What have I done to deserve a healthy relationship?

In one of his most beautiful songs, Jarvis Cocker says “He can have his space and do his thing, he can even kiss you where the sun doesn’t reach, but baby don’t let him waste your time.”

The title of the song comes from this last verse, “Don’t let me waste your time” and expresses very well a phrase that today has become a shared expectation in love relationships.

I like that it is a letter that is already about 20 years old, it reflects in advance what has become an obsession today: wanting to ensure a link beforehand, as if it were possible, as if it were a matter of everyone saying what they are for before entering in confidence. Not only do the applications force this prior declaration, but in dating it is common for each one to have to do an exercise in direct communication of what they are looking for when meeting with the other: a partner, a child, a good time, whatever sea, but what a clear sea. We are not here to waste time.

This is one of the masks of honesty that, today, the couple is expected to melt. You have to know what you want, you have to tell the other, you have to, imperatives that do not solve the discomfort of the love relationship, but sometimes increase it. Or at least they build a version of the other that can later be blamed.

Time. However, what interests me about the song is that it also makes clear another of the conditions of the current couple: that each one have their times. It is clear today that, if there is a partner, that should not invade personal projects.

This way it is better understood what time is the one that you do not want to lose: one that you think of as your own, with respect to which you can always accuse the other of having embezzled it. So what couple is it that can emerge from such an individualized time?

In this way, Jarvis Cocker’s song reveals its irony, since to a person desperate to have a partner, he says: “If you don’t rectify something about your position, you’re going to live in hell looking for someone else who adapts.” to you, because you seek to be with someone out of fear, from what you don’t want to lose. And that usually doesn’t go well.

At this point, there is a question: where does the accusation to the other come from that he made us waste time? Here I allow myself a small excursion through a basic idea of ​​psychoanalysis. In particular, I recover his idea of ​​paranoia. The characteristic of the paranoid is not delirium, but a fantasy: being used by the Other.

The paranoid fantasizes about the jouissance that he attributes to the other. So, let me make another difference. Between “joy of the Other” and “desire for the Other”. And I say: where there is desire for the Other, the paranoid supposes a jouissance. It is his starting point. And then, if he can, he raves.

The fact that there is desire for the Other is not that there is someone who obscurely desires, to whom ownership of his desire can be imputed. Desire for the other means: encounter with another in a relationship in which there is no pact, that is, in disagreement, in short, in the non-relationship.

There is another, like another, because there is desire for the Other. If not, the other is an imaginary duplication, with which to identify or hate projectively. Paranoia is a way out of the imaginary with the imaginary: the Other uses me, takes advantage of me, etc.

This constitutive fantasy of paranoia can spill over into other clinical types; for example, in hysteria that when he becomes paranoid he yells “He just wants to fuck me.” “He doesn’t want anything serious”; also in the obsession when he anticipates and supposes that the other wants to take time out of him, capture him, etc.

Paranoia. Paranoia –as Lacan once said– is normality. The problem is that today we became too normal. He didn’t go through paranoid normality and life became a permanent assumption of the other’s intentions.

I am thinking, for example, of what happens when one theorizes about “healthy relationships”. There is current discourse on this subject that is basically based on paranoid counter-defenses.

I give some examples of tips or phrases taken from the networks, which are replicated as slogans: “In a healthy relationship, the other has to tell you what he feels clearly”… Don’t be something that you are using yourself! “In a healthy relationship the other has to be happy for what makes you happy”… Don’t be something that you are using yourself! And so we will continue.

Paranoia became the model for evaluating our relationships, and just as the literature on “toxic relationships” had its peak some time ago, today they are beginning to oppose speculating on a series of expectations about how healthy that, if it continues like this, can end in delirium If it isn’t anymore. In a recent conversation, a friend hilariously put it: This shows that you have to be very toxic. [o paranoico, agregaría] to find a healthy relationship.

Our cultural sexual morality is every day further away from desire (of the Other) and this is what I would like to think better, because our paranoia appeared in supposing joy to others begins to show one of its most complex edges: a growing difficulty to grieve

If the disagreement is interpreted as a waste of time, if the other is to blame for what did not happen between us, we can end up giving in to a more powerful delusion than paranoid fantasy: I mean the naive expectation that in love there doesn’t have to be loss and I don’t understand loss as even if it’s painful – I think that this may be precisely the problem that makes it difficult to think about these issues.

We came to love because we lost something. Love is not going to be the way to get it back. Today many people expect love to be a repair for something that happened to them or a compensation for previous experiences. Also that love gives them that which never happened (a partner, a cohabitation, an unconditional bond, perhaps a child, etc.).

Now, what is repeated in our lives is what did not happen, those demands that became desperate. In people who are no longer young, it is increasingly common for the beginning of a relationship to be imprisoned in making the other person responsible for pending expectations, balances of previous ties or the lack thereof.

To live something different, it is necessary to hurt something that we never lived. It is to be expected that the losses of another time lead us to seek a solution in love. However, love is to finish losing what we lost. Not to win, but to definitely lose what didn’t happen and what we are gripped by obstinate pain.

*Psychologist and Doctor of Philosophy. Fragment of his essay Love, fear, leave. A guide for current affective relationships.

You may also like