Why do we behave as we do - if it doesn't get us what we want? Can we balance our needs for closeness and for independence? Can we understand our emotional history - and go beyond it? How do we negotiate our needs with those of other people? Can we become the lover, partner or friend we long to be?
Gay, straight, old, young; we want our relationships 'to work'. Through a variety of moving, personal stories, a rare breadth of well-founded ideas and her own inspiring belief in the rewards of love, Stephanie Dowrick shows how possible it is to experience the pleasures of self-acceptance - and the last joy of satisfying connections with others.
Dowrick, a British psychotherapist (and co-founder of the Women's Press in England), examines the complementary roles of intimacy and solitude in this informed and accessible analysis. Basing her theories on the work of such therapists as Alfred Adler, Carl Jung and Roberto Assagioli, she argues that the way in which people experience their sense of self will mirror the way they develop intimate relationships. Through interviews and her own life story, Dowrick discusses how early childhood experiences--experiences that are often different for men and women--determine one's sense of self and eventually one's handling of sexual relationships. In both heterosexual and gay relationships, Dowrick posits, it is important to stop viewing the other as an extension of oneself in order to succeed at intimacy. True solitude, she notes, can develop self-knowledge, which is the key to closeness with others.