Life Style

“In a couple, you can’t tell each other everything”



The cross : In the era of communication, there is an injunction to transparency in the couple. Can you tell everything to your spouse?

Jacques Arenes : There is a gap between what we read or see in the media and reality. What I hear in my cabinet is rather the difficulty in saying a certain number of things. Talking about a couple’s sexuality with their spouse is not that simple. There are many people who find it difficult to broach the subject out of modesty or fear of hurting others. It’s difficult to say that we are not satisfied or that we feel less desire for her or him. You have to ask yourself what the spouse is capable of hearing.

Lacan affirmed that the truth cannot be said in its entirety, that one can only “half-saying”. Telling everything to the other is simply not possible because there are feelings that we have trouble perceiving ourselves. We feel bad at work, for example, and we don’t know why. You can’t necessarily go through with something that would be a truth, because you don’t know it completely yourself. And then, we can’t tell our spouse everything because the goal is not for him to carry our confidences like a backpack.

I often advise to approach certain sensitive subjects by allusions. I believe a lot in the lightness in the couple. The truth is not a tank battalion, it is something that is on the move and that can be said half-word.

It is impossible to say everything, but are there things that should not be said?

JA : Yes, typically, what happens in an analysis or individual psychotherapy session must remain secret. I accompany people who have the right to an interrogation on returning home because the spouse finds that these sessions are an excessive space of freedom or because he is afraid that people will say bad things about him.

The romantic past does not necessarily have to be discussed with the spouse either, but it all depends on the economy of the couple. Sometimes it may be necessary to talk about it because there are certain mistrusts. When you have already suffered from a first marriage, there can be tensions.

Even work is not always a topic to discuss. Spouses have the right to a life apart from the couple. The idea that you have to share everything with the other can also hide the desire to take power.

And for adultery?

JA : When you have cheated on your spouse, there are things to say on the order of the factual, but should we therefore address the detail of the feelings? There are conditions for doing so. You have to ask yourself what the other is ready to hear. It’s not about getting rid of the “hot potato” but about being careful when and how to say it.

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