Once a limerent has resolved to take control and cut contact with LO, an almost inevitable consequence is the arrival of withdrawal pains.
I talk a lot about limerence being understandable as “person addiction”, and again, the analogy here fits quite nicely. Like any other addict, the initial decision to quit often comes after a particularly negative experience with the drug of choice (e.g. a mortifying exchange with LO in which you flirt and they don’t), and the addict decides to go cold turkey in a burst of energy and determination.
But as with any lasting change, willpower and enthusiasm alone are not going to last long enough to carry you all the way to deliverance. So what can be done to help reduce the chance of falling off the limerence wagon?
1) You gotta have a plan
Determination to quit LO and all their temptations is one thing, actually managing it is another. As with so much of life, the difference between people who succeed and people who struggle, is that people who succeed have a plan. They know what “success” means, because they sat down quietly – well away from the nearest LO – and thought about what they wanted to achieve. “I will get over limerence” is so nebulous as to be the equivalent of “I will get better”. Getting a bit more specific, you could try for “I am never speaking to LO again”, but that’s not entirely within you control and is often impractical.
Much better is to have a plan that is matched to your goals and within your control. “I am going to progressively decrease my contact with LO over the next six weeks” is measurable, practical and achievable. You’ll know if you succeed. And if you set a specific target (no more than 2 texts a week, and 1 get together), it’s much more likely that you’ll hit it.
2) You should anticipate relapses
Being with LO is intoxicating and energising and arousing. Self-discipline is hard, boring, and low on thrills (but leads, paradoxically, to a hugely fulfilling life). You’re not going to be able to sustain grey rock resistance to LO indefinitely. Everyone slips up. It’s normal. I would even argue that it can be healthy, because as I’ve suggested before the thrill-seeking part of you does need to be given some release from time to time.
Most alcoholics that successfully go teetotal do it with the occasional relapse. Life is full of stresses and strains, and the old sedation and distraction habits are deeply ingrained. The key thing is to forgive yourself, accept your imperfection, but resolve to last longer until the next relapse.
Eventually the time till the next relapse is forever.
3) LO may get withdrawal pains too
Finally, as a somewhat counter-intuitive outcome, a consequence of your attempts to go No Contact could be that LO gets withdrawal pains.
If your relationship with LO was mutually supportive, or they were enjoying the ego boost of your high regard for them, suddenly losing that from their life can be quite upsetting. It’s surprising how commonly LO has a big upset soon after the limerent begins to distance themselves, which has the coincidental effect of drawing their source of support (or narcissistic supply) back in.
For those of us that fall for “radio save me” type LOs, this is an especially vulnerable time.
As with most aspects of limerence, being forewarned about a danger lurking down the road is a big advantage. When you do hit rock bottom and decide to quit for good, make sure you set aside some time to make a plan, anticipate relapses, and steel yourself to LO’s possible shenanigans.
Walking purposefully towards a destination you want to reach is much better than running around in circles.
Thanks again Dr L – this is right where I am and so as ever you’ve come up with a timely post.
Its 4 weeks since we fell out and I told her we were done. My anger at the time propelled me into NC and meant the ending was very clear for both of us and gave me the resolve I needed to go NC. Roll forward to today, and I’m looking back thinking that I overreacted, my expectations of her were too high and there is some guilt about the way it all ended, and the likely shock she got from my reaction. That coupled with returning to work post Xmas and there being an LO shaped hole in my day, has led to me getting withdrawal symptoms.
I have a plan (no contact with LO) which is very much cold turkey, but within my control and I believe achievable. The staged withdrawal method in the end wouldn’t have worked. I can’t afford a relapse, mainly because I promised my SO that LO would be gone. I’m just going to have to accept that these feelings are a natural part of recovery, and try to focus on other things.
Now the interesting part will be if she is feeling the same and contacts me. Just as you say, a large part of this LE for me was the rescue fantasy and I know I’d be a sucker for a cry for help. I think the way we ended has made the likelihood of that less, as she’ll not want to lose face either. But if it happens my resolve will be tested severely.
It’s been only day 4 of NC and it feels like a month. My body is heavily protesting, wanting it’s fix. Headache, crying, no sleep and even wanting to throw up, my mind is longing for my Lo, seeking and even calling his name. I guess it’s a mourning proces also.
I promised my LO NC since it’s painful for him I have a SO, so I will keep my promise. But boy is it hard.
Anyone relate to this awful early stage of NC ?
Hi ,How did it go Maria? I’m officially ten minutes into NC with my LO and I just told him why I was going cold turkey (I thought it best to be honest) Anyway I know I’m going to get withdrawal symptoms from when I wake up tomorrow. I just wanna know how you got past the first few awful days.
Hello N,thank you for asking, ( I switched names to Mia 🙂 that was my first NC , it was awful I must say, but the deal was to contact LO again after a while, so it was kind of a semi NC. After 3 weeks a cave.
40 days ago I went NC for real this time and the first days I did nothing but cry, scream in my pillow , hyperventilate with primal fear and just let the grief come over me, I had no choice. I wrote a lot in my journal ( things like, I want to get better, LO has nothing to do with my transformation, that’s mine, I want to be able to sleep, I want to take back control and my self worth ) for the first weeks it was hell, I did nothing but cry and call friends all day to vent. I felt like I lost my identity and sometimes I thought I would die, that my body could not take the pain.
I did make some rules for my withdrawal:
I m going to do this with self compassion. No blaming myself.
I want to use this as a transformation and I’m going to solve underlying problems.
Oh and don’t drink too much alcohol, it made me suicidal the day after.
I’m now in 40 days NC, LO is still there every second but there are moment of genuine laughter. There is still a war in my head with limerence who wants me to contact LO since I’m the one who ended us. But I take it one day at a time, today I don’t contact. I watch a lot of Alan Robarge on you tube that’s kind of my current obsession and I allow myself.
So slowly I climb out of the darkness. Today is heavy thought since yesterday I had my first EMDR / regression session to see where my love addiction comes from and I’m super fragile today , longing and dreaming about LO . ( That means the session works , the first days after are hard)
I think key is to be kind to yourself and vent here if you want.
How are you doing today ?
Ok so I’m just now seeing this ( my bad) but it’s been four days. It honestly felt like longer lol . LO replied to my NC text very kindly saying he was surprised that I still felt that way way (earlier on in my limerence it was mutual) but understood that I had to do this for myself. I really appreciated his response , it kinda allowed me to go forth into this journey knowing there’s no bad blood btn us. The daydreaming still comes but I try to nip it in the bad, intrusive thoughts only when triggered by external factors e.g images etc. So far I guess the withdrawal hasn’t hit that hard but now my only concern is this; in his final text where he said he understood why I needed NC , he said that if ever I were ready for a relationship (that’s why the limerence was mutual initially cause it was very promising of a relationship but I wasn’t ready ) , I shouldn’t hesitate to contact him . I find that this is stopping me from completely seeing it as a fresh start or healing process. He left me with hope for a future unknown time and it’s feeding my limerence to some degree.
I have the exact same thing! LO didn’t stop it, I did because I couldn’t handle my feelings, I completely lost myself and I totally freaked out, 24-7. It’s so hard not to have hope when I dream all day about our future meeting “when I’m all better and cool and chilled” ( that would be the day ) and the door was not closed by LO.
My mantra I repeat everyday is
I’m not well, I want to get better before dating who ever I want ”
Meaning I don’t have to decide today if I want to see LO again or when.
Just not today. Today I focus op me.
I’m glad your withdraw seems to be relatively mild. Mine is the devil raging on amphetamine X 100.
hahaha your expressions make me laugh. Well I like that ; a day at a time.
Can I get your email or give you mine (I can’t seem to find a messsaging room on here) then maybe we can be each other’s sponsors as we recover lol.
I would like that N.
There should be an ” I’m going to text LO because I think it’s a really good idea” emergency chat function here ! 😀
hahahA I really Hope Dr L is seeing these suggestions. I need that emergency chaat room haha. Anyway , reach me up on [email protected] xx.
I’m there to give it to you straight or gently when you feel the urge to contact the uncontactable. !
Mia and N, you guys are speaking my language!!! Help! I’ve been relapsing with LO for months. The fact that my relationship with SO is hanging on a thread since D-day (discovery day) back in February plus a “do whatever you want” attitude from SO keeps me relapsing to deal with the pain.
I initiated NC and today is day 2. Writing my goodbye email right now. He knows the deal and why. We are BOTH gonna go through heavy withdrawal.
And yes, wish there was support group since its such a taboo subject to bring up. Been tryna keep busy with friends, meditation to get down to the root cause of my affair. My goal is to have a life free from guilt, stress, dishonesty, powerlessness. To live a life fully transparent with EVERYONE, joy and inner peace, and CONTROL of my thoughts and emotions!! I choose who I want or not want in my life, not the hormones/thoughts/emotions/circumstance.
I’ve overcome limerence and have experience grief in the past. I know I can do it. But it still doesn’t make it easy. I’d also like to be a source of accountability! Self-love above all, blessings to you and may you find the strength to KEEP IT GOING!
Congested from crying at this very moment…and searching for what to do with withdrawal from crush is how I found this article. My soul hurts today. My crush goes in for heart surgery next week.. stupid brain thinks of the worst…and hard to not be a part of his life in reality. I allowed feelings t be there, and used it to get through a difficult home life, but now it’s kicking me back.
Thanks for this Dr L.
Like Vincent – timing is perfect – as mentioned on one of my comments yesterday. I have had NC since xmas day and going well except for the obvious work convo’s and work emails that have to be done – albeit without any personal stuff. Also reacted to a conversation that she wanted abour her new job that i had mentioned earlier on this group – So I guess im pretty proud if i may say so that I havnt initiated the contact – just reacted to anything, which should all go down once she leaves the company on 31 Jan.
Vincent’s point is an interesting one about basically having a fall out to aid NC….I did think about that but I think I would feel bad about it and really guilty that a 5 yr friendship was black marked by no reason but for me being selfish- it may help NC and stop any anticipation of her contacting me which she will when she on her own in new job and country – I dont think it will be loads but there will be some.
So my plan is as follows taking your point 1 above
– only react to messages professionaly until 31 Jan
– Go to leaving doo but only for a couple of hours – luckily 3 people leaving on same day so there will be lots of people so I can still be a friend and show up but also get lost in the crowed. The goodbye (hug) will be hard – actually it wont, i will make it easy.
– then no contact until 1st march where I will send a message as a friend wishing her best for her 1s day at work (she is travelling in Feb with family) (this is my expected relapse as per point 2 above as i will be thinking of her on her first day all alone)
– THEN THATS IS – then only react to any messages she sends; not straight away and not lengthy. then hope that dies down.
So thanks for your inspiration on the plan – wanted to share it here for any improvements and also to be accountable for it.
“I will send a message as a friend wishing her best for her 1s day at work”
If I were you, I’d send it later in that first week–not the very first day. Otherwise, it sends the [true] message that you’re thinking about her. The goal here is to really feel nonchalant about/around her, yes? So…fake it till you make it.
Such an awesome idea – it will give it a way that I’m thinking of her. I will follow this advice.
However we she messaged me today saying that we have dinner before she goes as we were going to in December but I made an excuse up and got out of it as I wasn’t ready for one-to-one time.
Also want to add that I have made a plan to be in the office only 3 days a week until end of jan and work from home the other 2 so as to minimise face to face contact. Im going all out.
What doesnt help though is that part of my xmas present hadnt arrived in dec so she has left that for me on my desk today…ARRRRHGHHHHHH . And before I heard of limerence last year I told her I couldnt wait for my 2nd present and it would be somethign to look forward to in Jan so now feel bad saying ‘i cant accept that’ as it would prompt her to ask ‘ why are you acting odd now? ‘ Im trying to avoid that conversation and be normal when she is asking for something and then hope post Jan it all slides away.
I think if she wasnt leaving then I would have come clean that boundaries are blurred for me and we need to just act as proper colleagues not buddies – I really feel for people in the same company working with LO. I am counting down the days.
I think it would be totally normal to accept the gift, Kevin. It would be odd to refuse a gift you were expecting. Just accept politely but don’t make too much of it.
Normal, but guarded is a good plan. And no need for that “boundaries are blurred” conversation, as that could be a can of worms…
Ok yeah that makes sense regarding present. I will just play it cool.
Agree about boundary conversation. No point mentioning but I was just thinking that if she wasn’t leaving and I was stuck with seeing her on the office indefinitely then I would find it hard not to mention boundaries BUT it’s all good as she is leaving.
HOWEVER, my plan failed already. Had relapse last night as she messaged me saying she nearly cried at work when telling people she is leaving. Hearing that made me sad and feeling vulnerable I did tell her I feel sad too that she is leaving. She then went on to say that she loves working with me and that I’m one of the the highlights of working for our company and that we need to go for few more lunches before she leaves as we always have fun. Also that I should come and visit her in the new country and well she was being emotional and open (for an introvert). I too fell for it and told her that things won’t be the same without her.
