Here’s a good podcast about limerence from Joe Beam, a marriage counsellor in the US.
It’s quite long, but worth it because there are a few real gems. The topic of discussion is focussed on married people, mainly how and why limerence affairs happen, but it has some insights into the phenomenon of limerence generally. In particular, he discusses the path of co-limerence and identifies three stages to the typical mutual limerence dance:
This is the “getting to know you” phase, where you start to really notice the LO and start to feel they are special. Joe Beam frames this in terms of an unconscious need of the limerent to feel worthy of being loved. It’s fed by a sense of connection and emotional bonding, and the desire to spend time with the LO who makes the limerent feel safe and motivated to share emotional intimacies.
This is the full blown limerence response – so the full complement of traits. In the case of the limerence affair, this will also include the rewriting of history about the limerent’s marriage. It can also be characterised by a striking fear of loss. While this is a feature of all limerence, the precarious and dishonest basis of an affair likely heightens the fear. Which can reinforce the limerence.
As the name suggests, this is the phase where limerence decays. After a period in phase 2, the limerent starts to lose the urge to idealise the LO’s behaviour. The “halo effect” is tarnished, and the limerent begins to properly see the flaws of the LO. Again, in the case of an affair – especially one that causes the breakdown of the marriage – this is likely to be exaggerated. This heightened devaluation is well captured by the portentous phrase “look what you cost me”.
It’s an interesting framework, and no doubt evolved from his work with married couples. I’m not sure it’s universally useful as a way of understanding limerence, but it does give a good roadmap for how an affair is likely to play out if limerence is the trigger.
There were a few other observations that struck me as particularly powerful. The first was the potency of the first moment of deceit. As he explains, there will come a point in the infatuation phase where you are spending a lot of time with LO and bonding emotionally. People will notice. Co-workers, friends, spouses – whoever – and someone will ask a question, make a comment, or tease you. And you will minimise it, or laugh it off, or flat-out lie. You may even take steps to be more discreet. Not end the emotional affair of course, not stop seeing LO, but perhaps meet for coffee at a new café, or arrive separately, or change your schedule. You know, to stop people gossiping.
That’s the point that you know for sure you are not “just friends”.
The second observation that struck me was the fact that mutual limerence is often mistimed. One person becomes limerent faster than the other, and then tries to drag the other out of phase 1 and into phase 2 with them. Ironically enough, he also suggests there is a tendency for “first in first out”, as the same (hasty) limerent goes into phase 3 faster too. Of course, the poor slowcoach limerent is then desperate, and tries everything they can to get their LO back into phase 2. Which accelerates the deterioration, usually.
Finally, a big kicker comes from his observation that limerence literally changes you. “You’re not the man I first met,” is not just a barb from an LO in phase 3; it’s the truth. To cope with the cognitive dissonance caused by an affair (I am a good person, but I am betraying my spouse) requires either a reconceptualisation of the limerent’s self-worth and realisation that they are not behaving like a good person (yeah, right), or a change in their value system and moral compass (everyone has affairs; true love is more important than duty; monogamy is unnatural). To maintain self-worth while totally inverting their emotional loyalties requires rewriting pretty major aspects of their identity.
He nailed it.
The only thing that doesn’t match my experience is the fear element. In my case, my anxiety didn’t increase when I thought she was distancing, my anxiety went up when she wanted to get closer. I was sad when she distanced but I didn’t lose any sleep like I did when she was approaching.
I knew I crossed the line a long time ago. I encountered LO #3 when I was trying to understand my relationship decades ago with LO#1. My sensors were kind of dialed into LO#1 and LO #3 reminded me of her. As unflattering as it’s going to sound, It looks like I was using LO #3 as the “guilty pleasure” you describe a few blogs ago. She was in a relationship, I’m married, we’re geographically separated, she made a great “What If?” There were problems in my marriage and one of the kids has some medical issues we’re dealing with. I could retreat into my head with LO#3 at what I thought was no risk.
I went to see the therapist less than 2 weeks after LO told me her relationship had ended and I went from an email/month to every other day or more. The therapist read the email and asked if my wife knew about this. I told her my wife knew of my acquaintance with the LO but not the extent of it. The therapist said, “So, you’re hiding this relationship from your wife.” I told her that I’d never met the LO, never actually spoken to her, and we were on opposite coasts. I told the therapist that we weren’t in a relationship. She looked at the email and said, “Oh, yes, you are.”
In her goodbye, LO said if we had to hide our correspondence from my wife, it wasn’t good. That was a year after I had seen the therapist. The “squiggly line” is an apt description of the time in between the two.
Anonymous Limerent says
Yeah, that ‘fear’ thing only happens for me when LO comes closer – I tend to try staying away from her as I am one of those annoying people who feels ridiculously nervous and overwhelmed around LO.
However, while I’m sad when she and I are away from each other, it is a relief when she distances through the day; maybe because I feel like she’s going to confront me about my (officially unknown to everyone) feelings.
I don’t really feel scared of losing her; I don’t feel like I ‘have her’ in the first place (in turn making me depressed (hyperbolically, not clinically)).
