The Evolution of Love – Key Ideas in the Book
Reflections on relationship books
The first thing I discovered when reading many, many books on relationships was that a lot of them were highly manipulative. The books for women tended to focus on how to ‘hook’ a man and get him down the aisle. Whilst the books for men, tended to focus on how to get women into bed, more often than not without any emotional connection.
I also noticed that much of the advice given in relationship books was conflicting.
This led me to the realisation that the reason for this, was that they were not all talking about the same type of relationships. As I was starting to process what the differences were about, I started to develop models, which made sense of what I was researching and experiencing.
Key Ideas in the Book
As a result I came across some ideas and theories which I felt had merit and relevance to the story I wanted to tell and I also developed new ones, which helped me make sense of the relationship terrain. The main concepts covered in this book are
‘The Truth’ is written by Neil Strauss the international best selling author of ‘The Game’ and ‘The Rules of the Game’. In these books he describes how he immersed himself in the ‘pick-up’ artist community of Los Angeles and then shared his ideas with AFC’s (Avereage Frustrated Chumps) throughout the world. In ‘The Truth’ Strauss documents his journey through sex addiction and his attempts to find an alternative sexual lifestyle which supports his belief that it is men’s true nature not to be monogamous. Forced to confront his sub conscious drives and plunge himself into a cocktail of therapies he comes to some surprising conclusions and makes some keen observations along the way.
The Psychological Bingo Board
I devised the Psychological Bingo Board as a way of understanding the complexity of our personality and how we become the person we are. The basic concept is that we make a whole series of binary decisions about who we should be based on what enables us to gain attention. Then by definition we ‘un-decide’ all the other possibilities and deny them within ourselves. The construction of our own personal Bingo Board has huge implications for who we decide to partner with.
The Continuum of Love
The continuum of love helps to make sense of the different types of paired relationships and helps you to diagnose your relationship history. It categorises relationships into impoverished, romantic, teamwork, accepting and evolving.
It also begins the process of helping you to decide whether you want a better quality of relationships than you are currently experiencing. The continuum of love makes the point that the relationships you achieve are a factor of your own personal development. So if you want a better relationship you have to develop yourself.
The Life Cycle of a Romantic Relationship
In his beautiful book ‘Essays in Love’ Alain De Botton describes the life cycle of a relationship from beginning to end introducing a familiarity to a story we will all recognise. I feel that we can use the predictability of romantic love to help us make different and more informed choices about how we lead our love lives.
John Bowlby first writing in the 1950’s developed the concepts behind Attachment Theory, which suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others. If a child bonds successfully with the mother, the theory proposes that the child will go on to form healthy attachments with other adults later in life. If it is unsuccessful the child will struggle to form attachments throughout their lifetime.
This theory will help you to understand why you might find it difficult to form happy, healthy relationships with others. I will then use the ideas to help you to re-programme yourself so that the connections that you were born to have become possible.
The Concept of Limbic Development
The importance of limbic (or emotional) development has been highlighted by three psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon in their book “A General Theory of Love’
In this book they describe how limbic development is comprised of three elements; limbic resonance – how we become like the people we love, limbic regulation – how we learn our moods and limbic revision – how other people can help us to have empathy by helping us to revise our hearts and minds.
Their ideas reveal how our emotional lives are landscaped and give us the opportunity to re-sculpt them if we have the time to commit and can find the right people to help us.
They make one comment that I particularly love when they say:
‘You can’t tell someone with faulty Attractors to go out and find a loving partner – from his point of view there are none. Those who could love him well are invisible’.
Working through these ideas and developing yourself as we go along I hope that people who had previously been invisible to you will start to become visible.
The Masks We Wear
Based on the ideas of psychiatrist Dennis Friedman that we wear masks to prevent others from seeing the real us. I will explain how this works and how we can seriously prevent people from getting to know us in a genuine, deep and authentic way.
Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress
Throughout the book I will also present some very wise perspectives on how to have a successful relationship by a mistress of 30 years when talking to Michael Drury about her experience
The Connection between Relationships and Personal Development
Once these ideas had been formed in my mind, I started to share them with clients, colleagues and friends. Generally they received very positive reactions. In fact I can’t remember anyone who didn’t think that they had value and brought some new understanding to them about relationships.
I believe that these new perspectives will help you to diagnose your relationship history and help you to make different choices about who you decide to partner with in the future.
If you would like to follow the whole story of The Evolution of Love please go to the contents page below which includes links to all the chapters.
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