So I relapsed and don’t feel great about it. The hit at the time was good but this morning I wish I hadn’t responded to open this conversation. This scenario lends itself to point 3 above. I wasn’t steel enough as she must have felt me withdrawing from her especially during this period of change for her, as I was always used to messageher first. So In 24 hours I have experienced all of DR L’s 3 points above.
It doesn’t sound like a relapse. Civility is never out of vogue. You’re still co-workers. Keep in mind that you know what’s going on in her head but she doesn’t.
You just have to avoid signing up to be her confidante. Delay the responses. It helps train her that if she wants immediate gratification, she should probably look elsewhere. See if operant conditioning works. If you get the kind of behavior you reward, responding immediately trains her to turn to you.
What you said about the place not being the same without her was nice. If she asks about visiting, tell her that if you’re ever in the neighborhood, you’ll let her know. Buy her lunch before you leave, preferably as close to the end date as possible. Wish her success and happiness but avoid, “Let me know how it goes.” You want to leave as little “unfinished business” that she can use to maintain the attachment as possible.
Expect a long hug. And, whatever you do, avoid the urge to kiss her. The reason I say this is years ago I had a non-LO co-worker that I was attracted to. Had I been available I think she would have been a very suitable candidate. One day, she told me she was leaving for another job. My first impulse was to kiss her in the elevator lobby. I didn’t but the reaction surprised me. Where did that come from!? I asked the therapist about it in a session and she said it’s not an uncommon reaction. She said it was kind of a trauma response.
You’ll be fine.
“… told her that things won’t be the same without her.”
That’s not a relapse, that’s the truth.
Now think about slowing your roll. Respond like molasses in mid-winter. Slowly. VERY slowly.
Yeah, what Scharnhorst said about touch is important. Keep physical contact to a minimum (surface area/length of time). NO KISSING.
It’s going to be okay, eventually. Remember that she is embarking on an ADVENTURE, not going to the gallows.
Thanks guys – good to hear it wasnt a relapse as I was proud of my progress in not initiating messages to her asking how she is etc. (SO WHAT is RELAPSE THEN?)
But I am sensing that she has noticed my withdrawl as she was very much full on last night bringing me back in with invites and nice gestures and words.
“Let me know how it goes. You want to leave as little “unfinished business” that she can use to maintain the attachment as possible”
Well she already said that she will stay in touch with me and that I cant get rid of her that easily. Now I know myself that people can have that intent but when you have moved and making new friends etc then it can be different. I think she will stay in touch but will die off eventually with adhoc messages here and there….and I will remember your advise on delaying responses.
I guess Im trying to maintain dignity and the status quo and break the spell without making noise to her about it (i.e. falling out or telling her to leave me alone) – Its tempting but even Dr L suggested not too. So far im doing better than I thought and thats thanks to you all via your support and direction.
Yes the hug will be long – and I sense there will be tears from her too – Im pretty convinced that she is not romantically interested in me but is dependent on me for emotional support/friendship.
By the way when you mention kiss above – do you refer to kiss on the cheek or a full on proper kiss !
I was referring to a full on kiss to the co-worker. I recommend avoiding the kiss on the cheek. Apparently, the attraction went deeper than I was aware of.
The day she left, my co-worker stopped by my cube to say goodbye and she initiated a hug. Workplace considerations not withstanding, it was awkward. It was the first time in 10 years we had physically touched and finally learning what she felt and smelled like didn’t help.
If you really want to hedge your bets, don’t wear cologne that day and go to a place that the smell of food overwhelms everything. Curry is pretty good for that. Also, wear something unremarkable. No flashy ties, etc. Don’t give her any more reason to remember you than possible.
Here again, you have the opportunity to advance your agenda, i.e., without lying and without revealing yourself. If she asks why your behavior changed, you tell her, “I’m adjusting to idea of not having you around.” She gets an ego boost, you’re not lying, and there are no loose strings. That statement also can provide cover for a lot of actions, like delayed responses.
You are adjusting to not having her around but not for the reason she thinks. And, as hypocritical as this will sound coming from me, she doesn’t have to know.
It’s definitely possible to overthink these things! I would say that a relapse is when you do something that you know you shouldn’t in an attempt to get a limerence thrill. You can usually tell, because it feels a bit illicit. Like you’re giving in to the devilish part of yourself that craves LO.
You’re doing a great job by the sounds of it. Thinking afterwards “Oh, I could have handled that better”, or “Oh hang on, maybe that was a slip up” is OK. It shows you’re generally much more aware of your own behaviour, not that you’re deliberately undermining yourself.
I would aim for friendly but professional. I’ve told co-workers who have left “I’ll miss you,” when that’s been true, and I said the same to my LO too. Because it was true. But, yes, keep the hug brief, and definitely no kisses! That would test anyone’s resolve, let alone a recovering limerent.
When my LO got teary-eyed, I acted the supportive boss – “Hey, I know it’s sad, but you’ll be fine. You did great here and you’ll do great at the new place too.” – rather than the collaborator in emotional outpourings “I’m going to miss you so much. It’s been so wonderful having this time together.”
Both are supportive and friendly, but one is friendly-professional the other is much more intimate. You don’t have to totally shut down, just concentrate on not going below the surface level of supportive friendship. Inside, my guts were doing somersaults and my heart was pounding, but I’d moved into a sort of phase where I was more nervous about falling at the last hurdle than I was about how she was feeling. I knew she would be fine and was better off being able to leave with us still on good professional terms.
The end’s in sight, Kevin. Stay strong!
Cool, I will memorise that departing statement. Thanks again
Thanks – that helps…
I dont think i would go for a kiss – lol… i feel she is more likely to turn away than reciprocate it – my gut feel. so wouldnt risk it and then have to live with that guilt of ruining anything and opening a can of worms.
We have hugged before – normal hugs after dinners out or work events but nothing too heavy. I think the biggest thing to break is her dependancy on me emotionally and me being built of steel to not be the white knight as Dr L has put it.
I have never had limerence before (except when its transitioned to mutual relationship) so this is all new to me.
When the party is over and done with for your departing colleague, I would suggest that you turn your mobile OFF for the weekend. Plan on doing something with your wife. Is there something new and different for you two to do?
I’ve always found blasting clay pigeons satisfying. Or at least target shooting. Very cathartic. If I can’t concentrate and miss, no harm done. If I can, even better.
Or go on a special hike. Ice skating? Dancing? Something physical, tiring, different and purposeful. 😉
“I’ve always found blasting clay pigeons satisfying. Or at least target shooting. Very cathartic. If I can’t concentrate and miss, no harm done. If I can, even better.”
Totally agree with this recommendation!
If you can’t make it to a range, filling 2 liter bottles with water and hitting them with hollow points works pretty well.
In college, I had a friend who’d buy old bowling balls from thrift stores and vaporize them with a .460 Weatherby Magnum.
Good practical advice Lee, thanks.
So as you know she is going to new job and country which I had also applied for as they had several roles. I now have been told that they are interested in me for a more senior role in a different team.
Bad news is LO will be there in same company.
Good news is it’s a different team to what I applied for although both teams may interact.
I thought I was going to get rid of her. Although my heart doesn’t want too but head does.
Now if they do offer me a job I will have to choose new fantastic opportunity vs getting Proper NC with LO.
“Now if they do offer me a job I will have to choose new fantastic opportunity vs getting Proper NC with LO.”
If they offer you the job do you unilaterally move away with your wife? Unilaterally move away from your wife? Presumably this is a family discussion too and she has input, if not the final say.
Don’t borrow trouble. Plan an evening out with your wife the day of the going away party so you have to leave by a certain time and have somewhere to go and something to do that night. Yeah, you may be a bit distracted but at least dinner and a movie lends itself to turning the mobile off so you can’t be tempted to text or answer any calls.
Yes it would be joint decision with wife And she is already up for it if I get the offer for the job. She doesn’t know LO. Or of my current journey that I’m in.
And yes if I do go then wife will come with me.
Let’s see what happeneds. LO Is very excited that I could get an offer. Mainly I know that’s because then there will be somebody she knows in the country and in that new company.
Not because She is wanting something to happen between us, that I am clear on
i find it difficult to understand how or when a limerent can withdraw without disclosing or causing much psychological harm to oneself – if we agree that it is a form of addiction ie person addiction, how can a limerent have the knowledge and/or wisdom to withdraw and stay mentally healthy – how can he/she be wise before the event so to speak – an alcoholic, like myself, although aware of the alcoholic issue, took twenty odd years before i acted on it, breaking down the denial etc – and it is ongoing -the neurological elements of the addictive brain kick in no matter what the issue – i find it strange that people on this site say they are addicted to a person but have no other addictive issues in their life?? ie substances etc – and all the destruction that subsequently follows – what percentage of limerents are addictive in other spheres of their life?…limerence seems in general to be indicative of a psychiatric illness rather than an addiction – as in why do limerents – in general – not have other addictions?
Hi Thought id drop a note as havnt posted in a while
Well Thanks to you Im doing ok’ish. You will remember that LO leaves the company end of Jan so I have 3 physical workings days left in the office with her. I have all month avoided her by working on other floors and WFH a lot more and trying to encourage minimum contact. Its been hard but thanks to you all i have really limited the banta that i used to initiate. We have been out for 1 lunch and 1 dinner which i really suffered with afterwards – at the time it was great (the drug) but after the evening when i got home or the next day it was a crash. But I partly wanted to do it to not raise akwardness as she leaves end of month and wanted to spend more time as we are close friends at work. So the good news is she hasnt suspected that I have changed my behaviour this month by me being quieter – but also she has been busy organising her move to new job which is in new country.
Feeling sad though as we had dinner last night and it just felt like we are dating – she even paid for dinner when i went to the gents and cos it was raining i ordered an uber for us to the station as a suprise for her and i could just feel me slipping into boyfriend/girlfriend mode….i felt happy though that I still have it in me to do sweet things cos I dont do it naturally with SO of 8 years. I even found myseld removing couple of fries from her jumper that she had spilt – then realised what i did – LOL…anyway im ok but finding it tough – after next week there will be very very little contact which should fizzle out
Good luck for next week Kevin, it could be tough emotionally. Have you had the leaving do yet?
Hi Vincent – thanks for remembering.
No thats on Thursday. I think Im kinda looking forward to it as it will start the phase of Limiting contact even further as there wont be daily contact. I really feel my priority at work has been avoidance – im lucky that i can work on different floors and at home to help avoid. But when I have been in same meetings as her or met up I feel that Im ok….but i think the ‘over thinking’ about LO starts after and the analysis. Anyway im looking forward to the leaving doo as it will take me to the next phase of limiting contact.
I think a lot of my thoughts are now thinking of her being alone in a new country and meeting someone and then me hearing about that etc. And I think thats whats making me feel not so good. But trying to keep busy.
How are you doing – are you in a good place?
I had been in a pretty good place, but this week there have been a couple of bits of info that have come my way that suggest she’s upset about how it ended. So I’ve been feeling a bit sad and guilty about it over the last few days. Hope it will pass and I won’t be tempted to break NC…
Mmmm yeah I can understand how your feeling. Like me you maybe someone who likes to just be amicable and not have sourness with people. I feel bad and guilty about that so I try to not ruin things with people. Probably distant myself from toxic people.
Have you thought about clearing the air so you can feel good and move on?
Yeah I’ve certainly thought about it, but I think it would unravel all my good work. I think this is a test of my willpower and I just have to work it through. If she contacts me that’s a different story, but I can’t initiate contact to make myself feel better because I’m sure I’d be underwhelmed by her response and end up feeling worse eventually.
I realise our situations are different, but when I went NC I left LO with a card, thanking him for all his support when we worked together and briefly explaining why I was leaving. I felt very bad about leaving like that and for ages wished I’d given him chance to respond before cutting contact.
After over 6 months I (stupidly!) contacted him to clear the air a bit, and whilst his replies were polite and friendly enough, as you said it was an underwhelming response and I felt worse for it. Since then I’ve made contact a few times and every time enjoyed the buzz at the time and regretted it afterwards. I’m trying to convince myself I feel better for not contacting. He never initiates so if I don’t, there’s no problem. So what I’m trying to say is, as tempting as it is, you are on the right course!
Good luck to you all!
Thanks Sophie, that’s exactly what I’d worry would happen. I know she’d act cool and I’d end up feeling like I wasted my time.
She always looked for me to lead, understandably given the age gap, and because I told her we were done she’s going to respect that. So she’s not going to contact me, and I just need to stand firm and not be tempted to contact her.
” He never initiates so if I don’t, there’s no problem.”
Spoke too soon…
Got a message out of the blue today asking if I was OK as he’s not heard from me for a while.
I’ve sent a polite reply and am trying not to read too much into it. Was at 4 weeks NC!
Ah the old bolt from the blue. He probably wants some attention.
Polite neutrality followed by NC is the best response. Here’s to 8 weeks NC next time 🙂
Sophie – I may have missed something but is there any reason that you don’t block his email & phone number?