Since this is only LE#1, circumstances may change in future episodes (of which there are hopefully none!), but I do feel as though different types of people have differing emotional presets, or palettes if you like to think of it from a metaphorical pont of view, determined by personality and possibly past experiences. I, myself, am somewhat an introvert but can let loose among friends. Perhaps confrontation from someone I feel nervous and thus uncomfortable around is more of a worry to the introvert mind? This might mean one would have to carry out proper analyses via studying limerence within all personality groups, instead of just ‘people’ in general.
This may help limerents understand their feelings better and in more depth.
All you need to do in this situation is irrevocably shut the situation down. If she is also limerent then you are feeding the situation with potential reciprocity. Be respectful but also confirm that nothing will ever happen between you and you let her free finally to find someone who is actually available.
Yeah, the “squiggly line” bit was good too – emphasising the ups and downs and that it’s not a linear process. For me, I started to realise that I was controlling many of the squiggles. If I indulged the desire to ruminate and daydream, it inevitably led to a deepening of limerent feelings, and a positive feedback spiral. If I caught myself and cut it off, the urgency of the limerent need lessened considerably.
A reminder that limerence flowers in the fertile ground of our own imaginations.
My Ex Back Coach says
The more that I’ve studied limerence over the years (18 in fact), the more that I see it mimic a drug addiction. People in limerence will turn their backs on family (even children), friends, religion, money, and seemingly whatever stands in their way of being with the person with whom they are in limerence. It’s so similar to substance addiction. Thanks for the information.
Ruby Red says
As someone who is an addict in Recovery for 28 years (with only one short relapse) and watching my spouse go through Limerance, it very much is similar. He’s basically decided that it’s worth it, even if he loses our kids because in his warped thinking “they’ll eventually adjust and be okay with it”. My daughter and son do not forgive that easily. Their Dad is treating them like they barely exist. And they are pretty much done with it.
Consequences are starting to rain down. We’ll see if it snaps him out of the reverie? He seems to surface occasionally, even seems almost rational. Then *poof* he’s gone again in a moment. Addict behavior.
Green Esmerald says
Dear Read Ruby,
I am living what it seems to be a similar situation with my husband. I would love to know how your story turned out. If your husband ever snapped out of it and the timeline. I hope you see this message and share your story.
I would also like to hear from your story. I am going through something very similar for the last 3 months and things just keep getting worse. My son is taking it the worse and I just see no end to this.
Believe this or not, but I am witnessing my husband start Limerence Affair number 6, that I know about. It is most definitely an addiction. This time will be different, it will be his last, well the last one that I will witness. I am monitoring his texting with the latest LO and will out him when he is fully infatuated. What makes this one the worst is that he is 63 and the the LO is 26. He is a foolish old man. Only started working with this girl 3 months ago. Initially he came home and couldn’t stop talking about her, that’s a big warning sign. She has gone on holiday for 2 weeks and he is texting her while she is away. It is innocent enough now but reading between the lines he says things that he will hopefully get a response that suggests she cares about him e.g. She has told him she’s walking a lot on this holiday, he replied: that he will not recognise her when she’s back, she said who is to say I’m even coming back, he replied: of course there is nothing at work to keep you there. Obviously he was hoping she would come back with something like – Of course I’m coming back because you’re there. It’s sick and every time we have gone through this he thinks he has done nothing wrong. I have just supported him through Prostrate Cancer Radiation and it has worked well. Now I can let him get on with as many Limerence affairs as he wants. It’s soul destroying and not healthy to be a constant SO.
Allie 1 says
Hi VeeGee. I am so sorry you are suffering! It does sound like your SO might be addicted to limerence and that must be really hard to watch. I am not sure if this helps, but most married limerent’s continue to love their SOs very deeply throughout an LE, much more than any LO, and continue to want to remain firmly by SO’s side for life.
I am a married limerent thus I do also understand this from your SOs perspective. I can see that for you, the whole experience is very hurtful, but maybe from his perspective, it is just something that happens in his mind, his own private fantasy, something that gives him a little harmless pleasure in life. Is he also checking out of your marriage while he is infatuated, or is he still the same partner in all ways other than this? For me that would be the determinant as to whether it would be OK for me or not.
I wonder, at what point does your SOs behaviour become not OK for you? Is it the seeking reciprocation? Dishonesty? Or is it simply his strong attraction for someone else? I ask as maybe there is a way to communicate your boundaries and agree a comprise, whereby you accept he will have feelings for others (which is not doing anything wrong on its own), and he keeps his infatuations within your boundaries of acceptability.
Wishing you well.
This is exactly what I have gone through but she lived next door! He had, what I know now from therapy, was a LO, 30 yrs ago. I and he are 67! This is the second LO in which stage 3 occured from my work on the subject of limerence.
