4 out of 4 stars
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We all know what is like to fall in and out of love. We have all experienced being on cloud nine or having butterflies in our stomach when thinking of the person we are in love with. Naturally, we have also passed through agonizing breakups or even traumatizing divorces. What if there were a book that helped us understand the reasons behind failure and disappointment in our love life? Thomas Jordan’s Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life answers the need to improve our chances of finding and sustaining a healthy love relationship. As a consequence, it turns into what the author calls “a 21st century love relationship class.”
At 132 pages, the book was an easy read excelling in clarity and organization. The product of Dr. Jordan’s thirty-year experience of researching and treating chronic love life problems, Learn to Love expertly guides its readers through the sinuous meanders of past, present, and future love relationships. After years of helping patients with psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, the author realized that the most important lesson he could teach us is to closely examine our past love relationships so that we could have healthy ones in the future. Accordingly, the book is perfectly designed to follow such a trajectory. It consists of three main parts: I – “The Unhealthy Love Life”; II – “Psychological Love Life”; III – “Unlearning Method”.
Despite being a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology and a faculty member of a post-doctoral program, Thomas Jordan explains his ideas so simply and clearly that everybody could grasp the meaning of his reasoning. This is perhaps the thing I liked most about the book. While chapter one (“My Love Life Research”) details on different types of unhealthy love life and the danger of replicating past experience, chapter two (“Learning about Love Relationships”) refers to a most useful Love Life Formula and the inner mechanism of unconscious learning about love relationships. As they are both full of examples, I am sure different readers will probably resonate with one situation or another.
Dr. Jordan considers that our psychological love life represents the “blueprint” in our mind of what we have learned about love relationships that shape the love life experiences we will have going forward. In part II, he identifies a list of ten unhealthy relationship experiences ranging from abandonment and abuse to rejection and self-centeredness. There is a particular sub-chapter focusing on the aftereffects of what we have experienced that I highly recommend. You will see it is enlightening when it comes to our reactions to previous “toxic” relationships. Just think of the times when you tried to change partners instead of yourself or the way you became defensive precisely to hide your vulnerability.
Not accidentally, part 3 is the most extensive of the book as it is more practically oriented. In order to assist readers in changing their psychological love life, the author gives them a three-step unlearning formula that promises an “antidote” for unhealthy relationship experiences that negatively affected their love life. With courage and honesty, Dr. Jordan dedicates an entire chapter to his own psychological love life and his troubled relationship with his mother. Taking himself as a case study was definitely a bold action. I can tell you I got genuinely engrossed into the pages describing “parentification”, the transformation of a child into a parent with a parent.
Apart from a few misplaced commas, apostrophes, or articles, the book is very well-edited. Since I have enjoyed its interesting topics and clear layout, I am giving Thomas Jordan’s guide 4 out of 4 stars. Some readers might find the repetitiveness of certain ideas a bit tedious, but I think this strategy was useful in delivering the right message. In terms of content, organization, and editing, there was nothing I disliked about this book. Moreover, I am recommending it to all those interested in educating and improving their love life. No matter if you are single or in a couple, the book offers a great opportunity to analyze your love relationships “inside-out” and to remove the barriers holding you from taking control of your love life and being happy with your partner.
Learn to Love
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