"I even accompanied him to the puff"? How far are you going for love?

BARBARA: How did this book come about?

Jessica Schulte on the sleeve: Ten years ago, I had my own pretty hard parting story. In order to process them, I also told them in the circle of friends and acquaintances. It turned out that almost everyone has an insane love story to tell or knows someone who has one? and so it became more and more. Until I thought you could fill a whole book with it.

The stories are sometimes unbelievable: An adult woman takes the life before heartache. A Turkish girl is first seduced by her father's best friend and then severely threatened. Another one discovers that her husband is already married. And a man is confused and exploited by a twin couple. Are all really true?

Yes, they all happened like that. Of course, I have changed places, times, names and professions so that the protagonists are not immediately recognizable, but they are based on true events. For each story, I have long interviews with those affected.

Which is your story?

It's the last, it's called "Kopfurlaub". Of course, I have also changed this story, but the cornerstones are right. I was with the man in charge for ten years. We have a child together, there was a suicide attempt, and I was in a detox clinic. However, the separation is now eight years ago. I did not have enough space to write down the whole thing before. It has also taken me a long time to deal with it again.

"I would have shown a bird to every friend"

He treated you badly for years: Why did you endure that for so long?

I asked myself in retrospect. I would have shown a bird to every friend in the same situation. I managed to change my point of view so that my partner was still doing well. Although he did not show up for days at a time, he did violence to me, insulted me and even touched other women in my presence. I have hidden many things and decided on the path of repression. He also had many positive qualities: He was charismatic, a good father, helped me in the household, we had a great circle of friends, and he carried me on my hands for a long time. The fact that he lied to me and was always a stranger, came out later. He persuaded me that I would fancy everything, that I was pathologically jealous and had to undergo therapy. He manipulated me? until I caught him red-handed.

You are smart, professionally successful, you look great. How could it happen that you let yourself be manipulated?

I think that can happen to everyone. It has nothing to do with how smart or attractive someone is. For me, the problem was that I believed in this relationship so much. It was a daunting process: I did not realize that I was getting more and more away from myself, that I was doing everything I could to save that relationship. Only through the therapy and the associated spatial separation, I gradually realized that my relationship was at an end.

Since you were already cocaine dependent ...

Yes, it started at parties. I have only taken cocaine at parties now and then in connection with alcohol, over the years, the consumption has become independent. Soberly I did not have any self-esteem anymore, I borrowed it with the drug. Then I felt better for a moment, but then always worse. I have long been blamed for my behavior only with my partner. Guilt, however, is a difficult topic, because I took drugs, that was not his decision? I did that to myself.

But why did not you just leave him, but try to cut your wrists?

I was desperate, afraid of not being able to make it financially and as a single mother. As I said: I would not have made the separation without this distance, which I had, because I was in the clinic for three months. I needed the distance. At home, he always told me I would not make it without him, that I needed him. Besides, I still loved the man, at least the part I fell in love with at the beginning. This has my story in common with the others in the book: Everyone has endured much more than they could ever have imagined. He was just the love of my life, we have a child together. That was my family, so I was ready to go relatively far. The fear of being alone, of living without a family, brings, I think, many not to separate, but to endure and hope that it will be better again.

Can you still understand that today?

No, I can not understand much anymore. I kissed strange women to show that I'm not jammed, even accompanied him and a friend in the puff. While researching for this book, I once again went over the clinic grounds and discovered how far away this time has come.I can not imagine today that I was the person to whom it all happened.

Practically all the protagonists in the book do not manage to get really happy again after their failed love? How is it with you?

I would not be the person I am today if that did not happen to me. At that time I was very insecure and hurt. The therapy helped me a lot and I have learned to stand on my own two feet to take care of everything alone. That gave me self-confidence. After the separation, I lived alone with my child for five years, so I could not have got anyone on top of me. I also had a longer relationship after this story, and then it failed for other reasons. Of course I am more careful because of my experience. But I can not imagine a life without love and trust. It may take a while to get over such a painful experience. It is feasible.

Jessica Schulte on the sleeve was born in Hamburg in 1972 and studied psychology at the Free University of Berlin. She was a singer and actress (? Just Friends? And? Good times, bad times?). Today she works as a journalist and managing editor of the picture and news agency IFN.

She lives with her family in Berlin.

Photo: Thomas Kierok

?Treason. Seven crimes of love? was published by Blessing Verlag on 18 September and costs 19.99 euros.

Photo: PR

Puffs of Smoke - Warren Jay and Albert Chang (August 2020).