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Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Tell us your story. What has been your experience?
Rocinante
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Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rocinante » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:08 am

Hey everyone,

I've just read a bunch of forum threads already and it's been very helpful— thanks all for your posts and stories. I think what is always a bedrock realization that makes me feel better about any bad situation is: "Well, the same thing happened to millions of people today." Seeing that that's actually true here, is even more helpful. And especially in the condition of limerence which presents itself as so singular, etc. Thousands or millions of people really do have this experience and that helps to break the power we give / project onto the LO, maybe even question the LOs significance to our lives, etc.

So, I don't want to go into a lot of details because I've already spent too many hours talking the ears off of friends over 9 years now, but I'm here because of the common situation of so many of you. I'm trying more and more to look at this like just an assemblage of variations of how limerence generally plays out: your "person" you meet by chance starts off as a friend, there are growing realizations, obstacles, ambivalence, mixed signals, then you slip over to a perception of a person's utter singularity or "magicalness" and a sense of their deep significance to your life. It's followed by some crisis point, where you confess or not (I chose not to), but either way it's too painful and you (or the other) starts attenuating the actual friendship / relationship.

Flash forward to years later, where you're still in contact, though superficially. Whenever they even give you a brief hello you feel a little twinge, but you're able to put it away. You might be social media friends, and find it not as hard as you used to when you see photos of them with their partner. You might be coupled up yourself and find it easier to cope. Sometimes they show up in dreams where you're trying to meet them, and that's hard, but you still shake it off.

But anyway, out of the blue last week, they post wedding and honeymoon photos of themselves, and you feel like dying. As usual you like the photos and act like everything's fine. You lose sleep and weight all over again, it's a heroic effort to focus at work, your significant life partner asks you what's wrong. For one reason or several, you don't feel like you can tell them.

So here I am.

One thing I've been writing in a journal about all week is, which I may share if I ever refine it, is the common experience of lack that seems to trigger these experiences. Maybe I'll share it if it's ever coherent. I have so many questions, though: how to handle yourself, confessing your feelings (to the LO or your SO), can the lack ever be filled, DO THESE STUPID DREAMS EVER GO AWAY etc....

Thanks so much to everyone, again, for writing these really helpful and A+ insightful posts. FWIW, know that somewhere in Canada, there is a guy sneaking off to a cafe at lunch time (where his colleagues don't go) for an hour of reading and thinking through your experiences. And is helped by them.
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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by FreeBird » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:36 pm

Welcome, Rocinante :)
Glad you're here and please know that sharing your story helps us as well.

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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by David » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:48 am

Glad you have found the sharing of other's experiences helpful RC.

I was laying in bed this morning thinking that 4 years of weekly contact didn't quell this condition, each sighting would keep adding just enough oxygen to keep the flame alive. Its only been 4 years of subsequent total oxygen starvation where the flame has been all but extinguished. No longer any euphoric recall, no longer any attached emotions, just a WTF, was that really me? :-o :-o
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Professional Coaching / Therapy see http://loverelations.co.uk/limerence

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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rocinante » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:36 am

Thanks both of you.

I might tell the story sometime, but I'm hoping this is a low-key recurrence, and I feel triggered by too much recall / replay, to be honest (as well as slightly embarrassed by the whole thing). My free time's really limited right now, and I'm trying to stay functional and not too-noticeably down (at work, with my SO, and family) by keeping this barrier between the present and the past. I mean it really is 8 or 9 years since I first met this person, and I don't have even regular contact, except occasional Instagram.

I've been reading and journalling a lot in the past few days to try to get to the bottom of it, but trying to take apart the feeling rather than dwelling on the person. I've been thinking about how this must all center in being dogged by lifelong self-esteem issues that originate in my FUFOO ("f'd up family of origin), that I thought I was over.

I think a common thread among my LO people (who I've had a few of over the years, starting in high school) is that they're not famous, but "self-esteem queens": not famous (like some people's LOs are), but brilliant, confident, self-assertive, funny and fun extroverts— at least on the outside. So I'm trying to treat the LO (and maybe previous LOs) as what they should be— the arrows that point me to what I need, not the need themselves. So I bought that David Burns book ("10 Days to Self Esteem") to get through over the next while & keep myself focussed. (I've never been able to afford regular access to a therapist to walk me through cognitive-behavioural therapy)

David, I get your oxygen metaphor quite well. I decided to set myself a timeout on Instagram (the only place I still "see" her)— posting only, no notifications, no scrolling / viewing for 30 days, no going to her account to "catch up" when I'm back on (which I don't do anyway, as that's just painful— I can only handle the drive-by like). I started thinking "what if I never went back to Instagram" and never even incidentally knew a single thing about what was happening in her life from this moment forward. It's sounding really appealing right now— it feels like just setting this goal clears the way to recognize what's not happy / working in my life, and is giving me the space / enthusiasm to change those things.

Thanks again for having & maintaining this forum. The thread about ADHD and limerence was fantastic, I kept returning to it today and re-reading it. (I'm recently diagnosed and have been reading about the condition a lot — man, I can see clearly how this way of being can really help set you up for limerent attractions).
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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Best » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:34 am

Rocinante wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:08 am
You might be social media friends, and find it not as hard as you used to when you see photos of them with their partner.
I'm glad I'm not a social media user and don't have to live with constant reminders of my LOs. If that's what you've been living with for the past 8 years, then it could be why your limerence is still holding on. The self-imposed Instagram ban is a good idea, but is 30 days going to do it? I wonder. Oh well, see how you feel after 30 days and go from there.
One thing I've been writing in a journal about all week is, which I may share if I ever refine it, is the common experience of lack that seems to trigger these experiences. Maybe I'll share it if it's ever coherent. I have so many questions, though: how to handle yourself, confessing your feelings (to the LO or your SO), can the lack ever be filled, DO THESE STUPID DREAMS EVER GO AWAY etc....
Like you, I've had multiple LEs, but I pretty much always lost contact with my LOs after a certain point -- no social media, no e-mail, no texting. In my case, the feelings always diminished over time. Some of my first LOs have disappeared from my life entirely. I have no feelings for them now, and I consider myself lucky that we didn't end up together, because I realize now that we were poor matches

As for a "lack," I'm still trying to understand myself and limerence, but I think I know what you mean. After my latest LE, I feel completely empty inside. It's like a great void has opened up inside me. In the past, I have filled it with one LO after another, not to mention other addictions. But I don't want to do that again. So what can I do? Everyone here seems to recommend therapy, exploring your FOO, and "working on yourself." So maybe that's the way to go.

As for dreams -- they do go away after a while, I think. At least, I don't dream about my earliest LOs (the first was about 18 years ago). I do occasionally dream about the three most recent ones, but it doesn't really bother me (well, okay, the dreams about the most recent LO do -- I'm only a few days into NC -- but the dreams about the second- or third-most recent LOs don't).

"How to handle yourself?" With dignity, class, and poise. :)

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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rocinante » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:48 pm

Best wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:34 am
"How to handle yourself?" With dignity, class, and poise. :)
Thanks for relating your experience Best, it's really helpful. And I'm trying.

I posted the whole 'situation in review' here. I guess it gets ruminating after all (I was trying to make it not like that at all— ugh).

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4947
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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rocinante » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:13 pm

Best wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:34 am
As for a "lack," I'm still trying to understand myself and limerence, but I think I know what you mean. After my latest LE, I feel completely empty inside. It's like a great void has opened up inside me. In the past, I have filled it with one LO after another, not to mention other addictions. But I don't want to do that again. So what can I do? Everyone here seems to recommend therapy, exploring your FOO, and "working on yourself." So maybe that's the way to go.
Here's my mid-week check in about what I am doing:

- A lot of journalling. On the forum, though, I am just going to put the insights / positive stuff I learned in my journaling. In the actual journalling it’s more like 75% rumination / 25% gems. But the gems (where I am actually doing something about it) are 10 to 1 more helpful. 


- I am struck by a brilliant remark made by Crushed1234 that was so eye-opening for me:

“I couldn’t believe how much he adored me. He thought way higher of me that I did of myself.”


Here's the deal: the LO person was so complimentary of me over the years, so flattering, so encouraging and detailed about how much she loved our conversations, in both email and writing, while I was a very (secretly) nervous student hugely lacking in confidence. For a length of time, I think I actually transferred my ability to feel confident to her. I wonder if, thus, whenever I am in situations that require the slightest bit of confidence, like operating the washer/dryer correctly, that some of this transference comes back and she's in my head again.

- I went and revisited the first “poem” / confession, which turned into 4000 words, where I use her actual name, because I use that app for other things. I’ve been using “LO” as the distancing and anonymizing name here. But I saw her name and just the mental sound of it made me burst into tears. I had a huge cry. This is huge for me, as I hardly ever cry (I’m one of those people who gets a sad hollow feeling that lasts for hours and then subsides). I think my cry is about: I give up. It’s over. I have hung on to you for so long. I am NEVER going to cross paths with you, physically, ever again. I need to let you go. It’s you or me. I need to let you go or else my life won't literally & truly be my life.

- This is the beginnings of many cries this week. 
Lots of giving up the LE and having the recurring dream about her again.

- And also a few real blowout fights with my SO, but where we had a lot of reconciliation and honesty. We were calm by this morning, and she drove
me to work. Someone who walks me through a meltdown is someone I want to stick with.


- This felt like enough. Where I was here. Where I didn’t need fantasy.
 I get relieved from the LE again when this happens. I really think it's more tightly tied to my situation with my SO that I think it is. I've started to send myself reminders, little notes about "here's what your SO likes and doesn't like, here's what makes them tick." I have one sent to me every morning and I try to do something (or not do something as the case may be) from it.

- I'm reading (okay, devouring) a lot of stuff I discovered from Alain de Botton in his School of Life YouTube channel, pertaining to envy, love, jealousy, success. "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" feels like it's packed with insight. When I read the writings on "Confidence" (about how it can be learned late in life) the LE background feeling also drops away.

- I've thought that holding on to the fantasy is really dangerous, actually. If I let LE creep in like a fog because it's compensating for something else, what negative situations am I tolerating because I am mentally still standing in the space that I've let the LO "wallpaper"? What lack of mental stimulation, of interest, of presence of boredom?

- I start doing this one exercise that's really helpful. I'm doing this over and over on a daily basis:

I start by mentally listing of all the things I have:

— an SO who is sticking with me through a difficult time
— a beautiful son who is my favourite person
— helpful and generous in-laws
— better relationships than ever with my parents as they get older
— our house
— a job that is modest but pays the bills
— communities I'm part of

And then as part of the exercise I tell myself: "These are real things. Nothing else exists. I am completely bounded by these real things in the present, and my thoughts go no further than them." I imagine all these things as an island floating in space.

I'm finding that when I want to drift off to LE now, it's easier to pull them back. Like my thoughts go to the backyard and bounce back, like a ping pong ball against an invisible force field.

- Oh. And I took some time off work to complete my side project. Lucky that my supervisor was understanding. I have 6 full days to finish my side project now and be done forever.
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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rocinante » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:11 pm

Just some brief mantras I’ve been using this week

— "Millions of other people are suffering in the same way, not just you."
— "It is a normal life experience and others have it worse than you. Be thankful for your insight so far"
— "You have more satisfying relationships with people in your present"
— "You learned from the experience"
— "Someone’s new marriage and most significant relationship is more important than me pulling them into drama (with confession/disclosure)"
— "We hop from tiny islands of time and place and we do not bring everyone with us and that is okay"
— "We lose important people in this lifetime and that is a sad but normal part of life"
— "This is you starting from the beginning, becoming more grounded as a partner, father, 9-5 worker, independent soul"

Visualizations
— Trying to stay extremely focused on present moment
— Imagining pointy spikes growing out of my forehead, to direct my attention straight ahead
— Self talk: “Purpose, purpose, direct your focus”
— Trying to actively imagine myself alone doing whatever activity (not me with the LO like imaginary friend / Obi-Wan Kenobi floating just behind me). Visualizing my face, my body doing things, especially things that take attention and effort
— Plan to take more photos of me doing stuff, fill my head with my own imagery

Things I'm doing
— Keeping up running & getting more focussed
— Taking more photos of self. Want to visualize myself doing small accomplishments
— Started to outline a post-university, relevant, publicly useful social research project to fill the void of dropping out
— Positive rock playlist (“Sappiness Banishment Project”) is permanent soundtrack (sort of like a workout soundtrack)
— Made inquiry at old couple therapist’s (want to see him alone, and not with SO)

Reading things
— began Emotional Intelligence (thanks Rachella)
— more readings from Alain de Botton (varying quality/relevance)
— continuing with 10 Days to Self-Esteem book (I guess it’ll be 30 days)

