celibacy, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

The work spouse


As we spend a lot of time at work, some of us create very deep bonds with our co-workers. Sometimes, it even leads to a relationship, and a wedding. In my office, we count three couples who met at work. And that’s the just the official version.

One of the married couples from my office was formed on the ashes of their previous relationship. They weren’t married when they started to date. Both were in a relationship with someone else. He was sitting just next to my desk at the time, and he often talked to me about his girlfriend at the time. She also had a boyfriend.

They didn’t spend their time together. In fact, they respected the rules for avoiding love at work: they hung out with other co-workers. They were never alone together as I understood. But they have created a group of friends among those co-workers, and organized a lot of activities outside work. They went to concerts, bars, conferences,… all together. They started to date after one of our Christmas parties. Usually, during those parties, all of us get really drunk, and they were just the last to stand up after everyone else was gone.

It’s funny, because another of our office couples also started their romance after our Christmas party. They were the last to stand up after everyone else was gone.

So, I don’t think it’s possible to fight the sexual tension you can feel with one of your co-workers.

Of course, if you spend all of your time with the same co-worker, whether he/she’s gay or not, it can lead to a relationship.

Unfortunately for one of our office couples, I have noticed a bond created with another co-worker. She spends all of her lunches with him. Sometimes, her husband comes and join their conversation. They go for their morning coffee together, without her husband. At our last Christmas party, they were sitting next to each other, while her husband was sitting in a different room with other co-workers. She didn’t try to join him during the night. She stuck to our table, next to our co-worker, the whole evening.

They are not the only ones who are in this situation in my office. Two of my other co-workers often go out for lunch together. They don’t invite any other of their colleagues to join them. Both of them are married, to other people. They are all friends. They often go on holiday all together. Yet, they don’t go to lunch with their spouses.

Two other ones are in the same situation. He has a girlfriend who lives in Brazil, and goes to see her whenever he can. She’s single. They also have a group of common friends they hang out together. They go to bars, concerts, disco, … together with their group of friends.  He calls her “sweetheart” in front of everyone. They left together, on their own, during our last Christmas dinner.

Office romances often start because we spend a lot of time together. One of my friends told me she encountered a lot of office romances during her previous job, where she worked for a law firm. During deadlines, people would work until 4am. But she recalled she assisted sometimes only two lawyers of the firm working on the same case until early in the morning. Friendship, deep bonds, can be created in those tensed moments, especially if you work on the same case.

You will know if you’re over the sole co-worker relationship to a real romantic relationship if you start to miss your co-worker when he/she’s not there, if you feel jealous because someone else’s talking to him/her, if you look after him/her to tell him/her about everything in your life.

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Don’t try to change your partner

Why some of us want to change our partner? I once dated a man who got dumped by his girlfriend because she left him for her yoga teacher. He pushed her to do yoga, as she was very stressed. He hoped she would change. Instead of changing, she changed her boyfriend. But my ex didn’t learn the lesson, as he tried the same with me. The relationship was ill-fated, but it was a rebound relationship for me, and I wasn’t really myself when I dated him.

Recently, one of my coworkers told me she gave an ultimatum to her significant other. “Either she accepts to go to therapy, or we call it quits” she said. Her partner is bipolar, and my coworker is worried for her. Her significant other accepted to go to therapy, but it’s only been three weeks now since the ultimatum. Unfortunately for my friend, her partner won’t change much even if she goes to therapy. And the therapy can last for years, as the bipolar disorder won’t disappear over night. It’s here for the long run.

Some people manage to have a great relationship with a partner with a bipolar disorder, because they accept their partner as they are. Because on the upside, bipolar people can be a great company. But on the downside, they can be unpredictable, inattentive, self-focused and promiscuous. They can be hot one day, cold the next one. But people with bipolar disorder can react differently during their down period. One of my relatives is just withdrawn during his down period. He just wants to be left alone. His family has adapted to that.

If you can’t cope with your partner’s personality, don’t try to change him/her. What would you say if someone ask you to change?

It’s not pleasant to be in a relationship where your partner pressures you to change because he/she don’t like your personality. Constant critics are a form of contempt, the kiss of death of a relationship.

As my ex’s ex-girlfriend, who disengaged herself from his critics, most people will feel the urge to disengage themselves from the relationship.

If you can’t cope with your partner’s personality, it’s best to call it quits.

broken heart, celibacy, life, love, relationships, thoughts, women

Involuntary psychiatric hospitalization

One of my friends recently told me that back in 2010, his ex-wife forced him to join a mental health institution, where he was put asleep for three days, before going back home. “She said I was repeating the same sentences over and over again. It worried her, so she told me I needed to see a doctor right away. But I didn’t expect to end in the psychiatric part of a hospital” he said.

Back then, my friend had some problems at work, where one of his coworkers sexually harassed him. He told me he was on holiday with his ex-wife, when suddenly, he collapsed. He had to be rushed back into our country. “Afterwards, I was a bit lost, and there I started to talk incoherently, as said my ex-wife” he said.

