Limerent objects are sticky.
When deciding to go No Contact, most limerents soon discover that detaching themselves from LO is harder than expected. LOs are good at pulling you back. You thought you were getting away, but didn’t realise that some part of your psychology was still snagged, and is unwittingly pulling out a thin string of gum that is getting tighter and tighter and might just pull you back with a snap.
In fact, there are many psychological snags that prevent us from breaking away, but today we’re going to consider one that friend-of-the-blog Jaideux asked about:
So….when my LO rushed off to his secret marriage he told mutual friend of ours “I had to move quick because I didn’t want to let a good thing get away”. Unfortunately that little soundbyte keeps resonating in my head and in weak moments it makes me wonder why I wasn’t a good enough thing that he didn’t want to get away, etc.
The rejection of a LO (after toying with us for months or years) does do a number on ones self esteem.
Ah, yes, the “I wasn’t good enough” trap. That strange combination of insecurity and bruised pride that makes you wonder: what if you’d just tried a bit harder? Was there a way to pretzel yourself into the right shape for them? What do they see in their spouse or shiny new squeeze that they didn’t see in you?
I mean, how come they were so massively keen on your company, but not actually willing to admit to any romantic feelings? Compliments are nice and all, but let’s see some action, eh?
OK. Maybe not such a good idea, but there’s a serious point underneath this: for many people, the romantic rejection nags at them so much it’s a barrier to recovery. It’s hard to shake off the negative thoughts. The self-doubt and gnawing insecurity bring you down, and we all know what our limerent brains’ go-to response to stress is… rumination and LO-seeking! Which wrecks your No Contact run.
So, what’s at the bottom of this psychological trap? Why does feeling you weren’t good enough have such potency? Well, there are a few possibilities.
1) A clash of attachment styles
I’ve talked before about attachment, and many other commentators on limerence think it is a major factor in determining who becomes limerent and who becomes a limerent object.
From an attachment theory perspective, the likeliest explanation for feeling you weren’t good enough is an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. People who fall into this category tend to look at rejection by others as a personal failing – that if they do not receive the intimacy they sought from a partner, it is because they have failed to be sufficiently appealing or not understood their partner’s desires sufficiently. Whether or not that’s true is immaterial – it’s how they feel.
Another useful insight from attachment theory is that the LO could have been dismissive-avoidant in their style. These people disdain emotional needs, and value independence. They may be attracted to you and enjoy your company, but the first sign of things slipping out of their emotional control leads to withdrawal. So, if you become limerent for an avoidant, they would be actively pushing you away. No one is good enough for avoidants after the initial romanticism fades. Intimacy makes them anxious.
Even a securely attached and well-adjusted limerent would be tested by an avoidant LO, but unlike anxious-preoccupied folks, they would at least be able to view it as a failure of connection, rather than a failure of personal attractiveness.
2) Uncertain circumstances
In some cases, the circumstances surrounding the limerence episode are such that you simply cannot get confirmation. This is the crazy-making uncertainty that fuels limerence for unavailable LOs (or limerents). It also slows recovery.
If there are barriers to the free expression of your feelings, you are stuck with not knowing how they really feel about you. When it’s impossible for feelings to be articulated naturally and honestly, you can’t gauge what their true feelings are. They could actually be really into you, but battling to suppress it to protect themselves because you are not being straightforward either.
Carry this dynamic on for long enough, and you can get to a point where the natural moment of declaration has passed and you are still in a frustrating limbo of impotent inaction, which starts to get distorted into resentment. By the time things have deteriorated to such an extent that No Contact is an essential step, any positive feelings that LO may have once had have turned negative. But your experience as a limerent is: they kept me waiting and waiting in uncertainty, and now it’s obvious that they are not interested.
It isn’t that you weren’t “good enough” for romance, it’s that you weren’t “good enough” to overcome the internal and external barriers that stopped them admitting their feelings.
3) Forbidden fruit syndrome
Another option is less flattering for the limerent – the perverse psychological trap of “what you can’t have is more desirable”. You wanted LO, and thought you might be able to get them, because you at least got some of their attention, but then they went and made themselves available to someone else. Crushing. And infuriating.
The fact you can’t have them makes you want them even more, and the fact that you feel like you got close makes it even worse. They got to know you, but then chose not to follow through. What was it that stopped them?
For some limerents, there could also be a dash of fear of missing out. You could almost touch your future together being all validated and happy, but it remained just out of reach. Arrgh. And if LO partners-up with someone else, then they’re getting your fantasy future! So, not only do you feel like you weren’t good enough, but you also feel in some way robbed. You gave of yourself, LO took it happily, but then gave themselves to someone else.
So what can be done?
Regardless of the reasons why you feel rejected and inadequate, the simple truth to remember is this: not being a good match for each other is not the same as you not being good enough for them.
Relationships only happen if both people are all in. Think about all the good people in the world that you are not limerent for. Are they not “good enough” for you? We all know plenty of beautiful, interesting people that just don’t do it for us, no matter how much we enjoy their company.
Another big factor is that people don’t just make a decision about starting a relationship on the basis of how attractive they find you. Almost by definition a distressing limerence episode has a lot of confounding crap going on in the background that means being “good enough” isn’t mainly about the personal qualities of the limerent. It could be that LO is conflicted about their own feelings. It could be they are just messing with you for their own kicks. It could be that they are unavailable. It could be that they are keeping secrets. Whatever. If you are straightforward with them, but they play games with you, then you aren’t a good match for each other.
The best way past the mental block is to recognise this reality, and reframe the way you are thinking about the situation. Your emotional vulnerability has made you feel you’ve been denied a prize because of your personal shortcomings. That’s a very biased way of looking at the actual events. In fact, a relationship that was never likely to work out well has reached its inevitably painful and demoralising end. Hardly a prize to be coveted. If an LE was destructive, don’t mourn its loss. Despite your limerence telling you otherwise, LO was a bad prospect for you.
Instead, look on the limerence as a lesson. You feel unattractive because LO did not commit? Hmm, you have insecurities to work on. It’s your emotional reaction to a bad prospect that’s the issue, not your inherent attractiveness. This could be used as a stimulus to do some deep work on why you maybe have anxious attachment issues. Or why you are drawn to jerks, or what you could do differently next time you feel the glimmer. Are you drawn towards LOs who are a bad match? Or did this particular LO excel at undermining your confidence?
The key thing is to see this limerence episode as an experience that taught you important things about yourself, and then focus on the future. Happiness will never come from trying to dance prettily enough to tempt an ambivalent LO – it will come from making a good match with a partner that sees your value.
So reassuring and empowering. Thank you, Dr L.
You missed a few.
If your LO is fearful-avoidant, nothing you can do will ever change that. You will never be good enough because you aren’t allowed to be. But, they’ll dangle the carrot that you could be. I spent weeks with the therapist on that subject. After reading my history of the relationship and what LO #2 said to me, the therapist said the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough for her, the problem was LO #2 thought I was too good for her. The therapist said she didn’t feel “worthy” of me. The therapist pointed out that LO #2 liked things and truly appreciated them. But, she was afraid they wouldn’t last and, at some point, I’d take off on her. LO #2 said, “I was afraid that one day you’d wake up and not want to be with me. If I gave myself to you and you left, I’d be devastated.” The therapist said rather that take the chance, LO #2 turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The other one you missed if that if your LO is a Narc, you feel that way because that’s how they want you to feel. They’re not acting in good faith. But, that’s something you usually don’t consider until you well into the LE, if you ever consider it,
Yep, that’s the perfect summation of the fearful avoidant mindset. I want you but I’m scared I’ll lose you, so I’ll pull you close but then sabotage things.
No unravelling that mental tangle, unless you have the patience of a saint (who were, of course, noted for their romantic prowess).
My response to the therapist was that LO #2 had avoided devastation.
I was married to another woman less than 18 months after LO #2 said that. LO #2 was engaged less than a year after I got married. Her parents met my wife. She filed for divorce a little over 2 years into her first marriage. I think LO #2 had seen a pretty savvy professional somewhere along the line. LO #2 had a lot of very specific insight into what was going on and from the way she talked, I don’t see how she could have gotten there on her own.
The therapist responded that I’d be a thorn in LO #2’s side forever. I told the therapist that it looked like LO #2 was doing ok for herself now (25 years later. ) The therapist that didn’t matter.
The therapist said you don’t forget someone who asks you to marry them. LO #2 would always wonder what she might have had if she’d said yes. She could never say, “He could have had me.” I proposed, LO #2 declined. That I could replace her that quickly was probably a shot to her ego but that I stayed married to the woman who replaced her would be even worse. It proved to her that I was capable of sticking around if I wanted to be with someone.
I liked that therapist.
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
I liked that therapist.
I had my LO move on, but it actually hastened the end of my LE. Plus, and here prepare yourself for a massively egotistical blast, gentle reader, I am in most every way far more accomplished and a better ‘catch’ than her new suitor. So there was no mental hand-wringing over ‘why wasn’t I good enough?’ — I’m simply unavailable to her, so she HAD to move on.
Before you think that my tiny male brain, which is self-acknowledged to be an idiotic one as well, is overly full of itself, let me relate another fact/anecdote about my LO.
I hired her mother into my company a couple of years ago.
So last week, I had to drive dear ‘madre de la LO’ to her house due to an incident at work that resulted in Mom being taken to the emergency room and dosed with morphine. Post-medical intervention, and rendered quite loquacious due to the effects of the drug, dearest mamacita confided in me that her daughter’s selection of BF (who also works for me) was quite below the standard which should be easily attainable for such an attractive female person.
I like LO’s mom.
To hear LO #2 tell it, I beat out my successor across the board.
I have to say this about LO #2. I don’t think she ever lied to me. I’d ask her a direct question and I always got an answer I could work with. Her words and behavior were entirely consistent.
I’d make her an offer and she’d decline. One night, she went over the line. After that, I took her at her word and got rid of her.
Why thank you for this Dr L! What a delightful surprise!
Every word true, true, true. But…. for the LO to act like a duck, look like a duck, and quack like a duck and then not actually be a duck once you decided the duck was fabulous and you wanted to have the duck in your life permanently is so confusing.
(Bad, bad duck!!!!).
My LO glimmered and seemed couldn’t go for more than a couple of days without sharing the minutiae of his life and wanting to know mine and be an active contributor to it! In hindsight I think I was just a placeholder, a faux mate, until he actually found the mate he wanted. I’ve caught wind that there were other ladies that he previously and simultaneously to me also carried on with the the degree they allowed. We were all a diverse group of placeholders, “friends”, that didn’t “make the cut”. And we all thought we were on the verge of stepping out of the friend zone into happy ever aftering.
Yes… so many lessons to learn from this demoralizing LE and no logical reason to mourn its loss. The mourning period is winding down, finally. And while it’s true that there are many lovely men out there that don’t “do it for me” I would never quack at them and give off signals that they did do it for me. Thinking on that is one more nail in the coffin for this LE. It was doomed from the start and good riddance! Now to not repeat history…..
Yes, that’s a good indicator that you’re dealing with a narc, as Sharnhorst points out. They want your attention, so it’s in their interests to keep giving you false hope.
And one more thing!
“Happiness will never come from trying to dance prettily enough to tempt an ambivalent LO – it will come from making a good match with a partner that sees your value.”
While those are beautiful and eloquent words I might add happiness can also come from contentedly enjoying singleness. Partnered up people don’t have the monopoly on happiness. Singletons can joyfully dance through life too! 🙂
Good point, Jaideux, and quite true.
In a situation where LO has admitted an attraction or crush, but does not seem to be limerent themselves (or perhaps just has more self control), the “not good enough” feeling is more like a “not good enough to make LO act on her feelings.” For me, as someone who is deeply in love with my SO and happily married, my LE completely turned my world upside because I truly feel like I now love two different women. However, despite my love for SO, I am ashamed to admit I would have (maybe still would) act on my feelings if LO was willing. My self esteem took a hit when it became clear that LO was not willing to do what I apparently was (an EA or PA). I respect her for that self control that I just don’t have. Sometimes I have felt a sort of jealousy toward people who have affairs. It seems so many people cheat. In my weaker/lower moments, I wonder “why can’t I?” Pretty messed up I know.
Having said that, I am curious what some of you think about the answer to this question: what percentage of married people cheat?
This situation is very similar to mine. My LO was attracted to me but clearly didn’t feel the intensity as I did. My limerent brain tricked me into think we both felt the same and when clearly he was just flirting but didn’t want anything further my self worth and confidence plummeted. I also wanted to act on the feelings but he had more self control or like you said wasn’t limerent or I was not enough to act on his feelings.
Fast forward to now I am very LC with the view to NC in the next couple of months when situation changes. I can honestly say I see through the illusion, I would not act now even if he came begging. He was on such a pedestal and my word am I glad he didn’t act… Now the fog is clearing (slowly) I see him as a real person and it’s horrors me how obsessed I was. Also please remember limerence isn’t love! It’s taken such along time to get to the place I am now and there’s noway I can go back. I’m concentrating on all the amazing people around me. Being limerent I forgot how many people like and love me. I was so fixated on LO and he wasn’t worth it. Now my frame of mind has shifted to a place where I am doing more self-care and self-love, LO is loosing his appeal rapidly. I wish the same for you my friend.
