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I am a 28-year-old pansexual polyamorous woman. I am in the process of breaking things off with a lovely guy, "Norman," who I've been seeing, first in the same state, and then long distance, for about six months. I was madly in love with him, but now I'm not. Is this normal? He is still madly in love with me, and is very confused by my change of heart. I want him to know the fact that I'm no longer in love with him does not invalidate the time we spent together: it was incredible, and 100% genuine. My feelings have just shifted. Does this phenomenon have any sort of explanation? My rapid change from "I'm madly in love with you," to "I don't really care if we ever see each other again," has honestly made me feel a little sociopathic, and has me questioning my sanity.

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This happened to me once before, and I was equally confused: I met a guy at a festival over the summer, and we instantly connected and said we loved each other. We lived in separate states, but we exchanged passionate emails until I went to visit him a few months later, and we had a blissful long weekend and I overcame my fear/inability to orgasm with another person. Then, he just went MIA. I'm still in contact with his wife, but he dropped off the planet, with no closure. I assume his feelings about me must have shifted, just like I'm currently on the other side of.

For my current breakup, it may also be relevant that I'm also in the process of getting a divorce, ending an eight-year relationship. So, I'm aware that my passionate union with Norman is a rebound relationship, and I've heard that these are often passionate and then fizzle out. Also, part of the thing that made my feelings shift towards Norman was his decision to move to the state I'm currently living in; this made the relationship seem all too real for me, and like much more of a commitment than I'm ready for. I've explained this, and he understands, even though he insists that him moving to the same state doesn't necessitate a commitment, and that he won't expect to see me all the time, etc. Still, I feel like someone moving cross-country for me does imply a commitment, and I've now fallen out of love with him.

I know, I've got a lot going on. Thanks for any help.

Not Feeling It

Passionate at the start and then it fizzles—that doesn't just describe rebound relationships, NFI, that describes almost all romantic/sexual relationships. We meet, we hookup, and fall for lots of people over the course of our romantic and sexual lives. But we only wind up partnering with one, if you're a Duggar, or one at time, if you're a serial monogamist, or a select few, if you're a polyamorist.

So the place you've arrived with Norman—you were 100% into until him you 100% weren't—isn't some sort of romantic terra incognita. More like terra ordinarius.

I'm surprised I have to explain this to an experienced pansexual polyamorous person, but...

When you meet someone and there's a mutual spark and you're unattached or your attachment(s) allow for additional attachments, you go for it. You start fucking and hanging out, aka "dating." Sooner or later the initial infatuation is going to fade. While infatuation feels like true love, it isn't; and while infatuation can lead to lasting love, it doesn't in most cases. It doesn't in almost all cases. Because people often learn things about each other when they're dating—during this discovery process—that are disqualifying. He doesn't process conflict in a healthy way, she's religious in an unhealthy way, there's a sexual disconnect that can't be bridged, they want kids and you don't or vice-versa.

Or they voted for Trump.

And sadly, NFI, it's not only possible for one person to fall out of infatuation while the other person moves from madly infatuated to madly in love, that shit happens all the fucking time. Breakups wouldn't be painful if everyone was on the exact same page at all times—hell, breakups wouldn't even be necessary. No one would have to be dumped, no one would have to do any dumping (or divorcing). People would just ghost each other at the exact same moment.

You're done, Norman's not. While that definitely sucks for Norman, NFI, one person falling out of love with someone who still has feelings for them is not some rare phenomenon. (The In Search Of reboot isn't going to do an episode on this.) You're not crazy, you're not a sociopath, and what you're experiencing—while painful and unpleasant—is perfectly normal.


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