In October 2021 TINT organised a ‘Love Lessons’ event in cooperation with Inge van de Vorst from De Liefdesdokter (The Love Doctor). In this event Inge and Margit (life coach at TINT) had inspiring conversations with students about love and shared insights about this vulnerable topic. However, not all the questions from students could be answered during the event. Therefore, Inge and Margit shed their light on some of the unanswered questions in this blog.
I am afraid I am in love with a friend and do I not want to ruin my friendship
It is ok to be in love with a friend. You can be in love and not do anything with it. Enjoy the bliss.
If your friend is available and so are you, remember that we suffer the most from the things we fear the most. Go for it. Daring to love is daring to be vulnerable; it is an act of courage.
How can one get over someone after a breakup?
First of all: give yourself the room to cry your heart out. A breakup hurts, so it’s alright to feel these feelings. Shed your tears, talk about it with friends, write about it in a diary or find other ways of expressing. This already clears up the sky piece by piece.
Furthermore you can ask yourself: what do I miss the most about my ex-partner? Maybe you miss their encouragement, their humour or their positive thinking. Try and see if you can find ways to somehow implement these qualities into your life yourself. For instance by encouraging yourself, having a good laugh with friends or surrounding yourself with people who also have a positive view on life. You might then still miss your ex-partner, but at least it gives you the encouragement that you're not dependent on them.
And above all: give yourself the time. Especially when you have been in a long relationship it takes time to get over it. The more time you give yourself to find your own balance in life again, the bigger the chance that you will step into your next relationship with an open heart and renewed self-confidence.
How do I let go and detach from a devastating relationship?
You made the first step by acknowledging the unhealthy part of this relationship. The more you have invested in the relationship, the more difficult it is to let go. It is ok to grieve over your loss. The loss contains more than just the relationship. It also contains this part of your identity, the future you imagined together etc. Feeling all this falling apart is painful, uncomfortable and challenging. But remember: the phoenix in you will rise from the ashes. ‘Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly’.
Why do people lose interest in others when you show interest in them?
Some people are more interested in the hunt than in the person they think they are interested in. If you notice that someone treats you like this, let them go.
You might feel attracted to people who put a lot of effort in seducing you. Because they make you feel special and attractive. Things you might have missed as a child. Acknowledge your longing for appreciation from others. Acknowledge you are beautiful. And perfectly imperfect. Instead of focusing on the person who is trying to seduce you (external focus), you focus on what comes from inside of you.
What happens if you feel interest for other people and they are not your boyfriend/girlfriend
It can happen that you fall in love with someone other than your partner after a while. It’s a fact that it’s easier to dream about someone who is not part of your everyday life and from whom you don’t know the more shadowy sides yet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to end the relationship with your partner, you can also explore and learn from your feelings of being in love.
This is how it works: usually we fall in love with someone who reflects a quality that we would like to possess ourselves, a quality that we can still develop. So ask yourself: what are the qualities of the person I’m in love with and how can I implement these qualities in my life? Another fruitful approach is to fantasize about all the things that you’d like to do with the person you are in love with. Make a list of all these things and start doing them with your current partner. I’m sure it will bring a lot of new romance and sparkle in your current relationship!
I am in a relationship and sometimes we talk about the future, like getting married and having children. It’s sometimes really hard for me to imagine and sometimes I feel like, yeah, I can do that. But sometimes it scares me a lot a lot a lot.
So you have had a glance of a desired future together. And you are aware of the sensations inside of you. Congratulations. You are alive and kicking! In love there is no guarantee: it is the dance of life, full of surprises and learnings. Balancing your need for comfort and adventure, autonomy and connectedness. If you go step by step, checking in with what is the right thing to do next, you will discover your path. With every step you take, you get access to new information. Trust the process.
How do you best connect to shy people?
Ask them. All people are different, and all people prefer different ways of connecting. Besides that, it can also help to show some vulnerability yourself. If the ‘shy person’ notices that you feel shy or insecure sometimes as well, they might feel recognition. This can help them to open up as well.
Why do I first have to love myself before I can love someone else?
If you love yourself you have a solid basis for your life. Of course it's nice and inspiring to share your life with a love partner, but you’re also living a fulfilling life by yourself. If you love yourself you aren’t needy for the love and attention of someone else: it’s great when you receive it, but you’re not desperately looking for it. This is a healthy and relaxed basis for a love relationship.
Also, if you love yourself you’ve learned to not only appreciate your qualities, but also to accept your ‘shadowy sides’ and imperfections. This makes it easier for you to also accept the shortcomings of your partner (which will always be there:)). Your expectations of a love relationship are more realistic and there’s more room for you and your partner to be yourself.
By the way, it isn’t a fixed order to ‘first love yourself’ and after that ‘love someone else’, because loving yourself is always a process, it’s never ‘done’. This means that you can also learn to appreciate yourself more by the love that you get from others. Starting to receive the love of others, without declining or denying it, is a good way to further develop the love for yourself.
Hope these insights are helpful to you! At the same time we realise that love is a personal topic with many different aspects. So if you struggle with personal issues in the field of love, you can contact De Liefdesdokter. Every first Saturday of the month from 12-2 pm you can get a free consultation from Inge at Stadsbakkerij Broodt in the city centre of Eindhoven. Also you can reach out to one of the life coaches of TINT here.
Inge van de Vorst and Margit van Tuijl