Top positive review
Guide to healthy dating
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2015
I bought this book in 2004 but am writing my review in 2015. This book changed my life, and helped me find the man of my dreams, to whom I've been ecstatically married for 9 years (known him for 10). After going through a painful surprise divorce in 2001, following a 12 year lackluster marriage, I knew my "picking" abilities needed an overhaul, and this book helped me do that once I was ready to get back into the dating pool. I was in my early 40's at that time - a scary time to have to start over. Though the book is written from a Christian perspective, its main goal is to help you know yourself and truly get to know those that you date, whether you're religious/spiritual or not. I used this book thoroughly and daily, reading and re-reading questions and points in it before each time I went out in public and especially before and after a date. One of its revolutionary principles is to slow down and use dating for its true intentions -- to get to know each other and yourself, before being blinded by chemistry or prematurely committed to exclusivity. It asks you to really notice how you are as a person when you are with someone (Am I presenting only my ideal self? Am I not being real? Am I imagining he's someone he's not instead of seeing who is really there? Am I explaining away red flags in my mind?, etc.), and also notice whether the other person is doing these same things during the dating process. Using this book opened my eyes to the patterns of dating behaviors that had caused me to pick the wrong person the first time around. I realized I had a habit of idealizing people, and letting them idealize me, so in essence each of us was not actually coming into contact with the real "self" of the other person at all! Using this book, I was able to stay real, notice if others were staying real, and go slowly enough to wait for someone who was mature, healthy, and ready for an equal relationship. I grew myself up and dealt with my insecurities. I got better at seeing early on whether others would be a good fit, and stopped trying to compensate for incompatibilities that were deal-breakers. I accepted each person as they were, instead of thinking about how things would be great if he changed this or that, or I did. I listened to my real needs, instead of explaining them away or letting them go underground. I began looking for a relationship with true equality. I noticed how I communicated, and how my date did. I noticed how we each handled stressful situations and difficult conversations. I learned the art of saying, "It was great meeting you but I don't think we're a good match," something I found difficult to do as a woman, and something I had never said in the past. I learned to trust that the right guy was out there, and I didn't have to be too fearful to hold out for him. As a result of all this, in 2006 I married the love of my life, and after 10 years we still can't look at each other's eyes when we disagree, because we'll break out in silly grins and dissolve into mutual "I love you's." Of course no relationship is perfect, and we sometimes have disagreements, but we still feel like we're on our honeymoon, and it's a true, grown-up, passionate, healthy relationship in which I become my best self, and he becomes his best self, because we're with each other. We've jointly raised both our kids, and weathered some pretty stressful situations together, and we're now in our 50's. I have recommended this book to others probably 50 times at least. There are no guarantees in life, but this book contains real gems, practical steps to try, and an insightful roadmap toward healthy self-awareness. Highly recommend!