dear Ms. Peirano,

I (46) am a serious crisis. Six years ago I moved because of love to South Tyrol. I had fallen in love before in the mountains in South Tyrol and wanted to change my life. At the time, I was in the office, which was disbanded and I moved from Hessen to South Tyrol to my Italian friend Michele (52).

He lives in a small town in a valley in South Tyrol. The Plan was Hiking a Lot in common, I would build up an existence by I rent the apartments of his family and mountain hikes have to offer, there is also a small Board with us in the house.

At the beginning everything went wonderfully. We went at least once a month for a weekend in the mountains, stayed in huts, I was physically fit as never before.

I learned Italian, we started to buy a beautiful Husky Mix and a cat. We were happy, and the Sex was not good, if Michele is also the most tender man.

Then, about four years ago, was suddenly full of worms. Michele’s mother, who lives in the same house, a mingled much in our lives. She came about three times a day up to us and brought us things we should do, gave us “tips” to our garden, and told endless gossip, and gossip stories from the village. I told Michele that I wanted to, but he couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Even the relationship between him and his mother is disturbed. His mother has chosen him to be the youngest son to take over the small vegetable shop, although he is actually more of a sporty type and love sports teacher would have been. His parents were very strict and never have tolerated a no, it is Italy. And now, it is so that I have as a daughter-in-law the task to take care of his mother and to maintain them at a later time… This is the mother and Michele, at least. For me, it’s out of the question.

Dr. Julia Peirano: The secret Code of love

I work as a behavior therapist and love coach in private practice in Hamburg-Blankenese. In my PhD I have done research on the connection between the relationship of personality and the luck in love, and then two books about love written.

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you Have questions, problems, or heartache? Please write to me (maximum of one DIN-A4 page).

This is me also become clear that the culture is completely different, and the mothers, the family reign with their manipulation and power play.

Michele is quite depressed and listless. When friends come into his Store, give him tips on how he could make it beautiful, such as lunch or bread to offer, the Store to decorate. He’s doing exactly nothing. The Store looks like 1950, but not in the positive sense. Michele is also in our relationship is becoming less and less effort and does not support me. He brings out the old vegetables from the Store to your home – fits into the picture. On the weekends we are Hiking, and if depends on me, and then irritated because I’ve become slower.

He doesn’t understand why I was annoyed by his mother’s, and am expecting that I’ll work with her more… she is an old woman and you can’t change.

this makes Me very angry. I am drawn to Italy and grab him under the arms, and he supported me, but lives the life to be pre-signed. And I sit more at a Desk, and refer beds for the guests and rum kutschiere you, but in the mountains I come. The money is also very scarce.

I told him how dissatisfied I am, but it changes nothing, but sounds kind of more on his mother than on me.

I’m thinking now to go back to Frankfurt, or to be only in Italy.

How do you see the Situation?


Maike G.

love Maike G.,

you have hoped to hear again and again from people who emigrate to another country, ultimately from your new life. It is often not easy to integrate, and to come up with a different culture, clearly. For people from a big city, the life in nature has, initially, a big part of the appeal, but after some time, the peace and quiet you’re looking for is exactly perceived as boring and dull.

I have the impression that this disillusionment is also entered with them and this has to do only with your Partner, but also with the rural culture of Italy, in the now, you have to get an in depth look.

The family structures in Italy (the country) and in a major German city not to compare, and they are sometimes incompatible.

In Italy, the family plays a larger role, and the parents, the lives of the children to determine much more than you are used to. Michele has learned the following beliefs:

You must respect his parents.Old people don’t change. You must comply with them and is responsible for them.Traditions must continue.The family comes first – then the partnership.Women need to take care of the parents-in-law.

you have learned the following beliefs from their own history:

Everyone has his life, even in the Hand.If you don’t like something, change it.The partnership first, then the parents.Against parents can and must differentiate themselves. You yourself are responsible for yourself.

These beliefs are deeply internalized, and change is hard. And, in General, incompatible beliefs lead sentences in a partnership to tensions, dissatisfaction and quarrel. I can imagine, however, that Michele had hoped for at the beginning of their relationship, that they offer him an exit scenario from the case, in which it is located. He saw in them a Nordic, hands-on woman that takes your life into your own hands and do what is important to her (in the mountains, Hiking, learning a language, a small business) – your courage and strength have impressed probably and him swept away, more (in the mountains), and, for example, a dog and a cat.

Then Michele, however, noticed that they shake the walls of his prison – and that is not like his mother at all. This has brought him into inner conflict and, above all, it has caused him strong anxiety.

Michele has become, basically, his heart never really grow up. He has never led a self-selected, Autonomous life. His parents have brought him up strictly, and it patronized, and he now leads exactly the life that you have provided for him: He lives in the house of the mother and leads to the vegetable shop.

he May have been severely punished, because he also has to show today, a child afraid his mother (now a. 80 year old widow) limits and, for example, for you as a partner to stand up.

This conflict and his Fears take him a lot of energy, and his Situation depressed him. In the short term, they were able to bring Michele a little momentum, but the momentum is long gone.

It is feared that with the death of the mother, the Situation will further escalate, because then Michele is outwardly free, but feel a great sorrow about what he has made of his life.

you can’t do a lot of, because this conflict is so old and Michele’s fear of change is extremely high. The only thing you can do is give him a mirror. You can tell him clearly, but appreciative, as you can see with your beliefs of the Situation and what needs to happen, in your opinion, in order for your relationship gets ever more energy. He would have to separate from his mother and ask what he wants to do as a 52-year-old man with his life.

ask Michele if he is ready to make his mother feel independent, in order to really together with you to build a future in which they both come in the first place.

My impression, however, is that Michele will not be able to take this step. His habits, his feelings of guilt and his fear of change are too great, and he is frustrated. This shows the example with the old vegetables that he brings home.

And he is still a load in his outdated vegetables and you don’t even have the energy to renovate this place a bit and, if necessary, to sell Panini and Espresso coffee. He sees before his inner eye, that he has this place until I retire at the jaw – even though he has no interest in it. You see how he blocked his prisoners situation (on the inside: the Fears, externally: to the greengrocer’s).

I find it therefore makes sense, if you tell him how dissatisfied you are and then a period of time (e.g. three months) to arrange, in which they try both to make your life pleasant again.

Think of but verifiable specific objectives, such as

to set a common weekend mountain trip per month, they work together to select the best vegetables for your own use (also a character), he speaks with his mother about boundaries, for example, have to call them and ask if it fits, if you want something

If these objectives are not pursued seriously, would be the blockades on the confirmation of Michele’s. For them, it would not mean that you will be satisfied with it. You could then think of how and where you want to live. And, Yes, they have already demonstrated the courage to change your life.

All the best to you!

Julia Peirano