I’ve never taken down his phone number and he’s never had mine. I’d blocked his work email address and I’ve never had his personal email.
I blocked him on Facebook but had no idea he had a Twitter account.
From yesterday he is now blocked on Twitter.
“He probably wants some attention.”
It may be simpler than that. He might have been running a line check. He sent one down the wire and she sent one back. The line’s intact.
When I requested LO #4 delete my old account, I didn’t have to thank or wish her a Happy Birthday. But when I did and she responded, I knew the line was still there. When I wished her a Happy Anniversary and she made the post about not remembering until someone had emailed and reminded her, it implied that 3 years later I still had influence. Maybe not a lot of influence. She didn’t have to respond to either of those but she did. For all I know now, she’s blocked my email address.
NC doesn’t mean the line’s not intact but responding in any way proves it is.
Fair enough – thats valid. Must be tough but you will get through it – you sound tough not contacting so far.
I hope i can be as tough as you… I think I can but i may start to feel guilty that Im not checking in on her to see how she is when she leaves the company on thursday – that will be my challenge.
You’ve done really well so far Kevin and you’re bound to feel a range of emotions with her going this week. I think NC might actually be a bit of a relief for you and you need that NC time to kick in and to let your head clear. Try making a pact with yourself that you won’t contact her for at least a few weeks after she’s gone and then see how you feel. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not checking up on her, she’s an adult and I’m sure she’ll be fine and adapt to her new surroundings. Hope the rest of the week goes well for you.
“Have you thought about clearing the air so you can feel good and move on?”
From experience, I don’t recommend it. In addition to apologizing to an LO you don’t want to feel like you have to explain yourself to him/her, even at goodbye. Like DrL says in another blog, apologies are tacit disclosures. Explanations are the same. I get why you’d want to but, again, I don’t recommend it.
One thing tends to lead to another. Once I said something, I usually felt like I could have said it differently or better. When I was done the hole I was in always seemed a little wider and a lot deeper. The more I tried to explain myself, the worse things got. It was pretty embarassing.
No matter how well you think through it and craft something you think is so completely unambiguous that it cannot possibly be misconstrued, there’s a good chance it could be. You have no guarantee that your LO will respond the way you think and you find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be. DrL talks about this somewhere, too.
It took a therapist to point out that the message I thought I was sending to LO #2 years ago was precisely the opposite.
Don’t do it. The response is ALWAYS underwhelming and painful. As limerents we project our feelings on to others. Do not open yourself up to more pain.
Sorry to pile on, but I strongly agree with Scharnhorst and catcity13. You will never come across as you intended, and the conversation will not go how you think it would.
From Vincent: “I think this is a test of my willpower and I just have to work it through.”
Vincent, during the 3 months of no-contact that I “enjoyed”, not a day (or a few hours) would go by that I didn’t think about LO, checking that she didn’t email me. I was both relieved and sad that she hadn’t reached out to me. And it certainly was a test of my willpower, as I did feel awful and really missed LO. NC seemed to be the right recipe for “breaking”/(reducing?) my limerence. I am afraid to write that, as I know my limerence isn’t gone, it is just no longer debilitating. She has been back in my office for about one month since my NC period (obviously) ended, for a couple of days per week. It is supposed to be a limited engagement, so we shall see where things go from there. Currently, I do interact with her as “friends”. It isn’t tearing me apart inside, likely due to the NC period breaking some of the linkages. Some days I’m glad she’s back in the office, some days I wish she wasn’t. At work, she is a natural part of my life and there is an excuse to be in touch with her. If she’s not, then it takes more voluntary action to keep in touch; I am more accountable for remaining in contact.
Full disclosure: we currently do reach out about once per day (when not at work) via email to say hi. She did reach out to me (a card) about 8 weeks into NC, but I did not respond. I couldn’t break the NC pact I had with myself and her, though I had the question of “why did she send this to me?” running through my head. I did call her out on this when it became known that she was returning to my office. We had a 2-hour lunch with disclosures by both people on why the 3-month NC period occurred. I have told her that I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Right now, I am having difficulty seeing how the “friendship” can exist after the natural setting for contact goes away. Things with SO are going well, and I do wonder how much is related to compensating for any guilt that exists from being back in touch with LO. But things had already been improving with SO during the NC period.
Thank you Thinker, that is enormously helpful. I too have made a NC pact with myself (and my SO) and so I have to keep it. 6+ weeks into NC I’m certainly better than during the height of our “relationship” but I doubt I can go an hour without thinking about her, even now. Every buzz of the phone I hope is her, despite knowing full well it’s better that it isn’t. The combination of relief and sadness you mention is exactly right. It’s quite an exquisite pain…
If you are serious about “getting over” your limerent episode, it is going to hurt. A LOT. I have found it useful to see the withdrawal pains as identical to what one experiences during a breakup. It doesn’t matter if your feelings were unrequited or unconsummated, or if you were in an actual relationship with the person for two years. The bonding instinct that your brain is experiencing is the same regardless of the circumstances. The result is that your heart is broken. Aside from the death or illness of a loved one, heartbreak is one of the most profoundly painful experiences life has to offer.
So. What works for getting through heartbreak? Time, for sure. Sometimes it takes a really long time. Then there’s No Contact. Does No Contact make it go quicker? Maybe. I’m not sure. But for those of you who have to share a workplace with your LO, treat it as if you are going through a breakup with said person. The tried and true advice is always No Contact. If that isn’t an option, always chose the option that minimizes contact. No check ins. No emails to say “hey”. I don’t think it’s possible to ride the high of being “friends”, because you aren’t. If one of you wants more than the other, friends is off the table.
So much wisdom in this thread!
Kevin, I know d-day is approaching fast, and just wanted to add to the chorus of people saying: stay the course, and don’t succumb to the temptation of “reaching out” or “getting closure”. It never works. LO doesn’t do what you expect, and you end up in the fog of uncertainty again and feeling worse than ever.
Another point is that the leaving day can take on great psychological significance. If you can find a way to make yourself more marginal on the day then it will probably go more easily for you. I had to make a speech when my LO left, and it took me forever to try and find a neutral tone but one that acknowledged that I wasn’t pretending our closeness hadn’t happened. I didn’t want to end by gaslighting her, but I also didn’t want to be unprofessional. I think I managed to straddle the boundary OK, but I would much rather not have had to do it.
Finally, Landry introduced me to a new term recently “disenfranchised grief”. I think that fits catcity13’s point about looking on this as a (virtual) breakup. You don’t get to publicly grieve for an internal loss that you “shouldn’t” be feeling, but that doesn’t make the pain go away. You do just have to take it as an unavoidable consequence of the situation you ended up in. It passes in time, and you can emerge wiser if you use the pain to learn more about yourself.
Yes, “disenfranchised grief” makes sense. I have called mine a secret heartbreak, because I have only confided in my most trusted friend/family. I think I would have had to seek professional help if I hadn’t been able to talk to *someone* about what I was going through (which is why this blog is so precious and valuable, Dr. L!).
Having talked the tough talk here, I will admit that I have been less than perfect with No Contact. Overall I haven’t humiliated myself as badly as I did once many years ago. You have to ask yourself “What relationship legacy do I wish to leave?” Try and make it a good one. It’s not easy to stay on the white horse.
Thanks Dr L for remembering
Yes a tough week but will be ok…. 3 days to go….will keep the goodbye less emotional too in front of her – even if i have to take the hit on my own – atleast im not getting emotional in front of her.
@Royce – Yes pact is a good idea…. I will be able to go NC i think quiet easily. I feel that strength in me.
Its when she sends the message of ‘Hey how you been… or sends me pics of her new country that I need to ensure i dont get into a full on conversation because i dont want to come across being rude or arrogant.
Hope your doing well! you sound as if you are !
Good luck with d-day!
I felt differently at the time, but looking back now I am extremely grateful to the awkward customer who prevented an intimate or emotional goodbye to LO. I waited for 15 mins after I had finished, then interrupted her constant stream of questions to say a brief friendly-but-professional goodbye. Had she not been there it could have worked out a lot harder all round! At least I made it back to my car before I started crying.
Fingers crossed it goes as well for you as possible.
“I had to make a speech when my LO left, and it took me forever to try and find a neutral tone but one that acknowledged that I wasn’t pretending our closeness hadn’t happened. I didn’t want to end by gaslighting her, but I also didn’t want to be unprofessional. I think I managed to straddle the boundary OK, but I would much rather not have had to do it.”
Yeah, those can be awkward. Have you ever seen “Top Gun,” Doc?
(You gotta figure out how to embed videos)
Vicarious Limerent says
I know this is an old post, but I like the concept of disenfranchised grief. That is exactly what I am going through with my LO. I feel stupid as a grown man crying over a woman I have spent maybe two hours with, but cry I do, and quite often. I thought I was over that, but I have started doing it again. I always manage to do it when my wife isn’t around, but she often asks me what’s wrong (after I manage to wipe away the tears). The thing is my “grief” isn’t just about grieving for the loss of my “relationship” with my LO, but it is also about not knowing what to do about my marriage and the hurt my brother in-law must have caused my LO because she clearly cares for him. I think deep down I know my wife and I aren’t compatible and we should probably separate, but I also know I have only a slim chance of ever being with my LO. I love my wife, but I am no longer IN love with her. I know some couples can get back the spark in their marriage and can get over that feeling, but I don’t think date night once every couple of weeks or more affection is going to cut it. I went to some EAP counselling, but it didn’t help all that much. I really need to make the decision myself, and my wife isn’t keen on going to couple’s counselling. Can just one person go to couple’s counselling, and is that even likely to be helpful? My wife acts like everything is fine and it’s just me who has the problem, but she cannot truly be happy either.
Vicarious Limerent, how are things Today ? I would like to know how are you doing?
I could so relate, I made the decision to divorce, because the connection was not there anymore. as my marriage ended simultaneously did my LE. And secretly I know my grief and pain from loosing LO who I only saw 4 times hurts more than loosing my 15 year of marriage. It’s like I have to build myself up from the ground again.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Mia: I am recovering from my LE very slowly. It isn’t a linear process and I often regress back to earlier stages of limerence, but the most important thing is that things are slowly getting better — at least with respect to the limerence itself (my marriage is a different story). I still think about my LO far too much and ruminate about her far more than I should, but I now find that I can concentrate and focus on other things much better than before. My work performance has improved greatly, and I am starting to become interested in many activities I had essentially dropped for the past six months. I am better able to compartmentalize my feelings and restrict my fantasies and ruminations to certain times and during specific activities. I am far from being over my LO, but at least the pining away and longing for her have largely subsided (although I still fantasize about her and think about the unfairness of it all and just what I would say to her if I ever saw her again).
As mentioned, however, my marriage is a different story. Things are worse than ever in that department. I just cannot figure out what to do in that regard because my wife and I are not getting along and I am really worried about how much she and my daughter have grown to despise each other. Our family life is absolutely atrocious and completely miserable. I believe deep down I know that my wife and I should probably separate (and my daughter should come with me), but I am worried that I am being motivated too much by the possibility of chasing after my LO (which would be a faint hope at best). On the other hand, I also worry that I am overcompensating for that by not doing what is necessary because I am so worried about making a bad decision based on my limerence, when I know things are bad with or without the limerence. I am willing to go for marriage and family counselling, but I am not sure if it would work. Right now, I am so incredibly torn between wanting to end a marriage that isn’t working and not wanting to lose someone I love, care for and have so many shared memories with. I have read countless self-help articles on the Internet, and I just feel more torn than ever. This is a terrible feeling! I feel like I am faced with a terrible dilemma no matter which path I choose. Still, I agree with Dr. L that self-improvement and living a purposeful life will likely help make my decision at least a little bit easier.
I hear you vicarious L.
My divorce absolutely was ‘ inspired’ by my LE. and yes I secretly and in the end not so secretly, hoped to be with LO right after my divorce, but I know the divorce itself was a good thing, I questioned my marriage before I even knew LO.
if all was good before LO I would not have taken that decision because I knew I might regretted it after the fog.
But LO was just a catalyst.
And I’m thankful for that. If it wasn’t for my LE I might not have taken the step.
For me life is too short to stay in an unhappy or not so bad not so good marriage where my needs are not being met ( and a massive LE as a result )and if it took a (very painful) LE so be. I’m glad it did.
Will you keep us posted ?
I wish you wisdom and peace with whatever you decide 🙂
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Mia. I will continue to post updates at least once in a while (sorry, I was out of town for a few days, so I wasn’t really on here).
I am going through hell right now trying to figure out what to do with my marriage. As you say, it isn’t great at all, but it’s hardly terrible 100% of the time either. I am absolutely torn apart. Maybe counselling will help, but I am starting to doubt it. At least my wife knows (basically) how I feel, but I sometimes feel very sad when she says things like she expects me to leave her or cheat on her when life goes back to normal. I think some of this is her trying to play the victim (I know I am the limerent one, but I have detailed some of the struggles with my marriage elsewhere on this site and she is hardly innocent in some of her behaviour).
