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Serial limerence.WTF?

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LostAgain
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by LostAgain » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:28 pm

Skex,yes that does resonate.I think that may often be part of it.
As L-F observed it can be part of an avoidance of something we are afraid of.
I think there may be quite a few other causes and that is why I tossed the question out there.
You have been very candid about your relationship difficulties and deserve a lot of respect for it.
One of the things which jumps out is the missed communications or absence of communication.
I think that may be a very common issue where a person turns to someone other than their SO.
I guess that apart from your unflinching honesty that couples counselling may bridge the divide.
Best of luck.

Skex
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by Skex » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm

To clarify I don't have a problem with relationship counseling in general. Communication is a very important thing in any relationship and it never hurts to improve it. Particularly as people can hear the exact same words and come out with completely different interpretations. I actually got some good insights from our couples counselor when we saw one (once I shut down that shared blame nonsense) including a great example of how our perceptions are so affected by our own filters when the therapist asked my wife a question and I heard a completely different question that the one that she stated, which seriously affected the meaning of my wife's answer.

My objection is specifically directed at the typical model that is used when addressing infidelity. Deciding to reach out to someone other than your SO to address a relationship problem is not a failure in communication or a relationship issue. It is an individual issue that needs to be addressed with that person directly and separately from the relationship. In fact to detach the question a little bit from the emotional/sexual infidelity issue I'd say that any sort of massive intentional betrayal of trust such as say alcoholism/addiction, financial infidelity or other destructive individual behaviors are not things that should be addressed as relationship problems. They may cause problems in a relationship but they are ultimately individual behavioral problems.

You wouldn't address other forms of emotional or physical abuse by addressing what the abused did to trigger their abuse would you?

I mean let's talk about limerence itself for a moment, the assertion of it's proponents is that it's a biologically based psychological condition that is involuntary, if that's the case how could it be related to the relationship? It will almost certainly affect the relationship and those affects and communication about them are a valid subject for discussion in a relationship therapy but I see no way how an individual involuntary psychological condition can be the "fault" of the SO.

Yet the unmet needs shared responsibility model of counseling would have us place some level of culpability onto the SO. How does that make any sense? It's either involuntary or it's not. If it's involuntary then it's not something that the SO can effect thus it's ridiculous to hold them accountable for it. If it's voluntary then it's still something that needs to be addressed with the limerent directly. I can see how it would be useful to help the SO to understand that it's not personal and about them so that they can be more supportive and less harmed by the manifestation of the limerence but telling them that it happened as a result of their actions in the relationship is the exact opposite of that.

Then again that wasn't my main point here, which was fear is a pretty universal motivator for all of us. It's a large part of why communication is such a difficult thing. Because to truly communicate we have to be completely honest and to be completely honest we have to truly trust and trust is fucking hard when deep down we're all afraid that we're just not good enough.

build1now
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by build1now » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:30 pm

mrsjones wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:10 am
Also serial.

I've been thinking about this a lot and I think a consistent thread is the unavailable / unobtainable theme. In fact, I can recall many instances in my life where I have been so into someone until they started to return the attention and then I completely freaked out and didn't want anything to do with them. These days it is the opposite - I'm particularly susceptible to a man who gives me special attention, but then, I am unavailable, so I guess that makes it feel kind of safe. I wonder if this has anything to do with a concept that I heard an American psychotherapist talking about on the subject of love addiction and I can't remember what the term he used was, but he was talking about a self-protective measure that children used if they are growing up with one or more emotionally unavailable parents. He was saying that they learn to kind of over-perceive the degree of closeness that they have with this caregiver rather than admit to themselves that there is neglect or disconnection there and this can carry over to relationships later in life, resulting in the kind of scenarios where one person continues to devote everything in a relationship when the other person clearly doesn't give a crap. Perhaps some of us become limerent as a result of this self preserving mechanism - we have learnt to attach special importance and significance to relationships which barely exist.

