and insightful comments.
You are in your third week. That could be a blessing because three weeks is really no time at all and you could, I very much hope, stop the limerent beast in its tracks. You say you “know it’s not real” but limerence certainly feels very real indeed. You have recognised it after just three weeks. I really hope you can deflect the potential grief and pain.
You describe the physical symptoms, also the nervousness and anxiety, so well. When my LO encounters were unavoidable, there were times when I was ridiculously tongue-tied and I could hardly bear to look him in the eye.
Anyway, there are many punters here with more recent experience of limerence in the workplace than me. Meanwhile I do hope that you are able to continue on your path to return to “normal”.
The workplace seem distraught with limerence for quite a number of male limerents here in this community, including myself. So there will no shortage of solicited and unsolicited advice I’d wager.
It’s been a year of NC with LO for me, and much like frederico I find myself hanging out here when it’s a toss up if it good for my limerence or not. I think I just want to try and pay back to this community what it has paid to me; a light at the end of the tunnel. Deep in limerence I could not see fiction from reality. And when the house of cards all came crashing down on me I slowly started seeing how altered my behavior was from the way I normally am.
Like frederico said it is good that you are already recognizing the changes in your behavior regarding LO before you are neck deep sinking in the mire. Good job so far Jay. Keep up the self awareness.
Thank you Adam, sorry I didn’t reply to you earlier. Yes the workplace must be the worst place this can happen to a person. It is truly horrible. I hate how this is happening, its now making me start to feel a bit bitter and angry about the situation.
Tomorrow is Friday, usually a good day. But it won’t be for me tomorrow, we always go to the cafe on a Friday, I am dreading it to be honest, knowing she will be there. Probably playing me, trying to make me jealous, all that achieves is I get bitter, not jealous, maybe its a good thing, it may put me totally off her.
But I’ve still got to learn how to be a bit more cold, but it’s hard when other people are there. People will pick up on that and notice I change when she is there. Maybe just stay more quiet, speak when spoken to sort of thing. Like you say it is so hard sometimes to tell what is real, is it me really just overthinking every thing she says or does.
I know one thing I would give anything for a time machine right now haha.
“Probably playing me, trying to make me jealous”
Jay, why do you think she is trying to make you jealous or playing you? Quite honestly, this sounds like your limerent brain jumping to conclusions about her behavior. She could simply be a social person likes to make friends with various people.
Remember, limerence is happing in your head and your perception is altered. Try hard to view things as they really are and not let the limerence distort the reality or it can breed things like anger and resentment towards LO when she may not deserve it. If you are struggling with jealousy then switch up your routine and simply put yourself in a position not to get jealous. If that means a different plan than the cafe, so be it. Your personal health right now is most important right now and you are in survival mode.
You are 100 per cent right. I am just seeing things that don’t exist. I am trying to make sense of it all. And feelings of being played need to be parked, as its just wrong of me.
No worries, that is what this community if for. I’ve been there countless times and understand the stories we tell ourselves to try to understand it all. Just be careful of not putting yourself in the center of LOs behavior.
Hey thank you so much, those few words you writ, have had a really good effect on me today. I am feeling more normal today, weird. Feel almost relaxed.
Sorry I’m a little late with a reply, but I agree with Speedwagon here. Just because she’s friendly isn’t necessarily her being a flirt or trying to be a tease. She may very well be just a nice, social butterfly.
Before the LE hit last year, I had been chatting with a female co-worker, who is only a few years younger than myself. She’s very outgoing, well-meaning, kind-hearted and attractive. At the same time, she can come across almost too sweet, that I wanted to believe her vibe meant she was interested. And I kind of was. For a matter of months actually. I would see her every day and she always had a pleasant disposition about her. Always in a good mood. Always smiling. Just an all around nice person. Plus she didn’t wear a wedding ring. I figured it was game-on. So I kinda started getting a little more personal with her about my background. She in turn told me a little more about herself. I always felt like we were going in a positive direction. We always talked about our weekends, what we were doing, just nice, wholesome conversation. She never mentioned anything about a kid or a husband, so this was really a good thing for me. I thought. I figured we’d be dating at some point, just not sure when.
One Friday before the end of the day, I asked her what her plans were for the upcoming weekend, and she mentions she had plans to be doing something with her Step-Daughter on Sunday. This threw me a little off, so I just came right out and asked if she was married. She said she infact was. There was some awkward silence and then I apologized for even trying to come on to her like that. I made it pretty obvious and I think she liked the attention, but I wasn’t pissed she admitted it. Infact she apologized too and said she didn’t wear a ring because some diamonds fell out of it, so she just never wears one.
The point I’m making is I never held it against her that she kind of led me on. Or maybe she wasn’t leading me on and it was just my dumb-oaf, pre-limerent brain wanting to perceive it as such. I could call her a tease or a flirt, but I don’t
really think that. Maybe she’s just a nice person. Either way I toned it down a notch with her, and got the idea of an “us”never happening. Because she’s just off limits now. I mean I still enjoy her company and we still talk almost every day. But that’s just it. We’re co-workers. Nothing more. Turns out though, she is a good friend of LO. But I never bring that subject up. I might ask her at some point how LO is, but I won’t be a pest about it. It’s too awkward to talk about anyway. I’m not ready to let that Cat out of the bag just yet.
I will mirror Speedwagon here and suggest taking a different route at lunchtime. That is, if you’re actively trying to rid yourself of the idea of her. However, try to remember the reality of your situation too. Intrusive thoughts suck, I get it. But if she is married, what good can come from this, for you? Just a thought. Let us know how your Friday went.
My Friday has gone OK thank you. But its a day of lurching from one mood to the next. Started off well, felt pretty good this morning, lunchtime went fine, didn’t see her today. Was doing all good in the afternoon. But then started to have episodes of thinking, or over thinking about things for a while. I then had a conversation with a friend about things, that helped. I’m now in a state of confusion. Confused why this happening. Why I get these horrible intrusive thoughts, questioning things in my head. Sometimes I come to the logical conclusion, sometimes I think
And of course you are right, absolutely no good could come of me making a pass at her. But I am also in a bit of confusion, I actually do not want to be with her, but then think of her. I let my friend read my emails, he is the only person in my life I have shared this with. Though when I see my sister next, I will talk with her about things. But on my friend, he said the emails I writ were not overbearing, not full on making it obvious how you feel, he said if he received the same emails from someone, he would view them as someone be very friendly, not anything more.
This now makes me think, I wonder why she was so nervous herself when I came back to work, like my friend said, it wasn’t flirty, no kisses and love emojis, no corny stuff. So this now adds to my confusion.
I’m sorry about how I seem to swing from being fine one moment, crisis the next. Stupid things I say. I am feeling calmer though, I am eating better, hopefully get some weight back on. But I’m going to start to make a much better effort at not reading into everything so deep.
Hope everyone else’s Friday is going as well as it can go for you.
@Jay, I have found that my limerent mind goes in all sorts of places on any given day. You know what you feel for this person and nobody is going to change your mind about that. It’s definitely not easy and I wish half the time, I wasn’t as aggravated as I can get about LO.
But I do pray for God’s guidance and grace to help see me through this. Hope this helps.
Stay in touch.
Before the limerence (in hindsight from learning here and knowing when it set in) I did a lot of online research on mid-life crisis among men. I don’t know your age but I am 45. I started having these thoughts to improve myself. I lost a lot of weight by eating healthier, cut way down on my smoking and changed my entire wardrobe.
One day while trying something I ordered online on to make sure it fit my wife asked me “what are you having a mid life crisis or trying to get some woman’s attention?” Anyway to get to the point, once learning about limerence, the online research I do I have found quite a bit of overlap with men in mid life and limerence. Especially common with men, like Speedwagon, MJ, Lost In Space and myself is limerence/crush on a younger female co-worker. I forget the statistic at the moment but it was very high that a lot of EA and PA start in the workplace with middle aged men. And of course add in limerence and that’s just throwing gasoline on the fire.
What I found in a lot of research and testimony is that it’s because as men we look to our past and find all the things we haven’t done that maybe at one time we did want to. A lot of people sacrifice dreams when they get hit by the life of adulthood. Then we start looking to the future to see if we can accomplish these. We look over at our wives (if you are married) and wonder do women still find me attractive? If I wanted to could I get another one? Am I still virile and in demand? Hormones and evolution can be a _____
Then panic sets in and before we consciously know it, our behavior and attitude change. Maybe not negatively (though some do out of resentment for their lot in life and blame it on others, more often their spouse) but we are trying to make ourselves a new man. One we are more proud of and one that we think people will notice. Hence, my change in my wardrobe. I remember LO noticing the change for the first time. “What are you all dressed up for Adam? You look handsome either way.” I couldn’t even form a “thank you” to her. Damn dopamine.
As we change in our mid life (and something I don’t think I did very well with) we aren’t/can’t change others, or put blame on them for what we feel inadequate about. I think my lack of much dating and being a virgin up until I got married may have been a subconscious drive to get LO to notice me. Not to pursue her per say just that she notices me as a man. LO was a very attractive woman and that would be quite the ego boost for LO to see me as an appealing man.
Limerence much like mid life is hard to navigate because we can’t always be sure what the reality of the situation is. We are filled with all these doubts, fears and inadequeces of ourselves and then you add working with a young and attractive female co-worker and you have a recipe for limerence. And for the cases of most of us guys here with LO co-workers, that’s a recipe for disaster, heartache and mistakes. But we manufactured that as men. Just because a young lady is pleasant to us doesn’t mean anything other than her parents raised her with good manners. We have to ask, “why does this woman’s smile send me to the moon and back?” Us guys see that young LO and read all kinds of things into her that aren’t there. Limerence says “maybe she ….” and then we go chasing after LO to satiate the limerence monster. Over and over again. Like a dog chasing it’s tail. When the dog does finally catch his own tail all he gets is a bite on his tail. Limerents aren’t much different when there is a barrier between us and LO.
I am positive that my mid life crisis was the issue before the limerence. Our oldest boy is going to college, our youngest is 16, and my wife and I have been together 23 years. One boy is not a boy anymore. He’s a man and he out there pursuing his own life. The way his lady friend and him talk I maybe a father in law soon. But I think they plan to wait till after college. Anyway I am rambling. The point is mid life is a lot of changes for married couples and parents. We are closer to facing our own mortality and all of sudden all these things that escaped us for the first half of our life become so very important again. But we aren’t the same person as our younger self. And we are in a different position in life. We can’t just pout things aren’t what they use to be and try to ignore reality to make ourselves happy.
LO is an escape. Much like our good friend alcohol. LO lets us forget what we feel inadequate about, troubles in the marriage, day to day life, bills, debt, rent, etc. She’s the perfect escape. Manufacturing scenarios in your head about LO is much better than worrying if you can manage to pay all the bills this month, or that car repair you need to budget before it gets worse. As a person that knows a lot about escaping with alcohol, I’ve said it more than once here, limerence isn’t much different. I think the only difference for me is I am more ashamed of my limerent behavior than any of my drunk behavior.
Allie 1 says
Mid life crisis happen to lots of women too, and for the same reasons. Sigh.
“We have to ask, “why does this woman’s smile send me to the moon and back?”
I’m curious about people experiencing limerence in midlife. Does the midlife limerence feel like a deja vu experience i.e. “it’s happening all over again” or a novel experience i.e. “something like this has never happened to me before”?
E.g. does the young woman’s smile remind one of something that happened to one when one was young, and one wishes to recapture that feeling? Or does one not have to have had any previous experience of limerence to experience limerence ecstasy in midlife?
If one has experienced limerence in youth, and is now experiencing it again in middle age, is that disquieting “i.e. why is this happening to me?” or thrilling “i.e. I’ve been waiting for this moment because I almost forgot that I was capable of feeling this way”?
What has the overall emotional landscape been like for people in the intervening years between youthful limerence and midlife limerence? Has life been emotionally flat or emotionally hilly? I’m just curious about how people describe their emotional life trajectory. E.g. did one accept a gradual loss of excitement at some point? Was anyone disappointed by the fading of original limerence? Did anyone hope that the feelings would come back at some point?
“E.g. does the young woman’s smile remind one of something that happened to one when one was young, and one wishes to recapture that feeling?”
Actually LO does remind me a lot of a young lady I did all I could to pursue when I was still single. She was a gal that I went to church with. LO and her were similarly built. They had a lot of personality traits that were similar. They both were very sweet and caring ladies. Both humored me lol (I was way out of their league) Some of the same things I did in limerence for LO I did for her then. Gifts, extra attention, protect. Now that you mention it there does seem to be a correlation between the two and maybe why no woman up until LO could inflict this kind of altered state of mind on me. Maybe I was limerent for her too then. Though I am not too sure. Expecting me to remember my state of mind 25 years ago is a tall order. But I know she, like LO, had me in the palm of her hand.
“is that disquieting “i.e. why is this happening to me?””
