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Forbidden love: if your environment disapproves of your relationship

  1. Forbidden love: because the other is married, comes from a completely different culture or there is a large age difference. Is such a love viable, despite all the outside pressure? And why do women choose such a spiky love path at all?

​​Pressure on the boiler

  1. ​​Karin: "The pressure on the boiler grew. He became angry, almost aggressive, because I did not let him in. Eventually the bomb burst during a huge fight. It broke down. People who say that 'so' the feeling falls short, do not know how hard it is to go against the norm. The back pressure from your environment is bad enough. But if you judge yourself, your relationship is doomed. As if the devil is playing with it, I have now again a soft spot for too young a man. This time I will not allow it. I oppose it, I refuse to take it seriously. But the division is - again - no less. "


  1. In the early stages of a forbidden love, you can control your decisions to some extent: continue, or stop. Only gradually do you get entangled. Senna (28): 'I met him six years ago. He was married and 20 years older. Not for me! Still, I thought he was too exciting to let go. We kept seeing each other. Doubt turned to love. In the beginning I was happy. It's very intense. You have a stolen hour together, completely absorbed. The sex is excellent. As a mistress you don't pay for dirty laundry or children, you get attention and presents. Perhaps fear of commitment plays a role. I have complete freedom. When I go out, I just hang out. But realizing that you'll never be together in public makes it less fun. He will not leave his wife. "

I want to be number one someday

  1. Senna: "One day I want to be someone's number one, and I want children. But suppose he chose me? Then I was constantly in fear that he was cheating. Fortunately I am not more. I can neither with nor without. I feel guilty towards friends, and my parents. They accept it, but the more unhappy I become, the more I grieve them. Also, I feel sorry for his wife. He takes her in The grind, I help with it. On the other hand I think: she's just like me. She knows very well what is going on, but can't let him go and choose for herself. When I hear in bed that his children asked if he should work overtime again , I feel guilty. Also ashamed of myself for going with such an old man. He could have been my father.

Guilt and shame

  1. The above stories show how difficult forbidden love can be. Experiencing disapproval, guilt and shame in particular are a burden on lovers. Seger Breugelmans of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tilburg University: 'Shame and guilt react to interactions with others. This is in contrast to anger, for example: you can also get angry at your car. Social context is decisive for shame and guilt. If you go against prevailing norms, then shame or guilt arises. Those norms are relative: in some cultures it is fine to have several lovers, in others not. On the other hand, there are common standards. Sleeping with a married partner damages a relationship. A 'normal' person then feels guilty. Guilt concerns relationships with others: there is something wrong. The usual response to guilt is to want to fix, to compensate. Shame is different. That leads to withdrawal behavior, or concealment. You want to sink through the ground. If nobody knows about your forbidden love, then it is not yet a disaster. But what if others know about it, or you think so? Then you see yourself through their eyes, and it becomes a matter of public disapproval. You start to see yourself as weak, or bad. ”

An affair: one in ten

  1. Carolien Roodvoets' book 'de Duivelsdriehoek' estimates that one in ten women has had an affair. According to some studies and surveys, this is still a very conservative estimate, and the number may be much higher. You can make moral judgments about this - or conclude that much is being suffered in the name of love. Seger Breugelmans: 'It is very difficult to live with guilt and shame. We experience this as negative emotions, and moreover as continuous signals that something needs to be resolved. Chronic shame and guilt lead to major psychological and physical problems, as well as suicide and addiction behavior. ' Shame and guilt also play a role if you do not see your own behavior as 'wrong'. For example, if your loved one's strict religious family does not accept you because you are unchurched, it may be difficult to understand. Yet the disruption your love is doing is obvious.

