BEIRUT: Why is French author and love coach Bénédicte Ann coming to Beirut? “First is because I’m fed up with French speaking people,” she said. “All their stories are the same! I need some change.” After hosting her salon-turned-therapy session “cafe d’amour” throughout Europe and North America, Ann will come to Lebanon next week to help unlucky-in-love locals work through various affairs of the heart.
To get things warmed up, Ann answered some of The Daily Star’s most pressing questions about love and lust.
Q: Tell us about the Freudian roots of most women’s love troubles.
A: The problem of the women today – whatever the age they are, it doesn’t matter – is that their mothers had very difficult issues with men and they are carrying the story of the past in a very open world. ...
Most of the time our mothers couldn’t marry the one they wanted because they didn’t fit the parents’ ideas. ... In a world where everything is possible, how can you be free and happy and in love if your mother never was?
Q: What are your thoughts on long-distance relationships?
A: It can be a way to sabotage yourself. ... Normally this is a sign that you’re not allowing yourself to be committed to someone because when it’s very far it’s very complicated. ... You can’t make babies long distance.
Q: What about relationships between people with vastly different backgrounds or cultures?
A: When you’re young it can work because together you’re fighting against your family systems. It works for a while, but the more you grow up, the more you get old, the more you have to cope with the differences, and the differences are very important.
Q: Does love at first sight exist?
A: Yes ... When you meet someone it’s not about the way he looks or the way he speaks or the way he moves, it’s what your subconscious tells you about him. You may recognize something familiar in him. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it is true love at first sight.
Q: Can men and women really be just friends?
A: No, never. Never! Except if they’ve had sex in the past. Or unless the guy is gay. Forget it!
Q: What about online dating?
A: It’s wonderful! I think it’s one of the best places to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right if you know how to use it and if you are free from your old loyalties, the ones which forbid you to be happy in love.
Q: What can women do to overcome a recent heartbreak?
A: Take care of themselves with sports and massage ... They have to rebuild themselves. They have to take time to understand what happened. ...
Why did they choose this guy? Why did they stay with him? Were they lacking attention or sex?
Q: Will you offer bedroom advice at your Beirut event?
A: If they ask me to, of course! If I think the audience is ready for that – it depends on the kind of people. I am always improvising. It’s never the same, it’s always different.
Ann’s talk will be held at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Saifi Urban Gardens, Pasteur Street, behind Coral Station, Gemmayzeh, Beirut.