love, relationships

The Covid-19, a stress test for couples

I read this article in the New York Times, about couples who thrive during unexpected disasters that force people to stay home for a long time. Some couples don’t last after an ordeal. In China, the number of divorces has raised a lot since the end of the quarantine for people. But the quarantine have forced some people who can’t stand their partner anymore to stay in the same place for some weeks. So, it’s no surprise they waited for the end of this period to divorce.

Some couples don’t survive to this kind of ordeals. The article in the New Times narrates a lot of examples during the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It’s a question of character. If your partner wants to focus on the daily routine, while you are panicked and are obsessed about the events, it may clash between the two of you. People don’t react the same way to unfortunate events. So, yes, events like the Covid-19 or a hurricane are a stress test for couples.

Some couples do survive after unfortunate events like a disaster. There was also a baby boom after Katrina. In my journal, there was an interview of a female CEO who said her family has experience with being barricaded in the same place for a long time, because they spent four months on a boat parked in the Grenadines island. “It was a sabbatical” she said.

Some couple are not very different from each other, and can find funny activities to do in group, like dressing together for homeworking….

The Covid-19 crisis and its quarantine is different from a natural disaster like Katrina that destroyed many houses in New Orleans. People who are in quarantine because of the epidemic have dealt with different problems, like loosing temporarily their job and the financial insecurity that follows, fear of getting infected with the Covid-19 and to spread the virus among your circle, and unfortunately for some, the loss of someone you hold dear.  But people don’t have to deal with floods, no electricity, and all their possessions smashed because of the hurricane.

In my country, it’s still allowed to go and take a walk with your significant other outside. For now. Other countries have forbidden people to do this. So technically, we’re not stuck at home all of the time. Yet, it’s still a test for couples.  Kindness is key in this period.

 

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life, love, relationships

The age difference

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In France, there’s a hot topic right now since the revelation from Vanessa Spinoza about the writer who used to be celebrated in intellectual circles. The scandal has triggered since the publish of Vanessa Spinoza’s book. But when I was a teenager, I reminded one of my teachers who warned us about the male writer and to never read any of his books.

I’ve read that age difference will be more suspected in the future because of this scandal. So what’s age difference is okay, and what’s not?

In general, a huge age difference in a relationship is not a good idea, because you don’t share any common experience with your significant other. Yet, it’s possible that an old man can fall in love with someone who’s 40 years younger than him. Some say it’s just dementia.

The new object of love of Silvio Berlusconi is 30, while he’s 83. Needless to say, when he was 50, she wasn’t born yet. And she doesn’t seem disgusted by him. But she’s 30, and an adult. So she may know why she has chosen him.

There are maybe other reasons why young people are attracted to much older people. It’s a question of fortune, network, fame, … But it’s not guaranteed to last forever, because old people die before them, in general.

That’s the problem with a much older significant other than you. Don’t forget he/she will age not well, and that diseases, cancers, vascular accidents,… can happen when we are old.

And besides, if you’re after his/her heritage, don’t forget there maybe other members of his/her family after that too.

Karl Lagerfeld, the deceased stylist, didn’t left anything to anyone around him, except to his cat, Choupette.

In the case of Vanessa Spinoza, she was a teenager, when she met the old writer. At that age, it’s not difficult to be influenced, especially if you come from a broken family.  One of my friends has a teenager. My friend is divorced but she looks after her daughter very well and doesn’t like when her “friends” treats her badly. My friend is very honest and direct with her daughter. And it’s important.

I have a niece who’s still a child. But when she will be a teenager, I guess I will be very honest with her and warning her about her relationships. Nowadays, teenagers are also the object of harassment on social media. I hope my niece will never experience this.

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love, relationships, thoughts, wedding

Getting quickly engaged

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Recently, the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, announced she is engaged on her Facebook and Instagram profile. She met her future husband during the spring of last year. So, it took them less than nine months to get engaged.  There are countless stories about people who got quickly engaged. Sandberg isn’t alone. Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni tied the knot very quickly after starting to date each other. Both were previously married or involved in a long term relationship. So they already had a solid experience with marriage.

