Husband's long-distance GF lost interest in him but can't explain why

Eponine

Member
My husband G (42M) started a cross-continental LDR with my long-time close friend N (45F) in 2019. They had great sexual chemistry and a lot of common interests. They met a couple of times in 2019 when N visited us, but then the pandemic hit. It was hard for them but they managed. In September 2021, G and I went to N's country and spent 3 weeks with her after two years without meeting, which was amazing. Then N came to visit us in February this year. It was going to be 3 weeks, but she extended it by another week because she got sick. Recently G told N that he wanted to visit her alone, but N wasn't too enthusiastic. After G's pressing, she told G that she gradually lost romantic feelings for him after her visit, and she's basically breaking up with him. G is devastated, and I'm very sad for him too. The hardest part is he doesn't know what went wrong. Even N can't really explain it; she just said maybe she stayed too long with us, and something felt off about their dynamic. This makes zero sense to me - how come 3 weeks wasn't too long but 4 weeks was?

For more context, N is also married, and they were both each other's first poly partner. However, N started another local relationship shortly before her February visit. At first I thought maybe she didn't have enough energy for G anymore because of the new relationship, but she said it wasn't the main issue. She just somehow lost interest in him, can't explain why, and doesn't seem interested in trying to fix it. It fucking sucks.

I suggested G post about it, but he said it would be too hard to write it down, so I'm posting it for both of us. This is venting for a large part, since I don't expect anyone to know what went wrong. But if anyone has similar experience, insight, or advice about how to support a partner after a breakup (especially about finding closure), I'll really appreciate it. Thanks for reading!
 
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Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
That sounds really heartbreaking and yeah, it really does suck because there was some serious investment in this relationship.

I'm currently in a 2 1/2 year LDR and because of pandemic issues, we haven't spent time in person yet. I know there is a risk that there will be something that just doesn't sit right, with either or both of us. I'm just hoping for the best.

The difference between three weeks and four weeks could truly be the difference - especially with the addition of being sick during the visit. The mystery has worn off. There could have been some incredibly subtle and subjective cues that indicated to her that he was simply not actually her in-person match. Hell, if she had Covid and her sense of smell was messed with, he may no longer smell right to her. There's things that are out of one's conscious control. I got adult chicken pox when I was visiting a partner (courtesy of his toddler who broke out the day after I got there). He applied calamine lotion to places a new partner shouldn't have to do... between that and a different kerfuffle totally out of our control, well, we just didn't continue.

In your situation, the first trip was incredibly new and exciting all around, the second was with a little more knowledge, and perhaps without those totally rose tinted glasses on she saw/felt/sensed in any way some things that meant her mind and body were no longer as attracted to him. It happens. It's part of the traditional dating, and LDRs are just as vulnerable to the "second date nope" as any other relationship.

This is the risk we take in LDRs. It's high. And in this case, it's painful.

As for supporting a partner after a break up (that they didn't instigate), obviously simply love him. Let him know that your relationship is secure. Speak to his love language. And if you are a sexual couple, nurture this intimacy between you.

Allow him space to grieve, but don't indulge him if he starts to wallow. Keep moving both of you forward. This is sad, but so is any and every loss, and it's not healthy to become incapacitated because of it. Make plans with friends, together and apart, especially if there's a friend who is in the loop and he can vent on.

Go on dates together. Demonstrably express your relationship with each other so you don't mistake the end of the other relationship with the end of yours.

Lastly (from me - I'm sure others will have great advice), know that this isn't the end of a polyamorous relationship model. There could be someone just around the proverbial corner. Keep your head up and you never know what you'll spot. (I have a story about that but won't bore every here with that).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I don't really have much else to add but this.

1) It's normal to wonder "Why? Why?" when the thing JUST happened.

2) At the same time... the thing JUST happened. N might know "in her gut" that this isn't a runner for her and ended it. But she's not ready to articulate in words why.

3) This isn't really your thing. N. breaking up with G. is their thing. While I understand that it's hard to watch G deal with a break up (esp if it might be his first major break up), give him some time and space to deal with it.

4) On your end? This might be your first time learning to comfort G when poly break ups happen. Perhaps you can read this together to see if you can do any of them.

You don't want to ignore that he's having a thing, but it's still his thing and not yours. Don't hover. At the same time, you also don't want to act like he's not going through break up grief. At the same time, the world doesn't stop just because people break up -- chores, bills, work, etc still have to get done. So... find you could both find your balance as you navigate this terrain.

I am sorry though. If N's heart isn't in it any more? It makes sense to break up rather than drag on. But even if logical? Breaking up comes with some sadness... so my sympathies to G.

Galagirl
 
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Eponine

Member
Thank you both for your replies, Evie and GalaGirl!

