How to control limerence
March 18, 2014 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Just started seeing a man who I'm a bit gaga about. Trouble is, we both have really important stuff coming up in the next few months and I need to find my concentration again. How do I cope with the desire to see him ALL THE TIME and to remember my other priorities in life?

We are both in our mid-20s. We've only just started seeing each other and everything is going great, but the timing isn't so ideal - he's away for work for the next couple of weeks, then a month or so after that I have a set of fairly important exams that I need to study for, and he has important deadlines with work around then as well. I've had relationships in the past where I was completely infatuated and hormonal about the other person - this one isn't like that, as it grew from friendship and it's more of a gentle longing kind of feeling - but I am still thinking about him all the time and not doing as much as I should. In the past I used to just enjoy this initial rollercoaster ride, but now (and over the next few months) I really need to knuckle down with the other aspects of my life.

Any tips on how to keep my head on right while still enjoying the initial stages of a relationship?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's been a long time since I was in a new relationship (married for 8 years), but I have found a technique that helps me deal with intrusive/obsessive thoughts. Mine have been focused on my impending need to find a job, and the thoughts were reaching the point of interfering with my daily work activities. What I did that really helped was to decide on an allotted amount of time each day that is exclusively devoted to these thoughts. I decided that for 20 minutes every day, I can indulge in thinking as many thoughts about the job search as I want - going through the full range of emotions/day dreaming/etc. But after that I have to get back to real life. I'm not going to say the thoughts never creep in outside of those 20 minutes, but the method really has helped.
posted by sickinthehead at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, god, if science could bottle a cure for this one....

One thing that has helped me is not flaking on my friends or seeing them less (this applies to any regular classes/hobbies too). And then not talking about my new s.o. the whole night with the friend I have not flaked on. This way you are distracted and keep your ties with your friends strong. I have been temporarily dumped by gaga friends, and while I see what's happening, it hurts, and it makes me roll my eyes a bit when Mr/Ms/Ze Wonderful dumps them and they want an ear.

Good luck! Have fun.
posted by Lardmitten at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am totally feeling this right now, to the extent that I could have asked this very question. One thing that has helped is that we both have deadlines for stuff and people waiting for the things we're working on. Him having work deadlines and you having exams -- things that are going to happen whether you do anything or not -- should help things a little. You can't just not do this stuff.

If you need more help, can you go over to his place and study while he works on his work stuff? You're still spending time together, but you're also accomplishing the things you need to do. This is something that has been working for my situation. I also feel like it's a pretty good transition to the reality of being in a relationship, where there will be a lot more quiet nights in with whatever project, and a lot fewer dates to exciting outside activities.
posted by Sara C. at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I turn off my phone or leave it in a different room so I don't text.

And the devoting a special time for it every day helps a lot, too, as mentioned above.

And every time I notice myself thinking about him I just gently notice it rather than getting mad at myself. I just say, oh, there i go again, thinking about my boyfriend, how about that. And then I move on until it happens again.
posted by sockermom at 12:47 PM on March 18, 2014

In the beginning of my current relationship, I think it really helped that I had a lot going on in my work and personal life so I couldn't be as obsessive as I normally would have been, running the risk of pushing him away.
While I normally am not a chat-texter, I think it helped a lot that we texted each other almost everyday, whether it was about planning our next hangout or just saying we enjoyed last night, etc. Him texting me made me feel confident that he was still thinking about me and that just because I was busy for the next few days, doesn't mean our connection was weakening. Once I felt confident of that, I could focus on whatever I needed to focus on. Of course this confidence needed to be renewed often, especially if one is more inclined to be insecure. I got lucky he wasn't shy about making the effort.
posted by monologish at 12:58 PM on March 18, 2014

The hardcore method is to think about his flaws. Imagine him farting, and it smells so bad. Is he a loud yawner? Hates kittens? Find something.

Not for everyone but if you have important exams, then desperate times call for mental fart images. You can limerence after you get a good grade.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:25 PM on March 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't have citations handy, but I've read that there's some evidence that SSRI antidepressants suppress the limerence chemicals. Not sure if it's worth the side effects, though.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:03 PM on March 18, 2014

Don't suppress the limerance - use it to your advantage. You love spending time on the boy, so use that as an incentive for you to get work stuff done. "If I get through chapter five in the next hour I get to send him one text message." etc.

Keep telling yourself that if you work hard now you get to spend (a little) real, meaningful time with him later. Real time is better than daydreaming time.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:43 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mark one or more days per week as zero contact days. It'll cool it a bit without extinguishing the flame.
posted by ead at 6:48 AM on March 19, 2014

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