I’m going to challenge the “limerance isn’t love” part. Not to get philosophical but what is love? I care deeply about LO, I would never wish him harm (okay, carrying some resentment but no ill will), I want him to be happy and if we had a genuine friendship, I would be a great friend to him. For this reason, I love him. And yes, he might be slightlyon the pedestal but I also know his “bad” qualities and they don’t deter me at all. From my experience, this is what love feels like. Unselfish genuine care for the other person.
This is a fair point. You can definitely be limerent for some AND love that person spontaneously. But they are definitely two separate entities, and stupid limerence is so blinding, it’s hard for us (at least for me) to differentiate.
This is about where I am with LO now. I disclosed to my wife about my limerence for this now former co-worker and tried to explain it this way when my wife asked if I was in love with LO.
“I want him to be happy and if we had a genuine friendship, I would be a great friend”
And this is where I am now. LO has found a young man to be with that genuinely cares for LO and her daughters. And I am so happy for her as when I first starting working with her she had just been through a bad divorce with an ex that still trying to be toxic in her life. That is genuine happiness for her.
Being married I was never a match for her romantically. But I did feel I had an amalgam platonic-crush feelings for her at the start. But it seemed that about a year into knowing her the limerence hit and I actually started seeing as the wonderful lady she is and not just a pretty face.
I tried to explain this to my wife and tell her that yes I did love LO but was not in love with her. I told my wife I cared about LO and her daughters (who I both got to meet on more than one occasion). I was invested in them for the betterment of their lives. But she didn’t understand and still thought I was just in an EA with LO.
So I agree with you. But I also agree with Mary …
“But they are definitely two separate entities, and stupid limerence is so blinding, it’s hard for us (at least for me) to differentiate.”
Especially since I found this place and have been educating myself on limerence. There’s a fine line between a friendly platonic love and limerence. This is why, while I didn’t get a choice in LO moving to another job, I do purposefully deny myself any contact with LO. At least I don’t initiate any since I could call/text her if I wanted to. I know my limits and despite having a respectful love for her, stupid limerence is indeed so blinding.
“Only know you love her when you let her go.”
Let Her Go — Passenger
B – I second what you wrote, my situation to a T, pretty much verbatim what you wrote. Although I am happy I didn’t get a chance to cheat, I actually like LO more for not caving. No idea how many people cheat seeing as most keep it quiet, but they say 1 in 3 marriages fall apart.
My LO doesn’t make me feel “not good enough” so I don’t quite fit in the above points, we simply are both unavailable and can’t express our feelings freely. It’s something I’ll just have to live and deal with. Yes the limerence is heightened due to “forbidden fruit syndrome”, but I truly believe if we were both free we’d be together. Do I think we will end up together, no I don’t, unless there were two tragic circumstances and I really don’t want that extreme circumstance to happen to have him.
So it’s my issue and I have to deal with it.
Scharnhorst – a song I found yesterday……… “Walk Away” – Christina Aguilera
“we simply are both unavailable and can’t express our feelings freely. It’s something I’ll just have to live and deal with.”
I have such a problem with getting to that point. I want to be able to “express our feelings freely” more than an actual affair, although I recognize that this is virtually the same thing as an EA, probably. I simply can’t live with it and deal with it, as you say. It is soul-crushing to me. Then I start to resent the unavailability part, while still maintaining a deep love for SO. So very strange I know. I think I more resent all the poor fools out there who do have affairs, like why should they be so lucky? Half of them are probably doing it just because they’re assholes or some other terrible reason. This is where I get into the “I deserve an affair” mentality, like I want to do it for the “right reason” whatever that means. And I hate myself for it. Probably because that makes me an asshole too.
LO #2 told me about my successor allegedly cheating on her. I told her that I’d never cheated on her. LO #2 came back with, “I know. I don’t think you’re capable of it.”
It might have been a tribute to my integrity or it may have been a subtle way to telling me I didn’t have the balls for it.
I think you’re the lucky one! I know that if we were both free we still wouldn’t be together, I would bet my children’s lives on it. That’s the truely crushing part of my LE that I just can’t get past, rationalise nor answer.
I suppose the closer you actually get to LO, the more painful it is. So in your case, based on your comment below, you have just scratched the surface of limerent pain. I try to remind myself that if I actually did wind up in an EA or PA, do I really think things would be easier? Certainly not. My desire for her, the depth of my feelings would only increase ten fold. I would miss her more, enjoy her company more, want to see her/talk with/ruminate more. I know I would then start to develop jealousy for LO’s spouse, which to this point for me has been strangely absent. But I know limerence jealousy is jealousy like no other. And a sexual relationship could only intensify this.
I think an indifferent LO is less painful than a LO who wants you but still will not deliver.
I listened to it. I didn’t relate to it much. When it comes to that, Ray Charles’ “Here We Go Again” captures my experience more closely. Then, again, Ray Charles is more my vintage and I saw him in concert in 1986 or 1987.
Totally off topic but you seem to know this blog better than most; wasn’t there a post about bad boy/bad girl LOs? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
“The Allure of Bad Boys & Girls” – Jan 28, 2018
Unfortunately the comments can only go through so many sublevels before there is no “reply” button, so I’m commenting on your other response here, Scharnhorst.
Concerning your thoughts around LO #02 saying that she knew you wouldn’t cheat on her, this reminds me of how I used to try to interpret in every way possible what my first and only LO said to me. (some stuff always meant red flags, no matter how I interpreted it)
The problem with this kind of rumination is that the possibilities are endless. Concerning your LO #02, I think that people tend to behave according to behavior patterns they already know, even when those are detrimental to themselves.
This also applies to with whom they interact with. I do not mean to say you would be bad to her. On the contrary, it could be that she would expect those in relationships with her to be bad to her. Perhaps she likes manly men and she could have learned (rather improperly) that having the guts to cheat on her is manliness. Either case, it is (was) up to her to work on these issues with a therapist.
Infidelity loomed large in LO #2’s worldview. 4 of 6 of her failed relations involved her either cheating with a married partner or being cheated on. I suspect she may have poached her husband from her roommate but that’s presumption based on circumstantial evidence and established pattern. Her father was in an open affair. I have no doubt she got her attitude from her mother. Her father was an airline pilot and gone a lot. I can imagine the indoctrination LO #2 got from her mother while he was gone. Her father did cheat on her mother.
Oddly, her parents stayed married until he died. Her father was really gruff and her mother had all the warmth of a North Korean prison guard. They deserved each other.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on this. I have a friend who cheated on his wife, and who massively regrets it and the damage it caused. We talked about my LE and he complimented me on my self-discipline, but I had to admit that a part of me was jealous of him for getting to have the experience. It was a very illuminating talk, bouncing back and forth on what was the “brave” choice (i.e. smashing through social convention, versus resisting destructive temptation), and whether it’s better to live selfishly and seek forgiveness or live selflessly and miss out on powerful experiences.
The upshot of it was that I have to live with the notional regret that my fantasy affair didn’t happen, while he has to live with the real regret of hurting his family deeply. He also pointed out that the reality of the affair was nothing like he expected, and most of the time was just a massive stressful mess.
There’s bad outcomes no matter what you choose. So, choose your poison and drink.
“and whether it’s better to live selfishly and seek forgiveness or live selflessly and miss out on powerful experiences.”
Wow, that perfectly sums up what I’ve been wrestling with. Recently I posted a comment with a quote from Thoreau, the one from Walden about coming to the end of one’s life and discovering that you had not even lived. I fear that so much. It is a suffocating weight. Many of us in midlife feel that I suppose. And I already have selfish tendencies anyway. It is probably my biggest fault. So the combination of that, my stage in life, and my LE is hurling me toward the former situation in your quote above, rather than the latter. I realize there is regret both ways but they are incredibly different types of regret. Thank you for the insight Dr. L.
I did it and had it done to me (cheating, that is) over 25 years ago in my first marriage and both experiences were so awful that the memories stop me from even entertaining it as a live option. I’ve written more about it in some other posts on the site. I think the prior question really is whether one wants to stay in a monogamous relationship with one’s SO, or open that relationship, or end it.
“Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing.” – George Bernard Shaw, “Man and Superman”
Yes, I recently had an opportunity to drink the affair poison. It was my reaction to my LE blowing up. I felt the need for reassurance, so i started going down that road with someone who openly pursued me. She knew i was married and commended me for choosing not to, but later resumed the pursuit. I was not limerent for her, but again, liked the attention. I quickly came to my senses and stopped.
Another resonating post. A couple of questions for you all out there with what perhaps I’m struggling with getting support for. Am I right in thinking all of you had at least some kind of acknowledgment back from your LO?
I don’t even have my LOs phone number, I never get a ‘hey how was your weekend’ message. As far as I can rationally tell and due my low self esteem we are just work colleagues and this person is just friendly like she is with everyone. Only I’ve taken it completely the wrong way.
So to be frank it’s sometimes difficult for me to get support from this group. Most here at least seem to have had a moment with your LO. So just wondering what your thoughts are? Is my experience really any different to yours? Would your LOs have still been your LOs even if you had no special treatment from them? Any particular insight on a total non reciprocal LE?
My Limerent Brain Is An Idiot says
Hmmmm. I definitely don’t know what to suggest for you. The majority experience on this site seems to be limerents who are in constant interaction with their LOs due to work or social circumstances. In the more normative case, we’d say, “Go NC!” and encourage you when you wavered.
In your particular situation, you’re already NC by definition.
About a girl,
There is a post somewhere here about being limerent for celebrities which kind of fits your situation. I hope you can find it! And I hope it’s helpful!
Aboutagirl – I can only answer from my own LE, if there was no reciprocation he’d still be my LO.
The only difference would be that for me at least the LE would’ve burned out after about 12 months or so rather than dragging on till now (going into its 3rd year). My LO is also friendly to everyone and although I’ve always felt he found me interesting from the get go he didn’t show any “special” treatment towards me till after I got to know him better. My limerence really took hold when I started getting signals from him, by then I knew him for a year, but it really spiralled out of control in the latter part of last year when I was pushing boundaries hard and he was reciprocating. I was constantly testing him, I guess that is what limerence feeds off, uncertainty.
I don’t think your experience is that vastly different from ours, it’s just a slightly different journey.
Hopefully your episode ends sooner than mine.
I know there are a few cases here with non reciprocal LO’s.
B – I have to live with it and deal with it, for me there is no other option. If I were to have a PA I’d not only destroy his marriage and mine but I’d be letting off a atomic bomb in my friendship group that would ripple out into the community and schools we attend. I’d be the proverbial pariaha in my community, my children’s lives would be miserable as would his.
But don’t for a minute think I am not tempted, I am, guess that makes me an asshole-in-waiting.
Scharnhorst – you have integrity with balls!
Vicarious Limerent says
@ AboutAGirl: I can totally relate to what you are saying. I guarantee I have had even less contact with my LO and have had basically zero validation from her. My LO is someone I met in a bar exactly nine weeks ago tonight (every Saturday night I count the weeks). I spent probably two hours in her presence, and during that time she was totally into my brother in-law, who has since shown little to no interest in her (and actually kind of treats her as a bit of a fool and a nuisance, which I find insulting and appalling). I have been completely NC the whole time other than less than 24 hours when I was her Facebook friend (and I unfriended her with a partial explanation because I was worried about my wife’s jealousy). The only other news I have had were little snippets about phone conversations my brother in-law had with her and some pictures I found of her online.
I too wondered if my limerence really counted or if I could compare my experience with others on this site. After all, it wasn’t like I work with this woman or had any real validation from her that she would be interested at all (I am sure she wouldn’t). Other people on this site have been suffering for years, and my LE has only lasted for nine weeks so far! I can’t imagine what it would be to actually know my LO well. In some ways, it would be better but in other ways it would be far worse. I wondered if maybe my experiences weren’t as valid as other people’s or if I could relate, but I think there are enough similarities in any LE.
Still, I am pretty sure this is genuine limerence when I have lost sleep, cried over this woman, looked up everything I could find out about her online (even her high school and death notices of people connected with her), fought with my wife numerous times about her, drove by the pub where I met her even though I had no reason to do so and thought about my LO literally every waking hour since I met her. I replay the night I met her over in my head again and again.
My LO was friendly, decent and kind towards me, but nothing more than that. She also kind of hinted at having bad luck with dating and mentioned several things about my brother in-law that were compatible, but she said to him, “and you would have to live in XXXXX!” (five hours away). I am really not sure if she actually said this or not, or if it is just me implanting false memories in my head, but I think she then said to me, “And YOU’RE married!” I really do not know if she said that or not, and even if she did she may just have been being polite. The only other thing that could be seen as slight validation was she was very cool about it when I told her why I was unfriending her when I explained I told my wife I would be interested in her if I were single. She said it was “fine” and “all good,” although she was surprised I would tell my wife that. I thought she might have been repulsed by the idea, but I am hoping she was at least a bit flattered to hear that.
