Limerence feels bloody amazing.
I’m several years out from my last limerence episode, and this distance can sometimes be a benefit, but it’s also a limitation. It makes it easier to analyse the phenomenon dispassionately, but it also means I can forget the strength of the mania.
It’s all very well planning strategies for managing unwanted feelings and intrusive thoughts, but any plan for living with limerence has to contend with the central fact that the reason this other person is so addictive is because you feel electrified when you’re close to them.
Of course, the intuitive response to this is:
yeah, that’s because LO is special
This conclusion is natural enough, given that being with them makes you feel euphoric. Their every word has power. Their smile makes your mood spike with bliss. You spend the majority of your time thinking about them, wondering how to impress them, and planning when you can get your next fix. Surely this must mean they have extraordinary charisma, some sort of faerie glamour that befuddles and seduces you?
Well, maybe; but perhaps it’s also worth entertaining the idea that actually they are a normal person, and all those pyrotechnics are happening within you. LO just lights the fuse.
Life in colour
One of the commonest reported experiences of limerence is the feeling that life has become more vibrant. It genuinely seems as though colours are more vivid, emotions more intense, ideas more profound, music more beautiful – having LO present in the world enhances everything. You feel enlivened, giddy, supercharged for action, and generally more positive about the world and the people within it.
At least at first. The flip side to all this euphoric exhilaration comes later, like a dark twin, but in the early phase of limerence, life is thrilling and bright.
That experience invites explanation. What is going on? How is it that someone else can provoke such profound changes in mood? Is this actually what love is like – the ecstatic union, the promise of perpetual bliss? Well, at the risk of pouring some cold water on the sparklers, it’s quite easy to explain with neuroscience.
Wakefulness could be seen as a simple on/off switch – you are either unconscious or awake – but actually the reality of arousal is much more sophisticated than that. This isn’t just about sleepiness or fatigue, it is possible to become more energised than our normal “resting” state. Some stimuli catch our attention and make us instantly more alert. If something scurries in our peripheral vision, we immediately snap to attention with a jolt of anxiety. This is physiological arousal in action.
Arousal is regulated by a complex set of neural pathways known as the reticular activating system, but at the heart of the process is a set of neurons in a brainstem region known as the locus coeruleus. The name isn’t really important, but I’ve always liked the way it sounds so why not mention it, eh?
Anyway, the LC (as it’s known to its friends) releases noradrenaline, which activates lots of other brain regions and triggers the fight or flight response throughout the body. But here’s the thing: noradrenaline is released in much the same way during stress, fear, danger, excitement or thrill seeking. It’s other neural systems and learned experiences that give the arousal context – physiologically it’s all much the same. That’s why our pupils dilate and hearts start pounding during sexual arousal, even though we are not in a “fight or flight” scenario. Hopefully…
Anyway, to bring this little neuroscience aside back to limerence: arousal doesn’t just affect your body, it also affects your brain, your cognition. Arousal is like turning up the excitability dial on your brain. Your perceptions really do change. You really do feel more alert, excited and lively. Your thoughts may seem to race, making new connections and seeing things from a new perspective. Things in your environment can seem more significant (especially if the thing is connected to LO). Your sensory processing is enhanced. You’re hyped.
The LC also links in with lots of other neural systems, including those for reward and motivation (mainly dopamine) and mood regulation (mainly serotonin). With all of these firing at once, it’s easy to understand where the sensations of limerence come from. Being with LO pushes us into a state of high arousal that can feel fantastic.
This can be an amazingly creative time. Artists, musicians, poets; all talk of their muses and the intoxication of “flow state” when they are inspired to spectacular binges of creation – mostly to try and impress their LO, but you know, let’s just be grateful for the beauty they add to the world.
The trade off, of course, is that a prolonged period of arousal can become dysregulated. We can transition into a state of hyperarousal that is distressing – with all the familiar issues of sleep disturbance, intrusive thoughts, involuntary obsession, and general inability to get relief.
Like artists who get their arousal from chemical means, eventually you pay the price for driving your brain flat out at 100 mph. And, the comedown is rough. Your “normal” now feels like your brain is filled with treacle.
So, it’s easy to see why we would seek arousal, and why we would respond to limerence by wanting more. Can we ride the wave forever? Can we get that enhanced cognitive state, while avoiding the transition to overarousal? Can we – to paraphrase Churchill’s comment on his Herculean alcohol consumption – take more out of limerence, than limerence takes out of us?
Maybe. I’m glad I’m a limerent. This site wouldn’t exist if I weren’t, and I can look back on limerent episodes in my past and get a faint echo of excitement that still stirs the pot of creativity. But I also know this is the luxury of hindsight. I wasn’t very creative when I was in the thick of my last LE – I was mostly in an obsessive mindloop of excitement, panic, and uncertainty. There was arousal, for sure, but it wasn’t in harness.
It’s a risky business, trying to tame a dragon. It’s like playing a game of brinkmanship with addiction – how much is too much? When will your cup runneth over?
One last thought on this issue relates to the prevalence of introversion in limerents. There’s a theory that introverts have a higher baseline level of arousal than extraverts, and so can more easily become overaroused. Extraverts are more likely to seek stimulation from the environment (and other people) to upregulate their arousal; introverts want to dial down their baseline state. Maybe, therefore, the threshold for limerence is lower in introverts, the dragon is more fiery, and the risk is greater. Maybe the emotional highs and lows of limerence are worse for introverts because they are already “primed”.