( Perhaps some of us become limerent as a result of this self preserving mechanism - we have learnt to attach special importance and significance to relationships which barely exist. )

I can really relate to this. So often I've thought this is something "special" take little coincidences as a sign..when in reality, it's all in my head and the other person doesn't have a clue.

openheart
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by openheart » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:00 am

Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
Communication is a very important thing in any relationship and it never hurts to improve it. Particularly as people can hear the exact same words and come out with completely different interpretations.
Agreed.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
(once I shut down that shared blame nonsense)
In my very unhappy marriage, over the years we each saw a number of therapists -- individual and couples -- and I don't think a single one of them talked about "shared blame"... I think any therapist who uses those words would likely be far less effective at helping their patients/clients. If that had been the approach, I would have sought a different therapist. So if you had to "shut down" something like that, hopefully that wasn't coming from the therapist.

Through all those very painful years, and the various therapists I interacted with, I'd say most of them were helpful, but a couple of them were not so good. One in particular was a disaster who probably caused us more harm than good. She might have set us back a couple of years to be honest, and had no business being in practice. On the flip side, another one was incredibly insightful, and helped us disentangle a lot of issues that eluded the other therapists and ultimately helped us reach a solid footing so we could evaluate whether or not it was time to end the marriage.

So it's hit and miss with therapists, but I don't think any of them (including Dr. Disaster, Ph.D.) would have taken us down a "shared blame" kind of path. Curious where that concept was coming from.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
My objection is specifically directed at the typical model that is used when addressing infidelity. Deciding to reach out to someone other than your SO to address a relationship problem is not a failure in communication or a relationship issue. It is an individual issue that needs to be addressed with that person directly and separately from the relationship. In fact to detach the question a little bit from the emotional/sexual infidelity issue I'd say that any sort of massive intentional betrayal of trust such as say alcoholism/addiction, financial infidelity or other destructive individual behaviors are not things that should be addressed as relationship problems. They may cause problems in a relationship but they are ultimately individual behavioral problems.
I think there are many cases (perhaps most) where the lines are not so black and white. Without getting into "blame," the kinds of agonizing situations you mention have all sorts of complexities and subtleties from co-dependency to subtle forms of abuse and neglect to enabling behaviors and on and on where there is some aspect of the relationship that exacerbates or amplifies the conditions where the more serious condition develops.

I've seen some really tough family situations where drug addiction that started with a prescription medication was later amplified by ignorance, which was later amplified by enabling, which was later amplified by long-standing parental issues, which was amplified by poor therapy, which was amplified by depression, which was amplified by just plain bad luck which then ultimately resulted in death.

It's so complicated and tragic, that there's no way to assign "blame," nor would it really help... but had the parties been working together better, there was ALWAYS something that everyone in the party could have done better. And after the fact, it's easier to see things... especially that nothing was cut and dried.

So in that sense I disagree that the issues you mentioned are ultimately individual behavioral problems because while very technically that may be true, in reality, if you want a positive outcome, it's going to take a lot of work for all parties involved, whether or not they are "technically" responsible. And in my view, even if they are not technically responsible, they are at least peripherally part of the process/problem/solution as tiny catalysts or gravity wells that can nudge the situation one way or another, and if they decide to take an active role in the solution, including adapting some of their own behaviors in a healthy way (if that is possible or reasonable) to help the situation, it can lead to a more positive outcome. In the drug example, there are probably 10 different things that family could have done differently, and any one of them might have prolonged or even saved a life. Everyone listening and working through family counseling would have helped tremendously, whether or not there was any "blame" to be had.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
You wouldn't address other forms of emotional or physical abuse by addressing what the abused did to trigger their abuse would you?
Again, I don't think this is so black and white. There are plenty of situations where the abuse goes both ways, or the family situation is very complex with children, etc, or there are other parallel issues with mental health or medical issues, etc... but of course depending on the kind and magnitude of the abuse and the unique circumstances, this could be best handled by various different kinds of counseling, sometimes more than one kind of counseling at once.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
I mean let's talk about limerence itself for a moment, the assertion of it's proponents is that it's a biologically based psychological condition that is involuntary, if that's the case how could it be related to the relationship? It will almost certainly affect the relationship and those affects and communication about them are a valid subject for discussion in a relationship therapy but I see no way how an individual involuntary psychological condition can be the "fault" of the SO.
Again, moving away from terminology like "fault" or "blame" or the working definition of limerence (which BTW, does not appear to be 100% consistent based on my reading from Tennov so far), these kinds of challenges are not black and white. It's entirely possible that the SO is amplifying the situation to some degree that helps foster an unhealthy environment.