So, other than that, I really only have my memories. She maybe lives 7-8 kilometres down the street from my house, and I know where she hangs out. But it is in the next town and she moves in different circles from me. She might as well live on the other side of the world. I have lived in this area for 14 years and there are local people I NEVER run into, so there is a very real possibility I will never see her again. I also have a terrible habit of seeing people I know and not recognizing them. Still, I wonder if I would ever meet her, for example, at the local mall. What would I say to her? This is all very different from some work colleague I see basically every day.
I’ve been limerant for a range of people and levels of contact. I’ve had LOs who were dear friends; coworkers; fellow students; someone I saw in a library; people in bars; strangers on a bus or train; not to mention several celebrities. You aren’t alone.
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Sam. That helps. It feels so silly to have these feelings for someone who is basically a stranger – and to think my wife has to compete with this woman who I’ve only spent maybe two hours in her company, and was totally into my brother in-law. It all seems so illogical and stupid. I meet attractive women all the time, and I sometimes even think of what it would be like to be with them in an “alternate universe” – but nothing like this!
I do tend to post more on the scenario of being in contact with LO and having some reciprocation – partly because that was my personal experience, but also because it adds a degree of complexity if you can’t go No Contact and you have had encouragement from LO.
But many of us have had the same experience as you, Aboutagirl. It’s common for limerents to succumb on the basis of fairly short lived interactions. It just goes to illustrate one of the guiding principles of understanding limerence – it’s happening in your head . LO just sort of sets the neurochemistry going.
I wouldn’t have fallen so hard for LO had I not had the opportunity to work with her a such a deep level. We come across nice and attractive people all the time but for me the deep intellectual connection has to be there. I’m just a weird category of limerent I suppose.
Hi AboutAGirl, same here! Non-reciprocating LO.
But guys, there seems to be a confusion here! A non-reciprocating LO doesn’t mean we don’t have contact or know each other!!
My LO is a person I work with, we get to see each other at least once a week, but always in a work context and with a group of people. He has no idea I have feelings for him, I never disclosed to anyone but this wonderful LwL blog. I know him since 5 years!! My limerence developed quite quickly, but from the beginning I knew I had to keep everything hidden, I learned to keep my behavior in his presence under control (I’m still struggling with shaking hands sometimes).
I have been working on my limerence since a few months, I’m a bit less obsessed about him, I can see him more realistically with his flaws,
but… I’m still dreaming about him a lot, still feeling high whenever he says something positive about me and feeling down when he didn’t acknowledge me.
So guys, no, non-reciprocating LO’s don’t make limerence end faster. Only NC does. And that’s totally impossible for me at the moment.
Hi Lee-Anne, thanks for your interest. I realize I never told my story really. I’m a 53 years old woman, happily married since 18 years with 3 teenagers. LO is the president of an association in which we both volunteer. He is as passionate as me about our cause, we are a fantastic small group of people spending quite a lot of time and energy together to make progress (can’t really say more about our activities here). Other than our regular weekly meetings, I’m also member of the board which means extra commitment and responsibilities, and the 6 boards members have become close friends. Beyond LO, I’m feeling very alive when around those people, it’s a sharp contrast compared to my family life and I really need them. My SO has is struggling because I spend too much time being busy with my association, he says that more and more, our family comes after.
Back to LO: he’s someone I admire a lot and who has taught me so many things, he’s very idealistic and energetic.
There is some kind of uncertainty because LO can be very affectionate and make me feel like we have a special bond (some hugs, some looks…), while on other occasions he’s more distant and indifferent, or just so over-busy with other people (or his phone!!). But that’s the way he is with everyone, not just me. He doesn’t ignore me, we get along well, we joke a lot, he’s been at my house more than once and met my family, he’s like a close colleague/friend. With the years working together he has come to trust my opinions, and he relies on my work a lot. He thanks me for what I do, which is something I don’t get often. But I can’t really call him a friend, we almost don’t know each other’s personal lives. In the 5 years we know each other, we very rarely have had moments were I was alone with him, only some short moments before or after being with others, and very rarely does he send me personal messages, and when he does it’s 100% work-related.
I think he may have had some kind of attraction for me in the beginning, but I’m sure that’s now long gone. Possibly he didn’t pursue because I’m married with kids, or because it was just some very superficial fling, or… because there has never been anything from his side and it’s purely in my head. He has since met his SO (they are together since 3 years), but we don’t see her often and they don’t live together. He is a bit flirty with everyone, extremely charming and nice, very attractive. 5 years ago, before his current SO, he used to sleep around a lot, and he still has that reputation, which he is not ashamed of, he jokes about it sometimes. Despite being very relaxed, outgoing and open, he’s extremely discreet about his private life, which has us people around him guessing what’s going on when he seems stressed or tired etc. He may have some “damsel in distress” in him that attracts me, he must have some bonding issues, he is an extreme avoidant attachment type.
In all those years, he never ever did or said anything that I could call inappropriate, he’s respectful.
So Lee-Anne, I actually don’t know why. It’s the first time I open up like this and reading what I just wrote makes me feel quite confused.
Emma – So essentially your LO gives out some type of “vibe” which has sparked your LE. Isn’t it interesting once you write out your story how sometimes you see things a little differently. I think some LOs are better than others at hiding their attraction but essentially we can feel the “radio waves” pulsing in the air when someone finds us attractive even if they never verbalise it.
It’s the uncertainty that keeps us Limerents hooked, it drives me bananas.
I’m not so sure Lee-Anne, that there is anything coming from his side. Nothing that I can blame him for. Probably the uncertainty is created only by my limerent brain by wrong interpretation of his behavior.
What I’m sure of though, is how good LO makes me feel. At home I feel inadequate, useless and guilty, while when I see him, I’m happy, I’m smiling, I’m alive. I’m holding on to those feelings to survive. That’s I think the key to this limerence lasting so long. It’s less intense than before, but if it disappears, it seems like I’m going to disappear too. I’m so lacking purpose at the moment…
I get it. I’ve been limerent for 2.5 years and there has been no reciprocation or disclosure. He is a total stranger. We barely speak. I know nothing of his personal life. Don’t even know his birthday. We don’t message, nothing. Yet I’m stuck and have been for 30 months and counting. I googled ‘emotional affair’ only to discover that I’m am not in one. It’s a complete one sided ‘stuckness’ on one person. It’s insanity.
Thirty – so what got you in this pickle? What was your trigger/spark that made you Limerent for your LO? Do you see him a lot? Why him?
Lee-Anne- I got in this pickle because I was in an emotionally abusive and unsatisfactory relationship and LO happened to say something positive to me about my accomplishments and bang: I was emotionally starved and a young man who seems to have it all gave me words of affirmation. This gave me the strength to terminate my relationship. But LO is and has always been unavailable. We still chat superficially at work daily and that is it. He has no idea.
Why him? I’ve had 30 months to think about it. He represents validation and approval. He can take away all the pain of childhood disappointment, not being good enough and not fitting in. With one smile he can cure my low self esteem UNTIL the realization kicks in that it is all innocent and plutonic for him and that I’m the fool who romanticizes everything. Then it is hello depression and so the cycle continues…. he represents everything I want to be and have. Limerence is about seeing something in someone else that you wish you could be a part of.
Limerence is not love. I don’t care for his well-being, happiness etc etc. This is a selfish one sided need for him to make me feel good and heal my deep wounds. Limerence is about the limerent’s pain superimposed on LO to fix. It is not selfless unrequited love. It’s not even lust or sex. Sex isn’t even s part of it. I don’t desire sex from him. It is not my number one motivator. I just want him to like me and think the world of me, care for me, want to be with me, listen to me, look at me…. It’s all me me me me
I’m really struggling with this. I have been no contact for a year and a month from a really intense LE that nearly ruined my marriage. Fuck I adored that woman. I think I still do. Recently I have seen my LO from a distance – riding past on her bike, and at a festival. But we haven’t spoken for months (I did see her at an unavoidable work meeting about six months after I started NC). And even though the whole sorry debacle ended with me drunk, crying down the phone, telling her – something, I can’t remember what I said, but I have ruminated over her reply about a million times in the year since: ‘well, there was something there, but would I have a relationship with you? No, I don’t think so.’ I am tortured by this. It saved my marriage and my family that she turned me down. But it also broke my heart and activated all my core beliefs about how disgusting I am and how gross it was that I fell for her (she is 10 years younger, fit and cool and single and gorgeous; I am middle aged and overweight and married with 4 kids and domesticated and daggy). But – THERE WAS SOMETHING – I didn’t imagine it. Why wasn’t it enough? And why am I still so hung up on her 13 months into NC?!
Vicarious Limerent says
OMG, this mirrors my experience quite a bit in many ways. I am middle aged, fat, bald and grey, and I don’t have much confidence in myself. My LO is only five years younger, so it isn’t that much of a stretch. I don’t mean to be unkind because she is beautiful, sexy and adorable, but she could pass for a little older than she is, so it doesn’t seem like as much of a stretch. I am also far more educated than her. Still, I think of her as being a bit out of my league. She was totally into my brother in-law, who is the same age as her and built like a brick shithouse. He rides a motorcycle and drives a pickup truck, and that is so not me. However, for me, this whole experience has got me focused on weight loss and exercise. I have never been more consistent in going to the gym, and I have visibly lost weight just in the last two months. I have also been more focused on my appearance and shaving my head regularly. Perhaps these types of things can be harnessed for self-improvement? For me at least that has been the one good thing to come out of this – along with self-reflection and the realization that the status quo in my life and marriage is unacceptable.
Sam, why are you gross and disgusting? Because you are human and fell for a beautiful young woman? That makes you normal in my book. Ten years is not a big age gap, my SO is 10 years older than me.
Of course she’s not going to have a relationship with you, you are married with children , that makes your LO a decent human. She also admitted something was there, that’s something most Limerents will never get from their LOs, acknowledgement that it’s not all in the mind.
I think you are being WAY too hard on yourself.
Emma, out of curiosity what is it about your LO that keeps you Limerent? Uncertainty? Even though you say he’s non-reciprocal does he give off “vibes”? If he completely ignores you and never speaks to you I wonder what spark he’s giving off to keep you hanging on.
Fred – I’d say your LO is rattling your cage and is trying to get a response from you. I’ll be shocked if she posted that selfie without clear intent, she’s not that innocent from what you’ve posted in the past.
Lee-Ann, thank you. I’m not hideous – I do know that objectively. But I keep beating myself up about it anyway because there is something so awful in the stereotype of the pathetic older person lusting after youth. But – Another interpretation is that I am a confident, smart, sexy middle-aged butch (I’m a woman) who she was attracted to but who she quite sensibly wrote off because of my married status. I don’t know any more of what she felt than the that one conversation where I was so drunk I can barely remember it (I have not been drunk since – over a year now). And of course the ten months of flirting that led up to that point. And I can’t know any more than that. Because I have done so well at NC and I have to stick with it because my SO and my children are so precious to me. I am just staggered really that more than a year of NC later, I still have feelings for her. Those addictive neuro-pathways are so strong!
Omg, another lesbian! Thank heavens!
Like I said Sam, it makes you human and normal. Your LO obviously resonated with you and they are very difficult to get over. I am staggered I am still obsessed with my LO, and I am well into my 3rd year of LE.
I wish I could just rip him out of my thoughts, he’s like a bloody bacterial infection I can’t get rid of, not even antibiotics are helping and the infection keeps coming back. Pity you can’t burn your own thoughts, sigh………
@Sam and @ Landry, another gay girl right here! You’re not alone, I bet there a lot of gay men and women on here. Being a ‘not very obvious’ gay girl, not butch or overly femme, adds a whole other layer of complexity to being a limerent person. Sam, seriously, you probably are kicking yourself too hard, never feel guilty for how you feel (shame is one of the worst parts of limerence and can dent your self-esteem for as long as you allow). Lots of people on here are in relationships and fall for others, limerence doesn’t care if you’re already with someone, it strikes indiscriminately. Marriage (or long-term committed cohabitation) is as much a defence against mental/emotional infidelity as taking a pop-gun to a python, being moral about all of your actions (doing right by others) is the key I guess.
Lesbians represent! At least this time I was limerant for another queer girl. The one before was a straight married woman 🙄🙄🙄
Fantastic post, Dr. L. This rings true for me on so many levels. And this is also where I’m at: “for many people, the romantic rejection nags at them so much it’s a barrier to recovery.”
I definitely think my LO is dismissive-avoidant in their style. Like you write, at the first sign of things slipping out of their emotional control, she withdrew. To be fair, she even said “Don’t scare me away” whenever I tried to tell her how I felt or book a follow-up date.
As those of you who’ve read my comments before know, there for sure were barriers and uncertain circumstances. (I am her boss’s boss and 20 years older, married with kids). But the fact that she wouldn’t engage in serious talk over social media and it was really difficult to get her alone to talk about “us” meant this uncertainty persisted and persisted.