I do fantasize about hooking up with my LO if my marriage ever ended. I wonder if I would be better off being able to convince myself she is absolutely 100% off limits to me no matter what happens in my life and marriage? This faint hope is keeping my dream of being with her alive. I thought it was better for me psychologically, but perhaps not. I still spend far too much time fantasizing about being with her and what I would say if I ever ran into her again. The thing is there are many reasons why we would likely be incompatible, yet there are some reasons why I think there might be faint glimmer of a chance.
I know I simply cannot end my marriage to chase after a woman I hardly know who never showed me any real interest. That would be foolish beyond belief, yet my limerence is only a symptom, not the disease. I also now worry that I am so paranoid about doing anything stupid that I am overcompensating for the limerence even though I was deeply unhappy even before the limerence. Deep down, I don’t think my wife and I are a good fit, even though I actually still love her. I have recently read quite a few articles over the past few days about other people who went through the exact same thing (loving their spouses, but just not feeling the “spark” in their marriage or the feeling like they are meant to be together any longer). Some of those people were able to remain friends with their exes and even improve their relationships in many ways. If my wife and I ever did go our separate ways, I would prefer that it be like that. The problem is I think she would want to be enemies, even though being amicable and mature about it would be better for all concerned. Still, I am not quite ready to give up on “us” just yet. We may still be able to rekindle our relationship, but I’m not sure. The status quo just isn’t good enough though.
VL, why dont you try counseling? To get some clarity, or even couples counseling, it seems you are stuck in your head trying to figure out what is best to do and obviously you dont trust your head, and it prabably goed in circles. So the answer will probably not come from your head right now.
Also maybe try yo see it less as “the good and the bad decsicion”
Life is not as black and white. Lets say you divorce and things will not work woth LO either ( statisticly good change it will not work out long term) but would you be able to get happy again? Without your marriage, without LO ( after the grief) ? of course you will.
Would it be possible that after your marriage and LO you will eventually find peace and maybe even find a new partner? I do not want to talk you out of your marriage, absolutely not but this situation does not seem to be sustainable for you for yet years.
Counseling gives me more clarity than i expected, its if great to have someone with a not foged vieuw to put things in perspective.
Or try couples counseling, you dont have to be stuck in hell for so long.
I hope you wille find some inner peace, belive me, i know its hell, we all know.
Vicarious Limerent says
@ Mia. Thanks for your response. I am going to try couple’s counselling. I went for individual counselling but it didn’t help all that much. The only good to come out of it was validation that my feelings make sense and are completely “normal.” I have heard that couple’s counselling didn’t help some people, although others swear by it. I suppose it is at least worth a try.
Believe it or not, I am not completely hung up on the choice being purely between my wife and my LO. It doesn’t have to be either of them, and I do understand how low the chances are that I would ever have a relationship with my LO (chances are she wouldn’t even agree to go on a date with me). I have had quite a bit of validation from other women in recent months, and I do think I would have a reasonably good chance of finding someone else.
I know enough to understand that my LO is only an archetype telling me what type of woman I would be looking for (ideally someone fun-loving who shares more interests with me, but also someone serious who takes care of herself and has a commitment to exercise and healthy living). I am so done with the type of woman who is basically content to sit on the sidelines and almost never does anything physical or truly fun and exciting.
Beginning with the caveat that I’m not a mental health professional but having been through couples’ counseling twice, I have a few recommendations:
1. Ask your therapist to do an assessment of your communications styles. When my wife and I saw our first marriage counselor, she did one. She found that my wife’s and my communications styles were radically different. She said, “I believe you two love each other and try to talk but your styles are so different, I don’t know how you two can agree on a restaurant let alone communicate on an intimate level.” My wife had to learn to that I couldn’t read her mind on things and I had to learn that “Do you want coffee?” could be more than a “yes” or “no” question.
2. Ask your therapist to assess your attachment styles. Two avoidants would work on their issues one way, two anxious styles would probably have to approach things differently. My wife’s attachment style is pretty secure but she can tilt toward anxious. I had to learn to dial back my more avoidant traits, something I wasn’t very good at with LO #2. LO #2 was afraid I’d take off on her and my dissmissive-avoidant style did nothing to calm those fears.
If two people perceive and define things differently, you can put your therapist’s kid’s through college and get nothing out of it.
Clip of the Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wujVMIYzYXg – “The Princess Bride” (1987)
Vicarious Limerent says
Thanks Scharnhorst. I will keep that in mind.
Good that you’re feeling positive Kevin and sounds like your determined to sort things out. Hope it all goes well after d-day.
I was feeling great after my period of NC, but have to admit that I’ve been drawn into my old ways recently. I was doing well with not contacting LO but then she got in touch with me and I crumbled pretty easily. It’s so hard not interact in the normal way with someone you consider to be a friend and blanking her or acting all professional would just seem very odd. Anyway, I’ll see how it goes and at least I know now that NC can work. It’s all a useful learning experience that can help me better understand this condition. I’m still in a much better place now than I was a few months ago.
@sophie. Thanks Sophie for your wishes. Luckily her leaving do is with five other people that are leaving so there should be a lot of people there that I can just get lost in the crowd when I want to.
We did go for a coffee yesterday and I did give her a leaving present as I felt that I wanted to give her something from myself rather than contributing to a pot like the rest of the team are. Was nothing soppy, just came across as a friend acknowledging a good friend and wishing her the best for her new role. She was grateful. In my mind that was the last solo moment with her. Although she wants to meet for dinner in a month. But I will have to slide out of that one.
Part of me is annoyed at her too that over the last year or so why she let me do nice things for her and take her ito nice places, allow me to have a pet name for her and allowed me to surprise her etc. She knows I married but she never stopped me or told me to rein things in. That would’ve given me wake-up call and I would’ve backed off for not been in this situation. She never ever encouraged me to do anything or did she ever do anything super nice for me but just allowed me to carrry on. So feeling a bit annoyed this morning. However we are all responsible for our own reactions so it is totally my fault I accept that.
Your right Sophie you were lucky with that customer. Hope your in a better place now. Did you do NC after that
Ok so you had a slip when she contacted you but sounds like you’ve been super strong not contacting her. I totally understand your point about communicating normally when they get in touch this is my biggest fear as well. That’s why sometimes I think is it worth telling the LO that you need and NC so they understand what you’re doing and don’t feel you’re being rude.
Maybe you don’t respond straight away or keep your responses brief. That’s what I’m planning to do if I am in this position. Dr L mention before to me as well that although they might be happy because we are responding normally we are putting ourselves in more of a mess and we need to put ourselves first.
Glad to hear that generally you’re better, that gives me some confidence as well that I can get better with a good streak of no contact. Keep going and I think in a few months time we will all be Looking back and thinking, wow we are over over this!
“Did you do NC after that?”
I left a card thanking him for all his support both professionally and personally, and briefly explaining I was struggling with an internal conflict, so hoped he would understand my need to cut contact. I got a friend to read it first to make sure I’d written it in way that I’d be OK with his wife reading it. Then I managed 6 months complete NC. I felt awful initially but stuck with it (kept in mind if I contact him I’ve thrown my career away for nothing) but I still felt guilty for how I’d left things.
“I think in a few months time we will all be Looking back and thinking, wow we are over over this!”
With any luck, yes! But at the same time, thats when we also need to remain careful. Throughout NC there was a niggle in the back of my head about how I’d left things. After 6 months or so I unblocked and sent an apology for blanking him when I popped into my former workplace. He seemed fine with it and we exchanged a couple of messages. Since then I’ve contacted him now and again and ALWAYS regretted it the next day because the response is always underwhelming and I’m always the one to make contact. Because my marriage is in a better place and we’ve had that period of NC, there is less to talk about.
I’m now around a week NC and trying to keep it that way. I’ve worked out when I’m most likely to contact him and have taken to leaving my phone at home at those times.
“I did give her a leaving present as I felt that I wanted to give her something from myself rather than contributing to a pot like the rest of the team” and “Was nothing soppy, just came across as a friend acknowledging a good friend and wishing her the best for her new role.”
Did your wife help you pick it out? Does she know you did it? If not, you are not being completely honest with yourself about your motives. I don’t mean that unkindly, but I’m serious. You are trying to prop that door open and, perhaps, without your wife’s knowledge. That isn’t cool. Thoughts may be your own, but those are the actions of someone who is courting.
” She knows I married but she never stopped me or told me to rein things in”
While I agree that she wasn’t classy about it, she isn’t Jiminy Cricket. Why are you more upset with her for not reciprocating than yourself for doing it, time and again?
I had to leave and forgot to include why are you upset with HER for not putting an end to it, rather than yourself for starting it?
If you’re feeling used by her, well, she’s single. She doesn’t owe anyone her loyalty or solidarity (although it would have been better for her own sake if she had said, “This feels weird – stop”, “you’re married and this is inappropriate” or a variation on the theme.
She didn’t. She was under no obligation to do so. That was your burden to bear and now that you are aware of it, do you know what you said to yourself to justify your actions? Do you want to stop? Etc.
I would say any future contact should be handled as though the HR, IT and ethics department are reviewing them, in addition to your wife. That may guide your responses and viewpoint.
Valid points – but im not more upset with her. As I mentioned, its upto me how react so I am totally accountable and more upset with myself. But I guess my question should have been that ‘WHY’ did she not stop me (sorry was feeling annoyed this morning but i know its not her fault)… I know she has no responsibility too as im the one that should be behaving .
Its made me more wary though for future relationships with work colleagues thats for sure
Who cares why she didn’t stop you. It’s irrelevant because even asking the question is a form of blame-shifting and trying to escape a sense of discomfort, IMO.
That is hers to address if she so chooses. Your motivations and actions are yours.
Yes, being more self-aware re: relationships is a good thing.
So, you feel used by a woman who had no direct idea of what was going on?
One upside of disclosure is that ambiguity is reduced or eliminated. But, in a professional setting, that could come at a high cost.
Another thing is that if you’re putting them in the position of doing the right thing because you won’t, you’re asking them to do your dirty work for you, even if that thought is only in your head. That didn’t stop me from doing it but it also backfired.
Kevin – it’s perfectly natural to wonder what her motives were. It takes two to tango, and you wouldn’t have gone as deep as you have without some reciprocation from her. The key is to make sure her behaviour isn’t your focus. The only actions you can control are yours. When you look back with a bit of clarity in full NC you’ll see that you made some mistakes and it’s a good time for some introspection to figure out what your motivations were. In the meantime it’s important to navigate these last few days without digging a deeper hole.
Fingers crossed Kevin and time will tell. This episode really is a roller coaster ride and I need to work harder and convince myself that I actually want to get off.
Thanks Vincent. That’s a very clear strong positive message you sent.
Yes I agree that there will be no digging as I have one more day to go.
My aim is to ensure that we leave on normal terms so there is no awkwardness Or adverse feelings after We depart from the leaving doo.
I have started introspection and I have realised what my motives were. Without knowing about limerence, looking back I feel my aim was to become her LO. Sounds mean but now that I know what it means I’m sure that’s what was in my subconsciousness. For her to want me. As I started to like her. But what happened was that I went in very deep And she had nothing for me except care for a friend. So I’m the one stung. Lol. Anyway A lesson learnt but you don’t know when you’re going to tip over the scale and be in danger.
Yep, that’s it. The desperate need to have them feel the same way about you, as you do about them. The desperate hope that it’s mutual.
One of the defining characteristics of limerence.
Yes, i wanted to get in her head. This was before I learned about limerence. The next thing I knew I was obsessed. I have started to withdraw it took 3 months. First my work phone then work emails forwarded to the trash (I was transferred at my request to another branch so there was no longer a need to keep in touch), then a fellow employee’s phone who called me then she was handed the phone. Needless to say I blocked that number. Finally my personal cell turned off. I has been a full month of NC to date. I find that the “bread crumbs” I would get to obsess on have been reduced allowing me to focus on other things.
I think there is something to be noticed here – limerents who find themselves attracted to those who are narcissistic are also prone to narcissism themselves.
Hear me out.
Narcissists tend to twinkle and have people enthralled by them for reasons (they’re physically attractive, they ooze self-confidence, etc.) and if a limerent can get their attention and notice, then by extension they are also more attractive to a wider range of others.
It’s a form of social climbing. We acknowledge it in various ways (trophy wives is the most easily recognized) but it boils down to the idea that if you can get the exclusive attention of someone whose social standing is higher, or who has youth/good lucks on their side, then by extension you are viewed as a more valuable person. Behind-the-scenes reality be damned. It’s all about the public presentation.
I think that it takes a certain kind of hubris to want both a spouse and a LO and outgrowing that as a goal is something to look towards.
I’m going to use Wilt Chamberlain as an example of this because it’s an outrageous example and he was such an outlier – I think we can all agree that it’s a showy illustration. I suspect he had a fair number of narcissist tendencies (and being a star in any area is going to push people in that direction), but even he recognized that it wasn’t that healthy on some level. At least before he died. A quote from Wilt himself in the final year of his life: “With all of you men out there who think that having a thousand different ladies is pretty cool, I have learned in my life I’ve found out that having one woman a thousand different times is much more satisfying.” Pretty ironic in light of him never getting married. I don’t know if he had a special companion at the time of his death.
