Love at second sight: advantages for the relationship

Stefanie Stahl snorts. "Oooch, my husbands are causing me grief. How can you be so stupid!" She rolls her eyes and sighs. Holger Sorg grins and leans back. It doesn't itch. It is not meant. His wife scolds the registrations for her next "Matching Party". The places for women have long been booked. But the men are adorned. "Give them a little time," says Holger Sorg. It is ten in the morning, the two are sitting in the breakfast room of a Hamburg hotel. "Cappuccino? Big?" Asked the 48-year-old his wife and beckoned to a waitress. The working day of the two started early. In the past few hours, they have analyzed psychological data, talked about statistics and technical marketing measures. Holger Sorg is a computer scientist. Stefanie Stahl is Germany's best-known psychologist. Her guides with titles like "Everyone is relatable" or "The child in you has to find a home" have been at the top of the bestseller lists for years. The 56-year-old explains millions of people what kind of personality they have and how they can have a happy relationship.

The "Matching Party" is their new joint project. In Trier, where the couple lives, there was the first dating night at the end of May. Stefanie Stahl, tall, curvy, dark-haired, stood there on the stage and looked like an Italian film diva. She first let the party guests take a personality test, then everyone was pinned with a button that reveals their own type. "With this concept, everyone at the subsequent party knows who suits you well and who ticks very differently," she says.

I was often too willing to take risks and did not check my target object enough

Does she classify people in everyday life? "Yes, I do that intuitively," she says. "Because it helps me to understand things. Because it makes communication easier. Because I see why it sometimes grinds." And that also helped her in love? No, she says and laughs. "I was often too willing to take risks and didn't check my target object enough."

How do you and your husband tick? Ms. Stahl gives her husband a quick sideways glance and does not hesitate for a second to answer. "I knew from the first meeting that the two of us would go well together. Rational at least. But I haven't been in love for a long time." Her husband looks at her and nods. "Steffi didn't want me," he summarizes soberly. Holger Sorg strokes the short shaved head hair and shrugs. "But who cares. In the end, I won." The first meeting of the two was 15 years ago. At that time both studied in Trier. You psychology, he computer science. When they get to know each other, he works as a database architect, she has just opened her own therapy practice and the advisor "That's just me!" released. Stefanie Stahl's first marriage was already divorced. "I had some difficult, even catastrophic relationships. For many years I was one of the women who had a really stupid prey scheme: self-centered alpha animals." They start talking at a party of mutual friends.

It's kind of a Harry and Sally story

"I thought Steffi was great right from the start. Good looking, clever, eloquent." "We had a nice chat, but we didn't flirt." "I've already flirted." "Holger was too reserved and introverted for my taste at the time." They meet again on the street a few days later. Trier is not big, it happens more often. The next time they see each other again, they have coffee together. "We are such a Harry-and-Sally story," says Holger Sorg. They were first acquaintances, then friends and eventually best friends. He wanted to do more, he admits that openly. "But I didn't go on the offensive. First, I'm not the type for it. I also didn't want to risk our friendship."

It's been like this for six years. The two fall in love with each other, separate again. At the same time, they decided in 2010, independently of one another, to finally tick off the topic of love. Too complicated. Too sorrowful. "It won't work anymore," thinks Stefanie Stahl. She wants to focus on the patients in her practice and work as a book author. She doesn't feel alone, she has a large circle of friends. "And I always met Holger on Sunday." What many couples only clarify during the beginning of a relationship, the two discuss as friends: How do you perceive yourself? What are your needs? What was missing from your partners? How much closeness, how much distance do you want? "I don't understand why so many men are not interested in these questions," says Holger Sorg. They are both the type of "abstract emotional decision maker," added Stefanie Stahl. "These are people who do not imagine life without personal self-reflection can."

One evening it just worked!

Through her book "That's just me!", He continues, he understood some behaviors and characters in the first place. "I am, maybe I noticed, more introverted." He always asked himself: Why do some people talk so much? Doesn't that make an effort? Until he understood from the guide how extroverts tick. "While I fill up with energy in silence, extroverted characters charge their batteries in interaction with others." Holger Sorg looks at his wife. "Steffi is such a person. And at the same time, she has the gift of being sensitive to other characters."

"It sounds like you fell in love because of that!" "Wouldn't that be a good reason?" "A woman wants to hear: because she is so stunning." Holger Sorg frowns. At this point he saves a compliment. Nobody can say exactly what suddenly flipped the switch. On a December evening in 2010, he picks up his best friend for a party. "I was very comfortable with myself at that time." His career was going ahead, he had started his own business as a consultant. He went running several times a week, practicing stick fighting. "I thought I was fine." Maybe Stefanie Stahl sensed this and it changed her view of the long-time friend, at least she suspects it afterwards. Her mother was visiting that evening. And said impartially: "But you are a great couple." I fell in love that evening, says Stefanie Stahl. "I guess I finally got over my prey scheme."

You shouldn't project too much into the others

So the friends are suddenly a couple. And yet everything is different than the two know it from previous relationships. Stefanie Stahl is actually a skeptic of falling in love. "This hormone high is no good advice," she says. Your own projections on the others would play a much too big role to realistically recognize whether the other person can make you happy. It was different with Holger. "We were very much in love, but there was no phase of self-portrayal. And no uncertainties at all. We already knew each other without any masks, completely without make-up – even in the literal sense."

He moves in with her shortly after the first kiss. A year later, he makes her an application, and they marry in 2012. "My persistence has paid off," he says. "From a professional point of view, however, I have to say that in love you rarely reach your goal with an extremely long breath," she says. "Statistically speaking, that's rather unlikely." They both laugh. It sounds relieved.

In the meantime, Holger Sorg has given up his previous job and works in the "Stahl company", which employs five other employees in addition to the two. A decision out of love. Since Stefanie Stahl published the bestseller "The child in you must find a home" in 2015, she has been much rarer in her psychotherapeutic practice in Trier. Several times a month, she travels to readings and lectures, she has to go to her publishing house in Munich, gives interviews and has shooting dates for her online seminars. In addition, she is currently producing a new psychological coaching magazine.

I feel in good hands. I have finally arrived

At first she drove alone, from time to time Holger took time off to accompany her. But his vacation days were limited, and so both of them soon had the feeling that we could actually work great together and be out and about together more often. In addition, she urgently needed a computer scientist to expand her online presence. At some point Stefanie Stahl asked her husband if he wanted to join her. "He is my technical business partner. I am the innovator and figurehead of our company." This is often misinterpreted from the outside. A journalist once described Holger Sorg as a "friendly, unobtrusive late forties". "I was sketched like a diva holding a lap dog," she says, rolling her eyes. "Not so nice," says Holger Sorg, shrugging his shoulders in the typical stoic way. "But above all, it's amazing when such a comment on an equal relationship comes from a woman."

His phone rings, he goes outside. Stefanie Stahl looks after him. Sometimes, when she goes for a walk, she says, she makes sure that her husband notices other, beautiful, maybe younger women. After all, you see yourself too. But she has never seen Holger watching. "I feel safe. I have finally arrived."

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