Can we be friends? I hope so.

A common and understandable desire, can it work?
sydney0845
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Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by sydney0845 »

This is probably where I'm at. Although I have only known her a few months, and only spent any time with her three times in those three months, it feels like we have become pretty good friends in that time. First meeting was in a group of 4 (me, SO, friend of SO and LO was a friend of my SO's friend) at a festival - so quite an extended period of time. Second meeting was just me and LO - a couple of nights at hers, as friends. My SO knew - I happened to be travelling near her and went to visit to break up the journey. Third meeting was the four of us away for a couple of nights. Did include time with just me and SO as the other two were too knackered to go out during the afternoon we were away. So had good walk, went for drink etc with SO.

So I guess this really is a bit of an unrequited, or certainly undisclosed situation. Made almost impossible due to situation involving me, SO and LO all knowing each other pretty much equally. Things I know:

1. I can't seem to get LO out of my head.
2. We seem to get on very well.
3. We seem to get each other in terms of humour etc that we like, moreso than I do with my SO.
4. That I am probably not her type, so I suspect that from her POV I am good company because its all safe, ie I am married and so not likely to spring any dumbass romantic overture on her.
5. That even if she did like me, disclosed anything and I reciprocated, that would - in true catch-22 fashion - mean she would stop immediately stop liking me if I was the sort who would cheat. Ironically, knowing that she has those values is in itself attractive.
6. In the unlikely event we ever did share some sort of fleeting moment that communicated to each other that maybe we did like each other, I don't think it would be acted on because of my SO, who she is also now good friends with.
7. If anything ever was to happen, it would probably have to involve separating from my SO first.
8. Separating from my SO seems a completely ridiculous thing to do at this stage, given that I have no reason to think my LO likes me in that way.
9. Given that I have developed these feeling for LO that maybe I should have for SO suggests maybe even if nothing can ever happen with LO, it may be unfair to continue with SO.
10. My feelings for LO are kind of reinforced by SO's friendship with LO - she feels like LO is a better version of her, which definitely seems to be something that drives my SO's relationship with her. Something I would not argue with - she just seems more naturally confident, carries her style well etc. If SO things this, has said so much to me, and I agree, plus get on, and seem to have so much in common with LO, plus finding her very attractive, then, well, you do the maths.
(It is often said that feelings during limerence are not real. It may be naive of me, but the feelings certainly feel real, not least because the things that drive them, ie all the things I like about her, seem to be the exact same things my SO likes about her.) I mean, can't people have genuine feelings for someone when limerent? Or does that just mean that it isn't limerence, but does have some of the same symptoms, eg exaggerated elation from contact etc?)
11. Additionally, on her attractiveness - she definitely seems to be one of those girls who genuinely doesn't realise how attractive she is. But having said that, there are definitely photos where she looks less so. Still attractive, but wouldn't necessarily turn heads. But with very little effort, and great smile she looks amazing.
12. That I absolutely would not want to go no contact, as even if nothing happens, I absolutely see her as an amazing friend who I would not want to give up.

Any suggestions?

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David
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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by David »

Hi Sydney

I posted this back in Feb 2014 to the same question:

I think it is possible but there are some very big IFs that need to be met.

Both you and your LO would have needed to do a lot of self development/growth/introspection to work through all the projections. In other words healed all the early life attachment wounds.


Even then, i think the biological drive may get in the way. If you are in a committed monogamous relationship elsewhere then the question has to be why would you want to have your hand in the sweety (candy for our American cousins) jar when you are emotionally invested (or supposed to be) elsewhere?

I think a lot of it is to do with our fear of intimacy so the fantasy bond / relationship becomes more attractive. Same goes for addictions and other forms of acting out that take us away from being present and in relationship with ourselves - the fantasy is less threatening and easier than having a relationship with ourselves. And its not until we can be withoursleves that we can learn to be present for and with others.
Do you want help with limerence from the founder of this site?
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To book a session see http://loverelations.co.uk/on-line-support-for-limerence-from-dr-david-perl/

sydney0845
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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by sydney0845 »

I think in my case it is likely that the current relationship with my SO has its flaws - for a variety of reasons its become more of a companionship relationship rather than a more passionate relationship. Depression (my SO) has played a big part of that. She has more than once remarked that we seem can seem more like friends than husband / wife. We do have periods where we try, but it always seems harder work than it should, and rarely lasts. So I can definitely recognise that that must play a big part in my limerence - although that may have been the case for a while, its only now I've met someone who seems as great as my LO.