I was in therapy and entered back after 3 days of the news. I was just told by the LO’s husband one week ago, by text that they have been in this for a year. After he vomited on me, with the news, she claimed he was pursuing her hot and heavy and I know now he was. Now it has been 10 days and with therapy I have tracked the stages of limerance I could recall in 44yrs of wedlock. Every attraction the SO tried to pursue by my knowledge of limerance, was shut down in stage 2, except the one 30 yrs where again, they were shut down, caught and Stage 3 hit. I am journaling and
the SO has profusely apologized and has no idea he has this addiction. I am giving it time, and will go on a few dates with my SO, just to watch, listen and internalize. SO wants no therapy but isn’t that what all addicts say? I am self-caring!
Very well said, Allie 1. I hope VeeGee and JOANNE take your message to heart. Good luck ladies. I’m sorry you are going through this struggle.
I only learned what this was recently. I’m in my mid 30s and now understand that falling obsessively, madly in love with girls as a teen was THIS. Well, flash forward two decades and add in some marital strife and I’m here again with a coworker. I don’t think I’ve ever really had a “mutual experience” with this; I feel like the behavior is off putting for most women… it’s ‘clingy,’ ‘creepy,’ ‘desperate,’ or being a ‘simp.’ But the drug addiction analogy makes so much sense. I want this person more than anything, I love my kids and spouse, but were my LO to be like “runaway with me” I know I’d likely be gone. Logical me sees how horrific that is, but I’m intoxicatingly obsessed with her. Nothing feels like just chatting with her does anymore. Hobbies and family feel boring and meaningless. When I distance myself from her I feel physically sick. A simple smile from her feels like when you see dopeheads shoot up in the movies and gives me my fix for a few hours and I can feel “ok” again. She went out of town for a few days and I got migraines and sweats at work when she wasn’t around.
I felt this way too. The part that everything else then the LO seems so boring. I cant even spend time with my kid and that make me feels sick and I hate myself for that. I’m divorced. I have different issues with my ex but I started to know my LO when I’m still married. Back then I know and even now I’m sure that I didn’t leave my marriage for the LO. My LO are my collogue. I’m now my own self healing journey and recovery from my childhood trauma. I just got to know the term ‘limerence’ about a week ago and immediately I know I’m the limerent. Right now I am sitting with my feeling and emotion and I am finding the strength in me to leave the LO and move on. FYI, me and my LO now are in ‘romantic relationship’. Do share what’s your ending Kevin. How are you doing now?
You described limerence very well. How r u now?
btw, my LO at work used me for an ego boost, then he threw me away like TRASH after a seasonal job. 2.5 years and still healing.
In my own experience, limerence feels like a real crisis, as many things are challenged at the same time, and you feel the pressure to make important decisions fast. So one strategy to cope with it for me was to gain time… I mean, try to attenuate the symptoms with the help of a psychiatrist and medication (antidepressants at obssesive-compulsive disorder dosage), and do a lot of research and learning in existential therapy (dr. Yalom) [when Nietsche wept; lying on the coach; the love executioner, introduction to existential psychoterapy], listening to Alan Watts, Eckardt Tolle and learning / practising Zen Buddhism… At the same time, do excersise to feel your body great, expand your area of interests, find things you enjoy just because YOU like it (not because your LO will like that you do that…), and gain time… trust that time is on your side, in many different ways: on the one hand, you are in continuos transformation and this crisis is not an exception, rather it is an accelerator for your to acquire new skills and understandings, new skills and capabilities, and grow as a Person mentally, emotionally, spiritually… Your mind will change, will become more resilient, with more capabilities, so eventually you will be able to overcome the limerence… At the same time, try to learn useful things for you, new skills, have fun, reconnect with your spouse (if you have one) and friends, expand your reach (make new friends, date with other women / men), and be open to change and to grow… Limerence will eventually dissolve and you will be in a new, better phase of your life, more “human” and wise, and sensible… in a word, a better human being…
Really nicely put Thomas. That is exactly what I needed to read at this very moment. I’m slowly recovering from Limerance.
My LO is a male co-worker 10 years younger than me. Deep down I always knew that my feelings were never going to be reciprocated but no matter how many times I tried to argue this point with myself I just didn’t want to listen.
The whole experience was extremely stressful and draining and despite not being out of the woods yet I sencerly hope that I soon will be.
Gosh I love how you described this as an “accelerator” of growth. It’s been so true for me. These 2 years of limerence has been partly a waste of time and yet I’ve grown and matured so much really. Before this I was drifting and indifferent, no direction, no passion, few interests. I would craft or shop or read murder mysteries. Now I’m full blown obsessed with reading and learning as much as I can about spirituality, philosophy (Eckolte Tolle!) and I find it all so fascinating. I’m earning so much. I’m able to help others with my new insights. I feel a strong direction with career/art and just much more passionate too. It’s like all my superficial thoughts were replaced with my LO and now all these new deeper thoughts. Such progress that otherwise would not have happened. And I’m changed forever.
So accurate and in line w my mind at this moment. So many ah ha moments that otherwise would never be known. Enlightening but bittersweet at times and foreign. Like my brain is transitioning to a new normal and uncharted territory.
