An independent woman

In my country, the rates of divorce are quite high. In the cities, one couple out of two divorce, while in the countryside, this proportion diminishes to one out three.


Single women, especially single mothers, are considered as the most likely to end in poverty.

A friend of mine, who was raised by his single mother, as he never knew who was his father, grew up in the poorest city in my country. He told me her mother  fought hard to raise him. But luckily for him, he is her only child.

Another friend of mine grew up in poverty too. His mother divorced his father when he was 8. His two sisters and him went to live with his mother. At school, he was always the poorest child in the class. He took his revenge later in life on society, by becoming a well respected economist in my country.

Both say that their mother did their best to bring them a solid education.  But their mother were independent, despite their small means.

Recently, a friend of mine announced her sister was about to get divorced, as her husband left her for another woman. They have a little daughter together. Thankfully for her, her sister has a job. But she used to rely on her future ex-husband  to drive her to work. Now, she has asked my friend for her help. Eventually, she will learn how to drive, because it’s necessary for her.

Had she be more farsighted, she wouldn’t have to rely on her sister that much.  At least for her transports. As she lives in the countryside, it’s important to have a car on her own, as public transports are not efficient there, unlike in the cities.

Unfortunately for her, she left the house, and had to find another school for her daughter.

One of my friends had the chance to keep the house when she got divorced, and she didn’t have to find another school for her kids, who could stay in the same school. Not much changed after her divorce, except her ex wasn’t in the picture anymore. My friend has a car, and her mother doesn’t live very far from her and always gives her a hand.

My friend’s sister doesn’t have that chance.

Some economists have warned women to be more farsighted, as marriages don’t last forever, unfortunately.

Sometime, after a nasty breakup, it’s difficult to take wise decisions. That’s why it’s better to anticipate those bad winds. It’s not easy.



The social inequality

Several sociologists in my country, but also in other countries, have warned about the growing inequality between the rich people and the rest of the population.

Some studies also pointed that rich people marry other rich people. “You won’t find a CEO with an blue collar worker, because they don’t have the same social circle” one sociologist says.

“When you make 100.000 dollars a month, you basically don’t have common interests with your friends any more” said Rainer Voss, a former banker in the documentary “Master of the Universe”.

You also don’t share the same values than someone who comes from a richer circle than yours. And even if you share a common circle with your significant other, sometimes, that’s not even enough.

In the book “Swimming with sharks”, written by the anthropologist Joris Luyendijk, the author had met an Asian immigrant dating a banker from the City. They met each other while they were at university, but he became absorbed by his job after he got hired by a bank, while she went to work for a shop to pay her student debts.  Slowly, their relationship has been coming apart, as she was just happy with her job, while he was proud of his job. Their two worlds don’t collide, as she explained she barely sees him because he’s always at work. He never met her friends, nor her parents, because he cancelled most of his appointments. She did meet his banker friends, but this didn’t go well either.

Some couples don’t survive this. Some do, as some people who work hard can get disgusted by their way of life after some time. Their significant other can play a role in their decision. Some can also stay together because the significant other accepts everything.

“I had a patient who admitted her husband used to bring hookers home so they can have a threesome. She didn’t want to divorce him” one of my friends, who’s a doctor, told me once.

Some couples do come apart. “We met each other during a dinner. I was invited by the host, but it was my first time there. I was sitting next to him, and we spent the night speaking to each other. We also share a same professional circle which allows my presence. Yet, it wasn’t enough. When we started dating, I realized it wasn’t enough. Our worlds didn’t collide that much. He was a star, invited everywhere. It wasn’t my case. After a rocky year spent together, he left me for another woman, who featured regularly on the mundane pictures of art exhibitions, charities, cocktail parties … I started to see him with her on those pictures. It was tough” a friend of mine experienced.

Why is there so many differences with people now? And why are there too many walls between people?


To Paris, with love

Since this Friday, 13th of November 2015, the city of Paris has been mourning its victims.

Beyond the official tributes, the city has appeared as a ghost town. Most of the museums are closed. The Champs Elysées are empty, people seem to hide.

In the Paris Sorbonne, the students are sad. One of my friends, who’s a professor of economy, told me that today, his students were unusually quiet. “Here in Paris, everyone knows someone who knows someone who was killed during the events on the 13th of November” he said.

Near the restaurant where the shooting happened, people are scared, and shaken. Some have difficulty to realize what happened there.

