10 best relationship books to read now
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If you spend time browsing TikTok and Instagram, you’ll have come across all sorts of relationship advice, trying to wrap up often complex situations in minute-long videos or 10-slide infographics. But sometimes you need a little more depth (and dare we say nuance!) when you’re grappling with the big issues: and that’s where our pick of the best relationship books comes in. From guides exploring how to work through attachment theory, to a lowdown on the languages of love, to polyamorous notebooks, these are the best relationship books written by counselors, therapists, and experts seeking to transform your approach to love and commitment. Good reading…
best relationship books
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Best Relationship Books – All About Love
Want more love in your life? What’s this all about love, by late feminist scholar and author bell hooks (her name is intentionally not capitalized, by the way) is all about. By rejecting gender stereotypes in heterosexual relationships, she offers avenues for reflection on cultivating love in romantic relationships, through active foundations of commitment, trust, communication and caring. The main point to remember: this love is a verb, rather than a noun, and must be nurtured by the things we do.
Best Relationship Books – The Ethical Slut
This guide to polyamory was groundbreaking when it was first published in 1997 and has since become something of a book of “ethical non-monogamy for dummies” tools. If you’re new to polyamory, or are curious and want to learn more, this is a must-read, covering how to deal with jealousy, handling planning when you have multiple partners, and general etiquette in the world of consensual non-monogamy.
Best Relationship Books – Attaché: Are You Anxious, Avoidant, or Insecure?
Attachment theory is a popular way to explain how our childhood upbringing, primarily the impact of our primary caregivers, influences how we approach relationships in adulthood. There are three main types: secure (you are unlikely to feel insecure or emotionally distant when dating), avoidant (partners may describe you as “emotionally unavailable”), and anxious (you may feel insecure in relationships). Attched by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller is a bestselling guide that aims to debunk this whole theory, understand your attachment style, and show you ways to overcome it.
Best Relationship Books – The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
Love languages are a way to discuss how people want to give and receive love in a relationship or friendship. There are five main love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical contact. This book helps you identify your love language and that of your partner and uses it as a basis for concrete steps to make your relationship more compatible, loving and lasting.
Best Relationship Books – Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship
This best-selling Denver Post dating columnist Neil Rosenthal, is all about one universal issue: rekindling the spark in a relationship and finding solutions to recurring struggles in a long-term connection. It starts with a practice quiz to see if you’re sabotaging your relationship, has tips for spotting potential difficulties before they escalate, and offers plenty of practical techniques for opening up, getting closer, and overcoming defensiveness.
Best Relationship Books – Block, Delete, Move On: It’s Not You, It’s Them
From viral dating expert sensation LalalaLetMeExplain, this handy book is a survival guide to modern dating and shows you signs of ghosting, negging, gaslighting, and other red flags. Primarily focused on heterosexual relationships, it helps women analyze the ingrained gender inequalities and expectations that still persist in intimate relationships, all in a candid, no-frills tone with a healthy dose of humour.
Best Relationship Books – Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Non-Monogamy
As explored above, attachment theory is quite influential these days when it comes to talking about dating and relationships. However, the majority of the theory caters exclusively to monogamous relationships and may be more difficult to apply when you are dating, sleeping, or in a relationship with more than one person. Walk in: Polysecureda guide from polyamorous relationship therapist Jessica Fern that breaks down attachment theory in detail, explains the different types of polyamory (there are many!), then applies that knowledge to practical exercises on how to strengthen your connections not monogamous.
Best Relationship Books – The Love Secret: The Groundbreaking New Science of Relationships
If you’re disappointed in dating, this book is a great guide to restoring your faith in monogamous relationships, arguing that humans are “naturally monogamous and related animals” and drawing on recent research on the theory of attachment. It also shows you how your brain works when you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, which I think is pretty cool.
Best Relationship Books – Conscious Lesbian Dating and Love
Often, relationship books are written from a heteronormative lens, which can be alienating for queer people looking to work on their relationships or find love. On top of that, the majority of relationship representations that many of us have grown up with – whether in culture or society – are between men and women, which means that individuals within the lesbian community might not not have the same resources to overcome difficulties in their relationships. , especially those related to their identity. It’s there that Conscious Lesbian Dating & Love Happens, which aims to give an introduction to mindful dating for lesbians.
Queer Sex: A Trans, Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure, and Relationships
Juno Roche’s queer sex isn’t just about sexual connection and sexual exploration (although that’s a huge and vitally important part!), it’s also a brilliant guide to trans and non-binary relationships, told through the author’s own experiences and interviews with prominent members of the community discussing their views on dating and intimacy. It’s so rare to see love and sex advice centered around the trans and non-binary experience, which makes this release all the more important.
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