Hi Lyra,Lyra wrote:I am hoping to hear some success stories of people who have started and remained friends with their LOs
I don't have much in the way of success stories.
One xLO, a Major LO/Big Love was a relationship where we met locally and then he moved away. He had a life that started with someone else and our continued contact, though I tried to de-flate it to friendship, was always too infused with romance and longing on his end and then my end for us to feel like anything but heartbroken, star-crossed lovers. He moved again, the same distance but to another country, and I visited him 2 years after our brief affair. I was still limerent or rather the limerence still lingered for both of us, but it as more like being in love than being madly in love. I'd also become limerent for the guy I'm mentioning next. I've since seen the first major xLO a few times over the 12 years. There's definitely a spark that lingers and a little extra focus on each other occasionally (like on Facebook when I wrote a joking update about having a husband and with his bad English he thought I'd really been married and seemed very interested in that). But we will never be together and we've both made peace with it. Our occasional contact is like old, loving friends and old flames where there's a special ember but not a fire anymore.
Another xLO, also reciprocated, I tried being friends with. He was in a non-exclusive relationship. His interest was more than friends and so was mine and after a few months of No Contact and the Limited Contact, it erupted into the Second Chapter of our relationship. (I use initial caps liberally for recognized terms and just storytelling emphasis). I was not good at establishing or setting boundaries and he wasn't good at following them. Again. Let's call this a Major Crush/Minor Limerence and not a lot of love, per se, just mutual limerence.
I ended things with him against his will and went NC. I ran into him about six months later and couldn't avoid acknowledging him, so I walked up and we chatted for a few minutes. A few years later, I saw him again at a mutual friend's party that I hadn't known he was friends with after going NC. We spoken even more briefly. It was a masquerade party yet he saw right through my mask.
Most recently, I had a Major Limerence/Big Love/Major Crush. I've resumed contact after 8 months of No Contact. I gave up my watering drinking hole (and gave up regular drinking as I'd been drinking) to achieve the extended No Contact. It's been a year since I've been to that watering hole. He blocked me on Facebook after our big face-to-face 8 months prior.
I'm not sure where I stand or where stands with me. I'm sorting things out. After this break I feel like I got my life back and somewhere a few months ago I switched from suffering endless, intrusive thoughts to just thinking of him a lot and being able to change topics and also to not suffer while thinking of him.
I don't think I will be able to be a close, personal friend to him or he to me. It's not the same between us, but it's still the same in many ways. It's another post I have drafted for the saga but not yet posted.
I hold these examples out as reciprocated limerences where both people were single/not in a monogamous LTR but it didn't work out.
Over the years, I have had a few lingering infatuations and minor crushes for friends... but these did not have much of the intrusive thinking that seems one of the major hallmarks of limerence.
The reason why No Contact is so important and thus why it's recommended so often is that:
1) you get some breathing room to fill your life and your head with other things and other people
2) you get some perspective so that the dreamed-of relationship isn't so compelling
3) you can heal from the sense of rejection that often accompanies limerence, even when it's reciprocated
I don't know how Charlie and David have been able to pull their psyches away as effectively as they have had while maintaining a relationship, a busy schedule, and lots of business contact (Charlie) or probing psychological contact (David) with an LO.
I couldn't do it!
One of the symbols I've found useful in looking at other people's lives and my own recently is embodied in the phrase "painting oneself into a corner."
It seems like you've done a bit of that here.
It's great that your LO is friends with you, your partner, and the two of you together. And it's great that your LO is an effective coach for you. But you have to first believe there's a way out before you can take it!
A few thoughts:
• coaching is short term -- finish your coaching and thank her
• close friends care about each other -- I'm sure if there's something she knew she could do to improve your life a lot, she'd do it if within her power
• close friends and close friendships can sustain temporary separation and other changes -- everything isn't black and white, cut and dried!
• partial disclosure may be required
I see it like this: if she cares about you and your happiness, you can tell her you're busy or that you and your partner are going away or busy together or focusing on being alone together or something (polite, less honest, less dramatic) or you can tell her that you are very attracted to her but don't want to lose her friendship and so you and your partner need a little extra breathing room until you're able to get back to being such great, close friends again.
That said, if go you for the more direct request, it may take you longer than you think and this can have repercussions for your social life with your partner and for yourself. Meaning, avoiding the LO at events, cultivating new couple friends not in the same social sphere as your LO, etc.
And once that's all done, you might still not be quite ready for the exact same friendship you had before you began NC/LC.
The more dramatic form of NC that I and others have had to take (cutting someone off, cold turkey, without an explanation) is really best reserved for someone when either you can't respect any of their boundaries or are close to that (unreciprocated limerence), or where they cannot respect yours (reciprocated limerence). It doesn't sound like that's your situation, so I don't think even contemplating that kind of dramatic, binary kind of behavior will be good for you.
I believe on Tribe there's a women by the moniker of Thinker who has had several situations where she had an LO as a friend and a classmate and she could neither go NC or LC and also didn't want to -- not because it was limerence speaking, but, like you, she was good friends with the LOs and they weren't leading her on. If I remember correctly, she said that Full Disclosure and the earlier the better was what works best for her. I don't have any of the threads culled on that, but she wasn't asking for reciprocating even passive aggressively during her FDs -- it was more of a clearing the air between friends who care about each other so they can move forward.
Anyway. This response is long enough but I hope that you can at least see that you probably have several options to move forward and that you can start doing things right away to create competitive thought streams in your head against all the intrusive thinking about your LO.