In the case of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, they are still married to each other after almost eleven years now.

Some say you just know when you find your soulmate. But there are no accident I think.

In the case of Sheryl Sandberg, she was introduced to her future husband who is a CEO in the technology industry. They come from the same circle of friends and sector.  It’s not different for Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. They were also introduced to each other by a common friend.

I don’t think it’s possible to get engaged to someone you just met on Tinder or any other dating application. If you do, well, congratulations. Maybe you’re still young and full of hope. There are so exceptions. But it’s like lottery. Like we say, only fool rush in.

For those who were previously married, it’s a bit different. Because they have experience.

Yet, I know many couples who are not married with their significant other. In my company, the CEO is not married to his significant other, who is our marketing director. It’s been already three years they have been with each other. But he left his wife to be with her. So there is a painful divorce in the way.

Sometimes, the past is not very far in our love life.

In the case of Sheryl Sandberg, she lost her husband five years ago after an accident.  She dated another man after that, but didn’t marry him. He was maybe her rebound relationship. Rebound relationships are ill-fated.

Besides, it may take a long time between the engagement and the marriage. Sheryl Sandberg isn’t married yet.

And there is no guarantee the marriage will last.

 

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love, relationships, thoughts, women

Villains

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Why are we sometimes attracted to jerks who are mean with us?

One of my friends is always attracted to mean women. I told him many times he’s masochist because he’s chosen the same type of women over and over again. His ex was very dominant, and couldn’t help belittle him in front of other people. My friend told me she said he was not clever in front of his friends at a garden party. His other friends also warned him she was very mean with him. Yet, he pursued a relationship over four years with her. She was the one who ended the relationship. She left him for another man.

His new relationship isn’t going well either because his new woman is also mean with him. “Intellectually,  this relationship is interesting” he told me.”I take it day after after. We’ll see” he added. 

Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford university, defines as asshole a person who lowers, exhausts and fails to respect other people.

Yet, despite this negative definition, people are attracted to assholes. Nice people (defined as person who are kind and respect other people) are sometimes perceived as annoying.

It’s particular true in the professional work. Although assholes don’t last forever in their company. In a newsroom close to mine, the editor in chief was pushed to the exit after 15 journalists complained about his bullying behavior. But he was chosen over other people to be the editor in chief  four years ago. He was perceived as a good leader.

“Villains are always picked as leader of a group or a team. Managers don’t want nice people as leaders” says one of my friends.

Maybe assholes are picked because they are sometimes very clever and understand what people need. Maybe the reason is because they are generally in a very high position in society. In other words, they are attractive. That’s why people find excuses to their disrespectful behavior. My friend’s current significant other is a well known public personality. I guess he has an important place for celebrities and the access to their world over values like respect.

All in all, it depends on your own values. If you don’t want respect and kindness,  but prefers “intellectually interesting people”, there is a good chance you will end with an asshole or a villain.

 

 

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celibacy, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

Why aren’t you married?

EMMA WATSON DEC19Recently, one of my coworkers told me she was shocked by what her therapist said to her.”You cannot grow old alone” her therapist told her, because my coworker told her she was happy to be single.

While it’s true that you’re better off alone than in bad company, being single over a long period can be difficult too. But I guess it depends on your personality.  Among writers, Louisa May Alcott, the novelist behind “Little women”, was never married. It’s an exception.

Among the people I know, there are also unmarried people who live with their significant other. They have never got married despite a long time together. One of my friends has been with the same man for over 23 years now. They have never got married, even if they have a child together. Another friend of mine isn’t married to his significant other, who is expecting their first child. He’s convinced marriage is a question of tax, as this taxation encourages married couple over those who are not married.

