I’ve talked before about the loneliness of limerence. The isolation associated with limerence comes in large part from feeling that it shouldn’t be happening, and that it’s a shameful secret that the limerent has to carry around in silence. This is especially true if the limerent is in a committed relationship with someone else, but even unrequited limerence carries more than enough embarrassment and shame to keep most singletons feeling isolated and reluctant to seek support.
Unfortunately, the best strategy for reversing limerence – going No Contact – requires the limerent to embrace even more loneliness. That’s quite a hurdle. Even worse, the full implications of no contact take a while to set in, and tend to come at a time when limerents are most likely to be vulnerable to relapsing.
The commonest scenario for no contact is that it follows a precipitating crisis. Maybe a row with LO. Maybe a row with SO. Or maybe just some small disappointment, embarrassment or moment of lucidity that follows a long build up of limerence exhaustion, and finally pushes the limerent over the edge to taking action. Once no contact is established, things improve. It may be marginal at first – small improvements in mood, or a feeling of relief from a burden – but early on, no contact feels good. It feels like it’s working, and it is undeniably positive progress of which the limerent can be justifiably proud. But after a while, the initial boost of enthusiasm wanes, and the limerent is left back in the same situation they were in before no contact, but without LO being around. That’s when the loneliness begins to bite. And that’s when the risk of relapse is most perilous. Because if you reach out again, you are training your subconscious that you lack resolve and that all the fine principles that pushed you into no contact are actually renegotiable. You’re teaching yourself that you don’t honour your commitments to yourself. That’s not something to do carelessly.
So how can this be managed? Why is sustaining no contact so hard? What can you do to help yourself stick to the plan?
1) Loss of a friend
At the most obvious level, no contact meets a literal loss: the friend whose company you particularly enjoyed is now gone. Normally friendships peter out of their own accord: one of you moves to a new city, or you just slowly lose touch, and they become less and less a feature of your life. But in the case of no contact with an LO, it’s different. This is an active decision to excise a friendship. It may be even worse than that, because emotional intimacy is usually a key part of limerence – so you’re not just losing a friend, you are losing a confidante, a source of emotional support, maybe even the primary source of emotional fulfillment in your life.
One way to mitigate this problem is to avoid going cold turkey and instead use a “staged withdrawal” approach. Reduce contact a bit at a time, with the ultimate goal of no contact being some distance in the future. The idea is to try and simulate the normal petering out of friendship, rather than breaking the friendship abruptly. Another possible solution is to seek new friends, or try and deepen existing friendships, as a way of finding that same support with someone who doesn’t make you weak at the knees with craving. That’s also more honest, in many ways, as the “support” between limerents and LO can often be somewhat duplicitous, involving as it does a strong desire to impress and connect romantically to the person you’re supporting.
2) Loss of a mood enhancer
That last point also illuminates another issue: limerence is a spectacular natural high. There’s a reason why it becomes so addictive. As the limerence progresses, you lay down a program in your subconsious that connects being with LO and ruminating about LO, with reward. It feels good when you do it, so your brain prompts you to do more of it. Obviously, there comes a point where your “executive” – that part of your conscious mind that is actually assessing things more rationally – recognises that this is now a Bad Thing and you should stop doing it and protect yourself. But that dawning awareness doesn’t in itself reverse the old programming. It’s as though your child-like subconscious doesn’t understand why you have taken away this reward, and keeps trying to prompt you to give it back. You’ll need to fight that subconscious urge if you want to sustain no contact.
It’s hard to counter this. One of the reasons no contact is effective is that it prevents the continued reinforcement of the “LO = reward” connection in your mind. Deprogramming is possible, but this is the central addict’s dilemma: can you succeed even when your subconscious wants you to fail?
3) It’s a form of disenfranchised grief
The term “disenfranchised grief” was coined by Kenneth Doka. It relates to forms of loss that are not socially sanctioned, because they don’t fit into most people’s conception of “acceptable reasons to mourn”. Examples include the death of a pet, the death of an ex-spouse, the breakdown of an extramarital affair, or even grieving for a period that is considered too long by the average person. Ending a limerence connection would obviously fall in this category. Not many people will understand the pain you’re going through, and in the case of extramarital limerence, even fewer people will be sympathetic to your need to mourn. Often, of course, the limerents themselves agree: they don’t feel justified in the strength of their feelings of loss either, and wish they would go away. They know that it’s self-inflicted grief, due to their own poor choices.
This idea also links back to point one. The disenfranchised grief will be strong if you are mourning the loss of a friend or confidante that you were strongly emotionally bonded to. Now, obviously, if you are married, you shouldn’t have been doing that. You should have reserved that sort of bond for your spouse. You only have yourself to blame. Well, yes, but guess what? Many people don’t organise their lives as they should. Many people drift from the way things should be to the way things are in a series of small missteps that build up over years of trivial moments of carelessness. But if you want to solve the problem you will need to deal with the reality of the situation as it is now.
To get through no contact, you need to acknowledge the grief, and don’t try to gaslight yourself with minimisation or self-disenfranchisement. It is going to take time and pain to work through the loss. If you can afford it, it might be a good idea to seek a therapist, as someone impartial that you can openly express your true feelings to. One thing I would advise, though, is don’t try and force your spouse to acknowledge it – the disenfranchisement usually exists for a reason. It’s not a monstrous imposition on the limerent, it’s an unfortunate consequence of the circumstances that led to the limerence episode. A bit of humility is needed: you’re hurting, and that’s real, and should be addressed, but society isn’t in the wrong for not acknowledging your grief. You need to work to find ways that release it without causing further harm.
4) What else can be done?
Fundamentally, the issue with loneliness during no contact is loss. Any lasting remedy needs to address that, and focus on new sources of fulfillment and emotional nourishment as a positive goal. One way to frame this is to recognise that you also gain something extraordinary precious when going no contact: freedom. Freedom from a major source of anxiety and emotional instability. Freedom from the obsessive attention-capturing tyranny of limerence.
You can find ways to build something positive in the space that the freedom affords. Look on the experience of limerence as an opportunity to transform yourself. What did you learn about yourself as a consequence of going through this? What changes do you want to make in your life? Could you reconnect with your partner if you have one, or could you seek one if you don’t? A part of why no contact is such a comedown is that LO had offered something new, and the limerence experience revivified life. After no contact, you are confronted with a return to the old way of living. If that wasn’t fulfilling, then the prospect of losing the new and returning to the old is just depressing. There needs to be a change, a positive goal, a better future to look forward to. Use the limerence as a transformative experience. Life will never be the same again, but that’s OK if it’s better.
The loneliness and grief isn’t going to go away just by wishing, but acknowledging it and integrating it into a positive program of self-improvement is a way of making the best of a bad situation.
An excellent post which is uncannily well timed for me.
I’ve spent the whole day fighting the urge to contact (unblocking needs to be made a lot harder!) I just popped over to this site to remind myself of why I need to stay NC.
Thank you for helping to keep me on the right path.
You’re welcome Sophie.
There’s no doubt it’s hard. I’ve always found it ironic how many of the things that are required for good health take effort and involve (short-term) pain.
But the path leads to a good place.
“[D]on’t try and force your spouse to acknowledge it – the disenfranchisement usually exists for a reason.”
I’m finding this to be a delicate dance. Although my SO knows about my limerence, she is not particularly understanding about it. (This last year was my second LE in our 18 years of marriage.) For me, however, this was a pretty overwhelming episode because it was very tied up this time around with the loss and regret one typically experiences at mid-life. I’m discovering I have a lot of grieving to do—and not just because of the loss of LO. If my wife and I are going to get through this with a stronger marriage (which is our hope), I really need her support in this grief recovery process. Which means she has to separate empathy about mid-life issues from antipathy about my limerence. Not an easy thing to do. But I think she’s trying. Thank god we have a good therapist.
Yes, that’s an extra wrinkle for sure. If the limerence is actually triggered in part by an underlying issue (such as midlife anxieties) then it can end up contaminating a problem that your spouse could have otherwise been a great source of support for. Quite a knot to pick apart.
Your second LE and you want your wife to support your grief over ‘losing’ your LO? I really hope the therapist isn’t minimizing that your actions are a problem, rather than her reaction to them.
Midlife affects everyone who makes it that far. She may be suffering hot flashes, loss of fertility and many other challenges. I hope your emotional sensitivity extends to her issues, as well as your own.
Lee, my dear, you must have missed the post where I mentioned I was gay. So..no worries that my emotional sensitivity doesn’t extend to my wife’s issues: I’m the one suffering hot flashes, loss of fertility, regrets about not having had children, career angst, feelings of becoming less attractive, less physically able, wasted potential, and all of that oh-so-fun mid-life crap. (My wife went through it about 10 years ago.) Our therapist is all about “emotion-focused therapy”–not at all about judgment or criticism or punitive reactions. I just wish we’d had these insights 15 years ago. But better late than never. My wife and I are both finding the EFT approach very enlightening and useful and if it took my having this emotional affair (and confessing to it eventually a couple of months ago) to finally get us on this path, it was worth it. I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time that this marriage has a chance. An affair doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship.
Yes, I missed it. No, it doesn’t but it’s the worst way in the world to test it. I doubt you would advise anyone to have an affair in order to improve their relationship. I wouldn’t anyway.
Smash a piece of porcelain and you might be able to repair it once, but it’s lost much of its value and it’s been broken. Having an affair breaks trust and is a violation. Even if one person never knows about it simply because lies need to be told.
I loathe Esther Perel and her ilk.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Yay! Lee is back. Our commentariat conscience.
Everyone please be nice to her because she brings an awesome dose of different perspective.
Little Limerent Subject says
Thank you Landry for sharing your experience and your wife’s! I’m experiencing similar as a heterosexual woman in a marriage. Women’s mid life experiences like most women’s experiences are under-examined. It’s such a big thing! I’m wading my way through the waters trying not to inflict any damage (to self as much as others). Going no contact is killing me! But really there is not choice. It’s only a fantasy on my part (and an attempted emotional affair that didn’t lead anywhere, thanks to LO more than me). I feel like a delusional school girl. And yet the fantasy is something I will miss. As I return to a partner who is absorbed in his own life and who wants sex but has forgotten how to bring passion and connection to our partnership. I’ve tried but not been reciprocated, or not enough to break old patterns of disconnect. It’s tricky to change and bring closeness to a relationship that both have allowed to go stale. It’s real work! But anybody who claims marriage in mid-life isn’t real work is a liar or a failure.
“Could you reconnect with your partner if you have one, or could you seek one if you don’t? ”
There are better questions:
1) Could you thrive without a partner
2) If you keep the current partner, or find a new one – what do you bring to the relationship?
Someone migrated from the land of chump lady? You had me at loathing Esther Perel. What a delusional dangerous woman. Seriously tho, as I’m devouring this blog and its older content… your comments jump out bc they sound as Tracy herself could have written them. Don’t engage in affairs, people. It kills the relationship. Forever.
Little Limerent Subject says
Can I ask what it is about Esther Perel that ilks the both of you? I agree affairs are damaging but also know the stats about infidelity so there’s got to be a degree of pragmatism. It can happen to anyone and anyone is capable of it. That’s why this website is so valuable.
Right on, DrL, right on.
I like this!
Mrs A says
Thank you DrL for this compassionate post. ‘It’s an unfortunate consequence of the circumstances that led to the limerence episode.’ I debated with myself whether it was a monstrous imposition, a personal vulnerability, an unfortunate consequence, or all of the above that led to mine. After 8 months of no contact, I had to be in touch with this person again because he was my mother’s doctor, and my mother had a medical emergency. What followed after breaking the no contact was so painful and confusing, I ended up filing a formal complaint about this doctor and also taking legal action. I believed he was entirely in the wrong in crossing professional boundary but I must admit I was vulnerable and had encouraged him. The situation worsened when it became clear he was grossly negligent in treating my mother. So I decided to stop but he wanted to continue this emotional entanglement. Long story short, I think I have done the right thing for my mother and myself by changing her doctor and taking the right protective measures, but I still suffer from the occasional feelings of loss, guilt, betrayal.
Hi Mrs A,
That sounds awful. I’m sure you’ve done the right thing for your mother (and you) in getting away from this person and finding better care.
Even if there was some notional “grey area” in your interactions, it is wildly unprofessional to be pursuing the daughter of a patient during a period of treatment. Good on you for filing a complaint.
As to your own feelings of loss: they do just have to be weathered, unfortunately. But hopefully moderated somewhat by knowing you did the right thing for yourself and your mother.
Mrs A says
Yes, and the right thing for my marriage. The feelings of loss are also mixed with anger, and ultimately, grief. But I am really glad my limerence is over. It is time for healing. I got to know my limerence-prone self better. Thank you for all your thoughtful posts.
I hope he didn’t do her irreparable harm and the medical licensing board doesn’t do what they do too often – blow off the complainant. Is filing a criminal complaint necessary too?
Despite having to deal with the limerence problem, again, you were able to protect your mother from further harm. I’m so sorry.
Mrs A says
Thank you, Lee. My complaint was focussed on the medical issues, but it seems they take the part of his professional misconduct very seriously, if not more. It is all still in process but I feel protection is in place.
I’m so glad they are taking it seriously. Is your mom on the mend now too – or at least not getting any worse? Hugs to you.
I really need to read this today. Today and last few days have been hard. All my
Mind has been preoccupied with has been the LO. Yet, I know that’s silly and for so many reasons I need to let go. I am married and was with my spouse when I met LO. I NEVER expected the feelings that came from meeting her. It happened so unassumingly overtime but once the feelings hit, boy did they hit. I haven’t seen her in over a year* I probably
Never will. She’s no longer in the area yet she’s on my mind. I hate admitting this but since you all can understand, sometimes I secretly wish she thought of me. I replay our encounters over and over and over again in my head. In a weird and dysfunctional way I find solace for a second in them. The truth is, she was attracted to me but timing is why we could never work out. We’re both married and we both knew it. Part of me is kind to myself because I know I’m doing the best I can. The other part feels like I’m being selfish. I have an amazing spouse d I’ve made it my goal to focus on him, look inward towards what we’ve got. I know without a doubt I’ve never want to be with anyone else. He is incredible. Has a great sense of humor. I love him and would want to hurt him. I even told myself if LO came and wanted me, I’d still
Question: I know I’ve relapsed. A few days ago it was fine and then boom. Is it OK for someone relapsing to enjoy a fantasy in their head ? Sometimes I enjoy the fantasy that will never be. LO and I meeting pre spouses and being intimate. The fantasy ends when we end things and we meet our current spouses and our lives the way they are resume. I guess for me what hurts it’s that in my head it feels tangible yet I know it will never be but the feelings are so prevalent. I mourn. I miss her. I miss her face. I think for me it’s strong because I’ve always wanted to be with a woman and the fact that she found me attractive as well yet we couldn’t be together made it really hard and so twisted. I’m glad we respected our spouses though. I never realized I was attracted to them until a few years ago it’s a fluidity of sorts.
There’s two answers to this I think, Moanna. First: yes, it’s fine. The only person being hurt by it is you, and it won’t directly harm your SO or LO in any tangible way. The second answer is: yes, it’s fine, but it will slow down your recovery, may reignite the limerence, and should only be an emergency coping strategy that you use as temporary mood relief.
So, basically, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over replapses (everyone has them), but do learn from them (e.g. what’s going on with me at the moment that might have made me vulnerable?), and recommit to recovery.
Re. fluidity of sexual attraction – again, be kind to yourself. It may be that you need to pay attention to what your subconscious is trying to tell you, and if you become recurrently limerent for women it may be worth doing more work to figure out what is going on. But, the simple fact is that when we choose to commit to one person, we’re going to have to manage limerence for anyone else, regardless of gender.
Thank you. Dr. L. You are right. Regardless of gender. Managing limerence is what matters.
Some days are easier than others but there are a lot of positives in my life right now so I try and focus on them-the brightest one is my child. Sometimes this whole limerence thing feels like a nightmare I wish I could wake up from. Sigh.
But overall I’ve had better days than not, so I’m glad for this. I’ve also bonded more closely with my husband
……It wasn’t like this a few months /year ago back when I was really into the deep of limerence. So it’s refreshing. Thank you.
excellent, perceptive article dr l – and so true! (as a limerent i mean) – tough, harrowing mental battle before and then after n c..
Great and timely post as always Dr L, it’s very much where I am in my NC period. The momentum I had early on kept me going for the first 3 months and I felt in a much better place mentally. With LO being an ex-coworker there are various people she’s in contact with that I deal with every day. I’ve pretty much avoided even mentioning her name in the office, but after 3 months felt ready to, and I had a discussion about her with someone who told me that LO wanted to contact me. I felt bad and sent a friendly text a couple of weeks ago… she then unceremoniously shoved it back in my face with her reply!!
I’ve been trying to think about what I was hoping to achieve with the text. Make myself feel less guilty about it all I guess. Anyway in a weird way it worked because she made it clear she’d moved on so I have nothing to feel guilty about. What I did get was a bruised ego for sure, but also some more fuel to propel me into the next bout of NC.
While I wait for time to do its thing, I’m continuing to work on myself physically and mentally – gym and therapy – and spending more quality time with the family. Living purposefully.
I’m at the point of contemplating the benefits of NC, or at least the phasing our approach. LO and I have parted ways professionally (for the time being at least) which helps… But I would miss the friendship a lot, and maybe LO would but I really can’t tell what they feel vs my own line rent projections. I’m not brave enough or strong enough for that tough patch yet but I hope I will be. Every time I communicate with LO I agonise over it, I feel like maybe I said the wrong thing, or too much, and I’ll get a negative (or no) response. But then the prospect of that almost gives me relief! However, that point hasn’t as yet materialised despite my anxiety. How do you take that leap if you’re already at the edge and struggling? Although I can see it would help longer term, the thought of the backlash and how I would (wouldn’t) cope frightens me. In the meantime, im redoubling focus on therapy, family and practical stuff.
Yes so very true, but to all of you battling, keep going it does get easier. I’m I’m 6 months NC (appat from one short text conversation 4 months ago). I still think of LO everyday but not so persistently and the pain any loneliness is getting better. The urge to contact is minimal as I know it will serve no purpose and will intimately be severely damaging to take a back step. It really does get easier. Keeping ultra busy and surround yourself in friends and family, time alone is a killer. I am looking at applying for a new job to progress my career, which I would never have been able to do 6 months ago. Keep going everyone J x
So true. Amen!
So needed this today Dr L. No contact with someone who lives only a few doors down is a constant reminder of them which is prolonging the limerence. This is probably the single most hardest thing I have gone through and now I’m coming out the other end I feel very worried for my mental health. This is been insane and I feel like I’m getting over someone dumping me ever though there was never any relationship it was all in my own messed up head. Frightening really…
Thanks Dr L. X
This comes at an uncannily perfect time for me, because I’ve been experiencing a lot of loneliness and grief over the loss of my friendship with LO and our larger, mutual friend group, and I’m really torn over what to do. Sorry for the novel that’s about to commence. I’ve never posted here before.
I’m currently in my first limerent experience, and LO is a close friend and a coworker, and they reciprocate my feelings. I became aware of my limerence 6 months ago when LO disclosed to me that they were in love with me, and that pretty much crystallized things for me. (For months prior I’d been denying/rationalizing my feelings and had determined to NEVER disclose to anyone bc I figured it would eventually go away on its own.) Knowing that LO reciprocated was too much for me, and I feared we would enter into a full-on affair if we maintained secrecy. We agreed to disclose to our respective SOs what was then basically an emotional affair … and also asked them if we could open our marriages. (God, typing everything out like that sure makes it sound horrible).
Unsurprisingly, it blew up spectacularly, and in service of preserving my marriage, I’ve been 95% NC since November—basically as NC as I can be when you work together. Luckily, I finally got a new job and am leaving in a week.
The disclosure to our SOs completely upturned our social circle. We were three couples who hung out together as a group regularly, and I don’t say lightly that the dissolution of that group has felt like losing my family. I still occasionally see individuals, including my LO’s spouse, who says she forgives me and wants me in her life. She also misses our shared group camaraderie and wants us all to be friends again.
My spouse feels differently. He still feels acute betrayal from his friend (my LO). They actually sat down face to face a few months ago (at LO’s request) and got as far as admitting that they could be civil to one another in public. LO says he’s sorry and wants to make amends and try being friends again. My SO will only say, “I don’t know,” when asked if he misses our group.
On the one hand, I am heartbroken over the loss of this group and I want to believe that there’s a bright future somewhere ahead where we are a family again and no one is limerent for anyone they shouldn’t be. I know it will take work to get there, and deferring to my SO, and respecting boundaries (which I do feel I’ve done a pretty good job of maintaining). On the other hand, I am still incredibly unsettled by LO’s presence. In the wake of each interaction we have, I feel as though all my efforts to abate my limerance are undone. I am angry with him for disclosing his feelings to me, because knowing he reciprocated was a massive catalyst for the intensity of my current limerent experience. When I bring this up, he tells me that disclosing to me was no different from my flirting with him. I vehemently disagree, but maybe I’m not looking at this clearly. I’ve tried to be really honest with myself about my feelings and behavior, both leading up to disclosure and in its fallout. I don’t know how compassionate I can or should be toward my LO when he’s still saying things to me like, “You make me feel like nobody else ever has.” etc etc. It feels great/it feels awful.
I think I know what I have to do, and that’s go full NC with LO and the friend group. It just makes me so sad.
” I don’t know how compassionate I can or should be toward my LO when he’s still saying things to me like, “You make me feel like nobody else ever has.” etc etc. It feels great/it feels awful.”
Have you disclosed to your SO that he’s still saying that? If not, that’s a pretty big thing to hide. It’s not a question of when trouble will come around again, it’s when.
This is why God invented therapists. Have you considered seeing one? My recommendation would be to do a few sessions on your own before bringing your husband in. A good therapist can be worth their weight in gold. However, few of them understand limerence.