But if we briefly look at it in "fault" or "blame" terms, does that mean he/she has 50% of the "fault"? Or 10%? Or 90%? Is that even helpful to look at it that way? Maybe for a lawyer who is trying to determine a divorce settlement.

But if we're just trying to heal the pain, again, it could be that the SO's behavior, when examined in a vacuum, has exactly NOTHING to do with the partner's limerence, but relationships don't function in a vacuum, especially if the couple wants to bridge the divide.

After all the therapy I've experienced, I've learned that no matter how "innocent" I might have technically been for something going on in my marriage, there was ALWAYS something I could have done to help improve the situation. And I eventually came to the conclusion that any healthy relationship requires both parties to be willing to give more than 50% to make a whole... that they are both willing to go at least a little more than halfway across the bridge. Sometimes, one side had to cross much more than 50% if the situation becomes really tough for one of them. And who better to be willing to help the other than the SO? If one of us drew a black and white line at exactly 50%, and refused to cross it, the relationship was ultimately going to fall short and in my case, we knew it needed to end. And yes, in my marriage, that was the healthy decision.

Moving back to limerence, or anything similar, it's going to take a lot of work in my view, to build the bridge, and whether or not someone is "to blame" more than someone else, the real question in my view is whether or not the SO wants to draw a hard line at 50% on the bridge. If they stop cold at 50%, then, well, that relationship is going to experience the "pain of the gap" until something gives. IMO, no amount of therapy will ever make up for a deficit that the parties involved aren't willing to work together to heal. Good therapy just hopefully unmasks the issues, gives some tools and maybe a little practice using those tools, but in the end, there's real -- and often difficult -- work to be done.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm

Yet the unmet needs shared responsibility model of counseling would have us place some level of culpability onto the SO. How does that make any sense? It's either involuntary or it's not. If it's involuntary then it's not something that the SO can effect thus it's ridiculous to hold them accountable for it. If it's voluntary then it's still something that needs to be addressed with the limerent directly. I can see how it would be useful to help the SO to understand that it's not personal and about them so that they can be more supportive and less harmed by the manifestation of the limerence but telling them that it happened as a result of their actions in the relationship is the exact opposite of that.
Again, the black and white line issue. Obviously, a good therapist isn't going to "tell a [client/patient] that it happened as a result of their [SO's] actions" ... if that happened, I'd find a different therapist posthaste.
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
Then again that wasn't my main point here, which was fear is a pretty universal motivator for all of us. It's a large part of why communication is such a difficult thing. Because to truly communicate we have to be completely honest and to be completely honest we have to truly trust and trust is fucking hard when deep down we're all afraid that we're just not good enough.
Agreed that fear is a pretty universal motivator -- limerence or no limerence -- and agreed about trust/honesty/communication. Would that we could all communicate so honestly and truly. My own marriage suffered because of communication issues that we eventually figured out for the most part, with a lot of help... and in the end, we were able to communicate truly and honestly that the relationship had to end... which was a good thing for us. :-)

How all that ties into the limerence discussion is sort of like twin orbiting satellites... in my case, limerence didn't have anything to do with my marriage (mainly because I was so crushed as a human being I didn't have space to experience limerence), but the lessons learned from that sad period of my life apply directly to limerence that I'm dealing with right now.

Anyway, I wish you the best in your own journey. I hope my comments didn't come across negatively. It's a healthy exploration of a powerful topic, and honestly, a good exercise for me personally to work through my own thoughts on the matter. Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts, and in any case I wish you well.

EXlfjb
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by EXlfjb » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:48 am

Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
I actually got some good insights from our couples counselor when we saw one (once I shut down that shared blame nonsense) including a great example of how our perceptions are so affected by our own filters when the therapist asked my wife a question and I heard a completely different question that the one that she stated, which seriously affected the meaning of my wife's answer.
Interesting you see it this way. Can I ask if you had perfect parenting, attachment, etc?