Nice things in the present day
— A work friend started texting you outside work
— A new friend started chatting with you online
— You texted an old friend who had a falling out with the community and you still get along great
— Revel in the niceness that I don’t feel weird desperation with any of these three
— More significant conversations with SO

Weird things
— Impulsively messaged your first GF (the one who is an older version of ‘my’ LO and has so many physical similarities and mannerisms and loud/sassy sense of humour — was also limerent for her but no longer— she effusively made up with me a few years after the relationship, and you’ve even gone down to her state to see her a couple of times in your life. I seem to keep up with her every 5 years.
— We’re both turning a significant age milestone. She seems really unhappy with her life and unhappy about getting older. 

— I sort of regret doing this. Convo was super awkward. My baby news seemed to activate all of her regrets about not having kids. I tried to tell her she’s been an amazing aunt but doesn’t seem to stick :/
— Seem to wonder if limerbeast is dying and is casting around for new material… felt embarrassed after texting her.

Realizations
— The "wrong for you" boundary is the major romantic boundary that matters
— A person’s qualities (near perfection, or lack of it) don’t matter: “a perfect or very admirable human who is wrong for you” is good enough to let go of romantic feelings
— Right person, wrong time = wrong for you.
— Wrong person, wrong time = wrong for you.
— Right/wrong person, factors in the way = wrong for you
— Outside your idea of an acceptable age difference = wrong for you
— Leaving the country at a designated time to never be seen again = wrong for you

— Starting to recall things I didn’t like:
—— Starting to recall how I was really more in a “clique” with her with all the heightened insecurity that entails
—— this is a situation you have gotten into repeatedly with “cool” circles of friends — someone else is ‘directing’ the clique and decides who is in and out, who should be paired up with who (LO had lots of opinions about this), who should be seated beside who (she steered this too)
—— her partner seemed more like an appendage and I remember even then thinking ‘wow I wouldn’t want that to be me’

—— had very strong opinions on people who had flaws, like they were really irredeemable. She didn't like some of your friends
———— on one level I like this "confident lady who takes no bullshit"
———— on another level I think she misread people
———— on another level these are all conversations from when she was 25 or younger 8-|
— our friendship didn’t extend beyond university b/c there’s obviously less to talk about now and that’s okay
—— you were probably more part of her ‘entourage’ than you realize, from her perspective, and that’s okay too 
— she’s still significant to you for one or three things, and that’s okay too.
—— how to approach ideas, reading, written work
—— you learned some of her important secrets that were so compelling! (time management, grit + resilience, confidence, where she got + developed them). This is partly why you stuck with her. She had qualities you wanted for yourself.
—— anybody could have been these “pointers”
—— There are better examples of it in your present to learn from (self-help books)
—— You can learn these later in life, you aren't doomed because your parents didn't teach you / provide supportive environments
— everyone / most people have "magic people" like this who became signficant teachers
— treat this like a breakup, you seem to get over those faster
— whatever simple story I decide to stick with that lets me move on is okay (thanks: Acrobatica, Guy Winch)

Results
— Still ongoing intrusive thoughts but far fewer ones involving jealousy, angriness, self-putdowns
— Still ongoing spacing out and thinking about some kind of disclosure scene
— Really leaning toward just a simple “belated congrats” message for her wedding, no need to disclose any kind of mushy “you’re important to me” feelings
— Extended fugue states / fantasies play out, but more often like I’m at dinner with the LO and her partner and everything’s fine and we’re friends— an unlikely future rather than the past. I don’t feel the attraction. This feels like an improvement, but I’m still having intrusive thoughts. I need to figure out what precedes me visualizing this instead of painful replays of what I should’ve said when
— Overall a bit better than last week
— Able to focus hard on work again
— Variable focus on family - working harder to maintain this
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Acrobatica
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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Acrobatica » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:13 pm

Rocinante - I really enjoyed reading this. So many helpful insights. And I really appreciate your willingness to engage in discussions. You have brought up a lot of things that have left me pondering the right things, rather than the misdirection LE keeps leading me into.

Thank you!

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Re: Close to 8 or 9 yrs but mayyyybe getting over it?

Post by Rachella » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:28 pm

Welldone Rocinante!!! :ymapplause: Also remember to be patient with yourself, don't fret :ymhug:

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