Just curious what your thoughts are about the concept of “limerence”, and especially as it applies to midlife crises.
After discovering the concept last year and doing some reading it really resonates with me as to how my 20 year marriage that had seemed so stable and authentic was sabotaged so quickly and seemingly easily. It, and your website and book, are the things that have helped me cope with the repercussions of divorce and losing the person I THOUGHT was my life-long best friend.
Thanks for helping.
This is an Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness question. How many cheaters can dance on the head of a pin, why do they do what they do kinda thing.
I don’t believe in midlife crises, I believe in lousy character. As for limerence, I think feelings of attraction and even obsessiveness, are real. I just don’t think they are an excuse for cheating on someone.
We all have crises and we all feel things. It’s what you DO next that is a matter of character.
Let’s say you cut me off in traffic, endanger my life with your reckless driving, and flip me off. In that moment I might feel a justifiable murderous rage towards you. Do I chase you down? Shoot your tires? Launch a missile at your BMW?
Or do I sit with those feelings, and let them pass?
If I, say, ignited your car in flames with my rocket launcher and burnt you to a crisp, will any court buy my excuse that my anger was justified? I FELT THINGS!
Now let’s do the midlife crises. No one ages without crises. Parents die. Once taut skin turns to melted candle wax. And you’re beset by a thousand new challenges — ear hair, empty nests, statins…
Do you meet these challenges and sit with difficult feelings? Or do you… pretend you’re 25 and fuck a co-ed? Chuck your well-ordered life for a career parasailing? Pop your collar and pretend Ronald Reagan is still president?
A midlife crisis may describe a thing — but it’s not the cause of the thing.
Same with limerence. We can have crushes, gooey feelings, attractions. It’s what you do about it. There are a bazillion decision points between gooey feelings and leaving your partner of 20 years.
The Reconciliation Industrial Complex uses midlife crises and limerence as excuses that absolve cheaters of responsibility and the DECISIONS they made with AGENCY. The RIC also uses these faux conditions as a reason chumps must stay. The fog will clear! Limerence is temporary! They will see what they’re missing and come back to their senses! Stand for your marriage!
Look, the feelings may very well fade. Feelings do. But character is pretty deeply wired. Someone may not act in bad character until life sucker punches them. But generally speaking, you’ll find such people are superficial in other ways. Low-grade shitty and selfish. It’s just that chumps project our values — well, of course they would do the same for me. Of course, they would reciprocate/try harder/meet the life challenge.
MiddleAgeChump, I fear I have not given you a very satisfying answer. The seduction of untangling the skein is that it will bring you comfort, when really it just keeps you mired in their crap.
They abandon because they can. Because it doesn’t hurt them to hurt you. Because they aren’t that deep.
All we control is ourselves and how WE face adversity.
Don’t be the douchebag who fucks the co-ed. Pluck the ear hair. Take the statin.
Adulting and good character has its own rewards.