As long as your LO feels that way, at least is willing to express that sentiment to you, he’s a threat. You can’t walk this line.
Imagine a line. Your SO is on one side and your LO is on the other. It’s like you’re trying to negotiate some kind of deal to keep the LE going. Maintaining the social circle can provide a nice cover for keeping the LE alive but that’s no longer your bus to drive. You need to get on one side of that line. If your marriage is important to you, you get on that side of the line and you deal with this as a team. Your SO has the privilege of deciding how much of what he’s going to accept.
Time to play a game. If you could craft your “fairy tale ending,” what would it be? If it’s an open marriage, it’s an open marriage. Everybody in this is entitled to their vision of happiness. Their vision may not coincide with yours.
Once you have the vision of your “Fairy Tale Ending,” you start asking questions: What would have to happen to achieve it? What are the odds of that happening? How am I going to pull it off? What are the consequences if it doesn’t work out? Am I willing to accept those consequences and take the shot? If not, what am I going to do about it? It can be quite a game. When I played it with LO #4, I couldn’t come up with “fairy tale ending.” I also was playing it with a therapist. She assigned it as kind of a homework assignment. The last question was, “Is this what I really want?”
Once your situation is stable, you can work on what got you there. One problem at a time.
“As long as your LO feels that way, at least is willing to express that sentiment to you, he’s a threat. You can’t walk this line.”
Thank you for this. I do tell my SO what LO says and have shown him the emails LO has sent me. And in fact, when I got home last night, I told my SO that I am abandoning my hope of our friend group reconciling because I can’t have LO in my life. Once I said the words I felt a huge relief.
It’s funny that you mention ‘fairy tale endings,’ because I did see a therapist when LO originally disclosed to me, and my therapist asked me to craft my fairy tale ending, which is how I ended up with the idea of an open relationship in the first place. When I disclosed to SO and asked about the open relationship, he very firmly said no, and I made my choice to stay in my marriage. I don’t think it’s a choice I will regret. I think I would have regretted leaving for LO.
Did you and the therapist explore what led you to the open marriage as your “fairy tale ending?”
I say, Good on you! for taking the chance to ask for what you wanted from your spouse. Open relationships are difficult and not everyone can handle it. (You may not have been able to, either, once you got into it, who knows?) You allowed yourself to be vulnerable by talking about your feelings and that’s a good thing. Disclosure to your spouse should build trust. If he can’t handle your thoughts, can’t forget it, it may say more about him than about you.
That said, your LO is definitely not helping matters and if you want to stay in your marriage, it’s probably going to have to be NC with LO. And yes, that will be terribly sad, but you can get through it.
I’ll add my voice to the chorus saying that your LO is behaving disrespectfully. To have gone through this process of disclosure to your spouses and still be pushing hard at your boundaries shows his intentions. He wants to indulge his limerent fantasies and other people be damned.
In terms of your wider friendship group, I think it’s quite likely that’s broken beyond repair too. The “open marriage” gambit probably seemed like a good idea in the thick of limerence (which shows how terrible our judgment is at that kind of moment!), but it’s not something that your spouses will easily forget.
Even if you could recover the semblance of the old friendships, it will always be a tense, nervy and fragile agreement. Just too much scope for the emotions to blow up again. And with an actively enabling LO it’s going to be a continual battle of wills for you.
Apologies for the negativity – I’m normally pretty upbeat and “purposeful living” about things, but in this case I think a better future is likely to be found well away from this tangle of thorns!
Wishing you all the best,
Eva, no apology necessary for the long post. What you posted here benefits many of us, even if the scenario is not quite the same as we experience, so thank you. Many of us have poured out our feelings throughout this site, and benefit from both writing and reading posts.
“…he tells me that disclosing to me was no different from my flirting with him. I vehemently disagree, but maybe I’m not looking at this clearly. I’ve tried to be really honest with myself about my feelings and behavior, both leading up to disclosure and in its fallout. ”
I am assuming you had flirted with each other and could feel a special connection prior to the disclosure, but you simply did not have undeniable proof of his feelings. His disclosure cemented everything though, and there is no going back to how it was before. Only you know how much you played a role in the disclosure.
I felt a strong connection to my LO (good friend) before she was my LO, but my triggering event was her leaving my company, leaving me wondering how I would stay in contact. Everything would have been “fine” had she never left. (The truth is, I would have had to deal with my emotions eventually). Her disclosure one month later actually felt great because I had been embroiled in heart-wrenching limerence. Prior to disclosure, I knew we had a different connection but I had to know how she felt as this uncertainty had turned me into an emotional mess. I was getting so many signals from her that I needed validation that I wasn’t losing my mind. I definitely played some role in her disclosure because I ultimately felt compelled to get this information out of her. Disclosure was going to happen.
I am so sorry to hear of your social loss on top of the painful limerence. Don’t beat yourself up over any interaction you have over the next week. Good luck with No Contact. I agree it is all so damn sad.
I hope you and your husband have invested in security cameras at your home. Change the locks too.
If he continues to send you unwanted, unsolicited non-work related emails during his working hours and/or from his work email – let them know. I’m hoping it’s not his company but one large enough to have the resources to crack down on this guy for time theft, if necessary.
Block his email addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts. Anything to make it clear that he is no longer a part of your life.
“I don’t know how compassionate I can or should be toward my LO when he’s still saying things to me like, “You make me feel like nobody else ever has.” etc etc. It feels great/it feels awful.”
That is incredibly disrespectful of him. To you, to your spouse (his former friend), to his spouse. Knowing that he’s stomping over your boundaries because HIS feelings trump YOURS, your husband’s, his wife’s – does that help smother the embers?
How do you stop it? By not feeding it. If he starts down a personal line of discussion – stop him. “No. I don’t wish to hear it. I’m not interested.” Then go to the bathroom or something. Presumably he won’t follow you into the bathroom!
The time to discuss an open marriage is long before either party has someone lined up or someone in particular they wish to pursue. Very often they are far more work than simply sticking to the original vow of “forsaking all others”. You think it’s hard to communicate with one partner? Try more than one. Talk about practicing 100% honesty and open communication. In the long run, a therapist is a lot less expensive and at least they don’t come with the real risk of STI’s and DNA tests if a pregnancy results.
“That is incredibly disrespectful of him. To you, to your spouse (his former friend), to his spouse. Knowing that he’s stomping over your boundaries because HIS feelings trump YOURS, your husband’s, his wife’s”
I am realizing that boundaries matter very little to him, and that it will be up to me to maintain that distance. Thank you for the dose of reality and the support. It helps to hear it from a third party.
I recommend you think of him as an invading army. You want a moat, drawbridge, murder holes, crenallations, arrow slits, bubbling pitch. Spare no expense!
He is so unkind. Can you imagine what he has put his wife through, time and again through the years? You’re so lucky to been made aware of his nature before things got completely out of hand.
Good luck going forward. I hope thing improve substantially.
I’m currently embarking on my second attempt at NC and have a couple of weeks away from LO to help me on my way. After trying various things I’m pretty sure NC is the only way for me to go. I’m already feeling a bit low, after only one day, but will focus on the prospect of freedom and regaining my mind (if I have any sanity left). My last attempt at NC was great in the short term but I was so easily drawn back in. More resolve required this time and some positive non-LO goals to keep me occupied. Thanks for another very useful post Dr L.
Anonymous Limerent says
Just today, for some reason, I decided not to look at LO at all.
It may or may not have been good for my journey, but I know it felt as if I were the only person in the world; I didn’t feel like friends were friends. I didn’t feel like I had any contact to the world. All I could think of was her and that impacted my concentration.
I sit here now, depressed and unable to crack a smile, wondering what to do about this huge burden that I know I’ll have to live with and just cope with.
I only say this here because it has been a terrible day due to what I did (or rather, didn’t do), and I need to lift a weight off of my shoulders for a bit.
Side note; ‘Old Wife”s name on the home page’s ‘recent comments’ widget is hyperlinked to the site home page. Just thought I should point that out, in case Dr. L. wanted to fix it…
This post is particularly pertinent to me today. LO is bound up with grief and loss. We bonded over the death of our spouses, then he gradually faded away leaving me bereft. Today was a tough anniversary of my husband and I felt very sad. I have managed NC re LO for 18 months – last text contact 10 months ago. And then today of all days I met him by chance. He was lovely as ever. I know there’s no future and no point in following up. I’ll go NC again. But it’s torn open the scar and I feel destroyed right now. Tomorrow is another day. I read something elsewhere that helps me a lot: You don’t quit someone because you don’t love them anymore, you quit because you know this doesn’t end well and you love yourself.
Yes, I think that’s definitely the right way of looking at it. You go NC because it’s healthier for you; whatever false pleasure or reward they might offer isn’t worth the cost.
Sorry you’re having a hard day DittoDitto. Hope things get better soon.
I’m married and my LO of over 11 months is single. I have reason to believe he has been going through a divorce this whole time but is not telling anyone about it. He presents himself socially as simply a single guy. I wonder what I am to him. Maybe a stopgap, a ‘safe’ (for him) way of confirming his attractiveness without really getting involved. In my head I’ve always known that if he wants to be in a real romantic relationship or partnership in the future, it (obviously!) makes sense for him to date other single people, fall in love with them, have relationships, etc. Obviously he deserves to be with someone who is available if he wants to be with anyone at all. And I’ve known all along, in my head, that — obviously! — any emotional attachment I have to him beyond friendship must end badly for me when he starts seeing other single people. But, oh, my heart went recklessly on, logic and reason be damned. Fast forward to yesterday and today: I see it happening. I see that he has met and connected with a nice, apparently single (maybe also recently divorced, so they would have that in common) woman who is compatible with him in so many ways. I was talking with the two of them today and I can see they are hitting it off. So, good for them, right? If I were truly his friend, and only that, I’d be very happy for him. And so far as I am a real friend, I am happy for him. In principle. In my head. But in my heart, it hurts it hurts it hurts, it hurts so much I’m beside myself with loss and heartbreak. Damn it, and I knew this would happen sooner or later. I also know that it is really I who broke my own heart by allowing my feelings to go as far as they did. And yeah, that semi-flirtation I was doing with him to the point of addicting myself to his presence and attention, that’s entirely my responsibility too. But, at this moment, it brings me little if any consolation to understand that the responsibility for managing my emotional well-being lies with me. Now, it seems, I just need to go ahead and let myself feel the grief fully. In due course, I suppose I can reframe this change in circumstance as a spur to getting on with my own life, and a way to strengthen my resolve to reduce contact with LO. But my God it hurts. I feel crazy with pain. Even though I’ve disclosed my limerence to SO generally, which has been helpful, I don’t want to burden him and embarrass myself by disclosing this particular pain to him right now. At some point I may confide in a close female friend who knows about my situation. I think my therapist might dismiss it. So at the moment this blog is my only real outlet. Oh, it hurts. And I feel more than a little ashamed and humiliated. And kind of angry with myself but self-forgiving and self-compassionate too. I just have to accept that this is what happened, acknowledge my part in it, and press on with my own goals and purposes in life. Somehow. Thank you for being here.
“And yeah, that semi-flirtation I was doing with him to the point of addicting myself to his presence and attention, that’s entirely my responsibility too.”
I think this is what how things evolved with my LO over a long period of time. We were both married, so what could possibly go wrong?
“If I were truly his friend, and only that, I’d be very happy for him. And so far as I am a real friend, I am happy for him. In principle. In my head. But in my heart, it hurts it hurts it hurts, it hurts so much I’m beside myself with loss and heartbreak. Damn it, and I knew this would happen sooner or later.”
I have had these same thoughts about how I should act if I were truly LOs friend. I am her friend, but at what cost? And what do I REALLY want for LO? She wants me in her life, but obviously the consequences of that are more painful for me. Midlifer, I wish you good luck, and that you consider how to go No Contact with him.
This blog is my only outlet as well. The number of different emotions that are involved at the same time is a paradox to me. I can witness myself go through them but also be powerless to stop them.
Many thanks to you, Thinker, for your support, insights, and kind wishes. I still have a hard time fully comprehending what has happened even almost a year later. You make a good point about the many emotions and how they seem to impose themselves without mercy or susceptibility to our direct control. It is quite a task to exert control over one’s actions in an effort to influence indirectly, gradually, the sources of those emotions. I just have to get used to being in pain for however long it takes. Even though it is happening mostly in my mind, it feels of the same magnitude as a major life event like a divorce, which I experienced about 24 years ago, and the death of a parent, which I experienced about 16 years ago. Unforgettable feelings and here they are again. I wish you well and hope you will be able to make the choices that are best for you. It occurs to me that if LO had not approached me on May 20, 2018 for a seemingly friend-like walk home from church, I wouldn’t have gone through any of the rest of this. And I want to do my best to fight back against the sense that his choice that day made such a difference. I want to make a consistent set of choices over time from now on that will lead me to be in a better place.
Midlifer – I’m about 6 months ahead of you, and I can tell you it gets easier, especially with No Contact. After about 18m of me and LO getting progressively closer, and my LE getting deeper, I found out she got a boyfriend. I was so crushed, partly I guess because despite all logic to the contrary I wanted her for myself, and partly because she hadn’t told me (and I was the last to know in our world it then transpired). These feelings of despair were despite me having already decided to go NC to fight this.
Now whilst I wouldn’t want to go through it again, the pain was useful. It was a massive wake-up call for me – it helped to pop the fantasy bubble I was still largely operating in. It made me look closer at what this was, and gave me the resolve I needed to go NC. She’d moved on, I needed to as well.
6 months later I’m in a much better place, even with a little wobble a couple of months ago. She’s not forgotten by a long shot, but the intensity has gone, I’m over the pain, me and SO are in a much better place. I was probably sleepwalking into an affair, divorce who knows what. I’ve now woken up, had a lucky escape really, and can use this as a place to grow.
I hope that provides some comfort, but i would encourage NC. Out of sight, out of mind.
Have you read DrL’s blog on “Jealousy?”
It’s pretty common to feel bummed when your LO moves on. If you haven’t disclosed, it’s like a switch flips and you want to scream “Yo! Can’t you see this invisible Jumbotron over my head?! How can you possibly be so clueless as to not know how I’m feeling? ! Whether you know it or not, we’re in this together. I don’t know who’s the bigger idiot, me for feeling this way or you for not seeing it.” …Not that I ever felt like that until I did eventually disclose, which brought on a whole different set of issues.
When LO #4 told me she’d met someone she was interested in, I was bummed. I wasn’t jealous of him but I envied him. I was flat out jealous of LO #1’s BF. Why the difference?
In “The Definition of Limerence,” DrL has a flowchart that shows different progression paths of limerence. In looking at the flowchart, why I was jealous in one case but envious in the other makes sense. I was available and in the game with LO #1. Her BF was a direct obstacle between me and her. With LO #4, I was never in the game. I was on the red path in that LE. The guy she was interested in wasn’t between me and her. When it came to obstacles, a potential rival wasn’t on the list. I envied him because if he had what she liked, I thought I wanted to have those qualities, too.
Assuming your LO is operating in good faith, it takes awhile to come to the conclusion that, as complicit as they may be, you’re in a game that likely only one of you is playing. If your LO isn’t operating in good faith, it’s a whole different ballgame. Those people are predators.
Thank you, Scharnhorst. I’ll think about all this. I’ve just written out the logic again, to help me remember:
‘Look. The reason I can’t have him is that I’m not available, and I’m choosing not to become available, and I’m choosing not to have an affair. Ergo, truly pursuing him would be madness.’
Now this means when I see LO naturally enjoying the company of other women, one main feeling that comes up is momentary frustration, arising from the knowledge that I’ve chosen to tie my own hands and not even really put myself out there to explore a real relationship with him. So of course others will explore that instead of me. My non-logical limerent self is silently (and ungrammatically) wailing, ‘Oh, no, that could have been me, should have been me, why can’t it be me?’ while my all-things-considered self, the very source of the choice to tie my own hands and hold back from LO, tries to go over the logic once more, as would a patient teacher with a struggling student. How to bypass, or dissolve the occasion for, this painful struggle? Cue ‘purposeful living’. Here’s what I wrote out for myself next:
‘Of course he’ll take an interest in other people. Lots of them. I just have to let him go once and for all. Not over and over from scratch every time I see him liking someone else — again, madness, self-torture.
This means there is something of my self that I somehow need to let go or move on from. Because the longing and the yearning, beyond simple attraction that should be manageable, all that extra stuff is really about me and my own needs for growth and development. So I ought to work out how to assume responsibility for fulfilling those needs of mine through choices that are under my control, without fixating on (which means being hostage to the not-under-my-control choices of) someone else. And I ought to work on having my real and realistic regard for him, whatever that looks like (even if it looks like walking away), be unconditional, not driven by any neediness of mine.’
Easier to say than to do. But I can imagine how a pathway opens up from here leading toward real joy and fulfillment from sources that are, by contrast with LO and his behavior , as much subject to my own choices as anything can be. And that helps ease the pain.
Anybody out there remember “Fantasy Island?” I used to like that show. If there was one, I could see this:
[People getting off plane]
Tattoo: “Who’s that, boss?”
Mr. Rourke: “That’s Scharnhorst, Tattoo.”
Tattoo: “Is he unhappy, boss?”
Mr. Rourke: “Quite the contrary, Tattoo. He’s quite satisfied with his life but he has a lot of “what if?” questions. “What if?” he’d said something or not said something or someone else had given a different response to something he asked or said.”
Tattoo: “What would he do with that information if he has it, boss? There are some questions you’re better off not knowing the answers to.”
Mr. Rourke: “Quite true, Tattoo. But, we’re not responsible for what he’ll do with it. [brief silence] We’re going to make a fortune off him.”
“Welcome to Fantasy Island!”
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
This is hilarious, Scharny.
I’m struggling through my own LE. Like others, I’m glad I found this site.
I bought a company a few years back. The previous general manager had been a tyrant. The young gal in charge of bookkeeping was traumatized from reporting to him. She was so appreciative of my relaxed management style and was extremely complimentary. I spent a lot of time with her working through her PTSD (he was a narcissistic jerk who belittled her and told her she was worthless, but alternated with occasional nicer episodes). She would cry sometimes in my office recounting abusive episodes–I counseled her and encouraged her. Eventually she told me she loved me, which I couldn’t respond to — I’m married, as she was as well..
BUT–I *did* find her attractive eventually, even though my wife is much more my type. And I’m ashamed to admit it, because the gal is nearly two decades younger than me and there’s an obvious power imbalance. All the emotional closeness permeated our relationship, though, and I started getting limerent, even though I didn’t know what it even was. I thought it was just a crush, or love, or something I was super-ashamed of. So eventually she left the company. That was bad–we needed her knowledge desperately. I couldn’t tell if my feelings of desperation were because I missed her, or because our company was struggling.
Then she came back and I re-hired her.
Then she got a divorce. My limerence, which was simmering, started to strengthen–my idiot limerent brain felt like she was sooooo close. But there is NO WAY I would leave my wife, who knows LO and likes her.
Remember, this is still me not even knowing what limerence was! I just thought I had super-inappropriate feelings for someone I know isn’t for me! However, I was also determined to not let her leave our company if I could help it.
So I am being incredibly punished for my transgression of allowing limerence to develop. Here’s how bad it has gotten:
Still not knowing what limerence was, and yet wanting to keep this gal at our company (she really *is* a fantastic asset to our company, whether limerent or not) — I convinced my wife to let me give her shares in the company. So the gal is now a co-owner with me.
Two days before we signed the paperwork, LO confesses that she’s been dating one of the other employees for months (even predating her divorce becoming official, behind her husband and everyone elses’ backs.) I literally work 10 feet away from the guy; he’s in the office next to mine.
At that point I start suffering physical pain when I think of him and her together. She’s keeping it secret, partially because he’s way, way below her, and partially because she has several other guys who are limerent towards her and she enjoys the male attention. So she and I go on a business trip (just a couple of hours to a near business, back the same day) and I describe some of her personal characteristics. I’m pretty analytical, and I have paid WAY TOO MUCH attention to observing her personality. She’s always been very complimentary to me about my amateur psychologist skills, which just encouraged me. Now here is the ridiculous part: She asks me to take her boyfriend out to lunch, and explain her personality to him so they can get along better–they were experiencing some problems.
That’s like getting a giant comeuppance for all my transgressions. I’m literally helping my LO’s boyfriend get closer to her, in place of myself.
I can’t even go NC!!!! She’s employed by me and I signed paperwork making her an owner, in the throes of limerence! I see her dozen of times a day, and we have to talk constantly!!! For the rest of my life.
Wow, just wow. Now you know why I say:
MY. LIMERENT. BRAIN. IS. AN. IDIOT.
Ok, so what do you do?
First, stop playing “Frasier.” It wasn’t a great idea to begin with but it’s a recipe for disaster now. She’s asking you to talk to one of your mutual employees to improve her personal relationship with a subordinate? Lawyer up now. LO #2 said I was her best friend until the end. I wasn’t but in her mind, that entitled her to bitch to me about my successor. She pulled that crap twice and I shut it down immediately.
Here comes the alarmist in me…
When you said you made her an owner, what kind of business arrangement did you make? What’s your liability with her as an owner? How much power does she have? Let’s hope she doesn’t have a malicious or vindictive streak. If you really want to put the fear of God in yourself and see how bad it can get, read Robert Hare’s “Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths Go to Work.” Hare is considered the successor to Herve Cleckley when it comes to psychopathy. It’s the story of how a psychopath takes over a company. The previous GM may have been a narcissistic jerk but that woman knows how to manipulate you.
Since she’s that much younger than you are, you adopt the role of mentor and are scrupulous about it. Limerence is your problem to work on. Explain to her that as an owner/boss, she crossed a “magic blue line” and things that were ok as a worker bee, aren’t anymore. She has perception to consider. And, you watch her like a hawk, under the guise of mentorship.