It does seem a bit weird though, as I'd be pretty certain of both myself and my SO were to talk about what we see in my LO, there would be a big overlap. I just have the attraction that makes a big part of me feel like I'd also like to be more than friends. Its like she's the kind of girl my SO has always wanted to be, and simultaneously the girl I've always wanted to be with. Again, its this unusual situation where my SO's open opinion of my LO just reinforces mine.

You talked somewhere else about the desired end result - as far as I can see the possiblilities are:

1. I say nothing, carry on, stay friends with it being a bit hard sometimes as unless anything changes I'd always want more.
2. I say something to LO only, she freaks, friendship over.
3. I say something to LO only, she's OK, we have a good chat. I feel better to have at least been able to tell her how I feel. Could potentially burst the 'what if?' bubble.
4. I say somnething to SO only, she freaks, puts irreversible strain on relationship.
5. I say something to SO only, she's OK, we have a good chat. Could potentially burst the bubble.

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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by Lost and confused »

Hi Sydney

Although my situation is not particularly like yours, I can understand a lot of your feelings. The values. The admiration.
Theres a real rationality in what you say, both in Limerence world and the real world. You like her, of course, for me and I am sure most on here, we like and admire our LOs, there is enough to pick out to admire. They wouldnt be LOs if not. Throw in the projections, not really knowing them, i.e. the bad things, makes for a pretty heady mix.

"(It is often said that feelings during limerence are not real. It may be naive of me, but the feelings certainly feel real, not least because the things that drive them, ie all the things I like about her, seem to be the exact same things my SO likes about her.) I mean, can't people have genuine feelings for someone when limerent? Or does that just mean that it isn't limerence, but does have some of the same symptoms, eg exaggerated elation from contact etc?)"
My perspective, the feelings are real. They are feelings. You know what sensations you are undergoing. The question is can you trust them?
For me, for a long time I saw enough in my LO to feel those strong feelings of love. I thought she was a very rational "choice". I saw some things and wanted to believe. I joined dots, because I didnt, couldnt, really know. 18 months down the track I can at least say now, I dont know. She is lovely. She has values. But to go from being friends to actually being in a relationship is a whole another dimension.
And I KNOW that what I am experiencing is not healthy. Because I am here. Because of the impact it has on my life. Its not a clear, balanced, experience. Even if, like you, I try and rationalise it.

"I think in my case it is likely that the current relationship with my SO has its flaws - for a variety of reasons its become more of a companionship relationship rather than a more passionate relationship. Depression (my SO) has played a big part of that. She has more than once remarked that we seem can seem more like friends than husband / wife. We do have periods where we try, but it always seems harder work than it should, and rarely lasts. So I can definitely recognise that that must play a big part in my limerence - although that may have been the case for a while, its only now I've met someone who seems as great as my LO."

It seems that the above is not unusual. Again, I can relate. I am not saying that is the ideal, but it happens. When you first met your SO and were in the early days, did you see her as you do now? When real life gets in the way, things change. At the moment you dont know about all the things that LO would do that would annoy the hell out of you, and vice versa. Whereas with your SO you have that history. The good and the bad. That real life, where you have gone through challenges loving each other. Its not perfect, but LO gets a free ride, idealised.

"Given that I have developed these feeling for LO that maybe I should have for SO suggests maybe even if nothing can ever happen with LO, it may be unfair to continue with SO"
Limerence is a symptom of something in you. It may talk to your relationship with your SO. Or to your childhood, or another dissatisfaction in your life. But to like someone else, to admire them, is not a deal killer for your relationship with your SO. Dont throw away all the good just because you have feelings for someone else. It happens.
To quote you:
"Separating seems completely ridiculous"

"That I absolutely would not want to go no contact, as even if nothing happens, I absolutely see her as an amazing friend who I would not want to give up." Suggests that you may have a long way to fall. Which might be something to bear in mind. There is a lot of positivity in this (sorry, I dont know all that you are feeling), but this can go hellish very quickly. Just something to bear in mind.

