I'm confused why my girlfriend has so suddenly lost all feelings for me?
September 30, 2008 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Girlfriend has suddenly lost all feelings for me and doesn't know why.

We've been dating for 2years (I'm 23, she's 21) and she recently called the day before my birthday to tell me that she's suddenly lost all feelings for me. We've been in a long distance for about a year now and we call each other everyday. I respect her and treat her very well.

She's even told me she doesn't know where it's coming from or why and she's equally frustrated as I am about it. (I know she's not cheating on me) She's had similar feelings in the past and they usually go away after a day. But this time it's been going on for 3 days.

I just don't know what to do, it's frustrating to the both of us. Has anyone else had similar situations? How did you get through it? Why does this happen? I know we're in a long distance relationship but com'on, to suddenly lose all feelings in one day for NO reason?
posted by HBomb to Human Relations (35 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
But this time it's been going on for 3 days.

I can't imagine what's going on here. But 3 days is an incredibly low standard for "lost all feelings for you."

Feelings wax and wane. What's the emergency here? Is she asking you for anything, honestly seeking a solution that she will build with you, or just sharing this to make you anxious or maybe prepare you for a letdown?

You need to find out. And have you been neglecting the relationship? Have you tried proposing any solutions, like "maybe we need to plan some time together to reconnect?"
posted by Miko at 4:35 PM on September 30, 2008

There is a reason.. she's 21 and you've been dating for 2 years. You guys are young, and everyday brings new challenges of adulthood, including wondering what other relationships will hold. When you factor in the long distance aspect, this is not surprising. Life is flying by her, and phones calls aren't the same as having someone who's around to hang out. Painful as hell? Yes, and I'm sorry that you feeling that, but... breakups and handling grief are also part of adulthood.
posted by kimdog at 4:39 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

Assuming this really is a very sudden and very extreme shift in her feelings, I think there might be some other questions to consider: is she depressed? Has she gone on hormonal birth control, or switched her method of hormonal birth control (e.g., gone from the pill to the Nuvaring, or changed brands of pills)? Has she had any major stressful life events happen lately (a death in the family, for example)? These things can all cause big mood shifts, which can sometimes manifest as significantly altered feelings for people in our lives.

Otherwise, it is possible that you guys have been growing apart for awhile, and what is sudden is her realization of it. All relationships change over time, and don't always survive; long-distance relationships are especially hard to keep up, especially at that age (I speak from very specific experience!). In which case, yes, some time to reconnect and reflect is probably in order. As best as you can, I would encourage you to try to reconnect without the pressure of "OMG we must fix this and get back to where we were or it's the end of everything!!!" Just try -- I know it will be hard -- to be together while suspending your expectations, and feel where you stand, and hear as openly as possible what each of your hearts are telling yourselves and each other.
posted by scody at 4:50 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hormonal birth control should not affect someone's emotional feelings toward someone. It is only known to affect libido, that is, desire for sex.
posted by fructose at 5:10 PM on September 30, 2008

Is this a shift in her feelings about you? This may be a clue that she has her eye on another.
posted by megatherium at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2008 [7 favorites]

Long distance tends to do that. Plus, she's young. You're young.

How do you know she's not cheating on you? But, assuming this knowledge is accurate, it may very well be that the has found somebody else she is interested in and is making preliminary excursions into breakup territory before she takes it to the next level with this hypothetical other person.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2008

From month to month, 21-year olds change a *lot*. Sounds like she's just growing up. Long distance for about a year at age 20? She should have had that phone call about 6 or 9 months ago. Sounds like a healthy break to me. Doesn't mean you've done anything wrong or that she has. It sounds like she's getting on with her life and you should get on with yours.
posted by moof at 5:26 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hormonal birth control should not affect someone's emotional feelings toward someone.

False. Starting HBC made me stop being a crazy bitch and otherwise did wonders for my mental health when I was about 20. This is entirely plausible.

