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

Acceptance or isolation of your couple

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The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, raised some eyebrows because of the age difference between him and his spouse, Brigitte.  In our society, unfortunately, it’s not considered normal for a man to marry someone who is his senior, especially if the age gap is very large. My mother is two years older than my father. They haven’t met any reticence when they started their relationship. People don’t notice that difference. They just look as old together.

Those couples who have a large age gap do meet some reticence.  But it’s the same for couples who don’t share the same religion, the same background and pedigree, … Those couples are more fragile because of the pressure of their relatives and friends, over the society.  If their relatives and friends don’t accept the significant other, either the relationship survive by staying away from their circle or the relationship die. Love is not enough. Our circles have to validate our couple. Nobody likes to be cut from their friends and family, even if it’s for love.

Shakespeare grabs that difficulty for those couples in “Romeo and Juliet”. In the end of this tragedy, both lovers die, because their love would never have been accepted by their family.

Without strong links and reliable social circle, that certainly to have a destiny together can unbundle. At the risk of loneliness and the feeling of invincibility” said Serge Hefez, a psychologist in a french magazine.

Acceptance of your significant other from your family and friends is important.

A friend of mine told me his brother-in-law turned suddenly agressive toward him and his mother, after years of mocking from them because he wasn’t an intellectual like all the members of my friend’s family. “He was just a nurse, but recently he became CEO of a prosperous company he founded thanks to his IT skills. And since then, he has been agressive with us” he says. His sister has been torn for years between her family and her husband, and the feud isn’t over.

It’s not easy for family and friends to accept our significant other if he/she doesn’t fit into their ideal.

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

Dating your non type

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I’ve just finished reading “He’s not just your type (and it’s a good thing)” by Andrea Syrtash. She advises to look over your type of men or women to find love, and also follow your heart when you feel comfortable  with someone who doesn’t fit in your ideal type or your family’s expectations.

The author defines your non type by someone you would rule out at first because that someone may be too old for you, too far from you, too young, divorced with children… Or because that someone is very different from all your ex’s especially if you’ve dated the same profile over and over again. In other words, she advises to keep an open mind when it comes to love. But she adds you don’t have to accept everything, especially when your non type doesn’t treat you very well (by going M.I.A., or being physically or verbally abusive).

She admits your family and friends can have a problem accepting your non type. One of my friends admitted he had a problem accepting at first his friend’s companion, when she introduced her to all of her friends. It was a surprise for him because his friend used to date men before. Another of my friends told me her mother didn’t accept at first her new beau, who was divorced with two children.

Of course, all families and friends are not all judgmental about your choices. And sometimes, a good conversation with your friends and your family about your non type can  help them accepting him/her. Your choice can worry your family and friends. Because if you choose someone who’s older than you, over ten years of difference, that difference can weigh on your couple as both of you grow older, with the problems associated to ageing.

The author adds you can feel disappointed by your type of lovers. What looks good on paper doesn’t make necessarily a good match for you. Like if your date has all the qualities (achievements, emotional intelligence, education, wealth, …) but is terrible in bed (because he can’t have an erection).

But I have some remarks about keeping an open mind. If your significant other wants you to change, even if you love him/her, I don’t think an open mind it’s an option here.

Nevertheless, most of my female friends told me they weren’t attracted at first with their significant other. And there are some famous examples too, like Michelle Obama when she saw her future husband trying to flirt with her, or Amal Clooney, when George tried to make his first move. At first, those ladies weren’t interested. As if their husband were their non type.

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

I don’t want to know

My mom always told me when I was little and sensitive to the others’ comments about me not to care about what they say. “The most important thing you should consider is what you think, not what others think about you” she said. As one of my friends is struggling right now to make her family accept the man of her life, I just remember about what my mom said. My friend has found happiness with a guy who’s not from the same religion as her and also much older than her (but not as old as her dad). I’m happy for her, yet I know that most of her entourage isn’t exactly thrilled by this. She’s on the verge  of  cutting all contacts with them because she’s tired of their opposition to this union, and I don’t know if that’s a good solution.