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
All good points. We have a shareholders agreement which protects us both and the LO’s amount of ownership is miniscule compared to mine, so she can’t really do anything. In fact, we have an “at-will” employee-employer relationship here so I can fire anybody with zero repercussions.
We have never had any physical contact over the past several years other than a couple of hugs (like when she came back to work), so she can’t really do anything legal-oriented to me.
Yeah, she definitely knows how to pull my strings but this site has helped — a lot. In fact, I just slightly pulled back last week, trying to go LC even if I couldn’t go NC. She was almost instantaneously putting out more glimmer and coming into my office more. So that helped and hurt at the same time.
I actually think we’re going to soft-land this whole LE thing–she’s getting more and more involved with her new BF, and I’m watching my own limerence rapidly diminish. Part of that is due to heeding Lee’s advice and re-focusing on my spouse. I observed my own behaviors towards LO and am trying to do those things instead towards my wife. Wife is more challenging due to familiarity–my own glimmer attempts sort of go unnoticed by her, whereas LO tended to react immediately. But even a jaded spouse isn’t impervious to glimmer, I just have to repackage it a bit. 🙂
Another thing this site has helped me understand is that limerence weakens with certainty. So observing her get more and more involved in her new relationship has reduced my own limerent feelings–I’m not the sort to go around moping about something that will never come to pass and I’m pretty sure I’d be less happy if it did, anyway.
The mentorship thing is a GREAT suggestion. I’ve already talked to her about being her mentor, so we have formally defined our relationship in that manner.
The feedback is much appreciated! I need it because–
My limerent brain is such an idiot.
@My Limerent Brain is an idiot,
I agree with Scharnhorst!! I think you have been manipulated… she played the victim and got control of you. The fact that she was disloyal to her spouse and has several guys limerent for her and told you she was in love with you although you both were married and she was your subordinate doesn’t say a lot for her character. And now maneuvered herself into being a part owner! Someone said it here on this site: those that knowingly engender limerence in others are predators. They know what they are doing and it serves their purpose. I would be very careful with this one! I wish you the best in this predicament. We have all been there in some form or another.
While I think there is definite risk here, I’m also struck by the comments MLBIAI made about how this all started. I can totally see how a vulnerable and mentally-broken young woman could genuinely develop love for MLBIAI as a compassionate and supportive mentor. Or if not love, at least deep affection and attachment.
But it’s perfectly possible that she has now progressed to enjoying the thrill of being an LO and puppeteering a limerent harem…
Also, our limerent brains definitely are idiots, because in the thick of the limerence they delight in exaggerated demonstrations of trust that our better selves know are incredibly risky. In fact, the fact that they are risky is part of why it’s so exhilarating – “I’m so besotted with you I’m going to pass you a bomb that could blow up my life”. Like, tying them irrevocably to our business as a shareholder, for example…
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
I think you’ve nailed it on the head. I have a lot of respect for the LO, and I don’t disagree with any of what you say.
“…because in the thick of the limerence they delight in exaggerated demonstrations of trust that our better selves know are incredibly risky.”
That’s an incredibly insightful statement. One of my ‘love languages’ is gifts, and the gift of some equity in my company was one of the highest compliments I could pay my LO.
So there is genuine love (which I’m not so scared of because I actually feel love for several of my employees, but not romantic.) I deeply appreciate their contributions to our firm and by extension, me and my family. Not to mention their kindness to each other, or their great senses of humor, or their optimistic demeanors.
So with LO, it just got messy because I was in the midst of deeply appreciating her like several other employees, when I started experiencing limerence.
I didn’t know what it was, I just thought I was having waaayyy inappropriate feelings for her. That’s when I googled “how to fall out of love” and found this blog, which has been a cornucopia of information. I posted my own story in such detail because everyone else’s stories have been helpful to me. I know mine is different, but it hopefully provides something of value to others. To quote Tolstoy, “Non-limerent relationships are all alike; every limerent relationship is unhappy in its own way.”
So I’m policing my behaviors, going LC, and stabilizing my brain. It’s all genuinely helped.
Thanks for all the effort you put into the blog! I don’t know what I would have done without it. I think I have read every post you’ve made and most of the comments.
Well, there is part of me that isn’t thankful. It wants more limerence! But we all know by now. My limerent brain is SUCH AN IDIOT!
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
@Jaideux — I really, really appreciate your outside perspective. She definitely played me but I don’t think it was insincere. In fact, I think she left our organization initially because she was falling for me and knew that she had to create some space. Plus she got a huge raise, so it was an easy choice.
I bear some blame in it definitely and I am older (and I thought wiser), I hold the power in the relationship, and I’m married to boot. For much of the initial time, I was just trying to give her support, and gently encourage her–she was struggling with low self-esteem. On her part, she was trying to help me understand some of the strange behavior in our employee base–so she would relate an anecdote of how they had been abused, and then her eyes would well up with tears, which activated my protective and nurturing side, and I would get watery eyes, and I think she somehow drew something from that.
(Here’s an example. Former boss guy had a sweet, dear elderly lady who was the receptionist. She developed cancer, and yet would come in everyday to work, even after chemotherapy. She wasn’t well-off and was single; the job was her life. Eventually she missed some work because she was sick and couldn’t drive. The company pays for disability insurance, so she was entitled to some payments (half her wages) when she wasn’t able to come in. Jerk boss guy actually denied her request for disability payments when she submitted it, because he claimed that she could have called an Uber to get into work or taken the bus. The lady passed away a few weeks later and the dispute was moot.
When LO told me this story, she reflected on how sweet the little old lady was, how much of a jerk the ex-boss was, and she broke down.
I wanted to hug her (I didn’t) but I got teary too, and said the most comforting things I could think of.
And my limerent brain thought (read this in the most idiotic voice possible) “What a huge sweetie this gal is! She’s so soft-hearted! I’m so glad she’s here because she cares about her fellow employees so much. I need to promote her, since this kind of sensitive woman will be a wonderful management culture change. A woman in my executive team will be a great new direction for our entire organization. I’m so smart! I’m going to win Executive of the Year for my forward-thinking, diversity-oriented leadership…”
And so it began.
“For much of the initial time, I was just trying to give her support, and gently encourage her–she was struggling with low self-esteem.”
“And my limerent brain thought (read this in the most idiotic voice possible) “What a huge sweetie this gal is! She’s so soft-hearted! ”
And, you were probably doing just fine until she responded to you and you became attached to her. I went down that rabbit hole twice. A woman with low self-esteem can be like Kryptonite for some of us.
I saw myself as Henry Higgins in Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” I’d tinker with them, raise their self-esteem, and leave them better than when I found them. The problem with that is it’s really narcissism under the guise of altruism (damn therapist). They responded to it and like the mythological Pygmalion, I attached to them.
It appears to have worked with LO #2. The nicest thing that woman ever said to me was, “You taught me how to stand up for myself. I’m grateful to you for that.” Three months later, the last thing I remember LO #2 ever saying to me was, “You told me once that you thought I had the potential to go through life as a very unhappy person (I did say that). I hate you for that.” LO #4 also said some very nice things to me. But, I never got to explore that. Hence, the “Fantasy Island” post.
It’s hard to walk away from someone that appears to like you.
My Limerent Brain is an Idiot says
@Scharny– “And, you were probably doing just fine until she responded to you and you became attached to her. ”
You’re exactly right. She is actually pretty but not my type. As Lee has posted elsewhere, though, you get the reflected social status of having an attractive person giving you a lot of attention and deference. So that’s my own narcissism coming through.
“The problem with that is it’s really narcissism under the guise of altruism (damn therapist).” You’re much more fluent in psychology than I am. I don’t know how you’re still standing, after going through LE 4 times!!! I’m never ever ever going to let this happen ever ever again.
Although limerence is strange, isn’t it? During the euphoria, there’s something inside that says, “I’m so glad I’m human and can experience this incredibly powerful desire/love/adoration.”
Ah, yes, my limerent brain is truly an idiot.
Wow…MLBIAI, honestly who could resist? I totally get it. I always lose my head over tenderness and compassion shown from an attractive guy who is showing me special attention and coming to me for support. It’s so irresistible! I shouldn’t have reacted so strongly assassinating her character…I think I was projecting my own recently ended limerent sufferings to some degree. Dr. Limerence has a much more balanced perspective. I just have suffered so greatly that I was hoping to “tough love” you out of limerence, by giving you what I felt might be a “reality check” and save you from the YEARS of agony that I have experienced. My LO…was also “wonderful”(?). So kind! So generous! So tenderhearted! And I do think that to some degree that was all real. He would get emotional telling me about special needs kids his parents had helped, etc…he was always thoughtfully helping others (especially me!) and he himself had terrible heartbreaks that he was trying to recover from…appearing so appealingly vulnerable and victimized…all of this made me think “he is so kind and gentle yet strong and has the finest character! I can help him! He will love me!”. I think these kinds of LO’s are extra hard to escape from…but later I saw that many others had become limerent for him too, (how strange thought I) and that he would always find ways to suck me back when I tried to escape, (he’s not letting me go because he actually really loves me!) which makes me think he has to bear at least some responsibility for the emotional carnage in his wake. Maybe I am like @Scharny a bit, my former LO’s are grateful for how I have helped them (I have actual letters of appreciation on how helpful I have been, and then they move on with their upgraded selves to find true love).
Back to you: I feel like you are definitely heading in the right direction, and although you are forced to have some contact, you seem encouragingly self-aware! I wish you all the best for your recovery. I look forward to reading about it all right here!
Thank you, Vincent, for sharing your story. I can relate. ‘Despite all logic to the contrary’ indeed. I guess the pain is the main avenue through which the limerent brain makes contact with the reality that one cannot in fact have the LO, so at least the pain is helpful that way in the long run. Hearing about your experience does bring me comfort and some ideas for what I can do better. I’m really glad that you’re doing better yourself!
As I read through these comments, and work through my own NC grief….I wonder if we put all the pain on one side of a scale, and all the LE pleasure on the other…which side would be heaviest? I am sure the variables would be the length of the LE and the amount of activities one did with the LO, but based on the agony of recovery….I am pretty sure the scale would always tip to pain. Contemplating on that will surely help me not to go down the limerent rabbit hole in the future.
Yeah, that’s a useful way of looking at it. A cost/benefit analysis. As you say, the cost can be very high for the “benefit” of a fantasy.
The challenge is resisting the dopamine high – and that’s a lot easier if you don’t even start down the rabbit hole…
Reading this post again and again , it is helping me so much Dr L!! Thank you!
We had NC for 2.5years and after reconnecting for nearly a year ive decided/we have decided to go nc again … its harder this time because we got to know each other better, got attached to him and have so many memories to think about again and again… i find that my brain works in “waves”, i have episodes when i crave him terribly i become extremely sad and also have an urge to see him and speak to him. And then my brain naturally calms down and i move on ? If t get busy it also helps to reduce the wave until it disappears and until the next wave.. does it make sense? Its very hard but im determined to have no waves anymore… question does limerence last for life? I mean will i ever forget my LO? All together we have known each other for 4 years and even during 2.5yrs of NC he was constantly in my thoughts 🙁
It makes total sense to me Sara – afraid I’ve no advice other than keep busy as you mentioned already!
2.5 years NC is a great achievement. Well-done! Am sure you can manage it again.
Thank u.. it was but then we had a lunch together and limerence started again!! !! He stopped nc to tell me he got engaged!! Dont understand why? We never disclosed our feelings so i guess i wont find out. Im going nc again after 11months as hes getting married next month it makes me feel so down and rejected. I just need to keep going but how do people cope with the sadness
I’m so sorry you’re going through this pain, Sara. I hope it will get better…it seems like the experience of many people who post here is that eventually if you focus on taking good care of yourself, you can heal. One book I’ve found useful for alleviating the pain of loss, heartbreak, and feeling rejected is ‘Emotional First Aid’ by Guy Winch.
Sara, it’s the “waves” that annoy me most. I was obsessing over LO for 18 months (pretty much 24hrs x 7 days, non stop) and the last 4 months I swing from feeling “normal” when I talk to him (yesterday) to feeling an incredible urge to see and talk to him. Usually when I feel normal I get smug and pat myself on my back for not going to pieces in his presence, then 1 hr later after I’ve driven away the obsession starts again. I’ve tried NC but we keep bumping into each other at random places, and no it’s not “accidental on purpose random”. I think the “limerence Gods” are toying with me.
Not easy good luck as well!! Still no contact today everyday is a win! My husband keeps on asking me you look so sad whats happening to you …
How come you bump into each other? Same company? Neighbourhood? We dont work far so im always a bit nervous when i go out
Your knowledge of this topic is astounding and this site is immensely helpful for those of us trying to do the right thing and get back on our feet. The “no contact” loneliness that cannot be shared with others is the biggest challenge. It is accompanied by tremendous anxiety, because I do not know if I will make it through “no contact” withdrawal.
Agreed, Lulu. Are you able to find an understanding counselor/therapist who can listen to you talk through your feelings and gently help you through this difficult time?
I thought I could handle LC for years but relapsed over and over and now I am NC and only now am I finally healing. The withdrawals were excruciating but are lessening little by little and I feel happiness sneaking back in. I’m convinced NC is the only way to go!
Vicarious Limerent says
I was rereading the part about disenfranchised grief. Does anyone have any experience of an LO actually passing away? That would be really hard to take (particularly in a committed relationship), and I am thinking it might become more likely with the COVID-19 outbreak. On another note, I don’t know where my LO works, but I know what type of setting she works in, and there were some cases at one of those facilities in her town, so it might be her workplace. I am actually a bit worried about her, but I am completely NC now. It makes it harder to take. God, I would love to see her, but the pubs are all closed, so it isn’t even like I could visit her usual haunt (don’t worry; I am not going to do anything stupid, but the thoughts/desires are there).
yes, have experienced LO passing away
Sad Mouse says
As the spouse of a limerent, I dreaded (even before reading this) his emerging grief/sense of loss and was prepared to feel threatened by it (or at least helpless to change it).
But so far, either because he’s very good at hiding things from me–-or because we’re only a month into full disclosure and no contact–it hasn’t been manifest.
I wonder two things:
a) Degrees of limerence: I’m imagining that there must be a spectrum of limerence feelings, from overwhelming/all-consuming (thinking about LO every waking moment and feeling dangerously/compulsively drawn to LO, to the exclusion of all else) to normalcy. If the limerence was a steady low hum but not quite as severe, is the sense of loss still likely to be so great? especially after recognition that limerence is a thing, and that the fantasy wasn’t real?
b) Does disclosure to SO, along with recommitment to that primary relationship, help mitigate some of the feelings of loss? Because I could imagine that had my spouse gone full/partial NC without every talking to me about why, we wouldn’t have necessarily had the chance to address some of the underlying conditions in our relationship that led to the limerence–-and I can imagine that letting go of one emotional support system but not getting support from a different source could be way lonelier. And years of disconnect and neglect had taken their toll on our primary relationship. It’s hard to imagine that we could have fixed that without full disclosure and cognizance on both of our parts.
That said, I don’t want to further disenfranchise any natural sense of loss that my husband may be feeling. So I’m treading lightly here and trying not to be overconfident in the strength of our recovery (and his).
I’ll give you a response from my personal perspective.
a) For me, with respect to my last LE, it was more about the degree of attachment. I made a post in one blog where I said that limerence for LO #4 was simmering along nicely until her relationship collapsed and she reached out to me. That LE rose to the level of an EA and lasted about a year before I pissed off LO #4 enough that she threw the flag on me. In retrospect, LO #4 was never a central figure in my life. She was an adjunct. For awhile I grieved it but it didn’t last long. The notion that an attractive, intelligent, charming, self-sufficient woman with a delightfully snarky sense of humor could possibly be interested in me was really appealing despite the fact that I’m already married to a woman like that.
b) I didn’t disclose to my wife until 3 years after the end of the LE. Existing problems in my marriage set the environment such that when I encountered LO #4, I became attracted to her and attached to her. That story is well documented throughout LwL. At the time of the EA my wife were still working through those issues and the idea there might be another woman in my head would have not made that any better. 3 years later after the end of the EA, those issues had not been entirely resolved and my wife and I were discussing whether we wanted to continue to fight for the marriage or call it quits. We decided to keep fighting. I was keeping the LE/EA a secret from her and I could have probably gone to my grave without her knowing. I had deleted or shredded all correspondence from LO #4. LO #4 and I are separated by 2500 miles. If we don’t want to be part of each others’ respective lives, we won’t be.
So, if we were going to fight for the marriage, I needed to come clean. She took it surprisingly well but I was 3 years of NC with LO #4 and my behavior in that time showed LO #4 wasn’t a consideration in my life.
But, there was one very uncomfortable part of the conversation. My wife looked at me and asked:
“Did you love her?”
I waffled. I said I’d never met LO #4 (true) and never even spoke to her directly. It wasn’t an answer, it was a response.
She asked again, “But, did you love her?”
I replied, “I don’t think so.”
I don’t know if that will help with your questions. That’s how it was for me. Today, there is no grief and I wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” I still like to think that a woman like LO #4 might be interested in me but it’s something I hope I’ll never be in a position to find out. Because, to be in that position would mean something terrible happened in my life.
Sad Mouse says
So are you footloose and fancy free? Or is there an LO #5? Are you at a point where you feel you can prevent LE from happening, and is your wife able to shelve her anxiety?
I see myself “Post-Limerent.”
Years ago, my wife said she thought I’d never gotten over LO #2. She also said I had some significant childhood baggage surrounding my parents but she had the wrong parent. She also didn’t realize that my mother, LO #2, and later LO #4 were connected.
10 years, 3 therapists (more if you count the ones I talked to but never officially worked with), and enough DIY research to be a thesis short of a degree, I identified and eliminated the vulnerability. I know what the glimmer represents and it doesn’t appeal to me anymore.
If I was interested in another LE, I know exactly where to find my next potential LO. She works about 2 miles from me. But, I’m not interested anymore. As one therapist put it when we were discussing if I’d ever re-engage LO #2, “Why would you even consider returning to a woman like LO #2 when you’ve spent decades with a woman who isn’t?” She had a point.
Like DrL, limerence is now pretty much academic to me. As a subject, it’s really interesting. It’s amazing how many different aspects it has.
As long as I’m not anxious, my wife’s not anxious. I have a pretty long leash but she’s knows when I go outside what’s “normal” for me. I can’t say that I’ll never have another LE but something would have to radically change in my life.
Speaking for myself, disclosure to my wife was the best thing I did. Although I was pretty savvy about the neuroscience and psychology of what I was experiencing, the impact of disclosure was greater than I expected. After the shock subsided, we got into the mindset of “us against the problem”, which helped me get my perspective straight.
I was sad when I finally cut contact with LO for good, but I didn’t grieve as I didn’t feel I had lost something I truly wanted. By that stage I was happy for the limerence to be gone.
I think that’s a good attitude. He has been honest, he is actively trying to sort himself out, and he is looking to you for support. That’s a lot to work with. But it’s also good to be cautious and take it steady.
Sad Mouse says
“I was sad when I finally cut contact with LO for good, but I didn’t grieve as I didn’t feel I had lost something I truly wanted. By that stage I was happy for the limerence to be gone.”
I think this might be where we are…helped along by SO’s knowledge that LO is now fully aware of what was going on and was not at all interested (which means that SO is more embarrassed than sad when he thinks about her). I feel bad about his embarrassment but maybe feeling foolish is better than feeling like a star-crossed lover?
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Sad Mouse: I do think limerence has “degrees” and can be viewed on a continuum, with some people having it worse than others. I also think it tends to subside slowly, and therefore it eventually isn’t as strong as it once was. I don’t necessarily agree with those who say it never goes away because I have been limerent before and my feelings for those ladies are completely gone (although I do sometimes think about them and wonder how they are getting on with life). I have been limerent now for five months, but my feelings are very slowly starting to fade (although the process isn’t entirely linear). It could be because I hardly know my LO and I am completely NC (I met her in a pub one night). Working with her daily or seeing her in the neighbourhood on a regular basis might make it harder, although I still spend a lot of time wondering what I would say to her if I ever saw her again.
One thing I wonder about in terms of degrees is where does a crush end and limerence begin? What about infatuation? I feel like these concepts are all part of the same continuum, with a simple crush being much easier to handle than full blown limerence or infatuation (some experts believe limerence and infatuation are the same thing, but I am not sure). As a married man, I can handle having a simple crush, but this is something altogether different, despite there being some similarities. I know I am not in love with this woman, and I could be fooling myself, but if circumstances were different, I have an idea that I would find it incredibly easy to fall in love with her.
I have really mixed feelings about disclosure to one’s SO. I didn’t want to disclose, but my wife knew something was up. She already knew I liked my LO, but I was able to hide it as liking her on my brother in-law’s behalf (my LO really liked him, and he is single but uninterested in her). While disclosure can help to diagnose problems in a marriage and some spouses can be helpful with the recovery process, it can introduce an element of jealousy and distrust into a relationship. My wife has had jealous confrontations with me where she threatened to contact my LO (who is totally innocent in all of this). My wife also regularly asks me if I am still thinking about HER. I used to tell her the truth, but that caused a huge amount of hurt, so I have started to lie when she asks me that (just last night, I drove to the village where my LO grew up for no particular reason other than thinking about her, despite the fact she hasn’t lived there in years). I believe in honesty and transparency among spouses wherever possible, but I also believe in the idea of telling “little white lies” to save someone’s feelings. My limerence was indicative of some serious problems in my marriage, which I am not sure we will overcome, although I understand that other people can become limerent even where they have a normal, happy, healthy relationship with their SOs. Good luck as you navigate through this with your SO!
