The roundy roundies of thinking of our LO’s is so draining. Our pesky brains learn quickly, very quickly how to get habituated into the process early on in limerence because we get little dompanime hits each time we start ruminating.
Habits are formed from the 3 R’s. Reminder, Routine and Reward.
The reminder is thinking of our LO, and our triggers are what takes us there. Triggers are often unconscious but not always.
The routine is the moment LO enters our conscious awareness we go to thinking about them more and starting the fantasising, replaying and rehearsing that we all know so well.
The reward is the release of the reward neurochemical dopamine which makes us feel so good, that walking on clouds feeling.
I found the following useful in dealing with my own limerence:
- Identified my triggers which can be a challenge as with limerence so many of our triggers are unconscious. That why getting more conscious is crucial to overcoming limerence. For me triggers including any proximity to LO either in the real world or through the virtual world. Real world triggers were always far more powerful. Any social media contact would trigger a response as would women wearing similar perfumes. I even got SO to wear the same perfume to see If this would reduce the triggering effect. Its a treatment used with phobias called flooding. It made no difference! And car number plates containing her initials which even now I can seem to pick up without any thought. How’s that for an Aspie trait!
- I thought long and hard why I wanted to be limerence free. I wrote down all the benefits I would get by killing off my limerbeast. I also made a list of the negative impacts limerence was having on my life.
- I developed part of myself that was an observer who was noticing when i was going down this rabbit hole – a bit like a part of myself observing me. When I picked up on myself doing this, I would give myself 5 minutes to stay in the fantasy and then I would move onto something else by replacing the habit with a different healthier one, like the habit I describe next.
- I developed a new hobby to take my mind off things. I built an aircraft in my garage over the same 4 years that I had contact with LO. This helped refocus my thinking onto more important matters, like making sure I didn’t put the parts of my plane together incorrectly!
- I got support from the community at the limerence.net forum and also its precursor at tribes.limerence.net. I found a community of fellow limerents that really got me!. Friends and training peers were of little help as so few understood limerence. My therapist, Stacey was also invaluable in grounding me each week, when I had lost my tether to reality.
- I was in psychotherapy when limerence started and remained in therapy throughout my limerence. This helped immensely and if you can afford it, I’d strongly recommend it. So many of our triggers are unconscious and by digging deeper I was able to work out more of what was going on with me and by working on these issues has allowed me to better control the love addicted part of my behaviours.
- Each time I fell of the wagon, I didn’t beat myself up. Falling off thew wagon is a part of overcoming any addiction. I learned the art of self-compassion, picked myself back up, got back on the NC wagon and continued on. We all fall off the wagon and more than once!
- I looked at my need to control and my difficulty in sitting with not knowing. There were so many unknowns with my limerence and its this cognitive dissonance that drive me crazy. My therapist said the biggest gift from my limerence would be if I didn’t get answers to so many of my questions as it would teach me to sit with the not knowing. And she was correct. I never did get the answers I was seeking, the main one being did LO reciprocate my feelings?
- I dabbled with meditation and mindfulness. My busy mind has always struggled with this, however I am now much better at sitting with the sound of my own silence now. I can enjoy more of being a human being and less of a human doing.
- I used visualisation, imaging a happier more content life with my SO and children, my work, and what I wanted to do in the second half of my life. Limerence was the trigger for one huge midlife crisis for me. I also explored the more spiritual aspects of my life.
- I gave myself little treats each time I went for a period without thinking of LO. Initially it was minutes of respite, than an hour, then 6, 12 and than a day and then a week with no thoughts of LO. This took time, and as the changes were slow, I had to make a mental note of just how well I was doing.
I hope this helps in just a small way to break the roundy rounds. Where there is a will there’s a way and you can overcome this addiction if you want to and when you are ready to make the change.