Evie: I should clarify that our visit to N last year wasn't the first time G and N met in person (added it in the OP too). They became attracted to each other when N was visiting me in 2018, and then she visited us a couple of times in 2019. Those were all relatively short visits though. So I suppose the three weeks in N's country was still new in some ways, especially after a long hiatus without meeting. G and I can actually think of a few things where our visit and her visit were different, and we'd have felt better if she said it was one of them. I'm a very rational person so I have a hard time understanding liking or not liking someone without clear reasons, but your story helped me understand it a little better.

GalaGirl: You're absolutely right that it's between them. It hit me pretty hard too, because I know both of them so well and the three of us spent a lot of time together. I saw how happy they were many times. You're also right that it's his first major break up and my first time dealing with a partner's break up. The resource you shared is very helpful.

G has been reading this thread too, and I think he'll find your replies helpful. Thanks again!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad the article helps.

It cannot be forever, but if he needs some extra time to process or even just to nap and be sad, you might be willing to do some of his chores to free up time. Like walk the dog or take out the trash and show your support in tangible ways while still giving him time/space.

And because N was your friend... you are gonna have to figure that out too. How to be friends with her still.

The experience might make it so you and G agree -- friends makes it messy. Let's just not date each other's friends any more.

Or... maybe it is ok.

It's new terrain for both. So... take it slow.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Eponine,

Finding closure would be quite a feat when N herself can't explain why she lost interest in G. If she can't explain it, who can? and how can there be closure where there's no explanation? Having said that, here's some ideas of how to support G at this difficult time:
  • Bring tissues if crying
  • Bring a meal/casserole
  • Bring a warm blanket
  • Bring some warm tea
  • Run small errands
  • Mow the lawn
  • Walk the dog
  • Pick up meds
  • Give a hug
I'm very sorry that this is happening to both you and G.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Eponine

Member
Thank you for your advice and kind words, GalaGirl and kdt!
Finding closure would be quite a feat when N herself can't explain why she lost interest in G. If she can't explain it, who can? and how can there be closure where there's no explanation?
That's true. I guess a better question would be how to help him deal with the lack of closure.

As an update, N explained things a little better to me. She said her recent visit was longer than before, so it exposed some problems in their interactions. They had great sex together, but the non-sexual aspects weren't as good when they were in the same house day after day. And her new relationship is also part of the reason. She said maybe she's the type of person who tends to get bored with old relationships. But these are just the best explanations she can think of. She's still not 100% sure about it. I felt a little better after her explanation, but G still felt it was too vague. But he/we will get through this.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
N's reasons make sense to me. I'm not a fan of LDR. I hate the distance. It's also like an artificially extended NRE because the visits are so spread out. You don't get to the "real life" part til later on.
Then there's this intensity pressure thing because people typically are like "Let's make the most of the visit!" It doesn't really let the relationship naturally unfold to me.

When the relationship is local and you know you can see them again next week, you can take your time, not be in rush, not be so... compressed.

That's true. I guess a better question would be how to help him deal with the lack of closure.
That is something you ask him and only he can answer.

While it is nice when there can be some kind of "shared closure" phone call or thing together? It is not required and in some cases not a healthy choice. Some relationship are not good ones and you just get gone. You don't hang around trying to be ANYTHING with your ex.

It is possible to create one's own closure without the other party. I don't think one "finds closure." One decides to give it to themselves and creates it. Everyone is different for how they handle a break up and how they process grief and what activities they like doing to come out of grieving.

But some common tasks in that period might be...
  • Disconnect social media, phone, email, etc.
  • Return belongings if possible, and if not, donate them.
  • Put away mementos and pix you pan to keep until time passes and it doesn't hurt to have the around in line of sight.
  • Say what you have to say... appropriately for the situation
    • It might be a talk with the person to break up and say bye. And then 30 days no contact before trying to be "exes and friends," or it might just be "plain exes" with no further contact
    • If might be in a letter you burn up and don't actually send to them because the ex is not heathy to be around
    • It might be telling your story to a trusted friend or relative to air out that way.
G has to figure out these things for himself.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from Eponine):
"I guess a better question would be how to help him deal with the lack of closure."

Yes, I think that would be more feasible.

To me, one never completely heals from a situation that has no closure. However, the passing of time can help. So I guess endurance is the number one cure for lack of closure. The best thing you can do in the meantime, is let him know that you are there for him.
 

Eponine

Member
N's reasons make sense to me. I'm not a fan of LDR. I hate the distance. It's also like an artificially extended NRE because the visits are so spread out. You don't get to the "real life" part til later on.
Then there's this intensity pressure thing because people typically are like "Let's make the most of the visit!" It doesn't really let the relationship naturally unfold to me.

When the relationship is local and you know you can see them again next week, you can take your time, not be in rush, not be so... compressed.
Yeah that makes sense. Personally I have no problems with LDR, but I have pretty unusual relationship views and desires even within the poly population, so I understand LDR isn't for everyone. G isn't a big fan of it either (our first year was LDR), but did it because he really liked N. After their break up, N says she probably won't do it again. I guess it's a learning process for everyone to figure out what works and what doesn't work for them.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Just another thought on this. You stated in your opening post that the woman your husband was dating was your long time friend. How involved or instrumental were you in the development of there relationship ??

