The Quest for Happiness – 07


By Dr. Pier Albrecht

After a couple has lived together for some time (from 18 to 36 months), the passion starts wearing off gradually. Shortly afterwards, they become comfortably accustomed to one another or the relationship becomes a heavy burden to both and, then, one of them drifts apart and opens up their heart and mind to a new adventure, trying to feel free and independent again. Although the other person may not be satisfied, he or she will often try to continue the relationship because he or she thinks that it will be impossible to find someone better or for fear of being alone. This is what happened in most of the cases I have come across. One gave up on the relationship before the other. However, after some time, both of them felt happier and more liberated. They acknowledge that the relationship was like being in jail -a sometimes nice prison, but a prison after all.

Therefore, some couples stay married almost all their lives, but they have to overcome crises to that effect. This is not the general case and there may be a secret to their success. Sometimes it is a moral or religious point of view, according to which one has to devote oneself to a single person in order to be happy or to give happiness. This sounds nice, ideal, something out of a fairy tale, and with some advantages to it. You are sharing your whole life with someone who will always be at your side, to support you and give you tenderness. In my opinion, this is not better or worse than the other solution. But only a few individuals can make it.

I have a different point of view in this regard. For me, human life is a developmental experience, an opportunity to learn from each other. When I was a kid, I always wanted my friends and I to share our experiences in order for us to gain a better understanding of life and to live a happier life. The same holds true for a couple. In my opinion, it is all about sharing experiences and helping each other. The personality and wisdom of our loved one should help us improve our awareness of life. Loving your partner is nothing but wishing that they find the greatest peace and happiness possible.

But in order to carry this relationship in happiness, both individuals need to clearly know that there is no use in making it last longer than necessary. I don’t see the point in going beyond all means to try to extend the good times. When you have given all you can give and taken all you can take, sometimes you have to be strong enough to acknowledge that it is time to move on to the next phase in your life. Both need to adopt a positive attitude about it, knowing for sure that it is not only the happy experiences but also the painful ones that teach us lessons in life. Your life is not over when a relationship comes to an end. Sometimes you may think: “I will never find someone like him or her, I will never fall in love again, and so on…” You need to ask yourself how many times you have said one of these phrases, how many boyfriends or girlfriends you have had after a painful break up. We should always remember the saying: “that which does not kill you makes you stronger.”

But I also believe that there is a certain person with whom we will share the last years of our lives. This may be the “love of our lives”, since it is the most mature and tolerant one.

Broken Heart

There’s a saying that goes: “You can’t really love unless you’ve been brokenhearted.” This is a profound truth, since our heart is like a nut, it is full of love and generally protected by a shell. The only way of letting it out is by breaking the shell. Unfortunately, most of the times, it is through suffering that the shell breaks open. It is hard to admit it but I know it’s true. We would all love to live our lives with no suffering, just full of pleasure and beautiful moments. We all try to avoid bad experiences and suffering. We hide, we ran away from any potentially painful obstacle we may find in our way.

It is a pity, because pain makes us better and stronger. I’m not saying that we should pursue a life of hardship and pain, but rather that we should not try to avoid it, since we would be missing the opportunity to break open the outer shell of our hearts that keeps our love locked in it.

There are different degrees of suffering, some more tolerable than others. A broken heart can sometimes kill you. The loss of loved ones, such as children, is a type of pain that is nearly impossible to overcome, and which will stay in our hearts forever. Studies were made not only of the loss of a relative, but also of emotional stress in general, with very interesting results.

Dr. Llan Wittstein, a cardiologist of the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, United States, directed a research team who studied 19 patients admitted to hospital with a left ventricular dysfunction after sudden emotional stress. All patients had a coronarography and repeat ECGs performed. Five of them underwent endomyocardial biopsy. Plasma catecholamine levels of 13 patients with myocardial dysfunction were compared with those in seven patients with Killip class III myocardial infarction. All the patients studied were women except for one, with a median age of 63, that is to say, postmenopausal women. According to Wittstein, the symptoms included chest pain, pulmonary edema, and cardiogenic shock, and had they not been treated, some of the patients would have died. In many cases, the patients had just been informed of the death of a relative.

A woman had been held at gunpoint during a bank robbery. Another one had experienced a great fright when 70 people shouted “surprise” at her during a party held in her honor. Unlike the other patients who suffered from real heart diseases, these patients were discharged after 2 or 3 days with their hearts in perfect condition.

Wittstein and Coll believes that stress following a great emotional shock may, depending on the family history, cause an exaggerated increase of some neurochemical components produced by the body, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, which will reach the heart and sometimes kill you.

With the exception of these extreme cases, most of us survive emotional shocks. But they do affect us deeply and transform us every time they take place. In my opinion, every heart ache allows us to love better and become more compassionate.


Editorial: Dr. Pier Albrecht, Dr. Pierre Albrecht, Dr. Pierjean Albrecht,

Dr. Pier Jean Albrecht, Dr. Pierre F. Albrecht, Dr. Pierre Frank Albrecht,

Dr. P. Frank Albrecht, Dr. Pierjean Frank Albrecht, Marbella Clinic