Information: Please take a moment and visit your profile to choose a flag.

a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Tell us your story. What has been your experience?
Post Reply
Hologram
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:43 pm
Gender:
Age: 48
Great Britain

a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by Hologram » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:58 pm

Hello all,

was it the events of last Thursday or Friday that triggered it? My deliberately poor behaviour towards my LO at the department xmas meal? Her flirting with the young, attractive new members of staff on the last day of term? Or had it been chipping away at me all that time since she started losing the ‘spark’ with me, months earlier? I couldn’t tell for sure but by Friday afternoon the one thing I did know was that I had seriously fallen for her: my female work colleague. From my past limerent experiences, I'm expecting a nightmare. Can I avoid it this time?

The past few days have been bad for me, in fact sometimes really bad; it’s amazing how quickly it can take over and severely distort your perspective on everything. My LO is the focus; the unobtainable - yet always tempting - prize. However, being entrenched in a cesspit of destructive thoughts and fantasies is not my idea of a holiday, so I looked online and eventually found your wonderful website. I must admit I had never heard of limerence before last Friday but after reading the checklist of symptoms, it was like someone was looking directly into my soul. “Wow!” I thought: these people really understand; they’ll know what I’m going through. I’ve read through many of your posts and I recognize so many of the experiences a lot of you share here. For that I am very grateful.

Maybe I’m lucky in that I think I’ve just started my latest episode of limerence (at the ‘crystallisation’ stage?) but I now realise the issues began way before last week: I just wasn’t fully consciously aware of them. Quick question: it possible to nip limerence in-the-bud if you recognize it quickly enough? I do hope so as I sincerely don’t want to repeat the very painful mistakes I’ve made in the past (been there, done it, got the t-shirt etc). Besides, I have so much more to lose this time.

One positive thing I discovered from my current LE is that it is forcing me to re evaluate my life and the things that should matter: my goals; my attitudes; my relationships; my marriage. I am in my early forties (mid-life crisis, anyone?), married to a wonderful woman and we have an adorable 18 month-old son. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to tackle, head-on, certain things in my life that have never been right e.g. my fantasizing about other women; my total lack of sexual desire for my wife (even before we got married), to list a few. My LE is an opportunity for growth but I know this is going to be a very painful process and I’m not sure exactly how to go about it. My choice: carry on (sink) or change (swim)?

My latest LE has taken me totally by surprise but was it always inevitable looking at my behaviour over the past year or so? Did I set myself up? I can’t beat myself up about it and I think there is little point in me listing here (however tempting) the details of my interactions real/misinterpreted that have taken place between my LO and me. The really good piece of insight I have gained from this site, however, is that it’s not about her but about me. The solution must always be about me. That has to be the mantra. Though I admit desperately not wanting to let my LO go. The fantasy, despite now becoming excruciating, has become addictive.

One last thing: a possible barrier to my healing is that my LO and I work in the same office (I’m a secondary school teacher). It is very difficult to avoid seeing her everyday and there will be certainly times when I am going to have to interact with her in a professional capacity. It is now holiday for two weeks (giving me some thinking-time) but I’m not sure how I am going to act when I see her again. I’m also dreading observing her interactions with the possible ‘rivals’ and cutting myself up or saying/doing something out of jealousy. Any advice on that one would be greatly appreciated.

As I’m typing I’m feeling a little better; it’s good to put thoughts down in words (“my brain is in my right hand”). I find I’m forced to write rational thoughts only - not fantasies. One for the road: a good piece of advice I have found very useful when dealing with interpreting/misinterpreting peoples’ responses was “Don’t guess what is in someone’s mind: you might be out by an inch but more likely a mile”.

I am certainly happy to give you all an update in a couple of weeks’ time, if you want.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Goodbye for now!

H

User avatar
David
Site Admin
Posts: 3173
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: London UK
Gender:
Age: 60
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by David » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:01 am

Welcome Hologram and glad you found this site. Can you head it off at the pass? Ive no idea. Limerence gives us many gifts, perhaps the greatest is the need to look inwards. As for mid life crisis/transition, for me that was a significant part of the experience. I'm writing my final year dissertation on this very theme.

Anyhow, hope this site and other's experiences can help you. We each work through limerence in our own way and there are many paths up the mountain.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Relationship Coaching/Therapy see www.loverelations.co.uk

JohnDeux
Posts: 1960
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:42 pm

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by JohnDeux » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:52 pm

@Hologram: "That has to be the mantra. Though I admit desperately not wanting to let my LO go. The fantasy, despite now becoming excruciating, has become addictive."