Finally, the way she ended things definitely was by saying she’d met someone else (also older). And now that someone is getting my fantasy future.
And yet, eight months later with bouts of NC/LC, my LO still strings me along. This weekend she suddenly posted a bunch of summer pics on her Instagram. One of them is a stunning selfie of her lying on a dock, her golden hair around her like a gloria. This was a picture she took for me, and sent to me “live” as a DM the weekend before we hooked up. She must’ve known that and known the effect of randomly posting it in February. That she sent me such an adorable selfie led directly or indirectly to me asking her out the next Monday and making out passionately that night.
What’s she playing at?
two bits of advice about that picture she posted, for what their worth.
1. Recognize that LO’s often test their “pulling powers” to quote Dr. L. Most of them like to periodically check and see if they still have mastery over us limerents. It doesn’t mean they really want us for an honest relationship, even though they are giving us hope. Sorry to break this to you, but it’s false hope.
2. Unfollowing LO’s on social media is proof you want to get over limerence. Anything less proves you are still on board with the agony and bits of ecstasy a LE affords. It wasn’t until I unfollowed that I finally, after years of writhing in pain during my LE, started to come to my senses and my heart and mind began to heal.
Thanks Jaideux. I think #1’s probably right. See all my previous posts about her re-kindling my interest after a period of LC. It’s absolutely testing her pulling power and providing false hope. I’m having real problems with #2 so I guess you’re right that I’m still on board. I’ve unfollowed her once after she “broke up” with me and she called me on it a month later. I’m still addicted to her social media. I still screenshot all her stories and download all her posts and add them to my digital “shrine”. I can’t bear not looking into her fabulous life and being up to speed on all the things she does. Jesus, just typing that out… OK, got some thinking to do.
Fred, limerence can bring out the creepy obsessed stalker type in all of us. But we are bigger than that of course…it’s just temporary insanity. You will triumph over being a creeper! 😉
Probably as simple as fishing for attention. She made it for you when you were the fish on the line, but now it can be used just as well to trawl more widely.
It may be that she’s testing the line again, but the blunt truth is it’s just as likely she didn’t even have you in mind when she posted it, beyond maybe a “Oh, yeah, that was when I was reeling in Fred,” moment before casting the bait.
Thanks Dr. L. Yeah, the blunt truth is probably that it didn’t even register with her at all. Maybe not even with that moment you guessed at, maybe even with an even colder “This worked before, maybe it’ll work again.” Damn if LO doesn’t have my number though…
Have you ever watched “The Deer Hunter?” Christopher Walken doesn’t have to play Russian Roulette, he chooses to play Russian Roulette.
Warning: The clip is graphic so if you’re squeamish, don’t watch it.
Pay attention, each round they add another bullet. The way they play the game, somebody’s going to die, anyway. Adding bullets just speeds up the game.
When she wants to play with you, she hands you the gun. But, she’s not putting it to her head.
Serial Sufferer says
I wonder if this line of thinking can be another excuse the limerent brain latches onto to keep the ruminations going. The usual fantasies won’t work anymore so what else is there… I know, let’s obsess about this other thing.
Interesting post! I can see how the feeling rejected part can be difficult in some situations, but for me this is not at all the case. The reason I can’t get my LO out of my mind is because I felt completely accepted by him.
I’ve rarely felt as understood as I was by my LO. We met on a flight to a work conference. We clicked immediately and I felt like he really saw me for who I was. Talking to him I felt like myself again finally, I wasn’t flirting at all. Nothing happened while we were away, except for a couple of shy embarrassed shared glances. When he wanted to walk me back to my hotel after we ate out with a group of colleagues the last night, I suddenly sent him back to his hotel after walking a few hundred meters together alone. After an awkward goodbye, we both kept looking back over our shoulders at each other. That’s when I just knew for sure he felt something for me too. The next day, we ended up by because of a delay in my flight back on a flight together. We talked, just the two of us, non-stop the whole way back. He asked me questions about my life and just listened. Earlier that year I had had a miscarriage. Nobody seemed to understand how hard the miscarriage was on me and I felt very alone because of that and had withdrawn from all of my friendships and family. This guy opened me up and made me feel safe again to have just a normal conversation. He was also the first person who picked up on that I was pregnant without me telling them (something which I was dreading talking about with other people because I was so emotional about and constantly bursting out in tears). But when he had discovered this secret and he had such a cute huge smile that I had to smile about it too and felt a first flicker of hope that this pregnancy would work out, and it did. We weren’t flirting at all or trying to get each others attention, just being ourselves.
After saying goodbye, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and it was driving me insane. I had never had this before, except for when I met my now husband. I couldn’t sleep or eat, so I unwisely texted him to let him know how much he had cheered me op and that I thought he was a great guy. I truly hoped that giving him a complement would make the craziness stop. After some texting back and forth he admitted he had feelings too. We went on to have some rather intimate texting sessions after which we decided to go NC to keep things from escalating. We can’t be together because we are both happily married with kids. Luckily NC has been successful for a year and a half and the chance of ever seeing running into eachother again is really small.
My LO/LE helped me to look at myself (and others) in a more positive and forgiving light. After the miscarriage, I felt really unattractive and hated my body, somehow feeling as if it was my fault. His attention and desire for me helped me feel beautiful and confident again, which I really needed to get through the pregnancy and which I also needed to get be brave enough to completely physically open myself up to my husband again. I told my husband about my LE/LO and although it really hurt him, being open about it has really drawn us back together and we are now stronger than ever. It’s still hard, though, to completely forget my LO and keep him from coming up in my head. The only thing that seems to help is focusing on the positive side of the LE, and seeing it as someone/something that helped me get through a dark time in my life.
I’ve been reading this blog for months, after I realized I was in way over my head with what I thought was a “safe” relationship that was in fact an LE that’s basically taken over my life. It has helped me so much to know I’m not alone and I wanted to thank everyone who comments and Dr. L for every single post (some I’ve read multiple times!).
I check every box: married more than a decade with several kids, introvert, late 40s, emotionally (and often physically due to work) absent spouse for the past few years, narc parent. But I’m in a bizarre situation now–haven’t seen anyone else dealing with quite the same thing, and wanted to put it out there. Forgive all the background, I promise to get to bizarre part eventually.
I’ve had men come onto me during my marriage but never was tempted or even had a crush until I met LO. He (about my age, married to an older woman) joined my small company and there was an instant “spark” but interestingly he put large framed photos of his wife on his desk right away–this was weird, as we all work in a small open space and few people have any photos up. After a short period of being colleagues he was made my manager, which required frequent contact.
There was a glimmer, I tested the waters, and he responded. Thus began a flirtation mostly via work messaging, never innuendo-laced, just banter and a sapiosexual attraction. In person it was also there but toned down, though obvious enough for closer co-workers to notice. I was enjoying the attention and told my SO, who basically blew it off. The relationship with LO grew but stayed in the “boundaries”: no contact outside work, no hanging out alone, no talking about our marriages. But I sensed he was lonely and perhaps unhappy in his marriage, despite the fact that he spoke only adoringly about his wife–bordering on worshipful, which was also weird. I’m sure he could sense I was also lonely and unhappy in some way, and we fed off each other’s attention.
I disclosed to SO again as it intensified, but still got no real response. At that point I began to feel all-in with LO, convinced he felt the same even though he had never disclosed to me (closest he ever came was a long look followed by the statement “You scare me”). But the uncertainty was still there–why did he talk about his SO so adoringly? Why wouldn’t he be forthcoming with me? Of course my rational brain knew he could lose his job if he were forthcoming, but I’m limerent, not rational! Through internet sleuthing I discovered some songs he had written (he’s a musician on the side) and became even more convinced of his feelings when I heard lyrics which were clearly about being being limerent for someone other than his wife and almost word-for-word recounting interactions I’d had with him. Then it all crashed when I discovered he’d written those a year before ever meeting me…meaning he’s at best a serial limerent. DANGER!!! And yet still I could. not. let. go.
Then a few months ago he had a serious health crisis at work. When he walked out I knew something was terribly wrong–I tried to contact him but he did not respond and I spend about 18 hours in hysterics thinking he had died. Turns out he almost did, but by some miracle survived and after time in the hospital has been on a pretty good recovery road. However he has been unable to return to work and resigned. I have not seen him since the day he left, though we began messaging again when he was well enough. (He was not in regular contact with any other colleagues, only me.)
Meanwhile, due to my hysterics, SO finally clued in and after being briefly devastated has been working like a maniac to repair our marriage. He’s been amazing and supportive and has taken a lot of responsibility for his part in our problems but, as you can imagine, wants me to go NC. I know he’s right, and that this health crisis/resignation provides the perfect opportunity for that: LO needs to focus on his health (and is heavily dependent at this point on his wife), and I need to focus on my marriage. Just let it go and we will all move on, right?
Thanks to this site I did staged withdrawal, reducing my messages from daily to every few days (LO never contacts me first, never has, though he’d always respond almost instantly if I contacted him), and now it has been three weeks since my last message. In those three weeks I’ve swung wildly between utter embarrassment at my devotion to LO and confidence that my marriage is back on track to desperate to contact LO, to check on him, to know how he is–he almost died for God’s sake! I’m worried he’s depressed, that he’s wondering where I am and why I’ve dropped out of his life after months of daily support. On the other hand, HE COULD CONTACT ME. I know this. I know that fact that he’s not tells me everything I need to know but wow, it is crushing.
So that’s it. Anyone else used their LO’s near-death experience to go NC? 🙂
Near-death experience, no. LO #4 only told me that her BF was cheating on her, refused to end the affair, and (allegedly) assaulted her. He left on a business trip the next morning, the movers picked up he stuff, and she was gone that afternoon.
Nothing amps up limerence like a crisis with your LO that you think you can make better. You’re not the problem, you’re the solution. You can physically ache over this one.
It rattled me so much that I saw an EAP counselor. My wife was aware of my acquaintance with LO #4 but she wasn’t aware we were on that level. The EAP counselor bluntly told me to go NC, as did everyone else I told about it. Not a single person said, “That poor woman! You should go help her.” Not one. Everyone of them said not to get involved and to distance myself. I knew it was the right answer and though that if I was patient, it would die a natural death. But, then, she’d reach out, I thought I could dial things back and manage them. Nah.
Ever seen “Gone With the Wind? Who’s your favorite character? Who do you identify with? I identify with Rhett Butler but Dr. Mead is my favorite character. Ashley’s kind of a weasel. Melanie is over the top. Scarlett has a whiff of borderline.
“Nothing amps up limerence like a crisis with your LO that you think you can make better. You’re not the problem, you’re the solution. You can physically ache over this one.” Truer words never spoken, Scharnhorst. Thanks for sharing.
“There is nothing so alluring as a damaged soul you’re sure you can fix.” – DrL (https://livingwithlimerence.com/2017/02/24/the-glimmer-givers/)
Especially when the damage is reflecting your own straight back at you.
“Why wasn’t I good enough for them?” This question has passed through my mind countless times over the years. In my story, LO was someone I seriously wanted to be with and would have overcome barriers had they also been open to it. Yes, this was at the height of limerence a few years ago, but I do still feel rejected. They chose to stay with their SO and reduced contact, but not completely. Re-appearing at random intervals over the years with heartfelt expression of ongoing ‘hidden’ feelings but meanwhile they act committed to their ‘real’ life, which some of the posters here seem to echo… It really played into what I have since recognised seems to be my underlying lack of self esteem that I would still entertain the idea. But, oh the uncertainty.. what if one day they change their mind and their actions match their words. Madness, I know, it really feels like madness sometimes, but still really hurts when I think about it, which is (I’m embarrassed to say) daily.
Sebastian Howard says
I’m diagnosed with ocd and have been for years but this limerence thing sounds like exactly what I’ve been going through and the way I’ve been feeling. Ik that limerence and ocd are similar in the brain patterns of having low serotonin, is there anyway I have both or am I confusing my ocd for limerence? Either way, I don’t really want to get into my own personal relationship problems but this post pretty much went into it really well and I appreciate the article and advice.
Sebastian Howard says
Considering that limerence is caused by low serotonin levels do people with it get prescribed ssris or snris or anti anxiety medication or anything like that?
I’ve seen the claim in a few places that limerence is caused by low serotonin, but I’ve not been able to find any decent evidence to support it. I suspect this is based on drawing an analogy between OCD and limerence, and extrapolating that because OCD can be treated with SSRIs both conditions must be due to low serotonin. Limerence can, of course, certainly be associated with anxiety and depression and so anti-anxiety and antidepressant meds could take the edge off those symptoms.