Yes it is. I would say the same if I were a single 45 year old man too. Even if I was on the market I had no chance with LO. She was significantly younger than me. In a different place in life. Had daughters of her own. There was a cruelty in the limerence of trying to pair bond with someone that could do better than me. Why wasn’t I limerent for my wife when we met and we were both good for each other? Why am I limerent for a woman I can never be with? Why did I put LO through this? Why did I put my wife through this?
“What has the overall emotional landscape been like for people in the intervening years between youthful limerence and midlife limerence?”
I am fairly certain that LO has been (and God help me ) the only limerence I have experienced. But per my personality type, I get attached easily. Especially with women. Whether my intention is romantic or platonic. I remember having a really bad crush on a gal in middle school that I never even talked to. She had a brutish ___hole of a boyfriend that really ticked me off. I intervened in her behalf when I overheard some words he said to her in the hallway that I didn’t like. FYI when you are a scrawny nerd don’t get in a jock’s face lol Yeah well it was worth it. Some days later she kicked his ass to the curb. So that was good. But as my dear wife would say “that’s just your damn rescue complex”.
“Has life been emotionally flat or emotionally hilly?”
For me, in marriage, hilly. At least since 2009 when my wife checked into a psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar. And LO came around when things were in a low with her bipolar and anxiety. So LO was a nice escape. The perfect distraction from concentrating on; my wife. Bipolar is the epitome of the comparison to a roller coaster. A high maybe a year (which happened twice) or it maybe a week, a month, two days …. Lows tend to stick around a lot longer. When a low hits it is usually here to stay for a while. This emotional roller coaster is difficult to navigate. And as the husband lows tend to wear on my the longer they stay and I tend to look to things to distract me. My gaming hobby, alcohol, LO ….
“Was anyone disappointed by the fading of original limerence? Did anyone hope that the feelings would come back at some point?”
As exhilarant as the LE was at its peek I would not want to go through it again. While I am still struggling to let go of LO completely I am at least of the close to clear mind that I can live in the present. The crashing low of LO leaving and me being left without her is not worth the price to pay for the peek LE. LO is way more of a devastating addiction than alcohol and I know plenty about the latter.
As far as the “feelings coming back again” for LO, I’ll admit to wanting that. But that’s the addiction talking. Even as clear headed as I feel now, I would still welcome LO back again with open arms and forgiveness not matter how bitter and betrayed I feel now. Who would have thought the worse addiction in the world could be a person.
@Sammy re deja vu
Hear me out on this theory.
I actually think the most significant deja vu fact is that LOs tend to be younger – this is not just for men, but for many women too. These LOs are roughly the age and stage where we limerents are stuck in, as if in stasis.
Therefore, it is connected to mid-life, because we are (as Adam so eloquently described) where we are facing all the potentialities that we did not fulfil: “all these things that escaped us for the first half of our life become so very important again.”
Life was our oyster in our late twenties (but most of us were poor and striving and didn’t realize it!) When we pair bond, we unconsciously pick an LO that would have been great had we been the correct age (ie. the age in our heads), but the truth is … we are not.
Wierdly enough, I think some younger LOs might find an older admirer quite appealing – because these stable, secure, successful people who have “made it” are what a young, struggling person is AIMING to be.
One half looks back, the other half looks forward … and betwixt the two, limerence (not true love) is born.
Thank you. That was a very thoughtful response.
“As exhilarant as the LE was at its peek I would not want to go through it again.”
This observation really resonates with me. The exhilaration feels so good. But the price one eventually must pay for the exhilaration – whoa, very steep! And I’m not talking about moral costs or social costs. I’m talking about the purely biochemical costs e.g. the lows that follow the highs, especially once the whole thing begins to unravel.
“Hear me out on this theory.
I actually think the most significant deja vu fact is that LOs tend to be younger – this is not just for men, but for many women too. These LOs are roughly the age and stage where we limerents are stuck in, as if in stasis.
Therefore, it is connected to mid-life, because we are (as Adam so eloquently described) where we are facing all the potentialities that we did not fulfil: “all these things that escaped us for the first half of our life become so very important again.”
I adore a good theory and I think the one you tout here sounds quite reasonable! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 😉
Just about everything you wrote here rings so true.
I completely stepped my game up, once I had LO noticing me. I changed up my clothes, hair and the way I would behave around others when I knew she was around. And a lot of that was due to the challenge before me.
Asking myself all the time, can I really get this hot 28 year old to like me?
“Limerence says “maybe she ….” and then we go chasing after LO to satiate the limerence monster. Over and over again. Like a dog chasing it’s tail.”
That ^^ is so true!
It’s like I really was trying to make up for what I hadn’t done in life yet.
I married my wife when I was 27. She was 26. Sometimes that just shocks me. Especially if I look back at old pictures of us. How many better plans I had for us, the family we would make, the neighborhood we would raise our children in. It’s crazy to me now, how her and I made that happen together as Husband and Wife. And then I would just give up. Maybe it’s because our Son was born with a disability. (Why did that happen God??) Or maybe because I felt unworthy of having a Daughter to raise. (Who the hell do I think I am bringing a Daughter into this world? I can’t raise this person. I can’t even respect her Mother enough to keep our Family intact). So many questions, never to be answered.
When LO came into my life, she was 27. Almost the same age as my Wife was. When LO glimmered, it felt like the stars were aligned so that she would fall into place. I think I saw in her so much of maybe I wanted to see in my Wife at one time, but never did.
I guess my Wife should’ve glimmered for me, but she didn’t and I think that’s because we were together for so long before we married.
When LO happened, the timing just felt right. Subconsciously, though I think I may have felt like she was God’s way of giving me the 2nd chance to get right this time. The eye contact we made was just too good and for God’s sake, she even smiled at me too. Sending the limerence meteorite crashing into my heart. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect fallen Angel.
No Woman in my life has ever effected me like LO has. It’s as simple as that. I think it’s also safe to say that no other female has ever glimmered for me like LO has. I can look at my past relationships over the years, the girls I was with before I married, mild crushes, even Women off-limits to me, and none of them ever came close to this LE. LO is just amazing and beyond anything I ever expected I could feel for another person.
That’s because her beauty is unmatched.
From working with her when she was still around, I found her whole demeanor, just full of class. Her outfits so simple, yet complimented everything she was about. Not trying to be needy for attention. She’s quiet, stays in her lane. Pretty much stays to herself and flies under the radar. I find that so appealing and sexy. And so my type.
She is the most perfect escape and lately I’m just trying to forgive myself for building myself up, only to be let down. Like you Adam, I feel shame for that.
Thanks for the reply Frederico. Like you say I get a boost from reading some comments. It has helped immensely. In fact I have even found myself with a smile and laughing at some. Laughing at myself not the poster, because it resonates so much and helps me realise where I am with this.