There’s a discussion on infatuation/crushes and limerence in https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/02/27/do-they-like-me-too/#comments
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Scharnhorst. To me, it looks something like this:
Celebrity Crush < "Real Crush" < Infatuation < Limerence
I could be mistaken, but I see the difference and the continuum working that way.
I would class mine as semi-disclosure. I held off telling my SO the darker and extreme thoughts, such as the fact there were days LO occupied 99% of my waking thoughts and most of my dreams too. That I’d fantasized about running away with her, what an affair might look like, and that I thought about LO during sex with my SO. I just knew any of that would break her, let alone all of it.
That said, the semi-disclosure did the job. It brought it out into the open, why had i formed this relationship with someone nearly half my age? Why did I feel compelled to help her (other than being in love with her of course)? What was it doing to our marriage, how did it make my SO feel, etc. etc.
It was a talk we needed to have, we resolved to work harder at our marriage, that LO was a problem that needed removing and that I couldn’t have both SO and LO in my life. I chose SO, and when it all ended abruptly with LO I was absolutely gutted no doubt, and I grieved for sure, silently, and over time I moved on and healed. It was hard, I went back and forth on the decision a few times, but stuck with it.
Now 18m on I’m in a good place (albeit there’s a glimmery potential LO replacement that has popped up that I need to be very careful with) and my marriage is in a good place. Every few months though LO is brought up in some discussion, so there are scars. In lockdown I spend a lot of time on VCs and every time my SO walks into the room it seems like I’m speaking to this same female colleague, so the other day SO asked if she was “another “. “No I don’t like this one” I said… “meaning you did like ?!” she snapped back. Whoops!
Sad Mouse says
Oof, I’m glad that you didn’t reveal the darker/more extreme thoughts. And that despite not revealing them, you were able to move on. Did your colleague leave? If not, how did you manage to avoid her?
Side note: LO and I are almost the same age. Not that old, not that young. I’m legitimately afraid of the later life LE, the one that comes when I can’t just put on a sexy nightgown and lure my husband back into bed because I’m plucking chin hairs in the bathroom before changing my adult diaper. (I joke…kind of. Aging seems particularly cruel to women, though…)
Yes she was in the process of leaving the firm at the end, and I was helping her find a new job (which I did). That brought us even closer together of course and caused the showdown with SO. We agreed that when LO left the firm she would leave my life too, so I planned a staged withdrawal.
But it all blew up before then when I found out she had a new boyfriend (and found out everyone else knew apart from me). I was massively jealous of course, but also felt betrayed as in many ways I’d played that role for the prior couple of years. She used to run everything by me, we’d text 100s of times each week, I was really her emotional support. If I was on a flight somewhere when I turned my phone on upon landing there would be a text from her hoping I was safe – I didn’t even get that from SO. There were loads of examples like that of intimacy between us, though it wasn’t ever physical.
So when she held back such crucial info, and the manner in which I found out, I was angry and it meant that going NC was relatively easy. I told her we were done and didn’t speak to her at all in her final days.
Thankfully I’ve not bumped into her yet, and now other colleagues don’t speak of her either as a lot of time has passed.
Clip of the Day: https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-07-12
I didn’t disclose- I was discovered. I think that made a huge difference, although the conversation where my husband asked me if I was having an affair (I had an EA with my LO) was, surprisingly to me, a relief. I had tried to exit a few times before, but it happened exactly the way you said. I cut contact and had no other support and such terrible loneliness and pain. It could never have worked for me to keep it a secret forever, as my marriage would have crumbled from my guilt and what I imagine would have been a growing superficiality between my husband and I, or i would have gotten in deeper and deeper and burned my life down. The truth was SO difficult, but so healing. Unfortunately, even though my SO and I have never been better, truly (we had preexisting issues as well that have been worked on in this process of working through what happened, and I have the marriage and partnership and romance that I had given up hope of having) getting over LO has been a slow process. I always knew I loved my SO and didn’t want to leave him, and that, having to choose I would choose my husband. It’s so screwed up and close to impossible to explain- probably because it’s so far outside of logic. What is it? The reptilian brain? I guess I don’t speak reptilian, but I definitely feel and experience it! And the ride goes about the way you’d expect if a reptile was driving the bus. Nuts.
I guess the point I’ve been thinking about in your comment and questions is that my understanding is that limerence as an experience is pretty uniform and predictable as a process. The characteristics seem to be the same for most people. But people are also different temperamentally which makes it different too. My SO and I have landed with me being absolutely responsible for being honest about my actions- if I DO something that feeds the beast, as it were, I have to be honest about it. As far as emotions and feeling and triggers and all that- I sometimes share and sometimes don’t. I think it’s unfair for me to use him to process through absolutely everything- kind of like death by a thousand paper cuts. He agrees. But I will say that as we heal and move farther away from it (we’re a year out) it gets easier and easier to be transparent and open about all of it. I credit him with so much of that.
And I also got the “do you love him” question, and the answer was, and is, that I thought I did. But I see now that love has a different quality and depth and permanence to it. I didn’t love him; I was just completely besotted.
Sad Mouse says
I think SO could have written a lot of what you wrote above: pre-existing problems, check. Knowing throughout that he’d choose me over her if forced to, check. Current state of marital bliss: (blush) check.
And actually I forced the disclosure after discovering that he snuck out to see her when he thought I was on a bike ride. Even then he wasn’t fully aware of how much he’d disclosed. He thought (hilarious in hindsight) that he’d told me he loved her as a friend. But I perceived the whole and treated it like a full-fledged crisis (which it was) and gradually the full bloody truth came out, bit by painful bit.
It took me two hours of frantic internet research to come across the concept of limerence, and when he read about it he was blown away. I’m still a little bitter about how he sat stewing in this for 2.5 years, hoping it would pass but doing little to make that happen beyond googling “how long does a crush last?” But I guess I was more motivated to extricate him. In the fog, he couldn’t see what this crush was doing to his feelings about me, or how it was sucking energy away from other things beyond me in his life (e.g. work! he used to daydream about tough technical problems during idle moments. And then LE started and the daydreams were monopolized by replaying conversations and strategizing about the next encounter). I think he really thought somehow he could manage both a marriage and this friendship/fantasy and as long as no one ever found out, no one could be hurt by it. And when he found himself constantly irritated with me, or couldn’t find it in himself to love me the way he used to, he didn’t connect the two and decided that it was somehow my fault–that I’d checked out of the relationship or stopped caring about him (and to be fair, I did pull away because he was so critical and I sort of internalized the critiques and felt unworthy/uninteresting. Gah!)
I really don’t see how we’d have managed to pull it back together had he not realized what limerence was. Even if she’d moved away (which she was planning to do pre-COVID, but now plans are on hold), he’d still have felt wistful about her and I’m not sure what could have punctured the daydream–-or shifted his feelings about me. We needed a crisis to pierce the veil between us.
It’s hard to realize that I wasn’t special enough to keep his attention. It’s painful to know how much affection and energy he redirected away from me and towards our friend (who was none the wiser). But by the terms described here, it wasn’t a full-fledged EA because LO was clueless and wouldn’t have reciprocated. My SO is frankly embarrassed by how invested he was in a groundless fantasy and how much that fantasy screwed up things that he cared about (work, family, other friendships). I don’t think feelings of shame are particularly healthy (cf. Jon Ronson’s amazing book) and am not sure how to nudge him along to a healthier place but maybe that’s not my job.
Janesays, I’m so sorry that you’ve been lonely and am amazed by your courage in attempting to end the EA without disclosure. Your path sounds much harder, given the reciprocity you experienced. I hope your marriage continues to strengthen as the LO fades. It must suck to know that your own pain has the capacity to cause pain for your husband, and to feel the need to stifle/hide it.
“I think he really thought somehow he could manage both a marriage and this friendship/fantasy and as long as no one ever found out, no one could be hurt by it.”
Probably, but it was unconscious. Actively managing limerence takes a lot of work. You have to be pretty self-aware to actively manage it. I’m very good at things like rationalization and handling cognitive dissonance. I’m also good at assessing threat and risk. I couldn’t pull it off. The history of my last LE is best described in the comments to https://livingwithlimerence.com/2019/03/23/barriers-and-uncertainty/.
This blog also relates. https://livingwithlimerence.com/2018/11/10/can-limerence-be-safely-harnessed/
Do you really think he thought it through?
I meant to say that, before everything was out on the table, and during the course of my EA, I had tried to end it on my own. I wasn’t successful. My SO knows everything now, and I’m not lonely at all. On the contrary, we are doing great and have, in many ways, never been better. I’m absolutely filled with gratitude to have diagnosed the problem and to be dealing honestly and openly with it. I am not happy about having jumped down the rabbit hole in my LE, but I’m so grateful for the things I’ve learned through this, and I’m confident that my marriage will reap the benefits of what we’ve both learned for the time we have moving forward.
As for the shame that your husband is feeling- I get it. We all make mistakes and get lost from time to time. I think that the thing that matters is that, once you realize you’ve gotten lost and made a mistake, is whether you dig in and justify and excuse and scaffold your mistake or start taking steps toward the path that matches your true values. I struggle with remorse and shame too, but some of that is just pride in not wanting to be weak and flawed (which we all are). My SO would never do what I did, but he’s a flawed human being too. He has met me there and it has made all the difference really. Now we’re in it together- as DrL says, it’s us against it.
I feel optimistic for you and your SO. This is such an opportunity for growth and learning.
Sad Mouse says
So one of the weirdest parts of all this for me is that LO was my friend first. We were (sort of still are?) close. She knew my SO through me. But they work in the same field and at some point she got a job in his company, and then they started commuting together occasionally, or confiding in each other about frustrations, and developed a separate friendship. I think I was aware of the potential for it to get weird before either of them was aware, and fairly early on (within a couple of months of LE starting) I shared my anxiety about their relationship with both of them.
While my SO hasn’t been talking to his LO at all in the last month, I have. I find that I desperately want to understand what was going on for her. What actually happened? How could she not know? The truth is that my shy, secretive SO never (until the very end) did anything that registered beyond friendship (at least for her). She works in a male-dominated industry and has a lot of male friends/colleagues. She can’t second-guess their intentions constantly or she’d be unable to form functional relationships. Anyway, through me, SO has effectively disclosed it all to her as well. I didn’t want to be cast in the role of irrationally jealous spouse who ruins lovely friendships, so I told her pretty much everything. And in addition to having no idea, she very firmly stated that it wasn’t anything she would have wanted, and that she’d have walked away from their friendship much earlier had she had any inkling of what was up. In fact, the last couple of weeks before I forced him to disclose, she had been unnerved by the degree to which he seemed to be seeking her out and gearing up to confront him about it.
What’s shitty here is that I’m grieving too. I’m mourning the way I used to feel about my friend before I started defining myself in opposition to her and perceiving all of her considerable strengths as threats to my happiness. I stopped enjoying her company as much (or, more accurately, dreaded interacting with her even though I did enjoy her company) and found myself needing to complain about her flaws to my husband constantly (and of course he defended her). I stopped inviting her over to our home as much because he was always inviting her and making me feel bad for not wanting her. Etc. I felt guilted into hanging out with her and abiding her presence in my life instead of enjoying her for what she is (a kind, intelligent, interesting woman). I don’t think there’s anything either she or I could have done to save our friendship, honestly, but it sucks to realize in hindsight how dark things really were for me. Apparently every month or so when SO and I would fight, I’d say “fine, go be with (LO). I think she’s the one you really want.” Sometimes I’m honestly angriest about the gaslighting–-being made to feel that my jealousy was the problem, or that I (who have a lot of male friends) was some kind of rank hypocrite for not wanting him to enjoy same.
So…I’m not quite NC with SO’s LO. Maybe I should be. I have no idea if I can somehow salvage a friendship with her, or if this would even be remotely desirable. I have a lot of friends. She was special but not essential to me (but she was SO’s only close friend aside from me). We were, according to her, like family, and she’s feeling a lot of loss right now. What a mess.
“I find that I desperately want to understand what was going on for her. What actually happened? How could she not know? The truth is that my shy, secretive SO never (until the very end) did anything that registered beyond friendship (at least for her).”
Again, from personal experience (the long version is posted elsewhere):
She may not have known. When I disclosed to LO #4, she said she had no idea. I thought I was projecting like a Jumbotron but apparently she didn’t see it. At least one of our mutual acquaintances saw something. From what you said in your first paragraph, they developed an attachment. LO #4 and I got very comfortable talking and bantering with each other. She was easy to talk to. We had inside jokes. Then, LO #4 hit a very specific vulnerability I had. I told the EAP counselor it was like a 5yr old kid took over. The EAP counselor said a 5yr kid had taken over but there was enough of the adult in me to get control back.
Yeah, it may seem really unlikely his LO was clueless but she may have been. She may not have seen him as any more than a close friend.
As for remaining friends…eh, maybe but probably not.
LO #3 and I remained friends after our respective marriages but she shut me down early and I never attached to her. So, maybe, she’s technically more of an Almost LO. When she invited my wife and I to a party, my wife asked if I ever slept with her. No (true). My wife said to accept the invitation.
My wife once said, “There’s only one person out there I don’t want you being friends with (LO #2). I’d be really upset if you ever re-engaged with her.” Since I told my wife about the EA with LO #4, I suspect there’s a second person on that list but I didn’t get a specific prohibition. When I told my wife I’d sent LO #4 an email on the 10th anniversary of her business, I got, “Why are you still contacting her?”
Now that everybody knows, can you all get past it? Here’s another thing. Now, that she knows, you don’t know what’s fermenting in her. He may not be on the radar much now but who knows? I didn’t think I’d ever be someone LO #4 would open up to and confide in but when her relationship collapsed, she did, and things got very messy very quickly. Her life goes south, who’s she gonna call?
And, it’s not surprising you’re grieving for the loss of the friendship. You’re experiencing the consequences for something you didn’t do. At some point, you may resent your SO for it. He goes off the rails, you lose a friend. No justice there.
It sounds like what you’re feeling is pretty normal.
Sad Mouse says
So I probably could have been clearer: I’m not wondering anymore what was going on for LO because she and I have talked about it for hours over the last two weeks. I’ve learned the following (and shared most of it with SO):
–Nothing SO did until very recently registered outside the bounds of regular friendship (probably because he’s abnormally shy and undemonstrative, and she somehow lacked that context–e.g. a five-line email from him on her birthday about how incredible she was and how much their friendship meant wasn’t really outside *her* frame of reference for typical close friendships but it was uncharted territory for him. Now she knows.)
–He consistently imagined that she was specially seeking him out for alone time, while she perceived herself to be including him in group activities and on occasions when others didn’t show up, it wasn’t by design. e.g. a hike they did together alone was a hike she’d rather I have joined. A regular morning bike ride was supposed to include another friend but sometimes that friend couldn’t come. An invitation to go bike camping that he thought would be a 1-on-1 activity was actually a blanket invitation issued to a bunch of different friends. Books that he read and only discussed with her were books that she was also discussing with other friends. Etc. But he didn’t know any of this or chose to ignore it.
–It wasn’t until the end that things started to feel weird for her. Most of their time together was on work commutes, at work, or at social gatherings that included other people (including me). She didn’t notice his preference for alone time with her until COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, because he was so obviously looking for excuses to be alone with her (walks, runs, bike rides, etc.) And at that point she was planning to call him on it and cut him off. But I got there first.
–She is sorry that their friendship wasn’t what it seemed to be and will miss it but has no plans to revive it…although she’d like to salvage her friendship with me.
In short, he consistently misread her intent and imagined patterns where none existed (for her). I think she appreciated at the time how supportive and thoughtful he was but is now a little troubled by the underlying zeal that caused him to be so supportive and thoughtful, especially now that she realizes how much of a zero-sum game for him those qualities were. I feel better about her, I guess, and a little worse about him (because he was so embarrassingly clueless). I actually felt a little cruel telling him how much of this was in his head. :-/ It’s not pleasant to feel so foolish.
There have not been other LOs during our 21-year relationship, although he did have LOs during college and grad school (one each; meeting me killed LO #2). He was never limerent for me because, well, I asked him out and he never doubted my interest in him. So we just fell in love and moved in with each other and got married and had a kid, as people do.
I really want SO to dig deep to understand why this emerged for him and how we might avoid a repeat (which it sounds like you’ve done. That’s awesome!)
We’re also working on deepening some of his other friendships. I was really struck by how there was literally no one (aside from me and maybe LO) on this planet that he’d have felt comfortable confiding in. If I’d experienced something like this (an annoyingly persistent crush on a close friend/colleague), I’d have felt bound to discuss with various close friends and sought a bunch of different perspectives on what was going on. Most of those friends would have called me out on the cognitive dissonance and told me to shape up. SO doesn’t have this. He has never allowed himself to be emotionally vulnerable with anyone else (except for me and more recently LO). I know that men tend to default to different sorts of friendships with each other and that those are less likely to be characterized by introspection and disclosure–but it seems like a giant potential vulnerability in one’s emotional support network.
(N.B. I’m choosing to trust LO because I have no real reason not to. Also I’ve seen their text and email communications and it’s abundantly clear how one-sided this was.)
Speaking as a guy @Sadmouse, and as someone who has been in your husband’s situation, he’s not unusual. Guys aren’t vulnerable with their friends, it’s just not what we do. We talk sports, work, girls and that’s about it! I had no-one to discuss this overwhelming, involuntary crush I had on a co-worker with. I turned to therapy and then thankfully found this site, but otherwise no one in my real life would have worked.
On the mis-reading signs thing. Men do this all the time with women, whether limerent or not. People on here disagree but there is a fundamental difference between men and women… women actually think they can be friends with a man. Some men think so as well, but they’re not being honest with themselves. As Harry said to Sally, “the sex always gets in the way”. He would have thought she was coming on to him, as would 90% of guys based on what you’ve said. It’s how we’re programmed.
So sorry for your big mess, Sad Mouse. It’s an interesting tale, for sure. You hold the most power in the situation. You have clear vision, compassion and concern for everyone; that is very commendable. Your intuition can best guide you. Your SO has the job of recovery and that will take a lot of determined effort and resolve. Your SO is so lucky to have your assistance and companionship through the process.
It sounds like you should cut your SO’s LO loose, kindly of course, either staged withdrawal or NC. At least for a while. It will be easier for your SO to recover more quickly and for you to regain your happiness. Happy mice are better than sad mice. If you and the LO have lots of other friends, it would be better for all of you to reorient to your wider social network. The extra space between all of you would provide some breathing room, more perspective, space for recovery and the potential for growth.
Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always good for limerents to hear the view from the SO. Best of luck!
Sad Mouse says
Thanks, Bert. It’s been cathartic for me to share here and hear all your perspectives. I’m wistful about things I can’t control or even fully know but I guess most long-term relationships suffer bumps of some nature. We can emerge stronger.
I think on some level my SO feels as though he’s been forcibly roused from a very weird, pleasurable but disturbing dream. And now that he’s awake and knows what’s real, he wants to move forward as productively and quickly as possible. He’d love for me to move on as well. Indeed, our best days are the ones on which I manage to stow my pain and not ask the scary questions.
That’s not always possible, though. As I’ve told him, it may have only been a nightmare for him, one that now seems kind of unreal, but the whole while (2.5 years!) he was kicking me in his sleep. The kicking was real and left bruises. Somehow those have to heal. We’re both dealing with some ambiguous loss.
Everyone has to recover at their own pace. If you go too fast you end up shoving everything under the rug. It starts to get crowded under there and bumpy rugs are hard to walk on. Also if you go too fast, you miss the lessons.
Your loss is more justifiable. What you described probably feels like a betrayal of affection and a wavering of deep-hearted commitment? If so, that is really tough to get over. Is it helpful to know that limerence really just hijacks our good sense and any sensibility? The limerence high is so captivating that everything else pales in comparison. None of it makes sense, but at the time it doesn’t seem to matter.
Your SO, if he recovers from his embarrassment, probably experiences disenfranchised grief, as outlined in Dr. L’s post above. “It relates to forms of loss that are not socially sanctioned, because they don’t fit into most people’s conception of ‘acceptable reasons to mourn'”. It is painful, but no one really wants to hear about it. And you shouldn’t be asked to. But it may be helpful to have the understanding of the sequential recovery processes.
I think that a way to look at is is that things will never go back to the way they were- it can be tempting to hurry back to “normal”, but I don’t think that’s the very best path. Plus, normal is what landed you here. I love the dream analogy you made; brilliant!
I think you’re entitled to ask all the hard questions you want and need. And I think your SO is obliged to answer honestly. In some cases my SO would ask something and I’d ask of he was sure he wanted the answer, but I answered everything as honestly as I could. I owed at least that to him. At a certain point he felt satisfied that he had enough information, but he can ask me anything he wants forever. Nothing is off limits.
I wonder how many of you have pureO (OCD) and or anxiety?
For your consideration:
I love Thought Catalog!
There are several contributors there that I really like.
To my knowledge, I’ve never been cheated on. But, there are only two women who’ve ever been in a position to betray me. LO #2 and my wife. I can’t think of a single thing that even would make me question either of them. If either of them did, they were smart enough to never tell me and good enough to pull it off without me getting a whiff of it.
When I dropped the final dime on LO #2, I didn’t tell her I didn’t love her anymore.
I told her I didn’t trust her anymore and I would never let her get close to me again.
Tom G says
New here but not a new limerent.
My latest episode came to a head two weeks ago when LO, a single Mom from a common athletic team, finally advised me that we could not pursue matters beyond a “friendship” solely because I am still “Officially” married and people talk.
That was a punch to the gut and kick to the balls at the same time. Have been struggling since. There has been matter of fact communication as it relates to the sports team.. but nothing more.
I spent the last two weeks trying to solve a problem with no solution. Playing and replaying, trying to think of the scenario where I still end up with LO. All options were considered, including divorce, which is a possibility regardless of LO. Trying to imagine my way through a divorce where I come out intact enough on the other side to resume pursuit of LO was an extreme and admittedly pathetic rumination.
