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ducky_dnl's avatar

How does a person get over a limerence?

Asked by ducky_dnl (5378points) December 2nd, 2010 from iPhone

I have a very strong limerence. It started out as a crush and now it’s a full blown obsession. I have mentioned previously on another question that I was going to look for someone online because well, I was and still am very much in a strong form of lust for this person. I know it is a dangerous situation seeing as I have only talked to this guy on the Internet and then he disappeared. It is starting to become very unhealthy. I constantly think of him, I get angry if anyone says anything about me forgetting him, my moods are swinging back and forth like a pendulum, and I am not open to liking anyone else. I admit that this is unhealthy. I mean the guy is probably living his life like I never existed, but I can’t do the same. It is adding undeserved stress on my life trying to find private investigators, calling all over Canada at places he supposedly worked and went to school. The bad thing is, deep down I know I mean nothing to this person. I just kinda hope that I could find him and it could work. I am trying to let the situation and him go, but I get very depressed and can never sleep. I don’t take care of myself and I lose my emotions. I tried this once before and my mom said I seemed “sucked of all hope.” I don’t know what to do. I told my mom last time that “love and happy endings are for kids and it’s time for me to be an adult” and her mouth dropped open. I only feel this way when I try to forget him. Any advice?

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10 Answers

janedelila's avatar

Oh my, that does sound like an uhealthy thing. Please, please get some help. Can you talk to somebody, if not a therapist then someone other than your mom who you trust? I suggest that you have low self-esteem, and placed all of your hope for future happiness on a person who you admittedly do not know. It isn’t working out, and you feel all your hopes have been dashed?

“I am not open to liking anyone else.” I suggest you try liking yourself first, and pick yourself instead of trying to pick a man, or between men. Start there and things should get better. I am aware how easy that sounds, and I’m not trying to patronize you. I’ve been almost where you are, and it’s hard as hell! It can be done, however. PM me whenever you like, if you like. Good luck to you.

snowberry's avatar

Sweetie, you need to get into therapy or counseling, someone qualified to help you with this. It does not sound like it’s going away on its own. I’m not fond of medication, but they may tell you need it to help you chill. Blessings, and let us know how it goes.

anartist's avatar

Oh ducky, get a grip. You are worth so much more than what you are doing to yourself!
Get help if you need it. This is about YOU, not him.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s a bitch, I know.

I don’t know you well enough to say that it can or cannot “go away on its own”, but I know that I’ve had similar obsessions (well, not to the point of hiring private investigators) over women that I have loved / lusted after. What seems to work is just forcing myself to go on in the rest of my life: show up for work and put in a full day, do the shopping, cooking, dishes, housework (what little I actually do, anyway), take care of the dorg, and do other things that don’t have me constantly obsessing over her. (It has gotten somewhat easier to do that as I’ve gotten older.)

I understand how you feel about not even giving a rip about “the other parts of your life”, but you have to realize that without those “other parts” you have nothing else to bring to the table even if the guy does take a shine to you. You have “love of him and… what else?” So you need to cultivate the “what else”, even though, as you say, all you want to do is learn about him, think about him, dream about him, write stories and poems to him, touch him… all of that. Yeah, I’ve been there and done that… and in fact I am there and I am doing that… but to the extent that you can you need to compartmentalize your mind. Don’t give all of yourself, all of your thoughts, all that you have to any other person. You need to have a self, if only for yourself.

But if you do cultivate that ‘self’, you’re going to find more opportunities to break the obsession sometime when you don’t even expect it to happen. Let it happen by paying attention to those other parts of your life. Put it this way : your mind is a wonderful thing, and you can force yourself to obsess over this guy for the rest of your life—you could do that!—or you can ‘let’ yourself not obsess. Which would you rather do? Make the right choice and go that way.

Zaku's avatar

Ok, here’s some advice. It CAN work out, because the persona you love is in your own psyche. You can love someone very strongly. The thing is, as you know logically, your love is not for the person you’ve been hoping it was. It’s for a person you have yet to meet.