Fading Light says
Hi all, i’m new to this forum, i must say i think this blog will save my life (or ruin it once of all who knows..). I am at day 10 of NC and so sick and depressed that i have suicidal thoughts a dozen times per day. Today is his wife’s birthday, and Valentines is coming up friday, i can’t stand the idea of them being together. I feel i’m near losing my mind and end up in the psychiatric ward. We were in a limerent PA for 3 years. I broke up with him 10 days ago, it is not the first time i break up with him. Our relationship has made my life a misery, and wanted to end this obsessive love, but.. we’ve never been able to live without each other, so far. We are both married with kids, we live 3000 km away but work together remotely. We’ve spent the last 3 years chatting on phone, PC and talking several hours a day. We’ve met every 2 months, travelling all the world together, europe, america, caribbeans, we were so in love. Our connection was so deep, the sex so amazing beyong anything we could imagine. We felt we were twins and that we had never experienced love before we met.. but he also always said he would never leave his wife, that he loves her like one can love a sister. That his worst fear would be to break his family unit and that leaving her was not an option. On my end, i had told him i would leave my husband for him as i had no doubts we were meant to be. But this relationship was intoxicating, poisoning, i was spending the day waiting for him to contact me (he was always initiating contact, as he is sooo busy, he never really liked when i was pinging him on IM or whatsapp as he always had important stuff to do you know, like paper work, or buying toilet paper on Amazon… so basically he only contacted me when he was bored or lonely and i was always available for him 24/7). Each time we met, he always said this was going to be the last time because he did not like the idea to be cheating on his wife (he had been cheating on her ever since she was pregnant from their first kid, but usually only one night stands or prostitution). I hated that man, a man that cheats on a pregnant wife, a man that pays for sex, or a man that was weak enough to marry someone he wasn’t able to be faithful too even in the early years of marriage. I could see how he was using me when he was bored or tingly. He was making plans for us to meet over and over again even though he would say “this time is the last time”. And we met every 2 months for 3 years. Each time we met it was better, we always got closer, more intimate, more connected, more on the same vibration, everything was always perfect when we met, but he would always go back to this wife and push me away, saying he did not want to take the risk to fall in love with me, that he loves the wife and wants to give his kids a stable home. In the last 6 months, he realized he loved me, told me he was going to leave the wife, he told her everything about us (well, she actually found out, so he had to come out on every details). He told her he loved me, he wanted to live with me, buy a house in my country and move there. he started to learn my language (i’m not a native english speaker), he kept telling his wife about me, who i am, what he likes in me, that with me he feels adored, alive, energized, cared for, connected, etc.. She told him she was ok if he wanted a divorce, she would not stand in his way. She even allowed him to meet me.. 10 days ago. We met, it was awesome, like every time.. but he kept texting his wife back and forth, and then told me he wanted to go to marriage counselling with her and that we take some distance and dont meet during his marriage counselling (6 months). It was such a shock, i understood that his intention had always been to save his marriage eventually, and that i would always be “the other woman”. I could not believe he was ready to give up on me for 6 months, with the hope of getting read of me and putting his marriage back on track. It felt like the biggest betrayal ever. Also he admitted having had sex with his wife for their wedding anniversary and for Christmas because “i was drunk and it was Christmas”. What bastardly bastard has sex with the wife after telling her all about his new love and moving in with the lover? This gave me the strenghts to end our relationship, thinking i have to save myself from this relationship. I have been obsessed by him day and night for the lasts 3 years, nothing else mattered anymore, all my life was focused on him, waiting for him to contact me and show interest for me, like a pet begging for attention. I’ve hated myself to behave like that. But now that we are not in contact anymore, i feel so sick, so wrecked, so down, so suicidal, and so jealous of the wife. I can only imagine that he came back to her saying he is so sorry for all the pain, and wants to make her happy again, now that the burdening affair is over. I can only blame myself, i’ve been caught into LE as soon as i saw him, first second, the sparkle was there, so strong, so violent, i could never imagine that kind of spark could exist. I had no chance to resist. I lost weight and sleep in the next days after i met him for the first time, and he had became the center of my world within 24 hours after i met him for the first time. I now feel like i’m a mentally damaged person, i feel like a massive failure, i’m scared, scared to become mentally deranged for the rest of my life. I’m so broken. I’m fighting the urge to contact him 200 times per day, it is sucking out all of my energy. I dont know how many more days i can survive this, but i also know that if i reinitiate contact with him, i will immediately go back to where we left the relationship, and there would be more years of misery to come. I just wish i had some hope of getting better, soon, at least reaching a state of mental wellbeing that would be acceptable, but not pure aching pain like it is right now. If it weren’t for my kids i’d had taken my life away already a dozen times in the last 10 days as the physical and mental pain is so high… I’m already taking strong antidepressant since 2 years (i had to start them because of the misery my life had become longing for my LO’s feelings reciprocation) and have a good therapist. Now with this wonderful blog and community it is another powerful resource, but while my logical brain understands everything, i am going through excruciating mental pain. I’m holding on to my healthy life habits to try not to make the situation worse, so i continue practicing sports every day, and try not to get into alcohol or drugs, but self destroying urge is there..
Please all, help me, give me advices, i need your help so much. I’m in a typical limerent situation, but reciprocated limerence, except he has never been available.. . I thought we were going to be together for good, he told me so, he was leaving her, 2020 was going to be the year we start a life together.. But it all fell apart, together with my mental health.
Any help from you would make a huge difference, as they would be little sparks of light in the darkness of my heart.
Valentine’s is friday, his wife will probably get a nice present and apologies for all the pain he caused and he will be nice and caring to her, leaving me agonizing.
I need help.. please..
Ten days no contact after a messy affair is going to be a low point, Fading Light. I just don’t think there’s any way to avoid this pain – the only way out is through it.
To try and keep focus: you have obviously seen your LO’s dodgy character through the limerence fog. Hold on to that. Also, it’s obvious that the relationship has been an unhealthy addiction for you both, and pretty much taken out two marriages destructively, so it’s obviously not something to aspire to rationally (even if his wife is sticking with him for now, it sounds like a miserable life for her). Of course, limerence isn’t rational, so you get the misery of withdrawal to cope with.
As always, I’d advise purposeful living as the light to aim for. Keep going with the sports and healthy habits as they will help you mend. Think about the kind of life you aspire to have – which shouldn’t be affair partner to an indecisive and duplicitous man, nor someone who betrays their own spouse. We are all of us capable and worthy of better than that. Your intellect knows this, because you can articulate it even through the story of your limerent descent. Unfortunately, it will take time to retrain your brain to stop seeking LO for mood repair.
It is a slow process, I’m afraid. You wean yourself off, focus on new and better goals, limit contact as far as you can, forgive yourself relapses but then redouble your efforts, until one day you are free.
And that feels good. Better than the false hope of limerence, for sure.
You need to get yourself actual help-do you have anyone you can call?
Fading Light, I really feel for you, what a horrible situation to be in. Your LO sounds like a toxic piece of horse poop. Is there anyone you can physically talk to? A friend, sibling? I think it’s important to not be alone when you feel at the height of pain, then seek a therapist you can trust.
You are not going mental, believe me many of us have been or still are where you are currently at.
I also understand the excruciating pain you must be feeling , it’s as if our LOs have ripped our hearts out and stomped all over it, doubly so for you because your LO made promises he didn’t keep.
I know it seems like you’ll never be normal again, but the pain does get less. Ten days is not a long time for you to process the sense of betrayal and shock you must be feeling. Give it some time and the anger will kick in, he used you and strung you along, stealing 3 years of your life. Are you going to let him steal the rest of your life too, deprive your children from growing up without a mother?
The only thing your LO deserves from you is a big kick up his ass and hopefully his wife will do the same. He doesn’t deserve to be loved.
Once you’ve got a bit of clear thought you need to get rid of him, delete his number, block him on social media, don’t take his calls nor texts. He’s dangerous to your well being!
There’s a detox program on this website that you can follow to help you go NC, I don’t know how to link to it sorry.
Keep chatting here if you need, like I said you are not alone.
Fading light. There is hope out of this mess, I promise you that. You situation makes me feel sad and also mad at the the same. Mad that your LO has toyed with you in this way. All of our situations are different, however at my lowest point of my episode I wanted to end my life. I saw absolutely no way out.
10 days is still really early on. As Dr L said the only way out is through the pain and there is no other way (that I know of anyway).
What is great is that you know interlectually the truth which is great as some people haven’t reached that point yet. That fact that you know this is madness is the very fact you need to hold on to.
I do recommend the reporgamming course. It’s a hard slog, I’m not going to lie. It takes time and dedication. At times you feel as though it’s never going to get better but you must keep going. This is your life and you are NOT a failure. Everyone on this site has been in this situation. How I see your situation.. your life is just about to begin again. Free of your LO and living your life for yourself.
It does get better. Accept that there is no easy way out but there is a away out.
That’s so good that your continuing with your sport. Keep at that! Remember you are worth more than this, you have got lost in limerence but this pain will end. From my experience the pain turns to anger then gradually that fades. We are all here for you so message anytime. I wish you all the best.
Fading Light says
Ohh, thank you so much Rachel, i just see your reply now. Thank you all, it gives me so much hope. Yes, i too want to end my life, but i wont do it because i have kids, but that’s the only reason why i’m still there. You say 10 days is still early on, it seems forever. Yesterday i’ve tried very hard the reprogrammation, as I do believe in this process. I’ve always been a big fan of psychology and neuroscience and i totally agree the reprogrammation is a great idea. So yesterday i did that, each time i had a thought about him i was imagining the worst case scenario, like he would move in with me and then would cheat on me with some girl in my village, or would want to go back to his wife has soon as he’d moved in with me. Funny things like that. I did that a hundred times maybe. Also during our team call, my heart beat was very high, i was in stress, and decided to spend the entire meeting looking at picture of him that i’ve gathered in an album named “ugly”, where i have about 50 pictures of him where he looks terrible or that remind me of situation where it was clear that he was a coward and playing with me.. So i frantically looked at all the terrible picture during one hour. It worked as kept me from imagining us reuniting, but it did consume a huge amount of brain energy, that plus the 100 instances trying to imagine the worst possible future with him. Came 6 pm and i was completely drained and not even enough energy left for life, i thought again about taking my life away and cried a lot. I feel totally responsible for this mess, i thought our love was real and i was ready to commit, even though i had doubts about his personality.
How many days do you remember having had to go through intense pain? And at what point have you been able to deal with the fact that.. there is always hope… and as long as there is hope, there is limerence.. when did the limerence stop being a problem overwhelming the course of your days? There will be always hope for me that my LO comes back to me, for the same reasons as he went into the limerent PA as well. He does not really love his wife, but he needs her at home. He loves me but is too scared to move in with me, so what he wants, deep inside, is both of us. So, deep inside, there will be always hope for me, which is fueling the limerence. I’m hoping i will grow stronger out of these difficulties and stop considering him as a potential life partner at some point in time, but at the moment, of course, there is this monster in my brain that wants my LO back…like a drug. I know it is bad, but i badly want it.
Fading lights, I feel your pain, you’re not alone. People have experienced what you’re going through and have made it through. They have been at their lowest and saw no end, but they eventually made it. So will you!
It hurts so bad, you physically feel pain, tears roll down multiple times a day. I’ve been there.
But it can’t get much lower than that. You are hurt, badly, as your bubble has bursted. You wanted to be with him and you can’t. You feel betrayed and disappointed.
It’ll take some time to get through this. A lot of time. As others have said, 10 days is a short time that feels like eternity. It’ll take weeks, months, maybe even years to be fully over it. Take it one day at the time. Get up in the morning, get through the day, crawl into bed. Little by little time will pass.
It seems that intellectually you are at the point to realize what is happening here, he’s no good, he will never leave his wife, and frankly, you don’t want that as you are worth much more than that! You’re worth something and you have value, and he doesn’t see that.
My advise, speak to your friends, speak with your therapist and have them help you through this. Also post here when you need another opinion!
As rachel said, at some point your sadness, hopelessness and helplessness will turn to anger, that’s a natural step, but it also hurts. But one day, you’ll get over it!
“If you’re going through hell, keep going”, it’s the only way out of it! Good luck
Fading Light, thank you for sharing your story and for being honest. I too have had really dark thoughts, including ending my life. Not so much out of heartbreak or the inability to get past the barriers to being with LO, but from pure emotional exhaustion. My LE has been plagued my severe insomnia. And lack of sleep makes the emotional exhaustion even worse. I know how you feel. Thank you for also giving me some perspective from your own story, specifically with you having had an actual PA. I have only marginally danced around an EA with my LO, and have found myself really wanting a PA lately, as she seems to want to get closer. I have posted a few comments about it recently about how I resent not being able to have a PA because it seems everyone else does. But hearing your story of how MUCH MORE miserable limerence can be after a PA has begun (and ended) confirms for me what I knew all along but was trying to ignore. No good can come of it. The feelings of attachment and intrusive thoughts and rumination and the pain of NC and the insomnia would all be worse. Using the drug analogy, it would be like moving from marijuana to heroin. So thank you. Please know that you just sharing the pain you are feeling has helped at least one person to gain some clarity, even if briefly so. Please don’t ever hesitate to post here. Good luck to you.
