Five months ago, Mattea, 36, ended a romantic relationship that lasted three years. Too thin and too proud to assume the role of the victim or the misunderstanding, she confides that she did everything to make it work but she was the only one to really invest. “When I realized that nothing would happen if I stopped feeding our relationship, I removed my marbles from the game to check my feeling. I was right: basic and functional discussions, weekends hanging out and going around in circles. Three months later, I packed my bags. With a certainty: never again! “
Bringing your couple to your arms, making efforts to adjust to your partner, give without counting and receive too little in return … The women’s criticism evokes, in their vast majority, the dissymmetry of the gift and the investment in the relationship, and the non-recognition or ingratitude of the beneficiary.
“I see in my practice that women complain a lot about giving a lot and receiving little, or at least not enough, says psychoanalyst Fabienne Kraemer. They tell me, “I do everything, I give more and he does not make any effort.” They are the ones who take their spouses to couple therapy in the hope of making them change. The problem is that, in this process, everyone must question themselves and that it is more difficult for women, who feel they are doing everything right. It is obviously not a question of overwhelming one another and of exonerating others, but of showing the difference of functioning and perception of things in the affective relation between man and woman. For the psychoanalyst, we must look for explanations on the way we continue to educate little girls, that is to say in the sense of sacrifice (concessions, compromises), service and availability to others. Hence a propensity to decode and meet the needs and expectations of his partner without even having to formulate them and, ultimately, a sense of frustration or ingratitude.
To understand this asymmetry, Marie-Laure Colonna, a Jungian psychoanalyst, apprehends the feminine tendency to donate through the prism of symbolism and archetypes. “For Jung, feminine love is linked to care, to interiority. Evoking the lives of the first humans, he described the women talking among themselves in the caves, caring for children and food, while the man was hunting, silent, lonely, watching for his prey. Possessing better the word and the art of the care, they are more in the gift and in the reception of the other. Today, we still see that man gives in deeds, and the woman in deeds “and” in words, which makes her appear doubly generous. Marie-Laure Colonna adds that this ability to interiority and speech allows them to identify their emotions more quickly and finely:
The psychoanalyst specifies that, for many men, this is perceived more as an attempt at appropriation and control than as an act of selfless generosity. “There is, in the feminine gift, the desire to attach the other, to shoe, complete Fabienne Kramer. The woman puts seriousness in the affective relation. When she meets a man who really pleases her, not just to spend a night, she is going to be in a relational exclusivity search and will do anything to achieve that. While, basically, men know that investing in a relationship means giving up on other women, which they, naturally and culturally, have trouble accepting.