Twitter and the other social medias have taken  brought an new dimension to this event. One account published every photo of the victim when their life was good. It was difficult to look at these, without feeling empathy and sadness.

Eventually, the city will return to its rhythm. Every city which has been hit with a terrorist attack  saw the life back after some time. Last year, I visited Palawan, in the Philippines, which was a ghost town back in 2001, after an American tourist was murdered by islamist rebels.

It will be most difficult for those who lost their friend, lover, parent, … in those terrorist attacks. It’s never easy to lose the ones we hold dear in our heart. It’s the worst feeling.

None of my friends was hurt during those events. But suddenly, they have asked me if they can come at my place in the near future. I know they don’t feel safe for the moment. I can understand. I hid in Paris after a nasty breakup at one of my friends’ place.

I guess everyone in the city needs to feel secure again.


Marathon, the path towards infidelity?


When your significant other starts to train for a marathon, should you worry? One of my friends is convinced so. She said her sister, who recently got divorced, didn’t see it coming when her husband told her he was starting to run. He wasn’t running alone. He joined a group of runners to help him get motivated. That should have warned my friend’s sister, because her husband looks like Seth Rogen, aka a teddy bear. Not the athletic type.

That’s how he met “the love of his life”,who’s 20 years older than him.

Personally, I don’t think running is a cause of infidelity. But I read everywhere  that when you’re significant other starts to worry about his/her looks, and starts any sport to get in shape, that is a warning sign he/she may be seeing someone else.

But if both of you start the same sport, it can strengthen your couple. One of friends ditched her pilates classes for swimming. She and her future husband decided to swim two times a week, in the swimming pool next to their apartment. In my pilates class, one of my classmates started the lessons with her husband. I’ve never seen them coming apart.

The problem with my friend’s sister is she didn’t join her future ex-husband in his effort to get in shape.  Most of couples who broke up like her couple have the same problem. Another friend of mine told me her sister also experienced the same situation. Her ex started to run, and wanted one day to run a marathon. Her sister didn’t want to imitate him. She watched him slowly go away from her, until one day, he told her he wanted to live with someone else.

It’s easy to take a separate path from your significant other.  My friend’s sister made the mistake to think it was fine for her husband to start to run, while she would be having fun with her female friends.  She was on holiday with her friends, without him, when she learned he was having an affair. Their marriage wasn’t that strong. They started to date while they were in high school, and got married after they finished college. But they never invested in their couple.

I don’t say you have to be attached at the hip with your significant other. But I’ve noticed, for couples who are still together after  a long time, that they usually find some common activities to do together. It can be cooking classes (I’ve seen many couples there), planning their travels around the world, sport, marathon, … anything they can share together.  That’s why it’s important to share some common tastes with your significant other.


Intelligent women, spinsters for ever?

According to the Wire, men date and marry less intelligent women than they are. So, smart women are less likely to find a man than their less intelligent peers.

Yet, intelligent and thriving women can be married or dating a great man. Look at Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and all the female politicians in general. Most of them have a man by their side. The same goes for female CEOs. Marissa Mayer is a good example.

How come?

I guess it’s a question of networks. And also a question of self-confidence (for men).

It will explain why some PhD are married with another PhD, while some don’t.

One of my friends says that the old generation (like Hillary Clinton) have a better option than their younger peers. We were talking about this subject during a dinner. Because she and I are both single (although I have a lover). She’s convinced she wouldn’t be able to find someone, and that the reason she’s single is because she’s intelligent. But she’s not trying to find someone. She didn’t search on dating sites, or tried to go at many events where she can meet people (especially in cultural events). So I offer her to accompany me, to change her perspective.

Unfortunately for her, I’m not a good advice. I’m still single. But I’ve been hit on many times by men, from male journalists to all of the guys I meet as a reporter. My problem is I need to find someone who can speak to my heart and my head, and who won’t be afraid of commitment.  Yes, I’m difficult.

But as I read once in a New York Times story, “Women fall in love between their ears” . Being intelligent is one thing, but it’s not the whole picture.

I suspect the male journalist of Wire to have written a wrong story. My friend was shaken when she read it. I just shrugged my shoulders, because it’s not the truth.

In France, the actual minister of Economy is married to a woman who is 20 years older than him. Both share the same passion for literature and art. That’s how they met, during a theater play.