In Jungian terms, you’re describing the experience of integrating the animus, the unconscious archetype that gets projected onto the LO and thus forced its way into life. This involves a spiritual awakening (to some degree) and psychological integration of unconscious qualities and capacities that manifest as greater creativity, insight, direction, passion to live, etc. Beautiful thing. Check out Jung on anima/animus and the process of individuation if you haven’t already!
Psychological, spiritual, awakening indeed! Going through it now.
Well it definitely seems like a bad joke of destiny to be the slow limerent, as it happened to me. You resist, then you fall, and then you are left alone. Being the fast limerent sounds good in the end, you have the power and all the co tell, you start things, you end them. What I want to know is how they manage to go to phase 3 just like that. I want that! My LO left me after programming to finally meet, gave some pretext making it seem like we were just forced to wait longer and then stopped talking to me. Is so hard to read that maybe I’ll fight this feeling forever and the other just got out easily. Not fair.
“What I want to know is how they manage to go to phase 3 just like that. I want that!”
It wasn’t a particularly deep or meaningful experience for them? If limerence is all about mating and breeding – then fast and shallow is fine. But if it’s about setting the groundwork for a long-term relationship (raising a child), then being the fast limerent sounds more unappealing to me. So irresponsible and basically using someone like tissue.
Yes? No? I dunno.
“My LO left me after programming to finally meet, gave some pretext making it seem like we were just forced to wait longer and then stopped talking to me.”
Are you certain there isn’t a SO in the picture?
There is. It was an affair. I was the slow limerent because at the beginning my LO bombarded me, couldn’t stop messaging me, calling me and I was like “no, this can’t happen, I’m married”, but then my LO got married too, kept saying we could be lovers and that it was unthinkable not to talk to me. We decided to meet and then he started going cold. I guess he entered phase 3, like I got it, I don’t want it anymore. And I wish it had been me the fast limerent, because now I picture him completely over me and I’m still struggling to forget and go back to my marriage and be happy again. So why he gets the fast pass and I don’t?
Hah. I modify my last comment from “better off without this flake” to “better off without this predatory cheater”!
I’m not sure from your comment how deep you got into the affair, but regardless, I’d say you should try and seize this experience as an opportunity to figure out what’s going on with you. Do some deep work about why you were vulnerable to his bombardment, what you were seeking (subconsciously), what gap the limerence was plugging, and how you can protect yourself against this happening again in the future. You should probably consider disclosing to your spouse too. It’s tough, but the best hope of actually recovering an honest outcome.
Hoping to rush into phase 3 and go back to your marriage unscathed is probably misguidedly optimistic. Life doesn’t often get a reset button…
Physical? If so, you need to get a STI panel done now and quite possibly again in a few months.
“There is. It was an affair.”
Any chance his wife is pregnant? That might have scared him into radio silence. Or he may be a habitual cad who loses interest once he’s achieved his goal.
It may be that his SO knows something is up and he’s gone silent and aloof because the Appliance Spouse may be on the verge of giving him the boot and he doesn’t want to risk his comfort, convenience or money. Or worse, she is fully aware of his activities and with whom and her lawyer is going to subpoena people.
Adultery may not be a “reason” to divorce in many jurisdictions, but that doesn’t mean affair partners can’t be summoned to testify about times, dates, places and other information.
Doing so is not unlike the lawsuit regarding the Fyre Festival. People who were paid money to blast the event on social media are getting hauled into court to talk about the money. I’m embarrassed about the source but here goes nothing!
Now might be a good time to seek counseling. Individually and as a couple. Now is a good time to figure out what makes you tick and what you really want.
Thanks for your replies Lee. To be honest I don’t think his wife knows. It was an emotional affair, not physical. We live in different states and never got the chance to reunite (we were friends at school a long time ago). I think he run away because he never really meant to meet me. When his Limerence started I think it made him believe he wanted to be with me but once he realised it was not possible he just kept coming for more because it was exciting. Pretending it was possible to become lovers and making me believe so made it more exciting to him. But when I pushed to make it real he just went away. His explanation was that it was out of anxiety because he is having a hard time (he lost his job). First he tried to pull the “wait for me” card but then he just started replying vaguely or not replying at all… and this was a man that used to greet me every single day with a good morning. But I need to accept I was very naive on one side and very wicked on the other. I was concentrating all my energy on my LO. I wish I just could forget all the promises that now I know were never real.
I think that’s a great insight, Lorna. It captures the essence of the problem: you were naive to believe the sweet talking, but you knew you shouldn’t have been listening anyway. That’s a good foundation of self-honesty to build from.
Well, nostalgia and “what if” is a lot more fun than bills, dishes, in-laws, etc.
Rather than revisit the people of your youth, try recollecting what activities engrossed you at the time. Any chance your husband would join you in some activity or another?
Guilt can slow your roll, but try not to make a habit of it. Wallowing in guilt can also send you down the same path again. Weird, but true.
Yeah, if you’re someone’s secret; or you make someone your secret, it’s time to pull back. Now you know.