Anyway, I do know that Mr. Lee and I have discussed the short-term social bounce he would have enjoyed if the younger, more attractive woman had taken up with him.
I get the part that if you’re chosen by someone cool, that makes you cool by extension. Personally, I think it would be really cool to be the consort of a powerful woman but that’s not a motivation to find one. It’s appealing to me but a lot of men can’t handle that. If I were available, there are 3 women I might approach. Walking into a roomful of strangers, all of them would give me more status but to anybody I care about and who care about me, it wouldn’t matter at all. I’m proud to have my wife at my side. 30 years ago, I introduced my 5’2″ blonde, blue-eyed bundle of cute to my co-workers, one of them asked how I managed to snag a woman like that. I told him, the old fashioned way, “I picked her up in a bar.” (true).
My guess is someone that is inclined to be attracted to narcs is more likely to be co-dependent or another narc/borderline than to be a limerent with that driver. Years ago, I was in a men’s group at church. One of the guys, who lived down the block from me was an high-powered executive with a local company, served on civic boards, etc. He was separating from his wife. They had 2 kids. He was leaving her for another woman he said was more suitable to his station. I knew his wife and his new paramour. I don’t know what his wife was to live with but beyond the other woman was better looking, highly paid, well-known in town, and made him look better, it came across as a mid-life crisis and he was a completely unsympathetic figure. He never said a word about what was wrong between him and his wife, only that the new woman was better. They divorced and he married the other woman. I have no idea if they’re still together.
On the other hand, one of my best friends and his wife divorced. During the separation, he got into a relationship with one of his divorced neighbors. When the divorce was final, they married. I’ve met her several times and I cannot see the attraction but I don’t have to. They appear to love each other and seem to be happy together. I knew his ex-wife and I can understand why they split but I don’t get what he and his new wife see in each other. None of the things you’d typically expect to find in a new partner are there, money, looks, education, social status, etc. Whatever they have is beyond superficial.
My attraction to LO #4 is undeniable. A lot about her appeals to me. My wife and she are very different women.
Would LO #4 ever love me, trust me, want to be with me, and have my back? Maybe, but there’s only one way to know that for sure. To do that I’d have to lose or betray someone who for 30 years, with the exception of a few dicey years, has stood by me without giving me a single reason to doubt her loyalty. And, if that isn’t bad enough, reality bites. I’d still have the medical issue to deal with, I’d still have 2 kids, and there’s no fairy tale ending.
@Sophie & @Vincent
For me, a secret relationship with LO #4 was never in the picture. Once her relationship collapsed and she went from a pleasant distraction in my head to someone reaching out to me, it was either going to be all or nothing.
I asked the therapist how a woman I never met living 2500 miles away could be causing me such anxiety. The therapist said that I never wanted this. I had this nice thing going in my head and now it’s real. She said I like to control things from 1000ft above the trees and she pulled me into the forest with her. I went from a proactive mode to a reactive mode. In short, I was doing something I didn’t really want to do in a manner I didn’t want to do it in.
One of the first questions the therapist asked was, “Are you willing to sacrifice your marriage and family for this woman?”
“One of the first questions the therapist asked was, “Are you willing to sacrifice your marriage and family for this woman?””
I went from the “secret relationship” only to seriously thinking about the above question. During the height of limerence, I was not in a position to make rational decisions. And nobody was there to help me, or possibly, I was afraid to get help and/or I felt at the time that I didn’t want the help.
I did think of how my LO related to “social climbing”. Yes, there would have been heads turning from the crowd of strangers (I still get that with SO to some degree), but anyone I really know or care about now would view it negatively.
I think the Wilt Chamberlain analogy might fit more a “grass is greener” explanation. Plenty of long-time married people w/o vast sexual histories “think” that they would like to trade lives.
“My guess is someone that is inclined to be attracted to narcs is more likely to be co-dependent or another narc/borderline than to be a limerent with that driver.”
I may be misunderstanding your point. If someone is limerent and is limerent for someone they later deem (as you can’t diagnose) as a narcissist, or at least narcissistic – is that a case of “buyer’s remorse” or “sour grapes”, or is it illuminating a facet of their own personality or possibly their own character?
I’ve read at least a few posts where the LO is at fault and the label “narcissist” is applied. I’m not saying that is incorrect, but it’s like listening to someone trash their ex-spouse. Were their uglier characteristics or character there all along and noted by others – in which case why did you choose that person; or did they keep it under wraps until they couldn’t be bothered anymore?
Now, a LO who isn’t interested and is stringing someone along IS unkind. That is on them. But if someone is using you and clearly isn’t as invested in whatever you want, why keep going? I’m not talking about the involuntary interest. I get that someone may have a feature that overrides all reason. I’m asking about those who are milking the limerent and it’s apparent. Why keep going back for more? I haven’t seen anyone on this site who states they are an adolescent of in their early 20’s and therefore the rational portion of the brain is still actively developing so hopeless romances are still relatively common.
At what point does the higher order processes kick in and people make decisions about what they are doing and if it hurts, take steps to make it stop?
“A larger-scale study, this one published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, examined the difference between sexual attraction and long-term love (among other topics). This research analyzed the results of 20 separate fMRI trials monitoring subjects’ reactions to a wide variety of stimuli—looking at photos of a loved one, looking at photos of strangers, looking at photos of familiar but not beloved people, looking at pornographic photos, etc. After pooling this data, the research team was able to differentiate between sexual desire and long-term love. In short, they found that both stimuli activate the nucleus accumbens (the brain’s pleasure center), but only love activates the insula (the region that assigns value).”
Ugh – that means 20 trials with exactly how many participants? How many were later deemed limerent? Methodology matters!
“Perhaps the most interesting facet of the studies cited above is that the parts of the brain most heavily affected by both limerence and love—the striatum and the insula—are also the parts of the brain most heavily affected by addictive drugs. Yes, that’s right, limerence and love have a great deal in common with cocaine and heroin. In fact, Dr. Jim Pfaus, lead author of the second and larger of the studies, has stated, “Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded. It works the same way in the brain as when people become addicted to drugs.”
Yeah, yeah, it’s Psychology Today which isn’t much of a source but it can spark interesting conversations.
I feel better now. Good on purepedantry for calling BS way back in 2009 on bad science reporting (if not bad necessarily bad papers).
“Let me make a plausible counter-interpretation: true love over many years is an evolving feeling that changes from being smitten to genuine respect and understanding. Recollection of that evolution makes us feel a perceptual warmth that activates reward centers in the brain, but the fact that being smitten and respecting someone both activate the same reward pathways is incidental. It does not indicate that the feelings are the same as the beginning of the relationship, and it is not a marker for whether that relationship will succeed.”
Here’s an interesting paper that I will read closely this weekend. If anyone else does and wants to chip in, that would be fun (for me, if not Dr. L.)
Darn. Boo. Hiss! I hope this is investigated more thoroughly in the future. The best time to start a long-term study was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. *nods at Dr. L.* I still like Figure 2.
“Additionally, we do not compare the brain structure of romantic love and drug addiction. The reason is lack of study that investigates the brain structure of romantic relationship. For romantic love we also do not discuss the resting state brain functioning changes in long period of romantic relationship (the length of relationship more than 18 months). Future research should investigate these questions in order to learn more about the neural mechanism of romantic love.”
“…is that a case of “buyer’s remorse” or “sour grapes”, or is it illuminating a facet of their own personality or possibly their own character?”
Personally, it’s the latter.
” In short, they found that both stimuli activate the nucleus accumbens (the brain’s pleasure center), but only love activates the insula (the region that assigns value).”
I believe it. I’ve only become limerent for women I’ve attached to or, in the case of LO #3, wanted to attach to. Attachment assigns value.
I’ve attached to 4 women in my adult life. Of those 4, I invested in (i.e., allowed myself to trust) 2 of them. I’m married to one of them. As far as I know, neither of them did. Trusting someone assigns them a lot of value since trust makes you vulnerable and grants someone the capability to betray you.
Limerence is an involuntary emotion. At no point did I think to myself “I’m bored with my wife, I think I’ll take myself a younger, hotter girlfriend on the side”. It’s an internal struggle, a torment. You have feelings, thoughts you don’t want to. Even in the height of my LE all I could imagine was a secret relationship with LO. No one would ever have known about it other than me and her. It wasn’t about social standing, showing off or anything like that.
I will concede that my ego was flattered by her attention but if that’s narcissism then we’re all Narcs.
“my ego was flattered by her attention but if that’s narcissism then we’re all Narcs.”
Here’s an idea: Narcs are flattered by attention from ANYone; they want it from everyone. The rest of us are only flattered by the attention of someone who we believe has a higher social standing than we do (by virtue of being better looking, younger, more successful, richer, whatever). Being around such an LO (ie, who likes us back) elevates our perception of our own standing. But it’s not a REAL increase in social standing b/c no-one else may know about it. Then the question is, what do you do when you have to face the fact of your un-changed social status vis a vis your inflated self image? Well, I think you have to start living more purposefully so that the former catches up to the latter. That’s what I’m working on!
For me, I suspect the attraction to LO was simply the fact he was a male of a suitable age that I spent any real amount of time with! Then having similar aged children, professional background and marital issues helped having something to talk about.
My friends are all female, spent most of my time with children. Our workplace was predominantly female – only 3 men there (one is my Dad, one is older and other is LO!)
I can’t speak for anyone else though!
@Vincent ” Even in the height of my LE all I could imagine was a secret relationship with LO. No one would ever have known about it other than me and her.”
Rings very true for me!!
Obviously there can be other factors, I chose to point out the most easily noticed. Wealth is another but not everyone discusses or displays it.
Well it’s 01:11 here in uk and I just got back from the LO’s leaving doo.
Because each of you have had a role to play in supporting me and giving me guidance I wanted to reach out to convey that your advise was perfect
1 I stayed marginal. Chatted to LO a bit but also got lost in the crowed and talked to others
2 didn’t keep staring at her. Controllled that
3 stayed till the end as was having a good time with others.
4 we left together but hugged each other twice tightly and just a kiss on the cheeck only.
5 no disclosing and no romantic gestures.
So that’s it for now. I feel good and in control and ready to start an even greater level of limited if
Not no contact.
Today is feb 1. And today is a new and
Well done for getting through that difficult period Kevin, however you’ve done it and hopefully things will improve from here. With her away in another country I think you should really try total NC, for as long as you can, although I know it’s hard to ignore contact from them. Limited contact is ok but I’ve found that with this you ultimately know that you will see/speak to LO again and you always have that next interaction in mind and can be easily drawn back in.
Was tough month But yeah got through it. At least I feel more comfortable in the office now that I can move around without bumping into her. Because seeing her triggers thoughts and feelings that I don’t need to have. Although yesterday was emotional there were no tears. The only challenge I have is that she expects me to come and visit her I’m sure she’ll stay in touch with me via text messaging so I have to have a plan in place on how to Maintain my own peace of mind and balance not letting her know I’m withdrawing.
Even as we departed yesterday she said she will send me photos of her holiday that she is going to 1st before she starts her job. In my head I was like ‘oh great‘. This is why I do circle back to the point that sometimes it may be just worth disclosing a little so that you can get support from LO to do no contact.
Anyway time will tell how much she contacts me but I certainly won’t be initiating any contact or responding straightaway. During Christmas she did not contact me except for New Year’s Day so I am hopeful that she won’t be always contacting me.
Yep, see how it goes and hope she’s too busy to contact you. At least going to work should be a little easier now. Slow response is a good idea if she gets in touch. She might get fustrated and give up if you’re really slow. If she does send pics I’d recommend you don’t look and just delete them. Staring at a picture of her is going to do you no favours and you could always just send a short message back saying something like – “looks like a great holiday”. Good luck!
Sounds promising and I hope 2019 is a vast improvement over 2018 for you and yours.
Welldone on surviving it Kevin. Hope the distance helps things improve for you!
Currently posting on here as am fighting the urge to contact LO. Bumped into a former colleague earlier combined with a bad shift yesterday evening has had me craving my old job!!
Good luck everyone!
Yeah good idea to just send short messages. She doesn’t do photos of ourselves really so I don’t think it would be of her but just of any scenic stuff that she thinks I would like. However I will just stick to short messages.
But she has already contacted me this afternoon because she has lost some earrings in the building and wants me to ask the security guard if anybody has handed them in. So I really just hope this all stops soon, I guess this is a hang up still of her leaving the and she knows that I’m reliable and will get the job done.
Luckily even she admits that she is not very good at staying in touch with people and actually is one of the weaknesses BUT I see that is the strength to help me. ha ha ha.
Thanks for your kind comments and your support .
Please please please don’t contact your LO. I’m fighting to not get contact from my LO as a number of people on here with just weeks of no contact have said they feel better so it really is giving me motivation to just go for as long as I can, so please be strong for yourself and go above your inner urges to get a better outcome
Hey congrats Kevin! Sounds like it went well – friendly but no romantic gestures is perfect.