I guess it depends on the values you share with your significant other. If he’s all about money (the article quoted several hedge fund managers, who live for the money), then if you’re intelligent, or not looking like a Victoria’s Secrets Angel, you will never get along with him if you don’t love money yourself.

So, I don’t think because you’re intelligent, you will end up single forever. If you are intelligent and sensible, you will attract an intelligent and sensible person in your life, someone who will be just like you.

life, love, relationships

The closer, the better (when your group of friends strengthens your romantic relationship)

Can Facebook predict if your romantic relationship will last? Yes, according to Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University and Lars Backstrom, a Facebook engineer.

It depends on the mutual friends you share with your romantic partner on Facebook (or in real life). Your couple has a better chance to last if your romantic partner is well connected to your network. “A spouse or a romantic partner is a bridge between a person’s different social worlds” said Kleinberg when his study was released.

In fact, it’s not the number of mutual of friends you share with your romantic partner that will predict if your relationship can last.

It’s a different dynamic at play.

Common friends can act as a counselor or mediator between you and your romantic partner. Of course, it depends on your common friends.

Many people I know don’t share many common friends with their spouse or romantic partner. Simply because they choose someone outside of their circle of friends. One of my friends, who’s about to get married, met her future husband on a dating site. I’ve never heard her speaking about their common friends. She went on holiday with her group of friends, without him, several times already. But she also tried to include him in her larger group of friends. I know him a little bit, but he’s always stood behind her whenever I went to their place. He didn’t try to be friendly with me. But it would have been weird for me if he started to act as my best friend. It’s curious, because two of her friends have now become two of my friends too. Whenever they are in my city, they call me for a drink of a dinner.

Besides, one of my friends got a bad experience with the common friends he shared with his ex. She left him after five years for one of his best friends. They are now married with two kids. My friend has moved abroad.

And how do you make common friends with your romantic partner? That is a difficult question. It can happen because you bonded separately with them before your relationship started. One of my friends met her husband through their common friend.   She accepted once an invitation to an exhibition by one of her friends. Her friends also invited a group of his friends, including her future husband. He simply introduced her to him during the exhibition.

But it’s true Facebook can give you an indication on how connected your common friends are with your romantic partner. The study shows we tend to like status, pictures and posts posted by people who are close to us. We may not like those posted from someone you just met twice in your life but asked you to be friends on Facebook. But for the people we like, it’s the opposite. For instance, I tend to like every picture, even if these are failed, posted by my sister, and my friends. I get that too, from my closest friends. I’m not surprised, when I get some analysis from my datas on Facebook, to see familiar names coming up in the statistics.

In real life, it’s also the same.

In a world where it is easy to find a romantic partner (or a one-night stand – hi Tinder), the common friends are much harder to find.

broken heart, life, love

The double life

Recently, one of my friends announced her sister was divorcing. “She accepted the invitation to go on holiday with one of her friends who is single. It was just for a week. When she came back home, she noticed her home smelled bad because all the doors and windows remained closed during her week away. Nothing changed since she left. And nothing was in the dishwasher, as if her husband wasn’t there at all. Her husband didn’t say anything to her. But he remained silent during the evening. It was 2AM when she woke up and decided to wake her daughter as she wanted to go to our parents’ house. As she brought her daughter to her car, her husband woke up, and wondered what she was doing. She started to scream at him and asked him to tell her what was wrong. He told her he had a lover, who was 14 years older than him and her. He spent the week with her. He told my sister she is the love of his life, and said they should divorced” my friend said. “He started his affair four months ago. He told my sister he lied to her when he had meetings. He even brought their daughter to her house to see if she was able to get along with her sons” she added.

Of course, her sister is devastated for the moment. But I bet her future ex-husband’s love story will turn sour sooner or later.

His double life didn’t last for long. But for some people, the double life can last a long time.

Have you got a double life? Many people have one” one of my friends asked me a long time ago. It was during a dinner where we drank too much. But I still remember this conversation because it took me by surprise.

But what is a double life?

A double life is having two lives, one of which you do not want other’s to know about. A lover, kept secret, is part of that double life. But some people just keep a part of their life secret to their family and friends, for various reasons. I recently read the review of a film about voguers, an urban dance that grew out of New York in the gay community in the 80’s. Some of these dancers keep their activity secret because they risk to lose everything if they are discovered, including their life.

But secrets are hard to keep over a long time. Eventually, the truth will come out.