That seems a reasonable guess, but ultimately only you will know your own limits.
Fireworks are spectacular, but should be handled with care.
Happy to say that I am kinda over my limerent period. I still think of my LO a few times a day and I miss him, but I can control my urges to text him. Looking back on the crazy eight months since I have started to go into low contact I can see the urges slowly decrease. In four months I hope he won’t be on my mind at all, but we will see. The most important thing I have learned is that you can’t speed up the process, but that time and perseverance will help. Thank you so much, dr limerence, for introducing the phenomenon of limerence to me. I can now see both the advantages and disadvantages of being a limerent. In the future I hope to fall crazy in love with someone who loves me back… Good luck, everyone, with overcoming your limerence. I know you can do it!
Congrats, Valentine. That sounds like really good progress – just being more aware of how limerence shapes us is a big step forwards in integrating it into our lives.
Good luck finding that worthy, reciprocating LO! 😉
Recovering-I Hope-Limerent says
I’m right there with you, Valentine. I’m looking at 7 months NC, and it’s really hard to shake the whole experience. The above all happened and all the euphoria ended with feeling very trapped and unhappy. I’m doing so much better though now even though the thoughts are still there but lighter, easily redirected. My nickname for LO was ‘livewire’: extroverted, sparkly, and popular. Me, not so much: introverted, creative, live and kicking imagination. You’re so right, Valentine, that time and perseverence helps. I hope you find just the right person who loves and appreciates all your wonderful qualities, too!
“Well, maybe; but perhaps it’s also worth entertaining the idea that actually they are a normal person, and all those pyrotechnics are happening within you. LO just lights the fuse. ”
Oh gosh. The time I could have saved if I had known this!
Sammy I liked that point too. In a way it transfers the wonderfulness of limerence to us, we are the unique and exciting and thrilling half of the limerence equation, not them. And to think we gave them all the credit! Of course, they were the catalyst….if only we could access that exciting place within without their “help”.
Yeah, it’s weird isn’t it? How come they can start that fire just by being themselves? How come they can set off fireworks that we never even knew were there…?
And what limerence does, too, is make every other emotion you’ve had feel tepid and like sleepwalking.
Lifelong Limerent says
I like that idea too – the fact the we limerents can feel so much passion regardless of who lights our fire. If we could harness that passion and direct outward to the world imagine what we could accomplish and how good we would feel.
My locus coeruleus was mildly activated reading this post. Those euphoric, dazzling, early days of limerence! (Wistful sigh).
I also love the way “crista galli” rolls off the tongue, and methinks coeruleus and crista galli could be names of two protagonists in a science fiction story about limerence on another planet! One of them is from Wernicke’s area and the other Broca’s area.
Ha! Belatedly I just noticed the quip under the pic of the planet! Great minds…..
Question for DrL:
Why is it that alcohol tends to make me feel less favorably disposed toward my XLOs but opioids (Percocet) makes me feel more favorably disposed toward them?
What’s being activated or suppressed?
Honest answer: I don’t know.
For alcohol there is a lot of individual variation in the impact on neurophysiology. It’s a disinhibitor so at one level is sedating your executive and may therefore be revealing some deeper ill-feeling towards ex-LOs that you have intellectually made peace with, but still feel at an emotional level. For some people alcohol can enhance reward signalling (these people are more prone to alcoholism) but for others there can be a negative effect on reward (making them more irritable). I’m not sure if the mechanistic basis of this difference is understood, as I don’t know the literature well enough.
Opiates are more reliably rewarding, in that they activate the hedonic hotspots directly and so give a pleasurable sensation. But of course they have lots of other effects too – analgesia being the obvious one, but also mood regulation and peripheral effects too (like constipation).
Bit of a woolly answer, but the blunt truth is that these drugs have complex effects with a lot of person to person variation, so it’s not easy to draw conclusions for individuals…
The obvious over-simplification is for me that booze removes the “rose colored glasses” and opiates put them on.
“For some people alcohol can enhance reward signalling (these people are more prone to alcoholism) ” This is me. Once I got sober, I saw LO more clearly and feelings started to fade. ymmv I guess.
All I see now is the dark side of limerence, because unless you are very lucky and your LO is a.) available; b.) mutually interested; and c.) capable of following through on an actual relationship, you are going to feel the absolute devastation (the lowest of lows) when you get finally get it through your head (hard when you are limerent) that nothing is ever going to happen with this person. Limerence also triggers another very dangerous emotions: hope. It’s a vicious cycle. Euphoria when you are around him or her, overanalyzing and reading way too much into everything he/she says or does, and then crushing sadness when you come down off the high and realize you are right back where you started — without the LO you so desperately wanted.
Yes, there is no greater emotional pain than realizing your mind tricked you and it was all for naught. That’s why I will do everything in my power to avoid becoming limerent again and will avoid engendering it in others.
The heart does heal though….ever so slowly.
“Yes, there is no greater emotional pain than realizing your mind tricked you and it was all for naught. ”
Yes, that and the moment you finally understand the LO has escaped with barely a scratch while you have taken years to get over them.”