There is a lot of good to be found in keeping a journal and reviewing it periodically.
I guess being the fast limerent is easier, but I’m not sure it’s better. It shows a fairly superficial character, which isn’t usually associated with a worthwhile life.
I know it hurts at the moment, but it definitely sounds like you’re better off without this flake! Hold on to the righteous anger and use it as fuel to get you to phase 3. Whenever you’re tempted to daydream about how wonderful all your old fantasies were, remember this feeling of betrayal and frustration and fix those negative feelings onto your memories of LO.
Thanks so much for the reply. It is helpful. I just can’t understand how he did that after almost 2 years of non stop talking. Like one day he forgot I existed. And what annoys me most is that when I asked him and told him how I felt he acted like if nothing happened and kind of like it was bothering him to talk to me.
It’s so hard this Limerence thing.
With my cynical hat on – he’s probably dumped you because he’s got a new mistress.
It’s the usual MO of someone that relentlessly pursues married women…
Still waters run stagnant.
Lorna-I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I’d like to know how it turned out? All of your descriptions of your experience mirror mine exactly and I don’t know how to process it.
I only just learned the word limereance today and it shattered me.
I’ve been on the r/limerence subreddit, but this seems like a much more concentrated and expert site. I met him about a year ago, barely noticed him. We were a year apart in high school. A few months ago someone barely mentions his name and all the things he’s been doing and suddenly I’m obsessed. Up until this guy every crush/fantasy I’ve had was purely physical and sexual in nature. This was the first time I craved an emotional connection.
Long story short, I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to get to step 3, because I’ve graduated now and our interests never aligned anyway. The catch is he’s kind of just a great/nice guy in general and it’s hard to remember that when he offers to send a postcard or something similar. I feel like I get better treatment from a guy I barely know than from classmates I’ve known for years. I’m afraid this is going to be a very slow death. I’m tempted to just nuke it, send him one last message confessing everything and be secure in knowing that there would be no social consequences. However I also know it could cause him anguish or distress. Delicate balance. Feeling very conflicted. He could just be an asshole, but he sure does a good job covering it up.
“He could just be an asshole, but he sure does a good job covering it up.”
Truer words were never spoken – I can’t figure out if my LO is a good, genuine person and the issue is mine or if they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There is a lot of rumination going on about that.
This is interesting! But it hasn’t been my experience of limerence. It definitely is onto something though. I’m struck by how it seems like limerence is commonly associated with some kind of taboo or inconsiderate type of interaction.
My experience with limerence has involved alternating between phase 2 and phase 3. I was in in a no-strings-attached relationship (with a singleton as a singleton but, notably, lying to my parents about it), painfully stage 2 because I was supposed to not be developing feelings when I was, until I finally broke down and asked if we could be committed. LO declined, and the sense of disbelief and betrayal knocked me into stage 3. But then LO called me wanting to meet up again a couple months later and, elated, I was knocked into stage 2 again (but I said that I couldn’t, because I couldn’t). I saw LO romantically involved with someone else a few months later and I was again shocked and sent into stage 3. I saw LO again at a bar a few years later where I was with my significant other, but LO asked me to sit with him before he knew that, so I told LO once again that I couldn’t. The excitement of having been asked moved me back to stage 2, where I remained indefinitely. It’s unfortunate that he was able to switch on a greater portion of my loyalty just by the suggestion that he might be interested, no matter how fully stage 3 and in love with the other person I might have been immediately prior.
I guess it’s worth noting that I can step out of stage 3 when I’m asked to do something really creative at work and I’m having reliable sex, but then I’ll go back to stage 2 when those things aren’t in place, and if I’m going through something especially sad, confusing, or even happy, I might be knocked into stage 2 even despite having good sex and a creative outlet.
Going along with what you’ve written in other articles about how you think there might be a good expression of limerence and that it can transition into actual love, I’d say that this ping-ponging back and forth is how limerence turns into either healthy love or acceptance of loss. If my LO had explained to me why he couldn’t commit to a relationship, it’s likely I would have respected his reasons and either properly grieved if I thought they were insurmountable or helped him selflessly if I thought I could, but I did neither because I had no clue why he said no (and was too terrified of full rejection to ask). Maybe lack of good communication is an essential ingredient to limerence.
In the best case scenario, if I was able to take responsibility for whatever was compelling him to say no and he was willing to grant me the chance, in all likelihood he would have still continued to be physical with me and from that, I’d be moved back to stage 2, but also not always connecting the way I would have expected the fantasy version of him to be capable of would probably move me back into stage 3. This would have probably sent me back and forth between 2 and 3 until eventually I was mostly fully 3, interacting with an actual human being on the actual ground rather than an idealized made-up person all the way up in heaven, but only because I had graduated from limerence into real love.
I didn’t want to be quite so self-focused in my analysis, but it seems silly to speculate about how LO felt when, in my mind, if I had a good grasp on why he felt and did the things he did, I wouldn’t be in limerence in the first place. This is how my understanding after a very short foray into this subject differs Joe Beam’s, but I’d be curious to hear how you think his view differs from your own since clearly you’ve thought about it a lot more than us.