Yep, Feb 1st is as good a landmark as any to start that new life. Godspeed!
Darn it. I submitted another post with a link to a more recent research paper and it’s gone *poof!* Plus the one that linked to ScienceBlog 2.0
Dr. L. – are they in the spam folder or did you decide they weren’t a good fit for this thread?
If you make a mistake with your name or email address, it goes into the moderation queue as a new member until DrL releases it. I’ve done it before.
Bingo. This one was caught in the moderation cue (maybe because of links). It also seems to happen randomly from time to time with even known commenters – possibly if they’ve logged in with incognito browsers or something?
And you lot are all having such a great chat I can’t keep up with the approvals fast enough! 🙂
This site is so illuminating and convincing and rings so true and yet I can’t help feeling like it’s perhaps like the old theory of the sun revolving the earth? Works for most practical purposes, but fundamentally incorrect. I mean, is love not real? Am a “co-limerent, both of us with SO’s.” And want to believe in magic. Am 6 days into yet another stated NC and just wonder what even is love if not this? My SO doesn’t “suffer the depths” and is a good partner-er. Was “limerent” for the SO for 20 years which faded imperceptibly slowly maybe 2-3 years ago and didn’t realize until this new one stole my heart out of nowhere. It felt like he literally took my heart of out my chest and turned the little switch on the back to “on.” And because of these doubts (is this limerence or not?), I went ahead and married my SO whilst in this LE, expecting to go back to sanity or clarity eventually. I let my brain decide. My SO likes and cares for me a lot. But the LO loves me back just as fiercely, it seems. How is that not real? When is it the right move to just take the leap and leave SO’s? Aside from the natural fear of change and bold moves, I must blame this site for keeping me passive, waiting for it all to pass. I worry it’s a mistake. I can also credit it for the most recent push for no contact. Theoretically healthy move. And I have found some clarity and room in my brain to take care of business and such. Perhaps these are simply the ramblings of an addict in NC withdrawal. I honestly can’t say.
I guess it depends on what you mean by “incorrect”. Limerence is certainly real. The feelings we experience, and the strength of connection to LO, is real. The principle of this site, though, is that this sensation is due to meeting someone who triggers your limerence circuits in just the right way – not that there is some transcendent magic that cannot be denied.
If you leave your SO (who you were limerent for) and start a relationship with LO (who you are currently limerent for) it is only a matter of time until the latest limerence passes, and then you’ll meet a new LO. You could chase serial limerence episodes – perfectly legitimate life choice as long as you are honest with everyone involved. But, if any limerent wants to build something more long-lasting and based on deep, affectionate love, then at some point they have to accept that they will have to resist the next LO and commit to what they’ve built.
There isn’t a right or wrong choice here. You just have to decide which of limerence or long-term love is most important to you.
I guess a simple question is – is there not a “transcendent Magic that cannot be denied” which is legitimate and worth pursuing?
Anonymous Limerent says
There may well be but the simple truth is this: We have to stick to what we know is real. That is, otherwise we are pursuing legends and fairy tales all our life.
That’s all well and good if you are successful in your pursuit, but imagine not finding anything at the end of your life; never experiencing true love and having spent all your time looking for something you never found. That would pose a lot of regret on your death bed, no?
Just something to think about when deciding what you want to pursue…
You sound as though you’ve already made up your mind but want permission to follow through.
“…is there not a “transcendent Magic that cannot be denied” which is legitimate and worth pursuing?”
Maybe, but you will have to CHOOSE between SO and LO before you pursue transcendent Magic. You don’t get to have both of them simultaneously because then you will never experience what transcendent Magic can accomplish when you commit to it.
My grandfather-in-law was reported to have abandoned his wife and kids. I only heard one side of the story. He married another woman and stayed married to her over 40 years until she died.
My accountant got involved with a married man and was considered a home wrecker. The guy divorced and they’ve been married over 25 years.
Neither of them get points for artistic impression but they seemed to do ok on technical merit. But, it’s considered good form to declare war BEFORE you bomb the battleships.
So, yeah maybe it does happen.
“My SO likes and cares for me a lot. But the LO loves me back just as fiercely, it seems. How is that not real? When is it the right move to just take the leap and leave SO’s?”
Your SO deserves to be appreciated for himself. Nothing wrong with ending it so you can both move on. Life is only so long and being with someone who is spending a great deal of time and energy regretting their life to date is the pits.
Thank you all for the notes. Still NC. Nice swaths of time feeling clear of it but obviously not out of the woods yet. Posting and reading the reactions has been helpful, if only to smack a little reality into me. I had thought I didn’t feel guilty *because magic* *am powerless* but having it out there, I do feel guilty. I’m not powerless. Trying to just move on and see I’ve dodged a bullet and figuring out what my own issues are to improve on. And working to reconnect with SO. Was triggered earlier today, but it brought mostly feelings of feeling embarrassed or stupid, not limerent or longing thoughts. So that’s definitely progress. Thank you especially DrL for this site and perspective and the mental frameworks with which to deal with this. An invaluable service.
I hope you find your way out of the weeds.
Have you tried journaling?
I have been sortof journaling using notepad on my phone to keep track of my ups and downs since I guess this past November-ish. Really just a way to fill the void where I would want to message with him but trying NC. But it’s also illuminating to read back as I go from clear after a week or so of NC and then right back to full-tilt delusional once contact is reestablished. But maybe I should do some more proper journaling to get at more of the root of what caused this in the first place, and try to find a remedy.
Anonymous Limerent says
I have actually done something similar, but this spin could help with the notorious ‘purposeful living’ that Dr. L jeeps droning on about: I have begun to write a story (to-be classic novella, of course).
Since I am currently in the throes of LE#1 (day #259), it is about a school boy who lives a normal life. He goes to secondary school not knowing anyone, but meets a girl he instantly has a small crush on(who looks coincidentally a lot like my current LO…); this is eliminated soon into the tale. However, after two years, he gets the gimmer for her after eye contact.
He then researches and finds out about his limerence and what it is.
* It’s worth noting, a little into this year is where the part based on real occurrences stops and delves into pseudo-fiction…
Over the next two years, he is constantly distracted and fails his GCSEs, ruining his life and future career. He then discovers on the last day of school that his LO has had feelings for him this whole time but never disclosed, like him. This drives him into a deep depression (as the past two years have ruined his life for no reason) and he kills himself.
The whole story turns out to be a suicide note!
It’s kind of a tragedy, but I’m hoping that the fact it uses my situation to be productive means my destructive emotions can be controlled and used for good.
Something to try! 🙂
Anonymous Limerent says
*” jeeps” should be “keeps”!
Been thinking the same idea to write it out, the fantasy, the crush, the crash. I’ve seen a post about songs/musics for limerents (which is like 85% of all of it), not sure how many novels that especially dive into and “successfully” emerge from the limerence in any wholesome peaceful way. Would love to see recommendations! Let’s see them Emerging, meaning having dealt with It honestly at least internally and then also recovering. I’d like to read or watch something about the glimmers and then mistakes and destruction and salvation in one way or another. In the meantime maybe my journals will give me that…eventually. Am here today b/c I miss the LO. And feel GUILTY ABOUT LEAVING HIM via NC. Today. But I know it’s crazy. I call it day 9. It’s been a while longer with a big relapse 9 days ago, otherwise close to a month. We are both artists and need to feel. The “clear feeling” I appreciate also reads as flat and dead-hearted and seems wrong sometimes, as all the poetry and philosophy I read tells me, hence my pushback the other day. But I know this is different, an unnecessary hold on my actual one life, and I need to find feeling and passion elsewhere, not with the stupid handsome brilliant dime-a-dozen ignorant whatever LO. What else will make my heart sing? A thing to explore. Am looking, and I’ll find it.
The closest thing I’ve read that describes emerging from my LE was in the end to Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”
“But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath.
‘Well, I’m back,’ he said”
Yeah, I get what you mean. Sam has a happy life ahead, but it’s so bittersweet because the old adventure has ended forever.
I don’t look back on the LE that fondly, though…
Anonymous Limerent says
Not sure how much that relates to limerence…
“Not sure how much that relates to limerence…”
It’s a stretch…
I like metaphors. They help me relate important concepts to events in my life. The therapist and I killed a whole session on metaphors.
LOTR is about an epic quest. Remember when Frodo offers Galadriel the Ring and she declines? She passed the test. I see my last LE as a kind of test. I passed it. The passage I quoted relates to my coming to my senses and returning to where I belong and to whom I belong. If you buy into the numinous aspect of limerence, an LE can seem like an epic quest.
“Top Gun” is a metaphor for my 5yr relationship with LO #2. Maverick loses his way and finds a way to put things past him and move on. Remember the ending where he throws Goose’s dog tags off the fantail? He lets go. “Bat 21” is a metaphor for how I like to operate above the forest and interact with people. Influence them from a distance and don’t get into the weeds with them.
Weird, I know but it works for me.
Anonymous Limerent says
Keep in mind, I am only 13 years old, so I’ve never seen Top Gun. However, that part of LOTR is a better metaphor for a situation; the first one you gave didn’t really resonate with what it was supposed to represent.
I do like metaphors, though: I often feel as though I relate to the lyrics of Green Day’s ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ due to my limerence. “I walk alone” relates to my situation – I do feel as though nobody understands what I’m going through, so I feel as though I have no friends at times. And the “broken dreams” speak for themselves when it comes to desiring someone else.
Thanks for clarifying, though.
“I don’t look back on the LE that fondly, though…”
Given enough time and distance, that may change.
I don’t recommend limerence as a path to self-enlightenment and I don’t want to have another LE. I spent a lot of effort to ensure that. The LEs caused me no small amount of anxiety and one of them was really painful.
But, overall, I’m in a better place as a result of them. I learned something from each LO that I was able to build on later. LO #2 taught me how to make good coffee, introduced me to the highlights of Seattle, Japanese food, and he taught me about fashion and style. I owe her a lot. When it came to relationships, she didn’t sour me on them, she made me want to pursue another one. That one didn’t work but maybe the next one would and it did.
LO #4 was a catalyst that led me to address issues I’d been carrying for decades. I owe her, too. While she was a potential threat to my marriage, my marriage is better today because I addressed those issues.
And, with respect to LO #4, it’s kind of nice to think that there was another woman out there who might think I had something to offer.
I am a 27 year old female. I am recently engaged to my best friend. I have been dating him for over 8 years. For the past year, I have experienced limerence with his mom, my future mother-in-law. I remember exactly when “the glimmer” happened – something just switched in me. I have experience limerence for my entire life – mostly with older females who were my teachers. It was only until this year that I really explored my feelings, becoming self-aware, and trying to understand myself and who I am better. I never knew what limerence was until I started my own research.
This past year has been one of the best ones of my life because of the psychological “highs” that I’ve experienced with my LO. However, my psychological lows have been extremely low. My limerence with my LO has truly affected my overall wellbeing, my work, and my relationships with my family and friends. It’s like I haven’t been able to live my own life – I literally revolve everything I do around her.
From reading Dr. L’s blog and doing my own soul searching and research, I understand where my limerence has stemmed from – I experienced a very traumatic experience when I was younger that I truly believe has had a significant impact on the way I feel today.
I wanted to comment on this post about withdrawal pains because I am currently experiencing them. Because my LO is my future mother-in-law, I not only see her all of the time but will continue to always be in her life (which makes No Contact extremely difficult). It seems like every time I’m not with her and she’s doing her own thing or hanging out with other people, I become extremely insecure, almost threatened. I feel that she is going to get “close” to other people and our relationship will not be the same. It’s like I am always trying to validate her feelings towards me and sustain our “best friend” relationship. It’s like I don’t want her to have fun with anybody else because I always want her to “need” me there.
When I am experiencing these withdrawal pains and the pain of not being around her, I keep trying to remember that “this too shall pass” and that this feeling will not last forever. However, I am still longing to be with her, counting the days until I see her again. I am really trying to overcome my limerence by focusing on her faults and flaws, when she makes me feel bad, and doing little things everyday to disrupt the habits that I’ve formed.
I wanted to know what you guys think of my situation and if any of you have any more advice for me about how I can move forward and use my limerence in a positive way.
Welcome to the blog, and what a complicated situation!
I think my first comment would be a recommendation to investigate professional help. If you have identified specific trauma or traumas from your past that you think are contributing to the limerence you are experiencing now, then it would be prudent to look into trauma therapists who would have specialist knowledge that could be very valuable.
From the perspective of limerence, I have a few questions: When you’ve become limerent for older women as your “LO archetype”, is it a desire to form a sexual and romantic relationship, or is it more of a longing for closeness and emotional intimacy? I appreciate that the two cases are not mutually exclusive, but it’s striking that you are in a romantic relationship with a younger man but limerent for an older woman. I just wonder if the quality of romantic experience is different.
