NewsGermany and the "Ménage-à-trois"

Germany and the "Ménage-à-trois"

With the end of the old certainties and classic political marriages, tripartite alliances are coming into vogue in politics – now also in the federal government. Psychologists know the pitfalls of such constellations.

Berlin – triangular relationships – also known as “Ménage-à-trois” among the educated people – are known from French films such as the 60-year-old, deadly Nouvelle Vague classic “Jules and Jim”. So now Germany is facing the first three-party coalition in the federal government. Psychologists see a dynamic of their own here – and advise the new federal government to have clear rules.

“Even people who are obviously very different at first can definitely experience in a relationship: Okay, I can rely on this other person,” says the Hamburg couple therapist Eric Hegmann. Psychologists like him like to point out that what is special about threesomes is that one person tends to feel left out because two of the three understand each other better.

There are often two constellations (dyads) within three constellations (triads). That could offend the third party, because a temporary feeling of being alone can be coped with.

Trust in the partner

The phenomenon seems to have occurred four years ago during the negotiations of a so-called Jamaica alliance, which the FDP left out of frustration at the black-and-green talks: “It is better not to govern than to govern wrongly,” said FDP -Chef Christian Lindner was catchy at the time.

Couples therapist Hegmann emphasizes: “Trust is a very important factor for every relationship. To what extent the partners then manage to ignore previous injuries, there is a key to this, which is called 5: 1 – and that means that it takes five positive experiences for one negative experience in order to compensate for this negative experience Trying to really make an effort in a partnership if you’ve had a lot of arguments beforehand.

In the case of tripartite alliances, the therapist draws a comparison with private triangular relationships and relationships with even more participants, even if politics is of course not about love affairs. Polyamorous relationships, i.e. partnerships with more than one person, are a minority phenomenon. “It takes a lot of transparency, a lot of openness and also a lot of truth.” But there are examples that this can work well.

Relationship at eye level

But that is much more demanding than a two-person relationship. “In a three-way relationship, the partners actually have to feel equal in order for it to work. It has to be a relationship on an equal footing – and that is often difficult to establish. One of the three is often the one who, so to speak, gathers the others around him. “

The partners would have to take countermeasures – “so that there are not always two-party alliances against a third party”. That is a challenge – especially for the negotiations at the beginning. The therapist advises: “There must always be the opportunity to renegotiate. You can never know in advance what will come of what you have negotiated – and you must be able to say: Okay, that didn’t work as well as we thought. We have to renegotiate. “

The negotiation expert Matthias Schranner from Zurich, who is also a speaker at the University of St. Gallen, believes that coalitions are similar to marriages. What is important is a “climate with which you can make a difference”. His outside view of German politics makes him less skeptical about the FDP and the Greens and their differences, which are always emphasized in Germany: “The people at the negotiating table, Christian Lindner and Annalena Baerbock, are a generation, and I think so, that connects. “

Are the popular parties missing?

Much has been sworn these days – after 16 years with Chancellor Angela Merkel and no party more than 30 percent – that there are no more popular parties, as in other countries such as the Netherlands. Two-party coalitions as they were long common in the old Federal Republic – social-liberal, black-yellow, red-green – have become rarer. Half of the federal states already have three-party coalitions in all possible constellations.

Nevertheless: Overall, tripartite alliances fulfilled the population with less trust than doubles, explains one of the most famous German pollsters, Renate Köcher from the Allensbach Institute, immediately after the election. Surveys have shown that almost two thirds of voters are convinced that such a coalition “would rather have problems working together efficiently”. Quiver continues: “The citizens mourn the two-party coalitions a bit because they are initially convinced that the tensions are the least there.”

But if there should be the first three-party coalition in the federal government and possibly a so-called traffic light made up of the SPD, FDP and the Greens in the government, that’s basically not entirely new. Strictly speaking, the coalitions of the Union and Social Democrats under Merkel already consisted of three parties: CDU, SPD – and CSU. dpa

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