HBomb, is she in college or otherwise going through a "transition" period of life (retreat, joining the workforce, just got laid off)? Sometimes these things just dissolve. Especially if she's meeting new people or starting new activities. I was in a long term (long-distance for most of it) relationship for 3 years and I woke up one morning and realized I just didn't love the guy anymore. I had all these new friends and having ties to someone 1000 miles away was a huge emotional burden on me. I felt like I was becoming a totally different person, and that person was inexplicably annoyed with him all the goddamn time. I was 2 months away from my 20th birthday and starting my junior year of college.

For the record, I was cheating on him. I'm sorry. Though I heard he's still alive now, 4 years later teaching music to kids like he wanted to. I'm marrying a dude I'm much more compatible with.
posted by giraffe at 5:39 PM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

If you want to preserve the ability for you two to get back together, you should respect her decision here. Don't try to argue with her, because she'll just get defensive. Take the high road, accept the reality of the situation, and show her that you've moved on emotionally.

She's young, and may well reconsider her decision. How you behave now is critical -- if you're cool about it, she'll respect you more, and may try to win you back at some point. If not, you've already moved on anyway. This way you turn a bad situation into a win-win.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:39 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I was 21, I found myself in a long distance relationship when my boyfriend of two years went overseas to work on his master's degree for a year. Although we emailed pretty much daily, talked on the phone on a regular basis, and mailed all kinds of cute packages and letters to each other, all that was no substitute for having a real live boyfriend right there. I loved him dearly and was never tempted to cheat, but I'd get very lonely and sometimes felt depressed.

During that year, though, I was living my own life, making new friends, having new experiences, and deciding the next steps on my life's path. When I went to visit my boyfriend near the end of his time in the UK, I noticed a subtle change in feelings toward him and I didn't want to acknowledge it. No! This was the guy I was going to spend the rest of my life with, wasn't it? But when we hung out for those two weeks, I realized that he was headed one way in life and I another. And I was starting to see him as a good friend, not a mate. Honestly, it was my first serious relationship, and I don't think I really knew what I was looking for in a partner then.

I stupidly suppressed those feelings of doubt, and we continued to try to be a couple for a year after he returned to the States. Finally I was an adult about it and owned up that I didn't see the relationship going anywhere.

Not to say that this is what's going on with your girlfriend exactly, but I did identify with the whole "feelings changing out of nowhere" thing.
posted by medeine at 5:42 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

Hello, I will be the bearer of bad news today.

This romantic relationship is over. Only neither of you has officially declared it so. The relationship is on the table, the EKG is flat, but the body keeps twitching. Harsh, I know. But that's life.

She's even told me she doesn't know where it's coming from or why and she's equally frustrated as I am about it.

She's saying she doesn't know what she's feeling, because it's over, but she has neither the skills nor experience to recognize it and/or verbalize it. Neither does she have the skills to end things gracefully -- likely because she's never ended anything gracefully before, and perhaps has never even seen it done among her friends and family. Hey, it happens.

You are both young, changing rapidly and are attempting to do the long distance thing. Those are strikes 1, 2 and 3 you're looking at there.

Time to man up and have the Talk.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:43 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

Yeah, sorry, you're young, and this is just a parts of being young. It hurts and it will happen again. She's 21? You can't really expect to pin her down.
posted by mattoxic at 5:44 PM on September 30, 2008

Nothing unusual for this to happen to a woman.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2008

Hormonal birth control should not affect someone's emotional feelings toward someone. It is only known to affect libido, that is, desire for sex.

Not necessarily true. It made me horribly depressed, which definitely affected my feelings toward both my husband and child. I know *many* woman who had emotional reactions to various forms of hormonal birth control.
posted by belladonna at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hormonal birth control should not affect someone's emotional feelings toward someone. It is only known to affect libido, that is, desire for sex.

As others have said, that's simply false. One known side effect of hormonal birth control for some women is depression, which can A) sometimes come on very suddenly when you start on hormones or switch between methods and B) manifest as numbness and flat emotional affect. I know, because it's one of the side effects that prompted me to give up hormonal birth control for good about 3 years ago.
posted by scody at 5:59 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not necessarily true. It made me horribly depressed, which definitely affected my feelings toward both my husband and child. I know *many* woman who had emotional reactions to various forms of hormonal birth control.

Seconded. Except replace "horribly depressed" with "totally irrationally irritated by things." Including my boyfriend.

I think it's possible it's really really over. But, as someone said upthread, 3 days is a ridiculously low threshold for judging these kinds of things. I think part of being in an adult relationship is realizing that feelings ebb, wane, and change, even in a healthy relationship. And, for many couples, right around the two year mark is the transition from limerance (infatuation, or crazyhappybrainchemicallove) to more mature appreciation. Sometimes, when the crazyhappybrainchemicals drop off, you realize that the person just isn't the one for you. And sometimes the couple soldiers through it to discover something deeper but less intense. Talk to her about it. Only the two of you, together, can figure out what's really going on and if you want to continue.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't think she suddenly lost all feelings. I think she suddenly got up the nerve to tell you something that she's probably been thinking about for a very long time.
posted by Ugh at 6:08 PM on September 30, 2008 [8 favorites]

I've experienced this in long distance relationships before (I've been in two, both long-term). So have the people on the other end of the phone. Sometimes the feelings come back, sometimes not. Usually it takes some actual face time--and the concrete expectation thereof--for things to get back to normal.

Anyway, pace many of the above posts, you don't need to get someone to root through her medicine cabinet to explain this. I know it seems uncannily abrupt, but...an LD will do this. Something about the relationship finally comes to seem so abstract that hanging up the phone is just like changing the channel.
posted by Beardman at 6:13 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

She's had similar feelings in the past and they usually go away after a day. But this time it's been going on for 3 days.

This is the part that makes me go "Hormone weirdness somewhere." You're talking here about a repeating pattern that has generally resolved itself - and that suggest some kind of internal cycle. Certainly, 3 days is not enough to be talking end of relationship all by itself.

What I'd suggest is (if you know the previous dates) mapping them on a calendar and see if there're any patterns - not only how it links with the obvious menstrual cycle bit, but if there's any other events in her life that might be affecting things. (Stressful events? Times she was eating/sleeping poorly? Times she was traveling or up really late for some reason? Tracking food is harder, but I know people who have sensitivities to specific foods who sometimes react like this - MSG and a few other common food additives, in particular.)

Given that her reaction is "I don't feel the same way, and don't know why." not "I hate you and never want to hear from you again", taking a couple of weeks to either see if it resolves again or if you can find a pattern doesn't seem unreasonable to me with a 2 year relationship. If she's not willing to do that, then yes, I'd agree with all the folks who say "End of relationship, she doesn't know how to end it.", though.
posted by modernhypatia at 6:13 PM on September 30, 2008

My guess, not knowing either of you, is that she has been trying to find the courage to say this for some time and has finally uttered how she really feels. I think she probably doesn't want to hurt you nor look nor feel like a jerk - all the standard stuff which comes with a break-up. I think if she has done this before and has gotten over it, she's just not that strong about pulling the plug on the relationship which is what she really wants to do, but from my experience when the thought that you're over the relationship is there is doesn't really go away.

This really hurts, but I think you have to let her break up with you, and start taking care of yourself, moving on.

I hope you start to feel OK soon, and that you get some clarity on the situation. I think if she's like any twenty-somethings I know, she won't necessarily be skilled at gracefully exiting a relationship - by the time you truly settle down, you will likley have been hurt and be the dealer of hurt a few times over. I cringe when I think of the terrible way I broke up with people when I was much younger.
posted by lottie at 6:25 PM on September 30, 2008

I think everyone talking about how this could be related to birth control or hormones or whatever is off the mark. Your girlfriend is growing up. When you're young, all of your romantic relationships are drama city- every feeling is new and exciting, and you're probably with people who aren't a good match, which only increases the drama. Once you hit a certain age, you've felt it all, and since you've probably gotten better at picking partners, there will be times in long relationships where catch a glimpse of your feelings and gasp- oh no, I don't feel anything, that must mean the relationship is over. But that's a lie. Feelings have nothing to do with relationships- they're a good servant, but a bad master. It's commitment that's going to carry you long-distance. I think your girlfriend is in the process of learning this lesson. I don't think she wants to break up with you, and I don't think you should break up with her. Give it time, things will blow over soon like they always have.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:26 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Cool Papa Bell & lottie nailed it, I'm afraid.

Your ex-girlfriend has been thinking about this for some time, and is taking this as the path of least resistance.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2008

It could also be a brain tumor, located in precisely the right (wrong) spot to cause her to lose romantic feelings towards you.

We're not actually on House though and, as far as I know, none of us are dashingly unshaven nephrologists/diagnosticians.

Yes, it could be hormonal. Yes, it could be depression. It could be any number of things physical or interpersonal, that she doesn't know how to articulate or doesn't want to articulate. But the only person in a position to know is the girlfriend.

Ask her to take a few days or a week to try to figure out what's wrong. You don't have access to her inner processes, so she shouldn't realistically expect you to clue in out of the blue. Once a problem is identified, you can work together to solve it. If she really can't figure out what it is, ask her about depression or hormone issues*.

If the problem can't be solved (e.g., lack of face-time, but both of you are stuck apart because of school for the next N years), it would be better to end it than let it drag on.

*Although it may be possible that it's hormones, I can't think of a way to say "Honey, maybe it's your hormones" that doesn't have a vibe of "women be crazy" to it.
posted by CKmtl at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by Wayman Tisdale at 7:24 PM on September 30, 2008

We've been dating for 2years (I'm 23, she's 21) and she recently called the day before my birthday to tell me that she's suddenly lost all feelings for me.

(I know she's not cheating on me)

No you don't. No, my friend, you don't. If there is anything you do know, that ain't it. I am telling you this because the odds are very good that she wants to bone some other dude. She might not be boning some other dude, but she probably wants to.

Especially with you being far away, you see. What's she telling you is not "oh I lost feelings for you suddenly" but rather "I met someone else whom I want to bone, or I just want to be available for other dudes or something, but because you haven't technically done anything wrong I have to give you this retarded story about suddenly, magically losing my feelings for you."

It sucks, I know. Tell her okay, let's break up, thanks for the good times, go out and get drunk with your friends (remember a designated driver or cab), hit on some girl, get rejected, cry in the parking lot and drunkenly mumble "oh man [girlfriend] was the only girl for me I love her so much fuck man," get dropped off at your apartment, get up in the morning and go back out with your friends for eggs and bacon and shit (you earned it!), spend the rest of the day crying/watching TV/crying, then - the NEXT day (you are too hungover on this current day so the day after the day after the drinking) - go hit the gym and get some new floss and a good haircut and got get yourself another girl, boy.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2008 [22 favorites]

(OT, thanks for the giggle Optimus Chyme - i needed that today)

Man, I'm really sorry but it's over. After being together so long she wants a way to let this relationship go gently. And don't be surprised if you say "Okay, lets end things) and she says "No, No! We can work this out!" (I've done this before....too afraid to let something go even though knowing it would never work in the future.) But trust me, it's not going to happen. Just remember you're still young and there are so many other fish in the sea (wow, do I sound cliche or what).
posted by texas_blissful at 7:42 PM on September 30, 2008

Lust. You fall out of it.
posted by TomMelee at 7:45 PM on September 30, 2008

We've been dating for 2years ... We've been in a long distance for about a year

No. You've been dating for one year, and involved in a long distance relationship for another - the two are different.

I know she's not cheating on me

Sure you do.

She's had similar feelings in the past

Of course she has.

to suddenly lose all feelings in one day for NO reason?

