What books would we recommend about relationships?
There are thousands of books written about relationships. Some for escapism, some to help us heal, some to make us feel better about our own flawed relationships and some to help us dream…Below are some that we have read or that have been recommended to us. If there are any brilliant books that have helped you, please post them up on the forum here.
Fiction is a wonderful way to inspire and comfort you. It can feel like you are discussing experiences with a friend.
Here are some of the best……
In Love by Alfred Hayes
– This book captures what it is like to gradually love someone less until you can no longer ever having imagined the love you once shared. It is beautifully written:
“The only thing we haven’t lost, I thought, is the ability to suffer. We’re fine at suffering. But it’s such noiseless suffering. We never disturb the neighbors with it. We collapse, but we collapse in the most disciplined way. That’s us. That’s certainly us. The disciplined collapsers.”
The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
– This book is a beautiful fable about how the struggle you must face and the risks you need to take to follow your dreams:
“The secret to life is falling down 7 times, and getting up 8”
Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert
– One woman’s story about her break-up and finding love again by following her passions. Here is a quote that can apply to anyone who has fallen in love with the potential of someone:
“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
Light Years by James Salter.
A book about how even the a perfect couple can lose their love. It sums up the relationship and transitions beautifully:
“There are things I love marriage. I love the familiarity of it,” Nedra said. “It’s like a tattoo. You wanted it at the time, you have it, it’s implanted in your skin, you can’t get rid of it. You’re hardly even aware of it any more. I suppose I’m very conventional”.
A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood.
This book captures the banality of picking one’s self up at the end of a relationship. It is terrible, but somehow, it gets done:
“Think of two people, living together day after day, year after year, in this small space, standing elbow to elbow cooking at the same small stove, squeezing past each other on the narrow stairs, shaving in front of the same small bathroom mirror, constantly jogging, jostling, bumping against each other’s bodies by mistake or on purpose, sensually, aggressively, awkwardly, impatiently, in rage or in love – think what deep though invisible tracks they must leave, everywhere, behind them!”
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
The Days of Abandonment is a novel about the derangement provoked by abandonment in middle aged women. She gets through it how she can and we forgive her moments of madness and cruelty:
“The circle of an empty day is brutal and at night it tightens around your neck like a noose.”
Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
If you want to hear about someone else who had a bit of a relationship horror story, Before We Met is the book for you. This woman’s husband suddenly disappeared and she realises how little she actually knew about him. What is interesting is how much you don’t explore the really strange facts in someone’s history and believe their story because we want to wish this person to be right for us.
“Train yourself really to see things. A good way to do this is to pick an object at random once or twice a day and describe it to yourself in a way that feels fresh. Watch people carefully: the smallest actions (the apparently confident man who tugs constantly at a T-shirt that rides up over his stomach) can reveal a huge amount about a person’s dreams and fears, his vanities and insecurities, and often contradict what he or she is saying. Actions do speak louder than words. That said, listen too.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
This book recounts a man’s take on his 5 top breakups and he uses music a fair bit to help him to understand it all.
“I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.” – I think we can all relate to this one!
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.