My friend is not dangerous, but I guess he felt exhausted by his harassement. His stalker had sent him hundred of SMS and emails per day since 2008. It stopped the day I told him to go to the police and pursue her. I was surprised he didn’t have the idea to call the police before. I remember he was a bit lost after receiving a phone call from her stalker again. I thought he had a bad environment around him, especially his ex-wife, who just pushed him to get hospitalized.

He was having a burnout. In those cases, a psychiatric MD gives you drugs to sleep, but I’m not convinced it helps to recover. Drugs don’t heal all the mental problems. And it’s a trauma to get hospitalized for that reason.

But sometimes, you have no choice but to call a mental health institution for the person you love. Especially if she/he tried to commit suicide. Sometimes, you don’t need to take that difficult decision. A friend of mine learned her ex had been sent into a mental health clinic by the police, after he got arrested for being violent against the people he met in the street.

If you force your significant other to get hospitalized, it can backfire. My friend got distant from his ex-wife after this episode, and started to cheat on her, until she asked for a divorce. He felt resentful toward her.

It’s not an easy decision to force your significant other into a mental health institution. But here, I think it’s best to alert the family and friends about this, before taking that decision.

broken heart, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

Toxic relationships

What is a toxic relationship? I don’t have a good definition, but I think if you don’t feel happy, or you do feel diminished, powerless, cheated,… In other words, if you have negative feelings when you’re near the person who is close to you, it may be the sign the relationship is toxic.

Around me, some people told me they are not happy with their significant other. Yet, they are still with him/her. One of my coworkers often complains about her girlfriend, who is bipolar. “I have the feeling to be the one in charge of our relationship, but she’s difficult and don’t want to participate in the activities I offer her. Sometimes, I feel alone, even if she’s next to me” she said.  One of my friends often complained about his unhappiness with his significant other. He said she was hysterical,  aggressive, mean with his daughter, and unpredictable.  He feared her. But even when they weren’t together, he said she intimated him. Eventually, he left her six months ago.

Of course, there are periods where you can feel unhappy because of your significant other. But if these periods begin to be permanent, it may be the warning sign the relationship is toxic.

My friend who left his relationship six months ago avoided her as much as he could by spending a lot of times at work or with his friends. As a result, she got angrier with him, to the point he collapsed after a petty fight with her. But he said he knew from the start the relationship would fail. Yet, he jumped into it. I can’t blame him. I did start relationships knowing it wouldn’t work. I thought love would be enough. What a mistake.

Another sign of a toxic relationship is codependency. if you feel you make a lot of sacrifices for your partner’s happiness, but not getting much in return, it’s the sign of a codependent relationship. The feeling you have the most in such a relationship is anxiety. Some people try to numb this feeling by drinking or taking drugs. “When I met her, she had a bulimia problem, inherited from a conflictual  relationship she had with her parents. I thought I could save her” said one of my friends. But as he constantly tried to support her, he grew tired of the relationship, and resentful.

My coworker who complains a lot about her girlfriend will eventually grow tired of her relationship too. She supports her, financially and mentally speaking. As a result, she’s often broke when we go out to a restaurant with our other coworkers. Once, she told us why she was broke all of the time, because her girlfriend is currently unemployed, and she pays for all their expenses. My coworker is sometimes depressed by this. Lately, she’s been caught crying in the bathroom by some of us. I told her she looked unhappy, but she replied she loves her.

When do we need to leave a toxic relationship?

The best way to know is to listen to ourselves. If we try to avoid our partner, that’s a sign. If we keep on complaining about our unhappiness to our friends and family, that’s another sign. If we fear our partner, that’s another sign, and also a warning of an abusive relationship.

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Tinder, the new way to find the one?


The New York Times wrote an article about couples who met on the dating app Tinder. This dating app was called “the dating apocalypse” by Vanity Fair some months ago, because this dating site is used for hookups.

Why are some people able to find the right one on Tinder, where you just swipe to the left or right the profile picture of men or women? The dating pool on this app is large, and it can give you the impression there’s always someone better coming next. You can swipe on hundred different profiles on one day, where in real life, in a bar for example, you will just look at a very restricted pool of men or women.

But the same dynamic plays whether you’re in a bar, or on Tinder. You will make your choice based solely on the looks of the people in front of you. Yet, there are some differences. On Tinder, sometimes, I have encountered men who put a suggestive picture of themselves, bare chest, or worse, on a particular part of their anatomy. Some put a cartoon, or a picture where we can barely see them.  No one will do that in a bar, and if he tries to do so, he will be ejected quickly.

On Tinder, you don’t hear the voice of your potential partner. While in a bar, you can hear him/her quickly, and decide if it’s worth to pursue the conversation. On Tinder, you can test if he’s worth to invest your time by the messages you exchange with him/her.

Some men say it’s easier for them to talk to women through the dating app. Especially since on Tinder, if you swipe right and so does your love interest, you’ll know he/she’s interested. While in a bar, you can get rejected because you don’t know in advance if he/she might be interested in you. Some men are hindered by this and feel more comfortable with the dating app.

