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on December 1, 2009
I'm a 50 something divorced guy, I'd never given thought to "stages of dating". I knew I felt different things as a relationship progressed, but had never been tried to pinpoint just what it all was about.

John Gray's 5 stages; attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity etc. and the need to do `em in order was spot on. It helped me label the emotions I feel and recognize when I'm letting my sweet daydreams intrude on reality in a new relationship.

The section on "elasticity" was also revealing. You know how a guy goes hot & cold on a relationship? JG explains that it's a process guys do to test their feelings for someone. We get close, then get unsure if she's the one, so we pull back. The revealing thing for guys is to figure out, after we've pulled back, are we happier with or without her, and then act on that feeling.

Those two thoughts alone are worth the price.
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The book describes the five stages of courtship: attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy, engagement. Although different people have called these stages different things, the second stage is the one that is unique to this book. When a couple begins dating, there is inevitably a period of uncertainty. Even if someone expresses his undying love on Friday night (and really means it), he can change his mind by Saturday morning. This period of uncertainty can really throw the other person off. "How can he possibly not love me today, when he loved me yesterday? What happened? What changed?"
As a dating expert, I know first-hand that people are most confused by this period of uncertainty. And John Gray uncovers another gem-much uncertainty is caused by rushing intimacy. Once you understand this concept that, your next relationship will have a much greater chance of success if you follow the five stages of courtship in the order they were intended.
This book is more like reading Shakespeare than flipping through the pages of Cosmopolitan. John Gray's writing style reflects the fact that he spent many years in school, writing thesis after thesis. Although it may be more fun to watch Sex and the City, reading this book will be a lot cheaper than reclining on a therapist's couch. Plus, you'll be one step closer to a lasting relationship.
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on March 12, 2009
I don't normally write reviews but I had to express how much this book changed my life. I have dated wonderful people and am currently with a wonderful man now in a great relationship and we have these seemingly little problems that seem to cause great stress. They don't seem like deal breakers but we are unable to move forward into the 5th stage of engagement.

My partner and I believed these differences to be personality or character differences and were starting to feel like we really weren't meant to be together but it was so conflicting with how much we loved each other, were compatible with each other, and the fact that we had all 4 chemistries together and felt like soul mates.

Then I read this book and EVERY, and I do mean every, single problem we had been struggling with was written right there, in black and white, verbatim some of the things we've said to each other. And I began to learn that our differences were not personality or character differences at all, but gender differences. Now, armed with the understanding that these gender differences are universal, we no longer need to take these issues personally. It's so true that when men & women misunderstand each other, misinterpret each other's actions, & miscommunicate their feelings, they are unable to successfully nurture each other & get what they need. The result is resentment. When resentment builds, our different interests become more extreme. We begin to polarize.

My boyfriend and I are both really honest with each other but like John Gray says, "no matter how sincere you are, if your partner is misinterpreting your innocent & automatic reactions and responses, your attempts to create a relationship may be unsuccessful. It is not enough merely to be authentic in sharing yourself; to succeed in dating you need to consider you will be interpreted as well. For this reason there are times when we cannot just "be ourselves." Instead, we must hold back our initial gut reactions & measure our responses in ways that will communicate where we are coming from."

I want to thank John Gray for his insight and for writing this book because like he says "When our relationships make sense to us, we don't make as many mistakes; we are also able to learn from mistakes and are thus released from making the same mistakes again and again. We can then be released from repeating negative patterns."

Even if you are with the right person, you cannot "just know" if you do not first create the right conditions to open your heart to someone.