Hello Hologram. I did not have the benefit of this group or Tribe-LE during my first limerence many years ago. I am grateful for both of them during my second LE that is winding down from over the past 2 years. Although I can't point to definites in helping you nip it in the bud, I think there is something in retrospect that helped me more than I was aware. If you think about any other disease or malady from which you might be recovering, there would be at least one and probably several other people that would know this....your doctor, your spouse, trusted friends, etc. In other words, your condition, be it cancer, drug addiction, depression, etc. would be something "validated" by others. In limerence, this is rarely the case, and yet YOU can become that "other person". YOU can tell yourself "For the best treatment outcome, I need to acknowledge *to myself* that I have a problem (just like an alcoholic admitting they have a drinking problem) and will have to do X, Y, and Z and be attentive to what is causing problems and what is helping with relief". I sometimes even needed to excuse myself from work or social functions because my recovery became *THE* important goal. Suppressing the feelings for LO generally does not work, but distractions with other things "can" help. Saying "I would love to talk to LO but I have to realize that for my recovery, feeling what I do just now, this is not a good thing to do". And all the same time, keeping an internal sense of what you meant when you said "I have so much more to lose now". I hope this can help in some small way for a nip-in-the-bud attempt.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain...."~ The Wizard of Oz

STR
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:52 pm

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by STR » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:37 pm

Hologram wrote:I must admit I had never heard of limerence before last Friday but after reading the checklist of symptoms, it was like someone was looking directly into my soul. “Wow!” I thought: these people really understand; they’ll know what I’m going through. I’ve read through many of your posts and I recognize so many of the experiences a lot of you share here. For that I am very grateful.

One positive thing I discovered from my current LE is that it is forcing me to re evaluate my life and the things that should matter: my goals; my attitudes; my relationships; my marriage. I am in my early forties (mid-life crisis, anyone?), married to a wonderful woman and we have an adorable 18 month-old son. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to tackle, head-on, certain things in my life that have never been right e.g. my fantasizing about other women; my total lack of sexual desire for my wife (even before we got married), to list a few. My LE is an opportunity for growth but I know this is going to be a very painful process and I’m not sure exactly how to go about it. My choice: carry on (sink) or change (swim)?
Hi Hologram. Like you, I only heard the word "Limerence" for the first time a few weeks ago, though I have suffered from it for more than 25 years. I knew I had a problem, but I didn't know what to call it until now.

Also like you, I'm in my early 40s and have experienced some symptoms of mid-life crisis. Until February of 2013, I was addicted to porn and to fantasizing about other women besides my wife. If I was out of the house, I would constantly ogle every attractive woman I saw in order to take pictures of their bodies in my mind that I could fantasize about later, including while having sex with my wife. If I was home by myself, I was probably looking at porn. I had conditioned my mind and body to the point where I couldn’t become aroused by my wife, and could only get an erection if I was looking at or fantasizing about other women. I had convinced myself that my wife was not desirable and that I was missing out by not being able to experience other women.

The woman I fantasized about most is my current LO, whom I have known for more than 5 years. I used to think about her pretty much every time I had sex with my wife, and especially during orgasm. I’m not proud to admit that, but it’s the truth.

I’m telling you this because I was able to break my addiction to porn/fantasy and to stop thinking about other women to the point that I am now more interested in my wife than I have ever been, including during our courtship. By focusing all of my thoughts and sexual energy on my wife, and by treating her as if she is the sexiest woman in the world, my brain and body respond to as if she is the sexiest woman in the world. I don't look at other women, don't fantasize about other women, and don't feel like I am missing anything by not being able to have sex with other women.

Two of the things that were critical in helping me break my addiction were (1) a book called “Breaking the Cycle: Free Yourself from Sex Addiction, Porn Obsession, and Shame” by George Collins and (2) an online forum (such as this one) at http://www.rebootnation.org. If you're anything like me, I think that getting help from these sources could change your life in ways you never thought possible.
Last edited by STR on Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hologram
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:43 pm
Gender:
Age: 48
Great Britain

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by Hologram » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:19 pm

Hi there,

apologies for my delay in getting back to you all. Many, many thanks for your responses and really good advice; it’s given me lots to reflect upon.