Actually how long took you to transfer your limerance in to actual love. My limerance gave me a false hope of 4 years , now suddenly changed her mind and said nothing will happen in future. I was so depressed of believing her and how can she changed her mind in few seconds. Really wonder how can she act like that though she still staking me my social media and sending random massages. Finally I decided to come out of my limerance weather the mating happen or not. I can’t endure so much pain, stress and distraction.
But I remember one day with family trip with her family, I sensed her love towards me and she showed her vulnerability and the night I was full of happiness not even thing about mating instead I wish her happiness in her life, I want to her and support her. I myself think I don’t want damage her personal life. But within a month all went upside down. When I try to love her, she told me no connection between us. I cannot convince or explain her because she is not a child, she knows everything and I know how is play to keep me with her. Finally told to me it’s all about your misconception. Don’t know why some of them don’t know what they want in their life and make some one limerant for her.
Amy….. July 3rd 2019.
I went through the same thing. And I think you hit a very good point regards the communication aspect. The lack of good and clear communication results in trauma and trauma bonding. I agree, to get closure would at least make things much easier to process. If instead, you are left in the dark, it’s a perpetual mystery that your minds trying to solve. Was it you, was it him, if you’d said this, if you’d said that, if he’d this, if he’d that. It could go on forever and it will seem like it is going on forever in your mind. It’s because you’re searching for closure and understanding. You certainly felt like there was a connection, and yet, did he not feel the same? It felt like he felt the same. But then he turned you down without explanation. Your “best case scenario” paragraph above was spot on. Many go that route and it’s a paved path to hell. You guys were being full on intimate (no strings attached but, if you are human there’s going to be strings right?) and he’s not “emotionally bonding”, but you are emotionally bonding. It’s very likely that he’s not capable of emotionally bonding. It’s called “emotionally unavailable” and believe me, being in a committed relationship with “THAT” is it’s own hell of loneliness. Being with such a person long term will be utterly demoralizing. We get into this a lot in discussions of Cluster B personality disorders, NPD, BPD, ASPD, Narcissistic behaviors, trauma bonding etc… on “Quora”. You can also read up on “adult attachment styles”… “Avoidant Attachment Style” specifically. I’d have never got involved with my “shy introverted wtf personality”, if I wasn’t stuck in a tremendously miserable relationship with a narcissistic spectrum female, who basically never found anything that could not be made a higher priority than “Me” in 20 years of relationship. It’s always about her, having power over and controlling, manipulating and having things her way always. She withholds attention and affection and I’m not valued… basically unseen. It’s very passive aggressive and she’s smiling to my face saying “I love you” while she’s completely indifferent to me and my needs. I’m so broken and desperate looking for a light in a dark tunnel that I was susceptible to my “shy introverted affair partner”. We met. She said hello. One thing lead to another, we ended up walking together for 30 minutes a day for months. She did not elude to the fact that she was married during that time. We talked about life. About our interests. About all sorts of things it seemed. But never about her husband and family. Then one day she mentioned having 3 kids! And being married! I was completely surprised. I pulled away. Didn’t walk with her for a couple weeks. But I missed her company. I finally ran into her again one day and decided to walk again. I was literally desperately lonely in my relationship. It’s her who said to me that she’d like to have a physical relationship with me if that’s ok?!!! Well. I was surprised but thought the idea alluring. I thought it the worst idea. I tried to figure out why she’d do that. As my figuring went, there must be something missing in her marriage to make her want to pursue a “no strings attached” physical relationship with me. I thrashed it. She claimed to “not know why”, that “she loves her kids, her husband and her life/home etc.. “. The best I got out of her is that she feels “unseen” in her life. She basically felt like she should be happy, that she’s done everything she wanted to do, home/kids/American dream, and yet she feels unfulfilled. She offered up that “She didn’t feel she should have to live her life according to norms of society or what other people think about marriage and monogamy). At that point, I started to think she was just a free thinker, open minded, new age woman… in reality, I should have saved myself and run for my life. I was very cautious about getting involved with her physically. Very cautious. I felt that it was a bad idea. Long story.. I succumbed. It didn’t go very well cause her husband works from home and our liaisons amounted to mere 10-20 minutes at a time always snuck in. It was pretty much stressful due to anxiety and lack of time. It pretty much sucked! And she wasn’t particularly good in bed either. In not too long.. she claimed to be feeling guilty. So guilty that it was causing her anguish. (So much for her assertions about being unconcerned about others perspectives etc…. she’s apparently more concerned than she let on). So then the headaches started. She was pulling away. Her communication skills were lacking at best and abusive at worst. Lacking clarity… I was left in canyon of cognitive dissonance. Still, of course, very lonely and frustrated at home. And she basically pulled the bait and switch on me. Sex went away and I spent months trying to get back there. It was pretty much a limerence thing cause, like I said, the sex was not great at all. And she wasn’t but average attractive. So as this article reads… she was the fast partner. I was the slow. She