Sports, Motivation & Psychology

"Not like Rosamunde Pilcher!"

On Youtube, german psychologist Christian Hemschemeier has been known for a long time to many people who have relationship problems or keep meeting the "wrong person": With his expert and witty down-to-earth clips, he obviously hits a nerve - the videos regularly garner thousands of clicks. Style PASS talked to Christian Hemschemeier about love and why it should be completely different from a film by the romantic author Rosamunde Pilcher.

Style PASS: On Youtube your "love chip" videos have many thousands of fans. What was the motivation to advise your fellow men in matters of "love & relationships"?

Christian Hemschemeier: I've been a couples therapist since 2000 and, funnily enough, I can't answer that 100 percent myself! I have simply always been interested in the subject - it is definitely a very lively job. Sometimes exhausting and small-scale, but always exciting.

Style PASS: Do you need more than a degree in psychology? - Your videos, books and workshops are very successful, what is your "secret recipe"?

I think the switch to the public came in 2017 with the topic of "toxic relationships". The term didn't exist at that time and I occupied it because I was in such relationships myself. I realised that there is a type of relationship that is not covered by our standard couple therapies. I researched this abroad. That's how my YouTube channel expanded and became better known, because I covered this topic quite early on. I think I am quite deep in the subject and I try to present the topics in a way that is understandable with common sense.

Style PASS: Common sense. You need to be reminded of that sometimes, especially in relation to love!


Style PASS: What are toxic relationships?

Those are relationships where we get so totally lost in it: Not being able to sleep, not being able to eat, not being able to work, where we feel like we are totally occupied by the relationship. It's often about attachment anxiety, loss anxiety, narcissism, co-dependency. Two people becoming entangled in an unpleasant way.

Style PASS: Doesn't sound good!

No, not at all!

Style PASS: You have set up the concept of "standards and dealbreakers". What is that about and how did you develop the concept?

That's actually the core of my work, and it's ultimately about very simple things: That one simply first writes down what relationship goals I have! These can be very simple things like "How often do I want to see someone?", "What about sexuality?", "What about loyalty?", "Can I talk openly with my partner?". Most of the time it starts the other way around, that we just find someone attractive and quickly get into a dynamic that doesn't do us any good, doesn't suit us.

Style PASS: Own clarity must be created?

Yes! That's why I split it into "standards and dealbreakers". I set up these standards for my idea of "relationship" and can talk about them with my partner. Then there are the "dealbreakers", or no-gos that are not negotiable, such as "violence" or "lying". I always recommend, "The less you know someone, the stricter your dealbreakers should be!" That way I know exactly what I actually want and don't always have to think about the other person. People often worry too much about the motivation of other people's misbehaviour instead of staying with themselves.

Style PASS: Emotions sometimes blind us to what is important?

Yes, when you're stuck in a toxic relationship, you're often extremely emotionally entangled, which is why the concept of "standards and dealbreakers" helps. Toxic people don't like standards, they just don't want to adjust to their partner.

Style PASS: You can't enforce standards with toxic people?

Yes, exactly, even when it comes to something as simple as "punctuality", these people often find excuses why it can't be done.

Style PASS: I once knew a gentleman who was chronically late. When I pointed out that this was not possible, he said that my criticism would "drag him down" emotionally. I maintained that it was macho behaviour on his part; he worked in politics and I said to him: "If you meet a politician professionally, you can't tell me that you are unpunctual there too - you only do it with me because I am a woman and you think you can get away with it with me!"

Yes, that's it! My work is mostly pursued by women who - from my point of view - often sell themselves short!

Style PASS: Everyone talks about equality. You will be able to evaluate it: Do Germans have equal relationships?
I don't think that we already lead predominantly equal relationships. But it's an extremely complex issue and you can no longer say that only women are worse off in all areas. Men also fail due to structural problems, for example that they no longer see their children because of a divorce. We should not deepen the rifts, but rather create understanding for each other.

Style PASS: A recipe for a happy relationship!

Relationships, in my opinion, serve to make us evolve. To expect a relationship to make us happy all the time is, in my opinion, too high. "Good communication" is certainly important to keep in touch with each other.

Style PASS: Big internet partner exchanges rely on "matching points" and psychological tests. On the one hand I wonder how accurate these tests are, and on the other hand it should be quite easy to find the right partner?

Every exchange is different, and you should also ask: "What is the exchange actually interested in? With Tinder, for example, they are simply interested in keeping people on the site for as long as possible. If it all worked so great, I don't think so many people would talk so badly about it.

Style PASS: So it's better to get to know people in "real life"?

I think that's still the "gold standard". If you get to know someone through friends or a job, you get closer more slowly. There's more tension involved, you might meet for dinner, it's not clear "is it even a 'date'?". It develops. With online dating sites, the expectation of finding the "perfect" partner is naturally high. In addition, both the "first impression" and the "gut feeling" count in love.

Style PASS: Some people believe in the "great love" and the "one right person". How do you see that?

Yes, I would say so. But then it doesn't feel the way people think. After all, with toxic relationships, people say, "no relationship feels as right as the wrong one!" Trust, "standing up for each other" has to develop and is not there just because you are "in love". Great love does exist, but it's not like Rosamunde Pilcher!

Style PASS: Hopefully!


Thank you very much for the interview!

Treat yourself well!

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