Marcia, it really does feel unjust, doesn’t it. I am so sorry for your pain, and my pain and all the limerents in pain. May we all keep healing and may all the scars fade and may life become a pleasure, triumphantly, without a LO.
Thank you for the kind words. Yes, life will go back to normal. An LO can mean pain but also some delicious color in your life. It’s a catch 22.
And what do you do to “avoid becoming limerent again”? I am in the thick of it and suffering very badly.
So very sad to hear of your suffering. There is no agony like limerence agony.
Well if you are in the thick of it I recommend Dr. L’s deprogramming course and reading everything on this site….(it really works!) and then once you are free; setting boundaries at the beginning of a future ‘glimmer’ before it can ‘nucleate’!
I have had a few successful new glimmer extinguishings in the past year and now I can barely remember them, far different from the agony of a fully fledged LE…getting over that takes years! (for me).
Wishing you the best!
@Marcia. I was re-reading this thread and thought what you shared here with Jaideux is beautiful and painfully accurate.
“Yes, that and the moment you finally understand the LO has escaped with barely a scratch while you have taken years to get over them.”
“An LO can mean pain but also some delicious color in your life. It’s a catch 22.”
It makes me realise that while the circumstances of our LEs may be wildly different, the emotions seem to be mostly the same. This suggests to me that limerence has roots in biology rather than environment. This is of course consistent with what Tennov discovered – cultures the world over have stories about lovers experiencing limerence.
Your comment about LOs escaping with barely a scratch really hit home. The catch-22 observation is also spot-on. 😛
“Your comment about LOs escaping with barely a scratch really hit home. ”
It wasn’t an observation I ever wanted to make. 🙂 Sometimes I wondered if I pricked him with a pin, would he bleed?
Reading some of these comments gives me hope that I can get out of this pointless infatuation. Marcia, I empathise, and I feel that I am going to struggle once I go fully no contact. But there’s no other way through this, I know that. Already some of the ‘glimmer’ has fallen away from my LO, and I’m trying to deal with anger that he couldn’t/wouldn’t return my feelings. Is this a thing, does anyone know?
Even though he has done nothing to deserve my anger just kept his boundaries intact. And I am trying to respect that. Sometimes I wish I could just take my brain out and switch it off!
“I feel that I am going to struggle once I go fully no contact. But there’s no other way through this, I know that. ”
But some people never go through anything like this. They just seem to blithely skate on the surface, worried only about their breakfast foods. I really envy them.
“Already some of the ‘glimmer’ has fallen away from my LO, and I’m trying to deal with anger that he couldn’t/wouldn’t return my feelings. Is this a thing, does anyone know?”
Yes, that’s where I am. Anger at him. Anger at myself. When you’re a limerent, you’re almost at war with yourself, between what you intellectually know to be true and what you emotionally, desperately, want to be true.
Thanks for your reply, Marcia. I’m so tired of the crazy-making. I’m wondering if LO is expecting me to email, as usual, tomorrow or the next day or both. Will he even notice when I don’t? Maybe he will, but probably not for longer than I’d like. I WANT him to notice I’m NC, but that’s part of all this crazy crap, isn’t it?
I’m projecting on to him what I want him to feel. And he won’t. He never will. It doesn’t matter how friendly and fascinating and funny I am. I’m directing all this energy to him, what a waste!
Sorry, it helped to write that down.
Tansie, no need to apologize! We have all vented here, and I think there is a lot of people who actually CARE, and understand your pain and support your efforts of recovery. Most of us are in the same boat.
I think the LO’s do notice when we go NC, and usually they don’t like it if they were enjoying our adoration on some level. I find it satisfying to know that I am back in control of my life, not them.
It’s healthier for all of us, so it’s actually a kindness to them and to us, to have set boundaries, rebalance the ‘relationship’, and walk toward strengthening or developing truly healthy and authentic relationships.
I know you are friendly and funny and fascinating, and there are those out there who truly value those qualities and truly value all of you and those are the people to spend our time and energies on.
Thank you Jaideux. I know people will say it’s my limerent brain, but I’m pretty sure (now that I’ve kind of taken a step back, and looked at LO more dispassionately) that he IS getting a tiny ego boost from me. I have made it quite clear how wonderful I think he is, when I know, rationally he’s a very ordinary bloke. He’s only human after all…
But it doesn’t matter anyway, what he feels or doesn’t feel. I’m concerned with myself now and, as you say, developing healthy and authentic friendships. Thank heaven for this site. I’d be on all kinds of medication otherwise! (In addition to the ones I’m already on…)
“… toward strengthening or developing truly healthy and authentic relationships.”
Could you expand on this a little more? Don’t you find that healthier relationships feel a little … bland as compared to the feelings for the LO (even if you intellectually know the feelings for the LO are causing you pain)? It’s like broccoli versus French-chef- baked chocolate mousse.
Weeellllll, you do have a point. But, those super exciting chocolate mousses (is that the plural?) are laced with poison. The damage a LE does to us is real and can take years to recover from (if ever!). Maybe delicious at the time (what am I saying ‘maybe’, they are EXQUISITE), but they are insidiously wreaking havoc on our psyche (and if married, on our homelife), and it’s really not worth it. That gorgeous mousse is toxic. And addictive!
Authentic relationships may be a bit bland, it’s true, but they won’t hurt us, in fact they nourish us and at times can be a bit exciting and interesting, especially if we diligently cultivate a taste for …broccoli.