Fading Light says
Dr Limerence, Lee-Anne, Janesay, thank you so much for your replies. First thing i did this morning as i woke up was rush to my computer see if i got a reply from any one, as badly need something to hold on to today. Yes, luckily some of my closest friend know about the full story and are there for me, but they never experienced limerence, and they only help me by reminding me that there are good people out there who care for me, genuinely. I also have a good therapist, i must say i felt ok about 48h after the last meeting then fell into a bigger low. My question to you all, is, how would you describe the pain you went through in the first days and maybe months of no contact? And when did you start being able to live through your day without this aching pain in heart and stomach, and tears in your eyes. I find the whole situation very complex because I have reasons to believe this man would be wrong for me in the real world, but yet, i miss him and feel destroyed.
In parallel, SO and I are discussing separation, which i initiated 6 months ago, wanted to make myself more available for my LO, but now i’m too depressed to think about separation, whatever I would do now would be wrong. I feel trapped, as a result of my actions of course, there is only me to blame. I embarked full speed on this limerent PA, but from the beginning I was ready to lose my SO and start a new life with LO. And from the beginning, LO was ready for limerent PA but never considered the option of leaving his SO. Now i dont have the strenght or the courage anymore to go through SO separation, although i think that would be the right decision. Did some of you separated from SO after a LO PA? I’ve read Mrs Lee posts..is there someone else? And about the pain, it gives me hope if you can describe the pain you’ve been through, how painful, how excruciating, and how long. Today i feel like i’m only in a fragile survival mode. Of course it is full NC (although i hear his voice at least 1 hour per day, on phone team meetings). I’ve deleted him from social accounts, but i keep checking his skype status: “available, busy, on the phone” “out of work”. This morning i noticed he is not at work, i wonder what he is doing, is he gone on a romantic walk with his wife, is he bringing a kid to the doctor, or .. is he so wrecked about our separation that he had to get away from his computer for all morning.. AND THERE WE GO, LIMERENCE HOPES UP AGAIN. i want to get out of this mad loop…
“I’ve read Mrs Lee posts..is there someone else?”
Are you asking if I am dating or in a relationship with someone else? If so, the answer is no. I am not yet divorced.
Get tested for STIs and make certain to specifically ask to be screened for herpes. It isn’t part of the standard panel in many places.
Best of luck to you.
Fading Light, I don’t think anyone can answer your question as to how long the pain will last, just that while you remain in contact with your LO or continue to sleep with him you won’t be free to heal. He will continue sucking you back in, and you don’t know for sure if he’s not cheating on you with another woman right now, he’s not going to tell you.
I can only describe the pain from my own experience, I’ve been in Limerence for two years with my LO, no PA but definitely a borderline EA. I saw him every day, both he and I have an SO and children so being together is not an option. Like you my whole life is/was consumed by my LO, the minute I wake up he’s in my head till the second I go to sleep. I barely functioned for two years, the highlight of my day is spending time with him, when I am not with him I count the hours till I see him again and he fills my head. I lost count how many buckets of tears I cried over this man (still do) I lost 20 kilos, could hardly sleep and spent most of my days lying on the couch lost in thought. My poor SO thought I was sick! At the height of my Limerence I would sit in the local carpark in the morning for more than an hour hoping to see his car drive past. I realised last year that things had to change, I can’t put my life on hold for someone that I will never have and I was angry that I was robbing my children of a mother and my SO of a wife. I’ve currently been N/C for 8 weeks and it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In a given day I can feel positive in the morning , full of energy while I do my exercises, by mid morning I can be anxious that I won’t be seeing LO and by lunch time I can be completely depressed crying my eyes out. I constantly have scenarios going through my head what I will say when I see him next time, what I should’ve said when I last saw him to confessing my undying love. It’s exhausting! I also go from wanting him with all my heart one minute, angry with him for going N/C the next minute, wanting to scream, shout and punch his lights out after that, then feeling drained and being calm. Sometimes I think I am going completely mad and I wish he’d just get out of my head. What I have noticed over the last few weeks is that I think of him a little less when I am busy and I don’t cry as often. I can’t wait for the day when I don’t think of him at all. I have been keeping myself busy, I walk, do Pilates, I work and am very active in my hobbies so at least I am finally productive again. I am also working on my relationship with my SO because I love him and want to stay married, it’s going much better now but we have a long road ahead of us. So that’s my story.
Fading Light says
Hi Lee Anne! Thank you so much for sharing your story, what you describe, how your day goes with the ups and downs is very exactly how i feel. It gives me hope to read that you’ve been thinking a little less of him after a few weeks. Is there anything in your LO’s personality that you can hold on to, to convince yourself that you would not have been happy with him, if you had been in a “real” relationship? Or are you deep inside thinking you would have been very happy together, if you weren’t both unavailable with SO and kids? I wonder how much it can help us to get read of limerence if we can hold on to evidences that life together would not have been as great as in our LE dream.
Have you read:
They’re two of the best.
Fading light- I’m so happy that you’re replying. When a person is addicted to something that is killing them, they are absolutely not in their right mind, and it is a crisis. I consider you to be in a crisis. Thoughts of ending it all are just very strong signals that you are out of control and have lost all perspective- I know that you know that and that’s why you’re here. I’m very glad you are. My hope for you is that you treat this exactly as you might if you were in danger of dying from drugs or a disease, and that the treatment of it become the priority in everything. Your LO sounds like a wretched person, and he seems like he would be the most dangerous thing for you (and your children) to have as a physical part of your life. He sounds like an abusive, cruel man. But I have to be honest and tell you that it may be difficult for you to put some of these things into practice, purposeful living, devaluing LO, etc. while you’re so overwhelmed emotionally. That is why I hope you will consider getting concrete help now. I am so glad to hear that you have a good friend that you can talk to- and that you have a therapist- but it is your responsibility to be totally honest about what is actually happening right now with you so they can assist you in getting the real help that you need this minute. When your brain and emotions and soul have had a chance to get some time to get out of the crisis mode that screams despair, then you can begin to get some traction with the tools that are here (and effective) for you. Right now you are like a drug addict in the insanity and chaos of withdrawals- you’re not in your right mind. It’s ok to need help and to ask for it.
Fading Light says
Hi Scharnhorst, thanks for the links. Yes i had read them, but always good to re-read them. Actually i should even read them every morning first thing when i wake up. It is odd how big is the disconnect between understanding the situation, why it is bad, acknowledging it, but still feeling excruciating pain mentally and physically and such deep depression. I like to think it might be like hard drug addiction, once the brain is hooked, it is very hard and painful to heal. My LO has contacted me several times today, for work, on email, asking me how am i doing, when will i be ready to talk to him for work, even though he says he knows he is a bastard. He sent 3 emails in the same tone today, about work but with an opening to engage conversation. I only replied shortly and 100% professional. I’m sad to say that… it made my day that he contacted me. Yesterday was his wife’s birthday, so i assume it was dull and he missed me, so now he is trying to break the NC. It made me super happy to realize that he was certainly feeling very depressed himself about the NC and trying to go back to communication with me. Made me immediately feel great to know he needs me (he needs to suck out all my energy, yes i know). But also i’m proud i did not relapse and respond anything personal or intimate. But overall, again, typical limerent behavior, him contacting me makes me super high.. I now can’t help but hoping more emails will come, in which he will tell me how much he regrets what happened and wants me back. So back into daydreaming.. Although this time i’m thinking about how politely but firmly i will push him back and stick to no contact. But, yep.. this is just another form of limerence high going on, getting contact from the LO are still giving me a high mood lift. When is this going to stop.. Valentine’s is coming, it is going to be a difficult time for many limerents i guess..it wont be more than 24h before i crash into a massive limerent low..
By the way, is there a specific place in this blog where limerent that are still in the acute pain phase can support each other on a daily basis, like friends giving you a hug and asking how you feeling today and telling you to be strong? i dont want to hijack the blog comments with my own LE NC difficulties, so was wondering if there was a more specific place for that.. It is just such a wonderful thing to find out about all of you, going or having gone through the same experiences, it really helps a lot. I wish i can provide support and help to others when i’m feeling better.
Lucy also writes about limerence, some people do not like her tone of her blogs. However this article helped me so much when in the throws.
It very much is like a drug addiction. Can you imagine what it must be like to be addicted to heroine, addicts ruin their lives for one more hit… If you view it like this and your lo is a danger to your well-being you start to shift your mindset.
Fading Light says
Thanks a million Rachel. Yes, i would say NO to heroin.. and have to consider LO and LE as same shit as heroin…easier said than done. But some people succeed, aint they?
Lots of people have over comet limerence. You will too
This article also helped me. It along with many of Dr L’s articles, helped me understand the issue, obliterate hope which is always present in our subconscious and forcefully deploy NC on my way to recovery, which is still a bit far, but I’m finally on my way.
Yess me to. Don’t let this little set back put you back to much. You’ve done so well. I’m so frustrated how this is going on. Doing my head in now.
Thanks Rachel, it was like a ripple in the pond but now slowly the mind is calming again. I just need to work extra hard to avoid any form of encounter, and also develop some sort of force field just in case it happens again. What is also helping me is enjoying little things like looking forward to having lunch, looking forward to enjoying some series on Netflix in the evenings, I have also ordered a few books that I always wanted to read and I plan to read them in free time rather than indulge in reverie. Don’t worry once the NC actually starts for you, things will begin to calm, yes road to recovery is hard, but you will get there.
Kit Kat says
It seems appropriate I’m reading this blog for the first time sitting home alone on Valentines Day night. I actually just learned recently about
limerance and it was like an epiphany – OMG that’s why I’ve been obsessing about boys since middle school. I have felt a lot of shame around my inability to stop it and have done my best to hide it from others. I am in the throes of an LE right now and my LO basically rejected me last Sunday. He is a friend in my social circle and we had been messaging on FB. Most of the contact was initiated by me, but more recently some by him. I have an anxious attachment style and he is textbook dismissive avoidant. We’re both single but he plays the field. I am more empathic, so I don’t casually date. We were at a party last Saturday and a woman who had just met him, not knowing we were “friends”, mentioned they had exchanged numbers. I became extremely jealous because he’s never given me his phone number in 3 years. I messaged him to ask him why. He sent me a cold, rational response. He didn’t ask me to stop contacting him but I told him I would not. He has not unfriended me on FB. I am better but was pretty devastated earlier this week. Know I should think about going NC but want to keep his friendship. So grateful to have found this blog!
Thank you so much for creating this site – it’s wonderful to be reminded that there are so many people out there with our neural wirings.
I came here to recommend this phenomenal article/extensive piece on the psychology behind limerence, which has truly helped me overcome my most recent (and worst) episode:
I’m now in a healthy and exciting real relationship and, though I don’t want to jinx it, I’m experiencing the first few limerence-free months of my life. I’m content and optimistic, rather than manic and suicidal. It’s all been down to me addressing the root cause and my unhealed wounds.
I also really recommend messaging the author of the article directly if you want some extra help/tips, as she’s always replied to me and has provided me with some expert insights into my own issues.
The limerence subreddit is also comforting, but please don’t spend too long on there – it’s like a stagnant puddle of limerents in the delusional phase and can worsen your state.
No I’m not good enough for LO. I wonder who is. Besides her old, fat, bald SO. So how bad does that make me if I’m so much further below him. I guess she is a saint for not giving in to an EA or PA. Because I’m not bad looking. Far from it actually. And I know she likes me. She told me. I was willing to sacrifice a perfect life for her. Why was she not willing to do the same. maybe she’s just like all the other LOs who have been written about on here: narcissistic af.
F&ck her. Why did I let myself fall for this. I am pathetic.
B, neither was I, I am also polar opposite to his SO who’s a passive aggressive, surly sourpuss.
I am not angry anymore, I have a grudging respect for his restraint and integrity because I know he was tempted.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he just wasn’t that into me as I was into him.
Whatever, it’s probably for the best.
This N/C shit actually works.
I just watched a movie in which a scene reminded me of the title of this blog post. A character just woke up in hospital after a suicide attempt. When the family left his room, one of the kids asked “Mum, why aren’t we enough…?”. This made me feel deeply sad, because it’s true. Why are we limerents wondering why we aren’t good enough for our LO’s, while we make our SO’s and family members feel this way. That we need LO because they aren’t enough for us.
I have only recently discovered the term ‘limerence’ and realised that I’m a full blown case.
For the second time in my life I have become obsessed with an LO to an unhealthy, all consuming level. LO is a colleague who I work with and see every day (until the lockdown). I have a SO and children and feel awful that LO seems to trump them all, my every action for the last 18 months has been geared towards LO. Interestingly, I did not experience a LE with my SO, I do feel in honesty that the relationship with my SO is dead and was before this latest LE. The two occasions I have had LE have been unrequited, the first being nearly 20 years ago.
In June last year LO asked me for a drink and told me how she was feeling trapped in her relationship and hadn’t had sex in 10 months. I took her telling me this and the fact our friendship had grown significantly in the previous months as a sign of reciprocation. I disclosed my feelings to LO and now on reflection I can see how ‘full on’ that will have appeared. Despite still being in the haze of limerence, I do still believe that there was at least some initial interest and my OTT disclosure put her off. The following day we went for coffee and she made it clear that we should just be friends.
