I continue to revise this list based on my own and other’s growing knowledge and experience. That said, there is still a woeful lack of research on treatments for limerence.
This list is based on my own experience of healing from limerence, having read hundreds of other people’s’ stories and also from the many clients i’ve coached and counselled with limerence, addictions and attachment trauma.
Latest update is February 2017
The one thing i can’t 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.
Cut off all contact with your LO 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.
Get into psychotherapy 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.
Join a 12 step program. If there is a SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) group, even better Im not totally sold on the ritualistically following of the steps themselves, however there is something very powerful and supportive in being amongst others that are struggling with similar issues.
Consider relationship coaching / couples counselling. Limerence often occurs when there are cracks in our primary relationship. Limerence is also a symptom of relational trauma from early life attachment wounds. 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 two to tango so hopefully your partner will aso commit to the process.
Explore the dynamics of your Family of Origin. As mentioned above Limerence usually if not always stems from early life attachment trauma. Understanding the dynamics that were at play in your family whilst growing up will better help you see how these are replayed in your current relationships.
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. Im of the view that disclosure very rarely gives us the relief we are seeking. 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.
Disclose to your SO If in a committed monogamous relationship, then I’d suggest this is an [i]ideal[/i] 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.
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.
Make a list of LO’s flaws. Limerence literally rewrites history so only flaws in our SO and only the perfection in our LO. Our rational brain knows LO is not perfect, but our rational brain is pushed into a corner by all our intense emotions. Give our 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 nor adonis.
Read everything you can on limerence, love addiction, relationships There are some good reading lists on this forum. Knowledge is power. Take responsibility for your own healing.
Use the people on this forum for advice, comfort, insight Reading and commenting on other people’s limerence can give greater insight into your own limerence.
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.
Click here for an excellent article on healing from early life deprivation and faulty attachments. I believe these are at the root of limerence and most other addictions: