Sticky - Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

A common and understandable desire, can it work?
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David
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Sticky - Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by David »

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.
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Terri
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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by Terri »

I think it's definitely possible to be friends, but the limerence must be starved, first, for there to be a relationship honestly based on friendship and not needing to feed the addiction. You must be able to resist the old patterns of addictive thinking and if those intrusive thoughts start creeping back in, be willing to push them away, keeping the relationship in perspective and your motives pure.

In my mind, it's no different than how an alcoholic can go to a party where everyone is drinking but be able to resist the temptation to drink. I can still be in the presence of my LO without succumbing to those old addictive patterns and taking a "hit". It takes a certain level of discipline, I admit, which I've always had. I have no other addictive traits other than my limerence and I'm very disciplined in other aspects of my life. I'm still friends with my LO.

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by DaveBB »

Sadly I don't think I can ever be 'normal' friends with my LO for two reasons. Firstly, initially we did have quite a good friendship going but as my behaviour due to limerence became ever odder she became nervous and started to back away from me. Now that my limerence for her is ebbing away and my behaviour is returning to normal she seems to becoming closer to me but she's still nervous. While she's on vacation later next week I'll have a word with her female friend on the train to see if she understands my situation and can maybe suggest a solution? However perhaps too much damage has been done.

Even if I can help my LO's nervousness there's still the issue of 'those eyes'. Even though my limerence is now at a much lower level, her eyes still trigger 'stuff' in me. Until I can prevent that from happening I don't think I can be normal friends with her anyway.

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by Nax »

I am very good friends with my LO. I disclosed two years ago and we're still friends. I am still limerent but I don't think LO is aware of it. I don't mention it anymore and rarely discuss my feelings with him like I used to. I don't ask about his love life and I don't talk to him about my SO. Lines have been drawn and I am very careful not to cross them. I don't want to lose my good friend because the limerbeast took over.

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by Cap »

This may sound really harsh, but I ask myself, why bother?

I already have plenty of friends. In fact, I should probably give many of them a lot more attention than I do. With L/O there would always be the temptation to turn it into something more, and then I'd be back in trouble.

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by David »

Cap wrote:This may sound really harsh, but I ask myself, why bother?
I think when we've got over our LO, we are no longer bothered and no longer seek out a friendship/relationship. Is not wanting a friendship with our LO's the limerbrain finding just one more way of getting its dopamine hit. Its a tenacious ;) beast.
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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by Lyra »

I am hoping to hear some success stories of people who have started and remained friends with their LOs

I have done many years of personal growth and have trained as a therapist. I did my dissertation for my degree at 20 on 'emotional obsession' and over the last 20 years have looked at attachment, co-dependency etc etc as I kept having this issue come up in my life. Despite all this, I had never come across the term limerence and the description of it seems to describe my experience better than anything else.

I have found myself recently having another experience which I can identify as limerence - particularly the unending intrusive thoughts and the feeling that without this obsession my life is mundane and empty. I have been with my partner 11 years and ironically we are in a good place at the moment. In fact, me sharing my limerence experience with her has brought us closer and she is more than happy to discuss projection, transference, attachment concerns with me to try and help me work through it. We both feel that this is a big opportunity for me to do some more healing around this issue, and in a good moment, that is truly my belief.

My concern is that all the sites about limerence say that the the only way to heal / get over it is to have no contact with the LO. My LO is a very close friend of my partner and a friend of us as a couple. She is also a coach and I have been having coaching with her. I have been supporting the LO with some health issues and have seen her in a vulnerable space. I am fairly sure my limerence has come up from the coaching experience and shared vulnerability - something about that dynamic has triggered my preoccupied/anxious attachment wound. We have both acknowledged that we are drawn to each other, we resonate emotionally and energetically and love each other, however the 'crush' or 'romantic' element is purely mine. I don't have her on a pedastal and can see her faults, and still love her just the same. The LO loves me as a friend and knows about my feelings for her (although not how big or intense they are). She has not said that she doesn't feel the same but she hasn't said she does and has acted only as friend and kept clear boundaries, so I am assuming my feelings are not reciprocated. Intellectually, I don't want to leave my partner either or hurt her by having an affair (although my limerbrain just wants what it wants). I just want to stop the intrusive thoughts and the emotional pain.

