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百年の恋も冷める

= (Something trivial) makes even a 100-year-old love turn cold/sour (in an instant).

In Japan, people commonly use this expression in a jocular and sarcastic manner to refer to the short-lived nature of most relationships that could come to an unexpected, abrupt end anytime instead of dwindling away over time, when, for instance, you happen to see your partner fly into an uncharacteristic rage over the most trivial of matters – in stark contrast to their usual demeanour – which you find off-putting to the extent that it would make even a 100-year-old love turn cold/sour in an instant..., jolting you from your lovely daydream back into cold reality.

This expression is strictly reserved for relationship contexts: The burning passion of love could all too easily die down at the sight of a small flaw you noticed that you wish you had remained blissfully unaware of. It might also be caused by a temporary lapse in the physical attractiveness of your partner. Anything seemingly trivial could turn out to be a trigger point!

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  • What did your research turn up so far?
    – Robert
    Apr 19 '17 at 0:45
  • In German, it's da wird die Milch sauer which refers to the sudden change from sweet to sour which occurs to milk. It's not limited to relationships but for anything which turns a nice situation into a disgusting one.
    – Janka
    Apr 19 '17 at 0:55
  • @Robert Actually, not a thing found so far! This is more of a jocular turn of phrase than an old adage or a proverb, which is probably why I can't seem to find anything even remotely satisfying. Apr 19 '17 at 0:59
  • @Alone-zee If you don't show any effort to solve this on your own, I vote to close this cause translation requests are off-topic here.
    – Robert
    Apr 19 '17 at 1:02
  • 3
    @Robert: with phrase requests we should not be too strict in closing. Reason see Meta post I linked to.
    – Takkat
    Apr 19 '17 at 6:35
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I pondered quite a while if there is any expression for this very specific situation (jocular way to refer to short-lived nature of relationships breaking up over a trivial issue)... and I just do not find anything really satisfying. So perhaps the answer is simply: "German does not have such an expression." - Could it be that Japanese culture is more developed in those relationship-related areas?

Here is what I came up with, anyway:

Like contributor Pollitzer above I find predominantly phrases for general use, i.e. not specifically in the said case.

Das bringt das Fass zum Überlaufen

This supposes that there have already been a number of issues, and now a last, tiny and per se not important one leads to cataclysm. Which is not exactly the situation described in the question.

Oh wie so trügerisch sind Weiberherzen

This is a common (now a little bit démodé) citation from a song in G. Verdi's 'Rigoletto' ("La donna è mobile / qual piuma al vento"). Again, it is unsatisfying here, because a) it blames only women b) it does not focus on the bad end of the relationship being related to some tiny event. It rather blames women for being unreliable in general, which is just nonsense, or a stupidly patriarchal way of looking at things. (Or perhaps it is irony, as Männerherzen probably are not less treacherous.) However, it could be used in such a situation post factum at least to ironically comfort the aggrieved party.

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For relationships that came to a sudden end due to something said or done, the phrase

Und dann war der Ofen aus.

could be an option. It nicely uses the sudden loss of heat replaced with coldness, which fits the general "hot" or "burning" metaphors for love.

Note that this is used to describe the event in the past, unlike your example.

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If I understand you well you're looking for idioms expressing a strong impact. Maybe

  • etwas haut den stärksten Neger/Seemann um

  • etwas haut den stärksten Eskimo vom Schlitten

  • etwas haut den stärksten Mann aus dem Anzug

  • etwas schlägt dem Fass den Boden aus

where »Neger« is political incorrect.

Related are these callouts:

  • Das ist der Gipfel!

  • Das ist die Höhe!

  • Das ist ja unerhört!

  • Du ahnst es nicht!

Concerning your make-up remark: The idiom

sich gehen lassen [Du lässt dich gehen!]

fits to persons stopping to take care of their appearance.

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  • 2
    These are fine expressions indeed, but I think the initial question was in search for something more specifically aiming at throwing an emotional relationship out of its rails... your expressions are more generally on strong impact, not so much in love affairs. Still pondering if there are German expressions for the love-related situation... Apr 19 '17 at 8:50
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Neither jocular nor sarcastic, but describing exactly your case:

Das hält selbst die größte Liebe nicht aus

A bit on the sarcastic side:

... und dann war die große Liebe zu Ende ...

and a bit more:

... und dann war's Schluß mit großer Liebe ...

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