Broccoli huh. Normal relationships can far exceed that if you let them 🙂
I prefer the analogy of the normal relationship being a nourishing and delicious three course meal but the LO is heroin. Everything is bland compared to heroin for someone that is addicted to heroin.
I was being a bit sarcastic, but normal relationships provide a sense of contentment and support, but there is nowhere near the same level of intensity, longing and absolute euphoria when you finally get your hands on the LO. 🙂
“Authentic relationships may be a bit bland, it’s true, but they won’t hurt us, in fact they nourish us and at times can be a bit exciting and interesting, especially if we diligently cultivate a taste for …broccoli.”
LOL. I have been trying for years.
Back here again after a relapse. Contacted and met up with LO after 10 weeks NC. He’s still same as ever. We spent a couple of weeks messaging a lot, reconnecting etc. Went for a drink, things got intimate for a night and now he’s playing hard to get (or something) and being much less available and I’m ruminating intensely and intrusively.
I’m such a mug… GODDAMNIT!
Did you learn anything?
Sorry to hear that Thomas. Your LO does sound like a user.
Take heart in relapses being a normal part of recovery and that you won’t return right back to the start as a result.
10 weeks NC is fantastic and you should be really proud of yourself, well done! Maybe set your goal at 15 weeks this time around?
Wishing you well.
Atya Bahul says
I’ve missed you😉, I hope you’re OK & be kind to your self.
Man, that’s hard… but as others have said, don’t be too hard on yourself on that. 10 weeks it’s still a lot of time, so focus on doing better from now.
Wishing you a speedy recovery from the relapse, man.
Nice to have you back, Thomas. Shame it isn’t just a social visit. Take care, buddy.
I’m not sure I learned anything Scharn sad to say. I’ve not actually started NC again officially because we’re back to being ‘friends’ which is just… well…
We know how that goes.
Nice to be missed! 🙂 I actually felt pretty stupid getting back in touch with LO. Then when the initial conversations seemed so promising… but nah. I knew I was being daft and so retreated to the silent blog reading and not commenting.
But anyway, tonight is the first night I’ve not sent some dumb ass WhatsApp. Though of course I’ve been listening out for the twinkle of a WhatsApp from LO all evening, which never came. Of course. To be honest though I think we know what it’s like… one message is never enough is it? We’ve had a couple of embarrassing stale WhatsApp chats recently because I’ve literally run out of anything to say… and of course I’m the one striving to impress and feeling like I’m falling short every time.
Then again, I’ve got a lot of work on at my job so it’s fortunately keeping me occupied.
It’s not so bad this time tbh. I think the 10 week break did some good… and obviously here in the UK all the pubs are closed for another three weeks. So…
I need to tread carefully away though I just know it… I just don’t know when I will, this time.
Holland Rise says
Hi, I am new to the LWL Community and I must say it’s been such a relief to read that what I have been through is recognised. I work with my LO and I can only say that working from home during the global pandemic has been a God send in allowing me to literally go no contact as realistically it would have had to have been reduced contact. She is on my mind a lot still but I have only seen her once in 8 months which set me back a bit when I did but hey progress is not always a straight line.
I have refrained from e mailing her in all this time and she hasn’t e mailed me which is a) a blessing I guess and b) tells me really that she isn’t interested in me (even though I still struggle to accept this one – my head knows it, my heart isn’t quite there yet)
What’s funny is that I know loads of flaws in my LO, but yet I choose to see past them. I’m going upwards I do fully believe when I look at where I was this time last year
It’s a pleasure to be part of the community
Best wishes to all in their hope for recovery
Welcome Holland Rise!
One LO sighting in 8 months is fabulous. Slowly, ever ever so lowly your heart will catch up to your head. We all are struggling in some form or another and if one LE has ended we are all somehow hardwired to start another one (NO! NEVER AGAIN!)
but this community is overall very kind, supportive and reassuring that we actually aren’t mad as hatters, in fact we are quite normal…for limerents.
Looking forward to your posts.
Holland Rise says
Thanks Jaideux, you seem a nice community and at the end of the day we are all going through similar experiences. Look forward to chatting with you all.
@Holland Rise. Yes, it’s a wonderful community and you will find a lot of interesting and supportive people here. Though I did hear a rumour that some of us aren’t overkeen on cruciferous vegetables. (If you’ve read the comments above, you will understand my little broccoli joke. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Hahaha!)
I’ll have to get more creative in the kitchen. Broccoli cupcakes, anyone? 🙂
Hello all, it’s been awhile, but I had some time to check out the newest blog post.
A year ago was the last time I’ve seen LO. I remember when he said at goodbye “when will I see you again?” I said I don’t know, turned around and walked away. It was a good ending and I like to leave it at that.
I wonder how my body reacts physiologically if or when I see him again (it is bound to happen at work, but thanks to corona not anytime soon), but I tend to believe that enough time has passed to not let me relapse.
I am happy again, I have so much time to focus on other things… It is crazy thinking back of how I could have been so lost and so captured by LO.
It’s been so great to learn about limerence, understand what it is, how LO’s specialness had nothing to do with it (despite me believing it had EVERYTHING to do with it). Absolutely crazy!
LO still pops up in my head one way or another, but in a very neutral, yet head-shaking kind of way.
