Couple life: the importance of "no" in love

Who I am
Carlos Laforet Coll
Author and references

Knowing how to say no, in the couple, helps the relationship to grow. Peter Schellenbaum's book, to deepen the importance of no in love.

Do not keep the avocado like this: it is dangerous Knowing how to say no, in the couple, helps the relationship to grow. Peter Schellenbaum's book, to deepen the importance of no in love.

Romantic loveit implies a broad, profound "yes", basic: welcomes, honors, respects, chooses and reconfirms the loved one every day. But it is not true love if - within the couple - there is not at the same time the capacity to welcome, contain, honor, also respect the "no" that can come from one or the other.

In general, the start of every love relationship is characterized by a great passion which is also a sort of fusion: we are in the phase of falling in love which makes it all wonderful, where the two people get lost in each other, they identify with each other. Everything is "yes", a reflection in the other. Passions, tastes, values ​​seem the same, it vibrates on a single wavelength: it is a magic of mutual confirmation and validation, it is the unconditional (or almost) yes.

Then, however, slowly things naturally and physiologically change. What seemed shared, perfect, beautiful begins to show its cracks; the eyes see things never seen before, they notice details (not so "perfect") "unpublished"; the total and unreserved "yes" of the first becomes heavy, a sort of prison from which one wants to get out, which no longer corresponds. The couple unit breaks down; we find ourselves "separated" even in feeling, in vision, we no longer travel on the same wavelength.

At various levels, with varying intensity and importance, this is an inevitable step in any relationship. Not that the romantic love of falling in love can't last forever (in truth, some studies by the anthropologist Helen fisher show that there are couples in love even after twenty years of life together) but moving from falling in love to constructive and lasting love requires both accepting a "leap into reality" (of the other person, of what he really is, of all the merits and defects) than a new, conscious choice of reciprocal active construction of the relationship. Which inevitably passes through "no".

The "no" help to go from merging (you and I are the same, I can't live without you, I love you to death) to a "We" made by two identities that are reflected in the eyes but not confused. They say, with love, "I" am not "you" (making this difference is important: it is the starting point to then be able to really go towards the other).

"Putting together the" no, I am not you "and the" yes, with your being you reveal to me things that I too must accomplish "constitutes an art that must be learned": underlines the Swiss psychoanalyst Peter Schellenbaum in his book "Il no in amore" (Red Editions). Once the lenses of falling in love are removed, the challenge remains to become a couple, a united and dynamic reality, and at the same time new people, who grow up through the challenges that life together brings.

Let's face it: saying no is not always easy but the "No", when it is heard, must be said openly (and kindly). Possibly, also motivated. Each expressed or received "no" represents a sort of border (and not a wall): useful for defining a territory, for modulating the type of exchange. The best strategy, for those who listen to him, is obviously not to get defensive or in refusal, but to welcome him by putting on the plate any own difficulties or sufferings that follow. All these elements, shared with love and mutual respect, thus become new opportunities for development: they allow both individual and couple growth.

Accepting that the person we love is not the other "half of our apple" inevitably produces a sense of uncertainty but also a realistic tension. The effect will be one more attention to whom we have in front of us as well as to ourselves: we will return to pay new attention, to surprise each other. Not to sacrifice ourselves for fear of losing something; to make choices that nourish both our personal good and that of the couple.

Anna Maria Cebrelli

Illustration: Yang Se Eun (Zipcy, "Touch" series)

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