The bad third

The disharmonious couple

Who does not know companions so poorly matched that one wonders how they could have had the idea of getting together? Worse, their shaky relationships are punctuated by crises and violence, but the worst verbal and physical fury does not prevent the angry ones from quickly sticking the pieces back. You roll your eyes, barely stopping yourself from calling your daughter or your best friend a complete asshole! How to fall so unreasonably?

Sex addiction is suspected. When it’s fun in bed, the rest is secondary. Humans find pleasure in contrasts, not monotony. Many companions proud of their reassuring side remain speechless the day when the faithful half is seduced and leaves a good-natured life without ever having started the slightest altercation. So yes, sex is the best alternative to boredom, and the real beginning of caring for each other. But all the same, is this enough to explain that some remain despite the brutal blows or the vicious insults?

Entry of the third

Things become clearer with the concept of the third accomplice. This third is not the couple wrecker but on the contrary what symbolizes its durability. It is the Whole formed by the union of the two companions, the permanence of the bond which is maintained in the absence of the other. It’s the little voice of the third accomplice that lets us know what the dear half would think in each circumstance and adjusts our decision accordingly.

The third is easier to understand when it is called social conscience, this great Whole shared with our fellow citizens. This collective conscience only exists through its resemblance in each of us. Not everyone participates with the same vigor. Some are downright hostile to it and seek to free themselves from it. Divorce which, like the others, ends up willingly in court. Social conscience is a powerful third, because it is shared by a large number of individuals. It establishes the very idea of society. Impossible to completely escape it.

The asymmetry of the third

The third accomplice is the same on the scale of the couple. The social circle is more restricted here. No one puts us directly in jail if we try to run away from it. This third is more fragile; it fades all the more quickly as it is recent and little invested by the partners. Another way of saying it: if I place little hope in my couple, I make little effort for the approval of my companion. I invest nothing in the third.

It’s not necessarily symmetrical. The companion can invest on the contrary really mad hopes. The account of love is vague because it covers a multitude of aspects: sex of course, which first came to mind, but also financial security, the community of passions, professions, ways of seeing things that respond to each other, the beauty of the other for others (narcissism) etc. Since these incentives are not symmetrical, the shares of each in the third are not equivalent. When one has 90% ownership, he or she “holds on” to the relationship. The other, with his 10%, “doesn’t care” more. But it is (s)he who holds the destiny of the couple in her hands. If these 10% are nevertheless an interesting investment for her, the couple will continue. (S)he alone will decide the end.

Mismatched but united

Some couples who appear so poorly matched nevertheless have a very powerful third, while uneventful couples precisely lack the stories to build their third and separate in near indifference. A third, moreover, it is maintained. Couples merge deeply in the flame of a sexual passion or exceptional events faced together. The third has a remarkable thickness. But the welding only holds if other stories warm it up regularly. Oxidation awaits all thirds.

If we have misjudged the pairing of a couple, it is because of overly global representations of the two partners. We don’t know the strength of the criteria they use to craft their third. Who sincerely confesses to relatives the details of their feminine or masculine ideal? Who dares to speak of the taboos that surround it? Do we know for ourselves why we feel overwhelmed by such a preference? What traces of our childhood feelings do we still seek to satisfy in the choice of companion?

Sometimes it is because of buried stories that we still feed the third, while the other is tired of it. We are unable to leave. Or conversely it is impossible for us to make a third. Any relationship is doomed to failure, regardless of the qualities of the co-founder.

The hierarchy of third

A final characteristic of the third thief is essential: its porosity. Many social circles separate the couple from humanity seen as a whole. Each of these circles produces its specific conscience: close and distant family, friends, work colleagues, neighbors, , those who share our folklore, etc etc. The third accomplice, that of our couple, is itself included in a hierarchy of other thirds, these broader but equally important consciences in their own circle. They can come into conflict. For example, what do you do if your partner engages in a tax scam without your consent? Your civic conscience is opposed to your couple conscience. Battle of thirds? It depends on their porosity.

A third accomplice devoid of porosity is a couple that counts more than all the rest. You are ready to go to jail with your companion, even if you have not decided anything. This very armored third is admirable when the couple is pure happiness. But it will make you depressed if the couple is deadly bored. You’re dissuaded from looking for a bit of entertainment elsewhere, which could save the marriage. The armored third accomplice makes lasting couples, but when they break it’s nasty, brutal, sometimes deadly.

Porous… for them

The porous third is more flexible. The partner does not take offense when you spend time with close friends, even potential seducers. In this third, the partner is not our property. She stays because she too wants to invest in the couple, sees substantial advantages in it, deeper, more solid feelings, more sincerely shared. In this type of third, the shares are more often at 50-50 than at 90-10. They are the most balanced couples, who do not fear losing themselves because they will be temporarily separated, or monopolized by an intense professional project, or shaken by a sordid family conflict.

In these couples, the porosity of the third accomplice lets in the other social consciences, the worries about children who are not ours, the conflicts of the past as well as the worries about the future. This porosity allows our third to extend its fusion to the world. It allows us to encompass a little more reality, and to be a little less alone to achieve it. Because it is still far too big to be completely digested…


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