From your later comments it sounds too as though you want the limerence to go away, and that you want to marry your best friend. Again, that may well be a rational choice, but I do wonder if you have ever entertained the idea of forming a relationship with an LO? Have any of your LOs reciprocated? Given you the opportunity to see what a relationship with them would be like? Often LOs can be poor choices for stable relationships, perhaps especially if you are drawn to them for traumatic bonding reasons, but there is also of course the possibility that your subconscious is trying to assert itself to get the sexual and romantic partner that you really want.
Feel free to not answer these personal questions 🙂 But, the most striking thing from your story is the mismatch between your LOs and your long term partner. It’s much commoner for people to be hetero- or homo-limerent, and even bi-limerents tend to report the same sensation but with individuals of different genders.
It does seem as though there is a lot of complex psychology behind your situation. It will probably take deep work to try and understand it better, and if you can find a pro guide to help with that it would probably be wise.
Wishing you all the best,
Hopefully, at some point, we come out of the LE.
That leaves some questions, “How do I reconcile this? Where do I consign my LO in my head? How do I put them in perspective?
This article can help. https://thoughtcatalog.com/holly-riordan/2019/05/you-can-appreciate-what-someone-toxic-has-done-for-you-without-keeping-them-around/
Not all LOs are toxic. But, as a partner in the LE, they can be detrimental in no small number of ways. For those of us that had relatively good relationships with our LOs, the article has some good perspective on appreciating the good while acknowledging they don’t belong in your life.
If you read it, don’t get hung up on the “toxic” aspect. Pay attention to what the author says in bold.
So much for dialing back…maybe it’s an extinction burst….
Can anyone describe they’re physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. I’m feeling anxious and shaky, mind is spinning and racing, heart pounding and panicy. I’m guessing this is because I haven’t had a LO fix for a while?
I was only a few weeks into NC when this post came out, and reading my comments above I said “The combination of relief and sadness you mention is exactly right. It’s quite an exquisite pain…”. I’d say there was also a feeling of guilt initially too, and lots of attempts to keep getting my hits by talking about her. I remember telling lots of people how we’d fallen out and were no longer speaking. Of course I wanted them to ask why, or tell me some of her news. An addict looking for small highs….
At this stage I was still constantly thinking about her. I did a few weeks later get a full hit by texting her, which was a mistake, but a standard backward step for a recovery. All I’d say is that this stage passes and you get used to living in an LO free world, and eventually focusing on other things. It’s hard, but you have to keep going.
Thanks for your words of encouragement. I am now at the place where I’ve had one to many relapses and there’s not a chance I’m going to message LO to get the hit, I’m not going to undo everything just to feel back to square one. I’m just rolling with the pain today. It’s good to know that this passes as long as I keep focused. It’s mad to think how long I’ve been stuck for but I guess I’ve never really stuck to my plans. This time is different, I’m fed up of this pain and it only drives NC even more..
Funny you should say about you talking about her, this is something I do and that’s something that needs to be worked on.
Hang in there, Rachel. Stick to the plan.
It’s ok to feel crappy. Have you ever tried mindfulness? Like when you feel this shitty, just analyze how it feels. Like where and how you feel it in your body. Without judgement and without analyzing why… just that you feel a certain way.
It will pass.
I also talked a lot about LO with other people that didn’t even know him. Just because I thought about him a lot. I stopped though. Every time I catch myself wanting to talk about him, I don’t do it. Whatever story I want to tell is not that important, I might as well not say it.
Took me a long time to realise that talking about her was holding back my recovery. It was so easy to engineer the conversation… bring up something vaguely related to her to someone I was talking to and because we were so close, that person would then ask “oh how is LO getting on by the way?” and then I’d be into the whole drama. Just the act of talking about her gave a mild high, but what I really craved was that person commenting on our relationship and ideally saying that it was obvious she had feelings for me, which happened a couple of times. Obviously I was searching for validation in different ways, much like during the LE.
Eventually I realised what I was doing and stopped it. A girl I work with closely still sees LO a lot and we talked about what happened one day. She said LO kept talking about it too and she didn’t want to be stuck in the middle and I agreed and said that I wanted to not talk about her again. She’s respected that thankfully and whilst it still sometimes feels like the elephant in the room, it’s better than keeping the embers burning.
Rachel “Can anyone describe they’re physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal”
I have anxiety attacks at random times during the day, where I find myself short of breath and then shaking. Today I heard the song “Here I am” by Air Supply and I lost it emotionally as it describes the highs and lows I feel these past 2 weeks on NC. At night I lay awake in a cold sweat. I have Seroqul for the anxiety, but am afraid to take them. Instead I take Benadryl which help me fall asleep, despite my constant thoughts of despair that I will never see or hear from the love of my life (LO) again.
Getting out and exercising helps, but be careful what music you listen too 🙁
Just when I thought I was over you,
And just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Oh, baby those mem’ries come crashing through,
And I just can’t go on without you.
Funnily enough Bob I heard All Out Of Love by Air Supply yesterday – and congratulated myself that for the first time in ages a love angsty song didn’t make me think about LO. Which then made me think of LO …. my goodness but the brain can be devious at times. I am trying hard to avoid my limerent music – but as you say it’s hard to avoid when something comes on that hits you. Hope your day today was better.
Mine was absolutely awful if I’m honest. Did a lot of walking during which I could not stop endless intrusive thoughts of LO. Probably as bad as it’s ever been. This evening is better though thankfully. Over the 2 week NC mark (sort of).
SGL, sorry to hear you had a bad day. I find walking does not bring relief from daydreaming about LO. It may even provide more undistracted time to think about LO. I tend to listen to audio books, dramatized ones are best to draw your attention into the story. Reading allows for too much distraction and mind drifting. A good action movie or show sometimes will help…not a romance.
Today was pretty horrible for me too and the SO was gone all day, so I was alone with my thoughts with no distractions. So I decided to work on finances/bills. That at least gave me some relief from LO thoughts, even if not that fun.
Good to hear your evening was better. Mine was too. Another day of successful NC for you. It may not have been easy, but you made it through. That’s all we can hope for. It does scare me some people say they still have intrusive thoughts of LO, after 6 months or more of NC. I’m hoping it does not take that long.
I do have a character flaw that may help with getting over LO. I’m kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” person and “all or nothing”. These traits have not helped much yet with intrusive LO thoughts, missing her and want to see or text her. But I’m hoping it will dull these feelings by 6 months of NC…I hope.
Yeah in this case I was with someone so couldn’t listen to anything. Just miles of walking not enough talking and horrible rumination. Ugggh. Anyway – tomorrow is another day. I will look into audio books when I am back home to try and stop the thoughts.
Without pandering to gender stereotypes, I do wonder if “out of sight / out of mind” might be easier for men than women. I’ve finally deleted my last treasured photo of LO off my phone last night. Thought I could hang onto to just one – but it increased my pain last night.
Very glad your evening was better too. I still believe that each day of NC is a little building block to feeling better. Hopefully not 6 months though …
Thanks for the support.
Sarah yes I do a lot of mindfulness it does help. Sometimes it’s like I’m on a role though and nothing will snap me out of the anxiety. It does pass and I know this now. It’s just a case of riding it out and not contacting LO. I hope your doing well.
Thanks Vincent for this enlightenment it’s something that I haven’t considered. Hopefully with my super LC and stop talking about LO this will further my recovery.
I second what Vincent said. For me it wasn’t that I’d get information about LO, but talking about him kept him being a part of me. I would refer to him as “my good friend” or even “my best friend”… my mom still asks occasionally how he’s doing.
I’ve had some further exchange with LO, and while I realize I am less “aroused” by it (in the neurological sense) it does leave an aftertaste of keeping LO on my mind, so I take that as a small setback that needs intervention from me to counteract.
I realized I am less angry now about LO’s LO. She’s not on my mind as much anymore and I am not as angry at her for “taking my LO away from me”.
This is an actual emergency. Saw LO today and he said to my face how much he missed me and was good to see me. My reaction was good. I responded whilst avoiding eye contact that it was good to catch up a little and said bye. The contact was unavoidable. I’m worried as hell that I got a rush from that, I tried to control it rather than go completely buzzed. However it’s been on my mind all day. I can feel myself getting sucked back in but I keep focused and tell myself that this means nothing. My decision has been made but Mt thoughts are intrusive. Needs tips so this doesn’t help up in a full on relapse.
What an ass… I’m sorry, but he should just leave you alone.
He tried being nice to lure you back in, then mean to get a reaction from you, and now the full frontal attack of “I miss you”. He seems very selfish.
Stay strong Rachel, stay your course. He just wants to lure you back in.
Push the thoughts away with all force. Distract, ignore, think of something else. He is not good for you, you don’t want him in your life, all he tries to do is wanting to have you as his marionette again. Don’t let him play with you! Don’t give him that power.
Piece of cake…
Channel your inner Galadriel!
Look at it like this, Rachel: you handled the interaction brilliantly. You did exactly the right thing. No overreaction, no drama, just a polite comment and goodbye.
It’s inevitable that your guts would do somersaults later, but the absolutely critical thing is that you managed the interaction well in the moment. Forgive yourself the stress/arousal reaction. It’s your body hanging on to old, unhealthy connections. Unfortunately you just have to accept that the emotional response will take time to catch up to the progress you’ve made in terms of intellectual strength.
@sarah your right on every word. This is what I’ve had to deal with the last 18 months very unstable and unpredictable behaviour.
It could have been genuine and friendly or it could have been a lure. Either way it rocked me and mind went crazy. But I’m proud of my actions and strength not to engage.
@Scarny thanks loved that short clip.
@Dr L thanks for the continuing support. Your right I need to be kind to myself. My actions were acting within a purposeful way. LO now terrifies me rather than somebody who I enjoy to spend time with these days. The consequences of me acting any other way than purposeful are horrendous on mental state. Whilst I’m a little shocked and surprised by his actions, as he has been very distant with me, I’m pleased I pass a huge milestone in this recovery. Pat on the back for myself!
I bet you anything, if you don’t react now, the next thing he will say will be mean again, either just something negative or passive aggressive. Want to bet?
Stay strong now and do not initiate any sort of contact.
I’ll be sure to let you know. But your more than likely right.
I’ve been battling with myself the last few days. Feeling so many emotions of anger, sadness, anxiety and confusion over my LE. I have been struggling so much to let go of my LO. Even though I can see that this person is not for me and that I know deep down I don’t want him. I found this blog about letting go and accepting. I hope this can be of help to anyone is desperate to move on.
Thanks for the article Rachel, I am in the same boat as you .
“Feeling so many emotions of anger, sadness, anxiety and confusion over my LE.”
I feel all of this, sometimes all in the space of a single day, it’s exhausting. My conscious mind knows I need to let go, I then become determined to do something about it and then “poof” the anxiety kicks in ” what if I can’t ” which leads to feeling depressed. God I wish there was an off switch!
My biggest hurdle will be having the strength to get up and not linger during contact time with LO. I would linger so would he until almost everyone has left, a few times we were alone, I MUST avoid this, I must not seek this out. My next step is intermittent contact, I have to initiate unpredictability in my contact, not seek him out on purpose, then slowly work towards NC. Just typing that out is causing me to hyperventilate 🙁
Thanks for sharing that Rachel.
Interesting article and a good reminder to focus on what we want.
Really hope things improve for you all. Lee-Anne – when you have contact with LO is it worth having a reward ready for yourself if you don’t linger – therefore focussing on what you do want?
It’s tough, but we can do this.
It’s hard but the pain is part of healing so I’m letting it come and go. This is hard and it’s impending that contact is coming. I can totally understand the anxiety you are feeling. I have stopped the lingering with LO no. At first it was hard and it did take time but fake it until you make it. At one point I felt we had such a pull and a special connection. What a idiot.
May I ask how it was left with your LO? Are you currently in contact? I had to take a note aggressive approach with my LO as he doesn’t really care about me but loves my attention and enables me. I’ve had to almost be rude to him. I haven’t explained why as it’s not nessesary and could prolong the limerence. He was not limerent for me. I thought we had the awesome connection and that we both thought about each other constantly and our energeies were one. But this was a lie and the limerence talking. I was nothing more than a bit of attention for him which he lapped up. He has big exciting things going on right now so I haven’t heard from him and I hope I don’t. I’ve blocked him on social media with no explanation and I try to avoid him as much as I can. I have not let my guard down as of yet. I see him as somebody that I need to avoid now. It hurts to much to be contact and it’s not worth this pain.
Rachel, this is really excellent work, you are almost there. Your situation is so similar to mine. You do not owe anyone any explanation. Walking away from such a situation is very hard but once you have taken the first steps towards NC each passing day will empower you, yes there will be days when you will remember the past and feel sad, it’s normal but do not let those days divert you from you mission. Your mission to achieve freedom from this crippling situation. I think this applies perfectly to our situations, “let go or be dragged”.
Rachel, you’ve done very well, you are so strong!
Things between LO and I were left ackward. Some boundaries were breached and he did a disappearing act for a few weeks before Christmas break then reappeared. I was devastated, the intensity of my emotions and how much I missed him took me by complete surprise. I seriously thought I had everything under control and we were friends, clearly I was delusional.
