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Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships Hardcover – 31 Dec 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (31 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316133760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316133760
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 512,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gert on 5 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Good read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 97 reviews
62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Mesmerizing! 1 Jan. 2014
By jk - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sue Johnson has a gift for presenting science with such delight and joy that it's like opening an extra special birthday present that the giver is as excited about as the receiver. In Love Sense, Sue opens up the science of love for all of us. She begins by pointing out that our first instinct is to seek contact and comforting connection rather than sex or aggression. This idea opens up a whole new arena for understanding behavior and interactions. The idea that we must stand alone and strive for independence falls away for the idea that what we all really need is closeness and comfort. We worry that if we are "too soft" that we will raise self centered people but, in fact, we are mostly driven to be empathic rather than competitive. Sue reveals the science of her ideas in much the same way that Richard Feynman reveals physics - with joy and engagement. Sue discusses emotion, the brain, sex, monogamy. She addresses many issues couples struggle with over a lifetime of partnership such as making a commitment, parenthood, coping with the empty nest, retirement. Along this journey, Sue explains the common cycles couples get into and the emotion that is underneath those cycles that drives them. She uses examples from her work with couples to demonstrate what happens in these dynamics and how attachment styles and needs affect each person. She slows down the dynamics and digs deep into the emotion and attachment needs to expose what reassurance or support is needed to circumvent the cycle. In chapter nine Sue tells a love story and describes a betrayal between a couple, the opening up, understanding what was happening between them that created the environment for this fracture to happen and then the repair. This will be a wonderful piece for our clients to read to begin to understand the opening that needs to happen when people have hurt each other. Sue moves on to expose many of the challenges we have in our ability to be present with those we love. Throughout this book, the conversational style Sue has, her deep understanding of her subject and her passion for this topic are palpable. This book will be a best seller and I believe that it will create the revolution Sue talks about. We will begin to find each other, open up to each other, expose our vulnerability, understand our emotions and heal our interpersonal fractures. Thank you Sue for caring enough to bring forward these important messages. This is a lovely, mesmerizing book.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
A Celebration of Love 13 Feb. 2014
By pumpkin_programmer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Without being too sappy or too stodgy, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships (2013), by Sue Johnson, is a fascinating and heartwarming look at the phenomenon of love from a scientific perspective.

Citing ample research on primate development, neuroscience, and biochemistry, Johnson makes a compelling case that humans evolved to be monogamous rather than philanderous, interdependent rather than isolated, and that emotional connectedness to others is a testament to our strength rather than a sign of weakness.

Although the book does an excellent job extolling the importance of romantic relationships, it seems to marginalize those who are not in a strictly monogamous and long-term relationship and, also, errs on the side of being too permissive of clinginess and “you are my everything” enmeshment. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile read because it breaks down love in terms of cutting-edge science.

Building on the work of John Bowlby, Sue Johnson offers a compelling foundation from which to understand, and even enhance, love relationships: attachment theory. The basic premise of attachment theory is that human beings thrive on emotional connection to caregivers as babies and to romantic partners as adults. Inconsistencies in attachment bonds cause humans distress, particularly infants. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective since human infants are among the most helpless in the animal kingdom and are completely dependent on their parents’ care at birth. Instinctively knowing that abandonment spells death, we humans are wired to connect and we thrive when we have at least one significant other to trust.

I really enjoyed the parts of the book where Johnson examined the nitty gritty of what constitutes love. Humans are among the 3% of mammals that form monogamous pair bonds. The chemicals behind our desire to bond with one significant other include oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) and vasopressin (the mate-guarding hormone). These chemicals regulate stress and protect health. Having someone to trust and hold gives you the confidence to explore the world and to thrive as an individual. So, contrary to popular notions of independence, interdependence makes us strong rather than weak. This is good motivation to cherish a love relationship if you have one or honor your human need to connect with others.

Although I enjoyed the book overall, there were parts of the it that left me irked. The book started off well, in my opinion, as an insightful investigation into the nature of love. I was, however, disappointed that the author didn’t answer some lingering questions I had as I made my way through the book. For example, the author never addressed how singles could benefit from this new understanding of love. It seemed to undermine the dangers of relying on one person to be your anchor to the rest of humanity instead of cultivating a myriad of relationships and general community involvement. I also didn’t really care for her model of couple’s therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy. While it has a relatively high success rate compared to other modes of couple’s therapy, it seems too simplistic, vague, and naive. It would only work if both partners were committed to making their relationship work and sincerely wanted to restore a positive connection. I doubt it would work for people hellbent on “winning” at the other person’s expense. It works so long as both partners recognize each other’s humanity. Some people are simply abusive and see people as objects to manipulate. Others are simply too selfish to make the compromises necessary for an egalitarian, mutually beneficial partnership. Trusting such people would be destructive rather than healthy. So love isn’t the answer to every human problem.

Love Sense is a touching reminder of what really matters in this human life: meaningful connections to other people and the world at large. It inspires readers to cherish and make the most of the significant relationships in their lives, particular the romantic variety. I could also see this as a good reference for raising children, at least for explaining the implications of attachment theory in a child’s development. Johnson’s science is good, but the applications of this science leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless, it’s an enlightening read and I would recommend it to people in good long-term relationships (i.e. those that are worth preserving and/or improving).
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
"Love Sense" & "Hold Me Tight": FANTASTIC BOOKS! 15 Jan. 2014
By Dr Michelle Gannon - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Clinical Psychologist and Couples Workshop Leader, I am always looking for excellent books to share with my clients, colleagues, workshop couples and friends. Dr Sue Johnson's newest book, "Love Sense" brings the latest research findings about relationships, love, attachment and romance to the public. "Love Sense" is based on the leading scientific findings and is very engaging, easy to read, personable, accessible, informative, interesting and encouraging.
Actually, we enjoyed "Love Sense" so much that we purchased extra copies to give to our "Hold Me Tight Workshop" Couples as a Valentine's Day present. We recommend "Love Sense"and "Hold Me Tight" to all of our individual clients and couples too. So yes, we highly recommend the books, "Love Sense" and "Hold Me Tight" by Dr Sue Johnson for anyone interested in learning more about "Attachment Theory and Emotionally Focused Therapy" and especially for anyone interested in creating more loving, satisfying relationships!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Author hit this one out of the ballpark! a Grand Slam 15 Jan. 2014
By JT of Denver - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book is both soothing and exhilarating. What a comfort to learn that we are wired to connect and that we don't outgrow this need for close relationship in our lives. And how exciting to know that there is growing scientific evidence that supports this idea. AND, that we now know how to create more closeness and emotional security in adult love relationships!

Thank you Dr. Johnson for this engaging read, your passion and clarity hooked me from the introduction. The exercises at the end of each chapter were very useful.

I would recommend this book to any adult who is in or wants to be in a committed adult romantic relationship. Also highly recommend to any therapist, ministers, rabbi's, counselors who want to gain a deeper understanding of what causes couple's to distance and get caught in habitual conflicts. For anyone reading this book, the biggest bonus is that Dr. Johnson offers real world understanding, support by science, plus real world solutions that she's learned from the therapy she developed, E.F.T.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I love it 10 Jan. 2014
By pascal böttcher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Love sense is marvelous, informative and helpful book. It is a pitty, that there does not exist a translation into german language. I hope it will be translated soon.
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