Yet, after the swipe, you have to start a conversation. And if it goes well, it can turn into a first date, and so on. The dating pool may be large, but you only end up with few dates in general. In the New York Times article, the women said they went to three different Tinder dates before finding the right one. Most of them got married only after one year.

The Washington Post interviewed a sociologist from Stanford, Michael Rosenfeld, who found out couples who meet online usher toward marriage faster than people who meet offline. It seems people on Tinder progress to marriage even faster.

But is it sustainable? Like the sociologist said in the article, those who are close to 40 feel a little bit alone as most people of their age are already settled down. So, they feel tempted to settle down too, quickly.

Only fools rush in. But are we able, after a certain age, to tell if we have found the right person?  At least, we know what we don’t want, like hookups for example. Maybe we know, after a certain age, that the perfect partner doesn’t exist. Yet, some people older than me still make mistakes in their relationship. One of my friends just ended his four years relationship because his partner was just horrible to him. He’s 50, he should have known from the start the relationship wasn’t good for him. He even told me he knew from the start she was bad for him.

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Rebound relationships


“It’s over with my spouse” said one of my friends recently. “I’m ok, don’t pity me. Don’t worry for me. I’ll be just fine” he said.

It’s been one month now he’s separated from her. Yet, they still live together, even if he thinks about selling their house and move closer to his work.

He has already subscribed to dating app like Tinder and Happn. I already pity the woman who will be his next significant other, especially if he finds her really quickly. She will be his rebound relationship. With the ex still in the picture.

Right now, he spends a lot of his time outside his house during the evening, to avoid running into his ex, who still lives with him. And spends his night at bars, where he drinks too much. He shows really the signs of someone who’s doing just well.

His wedding was a disaster he told me. His wife has a drinking problem. Like another friend of mine told me, in this kind of destructive relationships, both partners turn to alcohol to stand each other, until one of them decides it’s over because he or she has enough of this relationship. But none of them leaves the relationship without any bruise, and without no addiction.

I was a bit surprised he told me about his marital problems only recently. I had some doubts his marriage was in trouble, as he spends a lot of time on Facebook. Three years ago, his wife joined Facebook and liked every of his posts on the social media. Until last year, when she suddenly disappeared, at least from Facebook. He used to talk about her all of the time, until last year.

It’s funny how Facebook can be a good indicator of a relationship which is about to end. I see the same pattern with one couple I know. The man has been on Facebook for a long time now, while his wife only joined this year the social media. Some of their friends told me they’re not happy for the moment with each other. Especially him. I guess she has joined Facebook as a desperate attempt to change his mind.

I only know, because I’ve been through that,  that if he jumps into a new relationship right away after this one, this relationship will be ill fated. Rebound relationships are not great, and can leave you worse than if you spend some time alone. Some people jump into these relationships, only to feel more miserable afterwards. This kind of relationships helps you temporarily to ease the pain of the divorce or the breakup, but it’s a quick fix, and the descent is difficult.

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High prices for a matchmaking


The Financial Times runs an article about the high prices single people pay for meeting other people, hoping to find the one. The author wrote his own experience in London, where he paid 6000 £ to a matchmaking agency. He said he was on the low end of the prices, because some people pay up to 30000£ to those services.

In my country, recently, a friend of mine told me she met a woman for a matchmaking agency, who told her she was a good person, and her rate of success, especially in her age range, was 80%. But her service comes with a high tag: 6000 euros. “What?” I asked my friend. But my friend agreed to pay this, because she said she was disappointed by other dating sites. My friend has also another problem: she’s a TV presenter. “I can’t afford to ruin my career or get harassed online because of my job. I need some privacy” she said. She added she looked after other matchmaking agencies, but the other ones were either as expensive, or just disappointing. So far, I didn’t hear she has found someone. I just hope she didn’t pay 6000 Euros for nothing.

Why do we have to pay so much for meeting people in our league? In the article, the author mentioned women were outnumbering men in those matchmaking agencies, so they have to pay an extra compared to men. He mentioned he met women who work in finance. It’s a bit odd, since the finance sector is outnumbered by men. Women make at best 25% of the work force.

This has puzzled my friends, since I meet a lot of those guys through my job. “Why don’t you find someone in your circle?” asked one of my friends. The truth is  I don’t want to ruin my reputation. I don’t feel it’s appropriated to flirt with one of them. I have a hard time feeling respected as a woman in that sector. That’s why I don’t try anything. Yet, I’ve been hit by some of them. But they don’t interest me. Because they’re just too old for me, over 55. They could be my father. As for the younger ones, the last time I tried to talk to one of them, he just turned his feet away for me, and politely said he had to leave.

A friend of mine, who’s single too, and belongs to the same circle than I, told me he was surprised no woman has ever tried to flirt openly with him during a conference or a presentation. “I don’t want to” he added. Yet, it seems no woman dares to flirt with men in that circle.

Most women I meet in finance are not young. Usually, they don’t try to go outside their group. Except if they want to talk to me about what bothers them. I’m a magnet for them. I’ve never seen one of them trying openly to flirt with one of the men there. As if it was forbidden.

That’s why some pay a high price for a matchmaking agency.