I know i give off an aura of being anxious and nervous around her, I’m from tomorrow, taking deep breaths, relaxing those muscles a bit, maybe I might have to be a bit more quite around her, though that will be hard, as im not unsociable naturally. But trying my to best to relax and be the old Jay, not the pent up anxious awkward idiot I definitely do not want to become.
Something I can use are my other colleagues, without their knowledge of course haha. But just get back to being me again, just by the normal everyday things, I bump into people have a proper normal chat, not the one of late, where they talk, I hardly listen to a word, we say bye, I start the process again. Yesterday was good, as we had a meeting and their were 20 30 people their, so knew I had to be in the room. Anyway deep breaths, relax, smile, just be you. Thanks again.
I’m MJ. I am going on an 11 month work-crush with my LO. Boy do I remember being at only week 3. Hard to believe it will be year in July.
For myself, I can only admit limerence to being a blessing and a curse. While I have enjoyed the highs and the thrill LO always gave me, the lows have been way worse. And a lot of that is due to my anxiety that I always felt around her. Which has now led to some serious depression. While I can’t blame it all on LO, she does cause a lot of my crying spells. (Yes I am a 52 year old man and am guilty of bawling like a baby) I am currently on the hunt for a Therapist as I know this behavior is not normal. But almost a year later, I can’t get LO out of my head. LO is also pretty much unavailable to me as she has switched position locations within our Company. It’s also safe to say she was never even available to me when she still worked in the same building as me, because I never read her signals right and was always put off by her staring. Which drove me crazy.
I did make a weak approach or two with her but those were always met with her indifference. Because I think the eye contact we kept giving each other, actually freaked her out a little. Not my plan, because I wanted that to mean she was interested, but I guess I was wrong. I blame myself for her leaving to go work at our Satellite facility next door. Which has only fueled my limerence and drawn me deeper into a depression. Because I miss her so much and still think she is the most insane-gorgeous, crazy-cute, sickest-hottest Woman in the known Universe.
I have found this forum to be extremely helpful to read how others are dealing with their LO’s and limerence in general. Many still have contact with their LOs, which I could only dream of now. Others though have gone NC, which I guess is where I am but only by default. I could always go see LO next door if I really wanted to. But she might not like that. And I’m shy, so I stay away and try not to let it bother me. It’s very hard though. Sometimes I hate it.
Like Adam mentioned above, I’m one probably sinking in the mire here. But its called Living with Limerence. So that’s why I am glad to have this forum as a support for my issues. The people here are nice and want the best for you. I hope it will be helpful for you as well.
See you around…
Mj, I have been pondering the impulse to cry when LO seems distant.
“Yes I am a 52 year old man and am guilty of bawling like a baby.” I think this happens to a lot of limerents.
I teach Sunday school to toddlers and preschoolers. I’ve done it many times and in different places where I’ve lived over the years. Something seems universal. The boys have a harder time letting their mom leave the room than the girls. It is certainly a spectrum and not always a bigger struggle for every boy, but in general, I see more boys cry and cling to their moms than girls. They seem to let Mommy have space as long as they feel secure that she will be available when they need her. If there is any doubt, they cry. I’ve noticed that the LwL men cry when they don’t feel secure in their relationships with their LO. I wonder if these things are related. Maybe there is no relationship but it is something I’ve been pondering.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
“Cobblers”, I would say, Lovisa. I don’t think that there is necessarily such an old-fashioned differentiation between boys and girls, men and women. It’s just people and their experiences i.m.h.o. as a gay man……
I don’t cry much in general and especially if someone else can see me do so. I am a product of the “real men don’t cry” generation. But I have shed a lot of tears because of her. I even literally cried on my wife’s shoulder because an intrusive thought of her. As far as it having to do with my mother, in my case, probably no. The only time my mother saw me crying was when I was young and hurt myself or after a whooping. And even with the later I toughed it out for the most part at a pretty young age and would keep it in.
In my personal opinion I think she garners so many of my tears because this is a traumatic experience like no other and I have keep my tears inside (from numerous other traumatic experiences as well) for so long. Because as Freud said “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” Guess I am finally paying the tab now. And it took limerence for me to do it.
I was never really close to my mother, but closer to her than my father. Being that my father worked and was gone most of my life, my mother was judge, jury and executioner. So I ended up seeing my mother as an authority figure more than anything. When I was younger I did not see that as “stop doing doing stupid shit and she won’t have to discipline you” as I did seeing her as the enemy. It’s not until I got much older, late teens into adulthood, before I realized what I put my mother through and got closer to her than when I was young.
I hardly ever cried since about middle school. Maybe 2-3 times in my adult life. In the first 6 months of my LE I cried heavy every other week. I remember one evening feeling really low and asking my wife if she needed any errands run just so I could get in the car and cry. Cried all the way to the store. I have since stabilized those emotions and have not cried over LO for a good few months.
Crying feels great, but it is also an indication that something’s not right and I need to make a behavioral change.
Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback. It sounds like Adam attributed his crying over LO to pent up emotions. Perhaps it’s universal. This is something that interests me because grown men who rarely cry are shedding many tears over their LOs. It is fascinating. I am so curious.
The one time that I remember crying over an LO was when my current LO ran his first 100-mile race. I felt overwhelmed and I don’t know why. My best guess is that 1) I was worried about him. 2) My SO was out of town. 3) I had no access to LO3 during an important event that I helped him plan. I guess that’s it, I felt cut off or left out. Maybe that’s it. I really don’t know, but I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotions and worried. I was also sad that I couldn’t contact him.
Do you guys know what emotions you experience when you cry over your LO? Is it loss? Rejection? Fear?
For me, mostly rejection. A lot of crying came after I didn’t receive reciprocation I was seeking and had spent a lot of emotional energy pursuing her affection over a number of days.
Loss mostly definitely for me. I never cried a tear until her last day on the job. In fact I really never felt any negative feelings about her until she was gone. As long as I got to talk or see her periodically (after we stopped working together daily) I was happy. Even through a small spell of jealousy when I found out she was seeing someone, I was still happy to see or talk to her.
The uncertainty on the ride home on her last day that I might never see or talk to her again hit me. Really hard. I knew (even when I didn’t know what limerence was) if I ever got to see or talk to her again it had to be because she initiated it. I knew that I could not contact her myself. She was no longer a co-worker and that would not be proper.
I remember shopping one evening after work some months after she left. I had gotten everything we needed and I was at the self checkout. I had been listening to music while I shopped and as I was checking out this part of Lionel Richie’s song Goodbye was playing.
