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Living Two Lives: Married to a Man and In Love with a Woman Paperback – December 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555839185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555839185
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joanne Fleisher is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Simmons College and of the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She developed the Web site, an online counseling resource for women a

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Customer Reviews

I feel like she's talking about me in the book.
Living Two Lives is an excellent guide for married women who love women and don't know what to do or where to go next.
I received the book and did not put it down until I read it completely.
Lori Voss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This is a gentle and honest book for self-inquiry for those women who are married and questioning their sexual identity. It helps you to sort out the myriad of complex feelings that ensue when you are in love with another woman, wish you were in love with another woman, wonder if what's wrong with your marriage is that you really belong with a woman, and more. In this sorting out, the author is kind and non-judgmental of diverse beliefs, and does not have an agenda---feminist or otherwise---in the courses of action that would be best for the reader; instead she helps you to find the answers that are right for you.

The book facilitates this self-searching by a terrific format. It is organized into chapters by topic, including: questioning, finding your sexual identity, examining your marriage, husbands' responses, managing the roller coaster, girlfriends, helping your children, and support. The chapters are full of gentle questioning and supportive ways of dealing with what is inevitably a difficult time in a woman's life, no matter what the outcome.

Then, at the end of each chapter, there is a section called "What You Can Do Now"---simple actions that you really can do, even if you're uncertain and up-in-the-air about so much else. Each of these action sections is broken up into several parts like:

"Remind yourself..." (with good things to remind yourself of---for example, "Self-understanding is not a linear process. I may take one step backward for every two steps forward."),

"Ask yourself this question..." (a thought-provoking question related to the chapter topic---for example, "What messages about sexuality, direct or covert, did I get from my parents, teachers, clergy, friends? And which do I continue to hold inside me?
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Heather Maclean on September 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Hi Joanne,

I have been reading Living Two Lives and am grateful for it. I found

> myself, at first, wishing that I had had it three years ago...what an

> ordeal! Falling in love with a woman for the first time....having been

> married for eighteen years with two rejection by

> family and a very strict religion...


> But for now....I find that it is helping me to step back and give

> myself the time that I need to figure out how I really feel. You

> stress this beautifully in the book. The personal accounts are

> pertinent. Your own story peppered throughout is intriguing because

> you have insights into all aspects of this emotional roller coaster

> ride that we find ourselves on. I appreciated the suggestions at the

> end of each chapter: things to think about...things to work

>'s like having a friend to hold your hand as you

> traverse the slippery slope of self-discovery and that

> can be terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Thank you

> for writing it. Thank you for sharing yourself with the rest of us.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By One More Option on April 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the most well organized & readable book I've found on this topic.

The therapist author lays out a framework of considerations, giving the reader many options to consider. The author's intent is not to advocate one solution, but rather to give real pros & cons to the many options.

The author does not think one form of relationship is an ideal. She advocates the idea that different forms of relationships, groupings, priorities, & boundaries work better for different needs. Being a therapist, she relays the experiences of herself and her clients who have travelled these paths. From her observations with many clients, she does not believe there is one relationship type that is best for all. She does not categorize certain relationship formations as secondary or less than ideal. The quality of the relationship form is dependent on the people involved.

The book discusses ways of balancing disclosure & openness with the dangers caused by society, religion, spouses, & guilt. Please don't misread the title, the author generally believes in being honest with yourself and the people close to you.

The author makes her points & moves on. The book is an artistic balance between narrative, structure, personal testimonials, & theory.

If you're looking for a book to give you the answers to your questions, this book is not primarily intent on giving answers. This book will give you more respect for more types of relationships. And it shows that many forms of relationships have comparably difficult characteristics. It will probably make you more considerate of others, more respectful of their choices, and more admiring of the obstacles they have overcome.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lynn M. on November 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
For any married woman who is questioning her sexual identity, this book may literally be a lifesaver, as a tsunami of emotions ... incredulity, shame, fear, self-loathing, remorse, guilt, ambivalence ... grief ... often accentuates the transition from one self-identity to another. The mental and spiritual turmoil can be brutal on the psyche, even unbearable at times.

"Living Two Lives" lands right on the mark, as Joanne Fleisher capitalizes on her own personal experiences; the personal experiences of her clients; a fluid, organized writing style; and her professional credentials to show us how to survive, and ultimately flourish in the newfound awareness that we are attracted to, perhaps even in love with another woman.

Please, however, do not mistake this book for a simple-solution, or a how-to on marital breakups. Instead, Joanne guides the reader in discovering her authentic self, in assessing the qualities of the marriage, in considering the effects on the children, and in making the best decision based on her own timeframe.

Some women will choose to remain married, while others will opt for separation and divorce. We are encouraged by some of the interviewees, that even in the aftermath of such drastic change, relationships with spouses and children can actually improve, regardless of the decision to stay or to move on.

Three years ago, I attended one of Joanne's weekend seminars. Although I didn't realize it at the time, the seminar was a turning point for me, the time when I began to believe that I am still an okay person, that I am not alone in this phenomena, that I deserve to be happy, and that the power to do so is within me. I finally stopped thinking about suicide. The basic concepts from that seminar are now available in "Living Two Lives". I am indebted to Joanne for cultivating in me the courage to live. Muchas gracias, Joanne!

Lynn M.
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