Haven’t read through a lot of comments, but to people struggling: believe that one day you will also look back and have that moment of: wow, that really happened and I’m glad it is over!
It’s so good to understand how limerence works and have a defense strategy ready to never let that happen with anyone ever again.
Holland Rise says
Sounds like you are doing great, even if you do relapse don’t kick yourself too hard. Just take stock, mull over it a couple of days and trust the process you have been implementing successfully so far.
I am so happy you are happy….you set a good example for all limerent strugglers.
I kinda miss the community here, not checking in on the site religiously anymore like in the deepest of my limerence. Trying to get back more often to help others with some wisdom hopefully.
So pleased you are doing well Sarah and very happy you checked in.
I just so happened to check on here this eve as I have no real reason to comment anymore, my limerence has dwindled away into the abyss. It is crazy upon reflection how hooked I was on LO. How did I even have the head space, I’m far to lazy now to give anyone that much attention now.
Like you Sarah covid has proved very beneficial for NC and also it’s likely I will see LO one day soon.. awkward!
I hope that anyone who is going through the fire pit of hell with limerence can hold on to hope that life is better on the other side. Pain, confusion, hopelessness, fear and anxiety are part of the process. Light and relief is on its way and you will be welcomed to a new version of yourself. I would suggest to see a therapist to work on any core wounds or trauma you may unconditionally be holding on it. It’s hard deep work but is well worth the time and effort.
Hey Rachel, also very pleased to hear you’re doing well. Kinda feels like we walked through the limerence fog together – you were my limerence buddy to navigate the way out! 😘
It’s crazy, isn’t it, thinking back on how obsessed we were with LO and how intrusive the thoughts about LO were and how much they overshadowed our life and sucked away our attention from anything else.
I have heard from LO work related, followed by some small talk and I realized how negative LO was, and how I actually didn’t want to speak to him because he just ruined my mood with his negativity.
Anyway, glad you’re doing well, Rachel. And to everyone else, I second Rachel’s comments: there is hope and this will be over eventually!
“But some people never go through anything like this. They just seem to blithely skate on the surface, worried only about their breakfast foods.”
“Authentic relationships may be a bit bland, it’s true, but they won’t hurt us, in fact they nourish us and at times can be a bit exciting and interesting, especially if we diligently cultivate a taste for …broccoli.”
“Though I did hear a rumour that some of us aren’t overkeen on cruciferous vegetables. (If you’ve read the comments above, you will understand my little broccoli joke. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Hahaha!)”
What very nice people. May you all get unceremoniously dumped and told exactly what a chore it has been to be catering to you by “broccoli”.
While it wasn’t the most flattering analogy (for anyone, actually, LO or limerent), I think you missed the spirit here, Oscar. I’m not sure that suggesting authentic relationships are healthy and limerent obsessions are unhealthy is really an insult…
The intent and meaning was perfectly clear. “Broccoli” people just aren’t as “deep” or “interesting” but are appreciated to clean out your colons. Thanks for the insight into how my wife really regards me.
“But some people never go through anything like this. They just seem to blithely skate on the surface, worried only about their breakfast foods.”
“normal relationships provide a sense of contentment and support, but there is nowhere near the same level of intensity, longing and absolute euphoria when you finally get your hands on the LO. 🙂”
Your wife may be devaluing and/or disrespecting you, Oscar, and you are right that that is unacceptable. But not every limerent feels like this – they don’t see their partners as bowel cleansers, they love them deeply and sincerely and wish that the craving for a limerent sugar rush would go away.
But, it’s fine to vent. No-one likes being compared to a vegetable.
You make a good point Oscar. Bear in mind though that those limerents that are desperately struggling to normalise their relationship expectations from “confection” to “vegetable” are single but don’t really want to be. They want to have normal fulfilling relationships but the narcotic effect of limerence makes this very hard to do.
Please don’t assume this is how your wife feels. Most of the non-single limerents on this site dearly love their SOs and want their primary relationships to succeed – that is why they are here.
@Oscar. The broccoli analogy shouldn’t been taken too seriously – I think it was a humorous way of highlighting the super-addictive nature of limerence. There are no “broccoli people” in the world and I don’t think anyone suggested that. There are only certain real and/or perceived connections that become more addictive than others because of brain chemicals – that’s the point being made. This is an article, after all, about fireworks and noradrenaline.
Ironically, in real life, I prefer broccoli to chocolate mousse. I didn’t have a problem with the broccoli analogy, though, as I saw it as cute. To me, it was comical in a good-natured way (limerents poking fun of ourselves more than anything else). Let’s face facts: limerence is absurd. I thought it might become a running in-joke, a bit like Mia’s famous canoe. Perhaps, in this case, it backfired a little, and I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt in the process.
Personally, I think Allie’s heroin analogy is stronger. Limerence is like heroin and regular life is like food, even good food. A lot of drug addicts may lose interest in food, no matter how delicious or nourishing it is, when they’re craving another high from their drug of choice. This is an unfortunate side-effect of addiction.
I think Jaideux merely meant that limerents need to cultivate good habits and Marcia was merely making some very wry observations on how intoxicating limerence feels. The comments are reflections of personalities and not moral judgements. I’m sure the last thing I (or anyone else here) would ever want to do is devalue anyone’s relationship or laugh at another person’s feelings, let alone the feelings of a man who fears he’s losing his wife to limerence.
It’s a real shame, I think, that Mother Nature doesn’t give people limerent feelings in proportion to the amount of time and effort they invest in sustaining a relationship. Now wouldn’t that be something? To get a rush at ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, etc? Limerence unfortunately serves a fairly specific evolutionary end – to bring couples together. It’s a phenomenon we’re all trying to understand better.
Thank you for being part of our forum, brother. Your perspective is valuable and your difficult marital situation arouses my sympathy.
Actually I would rather be viewed as broccoli (which truth be told , I find delicious) to heroin laced chocolate mousse any day.
I absolutely would not be insulted to be compared to something healthy and attractive and nourishing and authentic.
Those of us who have been rejected by our LO’s (that would be most of us) realize that we didn’t have the something that made them want to be more than friends with us.
That rejection is painful, but when we realize that we were obsessed with someone VERY unhealthy for us (the drug laced mousse), we then want to cultivate attraction to healthy people…who love and respect us, and then that means we are becoming healthy too.
If married, that would mean strengthening the bonds with the mate, and rejecting the synthetic, dangerous, sinister thrill of a LO.
I know it must be excruciating to have a mate become limerent for someone else and I am very sorry for that, but please know that all limerents eventually seem to realize that their LO is toxic for them.
The original comment that included the comparison between chocolate mousse and broccoli and the ones that followed was never meant to be insulting , on the contrary, it was to point out the value of healthy relationships vs toxic ones. The chocolate mousse is toxic.
“The broccoli analogy shouldn’t been taken too seriously – I think it was a humorous way of highlighting the super-addictive nature of limerence.”
That’s exactly what it was. I think probably the better analogy.. for ME … not for anyone else … is healthy relationships are like a well-seasoned, tasty but still good-for-you meal versus Wendy’s. This is something I struggle with all the time because I like junk food. But while I feel better, physically, psychologically, when I choose the former option, I enjoy the second option more in terms of just pure pleasure. It’s all the chemicals they put in fast food. But, obviously, it’s a pleasure in the moment because you wake up the next morning feeling kind of gross and bloated and maybe you’ve put on a pound or two. The food, I think, is replacing the LO, who is completely out of my life. And I don’t drink much and don’t have access to hard drugs. 🙂
“Those of us who have been rejected by our LO’s (that would be most of us) realize that we didn’t have the something that made them want to be more than friends with us.”
She won’t have to wonder if he will reject her, if she doesn’t know already. If her boring stable life sucks, then get a whiff of mine.
“I know it must be excruciating to have a mate become limerent for someone else and I am very sorry for that, but please know that all limerents eventually seem to realize that their LO is toxic for them.”
I’m not sitting around waiting for her to get over a boyfriend – real or imagined. I’m moving out. She can have all the mousse she wants, if she hasn’t already.
That sounds really rough. I have no way of knowing what your wife thinks. What I do suspect is that if she is indeed limerent she’s not thinking with a clear head.
Also limerence doesn’t always mean boredom. My (single) life is not boring, I have friends and interests. But periodically I become irrationally drawn to people who (as everybody here seems to agree) aren’t the right people. Which throws all the good stuff into chaos sometimes… and leave my friends a bit confused about what is so flipping special about the current LO (because my friends don’t see the fantasy unfold when LO walks into a pub. But I do.) But it’s not REAL. It’s a fantasy, and that is where the broccoli thing comes in. Because a fully delusional limerent fantasy is… well… it’s not broccoli. It doesn’t sustain you in a healthy place… and by the end of it its probably not even chocolate.
Anyway. It sounds like your wife is treating you very unreasonably and if leaving is right for you, and you know that deep down, then you should go. Nobody is saying limerence is consequence free, for anyone involved, sadly.
Ps. I wonder if you feel the limerents on here are being a bit self congratulatory? But I think most of us are laughing through experiences which have been/still are very painful. So in that sense ‘we should stick to broccoli’ could be read as a bit of funny self deprecation. Remember there’s a lot of grief on here from people who haven’t found forming a meaningful relationship as straightforward as they’d dream because of limerence. I know I’m a bit sick of myself right now.
“What I do suspect is that if she is indeed limerent she’s not thinking with a clear head.”
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
She knew exactly what she was doing when sending thousands of texts at all hours of the day and night and placed hundreds of phone calls to another man behind my back for months. I finally looked at my account and noticed them.
Lease terminated on the apartment. She can get her own cell phone plan too. That ends tomorrow when I walk out with my stuff.
Does she know about this or are you going the Pearl Harbor route?
I remember we were underway on the submarine. The Supply Officer’s wife was allegedly cheating on him. He was hundreds of miles from home and underwater. There wasn’t a damn thing he could do but think.
Another officer made a flip comment. The Supply Officer was 6’2″ and the ex-7th Fleet boxing champion. He leaned over the table and got in the guy’s face.
“We all make our choices.”
Pearl Harbor. I didn’t feel I owed her any further honesty since she didn’t extend it to me.
I got a new number so she can’t blow up my phone.
Pls, keep posting.
Are doing this DIY or are you working with an attorney? How did you drop the dime? Did you have her served?
