Ive revised this list based on my growing knowledge and experience. As more time and distance passes between my own experience and from my own LO, so i continue to see things with more clarity. (Thanks to Charlie for the original list)
There is still a woeful lack of research on treatments for limerence. This list is based on my own experience, having read hundreds of other people’s’ stories through limerence and also from the few clients i’ve worked with that have grappled with love addiction and limerence. It also draws from treatments advocated for other addictions. I see limerence as an extreme variant of love addiction, which i believe is at the root of all other addictions. It literally is the mother of all addictions.
The one thing i cant stress more than anything is limerence is all about us. Our LO’s are just catalysts. They are mirrors that show us our own difficulties in forming healthy relationships. There is no magical other, no quick fix through the emotional turmoil. If we leave our current relationship to be with LO, we take ourselves and all our emotional baggage with us and miss the opportunity of doing some really deep and important growth work.
Our LO’s may feel like soul mates. the reality is we have met our wound mate. They mirror amongst other things our early life traumas, most of which are unconscious. The work is to make ourselves more conscious. This way we can take start to back our projections. When we stop projecting, life gets a whole lot easier.
Cut off all contact with your LO as much as possible. Going NC is hard, but it’s really important. Why? The main reason is that contact with LO stimulates your limerence. Contact with LO just re-energizes your emotional ties. By the way, if you slip up, just dust yourself off, forgive yourself and go back to your plan. Contact means every kind of contact. You’ll do well to cut off all social media contact, too. No texting, no searching for pictures, etc.
My own experience here has been I couldn’t totally let go of the fantasy until i had severed all contact and even then its taken years to no longer reenact the fantasy in my addicted brain. The euphoric recall of replaying the interactions eventually faded to the point there is no associated feelings left in the memories
Join a 12 step programs for other addictions. If there is a SLAA group near to you, GO. . Limerence is an extreme form of love addiction so its totally appropriate to join such a group. Other 12 steps for codependent and other addictions may also be useful. From what i’ve heard the SLAA groups have the most conscious members as love addiction is the root addiction.
Im not a great fan of 12 steps for healing – i do like it for the group support and acceptance that is hard to find elsewhere. I dont believe we are totally powerless over our addictions and handing over to a higher power feels to me like not taking personal responsibility. And yes, i know how this feels when we are in active limerence.
Psychotherapy in most cases will help Few therapists have heard of the term limerence, but most will be familiar with relational trauma and attachment wounds. We need to explore these early life wounds and get reconnected to our feelings that we cut off from in early life. Therapy helps with this.
Its vital you find a conscious therapist that has done their own healing of their FOO trauma. In my experience many have not. Ask how they would support you if you decided to go No Contact with the originators of your primary wounds – your FOO. Many would want to work on helping you have a healthy relationship with your FOO because society/ religion says its wrong to disown your parents / siblings. This is bullshit IMHO. In many cases its is not possible to have a healthy mutually respectful relationship with our FOO and in many cases we just get re traumatised each time we go back into the lion’s den -so why bother? The more couples work i do, the more I see that the interference / enmeshment of FOO’s poisons the FOC – family of choice. For some reason we work with many immigrant families (which i can relate to ) and here it seems to play out even more so.
Consider relationship / marriage counselling Limerence often occurs when there are cracks in our primary relationship. Jumping ship to a new relationship is not the answer for limerence. Better we invest our energy in how we relate to our partner and how they relate to us. Relationships take 2 to tango so hopefully your partner will aso commit to the process.
Even more vital I would say than when i first wrote this. We use EFCT (emotionally focussed couples therapy) which is all about helping the couple relate from a feelings perspective. Given how cut off from feelings us limerents are, this work is crucial if you are going to evolve your primary relationship into one of honesty and respect from which will come intimacy and deeper connection.
You need to work to break the habit of thinking/obsessing/fantasizing about LO. I’ll hit the high points here, but this is a MAJOR part of dealing with limerence, so don’t skip over it. Habits are all about triggers that stimulate an action which leads to a perceived reward. In the case of limerence, something (a trigger) will cause you to think of LO (the action) which will bring you pleasure (the reward) for a moment. First, identify as many as possible of the triggers that stimulate your obsessive thinking about LO. There will probably be a lot of them if you’ve been limerent for very long. For example, you may associate LO with a particular song. You need to stop listening to that song while you are limerent. The key is to take a way as many things that trigger your limerent thoughts. You may have to change some of your routines. For those triggers that you can’t take away, you need to work at substituting another action to break the habit. I found that substituting another pleasurable thought or fantasy in place of thinking about LO sometimes worked. Breaking these habits is a long-term effort. It’s not about being perfect, but just breaking down your habitual thinking about LO. There are two good books that might help: “The Power of Habits” and “The Willpower Instinct.”