Loved, loved, loved this book. Yes, it was extremely repetitive, but sometimes people need things repeated to them over and over again in order to GET it.
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on March 10, 2002
When I've read the famous/infamous 'The rules' I was in doubt; but when I've read 'Mars and Venus on a Date' I was convinced... The controversial 'The rules' uses time old and wise observations (even though they are oversimplified and sound manipulative), but this book takes those 'truths' and explains them from the point of view of human psychology. I understand why feminists might hate this book and why they might think it takes us (females) back a hundred years -- (if you happen to be one - the book might be that proverbial red cloth for a bull). The bottom line is -- we (as in males, females, species etc.) are created particular way... information written in our genes, many hundreds of thousands years ago, necessary for the survival of the species, regardless whether we are nice guys/girls or jerks and 'game players'. Men and women act and feel and are motivated by certain things, and not because we are mean or manipulative. I've scanned quite a few books on the subject of dating and interpersonal psychology and this book is an eye opener for those of us who can't figure out whether we should be our authentic selves in every situations or whether there is a necessity to follow some sort of rules or guidelines for successful dating. (I compare it to polite and acceptable rules of, say, behaving at a dinner table). Buy it and read it!! (it's about a buck on half.com) and even if you disagree, you will benefit from this alternative and precious knowledge!!
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on August 10, 2003
This book has some good points and bad points. Like most relationship guides (i.e. The Rules), if you agree with what the author is saying, it's a good book. If you don't agree with them, it's a bad book. I think the point to take away with this book is that John Gray has talked to a LOT of people about relationships and the suggestions and information in this book is based on what he learned from talking to real people.
For example, he talks about why men don't call after a date. I had no idea that if a man didn't call you, it doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't like you. It's good to know the other reasons why he's not calling, and that not only is it okay for you to call him, but you SHOULD call him because it'll let him know that you're not mad at him for not calling!
He does have some very old fashioned views, such as, the man should always pay for the dates. Nevermind if the man makes $25K a year and the woman makes $70K... now-a-days that kind of thinking is just not practical. He also says some strange things like, if a man opens a car door for you, you should not reach over and unlock his door because that will take away all the pleasure that he got from opening the car door for you.
All in all, it's a good read, has some good information about the five stages of dating, why men and women act the way they do, how to talk to each other, and how to act. Take what you agree with and use it, but form your own opinions. Don't follow it like it's a bible.
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on September 28, 2006
Whether you are new to dating, widowed or divorced and starting to date again, or in your 50th year of marriage - you will be able to gleam something from this book that will impact your life in a positive way.

Ideally - you could read this book before you embark upon the "dating chapter" of your life. But, even if you're not new to dating, this book can make an amazing and positive impact in many ways - it can increase your chances of finding the right person, reduce your chances of being hurt by or hurting someone (emotionally) during the dating process, and help you avoid scaring away someone with whom, otherwise, you could end up having a wonderful relationship.

I especially recommend this to women who are in a relationship (or, who are thinking that they "thought they were") with a man who seems to have changed all of a sudden. If you are questioning things like, where did he go? why didn't he call? why does he seem so distant now? what did I do wrong? - you are possibly at a point in the relationship where your choice of actions can make or break a relationship that might just be on the edge of going somewhere. And, likewise, I recommend this to men who feel that they've come to a point in their relationship where they all of a sudden "aren't sure" anymore, are feeling anxious or maybe even "trapped", and at the same time there is a strong need to just get away and think and/or if the woman you are dating seems to have become more insecure, worries more, questions you more, starts pressuring you more about commitment, etc. All of these situations, emotions, etc. are explained in this book. You're not the only one - it's a normal part of dating - but, unfortunately, most of us won't possibly be able to understand this without someone else pointing it out to us - like Gray has done in this book.

Even if you are married - this book opens your eyes to many things and can really improve your level of understanding with your wife/husband.

If you are the perfect mate in a perfect relationship - you may not realize some of the problems other people experience and therefore, could probably benefit from this book by being able to better identify with friends, family, children when they come to you for advice.
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on December 11, 2004
Here is the big question: Will you be better off having read the book. Yes. In today's fortunate world of near sexual equality Dr. Gray reminds us that we are still male and female, and should act that way where appropriate. Some reader reviews are bitingly negative, and that says more about the reviewer than the book. Be open. Get ideas. Discard others. Take it for what you want. But if you are open you will have some insights.

Also, some of us just don't want to face the truth that there is beauty and truth in treating men like men and women like women. Some insights confirmed in the book are that a woman's attraction grows by knowing a man and his strengths, not just by initial attraction and that women and men do intuitively expect men to be the pursuers and can sabatoge a relationship by reversing those roles. I also see how people sabotage their relationships by moving too fast.

Some people have complained about the list of meeting-place ideas near the end. He goes too far in my opinion in suggesting how far to go out of your box, like seeking people of different political parties at their events. Again, don't expect a book to save your love life, expect it to provide useful insights, some of which you will implement and some of which you won't. But isn't one small step worth the price and time of a book?

I have seen women and men sabotage their lives by going to far towards acting equal in all respects instead of equal but wonderfully different. I think the best benefit of his books is to show that the stereotypical male/female dynamics actually work. I am considering getting copies for friends whether single, dating, or married, because I can see many of the examples are true in real lives.