The taboo surrounding the shadow widow

  1. Funeral assistant Carolien Harrems came into contact with the problem of the 'shadow widow:' the mistress who has to mourn secretly after the death of her lover. Carolien wrote the book 'The shadow widow'. Carolien Harrems: 'Pretending that the shadow widow does not exist does not solve anything. It must be negotiable. No shadow widow dares to admit it. I spoke to a shadow widow who wanted to go into grief counseling. However, the grief therapist condemned her relationship so openly that she renounced it. A shadow widow said to me, "I've had to direct our love, and now my grief. eyes out of my head when I'm alone, but I don't mourn in public. ' I tried to organize a lecture and announced it widely publicly via radio and newspaper. There were four applications. Two of them canceled and when the last two found they were the only ones they didn't come either. that their family or that of their lover will find out. Afraid of hurting, afraid of disapproval. When it comes to contact with fellow sufferers, they are overjoyed. But they do not go public. "

Life under pressure

  1. Despite everything, many women choose forbidden love. How do they 'survive' that? Breugelmans: 'Emotions can be controlled to a certain extent. Just look at training aimed at irrational fears. Put your love and lust first and explain away consequences for others, then you can live with it. Moreover, we are good at making excuses. Still, most people feel remorse. But especially living with social disapproval or exclusion is almost impossible. You experience that others consider you 'bad'. I think that positive feelings of love and happiness eventually sink into insignificance. Yet shame and guilt are not purely negative; in the long term even constructive. A person constantly weighs: what do I want, what does society want? Emotions help with that. They encourage action or flee. ' The choice you ultimately make is often a very conscious one.

Patient (to) 'cure'?

  1. From the above follows a particularly sombre conclusion: forbidden love causes more suffering than happiness. Not only for your environment, but also for yourself. Then why does someone get involved - in many cases even for years, or over and over? Is it an addiction, as the interviewed mistress Senna suggested? Leiden psychotherapist Mieke Waaijer, who specializes in relationship and Louise Hay therapy, among other things: 'I wouldn't call it that. I rather make a link with personality. Lack of self-esteem is a key concept. Many people don't seem to want to give themselves straightforward, fulfilling love. Or no love for oneself alone. That certainly does not only apply to 'underdogs'. In my practice I have seen very independent and successful women who only compromise on that one point. It is often the result of more or less unconscious thinking patterns. You don't feel well enough, but you are not aware of it. ' The bad thing is that behavior is maintained as long as there is no awareness. But whoever encounters forbidden loves will sooner or later come across an 'aha experience.' And with that on a cow of a starting point. Mieke Waaijer: 'If you become aware that there is a pattern, you must dare to ask yourself in all honesty: why am I doing this? Let all excuses pass you by. Examine your gut. Are you uncomfortable with the idea of ​​someone going just for you? Does a man who is 'free' come too close? Do you get out just enough emotionally because you prefer to focus on other, less sensitive things? Do you quickly feel emotionally dependent? And so on.'

Beliefs about yourself

  1. Mind you: self-examination is a tough task. Mieke Waaijer: 'The road to awareness is difficult, especially if you never realized that you have limiting beliefs about yourself. That is confronting. Breaking patterns also takes you temporarily into a gray no man's land. A void arises where there were familiar patterns. What or who will fill that up? Won't you be lonely? Awareness comes with fears, feelings of out of control, or depression. But that upheaval is temporary. Living with limiting thought patterns such as "I am not worthy of love for myself" is like a self-created prison. It pays to break through that. Do not hesitate to ask for the support of a psychologist or psychotherapist. It is a tough task, and it is not always possible to do it alone. If you are in pain, you go to the doctor. You can also seek expert help for love pain. But whichever path you choose, it is worth it. Experience shows that. At the end of the awareness process, people are happy with the new possibilities they have opened up for themselves. ”

Motives behind secret loves

  1. What moves the mistress? The image that she is impotent and blinded by passion being sucked into a 'forbidden love relationship' requires nuance. It is just as common that she does not want to change the situation, does not dream of a new life with her lover. As 'rock hard' benefits are mentioned: thrills, sensation, addictive adrenaline. Women with life experience also report that they are not interested in a next marriage. They want to keep their own lives, but with a lover. A fairytale is created: lovers only see each other's best side. Many women choose that, in the full knowledge that reality is being obscured. However, the division is usually: married man, unmarried woman. The reverse or both married, is much less common. Possible explanation: the woman is still more willing to play second fiddle ..

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