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“Even today, I do not understand anything about what was going on between us”

“It’s complicated” is a kind of letter from the modern heart in which you tell your stories – in all their complexity – and where a columnist answers you. This columnist is Lucile Bellan. She is a journalist: neither shrink, nor doctor, nor guru. She just wanted to talk about your problems. If you want to send him your stories, you can write to this address: [email protected]

You can also leave your message on our voice mailbox by calling 07 61 76 74 01 or by Whatsapp at the same number. Lucile will answer you soon in “C’est complicated, le podcast”, the episodes of which you can find here.

And to find the previous chronicles, it is there.

Dear Lucile,

I allow myself to share my story with you, simply because it seems to me that I have only that to do. I’m looking for ways to make my pain exist, to make it legitimate, by talking, looking for answers without real questions, and I stumbled upon your site tonight as I zoned on the internet to understand (or not) how a relationship short runs out of steam in no time.

Last spring, after the first lockdown, I signed up on Tinder. For fun of course. It’s always for that, of course, and not to fill anything. I laughed. A lot. And then I matched with the one who is today the source of my dismay. Before I begin, I want to say that I have absolutely no regrets.

We therefore matched one evening in July and the current passed very quickly. We talked for two weeks nonstop, from evening to morning, and we were more and more excited to meet in person. She is not from Paris while I am from the capital (more exactly the southern suburbs). But regardless, the urge was intensely present. I was going to take the train to join her, at her home in her city, without ever having seen her in real life and having exchanged by simple FaceTime.

I was already convinced that I would like it very much. The stress was immense, the week before my departure I was not sleeping, I was dancing all the time, forgetting to eat. Each of his messages transported me elsewhere. And so one Tuesday, early August, I finally left, full of dreams in my head and my palms dripping with stress-related sweat (it was the heatwave too). She picked me up at the station, my heart was going to explode.

The contact is immediately made. After a few beers, we spent a sleepless night (I’ll skip the details) and got to know each other on the pillow. The following days were so magical that I didn’t realize they were. I lived without asking myself too many questions. This is also the principle of being together. It was intense, so much so that I stayed one more day, not hesitating to miss my father’s birthday. No regrets again.

I returned to Paris and the messages got even stronger: declarations, real crush, revelations, “I’m thinking about getting closer to Paris for you”, “I can’t take it anymore, I want to see you”. Unthinkable for me who had remained celibate for two years, without any attachment or feelings. I trusted him because I had only that to do, it’s nice to let yourself fall into the lyrics. I was convinced I had found the rare pearl, she said the same.

After nights of uninterrupted messages, she came to my house this time. A reunion, throat tight, eyes wide, on the station platform. A night of love, a few days in Paris… I introduce my friends to her, she is a little shy, reluctant but that’s normal. After a Parisian weekend, we return to her place, I am happy to find her apartment, her city. I meet his friends too, not without stress because I try to look good to appear ideal. It’s a whole new world for me. But I trust.

And then she falls ill. Nothing serious but quite annoying for his morale and energy. I stay with her to take care of it, without suffocating it. At least I’ll give him the necessary space. We did not want to separate although his little health problem, our mutual anxieties for our professional future (we are both in our twenties and we are just starting out in the working life) clouded our enthusiasm. We are having a good time, we support each other.

But there was a day when I felt her less present, elsewhere, staring in the air and less receptive to my words, my jokes, my gestures. I doubt when returning to Paris. I sleep badly, I sense a thunderstorm. My instinct tells me that something is happening, but what? A premature rupture? I confide in my friends, a little neglected lately. They advise me to leave time, space. She has resumed a job and must refocus on it, I respect, I understand and do not harass her. One week on top of each other was maybe a bit too long for two people barely knowing each other, but we wanted to.

Pressed for time and fear, I can’t wait any longer and ask him to be sincere. She tells me that with this new job, she doesn’t know when she will see me again, she panics, she is afraid of the distance whereas this summer, it was not a problem for her. I take it upon myself, I grit my teeth. I cry a little too, in my corner. So I reassure her: if we want to meet again, we will meet again, regardless of the distance and the schedule. I would come. I want to try. She accepts and tells me that it will do us good to see each other again.

After these few days of turbulence, I return home, motivated, elated. I climbed his stairs, jumping the steps three by three, my suitcase resting on my head. I’m happy, I find her, I jump on her. The first evening is nice, we laugh while eating pizzas. Nothing really crazy but so reassuring to see her again, touch her, make her laugh.

