Is there a word for the feeling when you are unable to enjoy a moment because you are aware that it will end soon?

I am preferably looking for an adjective.

Scenario - my buddy has a huge crush on a woman and he claims to be in love with her. They have good rapport and share quite a bit of time together daily. (Unfortunately,) She will move on (both metaphorically and geographically) very soon.

We were not able to find the appropriate term to describe this state of mind / feeling.

  • Thanatopobia is anxiety caused by the knowledge death is impending and inevitable, people who suffer from it have a hard time enjoying life simply because they know it must end; my take is OP wants something in this vein, but weaker and more quotidian. As in "We went to a concert last night; the band was amazing, but I couldn't stop thinking about how in a couple hours it would be over and we'd be going home. Really ruined the whole thing for me."
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 12, 2014 at 11:12
  • Thanks. Beg your pardon for not following etiquette. I am new to English community. I will edit the question as per the guidelines.
    – pat_nafs
    Aug 12, 2014 at 11:35
  • 2
    I guarantee you French has a word for this. Probably's got a vu in it.
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 12, 2014 at 11:55
  • I can't help myself: premature dejection, premature longing, premature pining (as in pine wood).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 12, 2014 at 12:45
  • 1
    "Intimations of (relationship) mortality."
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:25

2 Answers 2


There are a couple of candidates I can think of; which one best fits your friend's feelings is hard to say without knowing him.

If the source of the sadness is the failure or loss of the romance itself, then he might be feeling:

Heartbroken (adj.): Suffering from sorrow, especially after a failed romance

If it is more accurate to say that the source of the sadness is the future event that is outside of his control, perhaps a better word might be:

Despondent (adj.): In low spirits from loss of hope

In my opinion, "despondent" is probably the closest in English you're going to get to what you're describing. However, for the sake of completeness, I think the word that most directly matches this situation is probably the Portuguese word "Saudade", which roughly translates to:

Saudade (adj): A deep melancholic state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves, often with the repressed knowledge that the object of longing may never return

  • Saudede comes closest, i think. Followed by despondent.
    – pat_nafs
    Nov 11, 2014 at 10:49

In this scenario, I would use empty or bittersweet to describe the scenario and numb for your friend.

Empty implies that the moment is somehow not meaningful because you know it won't lead to anything. Bittersweet implies that the moment is still enjoyable, but you can't fully enjoy it because it won't last.

Numb is a nice catchall for someone who doesn't feel much emotionally, usually because of some reason.

  • I don't think empty fits the description because apparently he is in a significant turmoil. I think that counts out numb as well. Bittersweet does capture bit of it (with emphasis on bitter) but still, doesn't really cover it completely.
    – pat_nafs
    Aug 12, 2014 at 20:24
  • @pat_nafs - you might want to clarify the question then.
    – Telastyn
    Aug 12, 2014 at 20:27
  • I'm not sure what clarifications are needed.
    – pat_nafs
    Aug 13, 2014 at 7:53

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