Mrs. Blümner, most of the books are about a successful relationship. But why does the new non-fiction book End Now – On Freedom to Separate by you and Laura Ewert talk about the end of relationships?
Laura and I had a breakup at the same time. While they are two completely different stories, we talked about many of the similarities: remorse you carry with you, pressure from outside, doubts, pain. But at the same time, this feeling of leaving goes hand in hand with separation. We talked about it and said: Separations are still so stigmatized and we have to write down what it really is.
Where does this stigma come from?
It is always said: a relationship is a job. Conversely, if you broke up, you haven’t worked enough. You have lost. It still rings out. Of course, it’s not about running away with the slightest problem. But there are also relationships where you can work as much as you want, it’s only worse.
Is that why it is so difficult for us to part ways at times?
When you break up, many things come together. On the one hand, circulating thoughts, most of the futile attempt to guess the consequences of leaving or staying, and considering which is better in the end. On the other hand, the fears they bring to you from the outside. For example, women of a certain age are always told what separation purports to mean: if you don’t have children yet, you need to keep up. Anyone with children is considered difficult to place. Added to this are your own fears, for example about your future material or housing situation. If you are looking for a new apartment after breaking up in a big city, you can quickly become in doubt – and there may be times when you need to continue living together first.
Is breaking up also a question of money?
Each separation means financial cuts. If you are rich after divorce, you were very rich before divorce. However, the financial situation is a particular problem for women who have put their careers on hold to care for their children. Divorce law today is no longer designed to ensure that women live for the rest of their lives. With 63 percent of married women earning less than € 1,000, it’s no wonder you have a panic attack when you separate. It is still difficult to advise young women to be more independent. The only question is: don’t you break up over it and stay with someone you don’t really fit? I would say no.
As such, the high rate of divorce, which is often deplored, is not a bad sign at all.
The divorce rate is falling again. But you have to ask yourself: does that mean we have learned more about how to deal with ourselves – or has the fear of separation increased again, for example due to economic factors or because of a feeling that we are now lost? on this world.
Her book is aimed at “anyone who should separate better.” When should you break up?
This is a very personal decision. Objectively right reasons can of course be found in the penal code, and in my opinion also when someone leads a double life. I don’t necessarily mean sexual infidelity, everyone has to decide on an individual basis. But if there is systematic lying and cover-up, I think that’s an objective reason to break up. Everything else depends on the person’s ability to suffer – and some are more capable than others.
In “Schloss now” you cite a study that says: “Separation is healthy.” Doesn’t a breakup hurt at first?
Separation is definitely healthy because bad relationships make you sick. I am sure about that. But yes: it hurts when faith in our common future is broken. Accepting it and sticking to it is the first step. But then a lot happens in life: You are more self-centered and rediscovering yourself. Women in particular have a chance to ask themselves after a breakup: How do I want to live and work, where do I want to go my career? What interests and skills did I allow to decline? The questions suddenly become more important than in a relationship. I also see a great opportunity in this: you are shocked again and you have to take responsibility for yourself.
But first you have to tell others about the break-up.
Yes, there’s always a lot of shame about that. Everyone has already noticed this: you are fascinated by the separation of couples and you want to know every detail. Who said what and what did he do? At the same time, you don’t want anything to do with it, as if the separation was contagious. Those who split up should receive much more support. This is an exceptional situation. If you feel isolated and stare like you have parsley between your teeth, it doesn’t help at all.
What’s the best way to help?
Ask honestly what the person needs. How he is doing, what he needs, how you can help. It could also be too many bottles of red wine where you talk about everything, or you take three laps around the lake where you say nothing.
The book “Enough – From Freedom to Separation” by Heike Blümner and Laura Ewert on a better separation will be published by hanserblau on Monday. The book premiere will take place on Tuesday in Berlin.