This debut self-help work aims to aid readers who give all their attention, understanding, and love to male partners who fail to reciprocate.
Many self-help books have been written about unhappy relationships since the influential bestsellers Women Who Love Too Much (1985) and Codependent No More (1986). The new outlook this volume offers, explain Hosier, a clinical psychologist specializing in relationship counseling, and Conger, is to put aside painful, pathological labels like “dysfunctional,” “codependent,” or “narcissistic” for partners and instead focus on “growing and changing their perspectives.” The authors prefer the term “one-person relationship” to describe a one-sided situation where, for example, “You give up your self to go along with everything he wants and needs….He becomes your life.” Rather than being trapped by tags, assert the authors (who are sisters), readers with this viewpoint can gain opportunities for personal growth through learning to love themselves. (While this book is addressed to people in relationships with men, a 2017 companion volume, You’ll Do Anything for Her, for those with female partners, is also available.) In five chapters composed of chatty, mostly one-sentence paragraphs, the authors describe how one-person relationships develop; why people give themselves up in liaisons; and how families contribute to ideas about bonds. They also remind readers that they have a choice, recommend self-care strategies, and describe the possibilities of a two-person relationship. There isn’t much that’s really new in this guide. Harville Hendrix, whose books and Imago therapy are recommended by the authors, also stresses the importance of giving up judgments, for example, and it would be a rare relationship self-help manual that didn’t advise learning to love oneself. Some readers will likely respond to the authors’ warm, encouraging one-on-one tone and find nuggets of useful advice, such as thinking about options before automatically saying yes. Examples from actual relationships, though, would have given a stronger foundation to the authors’ broad pronouncements, which can also be shallow; for example, “mistakes are really just situations that you would have preferred to have handled in a different way.”
A skimpy take on defective relationships.