@ Johndeux

I had never really thought of my limerence (past or present) as being an ‘addiction’ and you’re right, I must openly admit to myself that I do have a real problem with this and my other underlining issues. Discerning and tackling those issues must now be a priority in my life. I have not shared my LE with anybody yet, let alone my wife. This is something I’ve been wrangling with, particularly as she has noticed a big change in my mood and behaviour (e.g. very withdrawn and showing a loss of appetite). I’m lucky she has been relatively calm about it but I need to choose carefully when and what I disclose to her (I know she is going to be terribly wounded regardless). I have, however, spoken to a priest about my troubles (I’m a practicing catholic); it gave me some peace just to talk to someone with an objective viewpoint and to get some good advice (e.g. it is perfectly natural to have feelings of attraction to other people but to focus everything back on the marriage).

@STR

I am impressed that you seem to have read my mind; many of your experiences resonate very strongly with me indeed. My sexual addictions have been troubling me for most of my adult life and I have to admit they are a real stumbling block to me being able to authentically express/feel affection for my wife. I had noticed in the few months leading up to my limerence, I was getting more and more sexually attracted to my LO. Seeing her as a purely sexual object (though of course it’s much more than that) is something I need to change. But my LE aside, challenging my sexual addiction is going to be so tough because it’s been so much of a habit and a ‘comfort’ to me. I will certainly be purchasing the book you suggested and I have also looked through many of the posts on the rebootnation forum – they’ve been a real help.

Some questions, if possible: how long did it take you overcome your porn addiction and when did you see a real change regarding your affection to your wife? Did the process help diminish your limerence?


I have to admit, the past two weeks have probably been the most miserable Christmas holiday I’ve ever experienced. I realize my limerence goes far deeper than I imagined and may last a very long time; it’s rocked me to my core. Some days have been OK and I’d say to myself “hey, things are looking up” but then my mood drops really low and I obsess about my LO for long periods e.g wondering what she is up to; who is she seeing on New Year’s Eve etc. The past few nights I’ve had some very vivid dreams about her and then I wake up and I feel terrible for the most of the next day. It really sucks! I’m ranting here but I do need to get it off my back.

My anxiety about my LO have been getting worse recently - I guess as a response to knowing I’ll be seeing her again for the first time in two-weeks on Monday. I feel a mixture of high excitement and deep dread but I’m really praying I’m able to control my feelings/responses (particularly jealousy or rejection) whatever situation arises when I see her. My limerbrain is telling me to have as little interaction with her as possible (e.g. planning my day so I’m not in the office at all when she is there, therefore wanting to force some emotional response towards me on her part). My logical brain, however, is telling me to act as ‘normal’ as possible i.e. be polite but not to try to initiate too many conversations (thanks John Deux for your advice on this plus the ‘wanting not-wanting' rules of decision making). I do like my LO as a person and we normally get on well, so having to do this makes me feel very sad. I don't think my LO suspects anything but the last thing I would ever want to do is come across as some obsessive nutter and destroy a good working relationship.

I haven’t decided yet but I may talk to my head teacher (I have found him very supportive when I’ve had personal issues in the past and he keeps everything strictly confidential) to let him know I’m currently going through some emotional difficulties . However, I’m not sure I’ll mention my limerence and I certainly will not divulge anything about my LO to him.

Hopefully I’ll tough out the next few weeks/months and be able to draw a line under it all.

Wishing you all a happy and limerence-free 2015

Bye for now...

Holo

STR
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:52 pm

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by STR » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:40 pm

Hologram wrote:Some questions, if possible: how long did it take you overcome your porn addiction and when did you see a real change regarding your affection to your wife? Did the process help diminish your limerence?
I haven't intentionally looked at porn since Feb. 2013. I had tried to stop looking at it countless times before that, but without lasting success. The last straw was learning about PIED (Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction), a condition that perfectly described what I had been experiencing for many years up until that point. I made a decision that I wanted to be able to have real sex with my wife rather than fake sex with other women, and that was the point at which I was finally ready to break the addiction.

From that point forward, I also started chipping away at my fantasy life. I began the process of trying not to look at women on the street, trying not to stare if I did look at them, and trying not to look at their body parts. I also started to decrease my frequency of masturbation, which had always been fueled by porn and fantasy. By not masturbating, I had little use for porn or fantasy, and by dropping the porn and fantasy, I had little use for masturbation. I also stopped thinking about porn or other women during sex with my wife.

It's difficult to say how long it has taken to accomplish all of this because in one sense, I'm still working on it. Realistically, I'll be working on it for the rest of my life. But on the other hand, in the way that porn and fantasy and masturbation used to be habits, now not looking at porn and not fantasizing and not masturbating have become habits that I don't really have to think about all that much.

