Luke
Im not certain this is the place for this post, but it seems to be the most appropriate. Most everything I read about limerence, and on this forum, pertains to new couples, or limerence involving  married couples. My situation is a bit different. Where do I start? Ill try and explain the best I can. My best friend of 30 years is goiing through a divorce with his wife. He and I met his wife together 28 years ago. Our friendship, the 3 of us, is a very tight bond. I am more integrated into their family than any other family member. Other than him, I am his wifes best friend. It has always been a respectful triangle of friendship. She is my best friends wife to me, a platonic friendship. During long deployments, I would stay with her and help out with their child at the time. When I visit them, I would always make time to spend with her. We all wanted it that way because we are all friends. There was never  boundary crossing or even thoughts of it for either of us. Fast forward to now. They are going through a divorce now. Even in times of marital strife in the past, I was always there for both of them, together or one on one. Nothing ever happened between her and I. It was like a brother caring for a sister. about 4 months ago they mutually decided to separate. Not legally, but just not to live in the same house while they continue with the divorce. On a recent annual visit for the New Years, I was spending time with her and the kids. Nothing different than Ive done for 28 years. Her and I were doing what we always do on my visits, watching a movie and cutting up. At one point she had an emotional moment, like many times in the past, and I comforted her like I always do, nothing in appropriate, just an arm around her and "its gonna be OK." Then BAM! Limerence struck her like a dose of adrenaline. At first, I thought it was just one of those emotional moments and a kiss, nothing more. As the next day went on, she was all about me in anew way. I had never heard of limerence before, so at first I didnt know what to make of it. I had breakfast  with my BF a day or two later and I told him all about it. I said, "Shes got some emotional attachment to me buddy."  A little more back ground on our friendship first before I go on. On a few occassions in the past, he had always told me, "buddy, if anything ever happens to me, I wouldnt be bitter if you married her. It was always an understanding that the both of us would take care of her. I know, this sounds like a weird triangle of love book. It may be weird, but its just the amount of love and respect we have for each other. Anyways, now that they have exhausted all attempts at saving their marriage, they have decided that divorce is the best option. After telling him what happened, again the subject of me and her being together came up by him. He again said, all I want is for her to have someone to give her what I wasnt able to and if its you, thats fine. Just make sure you wait till the divorce is final. Once I returned home and a few days went by and after many hours on the phone with her, I realized the actual reality of the situation. I immediately knew there was something more to it than just a momentary lapse in judgment or  a boundary crossing intimate moment. The messed up thing is that I too was having these feelings once I left. Ive always known she was a very emotional, loving soul going through a tough time in her life, but for me to have these feelings really got me to thinking. Its that classic feeling of being head over heals in love. I kept asking myself "how did this happen?" Well, after lots of research, I discovered "limerence." She is full force in limerence with me. I am damn near  at the same level, but I have reservations that keep me from fully indulging in these overwhelming and intoxicating feelings that my brain is creating via the dopamine drop. Imreally not sure  what my question is, I  just some more insight or different POVs to help me deal with this. The funny thing is, the limerence the first few days wasnt even sexual in nature. It was purely emotional. With all thats been going on for her emotionally, I didnt immediately tell her of my findings. But I have now begun to slowly inject information in to our conversations to plant a seed in her mind. She wants to see me, as do I, but I know thats not the right thing to do while in this state of mind. I tell her that it will wear off and if she still feels that way, we can explore a relationship together. But just not right now. Prior to this even happening, she was already emotionally compromised to a degree. Its too much to go into right now, but I have to be really careful how I handle this "emotional affair" right now. I dont have the option of just shutting her off, shes my best female friend of nearly 30 years. It would crush her and exacerbate her already emotional fragility. Her husband is my best friend of 30 years and while he knows of whats going on, it would add to his pain if she was to endure another negative emotional onslaught. She doesnt know I told him what happened. Im thinking of just letting it run its course, but with her, I dont think thats going to happen anytime soon. When Im not on the phone with her, a lot of the feelings fade fairly quickly for me. But I do still think of her nearly non stop. Once Im off the phone with her, the  "fog" is gone and I can think clearly and make rational decisions and plans, but all of that is erased the moment she calls/facetimes me again. I know it will eventually fade for me, but I am on this rollercoaster of dopamine highs and lows and I dont know what to do with her. Sorry for the crappy syntax, Im just typing as I think. Any suggestions or advise on how to approach this?
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ThrivenotSurvive
You are far more cognizant of what is happening within her and yourself than most.  There is deep love (friendship) and connection between you - and it COULD develop into something more down the road.  But NOW is not the time.  She is emotionally fragile and is seeking stability and shelter with someone loving, familiar and safe right now.  That's not to say that many of those feelings aren't real - and couldn't develop into something meaningful for you both later - but the WORSE thing you could do is act on, or allow those feelings too much free rein right now.  