I'm of the mind like attracts like, whether it be an LO or SO. On some unconscious level we pick the perfect partner to teach / heal our inner wounds.
Scrap that. Everyone we come into contact with, we can learn from.

Another thought is, could your wife have chosen an enabler to wed, and if so, do you think she would have learnt anything?

LostAgain
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by LostAgain » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:12 am

L-F,..indeed you can learn from pretty well anyone you come into contact with.
With some toxic people the damage can be pretty extensive and the lesson may be kicked into the future for later realisation.
Sometimes if we are a bit raw it is best to run away from obviously toxic people.
I think you are probably more 'hard core' and adventurous than I am in this regard.
Having said all that ....there ain't no choice in limerence.We all get knocked about like punch drunk boxers.

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David
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by David » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:17 am

Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm
My objection is specifically directed at the typical model that is used when addressing infidelity. Deciding to reach out to someone other than your SO to address a relationship problem is not a failure in communication or a relationship issue. It is an individual issue that needs to be addressed with that person directly and separately from the relationship. In fact to detach the question a little bit from the emotional/sexual infidelity issue I'd say that any sort of massive intentional betrayal of trust such as say alcoholism/addiction, financial infidelity or other destructive individual behaviors are not things that should be addressed as relationship problems. They may cause problems in a relationship but they are ultimately individual behavioral problems.
I agree with this point and its an important one. Thats why I bang on here about those of us with limerence having to do our own growth work irrespective of the status of our relationship and irrespective of if the relationship survives. As they say in 12 steps, wherever I go, there I am.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Relationship Coaching help see www.loverelations.co.uk
For Individual Coaching and Mentoring see www.drdavidperl.com

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David
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by David » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:19 am

Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:39 pm
Not a Limerent myself, however as an outside observer I think that David did hit the nail on the head when he talked about fear, but I don't think that it is fear of fear but rather the fear of looking inward at one's self, at your fears, insecurities and painful experiences and ultimately your value.
Thats what I meant, the fear of looking at themselves.

To start let me say that I do not believe in love/sex addiction. What I believe is that people who never developed healthy coping skills due to their FOO environment and experiences develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that work for them in their childhood and because they were raised in environments where good coping mechanisms were not modeled and encouraged they stuck with the ones that worked for them.
Its just a label and at times these labels are imprecise. Whatever we want to call it, the consequence are the exhibited behaviours and acting out due to poor modelling and insecure attachments from ineffective parenting.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Relationship Coaching help see www.loverelations.co.uk
For Individual Coaching and Mentoring see www.drdavidperl.com

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David
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by David » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:29 am

openheart wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:05 pm
Skex wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:39 pm
Does that resonate?
But anyway, from my POV, the general concept is not resonating with my situation. I think there are many more layers, and plenty of people who have already done a lot of work on fear, risk, self-value and authentic self, that there is something else operating underneath. What that is, I don't know yet, and I'm working through to figure it out, at least for my own situation.
Ive written here before about how the word limerence has become hijacked and is now confusing. Tenov was describing something different to the New relationship Energy that is the manifestation of early romantic love. The two have many parallels and much cross over. Ultimately, i dont think it matters. It all boils down to the same thing of us seeking a magical other in a romantic partner so we dont have to do our own growing up. A surrogate mummy/daddy.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Relationship Coaching help see www.loverelations.co.uk
For Individual Coaching and Mentoring see www.drdavidperl.com

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french girl
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Re: Serial limerence.WTF?

Post by french girl » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:03 pm

David wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:29 am
It all boils down to the same thing of us seeking a magical other in a romantic partner so we dont have to do our own growing up.
A surrogate mummy/daddy.
Sometimes, when he didn't approve my behaviour, when he thought I stepped over the line, my ex-boyfriend would tell me : "I'm not your mummy!"
I always wondered what he meant exactly by saying that. Maybe just that he didn't have to endure my behaviour...
I never really understood either why he didn't say "I'm not your daddy" instead, which seemed more natural for a guy...
But well, I guess I grasped the idea anyway...

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