Of course, you shouldn’t care much about what people say about you, but when it’s your friends and family against it, is it worth ignoring  what they say just because you love someone who’s not suitable for them?  Remember that love can make us blind, and that we can easily fall for the wrong guy. Maybe our entourage can see the obvious we can’t see. Maybe they could be totally wrong about the guy.

When should you listen to your entourage and when should you not?  Well, first, it depends on which exclusion criteria your entourage based his decision on your lover. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to know the real motivation behind their opposition. “My best friend hated my ex and always told me he wasn’t right for me because we were completely opposite. But I didn’t agree with her at all, and didn’t understand why she said that, because I got along really well with my ex. When we broke up because we reached the end of our story, my ex told me she did try to make a move with him. She was jealous of me”F., 35, said. “My mom didn’t like my ex who was twenty years older than me because of that. She told me she found our couple just ridiculous and that I should date guys of my age. But I don’t like guys of my age, I just think they’re immature in general and we get along like cats and dogs. My mom is divorced and I haven’t known her any man in her life since she split with my dad. My ex had once to travel with her to join me abroad, and he told me that during the trip, she was a true sweetheart with him and tried to seduce him”G., 36, said.

Sometimes, their opposition can be just ridiculous. “My family didn’t like my ex because he was a fan of a rival football club” D., 31, said. “My friends think my man sucks because he works for a controversial politician” T., 30, said.

But sometimes, their opposition can be trusted. It’s legitimate for your family to worry if you’re dating an ex-convict (for murdering/rape/violence, not for just stealing or little stupid crimes), a junkie, a married man or a fanatic (if you’re not a fanatic yourself).  They can also be right about your lover because he’s a total loser who’s cheating on you and you’re the last to know about it.

So, have you ever listened to your family/friend’s advices regarding your lover? And have you ever bypassed their advice?

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broken heart, celibacy, life, love, men, miscellaneous, relationships, thoughts, wacky, women

Hungry heart

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I read this article yesterday in the New York Times about the impact of diatery differences on our relationship. This is becoming a real issue nowadays as we define ourselves more and more by what we eat. Food, or our diet, has transformed into a matter like religion or money. And intolerance can go really far: some vegans would never date a carnivore, nor anyone who has consumed something coming from the animals, including honey. Some carnivores would never date a vegetarian, or worse for them, a vegan. But again, it really depends on how we accept to compromise on this subject.

My sister, who is a carnivore, but not a true one (if she doesn’t eat meat for a week, it doesn’t matter that much for her) lives with her man who is a vegetarian, but again, not a true one. He eats fish, but not meat. She has adapted to his diet because it didn’t demand her too much effort: she has always preferred eating fish than meat. If they go to the restaurant, she can eat whatever she wants, he would be offended at all. This diatery difference only bothers my mom, who finds it difficult to prepare a meal for all of us without meat or poultry.

One of my friends is allergic to gluten. She told me she would find it difficult to date someone who can’t help eating bread, at least bread all the time. “It’s just that if I kiss him just after he finished eating pasta, or bread, it will make me sick. Otherwise, I can accept it” she said.

Another one was raised by her parents, true vegetarians, but she never accepted this diet. Each time we went out for dinner when we were younger, she would order meat at the restaurant. She was always the first to ask in our group to go eating pittas, hamburgers, … She always told me she could never date a vegetarian or a vegan because of that. “I was restricted from a lot of food when I lived with my parents, and I couldn’t imagine dating a vegetarian who would tell me not to eat meat because it just makes you tired all the time or makes you smell bizarrely” she said. She’s now married to a carnivore, and really happy. He has just to adapt his diet when they pay a visit to her parents, occasionally.