My initial reaction apart from being crushed was to accept her decision and attempt to move on. Though in true limerent fashion I failed, and have continued to pursue it, interpreting every comment and action in a way that offers a glimmer of hope.
Rationally, I can see, how she increasingly made sure that there were no mixed signals, though we continued to be friends. Talking all the time, going for drinks still and going on lunch in the week.
I have continued to live this insane all consuming existence ever since. Early in March, my LO (who is also still attached to her SO) slept with another colleague and she confided this in me. This has completely ruined me. I could have taken almost any other scenario than someone else I work with.
I have to think that I don’t measure up but he does and see them both every day. I’m not good enough, but he is. Despite her claims, I’m sure she’s going to repeat this and I can’t get it out of my head. I am not sleeping or eating properly and have constant anxiety around it. I was considering quitting a highly paid job to escape it and go full NC.
With the global pandemic I thought the gap and opportunity for NC might be easier. Though we are continuing to speak online and video calls (partly through necessity of work).
Something else I have realised with it all, is I have put so much energy into this that part of the need to have it reciprocated is validate that effort, even though I do know this is futile and I’m only investing more wasted time, thoughts and effort.
I would pay thousands to be cured of this. I can’t deal with it any more
Hi Nick, and welcome. Sorry to hear what you are going through.
Yeah, it sucks, but it’s life, eh? Just statistically, most of us are not “good enough” for any one person that doesn’t find us erotically attractive. After all, I’m sure there are lots of attractive women at your workplace who you are not limerent for, but you probably don’t think that they are not good enough for you. They just aren’t a good match to your attraction profile.
I don’t mean to be glib – I’m sure you know this, and it’s just hard to actually feel it. So the battle is to steer your subconscious to seeing this not as a measure of your value, but as a failure to “match”.
While I don’t think limerence can be cured (as I don’t think it’s a disease), it can certainly be managed and mastered. There are lots of resources here, mostly free, but there is also a premium course on emergency deprogramming. It’s designed for this sort of problem.
You are again of course on point. I absolutely rationally acknowledge what you’re saying but as you say I _feel_ differently.
I also know that there’s no quick fix to rewrire my brain and move on. Thanks for the resources, I know I have to commit to breaking this.
One of the techniques Dr. L brings out to beat limerence is to devalue our LOs, to yank them off the pedestals we place them on. For your LO to continue to confide in you after you disclosed your feelings, especially about her relationship with someone else at your workplace, is really unkind, at the least. It also shows poor judgement, for many reasons, on her part. So that may be a place to start to chip away at the infatuation and to start the rewiring.
The Emergency Deprogramming Course is great – lots of good tools there.
“In June last year LO asked me for a drink and told me how she was feeling trapped in her relationship and hadn’t had sex in 10 months. I took her telling me this and the fact our friendship had grown significantly in the previous months as a sign of reciprocation.”
That was a boundary buster. The 100% correct answer would have been to tell her that it was outside the scope of your acquaintance but we limerents never do that.
Since you didn’t shut her down, she’s driving the bus. She probably has a pretty good idea that you’d be there if she calls on you. She got away with busting one boundary, she may try again. Another thing we limerents often have trouble with is the notion that we may only be bit players in their drama. It may be important to us but they can easily have a different agenda/goal.
Trust me, you do not want to be the confidante of a woman in an unhappy marriage. And, if she tells you her husband is cheating on her. Run, just run! In my life, 3 women have told me that. All 3 of those events were more trouble than they were worth.
What if it’s the spouse of your LO that asks you to let them know if you know any rich singles you can introduce them to?
I’m going through hell right now with a 14 month long LO stuck in a very toxic rebound marriage that he has spent the whole time complaining to everyone about (not just me), with a gold-digging wife who also complains to everyone about him. I have the (mis)fortune of having met her several times (both with him and alone), and got to see how nasty and cold things are between them. If I didn’t know they were married, I would assume they despise one another. Every so often he will make some attempt at an olive branch and she just shuts him down.
So I’m under no illusion that their marriage isn’t actually as screwed up as he says it is, since I’ve seen it directly. The only reason he’s dragging it out is because he had already divorced once before and feels obligated to at least try to make things work this time around. That and he bought her an expensive house soon after marrying and since she refuses to get a job, he’s stuck paying the mortgage by himself.
They’ve been married barely two years and within months of tying the knot they were already bitching about each other on social media and both still ranting about their (very recent) exes. The marriage was based on hate from the start and not much has changed. So even if I wasn’t on the scene, their marriage is a total mess.
I haven’t reacted much when my LO has tried to use me as a marriage therapist, so he moved on to telling everyone else instead. I’ve made it pretty clear that I would be interested if he was ever single, but until then I will be a proverbial brick wall. So now he just talks to me about everything else instead.
“What if it’s the spouse of your LO that asks you to let them know if you know any rich singles you can introduce them to?”
It means you are being triangulated by both of them. Being used as leverage by one party is bad enough. Being leveraged by both of them is worse. Think of yourself as a ping-pong ball. They’re on either side of the net. You don’t matter. They’ll bat you around as long as you allow them to. Consider them both hostiles. You don’t need this. Nobody does.
Time to play the “Fairy-Tale Ending” game. If you could craft the Fairy-Tale Ending for this, what would it be? Keep in mind a few things:
People aren’t who they are because of the relationships they’ve had. They have the relationships they have because of who they are. It applies as much to us as it does to them. He’s on his second marriage. He appears to have questionable taste in women. He appears to be more a victim of bad judgment than bad luck. Do you think you can change him?
Do you know anything about his family and childhood?
Forgive me for yet another comment on this one but wasn’t there a discussion somewhere about situations where the limerent is sort of out of the LO’s league, from a physical attractiveness standpoint?
You know, I don’t think there is. That is a good topic for a post, though…
I’m almost positive this topic developed in one of the comments sections but I can’t remember where.
I don’t think it was ever explored specifically. I remember it coming up in several posts about specific LOs. I don’t remember for sure so I won’t mention names.
There is an early blog, “Beauty,” that talks about
appearance but it has no comment.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ B & Scharnhorst: I had mentioned this a couple of times (about my LO being at least a bit out of my league). I actually posted about this above on this very same post. Part of that might be my own lack of self-confidence, and in some ways I might be a little out of her league (with respect to education, income, etc.), but overall I don’t think I would be someone she would normally consider (if I were single). I think we all know when someone is WAY out of our league (like me trying to date Charlize Theron, for example), but we can sometimes hope/wish we could stretch a little to be able to attract someone we feel is just a little beyond our reach. Age can also be a barrier, but for some reason a lot of limerents seem to go for LOs who are 10 or more years older or younger.
I have been the LO and I have been the LE. It’s rare that it happens though (I’ve had crushes, but not painful like this).
I was in love with the last man for nearly 7 years (3 after going NC). We worked together for 4 years, got to know each other very well, he made it clear he liked me, I made it clear I liked him. But we were both already in long term relationships and had shared homes, finances, cars, all that stuff with other people so kept it completely PG. It was hard and for a long time I was depressed over it. He has since moved abroad, which helped me to get over him finally. But no contact didn’t really help for years afterwards, as I knew we would have been a very good match.
The one thing it did highlight to me was that I have a habbit of dating and committing to partners that aren’t really compatible, just so I’m not alone. Aside from the first relationship I had, none of the men I’ve dated I had very strong chemistry with. Despite meeting them the same ways I met my few LOs, and despite most of them being conventionally attractive guys. I never got that dizzy, awkward, excited, butterflies feeling towards them. I should have done. Other women commented that they were really hot and would date them if they weren’t already taken (which should have made me jealous but didn’t). But despite acknowledging that they were physically attractive, that ‘buzz’ just wasn’t there. They were just willing to date me at the time and vice versa. My last ex could have been a model, but there was still no intense chemistry between us. I think for me it has to be intellectual rather than just physical.
But I dragged these relationships out anyway. Even when (in the case of one relationship) it was toxic, we were fighting all the time, weren’t happy, and I felt they were using me, I still tried to force things to work because I hate the dating process so much and just want stability in my life. Then when someone who is compatible came along that I was actually head over heels for, I was never free to date them, which led to me going through the whole limmerence thing instead and the guilt that entailed. Not a great thing to accept, but a lesson I needed to learn. Don’t date people that you aren’t really into!
Since the last LO, I forced myself to remain single and get used to being alone so it didn’t scare me so much. I stopped myself jumping into relationships with dates that I was ‘meh’ about, and wrote down the things I actually need in a partner so I could refer to that when meeting someone new – intelligent, affectionate, driven, not a gold-digger, etc. Unfortunately, over the last 4 years I’ve had several dates but haven’t found another single guy that I really fell for.
Then I met someone at work last year. I mentally fell in love a couple of weeks before I met him in person. I had a ‘quick’ phone call with him where we just talked and talked and both probably overshared for almost an hour. We were so alike, with similar experiences, similar reactions, similar everything, that it was just a really nice feeling being able to connect so quickly and easily with someone else for once. It’s very rare that I meet someone that I click with immediately. So my brain fell in love with him first, which was new for me.
Then I started working with him and the second I saw him I realised he ticked every box. The happiest relationship I’ve ever had was my first serious one, over 11 years ago. We were an amazing match, it was so easy and happy, we never argued, very affectionate, warm, loving, best friends, same goals/lifestyle/values/energy, great sex where we were completely honest with each other (and had the same kinks)! Except he really wanted a family and I can’t have kids. So it ended very painfully, as aside from that it really was perfect the entire time we were together and we both knew how rare that was.
I never in a million years thought I’d find another man like him. Yet over a decade later I did. And he doesn’t want any more kids!
Except I was a year too late and this guy had very recently re-married. : /
To make it worse, I didn’t realise he was married at first. I met him in person, noticed he had a wedding ring, but then another person there mentioned his recent ex and their son. I put two and two together and assumed they were the same woman and therefore the ring was a recent momento if he was still getting over the divorce and wasn’t ready to date.
He seemed just as happy to meet me, although at first I assumed he was just being friendly. Then I started working with him and the awkward, clumsy, hyper-flirty, staring thing began between the both of us. He was actually far more flirty than me, called me ‘cute’, made jokes about me locking him in the office, etc. He came and sat next to me and very deliberately sat right next to my chair so we were touching. There was zero confusion over whether he was interested. Several people told me he was constantly enthusing about me to them when I was around, so I wasn’t imagining things. I was incredibly happy for a few weeks, thinking not only had I met my perfect man, but he was also single, and also interested in me as well! I can’t remember being that excited in years. I felt like I’d finally been given a second chance.
We had a few meetings one on one, and just talked and talked the whole time. It was just as easy as it had been on the phone, although now I felt like I was back in highschool and couldn’t actually look at him as I thought he was stunning! It’s very rare that I meet guys that I find that attractive. I’m an artist and don’t find the Brad Pitts of the world hot (probably why I wasn’t that into my exes). I like very specific things in men that most other women don’t and this guy is absolutely gorgeous to me! I could spend days sitting and drawing him. So looking at him directly took a LONG time! I felt like a pervert sneaking around staring at him through the wall when he was in meetings and couldn’t see me. But he would do the exact same thing to me. I’d be sat at my desk looking at my screen or in a meeting with other people and I could see and feel him stare at me every time he walked past. It was ridiculous!
One day someone casually mentioned that he had recently got married again to a woman he met on holiday after a short long-distance relationship, and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I felt physically sick for days.
Then the new wife actually came to the office and I got to meet her. The first time I saw her, I had no idea who she was and figured it was a client. She was really dismissive of me and I got the ‘bitch stare’ when I tried to talk to her. Although since then I’ve realised she doesn’t like a lot of women, so I’m not sure it was anything personal. As far as I know he’s never said anything about me to her. The second time she came in, she walked over to my colleague, went on a five minute rant about him not earning enough money, not taking her anywhere ‘nice’ at the weekend, then asked my colleague to let her know if she knew any rich guys she could introduce her to.
So my first introduction to her wasn’t great, but I backed off very hard for a while. I think that confused him a bit, but I was really hurting. I didn’t want to be unprofessional and mope about at work. So I was still friendly to everyone else, just less so to him. He definitely noticed the change and made a few comments like ‘what do I need to do to impress you?’ after I praised another male colleague in front of him. I realised I was being OTT with being nice to other people, but it was really hard to know how to act. And I was seriously hurt.
Another colleague who has known him longer was very open about his past to me. She knew his ex and was a lot more complimentary about her compared to his current wife. I’ve met the new wife several times since then, and she has made it very very clear that she is mainly interested in his money. She hasn’t worked since marrying him, bar a few weeks (before rage-quitting that because working ‘gave her anxiety’), and would be very happy to never work again and just live off his money, hang out at the gym with other men and party/drink/smoke weed. It seems that everyone else aside from him has cottoned on to this. He seems to be slowly realising it and isn’t happy.