“And so I got to say
I’m just glad you came my way
It’s not easy to say
I really wanted to just let it out. I didn’t care I was in public and people would see me. I just wanted to let it all out. But I didn’t. It took a lot to keep it all together but I did. Later when I got home I could let it out. I think that day momma was asleep from a migraine so I was safe no one would see/hear me.
“I can remember all those great times we had
there were so many memories
some good, some bad
yes and through it all
those memories will last …. forever”
Thanks guys, that helps. It makes sense that Speedwagon would cry when he feels rejected by his LO, that would make me cry, too. It makes sense that Adam felt fine in his LE as long as he knew his LO would be somewhat available. It makes sense that Adam cried when his LO left and he didn’t know when or if he would ever have contact with her again. That is so painful.
The common thing seems to be that our emotions get big when we sense that LO won’t be available to us. Does that sound right? I wonder if anyone has been brought to tears during a time when they felt securely connected to their LO.
I appreciate that you guys are helping me process this idea.
Lost in Space says
I’ve always been a crier. I cry at movies, cry reading novels, cry listening to songs. I cried watching a music video the other day. Goodbye scenes have always gotten me, but it’s not just sad stuff – all kinds of powerful scenes will make me cry. Depictions of a parent’s love for a child. An underdog overcoming odds. All kinds of stuff. I think I just feel things really strongly in general, which is probably one of the reasons why I’m so prone to limerence.
As the amount of love in my life has increased, so has my tendency to cry at stuff. After falling in love with my SO, I noticed that a lot more things made me cry. After our first child was born, I found that even more things made me cry.
I’ve cried sometimes to release pent up emotions. I remember one month working in the ICU during my medical training when I witnessed a lot of death and tragedy and family conflict and all kinds of strong emotions, and everything was so busy I never had time to process any of it. At the end of that month, I was standing in church with SO singing a song, not even thinking about anything, and all of a sudden I was just weeping. I knew it was the release of everything from that month. It felt good and necessary.
I’ve cried hard when I’ve experienced relief from fear. When my oldest child was born, he didn’t breathe right away and had to be resuscitated. When I finally heard him cry, I completely lost it and wept like crazy. Another time, SO and our son were at the scene of a terrorist attack where people were killed, and for an hour or so I didn’t know if they were ok. When I finally found them and they were safe, I cried so hard just with shear relief.
There’ve been 3 times in my life when I’ve cried repeatedly over the same person. One was 4 years ago when my infant son died – I’ve written about that extensively in the blog post on grief and won’t revisit it here. The second was about two years ago when things were really bad in my marriage. There would be times when I’d try to talk to SO and she’d just turn her back and stonewall me. One time she coldly told me “maybe we’ll work it out, or maybe we’ll just go our separate ways” and to hear her voice it felt like she really didn’t care either way. I cried so often during those bad months – I think it was related to the fear of permanently losing the one person I’ve loved most in my life, and grief over how broken our once beautiful relationship had become. I’m so grateful we were able to fix things, and thinking about how horrible it felt when our relationship was broken is one of the main things that keeps me on track now trying to end this LE.
And of course, I’ve cried so many times about the loss of my relationship with LO. I’ve said goodbye to 3 other LOs in the past, definitely felt a lot of sadness each time, but never cried for any of them. This one is different. I let myself get so close to her, to care about her so much, to feel so deeply for her… it has really felt like a part of my own soul has been amputated. I think the disclosure and mutual limerence were what have made it so much worse this time. But NC is definitely helping – I used to cry several times a day thinking about losing her, and now it’s only a couple times a week.
I think sometimes how terribly strange it is that I can have such strong feelings of love for both SO and LO that I’ve cried so hard at the thought of losing both of them, yet keeping one inevitably means losing the other. And I know that eventually time and NC will lessen the grief of losing LO, but I don’t think I could ever fully recover from it if I were to lose SO forever.
Allie 1 says
My experience reflects this too…. i.e. when I have little LO contact, or when he distances himself in any way, I feel unhappy and flat. When I have a enough, steady, predictable LO contact I feel balanced and happy. I also ruminate far more in the former state, when I am worrying about “losing” LO and how I will cope emotionally.
I dunno… all I want is for a married dude’s life to revolve totally around me… is that really so much to ask? 🙂
That is helpful information, Lost in Space. It sounds like you are moved to tears by a variety of intense emotions. I’m glad you commented because your situation threw me off a little when I was pondering this. What’s different in your case is that you had an abundance of reciprocation from your LO, but you were still moved to tears. It sounds like you use crying as a release, which seems healthy to me.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Thank you all for sharing such personal feelings. All this goes very deep into what moves you to tears. I am deeply moved reading this.
As another data point for Lovisa, the times I have cried for LO were over the impossibility of it. I think I am too avoidant and/or prideful to cry over rejection – I would stop caring rather than feel rejected. I actually think that’s a big part of how I am getting over my LE – seeing my LO as a player, that he’s moved on, etc. If he doesn’t care, it is so much easier for me not to care too. That this wasn’t an amazing once-in-a-lifetime love story but more like a months-long flirtation also made it easier to let go.
But when I was in peak limerence, and my LO was making calf eyes at me, and I read too much into it, I saw my LO as another life I could not have, and my heart was breaking over it. I remember after spending extended time with him and needing to leave him excruciating to the extreme. I just wanted to be with him forever. And that was not possible.
Lost in Space says
“The times I have cried for LO were over the impossibility of it”
Emily, I understand this feeling completely! I’ve spent the last few months just thinking that there HAS to be some way to keep LO in my life for ever, if only we could figure out how to make it work… but it just isn’t possible no matter how badly I want to be with her forever. And running up against the inevitability of saying goodbye and the futility of trying to keep the relationship alive has brought me to tears many times.
It feels so tragic – I’m crying because I can’t be with her, she’s crying because she can’t be with me, we’re the only two people who know what this means to us, and we can’t even comfort each other. Hell, we can’t even talk to each other anymore. We sit in our offices 100 yards apart and each suffer our own private heartbreaks over something that just can never be.
Lost in Space says
“It sounds like you use crying as a release, which seems healthy to me.”
Absolutely. There have been many days where I’ll be sitting in my office trying to focus on my work, and thoughts of LO keep intruding, and they get stronger and stronger, and the grief starts feeling overwhelming, and I start having physical symptoms, I get hot and sweaty and short of breath, and then the tears come and after some minutes of crying my mind and body are able to reset and I can get on with my day. It’s absolutely a release and I think a very helpful one.
Limerent Emeritus says
“I dunno… all I want is for a married dude’s life to revolve totally around me… is that really so much to ask? 🙂”
Gee, where have we seen THAT before..?