But now, the next day, she is already elsewhere. Less talkative, gazing into the distance. She no longer walks next to me. I don’t know what to do to make her smile, to get her attention. The day before my departure, I crack and ask her to be clearer. She doesn’t know. So something that nobody likes to do is imposed on me: I pull the worms out of him. Because it is impossible for me to return to Paris without having a clear mind. I tell her my positions: I like her, I want to be someone for her.

Finally after three hours of talking on the pillow, she finally confesses to me, her voice shaking, that she has no romantic feelings and that it will not budge. I haven’t slept all night, I haven’t eaten since midday. In the morning, after my shower, I slam the door without saying goodbye. But very quickly, I come back. I have to say goodbye to her, she hugs me and we cry (especially me). I stay three more hours, in his arms, trying to figure out what is going on. She experienced something and today, it ran out of steam.

How? ‘Or’ What? When? Was there anyone else? I have no response. And I return to Paris, exhausted, emptied, with nothing in my head. Even today, I do not understand anything that has been going on between us. I am told that there is nothing to understand because it is what we call love at first sight.

After this episode, we kept in touch. She wanted to hear from me but I didn’t trust me anymore. For me, this bond she maintained was pure politeness or worse, pity. Classic. So I stepped aside and cut ties.

A month ago I sent her a six-page letter (I gave her one during our summer romance and she cried). This letter deeply relieved me, I put down on paper what I had to say to him, obviously with a (small?) Idea behind my head. After receiving it, she called me. I did not answer. She left me a message to tell me that she had been touched, sincerely, by my words, and that she wanted to call me to (just) discuss, take news … I kept a month of radio silence .

Today, I broke down and gave her a sign of life, sober, calm, without animosity. I don’t even know if I want to hear from her, but I want to know if she is still there, present, alive. I don’t know if this contact will do me any good but I did.

I wake up every morning thinking about her. Every night I go to bed thinking of her. Sometimes, very often, she obsesses me. Work keeps my head slightly above water, but I relapse very quickly. The current context does not help. It is difficult to take your mind off things, to look elsewhere and prove to yourself that you are still capable of love, of being loved, of making love too. So, I regress, I come back to her, tell me that she is the only one, the only one. Obviously, there are deep wounds behind this whole story, past experiences, from childhood to today… It’s another matter, I’m taking care of it.

Today I am there. I don’t know what will do tomorrow, I wouldn’t say that I keep hope because we are not in a movie. People forget about themselves, with time, distance and their daily priorities. I’ll never understand what happened, if it was true. But in any case, it was beautiful and I had never felt so alive.


Dear Pierre,

I am convinced that what you experienced was true as you say. In the sense that you have shared things, moments, emotions. That you traded, a lot. It’s very hard to pretend all of this all the time. She probably believed it, like you. Or else she wanted to believe hard. And then reality, a reality different from yours as your previous experiences differ, imposed itself on her. What got stuck? Is it so important to know this?

I believe that more than a biased analysis of what really happened, what matters today is what you do with this story. Will it make you want to write, to love again, to live harder? It is characteristic of these passions, I think, to inspire us for the future. They end with more or less noise, more or less violence and require mourning and reparation and then they build us and push us to transcend ourselves.

This woman, in a sense, is only secondary. What makes you vibrate now is the memory of those moments in the heart of summer and you know it. A future is no longer possible as it never was. The separation, the cut between you, is recorded. Trust no longer exists and you both have changed. You, you are marked by this disappointment, the fire which burned within you and which was suddenly extinguished. She, she made a decision that she can hardly keep. It is no longer simple and obvious between you. This is another chapter. And you have every right to refuse it and continue to feed the embers of this passion on your own.

Now that you are the sole master on board, both strong and wounded by this story, what are you going to do? It is up to you to choose to keep either a memory that animates you in a good way or on the contrary that locks you up. I believe that these beautiful stories always deserve to be lived whatever their outcomes. That this feeling of being alive is priceless. These doubts that you live are only details compared to the memories that you now carry with you.

Be happy to have been alive, to have been so aware of it. And do not doubt that this feeling can happen again. There is no finite quantity for each and every one of us. It’s just a matter of luck and opportunity. It’s up to you to live for it to happen again.

“It’s complicated” is also a podcast. Find all the episodes:

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