I'm single, is it my fault?

"All to please, and still single", this paradox a thousand times rebattu is at the heart of one of the flagship works of the psychoanalyst Sophie Cadalen. And if, far from being a fatality, being alone was first and foremost an unconscious choice? Decryption and testimonials.

Giulia Fois

Why do we feel that celibacy is a problem?

Sophie Cadalen: As such, it should not be. Unfortunately, the couple is still conceived on a unique model: a man and a woman who share a roof and start a family. Celibacy always thinks of itself as a "lack of a couple": singles are those who have not succeeded. It's very guilty. Rather than calling into question the model of the couple that is proposed to them and the certainties that go with it, people living alone ask themselves: "What's wrong with me?" This is even more true for women, whose society continues to think, more than for men, that they are destined to live in pairs. When they succeed, we say to ourselves: "That's it, she's finally worthy of being loved, her future is assured." It must be damn solid to resist this pressure. Celibacy becomes a problem because of these patterns that lock us up and make us suffer.

Is it to combat these a priori that you wrote your last book?

We are prisoners of a double fatality. The one we impose on ourselves: we are alone because we have a dirty character, because we do not know how to make the right choices, because we are not doing well. And the one imposed on us: love would obey immutable rules and we should respect them, if not no salvation? ! The ambient speech is full of these archaic codes: "Love lasts three years", "We must not sleep the first night", "The first impression is the good" ... Everything is fine as we welcome them with a certain distance , as we look at his horoscope in magazines. But when we crisp on them, they prevent the encounter. Indeed, these recipes obscure the very nature of love, which has nothing to do with control, intelligence and injunctions - the "must ...", the "you must ...". Love touches emotions and the unconscious. Moreover, he obeys no universal law. Every story and every individual is unique. However, these recipes deny our small singular voice and include us in the collective. The other no longer has any chance to surprise us, his behavior having been fixed in advance. If there is no place for the surprise of the other, there is none for love.

If they are archaic, why are these standards still so strong?

First, love disturbs. It upsets, in the true sense of the word.And these recipes make them believe that they are the key to putting order in all this. It's tempting, a key ... Then, they clear us and hide our flaws. Since I have applied all the rules to the letter, if this story has not succeeded, it is because it is the fault of the other. Finally, they prevent us from asking ourselves an essential question, that of our own desires. "Do I really like it?" "I'm 35, I should start a family, do I really want to?" Assume your own choices, question your desires, it's very destabilizing, because you have to invent everything yourself. The standards are certainly restrictive, but much more reassuring.

You should, you say, get rid of these prejudices which, paradoxically, reassure us ...

We must start by questioning them. At the very moment when one says to oneself: "I am alone because all the men are cowards, or all the girls too sticky ...", it is a question of questioning. Are they all really? ? Counter-examples inevitably appear around us. We must also ask ourselves what is put under the notion of cowardice. And what it means in our history. Instilling doubt draws a gap in the wall of our certainties and leaves room for surprise, so for love. Then, by getting away from the group and its prejudices, we find ourselves in front of ourselves. It is then a question of wondering about one's own brakes to be able to raise them. Unlike ready-made recipes, there is no single answer. Some have built on lack of love: they expect the other to fill this gap. We no longer talk of envy, but imperious need: it is no longer a question of the other, but only of us, and there is little chance that the meeting will fill us. Others have seen their parents unhappy and fear being hurt in their turn. Or prefer not to engage in a love story, because they would not endure it ends. Others are afraid of losing a part of themselves ... Love is always a questioning of who we are. Or what we believe to be. The other sends us a new image of us, in which we do not recognize ourselves. However, it is sometimes more reassuring to stay on a misconception than to question it. Whatever the nature of these fears, the psychic functioning remains the same: the instinct of preservation ends up taking precedence over the life instinct.


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