He came back and behaved like nothing happened, but I felt a change in the air. He withdrew emotionally (but remained friendly as pie) and started to physically avoid me, so either his SO pulled him up and read the riot act or I’ve scared the crap out of LO. Frankly I don’t care what the reason was, it really hurt and confused me and sent my limerence into overdrive. It’s taken every ounce of self control not to lose my shit, I was so tempted to pull him aside and ask WTF was up, but I didn’t. Instead I pretended I hadn’t noticed and chatted like nothing was wrong, at home however I fell to pieces and SO noticed. I deserve an oscar for my performance!
Right now we’ve had N/C for 4 weeks, we don’t follow each other on social media nor do we have contact via phone, he’s also been away on holiday so I haven’t accidentally bumped into him like I usually do (we live in the same town).
That will change in the next few weeks or so, unless he decides to deliberately go AWOL again, but it will be harder as our children go to the same school and I am friends with his SO and extended family.
I just feel so stupid and embarrassed, obviously I’ve built this Limerence up to be this glorious thing that sparkles and shines along with a whole freaking choir of angels and string ensemble while LO can just switch it off at will. It annoys me that I can’t just switch it off.
“I was devastated, the intensity of my emotions and how much I missed him took me by complete surprise. I seriously thought I had everything under control and we were friends, clearly I was delusional.
He came back and behaved like nothing happened, but I felt a change in the air. He withdrew emotionally (but remained friendly as pie) and started to physically avoid me”
Oh ai know how you feel. When LO snd I ended things after a closure day, he started to behave like nothing ever happened and we are just friends. He claims that he treated me the same as before and that I was very special to him and we have a special connection… BS. I noticed a change. He stayed friendly, but as you say withdrew physically, the talks we had weren’t as close as before, even his response time changed. At first I thought that he did that on purpose to give me space (as I told him I struggle to let him go), but found out later that he has moved on to another LO and started building emotional (and physical) intimacy with someone else. I felt like the biggest pathetic idiot unable to move on from him, hung up on him, thinking about him constantly, just to realize he has moved on already. That was a painful wake-up call. And STILL, it was so hard to move on, and STILL I tried to be friends with him and be there for him, I even gave him advice how to get together with his LO, helped interpret texts from her as a “good friend” would do (I mean does it get more pathetic than that?!) It’s those things that really make me feel like such a massive idiot and I take that as justification to not be sorry for ghosting him and going NC.
Limerently Gay says
I did exactly the same towards my first LO too; the whole giving advice on how to get close to his (then) new LO and I even talked to his new LO, convincing them to hook up. Then of course they did and dated for the last 3 years of my college years.
So of course I had to deal with seeing them together throughout my finals and I was an emotional wreck. Serves me right for trying to be the shining knight for my LO. On the bright side, I have produced one of my best masterpieces during the those period. Limerence has such tantalizing effect for creative outlet.
I don’t know if I want to go through such an emotional tsunami again with my current LO and it would be ideal if I can make art without Limerence, but I just can’t bring myself to go there again. I’d rather sacrifice the capability to make another magnum opus so I can live in a happier state of mind and relationship with my SO.
Dear Rachel, Lee-Anne and Fellow Lim,
Even though it’s agony, it does get better! Fellow Lim is so right….each passing day will empower you….and it’s not a straight trajectory but overall you keep moving forward…toward freedom and peace of mind and heart. In the past I let myself get sucked back in over and over, one friend said “Stop letting him put you under his spell!” but this time I unfollowed on social media and have been NC for 9 months with LC before that…and I can honestly say…I’m still struggling but it’s getting easier and easier and I am finding myself again and it’s so liberating not to be seeking his approval and love….freedom from the spell!
It makes me happy that we are making such positive decisions…let’s keep going!
Jaideux, that’s very encouraging to read, thank you.
Now I’ve got the song ” I’ve got a spell on you” stuck in my head, but you are so correct, it feels like a freaking spell!!
Jaideux that is great progress, I’m only around 4 months NC but feeling much better. There is an occasional bad day when my subconscious tries to create doubts by saying why couldn’t we remain friends, there is no harm in that, but I force myself to remember the constant pining over her, sleepless nights, anger and jealousy seeing her itch other male friends, what a nightmare. Dr L is so right, friendship with LO is impossible and torturous.
Lee-Anne why can’t you go AWOL? It seems to me you are still putting too much emotional energy into thinking about him and his actions, there are still too many strings like being fiends with his SO etc. Even if we decide to let our LOs go subconsciously we still want the connection, this is where we need to stand against our subconscious and force ourselves to break the connection.
Remember this “You are not meant for this person and they are on their own path” don’t try to be friends it will never work, let it go.
Thanks fellowlim and Jaideux You are an inspiration to all of us! Jaideux im so pleased your getting better. You can do a so much better than your LO, I know it!
Lee-anne. Thanks and I’m not so strong. I too have been back and forth being friends and then NC. FellowLim is right, why can’t you go AWOL? I created this picture in my mind that LO needed me and I couldn’t not be friends. Truth is he didn’t and never did. Then I would say to my self how awkward it will be to go NC with out and explanation. It is a little awkward but who cares?
My LO didn’t message back before Xmas and I was beside myself. Constant thoughts and spiralling. If he can blank me then why should I care so much about him. Also I am friends with LO’s SO and our children are very good friends. I’ve had to not care and distance myself from them all. His SO isn’t really my cup of tea anyway but she’s still nice to me. I’ve had to be ruthless. I’ve done this before and the guilt has made me go back to normal and the friendship started up again but not this time. I’m fed up of feeling powerless and obsessed. It’s embarrassing how long this has been going on for. Only we can make this stop. Start little, be a little cold and pre occupied. Don’t jump to see him. Like fellowlim said you will still start to feel empowered that you are taking back control of your life.
The article I posted really has helped me. I feel I’m at war with myself all then and then I decided to say yes to all my thoughts. Instead of fighting them I said said yes I’m obsessed. It was weird. It was like my brain said… Oh ok and then I got on with something else. It felt very unusual to me but I let go of the thoughts straight away.
Really Lee-Anne it’s not worth this hell. Yes it’s painful but I try to accept the pain as part of healing. If I wasn’t in pain then I wouldn’t be healing.
Rachel you’ve made a lot of progress already ! I’m happy for you. But yes it’s super painful, when I am tired or don’t feel well the sadness still returns. Coming here helps so much! I was thinking about people with burns…. They have to move their joints so as they heal they get full range of motion back… But it’s agony! We’ve been emotionally burned but are healing and moving through the pain. One day we will all be healed and pain free!
Rachel, you and Jaideux are correct, I need to cut this off. I can’t go AWOL completely because I am the only person who can drop and pick up my children from school. LO can get his SO to do it (he normally does drops and pick ups). My SO is at work from 6am till late at night. So while I can try to avoid LO, we investably bump into each other but I can minimise contact by not engaging. It would also mean completely cutting off all my other friends, I am not prepared to lose my only support system that I’ve built over 11 years because of LO. He’s not that special, if anything he can leave.
But you are correct, I need to stop giving this “thing” oxygen. Trust me it’s going to kill me going LC and not engaging, it’s a massive step for people-pleasing me, it will be right out of my comfort zone. Baby steps……sigh.
When you stop pleasing everyone, especially LO, and start pleasing yourself you will feel so very liberated. trust me on that one. x
Song of the Day: “Garden Party” – Rick Nelson (1972)
“But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”
Amen to that
Thanks for the song Scharnhorst lol, very abt!
Rachel, you are correct, it’s my top 1 goal for 2020, to stop pleasing others and please myself. It will be a giant step for me, I’ve spent my whole life pleasing others and going against that always creates turmoil for me internally. I also need to learn if I do something kind/nice for someone and they constantly throw it back in my face to stop doing things for them.
The grovelling has to stop, it always makes me feel like utter shit afterwards, I give myself a stern talking to and then repeat it all again the moment the person is nice to me again. This goes for males and females in my life.
Oh, you guys, again I’ve got the LO heartbreak. He’s single (I’m not), he’s going to date people, he may be with a thousand other people and never with me — g*d it hurts. Every time I learn of a particular other person he may be interested in (amour once a week), it’s a twist of the knife. It’s self-torment. I’ve got to stop caring. It’s like a breakup that way. But, damn, ouch, ouch, ouch. Blinding pain.
‘about once a week’ i meant to say. Like just this morning.
But ‘amour once a week’ was a pretty telling auto-correct.
Oh noo! I know you said before that you was thinking about divorce? Is that still the case? I know it’s painful but go through the pain and you’ll end up stronger. I can’t believe he interested in a new person each week. How vile. Let them have him… Try and let go. I know it sounds impossible but you have to keep telling yourself he’s not for you.
In fact I’ve had three separate occasions involving my LO’s interest in each of three other women in just the past three weeks! Each time, I know rationally, it’s a huge, blaring wake-up call for me to accept reality = the shattering of my lovely, narcotic fantasies about LO and me. The reality is, this dude’s love life is none of my beeswax! My attachment to my fantasy world tears me apart inside whenever I make contact with the very different reality.
I feel like my own brain is sabotaging me by having got so stuck. It’s like having my flesh caught on a barbed-wire fence. Seems like this could go on and on my whole life. Like my attachment to this LO will be a permanent unhealed wound. So absurd.
Thank you for your great kindness and perspective! Luckily things are very much looking up with my husband, we’re having a great time rediscovering each other, so the divorce conversation is receding in prominence. And the more good times I have with my husband, the less I sexualize and romanticize LO. That was feeling great for a while, I thought I had the worst of the limerence beat. But, it now seems, i remain more vulnerable to feeling hurt by LO’s behavior than I thought.
(However contrary that reaction is to logic, reason, and evidence, as we’ve said many times, it’s still in force.)
Thanks again and I hope you are well.
Well he’s interested in other women. Let this hurt sink in because after you heal from this. There is nothing more he can do to hurt you. So don’t feel silly. Ugly cry into your pillow if you have to but don’t battle it. Accept all the feelings.
That’s great news that your marriage is working out. Time will heal you and all of us. Whenever I have one these days where I’m hurting like hell, I usually wake up feeling numb sooner or later. Drained by it all. It is in these moments i take time to myself for some self care. Sleep, go for a walk alone, see friends or just stay in and watch something that makes you feel good. This is what has helped me over the last few weeks.
Many thanks, again, Rachel. Your advice is wise and will help me. Warmest good wishes to you.
Article of the Day: https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2020/01/this-year-please-stop-fighting-battles-you-cant-win/
It has some good stuff in it.
“Eventually, you have to stop yourself mid-spiral and admit defeat”
Great article! This is how I feel. I surrender and admit defeat. I accept what it is and how what it never was. I don’t feel angry with LO. I don’t really feel anything. I let go of all this which I should have done ages ago. (Obviously still very cautious and mindful with regards to LO)
I like how this article says giving up leads to freedom. I think a lot of us are patiently waiting for a LO to turn into a real deal SO because we think that will make us happy , when giving up on the LO is actually the path to happiness. Thanks Scharny.
Brilliant article Scharnhorst, I actually read a few others afterwards on the same website.
This resonated with me.
“”Eventually, you have to decide that you’re not going to keep investing your time and energy into thoughts and people that are never going to give you anything back.””
Holy shitballs, lightbulb moment for me!
That is a good one, Scharnhorst. Thanks.
“love you have to beg for is not love, its attachment”
Doing a Sharnhorst here 😀
Love these Coreconcerns: https://kartrausers.s3.amazonaws.com/alanrobarge/6481671_1573250257451coreconcerns.pdf
“We struggle with painful endings. We don’t want relationships to end, even when they’re stale,
lifeless, dysfunctional, unhealthy, mismatched, toxic, or hurtful. We hang on, despite reality, and
often stay in relationships way too long. Primal panic and abandonment fear activate in our nervous
system during endings and we implode into inconsolable grief and haunting sadness. Therefore, we
choose to practice the art of graceful letting go and skillful grieving”
( maybe the childhood part is not for every limerent but the rest might be usefull)
I really like this site and a lot of the advice, but I have to admit, my reaction to this piece is “go f’ck yourself.” I’m going through enough self attack and shame right now without this kind of “blame yourself”
approach to something that’s largely happening on the unconscious level. I’m not married, so my limerence hasn’t hurt anyone but me. So how about a germ of compassion for people suffering with something difficult?
I think I’m one of the worst Limerents ever.
2 years ago I found out my wife of 12
Years with 2 kids (one was 5 and one 1 year old. Cheated on me.
She felt sorry…
Instead of working out our marriage
I developed addiction to a LO
I LEFT MY WIFE AND KIDS AND MARRIED THE LO
My LO marriage is going very bad.
I dream about my kids and sometimes my ex ….
And how I hurt her.
My ex not allowing me to see my 2 sons and I understand her.
My family hates my ex for not allowing me to see the kids..
Not sure what to do