Sorry, not trying to preach. I know its a hard situation. I've been there, I am there. Hope you are doing ok, dont do anything rash, this limerence casts a spell on us.

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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by David »

sydney0845 wrote: You talked somewhere else about the desired end result - as far as I can see the possibilities are:

1. I say nothing, carry on, stay friends with it being a bit hard sometimes as unless anything changes I'd always want more.
2. I say something to LO only, she freaks, friendship over.
3. I say something to LO only, she's OK, we have a good chat. I feel better to have at least been able to tell her how I feel. Could potentially burst the 'what if?' bubble.
4. I say something to SO only, she freaks, puts irreversible strain on relationship.
5. I say something to SO only, she's OK, we have a good chat. Could potentially burst the bubble.
Sydney, When i work with clients that are in a committed relationship elsewhere, i explore working towards number 5 and going LC/NC with the LO. I feel this is the best course of action as it removes the secrecy that allows the fantasy bond to build. NC /LC allows for a chance of beginning the process of reconnecting with your SO. And it communicates an intent of wanting more honesty in your primary relationship. When there is such honesty real trust can develop, which will allow you to show your vulnerability and through this, deeper intimacy and connection can be built. Vulnerability which for many of us, especially men, is not easy. Brene Brown's work in this area is worth a read/listen/watch.

That said, i only recommend such a strategy whilst being supported/mentored/guided by someone with an understanding of relationship dynamics. Its a process in disclosing to an SO that make take some time to work towards.
Do you want help with limerence from the founder of this site?
I'm a qualified counsellor, psychotherapist, medical practitioner and leadership coach.
To book a session see http://loverelations.co.uk/on-line-support-for-limerence-from-dr-david-perl/

sydney0845
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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by sydney0845 »

Thanks for the reply. It all just seems an impossible situation currently.

In my head I can get the fact that you only see the little annoyances when you are actually in a relationship, but even then I think its possible to apply a degree of objectivity, ie which option of these two seems more desirable:

- more attractive
- generally more relaxed / less stressed / comfortable in herself
- more shared interests in popular cultural / sense of humour
- reduced impact of depression on relationship
- a bunch of annoying things present in any relationship

or

- less attractive
- generally less relaxed / more stressed / comfortable in herself
- fewer shared interest in popular culture / sense of humour
- increased impact of depression on relationship
- a bunch of annoying things present in any relationship

I don't necessarily agree that the fact that any relationship would have annoying things that came with it as being the defining feature of a relationship, or that their presence is necessarily swept under the carpet during limerence.

If all other things are not equal, then overall the alternative may be more desirable even with any annoyances that may be unknown initially. I have at least spent a couple of nights at hers and seen her with that just up look. Not annoyances granted, but still something other than just how she presents herself on a night out.

Regarding the question of have I always seen my SO as I do now, I would say probably not. But also that I never saw her, or felt about her as I am currently feeling about LO.

I think the problem really is that this is kind of rare for me - ie meeting someone as attractive as she is, who also seems really cool, who I also seem to get on so well with. Without question moreso than my wife. I mean obviously I get on with my wife, but our sense of humour has a much smaller overlap, ditto music / film / tv. And granted, relationships are built on a lot more than that sort of stuff.

In my heart I suspect none of this bodes well for the future, but it is difficult to walk away from a relationship that has had so much invested in it. It seems a very fine line between working at the marriage being the right thing, and two people staying in a marriage that maybe they both feel isn't everything it could be being the wrong thing.

On the one hand people will say that you should work at a marriage because its the right thing to do. On the other hand, life is littered with sage advice about how we're only here once, we only regret the things we don't do, the opportunities that pass us by and how we should always try to do the things that we thing will make us truly happy.
Last edited by sydney0845 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sydney0845
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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by sydney0845 »

David wrote: Sydney, When i work with clients that are in a committed relationship elsewhere, i explore working towards number 5 and going LC/NC with the LO. I feel this is the best course of action as it removes the secrecy that allows the fantasy bond to build. NC /LC allows for a chance of beginning the process of reconnecting with your SO. And it communicates an intent of wanting more honesty in your primary relationship. When there is such honesty real trust can develop, which will allow you to show your vulnerability and through this, deeper intimacy and connection can be built. Vulnerability which for many of us, especially men, is not easy. Brene Brown's work in this area is worth a read/listen/watch.