Ultimately on Saturday I realized that, for the sake of my own survival I needed to go NC. There was initially a small bout of relief at the thought of finding some peace. But even two days later the washes of sadness over my loss are jarring and often stop me in my tracks.
So it’s just Day 2 of NC. And there will come communications relating to the sports team, for which I am the coach. I haven’t even processed yet what those to anyone else “mundane” Communications will do to me. Will I be able to respond minimally and objectively without trying to bring out more from her? Will such informational communications reset the NC clock and bring me back to the start emotionally?
Thank you for listening.
“Will I be able to respond minimally and objectively without trying to bring out more from her?”
Have you heard of BIFF; Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm? It’ a technique most often used in high-conflict situations such as divorce, custody issues, etc. But you can use it in any situation in which you shouldn’t say what you’re really thinking but you have to continue dealing with the person. It can work well in going LC with your LO. Check out https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/5-types-people-who-can-ruin-your-life/201809/biff-4-ways-respond-hostile-comments
Until you get the hang of it, it can come out as kind of stiff but once you do, it works really well. It might not help quell the thoughts in your head but it can really help you cover your tracks.
Tom G says
Thank you Sharnhorst. That technique will be helpful (albeit sad) when responding to emails/texts. At some point whenever summer sports open up I will have to deal with seeing this person at sports games. Seeing that the summer is near upon us, I may have to reserve some benzos to get through. I don’t say that proudly but realistically. I typically walk around with my heart on my sleeve so you can imagine the anxious wreck I will be when that time comes. I do have a good month or so to try to tame the fires through NC.
Thanks again for the reply. As others have shared, it is hard to find Among ones friends those who get this and are willing to listen.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
BIFF is hard, when you can’t do NC. But it’s the only way, and it all DOES eventually simmer down.
It’s been a year since I had the ‘kicked in the gut’ feeling. My LO finally ‘fessed up that she was seeing one of our work colleagues. She and I had been mutually limerent, but had an up-and-down relationship. When she told me about her new boyfriend, I was nauseous and distressed, which is incredibly stupid, me being married and all. But I couldn’t go NC.
So I had to gracefully transition from a very close friendship to BIFF, without causing a lot of disruption. That was a painful way to pull the band-aid off the wound, slowly and deliberately.
We’ve had our ups and downs; right now she’s gone NC with me, minimizing interactions at work. But we still have a residual connection. We HAVE to talk, after all. And every now and then, we have a very sparkly conversation where we both make each other laugh and it seems like old times.
It just all makes me sad. But sadness is better than pain! Hang in there, you’ll get through it.
Tom G says
I keep coming back to this very page for comfort that what I am experiencing, others have experienced, and for the reassurance that, as awful as NC feels, it should at least bring me peace from the obsession and the mood swings.
That said, I’m on day 3 of NC. Last night I lay in bed from 9:30-1:00-ish ruminating and fantasizing that there was some way that LO and I could be. This is me, begging and bargaining, is it not? What will it take for me to accept that we cannot be? I really feel that if this continues I will go mad. I am so very much in need of peace, so that I can be functional in both my career and in my family…
Tom, I am at about a year NC and I just realized that in the last couple of days I finally feel happy. Really happy! It’s been an uneven trajectory with profound dips (even recently) and the early months were excruciating I do admit, but NC sure was a wise investment. I find myself doing all sorts of creative things I have long neglected, my friendships are sweet and rich and soul-nourishing (and not laced with dangerous romantic hope), and I realize that this newly emerging exuberant happiness is not connected to any human on earth…..I am not siphoning off their attentions to create dopamine highs from myself, I am not dependent on them for my newfound buoyancy and that is so exciting and self-affirming!
Keep committed to your decision and peace will come….control your thoughts to the best of your ability and feel the spell wear off…leading you to freedom.
Honestly, sometimes it really helps to be able to talk to someone face-to-face that’s neutral, like a therapist. Close friends and family are risky.
This place is great but it isn’t a substitute for professional help. Finding a good therapist that understands limerence can be difficult. If you’re trying to solve this without your SO figuring out something’s wrong, it can even more difficult. I saw a therapist 2 weeks after things in my last LE went south and I still leaked like a sieve.
I was lucky in that my employer offers a free EAP service I could use on company time so I was able to do a lot of work and keep it to myself. If you have one, I recommend you use it. There are also therapists that can do things online or Skype that can help maintain privacy.
What to you mean by “Officially” Married? Are you anticipating a change in your marital. If you’re going to become available at some point, maybe you go BIFF, wait it out, and pursue it later.
Tom G says
I’ve been hiding this from SO under the general category of “depression.” I’m pulling that off, but of course it’s hard to accept care from SO when your broken heart is with LO.
By “Officially” married, I mean that SO and I are more or less resigned to sticking it out a couple more years for the kids’ sakes. With mutual permission to go seek what we can find outside of the house (and keep it out of town!) Much of the pain in this situation is tied to the fact that LO is “in town” and is not open to sneaking around, and fears the “Scarlet Letter” should we be found out.
As to your last question, yes, it is possible I may be making a change over the course of the next year. So your suggestion is very much in my mind, namely, wait it out, and pursue it later. I do wonder if that would even work. Will I even be the same person after going through the gut and heart wrenching process of divorce?
Thank you for your concern and for sharing your thoughts.
“Will I even be the same person after going through the gut and heart wrenching process of divorce?”
That’s a legitimate question and you won’t know until you reach that point.
If you think you might pursue your LO after you’re out of the marriage, you need to be squeaky clean until you’re free to do it. If she won’t mess around because of the “Scarlet Letter,” she won’t appreciate the gossip about being a home-wrecking hussy, either. It sound that for your LO, Image Management is a big deal. It might not be true but all it takes is one malicious person to start that rumor.
Keep in mind, a lot of things can happen in a few years, like she finds someone and goes off the market. Plan accordingly.
Tom G says
I’m in day 12 of NC.
A fellow on another forum suggested to me that I haven’t gotten the answer I need from LO. I did get from her that because of my ambiguous marital situation and the fact that we and our children are in the same town, that we cannot be more than “friends”…(meaning acquaintances)
The gentleman from the forum said I would need to get an answer from her such as, if I was, or if I would be in the future, divorced, would she want to “see” me.
I dread broaching this topic further with LO, as I am trying to maintain my dignity, as well as my sanity. So I ask you all, is continuing with NC the correct path?
Or is the gentleman correct that I need to pose this question to LO to ever get any peace?
I feel like I am in my own special place in hell…
Go to the blog page, search “disclosure.”
Re-read some of those. After that, if you think there’s more potential upside than potential downside, go for it, and see what happens.
How much risk are you willing to assume?
Today I thought that what frustrates me is how irrational this all is:
My last relationship (not with an LO) ended because we discovered some incompatibilities over time, and to be honest it reached a point where I simply didn’t feel able/willing to meet my ex’s needs. For his part it was becoming clear that these needs were not being met. There were some discussions, but we agreed to part. We had been together for four years, and it was really sad and I certainly felt sad about it.
An on-off FWB arrangement with an LO for the past 18 months has ended with No Contact because I just couldn’t handle the emotions it was triggering, and he ended up acting like a jerk (in my view)… and the pain at times is just agonising. I’ve had this experience before (a few times), and it could be months of pangs, and regrets, and ruminations.
It just doesn’t seem fair that when relationships of real value end it all just seems terribly sad, but manageable with self-care and support from friends and ending an LE with NC triggers all this internalised high-drama which drags on. I was married for 8 years and when that ended it was pretty devastating for a good while – but still only as devastating as some of my LE recoveries where I’ve only slept with the LO 2-3 times in total and been obsessing for months.
I’m having a bad day and I’m really annoyed with myself about it. Fortunately all the barriers against a humiliating climbdown from NC are STACKED HIGH.
Yep, lO was over me in 5 weeks, I m afraid this will take me so much longer than I hoped .
I haven’t seen LO in 5 months! And he is still with me 24-7. And I’m still hoping post Covid we will start our romance again. Maybe he has a girlfriend for all I know and here I am.. with a canoe next to my bed.
Put a canoe in your bedroom and you’re never alone.
Considering where you live, is there anything growing in your living room you can turn for a profit?
Hahaha no strangely no one orphanaged these plants. Yet.
But a career switch to become a candyman might give me some needed adrenaline.
I like it!
You start a business, “Mia’s LO Loco” and bundle it with DrL’s book, “Living With Limerence.” You put ads in “High Times” and “Psychology Today.” Your slogan can be, “If DrL’s book doesn’t help you forget your LO, Mia’s LO Loco will!*”
* – Offer valid where legal.
You and DrL can decide the %. But, since I’m grinding through “The Sopranos,” I want a point and a half.
If you can’t get anything else from your LO, why not make some money off them?
Becoming candyman Mia Loco, means I will also completely transforme my personality. Was waiting for a transformation anyway, why not be a gangster all the way.
“The world is yours” .
Talking to me ??
I remember, was it Vincent, making vague but clear references to becoming a hitman as a new career. Maybe we should all become gangsters.
Hopelessly romantic gangsters 😄❤️
I call dibs on Consigliere!
Ah, commiserations to you, Thomas. It sounds like your limerent brain works overtime to try and hold onto these “almost relationships”!
It certainly does! Christ I had a hard few days just gone, but made efforts to see a couple of old friends who’ve never heard of/met LO. A couple of them have kids who’ve grown so much and were dead excited to see me which was actually really sweet and soothing. Simple pleasures.
So… NC still intact. Though I recently encountered one of Sharn’s old comments which I thought is certainly true. The real test will come if/when LO gets in touch… which if the past is an indicator of the future, is quite possible. But if it is going to happen, it’ll not be for a few weeks yet.
I think that the difference between a “real” breakup and a limerence breakup is just reality. In the first case, there is time and actual relationship as evidence. You may know that you care about them, but it becomes clear that the incompatability isn’t sustainable. In the case of a limerence breakup, what we actually lose is a very potent dream more than a flesh and blood person (although everything in us can scream that it’s the person). In my case, I can see that there were many things about my LO and I that would have made a long-term relationship impossible. That is true on both sides. He wouldn’t have ultimately wanted me and the whole life that would have come with me. He and I didn’t stand on the same ground philosophically or spiritually- really, if I listed out all the things that would have gotten in the way of us ever actually having a relationship you would realize how insane the whole thing really was. But that doesn’t mean that letting go of it was easy in any way. There was a very deep dream that got tangled up in the person of LO that has been painful and difficult to let go of. Some of it I want to keep, but I need to figure out how it can become real in my actual life. Some of it is the dream of a young romantic that has bought into the fantasy of rescue and perfection and that has to be gently let go of. Over time. With help. So, I guess what I’m saying is that in these limerence breakups we’re losing a part of our own imagination, hope and fantasy… and that can be really threatening and difficult to lose; it can make it feel like all the color is leaving the world and that it won’t ever come back. But what I’m finding is that it isn’t true and that, like Jaideaux has said, the world is colorful and full of joy and REAL intimacy. If we could all have a true, authentic relationship with our LO’s, we would all, without exception, be totally cured of our limerence. Maybe we have dream and fantasy addiction as much as person addiction!!
Keep your chin up!
Clips of the Day:
If you have an SO, you can spread a layer of guilt on top.
Great articles – comforting somehow. Thanks.
Vicarious Limerent says
I’ve been reading and thinking about the whole notion of “almost relationships” quite a bit the last few months. I don’t think I can count my LO as an “almost,” but I certainly have the same types of feelings towards her as people do towards their almosts. [Eye rolling trigger warning coming here…] I also think a lot about how my LO must feel towards my brother in-law because he most certainly was an almost for her. I think he kind of led her on, but the real reason he didn’t go for it was the distance. I believe (and so does my wife) that the two of them would have dated for sure if she was local to him or he was local to her. While he pretended to feel rejected by her for not going out with him the next day and he acted like she wasn’t good enough for him, I believe she would have been good enough if distance wasn’t such a factor.
So, why do I care about him being an almost to her? Because I believe she and I are going through the same thing (or at least we went through the same thing — she may be completely over him by now). Part of me wants to console one another. One of the things I have thought about saying to her is how unfair life is and that we all seem to want what we can’t have (don’t worry; I have no intentions of saying that now). My wife wants me. I want my LO. My LO wants my brother in-law. Who knows who my brother in-law wants at the moment (although there were a few candidates over the past few months)? It is all so sad and pathetic. Scharnhorst is right how being in a relationship also adds on a layer of guilt to this dynamic.
Thank you. So so true what you say… I really do know it… honestly.
Deep in my LE it’s all allowances and exceptions. Again. It’s those hurdles that need to be overcome that make it seem so heroically romantic. The harsh reality is that when engaging in an LE I’m not actually giving my self to LO, and I’m not really focusing on who LO actually is either.
I’m shit hot on the flattery though. Which as you can imagine attracts all the best LOs. 🙄
I’m so amazed that my limerence is still fighting to be kept alive, what ever I do and try, it looks like it out smartens me. In such a sneaky way.
Me wanting to talk to a therapist ( maybe you can be cured real fast so you can deal with Lo)
Me picking up hobby’s and filling my life ( what a coincidence this has some link with Lo, maybe send him a pic )
Me wanting to try meds to get rid of this shit ( maybe meds are the cure and you can have a normal calm relationship with lo)
I’m pissed off today with this crap.
I hope this anger, which is unlike me, will give me some empowerment to keep going.
If you can see you and your LO aren’t on the same ground philosophically and spiritually, that’s a pretty big insight right there.
My LO was very conventional and never asked “why” questions. I’m no political activist, but I always worry about whether things are fair and moral, etc. My LO had a deep-rooted complacency about life and religion that I couldn’t ever share.
We were incompatible in that sense and the fact I ignored it proves I was loving a fantasy and not the real person.
@Janesays …aww thank you for quoting me…made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside! I think part of the pain of the limerence breakup is that we don’t get the compassion and support and validation of our pain the way we would if we had a ‘legitimate real relationship’. But in many ways, I think these limerent relationships are real. They are our reality, and perception is reality, or so they say. Yes, I do think we are dreamers and romantics, and in some ways very drawn to the novelistic splendor of our limerent relationships as they are just so spectacular vs. the mundane of ‘real’ relationships. We think we want the limerent, but we what we really want is the novelistic splendor.
But that being said, once the agony of the ‘breakup’ subsides, life returns to a slightly rueful calmness, and yes, the color does return, and I think for many of us we are wiser and now well equipped to refuse to get back on the dangerous and damaging roller coaster that is limerence. We may now be more sensitive to not giving anyone on this planet false hope in any sort of relationship. We surely have heightened compassion for the human experience. I feel like I have learned so much about myself, my weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and now I like myself more than I did previously. I am in some ways more gentle and in other ways more firm with myself , and certainly am enjoying my own company and my authentic friends far more than I did when limerent! Life will never return to the insanity of limerent fueled chemical and hormonal mania, but I have told myself that this is good. And I believe myself (97.3%). One day I will be at 100%. It’s not healthy to worship and idolize a human, but that is exactly what we all do in limerence.
The loneliness of no contact, nay, the agony of no contact, eventually gives way to soothing stability and quiet contentment and above all, sweet, sweet self respect.
“Maybe we have dream and fantasy addiction as much as person addiction!!” So nicely put Janesays. It’s very true, I am aware of it more and more as I get to know LO better. I know everything I don’t like about him, all our incompatibilities. Knowing this helps for taking distance from him, but the grieving doesn’t seem to subside. True, what I’m longing for is not really him, it’s the feeling, the dream, the prospective, or like you wrote Jaideux, “the novelistic splendor”. You describe very well how the LE made you a better person. But how to accept settling for “slightly rueful calmness”…?
Do we accept ‘settling’ for the ‘slightly rueful calmness’ or perhaps we view it as not actually settling, but ‘choosing’ – wisely and maturely. We choose ourselves, we choose to embrace reality, we choose to own our own authentic happiness, versus choosing to be held hostage on a wild ride that never ends well.
…or just reaching a point where you feel drained, exhausted, and you know there’ll be another high along soon if you really chase it this time…
…but eventually it has to stop. Doesn’t it.
Yes, even though our limerent brains struggle to believe it, there is no happy ever aftering with limerence. I have spent so many years trying to make it be so, but with damage and disappointment as my only result.
Dear Jaideux, Thank you so much, I’ll keep your inspiring words close.
“‘choosing’ – wisely and maturely, the ‘slightly rueful calmness’”: I would love to believe you. I’m not ready for that, although I’m over the worst of my limerent blindness. I did a lot of progress, my instrusive thoughts are less frequent and less powerful. I’m aware now of what kind of person LO is. I know (some of) the reasons why he had such an impact on me.
Still, I can’t let go of limerence completely. The mundane of daily life is too dull. I can’t find enough purpose to bring color back to life. I desperately cling to some faded fantasy to feel alive. Even if it’s not “working” well anymore, I still need my limerence.
Aww Emma I understand!
Baby steps, finding joy in the smallest of pleasures and then realizing they are not so mundane after all will slowly fill the hole and crowd out the glitter of limerence. All that glitters is not gold!
Wishing you a speedy recovery…..
“If we could all have a true, authentic relationship with our LO’s, we would all, without exception, be totally cured of our limerence.”
How very true, every word you say. My relationship never really got started and I’ve been denied any opportunity to talk any of my feelings out with him as he is an ‘avoider’ and freezes up when confronted with any emotion. I sometimes feel I will explode with unsaid conversations in my head. I’m LC as cannot go NC. But I don’t think LC is enough.
Can’t at the moment go into more detail about my LO but will on another day. I’m so pissed off this weekend, I posted a sad song on the thread “Update and a little light relief” and probably upset Thomas, sorry Thomas. Maybe Scharn would like it…..Anyway here’s to another week of LC or maybe NC or maybe I’ll just kill myself -(only joking). Sorry DrL, bad taste I know!!!
Here’s the song I posted, Gravity. If anyone want’s to listen to it:
This is for all us sad, misused, disrespected, hopelessly hopeful, kind, decent, helpful, empathetic, big hearted, broken Limerents….. on this rainy Friday.
I’m fine, no worries! Sorry you had a bad weekend. I know what they can be like.
Hope the week offers some distraction…
I haven’t had direct contact with my LO in a year. But NC is difficult in the age of social media. She has her social media accounts locked down, so I could barely get any insight into who she really is. With only her photos and my anchor memories, it made letting go difficult. But since she started a new public account where she’s reviewing books, she’s been posting a lot of crazy social justice stuff: “white people/men are bad.” It’s like she’s going off the deep end. I feel my limerence starting to fade, but of course as a limerent I hold out hope that she comes to her senses.
‘I feel my limerence starting to fade.’
Good luck Matt!
Am I doing the right thing? Just turned down an invitation to another event that LO will be attending. I wanted to go really. I’m just not sure that I could cope with being in the same room. I would be sitting and talking with other people but…but…
I can’t do this can I? Even if I don’t interact with him at all, I’ll still end up in an F.E.C (That’s a Forlorn Emotional Calamity) and right at the minute, I don’t even want to look at him. I felt like an idiot last week and I do have some self-respect…not much, admittedly, but it is there, somewhere.
Why wouldn’t declining be the right thing?
What would you gain by accepting?
Thanks Scharnhorst, that’s exactly the way I should be looking at it. So yes, I have declined. Why WOULD I repeat what happened last week!! I wish my brain was on my side…
I am having a hard time. Keeping very low contact with LO but it’s killing me and he doesn’t want it either. He wants me around but doesn’t want me really. Emotions! He’s really bad at them. He thinks if I’m not coming to see him, then I don’t like him anymore. Couldn’t be more wrong. It’s the reverse! I’m crazy about him. But I can’t tell him that. We never talk of ‘us’, never have. It’s so tough on me. I wish I didn’t have to see him at all. He often gives me the cold shoulder when I do turn up, just for the first 10 minutes or so, like he’s hurt that I hate him now or something like that, then he’s chatty. He’s in my partner’s group that meet for coffees occasionally. I just can’t cut out all meet ups. Even in these times, we can still meet up for a takeaway and an outdoors chat. Will it get easier when I still have to see him occasionally? Imaginary conversations still go around in my head a lot of the time. I know that’s because we never even got to talk about things. I could whatsapp him and tell him my reasons but there’s a friend of his in our group that I’m afraid he might show the text to, so I can’t do it. Any advice for me, anyone?
Have you read https://livingwithlimerence.com/limerence-and-the-friendzone/ ?
thanks so much Scharnhorst
I’m reading through your suggested link. But my biggest problem is he knows how I feel, but we can’t discuss it and I’m stuck in still having some contact. When I do see him it’s so painful to see that sometimes I can tell he’s missing our connection and sometimes he’s not. His hot and cold stuff has me driven crazy. That’s mostly the reason I don’t want to see him anymore. I feel I’m watching a good love die slowly and it’s agony for me.
I’m stuck in limbo, trying to find my way out of this on my own.
This is why God invented therapists.
Not being able to talk through this with anybody is horrible. Therapists are paid to listen. Can you work with a therapist without your partner finding out? Unlike friends, therapists can’t rat you out.
If you do work with someone, try to determine your goal before going in. It can save a lot of time and money.
Thanks Scharnhorst. I have thought about therapy. I thought I’d give myself another month to see if I can come out the other side of this. I do have a good friend who has listened to me, but I know she has reached saturation point at this stage – and so have I. No angle I come at this from seems to get me anywhere.
I’ll maybe give therapy a try. I did therapy some 25 years ago, but the therapist was no good. I felt ‘judged’ that I wasn’t trying hard enough at my relationship and that’s no good.
A bad therapist can be worse than no therapist.
In my experience, you can do a lot of it yourself but sometimes you need to bring in the heavy hitters. The stakes can be too high to risk getting it wrong. I was lucky. I had easy access to a therapist and she was good. She provided the reality check I needed before I ended up doing something I’d regret. I did a few things wrong but I got away with them. I give myself a C+.
