Limerence or harassment?

Open forum ... what's on your mind? Want to vent or lament about your Limerent/Love Object? This is the ideal place.
barca20
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Limerence or harassment?

Post by barca20 »

I have a serious crush on my married coworker (let's call her X). I don't know if it's limerence but the feelings are very strong, I think about her a lot during the day.

I just came out of a long and happy marriage. I have been absolutely dejected since then.

X cared for me a great deal in office when my marriage was falling apart. One day, I was surprised to realize that I have a serious crush on X (up until then, I always saw her as a good friend). I still can't believe it happened but it did.

Once I realized that, I tried to avoid her as much as possible at work, because X is married. Since I myself went through a divorce, I certainly don't want to be involved with another woman while she is married.

As I increased my distance with X, she tried to reach out to me. Out of nowhere, she came to my office to talk about some books. As she was talking, my feelings resurfaced and I tried to look away from her, but still she must have seen something in my eyes. She kept staring at me for a while (in a way that made my heart flutter). And I couldn't stop thinking about that interaction.

After that day, something completely unexpected happened - we have been playing a game of hot and cold. Most days, she seems to go out of her way to avoid me (e.g. inviting several coworkers for lunch except me, looking away when we are crossing paths in the hallway). But then on some days, she takes the initiative to talk to me unexpectedly and when she does, she talks to me in a very soft tone and listens to my answers with a great deal of attention. Sometimes, I think maybe this whole thing is in my head, she's just trying to be a good friend. So, whenever she's nice to me and talks to me, I try to reciprocate and be friendly, then she backs off and avoids me like crazy. The way she avoids me makes me feel like maybe I'm harassing her whenever I'm talking to her. I generally follow her lead out of respect for her, i.e. I don't initiate contact, but I try to be friendly if she talks to me.

So, I am trying to understand this hot and cold behavior. After my marriage fell apart, I have lost faith in my own judgment and I have become a bit more insecure.

I am trying to figure out whether all she wants is to normalize our friendship but backs off when she senses romantic interest from my body language and feels harassed...or whether she may also have some feelings for me and backs off because she's married. I just want to understand what may be going on with her. I don't want to be involved with her but I'd like to be normal friends if possible. But if she feels harassed, that door may be closed as well. Unfortunately, I can't have a frank conversation with her since she is a coworker. I know it's hard to tell from the information provided on an anonymous forum about what is going on but what is your guess?

And what can I do?

I will appreciate any advice. Thanks.
Last edited by barca20 on Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:00 am, edited 5 times in total.

L-F
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by L-F »

Sorry to hear you are going through/went through a bad ending with your ex partner.

Limerence has us believing a kinds of things that may or may not be true. The hot/cold, push/pull dance is common yet doesn't mean X has narcissistic traits, or is even aware they are triggering you. Imo, being aware of your own behavior with this hot/cold dance and putting boundries in place so that you no are no longer a dance partner, is all you can do. The trick is to stay and to look at what’s theirs and what’s yours. Having that awareness and boundaries in place also takes you away from the drama.

Some LS have found journaling helpful. There is a 'members only' section where some have written about their experiences and/or things they wish could say to LO.

It can be all so confusing ~x(
And, it takes time unpacking what limerence is.

But... you're in the right place! Welcome!
Learn to forgive...Life is too short to live with hate.
"Everything is within your power, and your power is within you." Janice Trachtman

JupiterTaco
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by JupiterTaco »

It sounds possibly like you never grieved the end of your marriage, that possibly this is a distraction from that and/or an effort to recreate what you had in your old relationship?
"Byreeeeeeeen! Byreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!"

AMA210
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by AMA210 »

Welcome to the forum. As someone who recently came out of this showing interest, favoritism, eye contact, touching with a co worker (both of us single), it’s just not a good idea.

The other coworkers will notice this eventually and will create situations of gossip and rumors. If this gets back to HR, then someone will be in trouble and it’s just not worth it. Fortunately this didn’t happen with us, but it easily could have.

Not sure if you want to jeopardize the job in exchange for some attention and validation.

IMO, might be better to ignore her and focus on your work. If it continues to escalate, it will become increasingly more difficult to end it later.

ridiculous
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by ridiculous »

If she continues to initiate conversation with you then it sounds like she’s at least ok with you. My guess is she has some kind of crush on you too and gets scared where it might go next so backs away. After a while, her desire to interact with you outweighs the fear and the cycle repeats itself. And she may also wonder if she’s bothering you (even if you are friendly when she initiates) if you never initiate yourself. But that’s just based on my own experience. I could be completely off base. I understand wanting desperately to know the motivation behind this hot/cold behavior since I have the same tormenting struggle with my LO. But at least on a rational level know it doesn’t really matter if you want to move through your limerence. Easier said than done.

barca20
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by barca20 »

Thanks everyone for the comments.

I wanted to share an update and a clarification. I would also appreciate any advice, as I am very confused.

First, the clarification. As "ridiculous" pointed out, if she initiates conversations, she must be okay. My own take is that she initiates conversations because (a) she is more extroverted than me, and (b) I'm her manager, so she maybe trying to build rapport for professional reasons.

Now, the update. I've been trying to avoid her for some time and I have been keeping our interactions strictly professional. Recently, I gave some gifts to my all the employees (including her) in my team to boost their morale. After receiving the gift, she got me some gift as well (she is the only one who gave me a gift). Immediately afterwards, she volunteered to sign up for some stuff I needed help with that nobody wanted to help out. She then took the initiative to urge people to do something that I had asked people to do for some time. Finally, recently, she invited me and another friend for dinner at her house with her husband and her children. I took that as an effort on her part to normalize our relationship because prior to giving her and my other employees the gift, I had maintained some distance with her. I got the impression that she might be worried our friendship might become weird and/or that I would possibly evaluate her harshly because I've been avoiding her (I won't, I like to think I am not petty).

After I accepted the invitation for dinner, I saw her at work, but she seemed very uncomfortable and cold around me. She even came to me asking for advice about something (we haven't talked for a while) but she barely looked at me and her body was facing away from me. Yet, she asked for my opinion in depth. I was extremely confused. Why invite me to her house and then act extremely awkward and COLD in person? I didn't want to go to someone's place for dinner if they felt so uncomfortable around me. So, I did something I never do. I wrote to her declining the invitation (even though I had accepted it earlier). She replied within a minute of my message (she doesn't usually reply back so quickly) that she's okay with it and we could get together in her house some other time. The fact that she replied so quickly - could it mean that she was relieved I wasn't going to the dinner?

I'm very confused by this whole situation. Why is she doing this? What can I do to remove the awkwardness? I don't want to bother her; frankly, if she told me directly that I'm bothering her or that I should stop talking to her, I'd do it gladly. But every time I get the impression from her that I'm bothering her, I try to give her space but she then tries to increase communication with me. Then if I am nice to her the next time I see her (i.e. just asking her how she's doing), she becomes distant and awkward and I feel like I'm bothering her again. We have a small team, so any awkwardness between the two of us can become visible to others easily. I have tried to treat her the same way as everyone else recently so that I don't get accused of bias. I also tried to keep our interactions strictly professional and minimal. Yet, this cycle is repeating itself again and again.

If you have any advice or thoughts on what is going on or how I can address the awkwardness, I will really appreciate it.
Last edited by barca20 on Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:22 am, edited 3 times in total.

Katman98
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by Katman98 »

I have a feeling that at least in my case limerance makes me hyperaware of signals my L.O. may or may not be giving off. This hyperawareness can fool us at times. Even experts at body language and such things get it wrong at times. As a layperson under the stress of a fluttering ❤ I certainly couldn't read a person's intentions very well.
Don't dip your pen in the company ink! It sounds like you won't and that is a good idea. I would be friendly, professional and practice avoidance. One thing that has me conflicted is her inviting you to her home. I am not certain many woman who had a crush upon a co-worker would feel comfortable with that. Others may feel differently.

barca20
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by barca20 »

Thanks Katman98. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I feel the same way too.

Why would she invite me over if she had a crush on me? That's why I concluded that maybe she was trying to build rapport with me since I'm her new manager and I've recently minimized our interactions and kept them strictly professional. Despite the invitation, she seemed so uncomfortable talking to me in person, I felt like she really didn't want to invite me.

I could be wrong, that's why I'm seeking advice.

Katman98
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by Katman98 »

Some but certainly not all woman can be manipulative if it can help them. Pretty woman often learn early that they have a certain amount of power and influence over men. I am in no way saying this is happening just something to be aware of, especially if you are in management.
I was at my local auto parts store that doesn't do service about 20 or so years ago. An attractive 20 something woman was buying wiper blades for a car. She asked if someone could "help her". Guy employees were practically tripping each other to help her. As I left the store I saw the employee helping her by installing the wipers. It was a newer Lincoln Town car obviously her parents car. Mommy or Daddy put her up to it most likely. The other thing is I have noticed that woman tend to have almost a sixth sense about the emotional state of others. They often can perceive things about others that we men can't. They know when others are sad, angry, anxious and yes have a crush on them.

John
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Re: Limerence or harassment?

Post by John »

Your LO's hot and cold behavior is sure to be feeding into your limerence. It is possible that she enjoys your attention and kindness toward her but doesn't want an actual relationship so she is pulling away at times. I also have a question; is the other person she invited to dinner male or female and are they a friend of her's or of your's?

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