To stop all contact with the LO would be injurous to me and my partner and the LO in many ways. It is not their fault that I have developed this limerence and I don't want to make their lives difficult in any way. Ironically, I am working through some of the issues underlying the limerence in the coaching with my LO, but I do question the wisdom of this. However, if I were to stop the coaching on the grounds of my limerence, it would be difficult for us to remain friends and it would mean my partner has to keep her friendship with my LO separate to our relationship, which would feel wrong. Also, the LO has expressed many times recently how valuable our friendship individually, and as a couple is to her.

Do you think it's possible for me to work through this whilst having the LO in my life in such a big way? I am working hard to look at the projection and transference issues and what is missing in my life that this has come up again. From a spiritual perspective, it doesn't feel loving to do the dramatic 'I can't do contact cos it's so painful etc' as that is my problem and not truly loving towards my partner or the LO. My partner is willing to support me to work through it with contact. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by David »

Welcome Lyra. You pose an interesting question that has often been debated.

My understanding re Charlie's experience is he has maintained a professional and boundaried relationship with a work colleague but thats far from a friendship. Hopefully Charlie will pop up and give his perspective.

You don't mention what type of therpaist you are. I am curious given my own background.

My belief is it may be just possible for us to become friends with an LO but it is dependent on both parties being highly conscious and then to be able to work through the projections within the safe container of psychotherapy with a therapist experienced in relationship work.

My own experience of Limerence has shown me just how few psychotherapists have worked through their own shadow issues of attachment wounds. I spent an hour with my clinical supervisor this week talking about a long term erotic transference he struggled with towards a client and he commented on the same. Sadly not enough therapists confront all their shadow and become conscious enough to work through these really sensitive issues.

So what are the chances of both you and LO being conscious enough to do this work? Sounds like you are. Is your LO? And can you find a really good psychotherapist to help you work through the projections? If you can do all this than maybe you have a chance.

But maybe at the end of the day, however much we take back our projections, there will always people we will be attracted to. Perhaps romantic love/attraction cant have all its guts analysed out of it and there will always be some mystery in who we are attracted to?
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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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by DaveBB »

I've posted a couple of times on Tribe-LE that I've been good friends with my seventh ex-LO for the past 22 years. However as I said there, I know that's been only achievable because I had complete and total NC with her for 2 years and when we met again my limerence for her had completely faded, so it was probably easier for me than it possibly was for Charlie and his LO. Also I think it helped that we had known each other as co-workers for 3 years before limerence struck and wrecked what had been a developing good friendship. Fortunately we were able to pick up again from where we had been when limerence struck and she's someone with whom I can always have good, friendly meet-ups.

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Re: Can we ever be friends with our LO's?

Post by Lyra »

Thanks for your replies and support.
David, I do Equine Facilitated Learning (which is more of a coaching model, although I also do some Equine Facilitated Therapy) and I have recently trained as specialist in treating complex trauma. I am not in therapy myself at the moment, although I have supervision for my client work. I am hoping to work through my projection issues on my own and with my SO (who is a very conscious woman), but I am open to the idea of finding a therapist if I really struggle.
I am lucky with the support of my SO. I discussed with her again the idea of LC or NC and she is urging me to try and work through it without that. Obviously as the LO is a close friend of hers, she doesn't want an upset in our group friendship, but I also respect that and it really is my problem. To answer Plato's question - yes it is already in the painful stage. If I could press a switch and get the painful feelings to end and the intrusive thoughts to go away, I really would. My rational mind is more than ready to let it go, but obviously another part - the limerence - is not ready to let go yet. And yes, I think it's likely I will always be attracted to my LO and that's just how it is. I do, however, have friendships with two other friends who have been LO's at one point and I have managed to stay friends. One I think I will always be attracted to and the other, it completely faded.
The guerilla warfare approach doesn't feel right for me, so I'm going to go with compassion and mindfulness and focussing on my spirituality. I really don't know how it will go, but it feels like I have to give it a go, for the sake of both my SO and LO, as well as myself. This feels like the real loving approach, rather than making other people pay the consequences of my issues.
I know it's not going to be easy, however it's not easy now .
I'll keep you posted.

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