Kardamom's avatar

I have been there in this situation before (not with an online person, though) so I can relate to being young and feeling so in love with a person that you feel like you will never get over it. You will always relate everything that comes in the future with your feelings for this person. But the best thing that you can do now is talk to your doctor and have him refer you to a therapist. You seem to be suffering from depression. If you let it fester, it will hurt for a much longer time. When you are young, you experience things in a much different way than you do when you have gained more maturity. That is not to say that your feelings are not deep and real, they are. When you get older, other things will also enter into your picture: practicality, reality and comfort. Passion is a wonderful thing, but when it is not mutual it can be a living hell. It can overcome you and send you into a spriral of despair. If you can see a therapist and get some help now, you will save yourelf a lot of grief. Give yourself some time to grieve over the lost love. Don’t jump into anything immediately. Get yourself some help, get through the holiday season. Spend some time with friends, loved ones engaging in activities that you love. Zen out and move forward. You may not find the love of your life, you may end up with someone nice and sweet and loving who gives you what you need, though. But in the end, you will thank yourself for dodging a bullet. Just don’t let yourself grieve in pain for such a long time that you cut yourself off to your future. Help is always out there. Don’t suffer for now, give in to reason. Live your life and move forward.
The internet is a weird place. Sometimes it can be a place of mutual fulfillment (like on Fluther) other times it can be a place to stay connected to friends and loved ones who cannot be near and other times it is a place of substitution, substituting for real friends, real love, real connection. Real life is always better. After you are feeling more like yourself, join some local groups, talk to your local friends, do what you like to do in YOUR town and meet people that live near you. The internet is good for a lot of things, but not so good for finding a good love match. There’s just too much secrecy, questions and a lack of “real everyday knowing someone.” Do what you need to do to help yourself and then keep on living. : )

absalom's avatar

As you’re aware, what you really have a limerence for is just an image (or maybe even an imago), which bears no substantial relationship to reality. Normally I would mean that you’ve produced a fantasy version of the limerent object, but in your case it seems even worse than that because it occurs in the medium of the Internet.

Which means the the image is literal: what you desire is something you’ve experienced only through a computer screen. And how can you desire a person when you have known only a highly mediated representation of him? Well, you can’t. You can desire only the highly mediated representation, which is to say the image. You have to ask yourself what this person is to you, actually, and what it is you’ve fallen in love with.

(The answer is that you’ve fallen in love with pixels.)

I have been in a similar situation, and immersing myself in a melancholic longing for something false was like a means of escaping a harsher reality.

Sometimes that reality is unknown to us, and by discovering it we are able to dissolve the limerence.

Sometimes one must puncture the image bit by bit until it can be broken, and then there will be nothing to support the limerence.

Sometimes one must replace the image altogether with another one, with something one creates explicitly to be less desirable. Maybe this sounds difficult, but images are insubstantial and can be defaced/ erased/ replaced with relative ease. (Don’t make me rhyme anymore.)

Also important is that as you let the limerence take control of you, the image of this person will become more and more estranged from what he is in reality. Probably at this point, even if you were to finally meet him, he’d be so foreign and so unrecognizable to you that it would be just a huge and depressing letdown, worse than it is even now, and you don’t need that.

flutherother's avatar

This is normal ordinary longing for someone else, which we all experience to some degree at some time in our lives. As you recognise yourself it has gone too far with you and it is now a problem. It sounds like a type of obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD, for which there are many sources of help and advice.

You don’t sound a particularly religious person, and you may think this is a strange suggestion but have you thought of becoming involved with your local church?

anartist's avatar

And Ducky, why are you using a $3 word [limerence] for the plain old concept of “crush”?
It gives undue urgency to quite normal feelings and propels you to further indescretions because you consider it an illness. I had humongous sexual obsessions in my day. I was saved from my foolishness by only telling them to a few close friends and a therapist rather than acting on them.
The concept of limerence first originated in Tennov’s research in the mid-1960s. She interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love. Tennov coined the term “limerence” in 1977, publishing it in her 1979 book “Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love”.

Zaku's avatar

Limerence is an interesting word. @anartist Thanks for the description of its origin.

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