Clip of the Day: “Fatal Attraction” (1987)
There were so many good clips, that it was hard to pick just one.
I saw this movie with the love-bombing sister-in-law of a coworker in 1987. It made me wonder about the woman sitting next to me.
You don’t resemble Glenn Close by chance?
Limerent Emeritus says
Song of the Thread: “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” – Jerry and the Pacemakers (1964)
I love the oboe in the background.
“My experience reflects this too…. i.e. when I have little LO contact, or when he distances himself in any way, I feel unhappy and flat. When I have a enough, steady, predictable LO contact I feel balanced and happy. I also ruminate far more in the former state, when I am worrying about “losing” LO and how I will cope emotionally.”
@Allie…this is my current experience as well, feeling really flat when I distance from LO. I’m curious what your LO does that you consider steady, predictable contact? Does he initiate with you or do you initiate with him and he then engages?
My LO never initiates but seems a willing participant in our interactions if I initiate. But I hate that she won’t initiate.
@Lost In Space
You hit the nail on the head. The word is “tragic”.
Your situation sounds heartbreaking. I am so sorry you are both going through this.
Allie 1 says
@Speedwagon…I’m curious what your LO does that you consider steady, predictable contact? Does he initiate with you or do you initiate with him and he then engages?
My LO never initiates but seems a willing participant in our interactions if I initiate. But I hate that she won’t initiate.
For me it is about how regularly he chooses to come into the office on my office days, how often we interact about work, and, most importantly, how often we have non-work conversation. This used to be frequent and regular but is much less now – less than weekly and very random which is painful at times.
LO initiates conversations (tel or in person) much much more than I do. I am very wary of initiating, or even continuing an interaction too long, becuase I fear triggering another agonising distancing response in LO.
Your LO might find your hot / cold behaviour a bit confusing too?
I think you are on to something here Ms. Lovisa. I was just thinking of this subject not too long ago.
When I was in grade school, my Mother was a Room-Mom, who would come in once or twice a week in the mornings to help the Teacher out. She also came in to assist with other Room-Moms at Class parties for holidays throughout the year.
I can remember always feeling very anxious when it came time for her to leave. I tried not to cry and I remember just feeling really down she was about to go. I know I was probably hanging on to her, hoping she would stay a little longer. Being an only-child, that was just a way of life for me, because I was always Mamas Little Honey.
I remember being very sad after she would leave. Almost to the point of tears. Mom died in 2018. I cried. But I can’t say as much as I do now. That’s some insanity of what this LE has done to me.
With the events that have gone on in my life these last 5 years, I feel like everything has been a slow downward spiral. About the time Mom died, my Daughter was just really starting to hate me for what happened in the divorce. I was trying to start a new relationship with a co-worker, who I really liked and it started out kinda good. I was probably somewhat limerent for her, but never to current LO level. My ex and I were still friends in a way, and I’d always hoped she might take me back, but I never really got over her initiating the divorce in the first place. I came to realize reconciliation would never be easy. I’m glad we’re still friends but I miss the hell out of companionship. Just having someone to watch TV with would be so welcome at this point. Sex is so secondary.
When things broke off with my GF last year, I think whatever depression I may have somewhat had up to that point, just started to increase. The idea of starting things up with LO, just fell into place and looking at my life-pattern then, it’s easy to see I had the perfect recipe to fall into the LE the way I did. Maybe LO is and has been a traumatic event all along. I think it’s because she just started out as this amazing person, so out of my league, but all of a sudden so possible. So when things with LO never materialized and she never reciprocated like I hoped, the roller coaster emotions started happening. And in 10 months time, they have increased tremendously. To pretty much bring me to my knees with depression. There have been times I have been so sad, I have felt like driving my car into a wall at 90 mph and I don’t even know who would care. Thats the kind of crippling low I have felt. (It’s rare, but I’ve considered it.) It’s why I know I need help in the biggest way. And I’m working on it.
Longing for LO has been the only thing that I like to think, keeps me together. But that’s just stupid false hope. With her obvious rejections, I still can’t quit the idea of her. I feel like all the other important Women in my life have left me and LO is my last great hope. And that’s because she still glimmers for me. Even with the serious lack of contact, she still glimmers in my head. Just seeing her car parked next door at work, brings some solace. My world is that pathetic. At the end of my work day, I’m still getting into my car and breaking down. Crying out her name and just wanting some far out possiblity, she might have a change of heart. It’s probably so wrong for me to think that, but my options seem non-existent. I’ll just wait and wait and wait till I feel like I can give her up.
To say I don’t feel secure in my relationship with LO, could not be more true. Maybe it correlates to losing Mom and my Wife and longing for connection.
My prayer is constantly asking God, why LO and why now? I didn’t ask for this. Not to this intensity. So why do I have to carry this cross that feels so unbearable sometimes? Just doesn’t seem fair. But that’s where I’m at.
That was very insightful, Mj. You recognize that you struggle with intense feelings when important women are not accessible to you. I was one of those kids, too. I remember screaming and clinging to my mom’s clothes when she dropped me off at daycare. I know it isn’t just boys who do that, but in my experience as a teacher, it is more common in boys. I think it’s interesting that your mom volunteered in your classroom even though her departure was hard on you. I have a daughter who struggles to contain her emotions. Before she entered kindergarten, I spent a lot of time volunteering in my kids’ classrooms. I tried volunteering in her class a few times, but she caused such a scene that I had to stop. Then it got bad enough that I couldn’t even be in the school because there was a chance she might see me. I went from volunteering multiple days a week to avoiding the school completely just because my presence was so triggering for her.
I’m sorry about the loss of your mom and wife. That is so hard. Your sorrow makes sense. The LE may have been the wake up call you needed. Maybe you can use it to your advantage. My LEs have been more of a blessing than a curse.
I’m sorry you are struggling with suicidal ideation. I’ve been there. It is awful! Please promise me something, if you think you might hurt yourself, will you go to the ER first? Just go to the check in and tell them your plans.
I’m so glad you are here. You bring good insight to the conversation.
“Please promise me something, if you think you might hurt yourself, will you go to the ER first?”
Yes Ms. Lovisa. I promise. And you’re welcome.
Thanks MJ. Really appreciate the reply. You know today was a good day. I hadn’t seen her all day, I was doing my best to think of other things, and done my best to talk with others, not be so vacant like I have been of late.
Then I had a call from one of my bosses, telling me they were coming to see us. Now this has always had us inform each other about the pending arrival of the big boss. So I rang her, kept it as brief as i could, let her know what was happening, she thanked me, that went OK I thought. Wasn’t too nervous. The boss went so I sent a short message telling her it was clear. She replied, we exchanged a couple more messages.
Here is the thing. Now when I look back at some of the messages I was sending before, these were different, shorter, more to the point, not what could be seen as me being a bit too much with the length of messages, and being over friendly. Somehow this has made me feel a little better about things. I had a moment of objectivness. I thought it through clear for the first time in weeks, I don’t feel as anxious.
I can feel myself asking different questions. Instead of thinking of her as an unattainable Love I can’t have, I asked what am I really longing, what’s missing in my life.
Jay, if you can keep telling yourself those things and especially the fact she’s married, you just might come out of your LE at some point. But only you can decide when to do that. I don’t think I could become limerent for someone who’s married. But then again, I never thought I would ever crush on anyone like I have LO. So I
should be the first person saying, never say never..
It’s good to see you recognize and can ask yourself the right questions.
If you’re not as anxious now, you just might start to be coming out of your LE. I wish you the best.
That’s it MJ,It’s about keep telling myself this isn’t what I actually want. And it’s true, I see the LO today. I think to myself why I am letting this bother me so much. I even get the impression she is now playing me a bit. She thinks I have such a serious crush that my jealousy levels will hit all time highs. She was making a point of being a bit touchy with another colleague. You know touching arms and stuff. I see it a mile off what she was doing. My brain isn’t up for more mind games, so I just told myself don’t give a damn she is playing you.
Now here is the thing, there is a woman at work, we get on really well, she is single, I am single, she invited me out to go see her allotment where she grows all sorts of stuff. Not sure how to go about this. I have the LO in my head, don’t actually really deep down want to be with her. I know it would be one of those anti climaxes, it’s infatuation. But with the other woman who I have no Limerance for, I get the impression we could blossom over time.
So really want I am saying is do not fool yourself into believing things that are real. Go for the things that could actually make me happy. As let’s face it, I’m not going to find happiness with a married woman. The baggage that would come with that would be terrible. My nerves then would be completely shot. What I keep asking myself, do I think I want to be with someone I deep down actually don’t. What a minefield how minds are.
I writ it down wrong MJ. I should have said do not believe things that are not real. Not real as I wrote.
Go for the other woman, Jay.
You are both single.
Lost in Space says
I agree – go out with the single woman and see what happens!
One of the sad things about limerence is that we become so obsessed with one person that we can miss out on everything else. During my first LE, I was in college and was single. LO was in a relationship and therefore unavailable to me. In the year or so that I was limerent for her, several other women clearly expressed interest in me – they were all nice and attractive young women who likely would have been good girlfriends. But I never reciprocated their interest, because I was so hung up on LO. I was 100% convinced that she was the only woman in the world for me, and I just couldn’t even imagine being happy with anyone else, plus I wanted to make sure that I’d be available for her in case her relationship ended and she became available to me. What a way to waste a year of my life feeling lonely…
Btw, that LE ended when I met my future wife. I finally got over myself enough to give it a chance and go out with another woman, and by our second date all of my feelings for LO were completely gone!
You are right Lovisa thanks, I am wasting so much energy on this, I could lose focus, let things pass me by if I’m not careful.
Talking to my nephew today about things. He said, I have to accept that the friendship you had has changed, its not broke, but its not the same. I have to stop obsessing about every little detail. Accept what’s happened, be myself, don’t try harder to garner trust, don’t try too hard to please, don’t try harder at being the joker, as that just backfires anyway, try being a comedian means you will end up looking a bit of a fool, be as natural as you was before. Its all sound advice. I just want to get off this train. Be so happy when it’s over.
“Wierdly enough, I think some younger LOs might find an older admirer quite appealing – because these stable, secure, successful people who have “made it” are what a young, struggling person is AIMING to be.”
Ah, now that you say that Emily, LO would often preface a request for advice, especially relationship advice, with “you’ve been married 23 years Adam, if anyone would know it would be you”. Or something to that effect. Because at that time of the people working there, I was the only one that hadn’t divorced and/or remarried. I never really thought much of it before. Jokes on her, me “made it”? Lol Hell I am still winging it some days.
You are making it! You and Momma are good examples to the rising generation.
Limerent Emeritus says
I think most of us wing it more than we’d like to admit.
I’ve come to think of life like baseball. I shoot for .500 but .300 is considered excellent and .250 is average.
You may not get on base yourself but you can still move runners and score RBIs.
You win when the team wins!
“You win when the team wins!”
That’s a good way to look at it. I think we’ve, my wife and I, have managed to raise two functioning respectable young men. If I have done anything right it’s that. My batting average dipped with this limerence but I can get it back up I think.
” changed up my clothes, hair and the way I would behave around others when I knew she was around.”
This is the first thing my wife called me out on even before she suspected why. She could see my behavior changes. My attire. It was in hindsight one of the most telling signs for her.
“Or maybe because I felt unworthy of having a Daughter to raise.”
I so wanted a babygirl. We ended up having two boys. They are awesome young men. If I feel proud of anything in my life it’s them. Ironic that LO’s name is what my choice of names would be if we had a girl. Momma and I both agreed on each other’s choice if we had a girl. I’d been a terrible father of a girl with meeting her boyfriend at the front door with my broadsword lol
“No Woman in my life has ever effected me like LO has.”
I know that feeling. As I was half drunk and eating my dinner last night I was hitting on momma pretty heavy if you know what I mean lol I was watching The Mist and momma was in the kitchen cooking her dinner and there was this scene in the movie where a man and woman connected again after years of being apart. The woman asked why he never picked up on her clues that she was interested in him to which he responded “I was stupid”. The gal ends up getting killed by giant bugs in the movie and she dies in his arms. I got an intrusive thought of LO. What if that happened to her? I ran crying to my wife in the kitchen cooking and told her I thought of LO. She redirected me to maybe I was upset about lost time with somebody like the character in the movie was. What if I couldn’t save LO?
Don’t you just hate that? You’re at home, doing your thing, trying to be a good husband, and then suddenly you get derailed emotionally, with an intrusive thought of this special LO you can’t shake. It happens to me every single day. It’s crazy.
Everywhere I go I see LO, not literally, but I could totally be out and about in the car, listening to a song, not about her, thinking of something I need to take care of for Dad or my kid and then I’ll see a car like LO has (especially if it’s white with tinted windows) and I will automatically get derailed to thinking of her. Even hoping it is her. When usually it isn’t. But it’s like by default, I’ll start thinking of her in her adorable outfits, or just the moments I thought I could snag her. Or that time she hid in the bathroom from me, so she didn’t have to walk out with me to the parking lot on break.
I left the hospital last night at around midnight, and it was late. I thought being a Saturday, I figured LO might have been at the club with all her hot Latina friends. Or maybe she was out with her Dude. Or maybe she was at home, fast asleep in her bed. With nobody there to hold her close, cherish her smell, or feel the warmth of her skin. Like all I could see in my head then, was her, fast asleep, and all that beautiful golden blonde/brown hair draped around her. Her mouth half open, no make up, her eyes closed and she’s far off in dreamland, where I am. Waiting for her… I like literally started crying, wishing I could see her. Wanting so bad to look into her gorgeous blue eyes again. Get shot to the moon when she looks back at me.
How is it possible a person can do this to us Adam?? How??
@Adam, was just re-reading your post again..
“Ironic that LO’s name is what my choice of names would be if we had a girl.”
I kinda did something similar like that at Christmas time last year. I bought a Coach purse for my Daughter, very much like the one LO has. I also got her a NY Yankees hat like LO has. Plus gift cards to all her favorite beauty hangouts. I swear her and LO would get along so good. They love getting their nails/hair done, looking pretty, and wearing nice clothes. Now I’m thinking about buying my Daughter a car like LO.. I’m just a sick sick Man. This madness never stops.
I always pictured LO taking my Daughter under her wing, like a big sister, or really cool Step-Mom, and them going out to do fun, girly things together. Guess I hoped if that would happen, maybe my Daughter might not be so angry with me like she always is now. Or at least begin to forgive me.
“Don’t you just hate that? You’re at home, doing your thing, trying to be a good husband, and then suddenly you get derailed emotionally, with an intrusive thought of this special LO you can’t shake.”
It is the most debilitating thing about limerence. It interferes with your most basic daily tasks and ability to enjoy things. LO reminds you when you don’t want her to. It’s painful and shameful. There is nothing that penetrates your mind like her. She robs you of your sanity. I get it MJ most certainty.
“Everywhere I go I see LO”
She is in everything you see. I’m half drunk at 10am because LO was on my mind to start. I tried to distract myself with playing some Breath of the Wild this morning when I woke up at 4am on a holiday with nightmares of LO like the movie watched the previous night. Imaginary scenarios of my failure to protect LO. F’ing limerence.
“How is it possible a person can do this to us Adam?? How??”
If I had an answer I would tell you MJ. But I don’t. I’ve never felt for LO what I have felt for other women, even my wife who I love dearly and has been more than supportive in my limerence. If anything my limerence has showed me how much she loves me and is willing to work with me. I don’t deserve this woman. She is better than me. She is better than I would probably be if the roles were reversed.
“Plus gift cards to all her favorite beauty hangouts. I swear her and LO would get along so good. ”
My big regret is that LO and my wife couldn’t be friends. I would have loved that they could have hit it off and the two most important lades in my life would have hit it off. To have LO and my wife laugh together. I would do anything for either of them. Nothing I wouldn’t do for either of them. Even if it meant riding in as one of the four horseman of the apocalypse I do it.
“She is in everything you see. I’m half drunk at 10am because LO was on my mind to start.”
Sounds like your holiday is off to a great start. I did a little myself last night, as I was cooking brats on the grill around midnight. But I was hungry and still thinking of LO. Just wishing she was there with me to hang out with.
You’re wife sounds amazing and ironically, so much like how my ex used to be. She was a very very forgiving Woman, when I so did not deserve it.
I would cry on her shoulder about things most men would be too embarrassed to ever tell their Wives, but not me. I was a Prick and a half. Undeserving and selfish as F—!! Looking back, it is no wonder I am in the predicament I am in these days.
When my Mother was still alive, she would always tell me, every Woman has their breaking point.. Well I guess I found that out soon enough. I never thought I would be divorced, middle aged, miserable over a fantasy, and alone on the holidays, for the last 13 years. But here we are.
Bottoms up my Friend..
“I did a little myself last night, as I was cooking brats on the grill around midnight.”
Well if I ever get your way we can cook out. Brats are one of my favorites. Especially since learning moving from the south from being a yankee that brats, hot dogs, links are much better in tortillas than buns. My wife taught me that lol
Your mother is probably more than right. I just haven’t tested her boundaries yet. Or I have and she’s just still willing.
I am drinking Miller High Life. Lol it was my father’s choice of beer. It was cheap and father worked hard to provide. I guess I am too. I try to be as good as my father was. I don’t think I am.
LO told me one time “Adam you treat me as no man has” (this was before she met her gentleman friend) and I asked “what do you mean” and she said “you are nice to me without any ulterior motive” she was a very beautiful woman. Way out my league.
MJ know that you have impressed on your LO the gentleman that you are.
“Well if I ever get your way we can cook out. Brats are one of my favorites”
That’d be great friend. Think we would have a great time. Probably crying into our beers over our LOs, but who cares right??
“MJ know that you have impressed on your LO the gentleman that you are.”
Now I just need to cut you off the Miller High Life.. The liquor is talking..
I hope I impressed something on her. Not quite sure what that is yet, but should tell me something since she doesn’t reach out. But that’s ok, I know where she works, lol..
(Btw, I have a Miller High Life t-shirt that I’ll remember you by, when I have it on next time..) Left you a song in music blog, check it out..
Uh oh now I am sounding like Miss Lovisa trying to convince me that LO has a positive impression of me. And I am convinced that your LO does of you. In hindsight the separation anxiety is difficult to navigate. LO taking the initiative to break contact hurts. They may not know what is going on in our heads. Maybe they do to some degree and they know that the separation is for the best for us the limerent. Women are a lot more perceptive than us men. They can no doubt read the honey in our words when we talk to them.
But do you know why I know LO thinks positively of you MJ even if she went to work next door? Because you have respected her decision to do so and have not reached out to her when she moved on. And believe me I know how difficult that is. But probably not to the point you do as you and your LO are available to each other. My NC with LO is out of necessity for my marriage. Whether that was in her mind when LO told me she was leaving or not I don’t know. But I have a feeling it was.
I wonder if LO’s have any idea what they mean to their limerent? Especially when there has been no disclosure and there are barriers. Most of the time that I have the urge to contact LO it’s to say “I’m sorry”. As limerents it takes a great deal of self control to pull ourselves in. The amount of restraint is huge because we are in so deep. LO could just be a nice person and we see too much into it. It’s difficult not to keep ourselves in check when it comes to LO. Look at me; a married man obsessing over another woman. And then trying to justify it.
You are doing right by your LO MJ, know that. And if anything does change, than there’s that. Nothing can change with LO. Her heart is with another man, and mine needs to be with my wife. Limerence, seems to be evolution’s cruel joke at my expense.