As for affection for my wife, this is something that has gone up and down and I have learned that I have to make a concerted effort to keep it up, so to speak. It's easy (for example) to compare my wife with my LO and to focus on the things that I like better about LO. I have found that the more I think about LO, the more difficult it is to become aroused by my wife. Conversely, when I make a concerted effort to hug and kiss my wife multiple times throughout the day, to think about the things I like about her, and to think of her as a sexy woman, I am amazed at how well my body responds to her. But I only really figured this out over the past month or so, and I was still experiencing occasional ED with my wife just a month or two ago.

As for Limerence, there is no doubt that my situation is much better than it was a few years ago. As I said before, I used to fantasize about my LO constantly, including both sexual fantasies as well as fantasies about spending our lives together. This made it virtually impossible for me to be happy with my wife or to be 100% present with her, which is something that has changed dramatically for the better.

While I still experience Limerence with my LO, I would say that the nature of the LE has changed quite a bit. I no longer spend time thinking about what it would have been like to have been married to her or thinking that she would have been a better partner for me than my wife. I would say that I still have feelings of “love” for her, but they are coming from a better place now. I can think of her as more of a sister or a cousin than as a potential partner.

Hologram
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:43 pm
Gender:
Age: 48
Great Britain

Re: a Nightmare Unfolding or an Opportunity for Growth?

Post by Hologram » Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:29 pm

@STR for your sharing your experiences and advice on that one; it’s certainly given me real hope that I can really improve my self-esteem and relationship with my wife. In fact I’ve started applying your ideas already. Limerence aside, it is one aspect of my ‘whole body and mind’ healing I need to go through and I am determined to fix it.

Actually, I finally caved in and told my wife about my limerence I have towards my co-worker; she was very upset at first, understandably feeling I don’t love her anymore. She has drawn a calmer demeanour since then and is grateful I told her everything. I am very lucky to have such a supportive spouse. She needs to be the focus of all my emotional energy from now on; I know that will help both me and her.

Regarding my work, the last thing I ever wanted to happen seems to have happened: my LO has been completely ignoring me since we returned to work this week e.g. not starting conversations with me; visibly avoiding eye contact; no smiling or acknowledging me (it could be simply my hyper-sensitivity but I’ve noticed she doesn’t do this with my other colleagues). When I’ve tried to start a light conversation, she’s seemed very dismissive and not interested at all. Did she pick up on my awkwardness a few weeks ago? Is she freaked out? Pissed off? (maybe she’s been reading this forum!). I admit during the holiday, I foolishly offered a pair of tickets (for a show) to a friend of hers who is also a shared colleague of ours (currently on maternity leave) and her husband. Have I spoilt that relationship, too? Limerence hijacks seemingly honest and genuine actions. Am I that truly manipulative?

Because of this, it’s only really now that I’ve been feeling very guilty about my behaviour towards my LO over the past year or so: my flirting to actively get a young female member of staff to be interested in me; my advances and possessiveness towards her when she seemed to be losing interest in me a few months ago. Did I lead her on? Had I been playing with her heart? There was no way I could have had an affair with her – I’m a married man for goodness sake. What was I thinking of? In that sense I must take full responsibility for my actions: if you do ‘X’ then ’Y’ will happen. I’ve burnt down what was a good working relationship. It really hurts. Chalk up yet another life lesson.

However, though painful, I have realized her blanking of me could be a blessing in disguise. It could help the killing off of my limerence (by starvation): it is removing the hope of reciprocation. This can only be a good thing, no? Guessing that my LO will be frosty towards me from now on, I feel the only strategy left now is not to engage with her at all (if I wasn’t limerent, I’d probably ask for a clearing-the-air talk with her but that is not an option with my LE). I want to stay out of her way because my longing to talk to her is getting even stronger (even without limerence, I have a bad habit of blaming myself if people seem annoyed with me and my first reaction is to want to talk or apologize to them). Still, I’ve got to do what’s right for my recovery. I think it’s too late for our relationship now. I am seriously considering moving job (probably in the Summer). I didn’t want to believe at the time but NC is the only sure way of overcoming limerence.

I’ve learnt more about myself in a week with limerence than I would do sitting on my own in a cave for a year. With limerence you learn things the hard way. But it is an opportunity for growth.

Apologies for my ramblings but many thanks for everyone’s on-going support. It’s appreciated!

Hologram

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest