Each couple has its own dynamics, each person has his own individual pain threshold. BRIGITTE author Oskar Holzberg on this field of tension – and the longing for a place.
“Stay or go?” This is the background music that accompanies our relationships so persistently as the junk in the supermarket of our purchases. The reasons are understandable. The generations living in front of us have left us with a complicated love relationship model. Passion and security go hand in hand. Wild romantic feelings and sexual desire on the one hand and common household cash, emotional security and erotic loyalty on the other hand.
Are we just too demanding?
We have to bring this under one hat, that is to say with one single person. But that’s not all. This hat should also be particularly chic. Because we are damned demanding. We are spoiled by wealth and surrounded by great products. Since our love relationship should have a top quality. Which leads us to constantly ask ourselves if we can reach what we experience together as a couple. In the meantime, we are less afraid that our love relationship will be in crisis than that we will be relieved if we do not doubt our partnership for some time.
Our partnerships are increasingly threatening to become consumer goods, and we consumers becoming constantly searching for the better deal. But something seems to stop us from constantly reducing everything. But to stay even when there’s so much to talk about. The influential US psychotherapist Al Pesso had an answer to this question. As our first and foremost psychic need, he does not consider caring, bonding or empathetic understanding. For him, our need for a place was first and foremost: Somewhere between people and things, we need a very real place to survive that is secure through relationships with our fellow human beings. And at the same time, a psychological space that exists because we care about others and others.
At the side of our love partner we find this place. Together we create our “ecological niche”, as the couple therapist Jürg Willi calls them. Of course this is not our first place. Once we were born, we needed our parents to give us a place in their lives. And as soon as we conquered more of the world, we sought another place. Among the Kita kids, at school, in the sports club, in our clique.
As a couple we pull together, have children, celebrate with our families, form a circle of friends and earn money to preserve our niche. In it, we create our shared lifeworld of values and rituals. But unfortunately the foundation of our niche is shaky. Because everything is based on our feelings for each other. Only as long as our love holds, is our place safe. When we split up, then most of my life is threatened. My house, my family, my ideas, my safety. Stupidly we’re so damn often we’re losing our place. Then, when our love relationship feels increasingly empty. Or like a tedious little war. If the loved one loved another or forgot our birthday. Then we have to decide if he is still Mr. Richtig for us. And if at his side is still the right place for us.
If “worth living” is enough
Sometimes we decide for the loved one, even though we have to sell our house because of his debts. Although our life has become a dark place since our child died. Although we have to give up our careers, our friends, our city to follow him into the desert to his job in Dubai.
But at least as often we get our place. And accept very unromantic that our love relationship is more and more out of relationship and less and less of love. We say goodbye to sex life. We renounce the closeness we long for. We accept that he has become a stranger to us. We resign ourselves to his triathlon training, to running away when we need him. We do not want to give up the colorful family life, the children do not expect separation. We then say that a relationship can not fulfill everything, that no partner can cover all our needs.
And does not our postmodern understanding of love mean that sooner or later we would end up with another partner anyway at exactly the same point, in the same unsatisfactory sentimental salad? We will be humble and give up the yearning for the big , because our commonality allows us beautiful travel, prestige in the place, mutual friends and our lifestyle. No, we do not have an ideal relationship. But our life seems worth living. And that’s why we stay together anyway.
We experience love as a force. But we only notice a force when it encounters an opposing force. We only feel the power of our biceps when we lift something heavy. The power of romantic love grows against the banalities of everyday life, against the reason and the warnings of all those who think. As Romeo and Juliet, we lovingly go against it and enforce pure love. Mature love then develops its power through crises.
When trust has gone by strangers, when it turns out that your own child is not your own child at all. If the career should never be more important than the relationship and it determines life. Then, in a paradoxical way, love regains its true strength. Your power to dissolve boundaries. To be boundless, to open hearts and feelings that threaten to close. Then, when much in us speaks in favor of going, and our friends speak for it, and we still remain a couple.
Love is a decision – until separation
Having passed crisis together strengthens us as a couple. We now have the confidence to handle even difficult situations. We fought and that motivates us, because we do not want to have worked so hard for nothing. But is that still love? Or are we just trying to avoid losses? A tendency that psychologists like Daniel Kahneman have discovered. And that causes people to hold stocks whose prices are going down too long. Are we persisting in our crashing relationships because we can not give up? Or are we even holding on to darker forces? Are we repeating the horrors of our past without seeing that we return to them?
The unreliability of our partner, where we already had a father we could never rely on. The partner who does not let us participate in his life, making us feel as excluded again as among our siblings. Nobody can tell us exactly where the border is, where staying together does not do us any good. We have to find out again and again for ourselves. One can never overcome the pain of being cheated. Maybe because she has been cheated too often. The other one can forgive. But is she really strong? Or has she just learned not to take her own feelings so seriously?
We can pull the line where it harms us, what we experience. In the case of violence, intimidation, drug addiction or even if you always use double standards. That sounds clear. But we have to find the limit out of our experience. And how do we know if our back really hurts because we’re sitting endlessly in front of the screen? Or not because of all the feelings we hold back in our love relationship? Love is a decision when we commit ourselves. And love remains a decision, until separation. We can never know if we are right, but we can feel when it is not right for us. If our inner dialogues do not end. When our doubts become stronger. Do we still have good times together? We often need others to clarify our feelings. Good friends, therapists who do not give us their opinion, but help us to find our own.
There are many reasons not to give up the place at the side of our love partner. Some are good. Some are determined by anxiety. Some even harm us. But lovers are always “together” anyway. Even though you are not my dream type, despite the fact that I had better sex, even though you’re so annoying with your sluttiness, you’re constantly broke, even though my girlfriend understands me better than you, even though your family is terrible. We stay together. Nevertheless, it is love. And yes, even though it is no longer love.
Would you like to read more about the topic and talk about it with other women? Then check out the BRIGITTE community’s “Daily Relationship Forum”!