There are some people who are not married and not in a relationship. But they were previously in a relationship that turned sour in the end. One of my friends left her abusive ex and hasn’t found any stable relationship since then. Another one has been in several long-term relationships, over 2 years, but has never settles so far. They are both in a transition period of celibacy.

Some people are also single because they are in a relationship with someone who isn’t available. Either because they are married to another person, or are just not interested in a serious relationship.

My coworker didn’t say if she was just single, or in transition period of celibacy.

There is also a pride about being single nowadays, especially for women. Some celebrities like Emma Watson are proud to be “self-partnered” .

The hashtag #selfpartnered is also gaining popularity on social medias like instagram.

It’s a trend among millenials. I guess when you’re young, you don’t want to ruin all the possibilities you have.

My coworker is also a millenial. Maybe that’s why she was shocked by her therapist.

 

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life, love, relationships

Is Tinder going to end?

Esther Perel, a relationship therapist, says Tinder won’t last.

 ‘I’ve yet to find anyone who tells me that dating on any app is fun. Nobody tells me that it’s playful or mischievous – it is utterly uninspired, devoid of imagination, seduction, charge or excitement. It’s just romantic consumerism.

And when people do go on a date, it’s like a job interview’

It may be not that fun, but some people do meet their significant other thanks to Tinder and other dating apps.

When we use Tinder and other dating app, we rely on their algorithm to find people who can meet our needs. Some people use dating app to find a turnover of lovers. Some people use dating app to find their partner.

Like Esther Perel says, when people go on a date, it’s like they attend a job interview. The first date is always awkward because of that. But we don’t look for the same thing during a job interview.  In a job interview, we often put our skills and experiences forward.  Sometimes, we also mention our athletic feat, like our time during a marathon. During a date, we don’t give those details. But it’s true, in both cases, that we want to be liked.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In the end, we always have the choice of taking the chance to pursue a relationship with our date or not.

So, Tinder is just a way to meet people.

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life, love, relationships, thoughts

Birds of a feather?

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Birds of a feather often fly together, as it said. But it is guaranteed to last forever if you marry someone who comes from the same professional/social circle than you? Of course not. In the book “Serotonine”, the writer Michel Houellebecq narrates the live of an aristocrat, Aymeric d’Harcourt, who’s an agriculturist, and who lost his wife who was blue blood like him. She left him for a pianist who was in tour in their region. Florent-Claude, the principal character in the book, thought d’Harcourt and his wife were a good match because they came from the same social circle.

In my profession, many couples met each other at work. Some are still going strong, while some have ended in sometimes a bad way. So, it’s not guaranteed to last forever. Yet, there are strong stereotypes attached to the ideal couple, who should be in the same professional circle than we. One of my friends, who’s a teacher, told me he was asked many times if his significant other is also a teacher. As if it was obvious he should be with another teacher. His significant other isn’t. And so far, they’ve been together for a long time, and my friend is very happy in his love life. My significant other, who’s a MD, told me he got the same reaction when he told people about our relationship. The first remark he got was: “So, she ‘s a MD too?”.

Another friend of mine asked me why I don’t look for a journalist as partner. As it is my profession. But when I was on dating apps, I saw several male journalists (sometimes, I even know them in real life) but I swiped left every time. Maybe it’s because I know how a journalist can be in private life. One of my potential matches is a deputy chief editor who also teach in university and is often solicited to talk during multiple seminars. So he’s barely available. The other ones I know spend long hours at work too. I don’t know why, but it screamed “no” when I saw their profiles on dating apps.

Besides, I also have plenty of negative examples of homogeneous couples, where Mr. and Mrs do the same job. In my newsroom, there were two official couples. When one of them started to be official, their career suffered because they were hindered by something related to their relationship. Eventually, Mr. left our newsroom and the world of journalism to be a PR. He’s never returned. But they are still together. The other couple also end up with one of the members leaving the world of journalism, this time to pursue time writing a book.

There’s also the risk to be jealous of your significant other’s success.

 

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