Love is the answer to all questions? Not quite. She also represents quite a few. Psychologist and couple therapist Oskar Holzberg answers them all.
Yes, most likely. But our problems are not the problem.
Now in detail:
Grete and Hartmut got to know each other during their studies and soon became a couple. Hartmut admired Grete very much, which made Grete more and more alienated in the long run. She accused him of being too dependent on her, not self-confident enough. Finally she separated from him. Hartmut moved to another city and continued to study there, but maintained contact with Grete, she wrote. After a year, he visited her. Then they saw each other again more often. They resumed their relationship. And since then they have remained a couple. Today Hartmut and Grete are in their sixties, and occasionally Grete is still annoyed that Hartmut does not share his opinion with her. And Hartmut is angry because he can not please Grete again.
Couples keep circling around the same problems
Many longtime couples have, like the two, sometime separated for some time and then found each other again. And like Grete and Hartmut, couples are constantly struggling for the same problems – and so are those who stayed together without interruption. After all, the fundamental conflicts that a couple has are usually stable and, in any case, 70 percent of the time, they can not be solved anyway. They just can not get out of the world. Because one always wants sex in the morning, when there is no peace. Because one always spends too much money, one can not maintain order, one quickly feels rejected, one clings anxiously to one’s career.
But not the conflicts themselves determine our relationship, but how we handle it. It is an experience that we keep making in the ups and downs of our love life: In good times we smile affectionately over the partner’s decision weakness, in bad times it annoys us infinitely.
But it makes a difference whether there has ever been a separation in the history of the relationship. It is bad, if then remains uncertainty. If a partner keeps the fear that he can be left again and again. If the separation was not really worked up and no new security arose. But an intermediate separation can also do good. Because it makes the partners clearer about what connects them, despite the problems they have with each other. Having for some time escaped the all-encompassing, everyday struggles, they could feel more intensely what unites them and what they value each other.
A relationship is made up of many little love stories
A long-lasting love relationship may seem like one big story, and that's it. But still, this great story is a juxtaposition of different love relationships. Some of them are happier, like the first time of falling in love or early age. Some are more unhappy, such as the time with small children or the middle years. But through all these phases, it is a web of the same joys and conflicts. Whether with or without separation, we always end up with the same problems. Or not - because we handle it completely differently.
Oskar Holzberg, 66, has been advising couples in his Hamburg practice for over 20 years and has been married for over 30 years. Now from him as a paperback: "New key phrases of love" (240 p., 11 euros, DuMont).
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