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Home > DIVA Magazine > February 2016 > I don't Know why I Love you (but I do)

I don't Know why I Love you (but I do)

WHY ARE WE DRAWN TO THE ONES WE LOVE (AND THE ONES WE DON’T)?
ILLUSTRATION FERNANDO SAFONT

Some years ago, in the dead of night, I found myself lying in bed next to my then partner wondering what it was that had drawn me to her. I felt a connection to her – of that there was no doubt – but there were other things about us that caused friction; too much friction, it turned out, for our relationship to survive. What was it that had brought us together? What was it that after two years together had forced us apart?

There is no definitive, simple answer to these questions; let’s just say that when I trawled back through the thoughts and feelings I had about myself when we met and those that emerged during our relationship, I realised the strongest pull towards her came from a dark place in me and that when we connected in that darkness, neither of us wanted to switch the light on.

Some psychotherapists might consider this an example of bonding through a similar or shared experience of past trauma, which can be replayed in an unhealthy way in the current relationship. Equally, this shared past traumatic experience can sometimes underscore a healthy, enduring relationship, particularly if both parties have spent time trying to acknowledge, understand and heal from the trauma, making a joint project of co-navigating and understanding each other’s subjectivity.

The clinicians who are trained to help couples who want to stay together pretty much agree that there is no such thing as a “soulmate” and couples therapist Julie Gottman believes, “There is no perfect complementarity between partners”. As president of the Gottman Institute, Gottman is an internationally-renowned couples therapist, working with same-sex and heterosexual couples, so she knows a thing or two about relationships. What’s more, she believes, people will always have their perpetual problems and differences that cause friction. They will have different needs, values and priorities and personality differences and those are bound to clash. “It’s not like putting together two pieces of a jigsaw,” she explains. This is perhaps what family therapist Salvador Minuchin had in mind when he opined, “Every marriage is a mistake, it’s what you do with it that matters”.

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In the new issue Skin from Skunk Anansie talks to us about being a successful black gay rocker. She's had the courage to play with gender, to strut, preen and mean it right from the beginning and she's made it work for her. Just wait until you see the stunning photo-shoot that acompanies the interview. Oh, and please welcome our new columnist Jack Monroe who, from this issue, will be writing exclusively for DIVA about their parenting experiences. February is, of course, LGBT history month and our time-sleuths have brought the past to light in features that examine the importance of historical fiction for lady-lovers. Also in this issue: Kate Bornstein – who knows a thing or two about breaking gender rules. Author Chinelo Okparanta. Singer Aneesa Chaudhry. Club promoter and DJ Claud Cunningham. Oscar-nominated Emma Donoghue, author of Room, now on general release as a film. With a nod to Valentine’s Day, we asked you to tell us why you love your partner. Rosie Wilby explains why she still treasures her exes. The hidden presence of bi women in LGBT history. Ursula Martinez. Izzy Rabey AKA Madame Dollar explores issues of identity. Jess T Dugan's explores a gentle kind of masculinity in her photography. Travel to Bournemouth or Niki de Saint Phalle's art garden in Tuscany and check out our top tips for a memorable holiday Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.
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