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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5458
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I need help with unrequited Limerence.

Customer Question

I need help with unrequited Limerence. I feel anxious, a bit depressed. I am trying to fight it but its really hard. I have the option to talk to my LO and see if I can"kill" the hope.. should I?


 


The problem has increased during the las couple of days. I used to date this girl 6 years ago, for just 2 months. But i got "stuck" in Limerence with her (until 1 day ago I found out what Limerence is)


 


I got back to Costa Rica after a year of being out of the country and I had overall 2 years of not talking or seeing her. I casually ran up into her in an airport in Japan... I though that was destiny. However she was dating someone at that time (I asked her out and she said she had to meet with her aunt from Italy).. now she is available. but last friday she went on a date with an acquaintance of mine, he is not really my friend although I do talk with him when we go out with all our friends in common. I am worried that I will have to start seeing her with him at events with friends, we have the same friends in common. I don't want to have limerence for her, I really don't. But I can't help it, I am on Paxil to help with anxiety but I still have these constant thoughts of worries in my head, ALL the time. I need help, I don't know what to do, how to approach this or how to get her OFF my head. I am worried what will happen to me if I start seeing her with her, I am scared. Please help

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The best way to deal with her is to be frank and honest with her. Perhaps she actually feels the same way about you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If she doesn't feel the same way, she might shut you out.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is a very difficult situation for you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I suggest that you get the following book, available at amazon.com and elsewhere.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love by Dorothy Tennov (Dec 29, 1998)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is the definitive book.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Paxil is an antidepressant and not the best antianxiety medication.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

A better antidepressant for anxiety is bupropion, which does not have sexual side effects or cause weight gain.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do not quit your Paxil abruptly or you can have negative side effects.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If you have occasional anxiety you might talk to your physician about an antianxiety medicine that you can use on an as-needed basis. Ask your physician about a benzodiazepine antianxiety medication such as alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, or lorazepam.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, LPCC, NCC

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Elliot,


 


Thank you for your response, I am not clear from the answer above if you are recommending me to talk to her or not? If she shuts me down it will be painful but I guess I could move on then (I don't know), but how do I manage to do it in such a way that it doesn't get weird if she continues to date the other guy who is part of my group of friends? I know I am in a very difficult position. I feel like I am not in control of my life, that this thing in my head is stronger than me. What I really want is to get my life back, I am not happy. I am never "present" always thinking about situations that relate to her. I have been trying to stop those thoughts but it is really hard.She is like a drug and I am addicted to her, I get all weird when we meet. I just want to be ME again, the way I was before I met her, the way I was 6 years ago, I want out of this Limerence thing. I need out, I want my life back, my happiness back and my head back. I am sorry if I am writing to much, I just don't know who to talk about this..

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Follow up answer came too late
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

If you are experiencing unrequited limerence with someone, it is different than just falling in love or infatuation, both of which change over time and either develop into deeper love or stop and end. Limerence is when the feelings of love become an obsession and you feel you lose control over the attraction to another person. And when that love is unrequited, it can be particularly painful.

Because of the nature and symptoms of limerence, it can feel like you are experiencing a disorder rather than just being in love. The feelings can become painful and upsetting and make you lose focus. Because of this, researchers are beginning to equal limerence with obsessive compulsive disorder or addictive type behavior. That means that anyone who experiences limerence can feel a lot of pain the longer it goes on.

If the feelings you have for this person are not returned, it is best to cut off the contact with her. The more you try to engage her, the more your feelings are brought to the surface. You want to try to reduce the emotional intensity you feel so you can eventually eliminate or control your symptoms. So no contact at all helps. And if she tries to talk with you or do something with you, stop the contact. The more you interact, even through others, the longer the limerence will be an issue.

Try to write out things about the object of your limerence that are not flattering or unpleasant. Because of how you feel, it is likely you see only the good side of the person. If you focus on the bad, you may be able to start to see the person as real instead of just a focus of your feelings.

Get support from friends and family. Let them know how you are feeling and ask for support through talking to them or just having someone to turn to when you find you are too focused on the person.

See a therapist. It is not known if limerence is caused by a chemical imbalance and/or unresolved emotional issues. So by seeing a therapist, you can determine what might be behind your limerence. A combination of therapy and medications might help you let go of these feelings and move on.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5458
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answer, at this point of my life I just want to be my normal self again. I want to feel I have control over my thoughts, I need to feel "present" again. I will do what you say, I will cut off contact with her. If she continues to date this guy who we have mutual friends it will be a bit difficult to stop seeing her, how could I manage to be strong when that happens?

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome.

It can help to build yourself up and to focus on the bad parts of the situation and of her personally. That may sound awful to do, but it can help you balance your feelings for her with reality. It is the same for anyone who falls in love. They cannot see the reality of their situation and they lose perspective on the bad parts, making their judgment off. When you experience limerence, you are having the same feelings but just at a more intense level. So balancing those intense feelings can help.

Try contacting a therapist as soon as you can. That will begin building your support with the situation. And it will also give you someone to turn to when you have to face the person you have limerence with. Also, try to talk to one of your friends that go with you when you do see her again. If you have someone to support you, it will be easier to handle your emotions.

Also, read the book Elliot recommended so you have more information about limerence and how it is affecting you. The more you can learn about it, the more you can help yourself.

If you can, however, it would be best to avoid her altogether and see your mutual friends at another time when she won't be around. That may seem like going out of your way to avoid her, but sometimes that is the best way. But if that is not possible, then try to counteract your feelings the best way you can.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I will find a therapist soon, there are actually a lot of unpleasant memories I have of her I can use to help me balance my emotions. Just one more thing, I have a slight doubt or maybe hope that it can all work out, How can i tell if its real or if its just me and this limerence thing making things up? that is my final question on this.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
The only way to know for sure is to talk with a therapist so you can have a thorough evaluation done to determine all of your symptoms and how they relate to your current situation and your past. That will tell you for sure. But from what you have described so far and your own research on the topic, your symptoms seem to fit the definition of limerence. You mention that it has become your focus and that you feel you cannot get her off your mind. It has become increasingly difficult for you to let go of her and you are starting to feel bothered by how you are reacting. And even if she doesn't return your feelings, you still are focused on seeing her and anything about her. Plus, this has all been long term. Most infatuation or love tapers off and ends or becomes more realistic as time goes on. The difference with what you feel for this person tells you that this has gone beyond something you feel ok with.

Kate

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