Oh yeah, it doesn't make any sense at all, does it? Especially given that you "know" she hasn't been cheating on you...

Come on guy... end this nonsense relationship and date someone closer. You're too young to be putting up with this type of shit.
posted by wfrgms at 9:27 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

God only knows what she is or isn't up to, and what her estrogen levels are or aren't up to, but you've apparently got the kind of relationship where three days of wishy-washy emotional static from your SO has driven you to plead your case before the Ask MeFi court.

That tells me you're probably not as secure in this relationship as you'd like to be. And the only real cure for that is, sadly, prolonging the three days of torment into a Big Long Talk about where you guys are headed and what you see in the future for the entire endeavor. Good luck with that.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:52 PM on September 30, 2008

but com'on, to suddenly lose all feelings in one day for NO reason?

Right. That doesn't happen.
posted by timoni at 11:22 PM on September 30, 2008

its over dude. forget about her.
posted by mary8nne at 3:09 AM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here are the facts: You don't know the facts. Maybe she's deciding she doesn't want to date you, maybe the feelings will pass. What you need is emotional management. You need to accept that your relationship is going through a difficult time and that you do not know what will happen yet, but acknowledge that whatever does happen, you personally will get through this and recover from it even if things are not as you like.

The way to do that is to repeat that to yourself everytime you experience anxiety. All of that is true--you are in a period of uncertainty and, as a human being, you have recovery mechanisms that you can rely on built right in.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:02 AM on October 1, 2008

If she's telling you this, be glad she's being honest with you, take your lumps, and get out of the relationship. Feelings change. People change. And as far as cheating goes, assume nothing.

My most recent ex was someone I'd been with long distance for three years, who I loved very much. It ended when his other girlfriend of six months saw me in his call log and confronted him (and me). According to him, he just woke up one day, realized he didn't love me, and went out and got a new girlfriend. He didn't tell me because he liked the sex and having a fallback girl, and being dumb and in love, I trusted him too m uch to ever suspect anything.

I would give anything to have had him just tell me his feelings had changed than to spend half a year of my life devoted to someone who was using me and doing some of the shittiest things possible. Look at this as a lesson learned, and be glad the circumstances of the relationship ending aren't nearly as bad as they could have been. This is an opportunity to go out there, be your own person, and when you're ready, to find someone new who will truly love you. And there is a lot to be said for finding a boy or girl in town.

Good luck, and I hope you weather this as well as you can. Losing someone's love always hurts, and there's no real easy way for this to go.
posted by internet!Hannah at 10:59 AM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't know that much about long distance relationships, but at various times in at least two different relationships I've found it difficult to date someone when I only saw my date for a while over the weekends. I felt like however well I knew him, I would lose my connection with him during the week without some reminder of who he was and how we interacted together and what we meant to one another. I'm not sure how long distance your relationship is and how often you see one another. I know you said you have daily phone calls, but I wonder if that is doing sufficient work wrt keeping the two of you connected and intimate. And when I say intimate I mean mentally intimate. You don't really give enough information to know whether there is enough of a relationship to your long distance relationship. I just know that there were times when seeing someone every weekend was too remote of a connection for me and made me feel very distanced from my beau, even though he was not physically that far away.

fwiw, I'm also not sure if guys have this issue as much as women do. When I've brought this up in past relationships, the guys generally were not feeling the same emotional distance or were not feeling it to be a problem. The phone calls may be giving you enough of an emotional connection to your girlfriend to keep you happy, but it's possible that your girlfriend needs more than you do on this end.

Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 12:01 PM on October 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Be wary when dating girls under the age of 21! A lot of the time as soon as they hit 21, you're dumped. I did it to my long-term boyfriend, and my cousin had it happen to him twice (he didn't listen to me the first time). And countless other examples that I could name but won't in the interest of saving time and bytes.

I'm really sorry dude, but she's gone for good.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:05 PM on June 12, 2009

« Older Are good conversations a necessity for a good...   |   Is it possible to time a rollover? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.