“It’s complicated” is a kind of letter from the modern heart in which you tell your stories – in all their complexity – and where a columnist answers you. This columnist is Lucile Bellan. She is a journalist: neither shrink, nor doctor, nor guru. She just wanted to talk about your problems. If you want to send him your stories, you can write to this address: cestcomïque@hooly-news.com.

You can also leave your message on our voicemail by calling 07 61 76 74 01 or by Whatsapp at the same number. Lucile will answer you soon in “C’est complicated, le podcast”, the episodes of which you can find here.

And to find the previous chronicles, it’s this way.

Dear Lucile,

I’m 58, I got married at 25, I’m currently separated and in divorce proceedings. I have two grown children who are now living their lives and a grandson. It has been many years now that with my partner we moved away until we were no more than simple roommates, but above all he has been an alcoholic for some time and life has become impossible with him.

It’s been a long time since I should have left, but I was fighting on a second front: a toxic supervisor, a manager who saw and knew but did nothing. Great classic, unfortunately. I put my energy into holding and protecting my subordinates. It was impossible to fight on two fronts at the same time. Finally, I was able to change jobs almost two years ago and I was able to return to my personal life.

And that’s where the story begins.

I had a fundamental need to regain physical contact with a man, so I registered on a dating site for people looking for extramarital affairs, so as not to get into complicated situations: just sex.

I wondered what that would be like at my age. Well, I rather made pretty encounters, especially in my age group because maturity brings a lot of things in sexuality and relationships with others. In fact, that’s where I had the most fun. But what had to happen happened.

I met a lovely man a year and a half ago via the site. He is four years older than me and has just retired. The deal when we met was very simple: to do yourself some good. For his part, he has been married for forty years but without any relationship with his wife for years, simple roommates, and from what I could perceive with time, his wife must have refused him a lot sexually. But we’re not really talking about her or my partner. We have never mentioned their first names even though we know those of our children, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren.

Over time, our relationship has become intense, special. I stopped looking for sex, we see each other now as close as possible, two weeks without seeing each other is a real torture for both of us. We have our moments of sex (intense and long), our walks and our outings to restaurants. We have a life of our own.

What is special is that in fact we rebuilt each other little by little. The damage that life had done to us has been repaired from within, and within us, little by little, by listening, non-judgment, gentleness, freedom. No need for big explanations, I guess we must be similar enough to understand each other half-word, perceive the same things at the same time.

We tell each other all the good, the appeasement, the energy, the wholeness, the happiness that we give to each other, but without ever naming the feeling that carries it. It is the tacitly forbidden word. Saying that would amount, I think, to a commitment. And there is no question of commitment between us, for a whole bunch of objective reasons that we both fully admit.

And that leads me to tell you my difficulty: I don’t want to be alone, I want to share my daily life. This man himself tells me not to be alone. One day I will have to go and look elsewhere, for my well-being. And considering my age, I would have to hurry a little. But the thought of leaving him pains me like hell. I told him. He told me not to worry, that we would always be present to each other, somewhere in everything we brought to each other.

But I think I feel a little guilty: I leave him to find good for me, and I leave him there, all alone, to return to his life before. I of course wish him to meet someone after me, but we have to be realistic: at 63-64, it’s not as easy as 40. I have known suffering and he too, I don’t want no suffering for him in the future.

Time and age are rewarding but cruel. I know what to do, how to do it, too. We will make this separation together when the time comes, but at what cost?


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Dear Claire,

There are stories that cannot be written over the long term. Some will not even be written at all. This does not mean that there is no passion, no love, no tenderness. But, you know, sometimes it’s also much more complicated to bring a story to life than it is to have feelings. With this man making your body pound, you seem to agree that there is no possible future, or at least not at the moment. You have had a great story together. It’s always hard to accept that it stops but I believe that with age also comes resignation in the face of elements that are beyond us.

What to do then? There are many possibilities open to you in reality. You can decide to organize a last stand, a farewell meeting that will leave you with lasting memories. You can write each other a final letter, share things, organize the ending together, smoothly. Then you can give yourself time to mourn this story. Nothing forces you to become active again on the site you were using as if the other bodies could erase hers. This is also the best way to suffer even more from his absence.

You ask what is the reasonable price to pay for these beautiful moments. I believe that the pain at the end of a story is proportional to the strength of the feelings one shares with the person. Of course stopping this story is going to be heartbreaking. But if nothing allows you to share longer or longer, then you need to decide together how to give each other some last fond memories. And you are already aware of it. I imagine that deep down, the times spent together already have the bitter taste of separation to come.

But this man is right: your story has already marked you and it will always accompany you. She is now part of you and him. You both know that you will always be there for each other if the need arises. It can be a consolation: if the time is not right today for a fully shared history, maybe it will be in five years or in ten years. There is no age to love.

There, we must separate. So part ways like goodbye. With tenderness and respect for the other, with emotion in front of the delicate alchemy which brought you together. It was beautiful but today you need something else. And it already takes courage to express this desire and not to be forgotten in his love. You had that strength so respect it too. You have to know how to cherish the happy moments rather than being angry that they don’t last forever. You were very lucky to share so much with this man. Now that your relationship is reaching its limits, you need to think about yourself and your future first.

“It’s complicated” is also a podcast. Find all the episodes: