Advice for spouses of limerents

Find support here if your partner is in limerence, having an affair or love addicted.
ine30
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Advice for spouses of limerents

Post by ine30 »

I am writing to seek advice.

My husband and I have been happily married for a decade now. Last year, he became limerent for a coworker. We have been through marriage counseling (which he refused to attend at first but later after attending a few sessions, stopped going altogether).

My husband told me that he needed some time to get past his feelings. So, I gave him some time but he only became more distant from me during this period. He had severe mood swings and would lose his temper almost everyday, mostly for something minor.

I went through incredible pain and worked very hard to sustain the marriage since I learnt about his limerence, but I could tell that he was checking out of the marriage for some time now. Finally, he told me recently that he wanted to move out.

I was so emotionally broken down that I called my best friend after the incident, who suggested that I reach out to my husband's LO and request her to increase distance if there is nothing going on between them. I also read in a book "Love or Limerence" (not the one by Dorothy Tennov) that another woman did something similar by speaking to her husband's LO and the increased distance with the LO helped heal their marriage.

I was initially reluctant to send out the email behind my husband's back, but my best friend pushed hard the idea that it'd be better for my husband in the long run if his LO rejected him or distanced from him. My husband hasn't eaten or slept properly in a while now, he just spends all day thinking about his LO. So, in the end, I decided to send the email. When my husband told me he wanted to move out (to live by himself, not with LO), he was doing it to figure out what he wanted with his own life but he also told me NOT to hold on to much hope that he'd return to me. So, my friend convinced me that I had nothing to lose by sending that email.

But this email backfired spectacularly. My husband's LO called him and told him about my email and said that she felt harassed by my email. My husband was furious, he accused me of betrayal and told me that he wanted divorce immediately. He is scheduled to move out next month but everyday he seems to find a reason to blame me for it. The rest of July will be very difficult.

So, I wanted to issue a cautionary note, in case it's useful for some. My brain is foggy right now, I don't know how wrong I was to do something like this, whether it can never be forgiven...

Does anyone have any advice on what I should do moving forward? Part of me feels like I tried as best as I could and I should let go of this relationship but the other part also wants to know whether some day he could possibly change.
Last edited by ine30 on Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ine30
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by ine30 »

And what bothers me is that I reached out to his LO....I feel absolutely terrible about it.

Cookie
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by Cookie »

You did nothing wrong. Your husband sounds immature and selfish, I’m sorry to say. Why are YOU putting all the effort into saving the marriage, when he won’t? Painful as this is right now, you are going to get a new life...one where you won’t be treated like a doormat. Be strong, seek individual counseling, and take a deep breath. This is not your fault.
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WishMagick
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by WishMagick »

If you truly love him. Let him go.
And you HAVE to realize that this is not your fault and it isn't because of what you have done or haven't done. It's all about him and his problems.

He may regret his decision to abandon you, or he may not. Either way, you need to be with someone who chooses you. If you want to forgive him in the future (if you can), then that is a bridge you can cross when you come to it.

He seems to be completely unwilling to fix things with you. You can't work with that.

I am so sorry this has happened to you. You will be ok. You have done what you could.
I'm now limerence free! Mindfulness & Traditional spiritualism was my "cure".
"Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness."

MrSpock
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by MrSpock »

Wow, this is tough... I'm really sorry to read this!

First of, I don't think that what you did was wrong. It backfired, yes, but we should not judge our decisions solely based on the results. If I decide to take my family to Disney, but then there is bomb and we all die, it doesn't mean I should have not done that. No one has tomorrow's newspaper.
What matters is what you intended to do. And what you intended was to push your husband into what we call No Contact. And it is true that NC has usually a positive effect and gives the LS the space needed to step out of the fog.
So, it backfired but I think it was the right thing to do in your completely extreme situation.

Second... my wife and I have had, in the distant past, our martial problems. There was a time when we fought a lot. We got close to get separated. But we worked things out. I've got my current limerence only when in the stage of having worked out our martial problems, and that allowed me to see, unequivocally and clearly, that what I feel about LO has nothing to do with my wife, or our marriage. No matter what I would like to change about my wife or our marriage, none of that fuels my limerence. It is entirely about me, and if anything about other people has an influence on the limerence, it is my childhood family and experiences. Not my adult marriage.
But... if limerence had hit me back on those days, I might have left her (and if I hadn't would have been only for the kids). And I would have blamed her, thinking that she didn't make me happy. But, as it turns out, I would have just found out, in the end, that I was wrong and she was not the problem. That my unhappiness was about my own issues, not hers.
So, this is NOT necessarily YOUR FAULT.

Finally, I can't tell what your husband is going to do, but we have seen a few cases here just like yours, and sometimes the SOs do come back after their LO fails them. The one good thing about your case is that, if his LO felt harassed by your email, it seems to indicate that she is NOT on board with his idea of the relationship they have. That is, if she were wanting an affair or even a deeper relationship with him, she would have seen your email as a victory.

I hope your husband breaks out of this nightmare quickly (which is for him too) and realizes what he already has, even if it needs work. BUT, none of that is in your hands, so, I'm really sorry and I really know how painful this is, but is best for you to start working on letting him go.

ine30
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by ine30 »

Thanks everyone for all the words of wisdom and support.

My husband has always been a kind and highly principled person until recently. So, when he says something now during his LE, my first instinct is still to trust his judgement and I've to constantly make a conscious effort not to get pulled into his mood swings.

He told me repeatedly that reaching out to his LO is something he could never forgive, because it's a betrayal of his trust and because I inflicted pain on his LO unnecessarily. I accept the blame but someday I also want to tell him that there is no excuse for how he mistreated me so many times. But when I look at him, he seems very unwell sometimes and unusually happy at other times. So, I am not saying anything. But I hope whether I tell him something or not, he will realize one day that he had no right, ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT, to treat me like this. I have decided to let him go, not just from my physical life, but also from my internal life. It's sad that such a loving marriage had to end like this. The way this marriage ended (in his mind and in mine) damaged my faith in relationships. I wasn't married to a toxic person, but our relationship suddenly soured and exploded rapidly.

MrSpock
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by MrSpock »

inecon30 wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:29 am
He told me repeatedly that reaching out to his LO is something he could never forgive, because it's a betrayal of his trust and because I inflicted pain on his LO unnecessarily. I accept the blame but someday I also want to tell him that there is no excuse for how he mistreated me so many times.
This requires a more elaborate response but I just wanted to quickly comment on this part.
That is classic projection. If anything, he is the one that you should forgive, not the other way around. And it is him who betrayed your trust, not the opposite. And it is him who inflicted unnecessary pain on you.
But his mind just cannot accept all this damage out of his actions, not at this time, so he's turning tables, placing himself (and his LO) as the victim, even thought they clearly aren't. That's just the silly (and unfair) way our mind works sometimes (OK, maybe not everyone's mind, but some people who have deep issues with blame and guilt do just that).

The best strategy for you in this case is just to see how he is just projecting his own actions and don't let it get to you. You would be the one forgiving, not the one being forgiven.

Overthinker
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by Overthinker »

inecon30,
People in limerence are very similar to drug addicts. They lie, they cheat, and when confronted they will turn it back on the accuser and make themselves into the victim. They will do anything to keep the source of their addiction in constant supply. Like many a drug addict, this is going to cost him his marriage. He may not realize the full scope of what he's done and how he's hurt you until you are divorced, and by then you will have probably moved on. It's a sad situation, but in no way your fault. Nor should you think you are obliged to 'rescue' him. His recovery is on him.
Male, Married
LO married, co-worker

John
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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by John »

OP, I am also the spouse of a limerent and understand the pain of betrayal. My wife had an EA with a younger co-worker one year ago. Just a couple bits of advice: 1. This is NOT your fault or the fault of your marriage. This is something he did to himself. 2. Take care of yourself first. Be strong, confident and appear happy if possible, do not plead or seem sad in front of him. 3. He is in an addictive fog and unable to make rational decisions now. He may or may not snap out of it. Either way, he cannot or will not listen to logic while in the fog. 4. He is conflicted and guilty, although he does not show it. A lot of his behavior is to cover up his guilt and shame. 5. I personally don't think you made a mistake by contacting his LO. You would probably always regret it if you had not tried to contact her. She is entirely his problem to deal with and he cannot blame you for that. If he is unable to understand that you are better off moving on. 6. His limerence will fade. The thrill generally wears off in 12 to 18 months and reality will set in if he goes to live with her. At that point he will either realize his mistake or find another LO. 7. There is hope for your marriage if he finds remorse. It will take counseling and a LOT of work from both of you.

Thank you for your post. You seem to understand limerence well enough to understand what is going on. Betrayal is one of the hardest things to cope with. Please be strong and hopeful for your own future, whatever that may be.

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Re: Advice and caution for spouses of limerents

Post by Lola »

Another spouse (former spouse) of a limerent here. Long time reader, but this is my first post. Backing up what everyone else here is saying. You acted out of logic, which is what all of us spouses initially do in this situation. You try to take control of your life back. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't work that way. My situation was quite a while back now, and I was a stander for my marriage for about five years. For several years he was back and forth in limbo, which made me feel we could reconcile. I know others who have reconciled after things like this, so I had hope. Ultimately it did not, and he is still with his LO, though their life after leaving their marriages doesn't look at all like what they planned. Know that even if your spouse's limerence, midlife crisis, whatever he is going through (mine had a bipolar diagnosis too) doesn't result in a return - you'll be fine. Better than fine, in a lot of ways. Sometimes I still can't believe I was able to detach and live through it all when I think back to some of the bizarre things he said and did. But I can't stress enough how focusing on yourself and getting your strength back is really the key to healing, no matter which way the wind blows for him. Big hugs.

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