was done with our relationship but kept me around… torturing me with seeming indifference. It became all about her her her and never about me. Opportunities to get together were routinely sabotaged. Finally I pulled away abruptly, when she refused to meet me for coffee on the lamest premise, and I went no contact. I heard nothing from her. I finally broke no contact when I inadvertently ran into her one day. We started talking again. She still refused to have sex. But it became “all my fault”, because by going no contact, she’d felt abandoned and now she did not feel safe or trusting any longer!!! LOL. She’d flipped the script on me. She was the absolute essence of “Madame MindFuck”. She officially made me completely insane. I never endured such a frustrating relationship in my life. I was definitely trauma bonded and she was chill as a cucumber. Unfeeling. Almost like emotionally oblivious. Callous? Sadistic? If anything… she was more narcissistic and emotionally unavailable than my long term partner! We ended it as she saw her husband and her family as her future. She felt that I needed to leave my SO and find someone to love me that could make me happy. As a novel twist… she added “ Why don’t you think you deserve to be loved and respected?”. Now… I absolutely feel I deserve that. So I think that was her projecting onto me her own reality. I went no contact again for months this time. It was hell and I struggled psychologically. But I made big progress too. Realizing she’s got serious issues and it’s impossible to know the extent of it but definitely “Avoidant Attachment Style”. I got over the chemical addiction. I see things clearly now. I see how she abused me… setting up expectations and then not delivering. Then inevitably ran into her again. So now we are walking again. Now I have no expectations whatsoever. I don’t know if she’s a narcopath or just completely confused and emotional stunted. She sure put on a good show during the love bombing phase. It’s hard to believe that it was all fake fraudery. I feel extreme sympathy for her husband and her kids. While claiming that they’re her top priority, she routinely puts them second to whatever shiny new thing gets her attention! She’s like the ultimate hypocrite. And I don’t even think she’s got the self awareness to realize how screwed up she is! Oops… you’re probably thinking the same about me! Touché! Anyway. That was my only experience with cheating. I guess that this limerence business makes a lot of sense. It was certainly more mental than physical. Mostly I missed my soulmate. What I thought was my soul mate.
Wow, anonymous. This is really well written, I just read through it twice. Interestingly, I can relate very much to how you are feeling, AS WELL AS relate to parts on her side.
I think this shows very well the two sides of each story. You have your narrative and she has hers based on probably a different perception of reality.
I’m sorry you went through all this. I’m stunned that you’re walking again with this abusive, dangerous woman. What if she tells her husband that you’re stalking her or that you assaulted her or something?
She isn’t showing you value as a human being!
You do not have to walk with her! It’s not healthy to be seeing her at all!
Please move on with your life!
I’m not sure I’m supposed to be posting here, as I am not the limerent, but rather the wife of one. My husband of almost 10 years, partner of more than 20, has suddenly fallen in limerence with an old high school friend of ours, and is on the precipice of leaving me to be with her. I’m am here seeking reassurance that it will fade – it happened when he went to visit her in Belgrade, over only 4 days. I see every characteristic of the limerent in him – he tells me that he has never felt this way before, he’s finally found the one for him, he can’t give her up. He is currently on a trip to see her in Boston, where she is visiting her sister. He is obsessed. And here I am…I know about limerence, and I know that it will eventually fade, and I’m trying to wait that out. But this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and sometimes it feels like it might just kill me.
Anyway, really just wanted to vent, and to look for any reassurance that I might find. I’m hurting so much right now, and it helps to know that I’m not alone.
Limerent Emeritus says
Have you read:
The SME on this subject is a former poster named Lee. Her marriage didn’t survive her SO’s limerence.
If you haven’t already, I recommend you see a counselor or therapist for your own benefit. A lot of therapists will focus on the superficial recommending things like date nights, etc., to “rekindle” the relationship.
But, the reality is that the causes are usually much deeper than that. One thing stood out in your post, “My husband of almost 10 years, partner of more than 20, has suddenly fallen in limerence with an old high school friend of ours, and is on the precipice of leaving me to be with her.” There’s a reason for that.
That seems to be an unusually long courtship. Getting married too soon is often an indicator, but so can an unusually long one. Why did you two finally decide to tie the knot after 10 years? To take a really deep look into things will take a competent therapist.
I hope things work out for you.
We have both recognized that our relationship has had an imbalance of power and feeling from the start. I want a new start with him, with the help of a counselor to figure out where we are not communicating or connecting properly. I have expressed to him that I want to meet in the middle, as we really never have before. It’s always been one of us pulling the other.
Our courtship was very long both because he wasn’t ready to settle down, and also because there were outside factors influencing things…his father died, which set him off on a major mental health journey, that included some jail time. It wasn’t until 2009 that we finally got together for good, and then married in 2012.
I’m in a similar situation. My husband is in limerence and I believe is living with the LO. He’s left me (his wife of 17 years) and his 5 kids aged 2-11.
I have found a ton of amazing information, help and understanding of this process through Marriage Helper!!!
