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The same cup

The same cup

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Fabiënne (22): “My new boyfriend and I are enough for each other. That is why I have put contact with friends and family on the back burner. They do not agree with this and are pulling at me. What should I do?”

Ingrid: In the novel Jij zegt het (Those are your words) Dutch writer Connie Palmen describes the relationship between the famous writers couple Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. The separation anxiety and insecurity from which they both suffer, is what finally kills their love. They become more and more entangled in the web that they have spun themselves. When they move from the city to the countryside, Hughes observes that he “has landed under her bell jar, become alienated from himself, gasping form air”. He breaks free from the web. It is not a happy ending. Hughes commits infidelity, the relationship ends, and Plath takes her own life.

Of course such a relationship does not necessarily need to end and certainly not in this way. This true story does at least make it clear that what once was fantastic can end up feeling oppressive. This happens when you come down from cloud nine and wake up from the flush of being in love. Even for you, Fabiënne, that cloud will disappear. At the moment, you are enough for each other, but a time will come when you widen your outlook again and there is room for others. The question is whether your friends will still be there for you. It is possible that that is not the case, because they feel let down. Another possibility is that your friendships have lost their quality because you have neglected them.

So don’t shut yourself away and keep in contact. Have a life of your own, with your own friends, hobbies and ideas. And if you feel no real need at the moment, force yourself. Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran phrased it as follows in his book The Prophet: “Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”

Ingrid Candel 


Would you like to ask psychologist Ingrid Candel a question (you may do so anonymously)? Send an e-mail to

Do you have a question or problem and would you like to speak with a psychological counsellor for students at Maastricht University, contact or call 043 3885388.



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