It doesn’t sound like your in too deep so maybe it won’t take a lot.
Check out https://livingwithlimerence.com/therapy-for-limerence/ . If you search the site for “therapy,” you’ll come up with more blogs.
If you feel a therapist isn’t working with you, get rid of them and find one who does.
Something I find tough, and I suspect might be a limerent thing is the intense resurgence of feelings without warning…
So. My LO has cut ties. For now, possibly for good. It’s been erratic anyway. I’ve firstly accepted the reality (after being ghosted) and tried to put a positive spin on it. Because LO has taken the right decision… objectively speaking.
So… there I am… recovering (?). Staying purposeful. Grieving a bit, but getting on day-day. Etc.
Then. (Oh. The penny drops…). I saw a photo of him. On my phone, one that slipped through the purge. (Weird… recalling that as I write this). So ok.
So two months of settling, calming my emotions and these last 48 hours I’m climbing the walls wanting to make contact and getting physical pains in my chest just thinking continuously about him… and I’m back hoping.
…and just feeling so sad and pathetic.
I’m thankful to have sonewhere to write this… especially today.
– that f*cking photo.
Anyway. I know heartbreak is chaotic for everybody. But I just feel like with me months can go by and any tiny trigger (a single photo!) Can trigger a full on meltdown out of the blue. It just doesn’t feel normal. I suspect it might be worse for limerents- because this isn’t really a love thing. This is just f*cking awful.
That may never go away but they should come less frequently, the effects are less severe, the episode doesn’t last as long, and there’s no tangible effect on your life.
After 30 years, I’ve learned to live with them and I don’t look forward to them anymore. The hardest ones are when something hits when watching TV with my wife and family and I want to say, “I’ve been there before.”
I’m so sorry, Thomas. It is utterly awful. Two months isn’t very long though. Near the beginning I thought I’d never recover, but I was wrong. I agree with everything that Scharnhorst says.
I got rid of almost everything, but a few items remain: a lot of photos, in a folder that is hidden and I’ve not opened in a year and a half; and two gifts from LO. The latter contain inscriptions, and I can’t quite bring myself to throw them away. On the other hand, I can look at them and I’m fine. The photos I’m not touching with a barge pole – I might be fine, but there’s no way I’m risking it, and in any case I have no interest in looking at them.
I’m sorry. I know you’re trying to move on as we all are.
You’re right. It’s not love. Sometimes I am fine, even with an occasional Facebook check. Other times, something can happen or those feelings resurface for any number of reasons. I’ll hear a song or else see something while I’m streaming a show, and it will take me down. It may not last two days, but it used to. Now, I might be sad for an hour, or for a good part of the day.
I’m prepared for it to happen. I’ve almost accepted that I will think of him every day. I mean, I’m crying as I dictate this now.
But when I get control of the feeling, I know that he was not the one for me. Even if he had been willing to try, it would never have worked.
It wasn’t even fair to him. I put too much on him emotionally and everything. I did all this in my head. I never verbalized it to him, even when he and I spoke every day. But it was there. In the air. He could never have lived up to what I expected him to be. No one could.
We’re all a little like Gatsby. Even if Daisy had accepted his love the second time around, she could never have lived up to the idea in his head.
“It wasn’t even fair to him. I put too much on him emotionally and everything. I did all this in my head. I never verbalized it to him, even when he and I spoke every day. But it was there. In the air. He could never have lived up to what I expected him to be. No one could.
We’re all a little like Gatsby. Even if Daisy had accepted his love the second time around, she could never have lived up to the idea in his head.”
@Beth. That is really beautiful and insightful. I wish I wrote that. I especially like how you say “wasn’t even fair/but it was there/in the air”. That’s almost a poem, you know! Plus, you’ve nailed the sentiment perfectly. I absolutely put the same burdens on my LO.
@Beth. I’ve taken some of your lovely words/insights and turned them into a poem. Hope you don’t mind. The poem isn’t meant to represent your direct experience, but rather a hypothetical limerent sufferer and their possible feelings during an LE. I’ve tried to universalise limerent-type emotions so that hopefully any reader can get something out of the piece. But credit to you for providing initial lines and inspiration. You write really beautifully! 😛
It wasn’t fair
But it was there
In the air –
My unshakeable conviction LO cared.
I betrayed myself.
I lost my way.
Exclusive rights to my soul
Signed away in a day.
It wasn’t fair
But it was there
In the air –
All I might say and did not dare.
He stole my heart.
He stole my mind.
Resistance seemingly futile.
Human mating instincts blind? (God knows I was blind!)
It wasn’t fair
But it was there
In the air –
The cross I often asked him to bear.
With kisses for the most part fictional
My body ached and burned.
Now I’m here at LwL
To compare notes on what I’ve learned.
Atiral Selig says
This reading is quite insightful! It speaks on exactly what I am experiencing….My “and fight” right now is the anger, feelings of abandonment- that I feel goes back farther that this past situation, and realizing the damage that happened because of this relationship. .. Awareness is everything!
Many things make sense now- family generational complexes stand front and center now. I reflect on things that happened to- my aunts, uncles and grandmother… Wow!
Thank you folks. Coming back on here this evening it has been really comforting to read your words and know that you’re among the other limerents out there taking the time to check in and offer to support to those in distress. I’m feeling a bit less awful now… I took a long afternoon walk around north London (lockdown so there’s walking aplenty if nothing else!) to blow away the cobwebs and it kinda worked.
Wishing you all well, and thank you again.
The walk was your meditation. Good luck and my best to you.
“So two months of settling, calming my emotions and these last 48 hours I’m climbing the walls wanting to make contact and getting physical pains in my chest just thinking continuously about him… and I’m back hoping.
…and just feeling so sad and pathetic.”
@Thomas. Sorry you’re struggling so much at the moment. Things will get better … eventually. Eventually, your emotional reactions to reminders of LO will become less intense. Your brain will catch up with reality. I think we just have to add lots of new and interesting hobbies to our lives (hard to do during lockdown) that fill the huge void left by LO. Take care, buddy. Wishing you the best. 😛
I’m so pleased to find this site today, I’ve been involved in this dance for over ten years with a short sharp gap of NC in between. An illicit relationship with someone who has created serious and deep bonds with me obsessively. I’m in a slow fade place on his part right now and its really painful. I’m getting intermittent requests of deeply loving messages letting me know he loves me and can’t bear to lose me, but all close interaction has stopped. I just come to terms with him being gone even though nothing has been officially ended and then I hear from him again. I can’t move forward and find myself waiting every day. This person took over my life twice, I miss him all the time and can’t concentrate on anything else.
I hope I can pop in here and share my feelings as I have friends but no one understands the deep bonds and they just tell me to ‘ get over it’s.
Welcome. You’ll find loads of info here, and a supportive community. It’s a tough thing, especially because on-off things are one of the worst situations a limerent can be in with their LO. It is extremely painful, and punctuated by the bliss of periodic reconnection which only makes the next withdrawal tougher.
Take a look around the site… but remember that LO did not take over your life. That was only in your power to make it so… and you have that power in you to do something else, either on your own or in a relationship that truly nourishes you. The limerent experience (LE) is in our own minds- the power the LO has is entirely rooted in the our willingness to hand that authority over.
Best of luck with it, there’s a lot of folk here who know pretty much exactly what is going on for you. You’ll be surprised how much in common there is between limerents and their experiences – it cut ms right across lines of age, gender, sexuality etc…
Hi Dolly, and welcome. It’s really tough when an LO has drawn you in, but then gone cold after you are hooked, leaving you trapped in limbo. There is a lot on the site about how to manage the pain of withdrawal and how to take control of your future. Have a look for posts in the “purposeful living” category as a good starting point.
LO has proven himself unreliable. Time to focus on freeing yourself!
Thank you Thomas,
I intend to read and read. I’ve exhausted sites about Narcissism and other personality disorders trying to figure out the dynamics of his behaviour until I came across this one. I think maybe all of those fit, but
for now I have to look at my own feelings and behaviour, I fell deeply in love during a long intense physical and emotional affair which was spent flipping from euphoria to despair until D day, a complete cut off on my part, but he was always in the background and then came back, but only emotionally, dangling the sexual attraction carrot and keeping it alive , I know I completely lost myself .
I need somewhere I can read other stories. To try to understand myself and why I can’t stop thinking about it because its stopping me concentrating on other things in my life.
Reading up on what might motivate your LOs behaviour can be very useful. It helps us put that side of things in perspective. I have had a few LEs in my life (some people seem to be serial limerents, others have fewer or even a single profound LE that can last and last…). A couple of my LEs have likely involved narcissists and the limerent-narcissist dynamic can be terribly toxic as both sides have (for want of a nicer word) distorted motivations which in these sorts of interactions colour behaviour in ugly ways.
However, the only way out is inside you. A narcissist can become as addicted to the limerent as easily as the limerent becomes trapped themselves. But the outcome is chaotic, painful and unpredictable- not a love-life that anybody will find happy or fulfilling except fleetingly and always tainted by periodic drama and separation. But as long as you are open to giving a narcissist the approval, recognition and (often) the adoration they crave they will always circle back for another dose. Hence your LOs messages – intended to trigger a much needed ‘fix’. Of course once in a state of limerence going gaga over attention from LO is not easily controlled.
But it is something you need to control, (especially in your sort of dynamic) and there’s plenty of information here about how to handle limerent urges.
Good luck, and welcome to the club!
Thomas! It’s been months since I’ve checked in but at my last post I couldn’t find a recent one from you, and I’m so glad to see you alive and well? I heard a song today that catapulted me back to the days of acute pain, and oh how I don’t miss them!
I know I need to back right off but finding it very hard and painful. This has been a ten year thing with him coming back in my life ( after I never recovered from the first round and disclosure) at a time when things hadn’t worked out for him, and he wasn’t happy where he was. I feel like I’ve been a gap fill until he sorted his life out again. I felt it happening with contact slowing and went into panic. He’s basically asking me to hang around because he loves me but thinks its okay to send crumbs.
I’ve never been limerent for anyone in my life, I usually see straight through people and stop in my tracks at the first red flag, so I’m feeling like I’m in some kind of controlled trance. This is the most explanatory site I’ve come across where other people write clearly on their feelings, so I will stay around and keep reading.
Hi Dolly. Welcome to the site. Ten years is a long time to be in limbo and “controlled trance” is not a bad description of how one might feel during limerence. I often felt like I was walking around in a dream, a dream that could turn into a nightmare without much warning, and observers couldn’t wake me up from my trance, though they could see I wasn’t fully participating in life. I was in a world of my own. Maybe limerence might be likened to sleepwalking or a very vivid dream where the line between reality and fantasy becomes troublingly blurred?
Song of the Day: “Part Time Lover” – Stevie Wonder (1985)
Not my favorite Stevie Wonder song.
“He’s basically asking me to hang around because he loves me but thinks its okay to send crumbs.”
If that’s true, it’s a very one-sided, non-reciprocal version of “love.”
So, if you know this, why do you accept crumbs? What’s so special about this guy that you’re willing to put up with crap? Why do you feel this is the best you can do? If he came around, do you honestly think you could assimilate him into your life?
When LO #4 came to understand what was going in her relationship, she told me she felt like an idiot, a chump, that she was a fraud and had betrayed herself. She was pretty down for awhile.
‘So, if you know this, why do you accept crumbs? What’s so special about this guy that you’re willing to put up with crap? Why do you feel this is the best you can do? If he came around, do you honestly think you could assimilate him into your life?’
You ask many a limerent these same questions..!
How many of them would have good/rational answers?
Obviously I meant Sharn,
Though ‘Sharon’ is giving me a chuckle!
@Thomas. I think Scharn is responding to Dolly’s post, above mine and his. Dolly is the lady with the crumb problem. (Apologies in advance to Dolly – we all have had crumb problems & it’s a good metaphor). 😉
Okay, this has been a long relationship. I call it that because he took over my life for ten years apart from a short break with constant obsessive contact. When it was disclosed we parted ways, both not wanting to but Trying to do the right thing. He wouldn’t end it but wouldn’t tell me what the future held so I made the cut off though it totally broke my heart. Then he started it back up, said he had been miserable without me, could never be happy unless I was in his life and the obsessive contact took over again, always initiated by him but reciprocated by me, I’d been lost without him too. It was only emotional but always with that ‘it will be more again soon’ talk. Sparks flying.
Then something happened in his life and he began slow fading which anyone here knows makes your thoughts go into overdrive. I always had to wait for his contact first. There were a few meetings, but he was clearly pulling back with contact. I’ve said if he has got this out of his system now to just say and we can both move on because I’m in limbo but he won’t, he sends very loving professions of deep love and pain because he isn’t seeing me, but only every few weeks. Because of the family problem he had ( which he’s discussed and confided with me for months) I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt and the time he needs, but I’m feeling like I’ve been cut off and its painful, more so because if I ask any questions he avoids answering but just sends all this love talk. Because of that I feel like I just need to give him time and hang around until he’s ready. I know it sounds desperate but I’m really trying to understand the situation. I feel like its crumbs because he was habitual to the hour with contact and now I never know if ill hear from him or not. He’s not saying if he’s there or if he’s moved on.
When striking it out into the world and possibly finding a relationship that fulfils you, leading with ‘Hi my name’s Dolly, I’m the lady with a crumb problem’ is not recommended. 😉
“Crumb problems” were never a dynamic in any of my relationships, LEs or non-LEs.
@Scharn. Sincere apologies for implying you or anyone else here has “crumb problems”. My choice of words may have been a touch facetious, though I do believe the great Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about a lover only giving a partner crumbs. I like the imagery, though it doesn’t capture everyone’s experience. 😉
@Thomas. I can see you’re responding to Dolly and quoting Scharn in the process (or even the mysterious Sharon!). But it might be a little confusing to some readers. 😉
“When LO #4 came to understand what was going in her relationship, she told me she felt like an idiot, a chump, that she was a fraud and had betrayed herself.”
I think that for most of us, this is the worst part. It was for me.
When we’re so “in love” – limerence really- that we put up with disrespect.
We believe these feelings are so special that we must pursue them at any cost.
They’re not. It’s our brain lying to us.
“We believe these feelings are so special that we must pursue them at any cost.”
But the feelings are special. I’m not saying one should pursue them at any cost, but limerence is an uncommon level of intensity and interest. I haven’t experienced it that often — I think it’s been almost a decade since the start of my last LE. I had a really intense friendship in my 20s with a guy who really understood me and who was the most outrageous, over-the-top, fun person I’ve ever spent time with. But he was a narcissist, an alcoholic, unreliable and untrustworthy. So I had to walk away. I’ve had other friendships since, but … we don’t end the night throwing drinks at each other (and laughing). 🙂 It’s not that type of party. I probably won’t ever have that type of party again.
The feeling of self-betrayal was a big thing for LO #4. She brought it up frequently in our exchanges at the time.
I told her she was wrong about that. I told her that whatever the guy tried to take from her, he didn’t get her self-respect. I told her that if he’d gotten her self-respect and she’d betrayed herself, she’d still be with him and she wasn’t.
Later on, she told me that what I’d said meant a lot to her.
I wasn’t doing that! I was making the jokey point (poorly it seems! 😄) that asking those questions of Dolly, while important are exactly the sort of questions you could level at loads of us!
I suppose I was trying to be funny and inclusive and slightly self deprecating all at the same time… and left a trail of confusion in my wake!
Oh. Sammy. Did you simply mean I posted into the wrong thread?
Oh Lord. I’m confused now.
Ive added a reply above to the person who asked ‘ why are you putting up with this crap?’…I’m confused and I’m receiving mixed signals.
Perhaps I should have used the words ‘intermittent or sporadic contact following constant obsessive contact for years
I’m putting up with this crap because each excuse I receive is always very plausible and I’m being held in to it by my feelings of someone I don’t want to lose from my life but feel like I am, feelings like anyone on here doesn’t want to let go of.
That was me that posted the questions.
Your story sounds a lot like what LO #4 said about her partner. They were together 7 years and lived together for most of them. She said he “future faked” her, promising that one day they’d get married. But, something always seemed to get in the way. He was good at keeping her on the string.
She began to think he was cheating on her and showed other indications of an abusive relationship (e.g., gaslighting). At first, she staunchly defended him. She had an excuse for everything he did and she put up with. Eventually, the evidence of cheating was overwhelming. She confronted him and he allegedly assaulted her. She left and moved 1000 miles away. He married the woman she caught him cheating with. According to her, I played a part in it. He leaving and telling me that sent the LE through roof. There’s a detailed post on it buried somewhere on LwL.
Why do you want someone in your life that does that to you? Repeatedly. How long will it take before realizing that he’s either incapable or unwilling to give you what you want?
It doesn’t matter which one it is.
He’s had plenty of opportunity. If he wanted to be with you he would be. The next logical step in this process is anger and it looks like you don’t want to go there. Dirty little secret: None of us did [maybe not ALL of us.] Once you allow yourself anger, cracks start appearing in the dam. It becomes really hard to hold things back and maintain the facade. It sounds like your getting close. Check more blogs. There are a lot of posters who are royally pissed off at their LOs. It’s part of the healing process.
There’s nothing cooler than being with someone who WANTS to be with you.
“There’s nothing cooler than being with someone who WANTS to be with you.”
Yes, but the older you get, the higher percentage of anxiously and avoidantly attached people left in the dating pool. So it’s either someone breadcrumbing you or someone coming at you like a freight train. I am a bit of an avoidant, and, of those two behaviors, I prefer another avoidant. In the beginning, especially for a limerent, the avoidant tendencies trigger uncertainty. It’s very easy to get hooked, even if you know better.
I never said it was easy but statement stands.
“So it’s either someone breadcrumbing you or someone coming at you like a freight train. ”
There was a coworker that I was attracted to; mid-40s, attractive, intelligent, charming, self-sufficient, divorced once, and no glimmer. When I see Laura Dern, I think of her. She was a quintessential ESTJ. Her kids were the same age as mine, we had comparable education, social and religious backgrounds, and she was easy company. We’d often have coffee together. I couldn’t understand why a woman like her was still on the market.
One day, I asked her, “Why isn’t there somebody all over you?” She leaned back in the chair and said she met two kinds of men. The first was talking marriage on the second date and the other was looking for someone to take care of them. She said she didn’t like either kind. She left the agency and we didn’t stay in contact for long. She seemed to encounter more freight trains.
I don’t have any idea of what her life was like outside of work or if she was happy. If she aired her gripes to anyone, it wasn’t me. She knew a lot of people and always seemed to have something on her calendar. But, those questions were further outside the scope of our acquaintance than the one I asked. Unlike LO #4, who was 2500 miles away, this woman was right in front of me and that made her a threat.
I asked another woman the same question. She didn’t have an answer. But, she said it was a nice compliment and thanked me for
And, in the context of Attachment Theory, it’s not a “dating pool.” When viewed against age, it’s a “mixer-settler tank.”
“this woman was right in front of me and that made her a threat.”
I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend time one-on-one with someone you’re attracted to if one of you is partnered up. Or even if you’re both single. I don’t think it’s possible for men and women to be friends. Every guy friend I’ve had — married or not — has made some kind of pass or sexual comments at me. With the exception of one, who I developed a crush on and asked out. Years ago, I was naively thinking friendship was possible. I remember one guy friend I knew from work who I’d go drinking with on Friday after work. We’d go as a group, but he and I would drive over together, and his wife was never there. I naively thought he had no other intentions.
Per the other topic, some men seem to want the woman to organize his life — to be a kind of social director and give him tasks once he gets home. I don’t want to do that. I am not comfortable telling grown people what to do, and I don’t want to. I had to hire a lawyer recently and I hate to bug him. We discussed it once. I assume he’ll take care of it.
I saw my coworker outside work exactly twice. Once at a group happy hour and once after she left. I had a meeting in her neck of the woods and we met after work for dinner. My wife approved it. We never corresponded outside work and I haven’t seen her in over 5 years.
The few women friends I have are married and my wife knows them all. I didn’t bring any women with me out of the past and, aside from the LE, haven’t acquired any new ones. Should one appear, it would cause quite a stir.
When I went back to grad school at 42, my wife got a little nervous. She asked if there were any cute girls in class. I told her there were several. She asked if they were married. I asked her what difference that made since I was married. She liked that answer.
True (but funny) story:
Another coworker was an attractive woman in her early 30s with a history of bad relationships. She was in the same section as my other co-worker. I worked on projects with both of them. Sometimes, we’d grab lunch. I took mass transit so she drove. The sight of us together would literally turn heads since I’m old enough to be her father. This got the attention of our branch busybody.
One day, we were going to have lunch and she asked if it was ok if we made a stop on the way back. She wanted to check out a new apartment and it was close to the restaurant. I had the time so I agreed. It was pure convenience.
When we got back, the busybody made a comment about me taking a long lunch with her. I told him we’d been looking at an apartment. The look on his face was priceless.
That is a funny story. I might have told the busy body we went mattress shopping! 🙂
I guess what I don’t understand about these guys friends I had … we would discuss (sometimes in great detail, sometimes in very sexual detail) the women they were dating. I would talk about the guys I was hanging out with, sometimes even going to them for advice. I assumed we were just friends. I never in a million years would have those kinds of conversations with men I was tying to hook up with. I can’t imagine a bigger turn-off.
@Thomas. You’ve got the right thread, mate. Your response, though, made it seem like Scharn & not Dolly had asked the original question. The spellcheck on my phone is also reverting to “Sharon”, btw. 😋
Question: I went NC with my LO eight months ago, but didn’t announce it (basically, I unfriended her on Facebook). I’d like to do the full block on Facebook. Should I reach out and explain why to my LO, or just move on with the ghosting? Lots of advice on here to do the latter, but I wanted to make sure. Don’t hold back!