Resist the urge to disclose to LO For many of us disclosure becomes an all consuming thought. My thoughts have changed with time, but im now of the view that disclosure very rarely gives us the response we want. As limerence is all about us, we don’t need LO’s input into our healing work. The only exception to this I would add is if your LO is your psychotherapist, but sadly my own experience and of others has been even in these situations, it seems few therapists have done the really deep work on their own attachment traumas and thus are poorly equipped to deal with the transference issues.
If you are in a committed monogamous relationship elsewhere, disclosure is never appropriate. and even if you are not, i still wouldn’t not disclosure. Any relationship that originates from limernece is one that is built on total projection and never a good basis to start a relationship. Better you go off and do the self development work to grow your self back up
Disclose to your SO If in a committed monogamous relationship, then I’d suggest this is an ideal to aim for. I appreciate this is fraught with risk for some but if were really going to nurture our primary relationship, it needs to be built on honesty and trust. That means sharing difficult stuff. It may be you need some marriage counselling first.
I would say this is vital if you want to have a relationship where most of your needs are going to be met. Honesty and trust are the bedrock of relationships. the level of honesty required is one where you can disclose feelings towards others as secrecy is the breeding ground of affairs. and if your partner cant cope with hearing you have developed feelings for another (which does not mean to say you are going to act them out) then thye needed to go off and do their own introspection and growing up.
Think of limerence as a creature- the limerbeast-that you are battling for control of your mind and emotions. The limerbeast is big and strong and living comfortably in your brain like a hookworm so it’s virtually impossible to fight it head-on. I found that the best way to fight it was by small acts of defiance, such as: distracting myself from thinking about LO for a few minutes, resisting the urge to text LO, not looking at her, etc–kind of mental guerilla warfare. I envisioned each little act of defiance putting a dart into the beast. You’ll know when the dart goes in because the beast will react badly to the defiance. Over time those little darts take a toll on the beast and you can fight harder. It also makes fighting limerence a little more appealing because you have a tangible enemy to target.
You need some common sense rules to guide you when your limerent desire is really heated up. One rule of thumb for me was: If I want to do something related to LO, it is usually a bad idea. If I don’t want to do something related to LO, it is usually a good idea to do it. It’s nice to have rules like that to fall back on when limerence skews your thinking and feelings. Limerence causes very, very strong emotions and your desires seem totally justified because they come from within and are so intense. But, those emotions really aren’t based on reality–they are based on a mirage (that LO is the perfect fit for you and will meet all your needs). At the height of my limerence, my emotions pushed me to want to give up everything for LO even though my LO (like yours) isn’t a good fit for me for a million reasons. I knew that, no matter how I felt, that was wrong and, because I had some non-emotional principles to fall back on, I was able to resist the urge to throw it all away for LO. Having some good things to calibrate to helps you from doing crazy things.
Make a list of LO’s flaws. Your limerbrain probably sees LO as perfect, idealized, even godlike. Your rational brain knows LO is not perfect, but your rational brain is pushed into a corner by all your intense emotions. Give your rational brain a fighting chance to bring common sense back into play. Look at it every now and then to remind yourself that LO is not a god, a madonna an adonis. It may take time for it to sink in, but it will eventually.
Read everything you can on limerence, love addiction, relationships etc. There are some good reading lists on this forum. Knowledge is power. Take responsibility for your own healing.
I respect we all learn differently. Maybe reading isn’t your thing. Try audiobooks, youtube videos, online forums, anything that increases your knowledge.
Use the people on this forum for advice, comfort, insight, etc. Reading and commenting on other people’s limerence can give greater insight into your own limerence.
You might also want to keep a journal of your feelings and experiences along the journey. It helps to note what works, what is hard, what you learn, etc.
Meditate and practice mindfulness Many report these centreing techniques have helped calm the mind. Being present in the hear and now takes us away from past hurts and future fantasies. As Fritz Perl’s so eloquently stated – anxiety is the gap between now and the future
Don’t make life changing decisions under the influence of limerence. The neuro chemicals that are released in limerence are so potent that our thinking and judgement becomes completely distorted. Wait until to fog has lifted. this will take months or more likely a few years. I wish it were quicker. Generally its not.
Here’s an excellent article with s on healing from early life deprivation and faulty attachments I believe these are at the root of limerence and most addictions: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mo … ting-adult
Other healing work is also required in my experience. I have found my men’s work central to helping me get in touch with my masculinity. Its also helped me go deep into my grief and rage in a place where i felt safe enough to do so. I never felt held enough in one to one therapy to do this. There are female equivalents. Shadow work has been useful as has psychodrama and other non talking therapies.
Id also suggest studying and understanding the Karpman drama triangle. I see it at the core of limerence and at the root of nearly all dysfunctional relationships. the only way to get off the triangle is to elevate above it buy doing our own emotional growing up. Search for articles on this forum on the triangle. Here is one of the best articles on the triangle that i have come across https://www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2 … of-victim/