Told my lawyer to have her served. That happened last night. She can agree to the terms of the separation agreement and we’ll get it done as a dissolution, or she can fight and I’ll have JustAFriend and her texts, etc. deposed and sock her with the bill.
I told my family I didn’t care what they did, but I don’t want to talk to or about her.
Are you in a “fault” or “no fault jurisdiction?”
I live in “fault” state. The divorce attorney I consulted once told me if any of the conditions were met, he could be in front of a judge in 24 hours. He said it would take longer to work out things like custody and property but I’d do those as a single man. He also said that I didn’t meet any of the conditions but he never had a client that said he wanted a divorce that he couldn’t get one for. It was a matter of how much I was willing to spend and what I was willing to do to get it.
Your private email showed up.
I was watching a movie and wasn’t paying attention.
The perils of multitasking!
Yeah, it’s more perilous if you’ve had a few.
A few months after I got the FB friend request from LO #2 (2013) and deleted it, I pulled her up late one night. I was watching something on the tube. When I looked, the “Add Friend” button was missing. I checked and had accidentally sent her a friend request. I immediately canceled it. I don’t know if she got the notification email or not but I didn’t hear back from her.
Big slip up today. LO’s big day for her final exam in her civil service examinations is closing near, and, after seeing the class distribution on the web, I went back to comb her old Facebook profile in search for any crumb of information on her that I didn’t see yet, anything that could get me my limerent fix. Luckily for me, she has her profile well guarded against onlookers, and of course I’m not falling so low as to send her a friend request (not to mention that she’ll probably never see it, because the last update was from four years ago). That being said, the whole thing felt oddly cathartic. While I was really depressed through my manic combing of her profile, after that it was like that feeling of calmness you get after crying a lot. At least this is better than compulsively checking her whatsapp to see if she’s online.
This Saturday I’m gonna send her my last message, wishing her good luck for the exam, and that’s it, back to NC. I don’t know if she’ll respond with anything beyond a simple thanks, but I’m not gonna ask her the day after how the exam went or congratulate her when she passes it (I did it last time and it got me back into the limerence hole). I have to remember that I barely matter to her, and that’s fine, because LO and I are basically strangers. Of course, she could have cut off the cutesy act of “I really wanted to write you but I couldn’t” after my last 4 month attempt at NC, when she really basically almost completely forgot about me, but well, she’s only human. Who knows, maybe she thought that she was doing me a favor with that white lie.
I deserve to be happy.
LO deserves to be happy.
The fact that our respective paths to happiness will never cross again doesn’t mean that we won’t find it.
PS: Sorry for the rant, but I really needed it.
Holland Rise says
Benjamin, ranting is sometimes needed my friend. I think you are spot on in not requesting the facebook friendship. I’ve had the dilemma myself and refrained from doing it (so far), because once you are connected on social media, every post will be done with the LO in mind, will it impress them? will it not? waiting with breath to see if they “like” it, despair if they don’t hit the like button.
Not expressing yourself freely and no way to live,
I’ve actually blocked mine so there is no chance she can add me, as that would put me closer to the pit and I would end up acting In the way mentioned set above. As long as LO is blocked there is no chance we can be friends, even though deep down my heart still wants this
Thanks, man. I don´t use Facebook much (and neither does LO, judging from the time of the last update on her profile), but yeah, social media has made limerence much, much more difficut. The fact that I developed the habit of compulsively check LO’s profile on whatsapp to see if she’s online, as a very weird way to try to stay connected to her, speaks volumes of this.
Holland Rise says
Its not weird, it’s just one of them funny things Limerence does.
Im on instagram and my LO wasn’t on there, it almost felt like a save haven where I could express myself freely knowing she wasn’t on there. Then she popped up as a “new to instagram” suggestion of someone I should connect with, from here I felt anxiety, almost like she was getting closer to me and it made me feel uncomfortable, probably at the thought of seeing a post some time of her with someone
Reality is she just joined instagram, nothing more and nothing less
Limerence does strange things to the brain and emotions
Ranting is always good.
Benjamin, what helped me at some point was imagining that LO moved on and learnIng to be ok with it.
It was the transition from wondering if he ever thinks of me, wondering if he misses me, and what particular aspect he might miss, to: I will just pretend that he moved on and does not think of me other than (hopefully) a nice memory, but that he does not miss me and does not need me in his life. I started to picture him in lockdown with a new gf, being happy, and me far from his mind. And I told myself that that is ok, I wish him luck and happiness. And I started to detach my own happiness from any dependency on him. But it took me a while to get there…
“This Saturday I’m gonna send her my last message, wishing her good luck for the exam, and that’s it, back to NC. I don’t know if she’ll respond with anything beyond a simple thanks, but I’m not gonna ask her the day after how the exam went or congratulate her when she passes it (I did it last time and it got me back into the limerence hole). ”
I recommend against it. I did something similar on LO #4’s tenth anniversary of starting her business. She acknowledged it on Facebook by saying she’d forgotten about it until a former forum member emailed and reminded her. But, she never responded to me directly. A year and a half later, it’s like it never happened.
It’s not worth it.
I agree with Scharny.
Better to stay on track with NC, why take the risk?
You are doing really well Benjamin…stay on track!
We are cheering you on…
Thanks, guys. The funny thing is that I’ve always been the one initiating our conversations, which why it irritated me so much when she told me that she wanted to text me but couldn’t because she was busy after that 4 month attempt at NC. On the plus side, it also means that as long as I keep my own limerent urges in check, this new NC attempt should be the one.
Agree with Scharnhorst and Jaideux: don’t text her, it’s not worth it. Think about why you (really) want to do that. I suspect to invoke a reaction in her about you. It won’t change anything, yet (to me it feels like) this is a last grasp at a straw…
It’s not worth it.
Thanks, Sarah, for both comments.
The reason I thought about sending that last message was that it would look well as a sneaky farewell since after that I woul go back into NC, but thinking about it, it’s just maybe my last desperate attempt at forming part of her world. Not to mention that there’s a risk of her answering with something more than a simple thank you, which of course opens the temptation of keeping the conversation, maybe try to learn something more about her current relationship status (back when I disclosed she told me she had a bf but it wasn’t anything serious).
So yeah, even if I go NC after that, sending her a message this weekend will only serve to get me back into square one in regards to my feelings towards ver.
So thanks again for the encouragement! The temptation is great but I’ll try to make it.
You can do it, Benjamin!
I relate to your comment about trying to find out more about her relationship status (been there with those thoughts), but again, just tell yourself in a world where you are not limerent, it doesn’t matter what that status is. And until that world is your reality again, the less you know, the better 🙂
Limerence Writer says
I really like this article! After a couple of decades of being a pretty even-keeled, happy & relaxed sort of adult who was feeling increasingly isolated within my marriage, my LE sent me on an up-and-down rollercoaster of emotional states. Eventually, I saw a therapist who suggested I note my moods, showing me a chart of manic & depressed states. It was very easy to note my mood: whenever I thought of my LO or communicated with them, I was higher than high, and whenever I considered how impossible any kind of relationship with them was, because of my obligations to my marriage & family & debt, I would plunge to the lowest of the low – near suicidal. When my LO ended our friendship after a couple months, I crashed into depression for 6 months that was greater than I’d ever known, with no appetite, losing 30 pounds… which actually put me at my proper weight. Sadly, 7 years later, remaining in my marriage but permanently sleeping on the couch (I have no desire to move back into the bedroom), I’ve put all the weight back on and more; I’m no longer suffering intense depression, but I’m back to eating too much. I still think of my LO nearly every day, but I try to utilize her as a fictional character in my daydreams for my writing inspiration. She’s my heroine, and this year I was happy to discover that I have female as well as male fans of my writing now. Several of my readers suspected I was a woman because of the way I write, which I take as a fantastic compliment.
What I recall of the throes of LE, the feelings were so intense and manic, I convinced myself to believe in magical concepts I’d never given much credence before: the term “soul mate” was a big one. Also “reincarnation,” because how could I feel so perfect with this new person unless we were souls who were coming together once more? Later I’d be wallowing in depression, telling myself that it wasn’t meant to be this time around due to crummy circumstances, but perhaps our souls would meet again in the next life. I also would try to criticize her to myself, to make myself snap out of it, but I always come back to the perspective that she’s just a nice person, and when I was supremely low, feeling like a drowning man, I saw her as the only available rescuer who was mere inches out of reach.
My favorite movie is “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and while it is a hilarious comedy, my favorite line is one of the most tragic: “It was a nice dream… it lasted almost 5 minutes.” I believe my coping mechanism has been to continually write stories where I can embrace those daydreams and follow where they might lead, without necessarily destroying my family in the process. I can control the fiction as an escape from feeling locked into my life; I can write the fantasy as realistically as possible, to make it feel real again. That all sounds rather depressing, but I do actually feel pretty good these days.
@LImerence Writer. I’m glad your writing is going well at the moment and that your work attracts a range of fans. Well done! I can relate to what you say about the “manic energy” that comes with an LE. It’s great you’ve been able to use this for your creativity.
Dr. Y says
I am grateful, like your other readers, to you. One thing I would recommend is if one finds this limerent feeling prolonged and lingering and affecting the way one functions, as well as their family relationships and responsibilities, is to reach out to their health care provider. The neurochemical changes you always eloquently describe are the same neurochemicals that are in disarray in someone who has clinical depression and/or anxiety. There are medication therapeutics available that can with neurochemical imbalance. Your health care provider can decide if this is right for you. A common feedback I get from my patients who waited for some reason or another to try medication is that they cannot believe they waited this long to feel normal.
Dr Y, it’s interesting you say this, I’m on day 4 or 5 of reading this blog and understanding my current state of LE. And one of the first things that really stood out was that, chemical imbalances could have made me vulnerable to this latest LE.
I’ve been tossing up whether to get tested, and find out if I have low serotonin, or some other chemical imbalance.
Seeing your post makes me more inclined to do so.
Literary Selection of the Day: “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” – Mark Twain (1985)
Until it gets away from you, you can have a lot of fun with limerence.
“Cooper’s gift in the way of invention was not a rich endowment; but such as it was he liked to work it, he was pleased with the effects, and indeed he did some quite sweet things with it. In his little box of stage-properties he kept six or eight cunning devices, tricks, artifices for his savages and woodsmen to deceive and circumvent each other with, and he was never so happy as when he was working these innocent things and seeing them go.”
I think limerents can relate to the last line. I know I loved to send something out and see what effect it had.
jeez.this id amazing insight