Something to point out: She and I have like 100 mutual friends, including a ew people who are IRL friends with my wife and I. Part of the reason I’ve avoided the block is the possibility that it could backfire somehow and lead to very awkward questions.
For example, an unfriending could be explained by “well, I just got tired of her political posts.” A block might require more of an explanation. Obviously, I haven’t disclosed to my wife the intense feelings I had for years for the LO because we all worked together for a long time. I honestly never want to tell my wife about any of it.
But I think my wife sensed something was up. Early in my acquaintance with the LO, I pitched the idea of my wife and I going out socially with the LO and her husband (LO was down with that as well). My wife rejected that with EXTREME prejudice and made it VERY CLEAR that she did not like my friendship with the LO. I shared this info with the LO. I now realize that it made my wife the villain in our little drama, which tended to bond us a little closer.
Anyway. Enough for now. Please share your thoughts.
Why do you feel the need to block her now that you’ve unfriended her. I blocked LO #2 and her then BF/now husband because I got tired of them popping up in my search string every time I used certain letters. LO #2 had tried to contact me via FB and after I blocked her, she couldn’t. I unblocked her after a few years.
LO #4 blocked me when I asked if it was ok if we weren’t FB friends. It was bitchy on her part.
Blocking someone is basically a Facebook “F— You!” They can always see your public stuff if they want to and they can tell if you’ve blocked them. So can other people if they know what to look for. If you’re concerned about your mutual friends, why didn’t you just unfollow her and nobody would have been any wiser?
Because I can’t stop going to her profile page and looking at her pictures. She changes her header/profile pics frequently. Like, weekly. Plus, she posts a lot of things that are set to Public.
But I think you’re right. NC is NC. I should probably continue what I’m doing and not go with the nuclear option.
I’m having trouble with No Contact – I get overwhelmed into feeling that is it fair for my LO that I spent so much time engaging with everyday good morning messages and now, I’ve stopped messaging first for the past two months. She is the one who has been messaging since then and I respond as I used to do. From the past week, she has stopped messaging and here I’m wondering if I hurt her. This is making me to message her now saying hi – just so that I don’t want her to feel hurt that I’m ignoring her. My LO does not know I’m obsessed with her. She is actually my wife’s cousin (so a family member that we don’t meet often). She is unmarried and currently dating others which is a pain for me to process. Its such as shame that insecure while I’m happily married – never thought I would be the type of person who would fall out of a committed relationship. I still love my wife and I want to get rid of this LO without hurting the LO. Like people say – graciously walk way. I love my wife and that’s it – she is the most important person in my life and I want to keep it that way. I’ll be happy to get rid of LO without hurting her – that’s somehow has become important and I don’t understand why. My LO has never turned into a EA or PA. Whatever I felt, it was all me and I’m sure she doesn’t feel that way.
I need some help
Hi Max. There is an art to going no contact. A sudden cold turkey approach can be so destabilising that it causes more harm than good. Here are a couple of articles that might help:
You have been nothing but amazing help in my journey of getting out of this painful, heart wrenching episodes, that past 1.8 years have been hell for me. It still is. I keep slipping into the thoughts and sadness that I potentially can’t have any relationship with her – I know its not the right thing for me. I know I was to stop thinking about her. I know I want to forget that this ever happened and go back to what I was before knowing this person – I’m even having a tough time remember how happy I was before all this started. I’m so tired. I’m mentally exhausted. I haven’t spoken to her for a month and she was trying to reach me. I tried avoiding her but she called me this weekend. Of course, she doesn’t know what I have such feelings for her and its just painful even more. I want to move away graciously and desperately waiting for all of this to end but I can’t see how with my mind always thinking about her. I’ve a busy work life and a wonderful family yet its so strange that I always thinking about her. Never in my life I thought I would be capable of something like this. Never I thought I would slip like this in a committed marriage. The worst part is I’m not even feeling guilty yet. I trying but don’t know what else to do. I want to just keep increasing the distance between us, first time I had a call after 1 month, next step is to make it 2 months, 3 months and so on. I just pray that no one should face this situation, not even my worst enemy. This is not fair at all! This is pure hell. I just wish everyone have a peaceful and happy life, I’m so sorry for all the others who are in this journey. Its very hurtful to self and I’m losing hope fast! If there is some super being above us, please help everyone in this situation find themselves. Please I’m begging, just please stop. Dr Limerence, thank you for listening!
Limerent Emeritus says
From today’s Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/01/grief-is-not-mental-disorder/
It’s an interesting article.
The article doesn’t discuss disenfranchised grief.
Grieve for an SO and the world grieves with you. Grieve for an LO and you often grieve alone.
The freedom makes the grief bearable. Using the LE as fuel for transformation at least gives it some positive meaning to take forward. For me, that transformation has included a few months of counselling followed by an intensive course on boundaries, both of which I would recommend, as they are having a positive effect on my relationships and give me confidence that I wouldn’t get into another LE in future.
I found this to be quite interesting, unsure how relevant it is to now and maybe it will be dated.
Dunno if what I am currently experiencing is limerence or something else. Was it a crush that got out of hand.
Anyway someone I met on a site, for an arrangement anyway…things didn’t go so well and I accept I was a large part of that. Felt like love at first sight on my part at one point, not fully sure why- Brains and Beauty might be one explanation! Is how she came across online anyway…
…Didn’t work and in hindsight that is as clear as a view out to sea on the sunniest, driest day of the year at dawn- not when excessively bright! However despite my obvious shortcomings:-
a) On the evening, b) Immediately after the event c) In some of the things I said in the aftermath
I still could not shake strong views towards her, for some months after the event, even up to and inclusive of within the last couple of weeks!
It’s hard to say what those views are, got the ‘long-elbow’ as a pal cheerfully put it so it can’t be love…intrigue? Maybe that! For I am unsure that what she said, her ‘self-image’ is necessarily on the level.
I say currently experiencing, it’s pretty much down the other side now but for a time it was an issue! Closure now achieved, am pretty sure of it.
In this instance, by ‘self-image’ I simply mean her apparently highly ethical ways..a dichotomous character really.
Guess a lot of people are but unsure how truly honest across all branches she is.
Any expert feedback would be very welcome, as I am relatively new to this as a concept.
At this juncture, it could even be that she is a platonic LO…as it winds down I mean. Sure she is objectively speaking hot- like I said in my introductory post, Brains and Beauty would be a good tagline. I am definitely exiting the other side now and I am getting better without doubt..but it took a while!
I met my LO three years ago. He was a neighbour and is unusually articulate, friendly, candid and witty. I am 68 and he is 38. Nevertheless a very strong friendship arose. Living in the same block of flats, we met often in passing and also started to exchange regular WhatsApp messages. He became very affectionate indeed in his messages (the use of WhatsApp was started by me). Deep down, I realised the dangers but I became infatuated. He hugged me tightly whenever me met which gave me a dopamine fix like no other. He is staggeringly good looking which is how he originally caught my eye.
He has been very kind to me over some health issues. I began to depend on these messages and probably talked about my health too much. Eighteen months ago he and his girlfriend had a baby and a year ago they moved away to another town. The sensible part of me knew that this should be a good thing, particularly as I wanted to avoid upsetting his girlfriend in any way.
The affectionate messages continued, kind of both ways, however although they were never sexual. He would say “I miss you bud” and “all the love”. It was still the main focus of my life although I knew it had to stop.
Well, lucky me, I guess, now it has stopped because the messages have completely dried up although two months ago I succumbed and asked how he was. He replied kindly but briefly. No contact now for two months. I feel “ghosted” and very hurt but I think I realise that this is how it has to be.
I have read DrL’s recommendation of “purposeful living” on this very helpful forum. I do want to make efforts in that direction but so far I have failed. With some bad timing, my recent radiotherapy and hormone treatment is causing fatigue, depression, mood swings etc.etc. so I am taking it all one day at a time.
I know that this beautiful man needs to get on with his changed life but the emotional pain is phenomenal. He is constantly in my thoughts. I know that he and I both made a mistake in becoming so close. I realise from this forum that many hundreds of people have somehow let the same thing happen to them. I want to tell him that I feel hurt but that would just be piling guilt onto him. The truth is that I already knew that No Contact probably had to follow. I several times deluded myself with the theory that we could be lifelong friends.
I found this site out of desperation, after searching relentlessly for something to explain the four LEs I’ve experienced in my 52 years on the planet.
As many have noted, Dr. L could have been directly chronicling almost every aspect of my LEs, the first of which began when I was only 14, and lasted nine years.
LO #4 (a former, very casual acquaintance) recently dropped into my life at a time of extreme stress for both my SO and me. I had gone 13 years without experiencing any Limerance, and I thought it was behind me, even though I didn’t *quite* know how to define it. I certainly knew it when I felt it.
This time, with LO #4, I had an “oh shit” moment when I felt the old familiar pangs in my stomach and tightening in my chest. From experience, I knew what was happening, but felt powerless to stop it.
The good news – I found out what Limerance was, got in with a good therapist ASAP, and am currently working through the complex childhood PTSD that appears to have been the origin of my LEs. More good news – each successive LE has been shorter in length of time, from nine years to three, two, and less than six months. I intuitively understood that NC was the only way to stop my LEs. Doesn’t make it any easier, or lessen the pain of withdrawal to know objectively what is happening, but what must be done must be done.
As someone astutely observed in another comment thread, the cost/benefit analysis almost always tips toward a steep incremental cost. The heart may want what the heart wants, but that sure doesn’t mean that it’s good for the rest of the body (and soul, for that matter).
Full and complete NC was the only way that I could pull this off. All social media blocked, I even deleted my Facebook account to be sure. Just the slightest view into her life sent me into an uncontrollable tailspin. I’m very glad to be off the anxiety rollercoaster, but I’m wary of the rebound. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see her and not have every crazy limerent thought come roaring back with fresh intensity and interest. It’s lonely and while the anxiety rollercoaster was awful and painful, it was a 3D technicolor version of life. Things seem awfully gray. I’ll get through it, because of I don’t, I know that I’ll not survive. Such was the intensity.
Some backstory, 5 year emotional affair. Started with me as the LO, graduated to mutual, then to just me in the fantasy bubble. Both in committed relationships, physically distant from each other. Recently, the Bible popped and my instant moment of clarity was…painful. NC commenced at that moment (I sent a nice letter apologizing, hoping for her bright future and a final goodbye).
I was very interested to read your story, WorkingOnIt, and your descriptions. I wish you every success, of course, on the rocky No Contact road. There is some sound advice in these blogs from Dr.L and I have read them many times over.
My story is in my above post but, four and a half months on from then, I am not much further forward. I fell off the No Contact wagon at Christmas. There has been No Contact for ten weeks now, assisted by the unexpectedly painful business of being ghosted by LO. Your comment about writing a letter is thought-provoking…. LO has simply left my Christmas replies with grey ticks on WhatsApp. Ugh. I have deleted everything except the WhatsApp but I can’t bear the thought of destroying his very affectionate historic messages yet, although I no longer look at them.
I hope you will find the time to post here again about your progress.
That’s exactly why I blocked everything. Just the sight of her IG avatar in my blocked list sent me into a tailspin. The letter was hand written and I mailed it via overnight and I threw away the tracking number. I thought about obsessing on whether or not it was delivered, but decided that it didn’t matter. My world has now been severed from hers and I get to imagine that she received it and loved it and thought better of me for it. It’s given me some slight closure.
More backstory, we were both married, but she very recently got divorced. It was her admission that she was dating somebody that caused the dissolution of my fantasy. I said some things that make me deeply ashamed and I felt the letter was needed. I need to be able to think better about myself, even though I don’t deserve it.
I’m focusing on my marriage now, but I feel the loss deeply. We communicated several times a day for years.
Delete everything. Every chat, every photo, every memento. Block her everywhere. Stop breaking your own heart.
Thank you, W.O.I. I’m going to take your advice. I probably don’t need to send a letter because LO’s message called me “my love”. It will be tough nevertheless because this Limerent Experience has been my life for the past three years.
I too am in NC. Nine months since she left my life. Every day I have to try and stop thinking about her and most times I fail. I miss her. I can be proud in at least the fact that I haven’t contacted her ever. And only have a handful of times looked her up on facebook. I sent her and her gentleman friend a couples Christmas gift through a co-worker (LO was a former co-worker.) that still is in contact with her with a card that honestly was me realizing I have to say goodbye. But I never heard anything from her. Which is the painful realization that I obviously don’t mean much to her as she does to me.
I know I will never really get over her. I hope to pass through the limerence soon, but I don’t try to lie to myself that I will ever forget her. I just need it to be normal non-intrusive memories that I am left with if I never see her again. I don’t want to forget her. She is a wonderful and kind woman and loving mother. I would just like the memories of her and her daughters to be normal memories that I can access when I want and not when my limerent brain throws them in my face at the worst times. I have almost lost my shit in public places because an intrusive thought hits me and I can’t stop it. It’s wearing me down. My sleep is for shit and I just feel all around down like I would just like life in general to just stop so I can get some rest from thoughts of her.
Two years of limerence with LO. Maybe fate will give me a break soon. I wish you the best in your endevour with NC. At first it is really difficult. Like the first day of sobriety. Then the withdrawals kick in. Your limerent brain is desperate for anything and drives you to do/say things you wouldn’t normally. For me, the thing that helps me the most is knowing that LO is happy in life where she is and who she is with, and I have to accept that. Her happiness is more important than mine. And that drives my actions, at least, to not disturb her life. She knows how to contact me. If she does than she does. But more than likely never will. I wanted her in my story but I guess it’s just a chapter. One I re-read a lot.
I hope to get there soon. My thoughts stray often. I have a mantra: “it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be angry, as long as it’s only at yourself”. I’ve been trying to force myself out of the fantasy and into reality, which really never supported the notion of us ever being together.
It wasn’t real, but it was real to me.
I am finding that part to be difficult….stopping the what if’s, hoping she will call, the day dreams, over-thinking, etc. I’ve been out of reality for so long I don’t want to go outside my head.
“It wasn’t real, but it was real to me.”
I totally agree with you on that. It’s difficult to look at as if it wasn’t something real, because damn did it feel real. I guess like Dr L says I am going to have to take this limerence and use it as a learning experience and try to move forward in a way that this won’t happen again. I don’t think my wife has enough forgiveness for a second go around.
You will get over her, I promise. But you have to stop hurting yourself. There’s nothing to be gained by holding onto anything right now. Purge it all. All. Of. It. Seek it out, to destroy it. You know you’ve got stuff, secret caches of pics or bookmarks or chats (the worst! They are distilled emotion and will immediately catapult you to that moment in time). Find it all and remove it. Your focus is on fucking survival now. Block her everywhere. All social media. Blocking is for YOUR survival. You won’t be allowed to see her at all and she can’t reach out.
The very moment that you do that, you’ll feel a sense of relief. The anxiety of “maybe she’ll contact me” removed. You’ve disallowed that from your life.
And also remember, she will think more highly of you for being a decisive person than for being a fucking The notional punching bag.
My photos and WhatsApp chat is the last thing to go. I’m basically in NC (we have to see each other for work sometimes) and I ignored his last message to me a couple of weeks ago, asking “How are you?” because I realised he doesn’t actually care, and responding would only be a waste of time and energy if I was truthful (i.e, writing paragraphs of the damage he has done), or trite and pointless if I was following social convention (“Fine thanks”). But the photos and chat history are really, really hard to get rid of, even 9 months after our brief PA/EA ended (his doing). But I really appreciate all your comments here, WOI. Keep posting.
It is all we have of them. Of course it hurts to let it go.
I should probably do a thorough job of documenting my story. I’d love to get some professional help, even to just talk things out. I’ve been trying to sort through the emotional damage on my own and have discovered that this wasn’t my first LE. I think that I know what my triggers are (need for approval, validation and to be seen as objectively sexy and attractive). I’m not proud of these at all and largely considered myself above such mundane things.
As I mentioned, this started with me as the LO and she even mentioned about seeking therapy for her “unnatural obsession” with me. But eventually, I landed there with her, in a neat little fantasy world that we built together. As usual, she escaped first. I know that she at least suspected that I was enthralled. I wish she would have had a heart to heart with me. That was our fatal flaw, even at the end, we only talked about things that wouldn’t damage the fantasy.
In the end, I think she divulged the existence of this other man accidentally, because I felt her desperately trying to change the subject.
I make myself feel slightly better by telling myself that I stopped it because she couldn’t.
Any port in a storm.
Some days are worse than others. Today is a bad one for me. There’s no chance on going back on NC, as I know with 100% certainty that will only magnify my grief x1000. But today is a day where I keep falling back into limerent memories and stay there until I realize what I am doing. I can’t stop today, so I’m rolling with it as best as I can.
Yesterday, SO and I hit some rocks on our marriage restoration. What should have been a minor course correction hit me hard. Like “I shouldn’t be here” hard. Why is it so easy to imagine throwing away 20+ years and a family with SO and I cannot seem to release a pure parallel universe fantasy? So awful to think about.
You have a way with words, W.O.I., concise and arresting. Very sorry about the bad day. Me too, exactly that, so I empathise although personally I don’t have the added worry of looking after a SO.
Yes, I too am determined not to try undoing the NC. I took your advice and deleted the photos this morning. I had to glance at them first but it’s done. The next step will be to delete the WhatsApp history although that will be a deep cut.
I hope tomorrow is better for you.
Deleting chat history is the hardest cut. As I mentioned in another response, they are pure emotional memory. Every time I read one, I was instantly catapulted into that time and emotional state. It was like drinking from the limerence firehose. You could drown in there and be content and happy while dying. Chats need to go. Trust me when I say that I know that pain oh so well. God, do I ever.
While in a limerent fog, I had an interesting conversation with myself. I was talking to her and I told her for that gazillionth time that I loved her. But then I stopped and I muttered to myself, “actually, I don’t even know you really, so I can’t actually love you. What I love is an amalgam of you that I’ve built through conversations, chats, photos and social media. And to be honest, the version of that amalgam that I actually love stopped existing in late 2020 and really hasn’t been seen since.” That actually hit me pretty hard. It’s not fair to either of us that I hold on to a “love” that was so ephemeral.
One thing to know of that I’m not even 2 weeks from the final dissolution and going into NC. But I’ll admit that I was seriously in the disillusionment stage for a while. The timeline was that she went NC with me in the fall of ‘21 (she was in therapy for her marriage), but resumed contact in the summer of ‘22 (which is happily resumed, but shouldn’t have). There was a glimmer of the limerence from her at the beginning of the resumption, but it dwindled quickly. I know that she was in therapy and she probably was trying to go LC on me. Again, if have loved to have a conversation about it. But alas, that didn’t happen.
As she drew further away, I became more desperate and pathetic. In retrospect, I pretty much squandered any opportunity for pride with her. I cringe deeply when I recount what I was doing. And the OCD stalking on social media was just insane. I knew what was happening, but didn’t want to accept it.
Today is a bad day, and I’m assuming it’s the first of a lot of “waves” of regret. Knowing how damaging even seeing her social media is, there is no way I’d consider that. But my God do I want to! How can you want something that you know will almost certainly start to kill you?
All of this while I’m supposed to be working on my marriage of 20+ years. I’m a horrible person for even being here.
Somebody here, I do believe Miss Lovisa, told me when I posted about shame that it is no good to help you. Turn shame into guilt or more helpfully acceptance.
I am trying to do that but I also am ashamed of some of the things that I did with LO. Surprisingly I only ever checked her social media after she left. Maybe it’s because I don’t much use it myself.
As far as being horrible, I do feel that way. Certainly in my thoughts. And sometimes in my actions. When I would seek out LO even when it had nothing to do with work. I never really engaged in conversation I shouldn’t with her, like intimate things reserved to talk about with my wife. I did listen to her talk a lot about her marriage and her divorce she was going through at the time I met her. It seemed it helped to mostly listen and absorb some of the pain and anxiety to help her feel better.
I don’t know really when it came off the rails where I knew it might go to far but thought that I could handle it. I don’t know when it went from co-workers relationship to LO. But it felt amazing to ease her pain and stress. But I guess absorbing all that negativity and taking it home with me is why my wife was suspicious of my behavior. She may not have know what it was for exactly. But she knew something was off with me.
Part of what exasperated and sent me into full blown LE was the fact that there are problems in our marriage that need to be addressed years before I met LO. I started realizing LO wasn’t the reason for our issues with each other (my wife and I) but she was the unknowing catalyst for the possible end of our marriage. I let my issues in my marriage put LO higher on pedestal with the rationalization that deserved the way LO made me feel because I felt utterly under appreciated and taken advantage of at home. And wife seemed okay with the way our marriage is because she was getting all her needs met.
While I wouldn’t want my wife to find this place, I don’t feel bad for being here. A lot of people have been helpful in me working through this. And I do want to get through this and it never happen again to me. I feel if I can work through this on the other side I will actually feel better about working on my marriage than chasing a woman that I know I can never be with. But there was a time that my wife and talked about separation. Which I honestly considered would be easier than pulling myself out of LE because LO made me feel better than my wife did.
I had a really bad weekend and I came here and a lot of people were here to comment and help me through it. Sometimes its nice to just know someone is listening to you. And this is the only place I can talk about it. I talk to my wife about and she just accuses me of having an EA even if it is one sided and doesn’t think I want to move past this. So this place is a haven for me.
Thank you for the response. I’ll admit that I need the emotional release that writing here has given me. I’m a little better now, had an opportunity to get away and swallow some bitter tears.
I need to understand that I’m actually processing a death of a loved one. With all the attendant grief and stages.
I haven’t disclosed any of this to my SO. It wouldn’t help with anything and would just give her unneeded grief. She’s already slightly concerned with the vehemence that I am trying to improve our marriage. She was satisfied, but we haven’t been intimate in years. Was my LE cause or effect, I can’t be too sure. Certainly, my SO’s lack of demonstrable affection is a likely proximate cause. To be so desired and admired by someone that you desire and admire is intoxicating in the extreme. Clearly, that is something that I am going to learn to need less of or see if my SO can provide. Strange times.
