She has always had an interest in criminal law, working with murderers and serious criminals. Ultimately, however, her own life brought her into psychology and the realm of relationships, particularly those where infidelity occurred. She experienced it herself and says it was the worst time of her life.
“I got married at twenty-eight out of genuine love and thought I would never break my word. I tried to be an exemplary wife and mother like my mother-in-law. I really got into it and maybe I kinda missed it when I really am. But after ten years of marriage, I fell in love with someone else and went through hell of a triangle. At the time, I had no idea what was happening to me, I was breaking all my principles. And then it broke after about a year”, says Nora Vlášková, who would have been relieved after discovering her own infidelity.
The relationship has three levels: erotic, friendly and practical. Only the first two have a romantic relationship. And we are all wonderful in them.
“I took it as a deliverance. At first I decided to stay with my husband, but after about two years we still got divorced. I knew I had to change something with myself, take responsibility . Changing men wouldn’t help me. At that time, I broke up with my friend. I started to stand on my own two feet. It wasn’t until I found out who I was. really and what I needed that we reconnected with the same man. And I moved in with him and the kids. So far we are together and we have a one and a half year old boy,” explains the psychotherapist, adding that she herself does not want to announce the solution of love triangles, but sometimes they can help.
Nora and I spoke at Between the Lines cafe in Prague’s Anděl about why infidelities happen, how they can move us, whether marriage is survival, and why no lies, not even merciful lies, are good in a relationship.
So can a love triangle be an opportunity for a person to solve their problem?
Exactly. Infidelity is not a character flaw, but rather a symptom. Usually the main problem is that we drift away from our partner. We all want to experience closeness, but at the same time we are terribly afraid of it. So when a person really gets close to us, our defenses are activated, we trade contact for peace, and next to each other we begin to live in such a comfortable stereotype. Then it is enough that a coach from the fitness center or a neighbor pays us more attention. Even if we do not perceive any subtext at the start, a relationship is forged little by little.
Why is it easier for us to establish closeness with these people than with a partner?
The relationship has three levels: erotic, friendly and practical. Only the first two have a romantic relationship. And we are all wonderful in them. But practice is truth. So when my husband bothers me at home, I only care about what I cooked, but my neighbor notices how it suits me, and I don’t care about my cooking, I’m better with him. But if I don’t live with that person on a practical level, it’s very hard to tell if I really like him or how he meets my needs.
Be honest to the other it can be difficult when we are often not even true to ourselves…
That’s it, we often lie unconsciously. We say to ourselves “I don’t want to hurt him” and “this conflict isn’t worth it for me”, “I’d rather not think about it”, so we make mistakes so as not to make the situation hurt. ease, so as not to cause quarrels, but it stays with us. If a man doesn’t praise my dress and tell me I’m pretty, I’m sorry, but I won’t say anything to him. Deep down inside, I’m upset, and at the first opportunity I’ll scold him for not cleaning up. I think that’s the reason for our argument, and if he praised the dress, I would behave differently. These accumulated suppressed things prevent closeness, so it is necessary to keep it open and clean, otherwise the relationship will be filled with defiance and irritability, later we will be dull.
Has the relationship crisis taught you sincerity towards yourself and towards others?
Yes, it’s more convenient for me, because I wouldn’t want to relive what I went through. So now I dare to be myself, to argue with a man. I’m not saying it’s easy for me to leave my “bad self”, my difficulty and my hurt, in the relationship, but I know it’s necessary because otherwise we would lose the close contact.
And what about the excitement? It is said to last a year or two in a relationship at most.
Falling in love is the stage where I fall in love with myself through the other and discover how nice it is to receive unconditional love, when my mistakes don’t matter. But this period is asymmetrical and cannot be lived for too long. So after about a year or two, another comes when the relationship is based on respect, the emotions don’t have such fluctuations anymore and aren’t as strong. It is precisely a person who does not respect himself that the relationship always fails in the very first phase. Because it derives its own value based on how the partner perceives it. And when the initial seduction breaks out, he feels cheated.
Nora Vlaskova (1969)
She originally graduated from Charles University School of Law and has interests in criminal law, forensic psychology, and sexology. She continued to study these fields even after graduating, working in the Organized Crime Unit and later in the Probation and Mediation Service. She then graduated from the College of Psychosocial Studies and completed Dasein psychotherapeutic training and emotion-focused therapy. In addition to relationships, she is interested in trauma and changing functional emotional patterns. He has his experience of 9 years. She lives in Prague with her second husband Jakub and her three children.
This stage, moving to the next level of the relationship, is actually called love disappointment because those rose-colored glasses fall off. It’s only when I decide to keep the other with who he really is, and he has it anyway, that a serious relationship begins.
In an interview you said that a person is not built on a lifelong relationship. So you consider marriage a thing of the past?
I think marriage is a good thing, when we’re adults and we know each other, then the bond is such a public statement “I want to be with you, it’s worth it.” But I don’t think so before the age of 30. The marital promise to be faithful to the other is meaningless. We think that the other already belongs to us, but any claim on the other kills the relationship because it pushes him to his limits and creates an asymmetry.
On the contrary, when I pretend to be faithful and truthful in a relationship, I increase the likelihood that the partner will want to stay with me. So, I would spin the wedding vow differently, like, “I promise I’ll try to take care of our relationship every day.” To make it clear that marriage doesn’t mean we’re done, but just getting into the next deal.
There has been a big wave of open relationships lately. Do you think they can work long term?
It depends on the depth of the relationship. I think for young people, where there are no other relational responsibilities, like kids, it can work more like a friendship for a while. But still there, after a while, one of them starts to suffer because he wants more. In the long term, I don’t think it’s possible to maintain this balance, and these relations are very unstable.
Are you a proponent of “merciful” lies in cases of infidelity?
No, we are very sensitive and subliminally perceive how things really are. When we lie to our partner, perhaps for “noble” reasons to protect his relationship, his family, the other always feels that something is wrong, he does not know exactly what. He then looks for mistakes in himself, tries, and the result is ultimately the loss of contact with the partner. I lived it too. I didn’t feel good in my first marriage and thought I had the perfect man and I was the bad one. It wasn’t until years after the divorce that I learned by chance that my partner was having an extramarital affair and a child at the same time. And I have to say I’m relieved. It is therefore much better to know and to be able to oppose it than not to know. Again, it’s about that sincerity and authenticity.
photo: Michaela Cásková, source: Nora Vláškova