Sometimes, it’s not the diet or the food that cause the problem, it’s just the way we eat. I remember I was particularly disgusted to see D. eating, because 1) he would always eat the same thing: spaghetti carbonara 2) he would eat all the time. I don’t mind big eaters, but there’s a way to eat properly, and not just stuffing yourself. I consider that as debasing. One of my friends also told me she can be disgusted by the way a man can eat, and that she would have no remorse getting rid of him if he eats like a pig.

Also, some men will judge women by the way they eat. Some can’t stand picky women or those who just eat one salad and are happy with it. The reverse is also true for women. “My ex would always criticize what I cooked for him. I had a list of meals I could make and a list I certainly can’t cook and this one was really long compared to the other. Once, I had to leave him for a two weeks seminar abroad, and I left him with all kind of processed food I could find in the supermarket. When I came back from my trip, he told me he haven’t eaten so well for a long time. It turned into a huge fight, and we decided to call it quits. Now, my man doesn’t complain at all about my meals, and it could make me more happier” H., 35, said.

Like the article said, sharing meals is a metaphor of love. For some people, it really matters.

So, do you mind if your partner’s vegan/vegetarian/carnivore while you’re not? And do you mind if he/she’s picky with food or eats like a pig?

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

A halo in reverse

Once, I had a conversation with one of my colleagues I don’t usually speak to simply because we aren’t in the same unit. It was the day before Christmas, and the newsroom was deserted except two or three journalists present to assume the permanency of the newspaper in case of some hot news. He and I were the only journalists on that day. We talked about many things, and I learned that he was a Muslim. He converted to this religion because his wife was into it. But he also told me that she didn’t force him to do that. It was only his will because for him, it was an act of love.

Another friend of mine, who was Catholic, did the same thing for her man. In fact, she converted to Judaism. “I didn’t feel obliged to do it. In fact, he never asked me to do that. But I wanted to prove him my commitment for him, and I thought this was the best way to do that” she says.

But what if the one you love asks you to convert to his/her religion?

Many years ago, when I worked as a banker, I had this client who wore the hijab. She was the only one in the neighborhood where the bank was, and also the center of the conversation because she had converted to that religion. Nobody understood her decision, and rumors circulated about her forced conversion to Islam, because her husband wasn’t very tolerant about this. I didn’t know if those rumors were true, but all I know was that when we saw her in the bank, she always had a sadness in her eyes. I’m sure it had more to do with all the mean talks about her in the neighborhood, at least, I hoped so.

I dated for three years a Jew that wanted me to convert to his religion if we wanted to get married. But I was raised as a Catholic, and I couldn’t imagine changing my religion, even for someone I really love. He was so insistent about my conversion to his religion and never listened to what I wanted to say. We broke up because of that. I was convinced that if he didn’t listen to me for that, he wouldn’t listen to anything else” L., 35, said.

I accept to convert to his religion, mainly because he didn’t insist on this. I just knew I there was nothing else that will make him happy” M., 32, said.

And what if you don’t share the same religion with your companion?

I’ve met a lot of couples who believe in different religions. And they all coexist in peace, as long as they respect each other’s beliefs. Yet, it is quite challenging. It’s easier to believe in the same religion than your wife/husband, for a practical reason. “I’m married to a Muslim, but I am a Catholic. And there is always a period in the year where this is a little bit tricky: the Ramadan. His lack of food during the day makes him a little bit shaky and nervous, and it difficult not to fight with him during those days” joked G., 35. “We have each our religious rituals: I’m Buddhist and He’s Jew, and we try to assist each other’s religious events, but it’s not always easy” said H., 34.

Most of my family works on this dynamic. Jews, Catholics and atheists never argue about religion simply because we just respect each other’s beliefs. It’s a delicate subject, however. Sometimes, in conversation with the others, there will always be someone that will criticize other religions, openly, or just with allusions. That’s why it’s  never a good idea to bring that subject on the table, especially when you don’t know about the others’ religion.

So, is religion (a different one than yours) a turn off for you?

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