So here you are trying to decide whether or not to spend a few buck and hours gaining insights or watching TV reruns. I choose the former.
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on June 15, 2005
Mars and Venus on a Date is a meandering book that covers the same basic principles over and over again without much clarity. I found myself rereading some sentences because they were so confusing. A simple point that could have been made in ten words was stretched to two or three pages. I did appreciate some of the advice. Some information was insightful, such as that men often need distance so that they can come back and be closer to you in the long run. The 5 stages of dating: attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy and engagement were interesting.

The majority of the book, though, was not right for me. The way that Gray defines femininity and masculinity is confusing and seems to make sweeping generalisations. For example, a woman should be `self-assured' rather than `confident' because confidence implies that you can accomplish what you want without help (a masculine trait) whilst self-assurance implies that you know you will be able to get help to accomplish what you want (a feminine trait). I consider myself to be a feminine woman and yet I am perfectly confident in my ability to accomplish my goals single-handedly. The characteristics that Gray states women should have (self-assuredness, receptivity and responsiveness) seemed quite confining and unclear. Gray seems to imply that all women who are confident are also ball-busters that scare men off. I read the book for some tips on how to behave on dates to positively represent who I am, not to be told how to accommodate myself to John Does' every whim.

Other suggestions in the book don't seem to make any sense or are so simple that you wonder why you need to be told them. For example, `A man is attracted to a woman who clearly can be pleased'. I can't help but reverse it and think: OK, but isn't `a woman attracted to a man who clearly can be pleased?' Well, yes, so what's the point of the original comment? I also find it cruel to men that Gray says that it is a man's duty to please a woman, and that her receptiveness to his attention and time is all the appreciation he needs. I like to think of a relationship as a two-way thing. The man is often the pursuer, but a woman should make an effort as well to actively show she likes and appreciates him, rather than just simpering.

JoAnne
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on March 15, 2003
Mars and Venus On A Date is indeed a very enriching read. Many but not all romantic relationships do fall into John Gray's five stages of Attraction, Uncertainty, Exclusive, Intimacy, and Marriage. The attraction levels of Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Spiritual are explained quite well from both the Venus and Mars perspective.
Common arguments are discussed in great detail. Never try to solve a woman's problem and never offer unsolicated advice to a man. Also to either sex, just apologize without making excuses. Admit your faults and the other party will be more forgiving.
I don't necesarilly agree with Gray's assessment that a woman should not reach over to open the car door for a man early in the dating process. Truthfully its a minor issue and its not worth the emphasis that it was given.
Good emphasis on what men and women need in a partner and their lives. Men like to feel that what they have to offer is needed. Its Ok to use men to a point. Women don't want to have to do it all. They get depressed if they realize that they have to do everything themselves.
Some good analysis and common sense. Overall it gets my seal of approval.
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on January 31, 2007
This Mars & Venus book builds on the information in the original John Gray book, and applies it to how men and women behave differently once they begin dating.

This book explains the five stages of dating (attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy, engagement). Of particular value is the explanation of the anxiety-ridden second stage "uncertainty." Having read this book, the "uncertainty" period of dating is much easier to weather. Not only is it a facet of nearly every single relationship, it is a critical and necessary part to building the relationship. Another important idea from this book is that all relationships go through these five stages (or skip them at their peril), and that most relationships will cycle through these stages several times until the fifth stage, engagement, is reached.

This book helps women slow down and have more realistic expectations at each stage, and helps men understand the behaviors women may be exhibiting at each stage. It also reinforces an idea introduced in "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" that men play the role of giving, and women play the role of receiving, and that this honors our biological/evolutionary drives and simplifies a lot of the anxiety surrounding who should do what in a relationship. Women are encouraged to slow down and recieve, and the book suggests this will enhance a woman's feminine qualities while allowing a man to exhibit his masculine qualities. Men, by contrast, are encouraged to give, serve, and provide and think of meeting the woman's needs.

While these ideas may strike some as anachronistic or worse, there seems to be some common sense to them that may be worth investigating. Since having read this book and experimenting with some of its ideas, I have made my relationship a LOT better and (speaking from a female's perspective), not acting in a male role as persuer (and understanding the difference between active and receptive interest, a distinction covered in great deal in the book) has lessened my anxiety level in the relationship.

Try some of these ideas out for yourself to see how they work. Your mileage may vary but I would recommend this book to any person feeling lost in their dating lives.
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