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Schami's love for the city shines from every sentence: it might be stalked by government informers, sex pests, corrupt police and unfaithful spouses, but it is still a place where magic is more likely to happen than not, where lovers can hide and the Christian quarter can wake up one morning to find it has "rained" sugar-coated fennel seeds. The central sections of the novel describe the city's hamams, shops, cinemas, courtyards, cafes and houses, its street games, festivals and food, through Farid's childhood in the s and s. Every detail is preserved, from the craze for home-made scooters to the crafty stall-expanding techniques practised by the merchants of the Straight Street bazaar.

The Dark Side of Love ()

This passionate accumulation of memories is an exile's prerogative. Schami left Damascus, fleeing political persecution, in and has lived in Germany ever since. He is well-known to German readers as a children's writer and storyteller and his prose is deceptively simple: clear, colourful, wry and rich in what sound like expressive borrowings from Damascene Arabic.

A famous bandit is "so small of stature that, if an egg fell out of his trouser pocket, it wouldn't break when it hit the ground"; the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, reckoned by the lunar calendar, "wanders through all the seasons of the year". In Anthea Bell's deft, witty translation, each of Schami's pages and chapters is a pleasure to read. The th chapter, the "final piece of the mosaic", tells the story of the novel itself.

It took Schami three decades to piece together from a true story told by his mother at the party she gave to mark his final departure from Syria. Destiny believers who have been together for longer are more likely to overlook issues, fooling themselves into thinking they are a better match because of the amount of time they have been together.

They might give someone a longer chance than other people might. It would seem that romantic beliefs remain fixed over time. So, once a destiny believer, always a destiny believer. Once people hit their 20s and 30s personalities are pretty stable. The two implicit theories do not need to be mutually exclusive, though.

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And we can still alter the ways we express those beliefs. We would expect that past experiences will shape how we approach new relationships. They say the course of true love never did run smooth — but a greater awareness of our own romantic tendencies might just help us navigate those bumps and turns along the way.

William Park is williamhpark on Twitter. Javier Hirschfeld created the artwork for this article. Future Menu. What is BBC Future? Follow the Food.

Future Now. In Depth Psychology The dark side of believing in true love. Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter.


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For them, compatibility might become more aligned with time — and that is something that is worth being worked on. When they realise that someone isn't their soul-mate, "destiny" believers may abandon the relationship and "ghost" their partner Credit: Getty Images. The opposite is true for people with strong destiny beliefs, with some potentially toxic consequences. Worse still, they may exit the relationship in a less-than-charitable manner.

Perhaps because the ghoster does not feel it is worth the investment to try to maintain the relationship if the other person is not ideal for them and does not see the benefit in providing feedback.


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  6. People with "destiny" beliefs about love tend not to discuss their relationship issues, which can lead to growing resentments Credit: Getty Images. That could be positive for minor disagreements.

    You can take the man out of Damascus...

    And the consequences can be extremely serious. Destiny believers who have been together for longer are more likely to overlook issues, fooling themselves into thinking they are a better match because of the amount of time they have been together. They might give someone a longer chance than other people might. It would seem that romantic beliefs remain fixed over time. So, once a destiny believer, always a destiny believer.

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    Once people hit their 20s and 30s personalities are pretty stable. The "growth" beliefs about relationships tend to lead to better communication and greater long-term satisfaction.

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    Problems can even make the couple stronger Credit: Getty Images. The two implicit theories do not need to be mutually exclusive, though. And we can still alter the ways we express those beliefs. We would expect that past experiences will shape how we approach new relationships. They say the course of true love never did run smooth — but a greater awareness of our own romantic tendencies might just help us navigate those bumps and turns along the way.

    William Park is williamhpark on Twitter. Javier Hirschfeld created the artwork for this article.


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    Psychologists have found two scales that influence how we start and maintain relationships. To find out how you score, take the two quizzes below. The Soul Mate scale Answer the following questions on a scale of one to seven, where one is strongly disagree and seven is strongly agree.