That said, i only recommend such a strategy whilst being supported/mentored/guided by someone with an understanding of relationship dynamics. Its a process in disclosing to an SO that make take some time to work towards.
I don't think I want to go down that route yet. Actual contact is limited anyway because of distance, and any time I see LO, SO will also be there. I think their friendship is a pretty good means of keeping things in check. Non disclosure seems the best option, as much as anything because I don't see how anything could ever happen, because even in the unlikely event my feelings were reciprocated, I think their friendship would rule me out anyway.

I guess my hope really is that my feelings fade over time, and as the friendship grows that becomes enough of a substitute. As someone said elsewhere, it maybe involves realising that a good friendship is definitely a valuable thing. Partners may come and go, but a good friendship will always endure. And someone else said its like having a bike with a wonky wheel - I think I would always opt for the bike with the wonky wheel rather than no bike at all.

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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by David »

sydney0845 wrote: - more attractive
- generally more relaxed / less stressed / comfortable in herself
- more shared interests in popular cultural / sense of humour
- reduced impact of depression on relationship
- a bunch of annoying things present in any relationship

or

- less attractive
- generally less relaxed / more stressed / comfortable in herself
- fewer shared interest in popular culture / sense of humour
- increased impact of depression on relationship
- a bunch of annoying things present in any relationship
Sydney, your logic and thinking mirrors my own in the early days/months of limerence. So I can and do empathise. Meanwhile whilst you are fantasising about LO and comparing/contrasting her to your SO, I am left wondering what you are avoiding dealing with that is within yourself? I think with time, many of us come to that realisation.
Do you want help with limerence from the founder of this site?
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To book a session see http://loverelations.co.uk/on-line-support-for-limerence-from-dr-david-perl/

sydney0845
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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by sydney0845 »

On the one hand I have no problem appreciating that all sorts of things in our past can have a huge impact on us in later life.

But on the other, cannot it simply sometimes be that, given the choice, someone might prefer to be with someone who was more attractive, more relaxed, less stressed, more comfortable in themselves that they felt they had more in common in terms of popular culture / sense of humour, that wouldn't have the negative effects of depression?

That seems an entirely objective and rational preference. Whether or not its sufficient grounds to separate with someone is a whole other kettle of fish. My feeling is that with reciprocation it would certainly seem like an appealing option. Without reciprocation, or it as an unknown, then obviously less so.

On NC - I think both options must take effort and willpower. But only one has the benefit of a great friend. I think in this case its actually a pretty great group of four, who all seem to want to make the effort to do stuff together, despite LO being so far away. I can see it easily being at least four times a year, which is probably more than anyone else we see who is any distance away.

I appreciate the replies here - not being able to say anything to anyone isn't good. On the one hand I probably wouldn't say anything to anyone, but on the other there is naturally a part that wants to talk about how great they think someone is.

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Re: Can we be friends? I hope so.

Post by David »

sydney0845 wrote: But on the other, cannot it simply sometimes be that, given the choice, someone might prefer to be with someone who was more attractive, more relaxed, less stressed, more comfortable in themselves that they felt they had more in common in terms of popular culture / sense of humour, that wouldn't have the negative effects of depression?
Chances are your LO will trigger some other part of your shadow that you are still unconscious of. As they say "Wherever I go, there I am". A significant part of romantic relationships is an unconscious drive to heal the wounded parts of ourselves that our object of desire mirrors.

Im not missing the point that living with someone with depression is not challenging. What help has SO sought? How do you encourage her to help herself? It maybe leaving her is one solution. I advise against leaving her for another person, leave her because you've tried everything both individually and together to make the relationship work and only then, if things are beyond repair (and some relationships are) then consider ending it. My advice is to not leave for another person thinking that's the answer.

A good read around this issue where we believe there is someone out there better able to fix us is The Eden Project, in search of the magical other by James Hollis.
Do you want help with limerence from the founder of this site?
I'm a qualified counsellor, psychotherapist, medical practitioner and leadership coach.
To book a session see http://loverelations.co.uk/on-line-support-for-limerence-from-dr-david-perl/

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