In hindsight, I think he was starting to realise he’d married a gold-digger before I came along (she makes no effort to hide it, so he must have at least seen a few red flags). But then figured he had another option in the form of me and got excited. Then when I backed off, he realised he was stuck with the gold-digger. I can hear through the wall where my office is into the meeting room next door, and he has made several comments to other people that his wife has anger issues, is controlling, drinks too much, that he couldn’t retire on 10 million with a wife like her, and has said when they first moved in to the house he bought her that she literally went around pointing out that half of his stuff was now hers. I can at least admire her honesty. I’ve known a lot of gold-diggers in my lifetime and most are far more sneaky about it.
Despite realising all of this, I was still under no illusion that I had any chance whatsoever with this guy. Even if there was some sort of EA on his part, he never went as far as asking me for anything. It was just awkward flirting, talking, us both being super nervous around each other, him raving to other people about me, etc. I’ve known women that hook up with married men and it never ends well. There’s no way I want to be anyone’s back-up plan. Especially a man I love.
One morning a few weeks after I’d backed off he was visibly upset and it broke my heart. I felt like the worst person in the world for hurting him, but my head was reeling after going from so happy to so crushed and I was just trying to keep my distance. At our christmas party, I just did my best to avoid them both. She was very sarcastic towards him a couple of times, which was really difficult to hear as I can’t just sit there and listen to someone I care about being insulted. And she talks to/about him like dirt most of the time. But I kept my mouth shut and just stayed away as far as possible.
For a while it was really confusing and awkward, but I managed to convince myself that I had totally misread the situation and everything was just a huge coincidence. The wife looks very different to me; thin, boyish figure, fake tan, botox, dyed hair, so I’m not sure what he would see in me anyway. He clearly finds her type more attractive, since he was willing to marry her. So I was still hurt but did my best to focus on other things, chatted to a couple of other guys on dating sites, did everything I could to take my mind off him. But he started doing random stuff like buying me a thank you gift for some work I helped out with, making me tea whenever he was around, etc. He was distant, but every few weeks he would be friendly to me in meetings. So I was all over the place. I’d chat to him and the feelings would all come back again, then he’d mostly ignore me for several weeks. Then things completely changed and he started insulting himself in meetings or conversations, joking he was ugly, that he was going to ‘f*ck things up’, insinuating he was fat, random things like that. His confidence and energy seemed to take a nose-dive, and he stopped being chatty and friendly to everyone, lost weight (to the point that his face was starting to look gaunt), stopped joking with us, was suddenly really serious all the time, and was hard to talk to (for everyone, I think).
He was still staring at me every time he walked past my desk, but the random chats stopped and then he cancelled one-on-one meetings we had for a couple of months. Which caused a few problems, as I was then kept out of the loop with work as a result. I ended up getting annoyed, as it was impacting my job (and other people as a knock-on effect).
In the new year things gradually began to improve a bit, and he at least spoke to me a couple of times. He admitted to everyone that he felt he had no control at home, his wife kept threatening to divorce him, and he was actually glad to be back at work. His wife speaks a different language to him with her family, and has what he described as a ‘near incestuous relationship with her brother’ (and said she was initially attracted to him because his legs reminded her of her brother’s). I have a brother of similar age who I am pretty close to, but have never examined him enough to recognise what any random body part of his looks like other than his face! I like certain body parts on men, but don’t check out my brother that way. So I had no idea how the hell to respond to that comment. I’m not sure why he told me that. He admitted he is trying hard to learn her language so he can understand what she and her brother talk about in front of him. It all sounds a bit nuts, but I just nod politely when he admits this stuff, as I don’t want to get involved in some Jerry Springer crap. Since then he has kept using random words/phrases to me in her language and it’s like getting stabbed a bit every time he does it. It felt like he was purposely trying to get back at me for essentially turning him down.
Then lockdown happened and I haven’t really seen him other than on video calls. At first, that was a good thing, as I could keep my distance more easily. The two months prior he had started mentioning his wife in every single conversation we had (I guess to make a point), but telling me his wife and I should go for drinks together, we had so much in common, we should be friends, etc. I’m not sure why, as he knows I’m in love with him and that would be incredibly painful. Plus, why on earth would he want his wife to hang out with a woman he is attracted to and vice versa? Isn’t he concerned I’ll say something to her? If it’s just a way to get close to me somehow, then it’s a very odd way to do it. And even if I wasn’t in love with him, the wife is pretty much the polar opposite of me in every way, so not someone I’d chose to be friends with. When I first started working there I mentioned that I’m always looking for other women that are into business, tech, gaming, science, investing and other nerdy stuff I like. She isn’t. Whenever she’s visited the office, she’s just bitched about him, his money, stereotypical ‘girl crap’ that I have no interest in, and weed stuff. I’ve met partners of crushes in the past and sometimes we got on well. In fact, one woman I still chat to occasionally. But I’ve now met his wife several times and she is incredibly difficult to even have a polite conversation with. Unless you’re a man, she is very cold, sarcastic, and shallow. She’s makes more effort if he’s in the room, but otherwise she’s not a nice person.
So lockdown was a bit of a mental rest for me to begin with. Talking to him on video calls was easier than in person, as there was less obvious tension. And I’ve deliberately kept my camera off the whole time, so he isn’t reminded of what I look like. Although now I get to stare at his face as much as I like, which hasn’t helped! He’s put on some of the weight he lost over the last few months, so doesn’t look as gaunt and sick any more. And the beard (every guy I know has one right now) looks hot. Although he looked hot without one too. I’m going to stop thinking about his face…
Then I realised that on both group and one-on-one calls, his wife was always crashing about in the background, interrupting to bring over drinks, sat right next to him and commenting on whatever we were talking about, basically spying on everything he said and did. She would turn up to any group chats we did after work (with no other partners/family members) and then got him to ask us to let her join our gaming group (again, which no one else had invited their partners/family to). She spent the whole time making sarcastic comments the second he left the room and clearly didn’t want to play the game herself but just didn’t want him to play with us. It was awkward as hell, but fortunately (for us, not him) she’s made sure he can no longer join in and he hasn’t been back since. She tries to control and involve herself in everything he does. It’s got to the point where I now can’t talk to him about any personal issues that my employees are going through because she hears everything I say and they know the wife. It’s not like she’s a total stranger that they’ve never met and never will meet, so it’s incredibly disrespectful. If I invited a random employee to sit and listen in on a one-to-one with another employee without their knowledge, they would rightly complain. A few things have happened during lockdown that I simply haven’t passed on to him because she has been listening in and the employees involved don’t like her. And emails/messages aren’t much good because he’s admitted he talks to her about everything.
To make things ten times worse, he has now got her a job working for the company that another employee was willing to train up to do essentially for free in order to build CV experience. So that employee is not happy, and a few other people aren’t impressed with the obvious nepotism going on. Especially as they’ve met her, have heard all her comments about money, and anyone who knows anything about divorce law knows exactly why a gold-digger would want to be on the company payroll of a business that is going up in value and their husband has part ownership of (which he does). This woman is obvious, but not stupid. She knows exactly what she is doing.
So aside from the limmerence stuff (which is slowly just turning into absolute amazement that anyone would be so willing to just hand over their hard-earned money), I’m now having to deal with the fall out of this mess at work. It’s turning into one giant clusterf*ck!
Welcome Sudoku! Epic comment 🙂
It is a tough place to be, watching an LO struggle in an apparently unhappy marriage, but there’s basically no constructive action you can take. Hoping they will come to the senses is pretty much it. Almost anything you do would be loaded with double meaning, and potential insincerity (as you want them to leave their SO).
LOs who need saving are almost always bad news. Fundamentally, people can only save themselves from their own choices. The sensible thing to do, of course, is to extract yourself from the situation. But there is the pesky problem of being obsessively infatuated with them…
Hope you manage to avoid the worst of the professional fallout of your LO’s questionable judgement!
Yeah, I agree there is no real action I can take. I’m playing a long term waiting game here. Something that I’m historically good at when I do it, despite the pain it’s causing in the meantime. I’ve lost two chances at being with someone I actually love and am compatible with, and I’m not willing to just quit and walk away from that this time around. I don’t know if I’ll get another chance after this, and I’m done dating people I’m not a good match for (which tends to lead to LEs with single people I can’t actually date).
I’ve also been in a very similar situation with her male twin (my own rebound relationship with a gold-digger), so the experience of seeing them say and do the same things we did has been somewhat educational for me. Mine lasted several years before it finally imploded, so I’m expecting potentially the same here. I’ll use that time to continue to get to know him, focus on my own projects, and build other areas of my life. I have a habit of jumping into things with people too quickly, so it’s forcing me to slow down and get to know him as a friend first.
I know when I was going through this and had my self esteem shot to bits, the only way I was able to climb back out was rebuilding my confidence. Up to that point, I was willing to be used and insulted indefinitely, because I thought I deserved it. People pointing out my ex was using me didn’t help. It just made me defensive, as I didn’t want to acknowledge it. So I know it won’t help him. Once he gets his confidence back, he will see it for himself and won’t want to stay in that situation. So I’m happy to just remain a friend and help boost his self esteem.
Unfortunately, due to this coronavirus stuff, I can’t easily leave right now even if I wanted to. The job market has dried up and although financially I could walk away, having a CV gap would make it harder to start again elsewhere. Plus, I get on really well with all my other colleagues and like the social benefits of working in an office with other people (under normal circumstances).
What I find hard to deal with, that I don’t even have the ‘ privilege ‘ to call LO my ex.
Because we never officially had a relationship, ( except that we did for almost a year) he was supposed to be my ex if things would not work out one day in the future but that future never came.
Not being able to call him my ex makes me feel like I’m not really entitled to grief. I’m even kind of jealous of his exes who at least have had ‘ something’, I feel invisible.
Guess it’s my limerent brain desperately to still want to form some sort of bond even if it is through calling him my ex.
Thank you for your never ending support Sharnhorst. For me it’s true, the two death crushing heartbreaks I’ve had where two ‘almost’ LE relationships, because they where still fully in glimmer., Shiny sparkling new. No dirty socks to pick up, no nose picking, no irritation and annoying breathing.
Wish I could have been annoyed by LO and could have seen his bad habits.
But than again no guarantee I would not have been devastated too.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Scharnhorst: I saw these articles myself, and I too thought they made a lot of sense. Grieving “almost relationships” seems illogical, but for a lot of people the pain can be very real — and it is real. I am reminded of a huge crush I had on one of my classmates in university and how devastated I was when I found out she was living with a guy and practically married to him back in her hometown. I flirted with her pretty shamelessly for a while and she claimed not to know how I felt about her until very late in the game. It took a while to get over her (incidentally, she was a redhead, or at least she had gingery-brown hair). Looking back, I believe it was limerence. I also think my LO is kind of going through something like this with my brother in-law (eye roll, I know 🙂 ).
Vicarious Limerent says
Thinking about it again, that scenario with my classmate doesn’t really fit because she wasn’t in a position to date me, so it never was an “almost relationship.” Still, I think there was a spark there and things might have turned out differently if she was available (although she was quite different from me and was into things like hunting, which I have no interest in).
When I disclosed to LO #4, she said, “Wow! I had no idea. I’m flattered, and under different circumstances, might even be curious. But, circumstances are what they are.”
That didn’t make me feel any better.
I’ve been re-reading this one a lot today. Mostly because I started thinking about how it hurt me when LO mentioned that she was already with someone. And among other things, one thing that has stood out it’s how she called her relationship “nothing serious”. Which can mean a lot of things, but I can’t get my mind off that she said it in a “recently started dating” kind of way. Which would mean that there’s some other guy that she met around the same time as me and that won over me in the “race to her heart” competition during corona lockdown. Cue all the thoughts about inadequacy and not being good enough to her in addition to the usual overthinking about what I could have said / done differently to attain a different outcome.
I remember that, when I asked her about meeting up, she mentioned that she couldn’t because she was “hugely distracted”. Maybe it was because her mind was in her shiny new boyfriend?
Oh, that feeling of being almost able to reach the sky and falling short by an inch…
@Benjamin… aaawww, feeling all of your feels. That’s almost what happened to me! When LO said he was interested in dating someone (and had the audacity to show me her fb profile), my heart skipped a beat and not in a good way. The only satisfaction I got is that after I shared her photos from social media with a hetero friend, his first genuine response was “damn, but she looks like an anorexic Snoopy. You are far more attractive than she is! I wouldn’t sleep with that.” Well, in an interesting twist of events, she actually ended up dumping my LO’s ass after a few weeks. Apparently, he couldn’t commit to a relationship. Which is the ultimate clusterfuck for me because I think I’ve stumbled upon that one LO who actually is also a combo of dissmissive avoidant/spectrumy and commitment challenged. But according to him, he’s still looking for the one at 43 yo after not even coming close in his entire adult life. Needless to say, I draw a slight satisfaction from realizing slowly it could just be him, not I with issues. For reference, we’re all single adults, no SOs. Which in a way, stings more?
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