Could it be she’s as afraid of insulting/ hurting you with the truth as she is in hurting / insulting him. And or maybe making herself look really shallow and petty. Or a bit of all three. MAYBE HE / you should take comfort you’re not getting the unvarnished truth. Just sayin. Didn’t work out and we move on.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I guess a better question would be how to help him deal with the lack of closure.

For most situations, I think that the idea of closure being the path to healing is a myth.

Relationships change when it is time for them to change. Sometimes the thing that isn't working is eliminated and the relationship keeps going, and others the relationship is scrapped altogether. It can be really frustrating, leave us with an uneasy and insecure feeling. While those feelings are normal, I've never seen any evidence that "closure" was the thing that suddenly made them go away.

It's a popular thing to focus on though, "If only I knew why, then I'd feel better". If everyone is being strictly honest, I am doubtful that we all really want to hear the details of why someone doesn't want to hang out with us any more. I say just chalk it up to "did like it, now doesn't like it", and push on. Unless we're writing a book on the subject or something, the specific details probably won't change much.

The discomfort of relationships changing or ending (certainly abruptly) is usually going to be there, and that's just part of our growing process.
 

Eponine

Member
Just another thought on this. You stated in your opening post that the woman your husband was dating was your long time friend. How involved or instrumental were you in the development of there relationship ??
Just a little. Obviously they met through me. And after N's first visit, she and G both told me that they were attracted to each other, but were too shy to bring it up. So I relayed that to them, and then it was between them. The three of us did spend a lot of time together, and had a group chat (in addition to the two-person chats).

For most situations, I think that the idea of closure being the path to healing is a myth.

Relationships change when it is time for them to change. Sometimes the thing that isn't working is eliminated and the relationship keeps going, and others the relationship is scrapped altogether. It can be really frustrating, leave us with an uneasy and insecure feeling. While those feelings are normal, I've never seen any evidence that "closure" was the thing that suddenly made them go away.
Thanks for your input. Neither G nor I have a lot of relationship experience, so like many people, we feel like closure would help. But I can see your point, because besides "what was wrong", another thing G keeps questioning is "why doesn't she want to try to fix it". So it would still be frustrating even if he knew the reason.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
another thing G keeps questioning is "why doesn't she want to try to fix it". So it would still be frustrating even if he knew the reason.

She did fix it for her. She let it go.

What else is there to do if she's not into it any more?

G sounds like he's grieving, and that's ok. He's just going to go through the "why? why?" phase of it.

Galagirl
 

Eponine

Member
G sounds like he's grieving, and that's ok. He's just going to go through the "why? why?" phase of it.
Yeah that's exactly it. He also keeps wondering what he could have done differently (even including moving to N's country - he said he'd have seriously considered it if he were single). It's not productive, but I guess it's just a phase he has to go through.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
People have to work through the stages of break up grief. Some stages they might spend longer time in than others. Some stages they might skip. Others they might repeat a few times. It's a process.

Try to be patient while he works on his healing.

Hang in there!
GG
 

Eponine

Member
So in G and N's last video chat, N said she didn't want to meet G very soon, but maybe she would meet him next year. Now G is hanging onto the hope that they'd meet next year and try to work things out. I understand wanting to give it another try, but I think N's suggestion is pretty weird: If she's interested in trying again, why not meet sooner? If she's not interested at all, why meet next year? Will she suddenly be interested next year? Or does she just want to meet as friends? I think G should ask her for clarification, but he doesn't really want to. He'd rather keep the glimpse of hope. I'm worried that he'll take a very long time to heal. :(

We had planned to adopt two kittens from a friend's friend this weekend, but G says he doesn't want it anymore in the short term, because he finds it difficult to form an emotional bond with anyone new, including animals. I was pretty disappointed because I was thinking kittens would cheer him up. On the plus side, we've been doing things together more often.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I get your concern. But it is out of your hands. She could be trying to "be nice and let him down easy." Could let them figure out whatever next year if it actually comes to pass. Right now? You don't have to to do anything.

As for kitten? If it was going to be "our 2 kittens" and now G doesn't want one? Could ask him if he objects if it is "my 1 kitten" and you adopt one on your own and you deal with the pet ownership responsibilities.

Galagirl
 

Eponine

Member
Thanks GalaGirl, that makes me feel better. It also occurred to me that maybe N was trying to be nice and not hurt him too much. But meanwhile it also seems like a mixed signal.

I think we'll pass on the kittens this time. They're very young, and all the sources I read strongly suggest adopting two young kittens together. We're also having at least two groups of guests in the next month, so maybe it's better to wait a bit after all.
 
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