Everything I have seen on YouTube from marriage helper and all of their courses and workshops are absolutely life changing!!!
I’ll pray for you. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. ♥️🙏🏻💪🏻
This is why I have never told my husband. I feel very torn because I feel distant from him by holding such a big thing back, and yet I’m just so worried that telling him will be so devastating that it will permanently hurt and even ruin our marriage. I’ve been waiting 3 years now. I’m starting to improve but i can’t go no contact unless I tell my SO so we can move, and seeing LO is really making it impossible to fully recover. Also it’s making me sick, my nervous system is so damaged from this. I’ve been getting vertigo and extreme anxiety. I’m waiting until I feel it’s right to tell SO and hopefully move so I never have to see lO.
Sorry you have had to be affected by this! Good luck!
Telling your SO will only hurt them. Seriously, many counselors recommend NOT Telling them. It won’t change what happened but will destroy what you have.
Better to change by getting counseling and working on your own issues rather than destroying the relationship you do have.
Telling only relieves YOUR guilt, but what does it do for your SO, other than ripping their heart out?
Yes it will probably devastate SO. But what’s worse is your SO is in a fake relationship. They believe they are in one relationship but the truth is their partner is living another reality.
This is not to judge but to tell you, from someone on the other side, I would have liked to have the same opportunity to make decisions as my limerent partner. He had all the knowledge and was making decisions that affected me but I was the fool, making decisions as if there was an us. He had an us, it just wasn’t me. And when I finally found proof, instead of him telling me, I literally lost my mind for a while, trying to make sense of a reality that wasn’t true. Ever.
You’ll have to decide, but I can say this secret will probably always be a wall between any intimacy.
And counselors say a lot of things that actually hurt marriages – at least in my experience. Very tricky to find marriage counselors that actually have insight into the complexity of relationship trauma.
“He is currently on a trip to see her in Boston, where she is visiting her sister. ”
Get tested for STIs now and again in six months. He hasn’t traveled that distance just to chastely eat sandwiches. He is auditioning your replacement. Don’t trust that either of them are using prophylactics that do a so-so job of protecting anyone from HPV or any other STI when used correctly, let alone now when in the heat of limerence or lust.
Now is also the time to review the joint finances, take inventory of the items within the home and be prepared to go it alone. Interview attorneys to find out what usually happens in your state.
“…and is on the precipice of leaving me to be with her. ”
Excuse me? You also get a say in this relationship. He’s told you he “can’t give her up”. Release him.
You are the CEO of your life and he is openly undermining your partnership and how much disrespect are you willing to tolerate just to say, “We’ve been married for xx years!”
Being single can be hard but at least you no longer sleep with a (marital) saboteur.
I feel I’m in the same boat. 13yrs 3 kids together and 2 months ago she just became a different person. It’s her co worker. I’m devastated trying to hold on. But it hurts so bad
I’m so sorry. She will probably come back to you once the limerence has worn off and she realises what she has lost. Make sure you focus on yourself and your children in the meantime.
So sorry to hear that you are dealing with these painful feelings. There are nothing like them. My high school sweetheart and husband of 12 years has had two affairs since last August and I can’t begin to explain the amount of pain he has inflicted. Both were with coworkers with their own issues. They were both with a LO. Doesn’t make the pain any better but, to my knowledge, they fizzled pretty quickly. We have four kids together and he is afraid he is going to lose me now. We are seeing a marriage counselor, which has helped some. His therapist equates his behaviors to childhood trauma, which I would vouch for because his mother is such a horrible individual that we have not spoken to her since our first child was born over seven years ago. I am hoping you find peace and reconciliation. It is not easy and some days I question if our marriage is worth saving but only time will tell.
I was obsessed with him. But now I’m over him. it happened while I was thinking of him. then all of a sudden I got over him. I don’t know how. I don’t know what to do now. I’m so confused.
If you want to keep pursuing him and he hasn’t told or indicated to you that he isn’t interested, pursue him. Otherwise don’t. Also just do other things in your life that you have to do/ like to do.
I never know that it was limerence until a few months ago. When I was in college, I realize that I can control my heart to fall to whom and to stop that feeling or fall deep to the point of obsession. Since that moment on, I haven’t yet been in a serious relationship. I tend to hold that ‘interesting’ feeling inside the friendship zone. Cuz there’s always a thing I didn’t like about those guys in the end.
The problem is that I once had a complicated relationship in high school with my HS friend. He was there during my lows and witness all my lows and was absent from my best. After such a dramatic separation, I never meet him again for 7 years. Although we are still in contact once in a while, annually during his birthday. Because I never once miss to greet him on his birthday since we were 15. Three years ago we decide to meet up. I was a bit worried about my heart finding relief to my heart confirmation that he is no longer as important as he was as a teenager for me. Me too thought that was our last contact. I told him so when he said that we actually can catch up once in a while. And the freak was, I cannot help but text him again and again and again. Sometimes I try to ignore him or reply in short. Yet another time I found myself texting him things that I should text to my close one. Things simply about my garden for example. I know I need to stop myself.