From Publishers Weekly
Psychoanalyst Isay trains a Freudian lens on the difficulty gay men have sustaining serious, long-term romantic partnerships. Up against society's prejudice against homosexual love, he observes, they've separated sex and love. As adolescents, gay men suffered the rejection of unrequited affection, but most formatively, they sustained emotional damage in childhood from paternal rejection and/or maternal inattentiveness to their feelings or disregard for their need for autonomy. The result is an inability to fall or stay in love, arising from deep-seated anxiety about dependency, lack of self-love and mistrust of another's love. Isay analyzes dozens of case histories of chronically single gay male patients (he has worked with gay men for more than 30 years), tracing their attachment difficulties to childhood experiences with remote, rejecting or smothering parents. Though Isay (Being Homosexual
) weighs in on the same-sex marriage debate with his secondary argument—that the lack of a formally sanctioned structure further undermines gay commitment—readers looking for a complicated, cultural analysis will be frustrated by Isay's one-note psychoanalytic reasoning. He voices important emphasis on the happiness found in long-term, loving relationships, but his account remains too basic for mental health professionals and lacks concrete strategies for real sufferers. (June)
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From the Inside Flap
In his many years working with gay patients, psychiatrist Richard Isay has found that regardless of the original reasons they seek help, the majority of gay men eventually bring up their problems with romantic love. Some have difficulty falling in love and even more find it hard to sustain a loving, romantic relationship. If you experience these issues in your life, Commitment and Healing offers hope.
Filled with fascinating case histories drawn from Dr. Isay's practice, this compassionate and inspiring book examines how parental rejection or a lack of empathy with the needs of a homosexual child may later on inhibit a gay man's capacity to feel and express his need for love. Some gay men grow habituated to the means they have relied on to seek happiness without intimacy or intimacy without commitment. Many feel unworthy of romantic love or remain unaware of it until midlife.
In Commitment and Healing, Isay writes that a loving relationship over many years is the antidote for the loneliness and the rejection most gay men have experienced in their lives. While the book is a clear and empathetic exploration of the barriers many encounter, Isay shows that it is indeed possible for this generation of gay men to overcome their fear of commitment and learn how rewarding a loving, long-term relationship can be.