I’ve never felt as alone as I do right now.
Hi WorkingOnIt, I’m sorry that you feel alone. You have a community here. The people here care about each other. Humans are pack animals and we heal through community. You will feel better, it’s just hard right now. I wish I could be more helpful.
I haven’t been on LwL as much because life got really busy, but I still care. Hang in there.
Miss Lovisa I have missed you. You are why I come here. Glad to know life is fueling with purpose. But I miss your posts. Hope all is going well with you and your husband. You are a treasure.
Aww, Adam thank you so much! Your kindness means a lot to me.
Things are going well with my SO and LO. Things aren’t going so well with my injury (I am so frustrated with my knee). I’ll post an update on the New Year’s blog.
Thanks for being so kind!
Thank you. This place has been very helpful and therapeutic for me. I read about the 4 stages of NC last night. I’m firmly in stage 3 and fighting like hell. The good news is that there is not even the tiniest part of me thinks that breaking NC is a good idea. I’m at the point where there is no more euphoria in the highs, just the pain of the cortisol dump in my stomach as I anticipate the let down. I’m so happy to be free of that, and simultaneously distraught that I’ve endured it for so long. I’ve aged considerably in these past 5 years and now I know why. I’ll never get that time back, but I am wiser.
I’m confident that my marriage will endure and be far better once we get past some hurdles. There’s love here and that’s our foundation. Once the glimmer fades a bit more, I’ll be more able to see the imperfect perfection that I have with SO. The love and family that we’ve built over 20+ years. And I’ll be armed against the next potential LE.
Yesterday was bad, but today feels a bit better. The day is young and my heart still hurts, so I’ll be wary.
I like your attitude, you seem to focus on the positive.
I am concerned that you said you aged considerably in the last 5 years. Limerence can take folks in the other direction. Many of us are in better shape because of our limerence. Let’s see if we can tap into that for you. Tell me about your goals. Is there a sport that interests you? I love running! I’m injured right now and frustrated that I can’t run, but if I’m a good girl and let my knee heal, hopefully I’ll running soon. What do you like? If you don’t have a preference, do you want to try running? It’s so amazing! It feels so good! And there’s lots of friendly people on the trails.
Hang in there. You got this!
I’m in my mid-50s and I’m actually a competitive bodybuilder and fighter. When I say “I’ve aged”, I’ve really see it in my face more than anything. My LO gave me a lot of fire in these endeavors and I can see that it’s going to be a challenge to keep those fires burning. As we all know that our LO is the “only one that sees me”, she did a good job in that regard. My SO is far less interested in these aspects of my life. Maybe that’s not fair, my SO is far less demonstrative of that interest than my LO was.
I know that one day, I’ll look back and say “thatt day was the worst day” and I’ll know that I’m better. Sleeping is getting better (the first few days after “The event” were terrible. I was in a pain induced fog). I’ve fought my way through that through some careful introspection. I’m so grateful for a loving SO. I’m not sure that I could survive this if I was truly alone. She doesn’t know about the LE at all, and it would crush her. But she loves and supports me. I don’t deserve her, but I’m lucky to have her.
You’re not alone, WOI. All of us here know what you are going through, and empathise deeply. (Our situations are similar in many ways, so I especially empathise with your struggle). Hang in there. One day at a time.
I’m glad to see you on here. I’m a little behind on reading everyone’s updates, sorry if I missed something significant. I hope you’re doing well.
Thank you. The ability to just write some of this is remarkably cathartic. To know that empathetic souls are seeing it is beyond wonderful. I thank all of you.
I’m just going to have to work through it. I’m actually exhausted reading all the articles here. But now I understand a lot more about why I did what I did. That helps a lot. I’m working on understanding and owning the personality triggers that have led me here. I’m working on my actual marriage, which 2 weeks ago, I was seriously considering ending. I’m trying to process my grief as quietly as possible. I’ve almost fully removed myself from social media once I realized that I was only using it as a way to communicate and preen for her, no one else (I have 20k IG followers, and literally cared about one).
I’ve got some work to do and some gray days to process.
Just got back from a nice brisk walk. It’s late winter in New England and the sun is bright. A good time to walk and reflect.
I was trying to figure out why my obsession with social media stalking was reinforced. I was only ever “rewarded” with uncertainty or outright pain. But I persisted, sometimes hundreds of times a day. While I recounted this to myself, I mused that I must have something inside me that actually hates me. After all, why would I willfully hurt myself over and over. But then I realized that it was the neurotransmitters causing it. And it’s the loss of all that hormonal dumping that putting me into almost a withdrawal right now. Why else would I even consider unblocking and looking at something that’s guaranteed to cause me pain? It’s helpful to think of the thing inside me as not my beautiful and wonderful LO (I kid, I kid), but as an ugly and voracious monster that feeds on my pain and sadness (at a hormonal level) and knows exactly how to get me to feed him. It’s grotesque, but not unhelpful in my fight. My LO would actually agree with me here, if I was stupid enough to ask.
Why does the end of limerence hurt so bad? Because it’s the death of an entire world.
Yes, the death of something that brought you so much joy and happiness; whether it’s ethically wrong or right. A world in your mind was built around LO and now that all comes crashing down on you. And many times, if you have a spouse too, most times you have to bear all this pain alone. I did for 7 months before finding this place.
LO gave me the state of mind that no substance (and I’ve tried a lot) on earth could. And just like substance abuse it isn’t healthy. And it is also hard to quit. The withdrawal sucks. Just one more look at LO’s facebook. I just want see if she is doing all right. It’s not the limerence. It’s my concern for LO as a friend. I’m totally not seeking a high. So one more look won’t matter.
God dammit limerence I looked!!! Which just reinforces the fact I will never see LO again. She’s gone on with her life and will forget all about me. She doesn’t know that every day I go through the pain of withdrawal from not seeing/talking to her. Llike a shaking recovering alcoholic in a dark corner with cold sweats. But yet I did it. And I’ll probably do it again because you limerence! Damn you!
That’s why I can’t look. I know my triggers too well. But today, I can feel the demons pulling on me. Telling me that I need to see. God, it’s awful. If I fail, I’ll just be resetting the clock. I can’t do that to myself.
Whatever. If you give in, you give in. We will be here to pick up the pieces of “WorkingOnIt” when he falls. Seriously, we’ve all regressed.
But, you need an outlet to distract you. Go lift something. Go outside. Pet an animal. Sing a silly song… “Baby shark, do do do do do, baby shark…”
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I seriously hope I’m not still right here in 7 months. I’m not sure that I’ll survive another week, let alone months of this ache. I just need the volume of the roaring in my ears to get turned down a bit. Maybe from 11 to 9.
But you’ve given me good evidence that NC/cold turkey is the only way to go. It’s just that I know I’m only a few deliberate clicks away from feeding this beast and that scares the shit out of me. I can’t unknow what I know and I could dial her social media up in 20 seconds.
The middle of the night is when I’m most vulnerable. That’s when it truly sings to me. Time to start leaving my phone in the car at night I think.
Okay, WorkingOnIt, you can leave your phone in the car at night, but do me a favor.
If you have your phone and you are tempted to look at her social media, come to LwL! Read the latest comments and offer support to a fellow limerent. You can do it! I know you can do it!
That’s what I’ve been doing every night. Thank goodness for this place.
I have found, and have said here before numerous times, but I don’t know if I have in discussion with you; what do you want for LO? And then let that be your motivation to step back.
My motivation? I know LO is happy with the young man she is with. He is good for her, good for her daughters, and good for their lives. If I am still going to be a part of LO’s life it will be because she wants me to be. If she doesn’t than that is what I have to live with. Because we be incredibly selfish of me to interfere in her life if she doesn’t want me to be a part of it. At least in that capacity.
LO’s happiness and comfort are more important than mine.
I truly want her and her children to be happy and healthy and I know deep in my heart that I cannot provide that right now (or really ever, if I’m being honest with myself). I’m 1000 miles away, in a current committed relationship. Any thoughts of her for myself were pure fantasy and extremely selfish.
I also need to protect my own heart. I’m not capable right now of watching her fall in love with someone else while our “relationship” (such as it is) does slowly. I’d prefer to end it now as gracefully as I can and free her heart (to the extent that I was in any way still in there) to pursue anything in contentment.
But a 5 year EA cannot be forgotten easily despite the sheer impossibility of it. So I labor on.
I joke about loving a personally built version of her. But I know enough of her to know that I love her. I loved her then, I love her now and I’ll likely love her forever. For that reason alone, I have to set her free.
*Because it would be incredibly ….
I’d love to respond to this, but it would drag me back inside the world she and I lovingly built, that has no bearing on the real world. This, I can no longer allow myself to do.
Your approach, in your post to Adam, seems pivotal and inspiring. Its actually very unselfish. It’s still tough though isn’t it. I have now stopped casually mentioning LO to friends and family so that I do not get any “hit” from it. Also the couple of friends in whom I have confided think it’s all a bit odd.
When I awoke this morning, the intrusions were the very worst. Maybe it was the red wine effect from last night. I remember the spontaneous hugs and, in hindsight, the romantic words in WhatsApp messages of a year or so ago. I remember being chided for sending a message and then deleting it. I remember those “how are you?” messages and the sweet naivety of some of them.
Now that’s all stopped. Still there are the grey ticks from Christmas until I can delete the messages. Crazy. I feel a bit cross with LO for writing that stuff (ostensibly harmless, just deeply affectionate) but I am older and I should never have succumbed. He is in a relationship, for goodness sake.
Anyway, I have resisted the temptation to send a message this morning. Breaking no contact would be a bad idea. Crazy.
I awoke this morning after a terrible night’s sleep. Maybe an hour at most of actual sleep. I think my posts here are stirring me. I found myself getting somewhat angry with her in the middle of the night. She broke NC to pull me back, not once, but twice. I resisted and gave her the opportunity to go back, but she persisted. So I was back in her life at her invitation. She then proceeded to slowly starve me of any attention. Disappearing for days, leaving me wondering and in an agonizing limbo.
I’m not stupid, I could sense what was happening, but we seek any rationale, no matter how idiotic, to show ourselves that no, we actually are loved and treasured. When the hard facts say otherwise.
I’d like to defend her, to say that no, she really loved me and needed me nearby, but I can’t know that. All I am allowed to know and own is what it did to me. And all I can do is exactly what I did: pull myself out, no matter the pain, from a situation guaranteed to break my heart.
When she went NC the first time, she broke my heart, when she pulled me back and starved me, she broke it again. I’ll not give her the opportunity to break it a third time. I’m a fool, but I’m not that fool.
And I know I’m being unfair to her, she has many young children as well as a demanding small business to run and being recently divorced, everything is daunting and it was probably a struggle just to do the bare minimum for me. But this is also where I have to admit that I can’t be a net positive in her life right now. I can’t share the burden of any of that from my position so far away.
So I admit that I am an added burden on her already complicated life as well as being needy because of my limerence. The introduction of another man was just the impetus I needed to break it all off. Neither of us were happy with the situation. Suffering through it would only deepen the hurt.
I wish I was stronger. That I could have been that perfect stoic friend that understood her need to move on to another person that’s local and can actually add to her life. Intellectually, I understand that perfectly. But, as I said, I’m not currently capable of watching her fall in love with somebody else. I’m not that strong.
That is one thing I have a bad time with. The young lady that replaced LO at work has never met her. For us to both do our jobs I talk to her frequently throughout the day. And when we are just bs’ing I find myself telling her stories about LO to get that hit. And it works for a bit until it wears off and I find myself listening in to the conversations I have with co-workers for a way to turn the conversation into a story about LO.
As goes the red wine; you know the saying when the heart and mind disagree the liver suffers. I’ve been putting mine through the ringer myself here lately.
The fortunate thing I have over a lot of people it seems with their LO’s is that LO and I never corresponded outside of work. So I have no physical reminders of LO really. I have a few work related post it notes that I haven’t thrown away. But mostly just my memories. But that’s enough for some misery here and there when I can’t stop the limerence from intrusive thoughts.
But you resisted the urge to break NC with LO and that is admriable. They may seem like small steps because the same temptation may hit you tomorrow, or even later today. But take it one day at a time and fight the battles in that one day. You are doing good Frederico. Give yourself credit for each small victory. Because no matter how small the victory is, it is still a victory.
I understand your feeling on that aspect with LO. Intellectually it is fairly easy to understand that being in a relationship with someone means that unless you are willing to end your current relationship know that you cannot provide for LO. But yes it does hurt the heart to see her with someone else. But that’s the limerence talking. She may have know how you felt but she probably doesn’t understand the extent that limerence affects you. And I know my LO probably has no clue what she is doing to me still.
All that said putting her and her families happiness and well being above your own comfort is very selfless and admirable. But that limerence is still there. And it is still trying to dangle hope out in front of you to try and get you to take the bait. Ideally in a romantic situation seeing someone you are smitten with interested in another person is usually a path to getting over them and moving on. Unfortunately limerence isn’t so kind.
And yes I genuinely love and care for LO too and that helps to let her go on with her life.
I hear you on the sleep too. I got about 2-3 hours myself last night. And right away as soon as my eyes open it’s intrusive thoughts. Thinking about scenarios that could be possible but I honestly know aren’t. Rehearsing conversations in my head that will never happen. Over thinking situations that haven’t happened yet but hopeful they will.
It is tough to see LO easily move on when in your mind the limerence lied to you for so long that you were more to LO than you actually are. In my case I was LO’s co-worker. Probably nothing more. Maybe a friend. But to you LO is the world and seeing them move on so easily without much thought about you cuts right to the bone. “How could LO just leave and then never talk to me again? I thought we had some much together.” That’s what my mind was telling me. But that is not what reality is.
This song has been in my ears probably more than it should. But I can relate to every single word in it. It seems like you might similarly relate to it.
Who Am I To Stand In Your Way — Chester See
I’m going to defeat limerence at its own game. I’ve been compiling a list of reasons that even if I were to magically become unencumbered and then move to her town, it STILL wouldn’t work. It’s a long damn list and every item is born of reality and not my fantasy bubble.
The list sounds worth a shot and I hope it goes well.
Thank you W.O.I. and thank you Adam for your wise words and thought-provoking posts today.
Limerent Emeritus says
[Enter stage left] https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-death-of-hope/#comment-17936
1. My marriage somehow has to end in the near future. I don’t want that. – Things here are going well. We’re planning a Viking River Cruise this summer for our 35th anniversary.
2. I’d have to relocate across the country within striking distance of LO #4. We have a house I need to do something with. It would also put me within 30 miles of LO #2. – Not likely but our current plans would take me from 2500 miles away to ~350 miles.
3. I can retire now but the plan is for 2022 so I’d need to find another job or retire early. – I am now fully retired. My wife’s mother isn’t doing well and we’d like to get closer to her parents. We plan to move in the next year or so.
4. My young adult children, currently living at home because of Covid, need to get out. – Post-covid, my son is now away at college. My underemployed, unwed, dual major daughter and her two bastard children (cats) are still living here while my daughter finds a job that would enable her to move out. Queue up “Failure to Launch.”
5. Resolve the medical issues I’ve been dealing with for the past 2 years. – Those have not improved. The odds of me making it 5 years are 29% but the doctor says that’s an outdated number. I’m on the best stuff there is and I’m responding well to it. He said if anyone beats those odds, it will be me. However, it decreases my LTR value assuming that I’m ever in a position to look for another LTR.
It seems like that to fully transcend limerence, you have to kill the hope. How you get there is different for everyone.
Once the hope is gone, why bother?
Why do you want your marriage to end in the near future? I’m using this as an opportunity to rededicate myself to my marriage. After all, a clear-eyed, sober analysis (something hard to do while the din of limerence is ringing) tells me that I’m vastly more likely to find happiness with my wife than my LO. In fact, this was even true when my LO and I were in mutual limerence.
Being clear-eyed is pretty hard right about now, but it’s getting easier.
Limerent Emeritus says
I don’t want my marriage to end. If you read my linked post, it says that for me to have any possible future with LO #4, my marriage would have to end. My wife is the best thing that ever happened to me.
I told LO #4 that as cool as making a run at her would be, I hope that I’d never be in the position to find out because to be available would mean something terrible happened in my life.
LO #4 never responded directly to that but she did strengthen the attachment.
I’m fairly certain that while my LO knew that I was smitten, if she had any clue that I was seriously considering leaving my family for the merest hint at a future with her, she would have been aghast. I think she hoped that when I declared my love for her, that it was friendly love and not not as romantic. At the end, she knew, because I told her where I was as I was telling her that I was leaving her forever.
I am not gifted with the full knowledge of our situation, only with the besotted internals of my riotous mind. I can only act on the immediacy of my need to get as far away from her as possible. Only pain was possible for both of us from that moment forward.
I will devote myself to my family and pray the pangs and longings subside soon.
What are the chances that I’m going to be able to escape here? Five days ago, I thought my chances were pretty good, but lately, the intrusive thoughts have been more and more urgent. Intuitively, I know that it’s the withdrawal symptoms trying to get me to think of her to dump the hormones into my system. Each day seems to be getting worse and I’m not sure how long it’s going to last.
Miss Lovisa seemed to suggest that I was doomed to relapse. I know that my internal truce is purely based on not going and seeking her social media. But I also know that I’m capable of pulling that up and mainlining that pain for days. I know because my last NC was a lot of relapse, and know how destructive that is.
Thoughts are always going to be the most difficult to control. Actions, at least for me seem so much easier because intellectually I know my reasons for NC with LO. It’s for her benefit.
Social media has it’s pull sometimes. But I don’t really use it myself so I only really get the temptation when intrusive thoughts hit and I want to see her face. Her pretty smile and her two wonderful daughters. Even when I give in I never post or like I just scroll through her feed.
The hardest part for me, since LO left, is not giving into the thoughts and daydreams of her. I should be training my brain immediately to think of something else. Depending on what I am doing sometimes I do. But when I am not doing anything like sitting out on the porch and listening to music I give in quite easily. Which sets my recovery back even further. Which the more you do give in the more that you are entertaining not recovering. Sure the pain is there because you either chose NC or were given no choice in NC. But those thoughts, memories and daydreams make it seem worth a little pain.
It’s like I said to Fredecio, take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time if you have to. Whatever pace you can set for yourself that will help you get one step ahead of your limerence. You have to be diligent with yourself but also forgiving. I don’t think relapse is inevitable, at least with the actual NC. The last time I looked at LO’s facebook was around Christmas last year to see if she posted anything about the holidays. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I wanted to know if she had a good holiday.
Many people here have helped me learn to forgive myself some missteps as long as I learn from them. I came here being very hard on myself and hating myself for my limerence and how it has effected people around me. It got me nothing but shame and guilt; things that don’t really help you recover. Embrace being human and soon you will start seeing progress. You got this my man!
Shame and guilt. Good lord, I’ve got boatloads of this. I can’t even begin to parse the horrible feelings when I think about my behavior. I literally moan in pain when I fully think about it.
I’ll work on catching myself when I lapse into those fantasy moments. I’m the perfect hero in so many of them. More shame.
Yes… the withdrawal can be very, very, very bad. I would describe it as excruciating. For me- I would email myself every time I wanted to initiate contact. I only ever addressed myself- never my LO as that was a trigger. I also have a sobriety app on my phone to keep track of my days of NC, finally I had a very good friend I could text when things got bad.
I know this will probably barely help- but try really hard to stay the course. It will get easier- it really will- but it’s going to take a while. If you relapse it’s not the end of the world- but know that NC is really the best way to end limerence.
Thank you. I don’t think that I’m a risk to break NC. I was quite final in my last words and hand-written letter. The real risk to me is using her social media to conjure up fantasies of her life and then just living in them. She wouldn’t know, but I’d be like the human batteries living in The Matrix. I just need to be as steadfast as I can to keep her life severed from mine. We had no common friends nor physical proximity. I’m in the process of deleting all my social media, as truth be told I only ever used it to communicate with her or to check up (stalk) on her.
You are very likable, Coldwater. A sobriety app… I love it!
In praise of “not knowing”
Was having my usual internal battle this morning to dial up her social media. I know it’s poison for me, but I keep wanting it anyway. I asked myself, “what do you hope to gain, here?” and then followed up with “let’s assume that you see the best possible thing (according to your love-sodden brain), a giant post on Facebook talking about how you are the only love in her life and she’s misses you and you are her one and only. Ok, what then? What do you do? Nothing about either of your situations has changed. You’re still right where you were when you started. Quickie divorce and run to her? Really?”
Even the best case scenario according to me is an emotional nuclear bomb. Anything less is probably about the same. So why do we do it? We always tell ourselves that “we just want to make sure she’s ok”. Uh huh. What do you do if she’s not? Ride in on a stallion and fix everything? The fact is that our limerence is fed with even looking at her social media. Limerence is fed even with the bad news. Hell, it probably prefers the bad news.
And here’s where I say that while no contact (NC) is a must, not knowing (NK) is a very close second. And it’s even harder than NC, but it fully closes the door and while painful, fully starves the limerence monster.
If it helps, set a calendar for a year and say that you’re allowed to “check up on her” on that date. It’ll give you something to look forward to and I can practically guarantee that come that date, you won’t want to.
I love it! You are right that NK is good, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, WorkingOnIt.
But I crave it so much. Some days it’s overwhelming. Just a little spark. Just a pinprick.
“As I return to a partner who is absorbed in his own life and who wants sex but has forgotten how to bring passion and connection to our partnership. ”
I ask is it that he seems to be reluctant to explore? I came from a very conservative upbringing which coming into marriage and a sexual life I was very hesitant. It was more out of ignorance of a healthy sexual relationship than it was anything. Since I have much more opened up and stopped feeling shame.