She needs to fully mourn the death of her marriage without other relationships interfering.  And she needs to find what wisdom about her life she can gather from what she has been through.  She needs to dive into HERSELF - not a relationship - and determine who she is now (we are always changing with life events), what she wants and what she is willing to give.  Only then is she really ready to be in a new relationship - whether it is with an old friend or someone new.  

Too often we use the good feeling of attraction (that powerful dopamine rush) to escape painful emotions.  The problem with this approach is that the painful feelings don't go away, they just get pushed to the side for a while.  It's why rebound relationships never work. 

This particular relationship is far too important to you both (long term friendships are worth their weight in gold) to allow timing and her current emotional state to muddy the waters.  Be honest and tell her that while you have some of the same feelings, you have no desire to explore them right now.  That you want to be a friend to two people you love dearly and in a year or so when the divorce is final and they've both had a lot more time to heal, IF you both feel the same, you can decide whether you want to explore it then.  You can even make a pact and put a reminder in both of your phones to revisit the subject in a year.  And then drop it like a rock.  

There is a reason your gut is telling you to slow down and that this isn't the right time.  It's because it isn't.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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anthro
I think it's very important to establish some distance and let things take their course between your two friends before you get (any more) entangled. Take a step back. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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JORGE
Sounds like lustful infatuation that hasn't advanced into full blown limerence yet, but in time could happen. Careful with the friend giving you his blessings. Happened to me once and my friend who indicated he'd sign off on me dating his former, wasn't quite sincere with that claim and I lost a friend after the fact. I didn't learn a lesson because I already knew not to do this despite what was said.

I had a rule which was not only to date anyone already attached, but not even date a friend's x significant other. Just made for a very weird and unspoken discomfort every time I saw others do it.  I broke my own rule because my friend was married (cheating) and the woman was beautiful. I allowed beauty to compromise my principles and lost a friend as a result. 
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JKoloseik
I'm with thrive, it sounds like you already know your answer. But more so, I believe you should tell the wife that you have told the husband. It may help her objectivity in wanting to protect him. This crazy, beautiful bond the three of you have, may-just may-continue if handled correctly. He could be the one enjoying the third roll. But it would have to be done with great care, time, and respect. Emotional women (I know) look for stability in others. You were a very big part of the stability she's lost. If she's trying to hold on to that, how mutual was her side of the decision to divorce? 
Female BS 
DD 10/16/16
WS multiple relapses
Physical affair, emotional affairs, online affairs
In-house separation 06/11/18
Complete separation 01/04/20
Last relapse 01/07/20
Don't be afraid. Don't be dismayed. The battle belongs to the Lord.
2 Ch. 20:15
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Luke
JKoloseik wrote:
I'm with thrive, it sounds like you already know your answer. But more so, I believe you should tell the wife that you have told the husband. It may help her objectivity in wanting to protect him. This crazy, beautiful bond the three of you have, may-just may-continue if handled correctly. He could be the one enjoying the third roll. But it would have to be done with great care, time, and respect. Emotional women (I know) look for stability in others. You were a very big part of the stability she's lost. If she's trying to hold on to that, how mutual was her side of the decision to divorce? 
Ill answer your question with the short answer, the long answer is probably more than I can articulate in writing. Yes, their divorce is 100% mutual in nature. Theyve been married nearly 26 years and have been trying to adjust and change to save it for the past 5-8 years. In her own words, she,shouldve probably done it 15 years ago, but she didnt want to give up. Even after the divorce, they will always be friends, they will always care and love the other. He acknowledges that he is not good for her, as a husband, and knows its best. 
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Luke
JORGE wrote:
Sounds like lustful infatuation that hasn't advanced into full blown limerence yet, but in time could happen. Careful with the friend giving you his blessings. Happened to me once and my friend who indicated he'd sign off on me dating his former, wasn't quite sincere with that claim and I lost a friend after the fact. I didn't learn a lesson because I already knew not to do this despite what was said.

I had a rule which was not only to date anyone already attached, but not even date a friend's x significant other. Just made for a very weird and unspoken discomfort every time I saw others do it.  I broke my own rule because my friend was married (cheating) and the woman was beautiful. I allowed beauty to compromise my principles and lost a friend as a result. 
Oh trust me, for her, its full blown, textbook limerence. 
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Luke
anthro wrote:
I think it's very important to establish some distance and let things take their course between your two friends before you get (any more) entangled. Take a step back. 
Thats a tough thing to do considering how entwined the three of us are as life long friends. From the outside looking in, most people would consider the 3 of us's relationship as weird or strange. We just have that much love, experiences, adoration and loyalty. The one thing on our side is distance though. We are separated by 500 miles. The only bad thing about that is that the limerence can last longer without everyday interaction. 
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Luke
Thank you for all of your responses. Youre all right, I do recognize and know what to do, but it is difficult when so much caring and love is involved. My own feelings get in the way. 
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anthro
Luke wrote:
Thank you for all of your responses. Youre all right, I do recognize and know what to do, but it is difficult when so much caring and love is involved. My own feelings get in the way. 


It is probably fair to say that keeping some distance here is in fact the caring and loving thing you can do for both of your friends.
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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