62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
After reading the Dance of Anger I was very eager to read this book. It is amazingly helpful. I especially appreciated the chapters on distancing, "overfunctioning" and how to bring up very hot issues with difficult people. I liked the author's realism, that she tells us that it's OK to move "at glacial speed" and that it's the direction and not the speed of travel that matters. She has so much wisdom and gives so much concrete advice without oversimplifying things. I also loved the chapter on "defining a bottom line" because it helped me make an important change in a relationship where I was complaining, but not really taking a bottom line position. Plus, Lerner is a great feminist in the best sense of the word.
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I like how this book easily classifies people into distancers, and pursuers. It is fairly easy to see where someone falls in terms of being a distancer and a pursuer. From knowing this, determines how you should better communicate with your partner. Now while this book does not suggest dramatic change over night, it does suggest making small changes that can make large results.
I also like that she doesn't set the reader up to expect dramatic changes from the other person. She suggests in how to better communicate with the other person, whether it is your partner, parent, or child. Then she also teaches you to set some boundaries, and make sure you take good care of yourself first.
I like this realistic approach to relationships. The knowledge in this book can apply to many different types of relationships, do you don't have to have a significant other to benefit from this book. Its well worth the read.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 1999
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, I feel the comments from the UK couldn't be further from what Dr. Lerner is trying to say. First of all, she does not prescribe solutions but rather offers examples of struggles others have faced and how they have dealt with them. She is careful to state that it is possible for none of her examples to be useful in one's situation. Second, she addresses all relationships--mother, father, sibling, friend, lover, spouse--not just mother-daughter. What I see as a key theme is the fact that every individual is unique and carries with them a background and outlook that shapes their reactions to the world. There is a saying in Spanish: every person is a world. We must understand this background and outlook (their world) before we can ever hope to understand an individual. Most importantly, we must understand ourselves and how, when and why we react the way we do (our world) before we can ever hope to understand anyone else. Intimacy is challenging and change takes time and small steps. Intimate communication in strained situations can often initially create more conflict than resolution. Trying to find the humor in a situation and to express oneself in a non-threatening and non-judgmental manner often goes a long way towards opening the doors for better communication. I believe all advice is worth listening to. But, as with any advice, you take from it what you find useful and leave the rest alone. It is a book written by a woman, for women, so men may not find it as inspiring; being a woman, I really enjoyed it. I also found it to be a great read, a great challenge, and full of food for thought.
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2003
I had always told myself that I would never read a self-help book, but then my therapist recommended that I read "The Dance of Intimacy." I had been having trouble in my relationship and this book helped me tremendously in understanding myself and my boyfriend. I connected completely with Lerner's assessments of the people she wrote about and their relationships. Throughout reading this book, I had several significant "lightbulb moments." I identified with the situations in the book and although my problems have not been solved overnight, I am gaining a better understanding of what I have to do to be happier with my relationship.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2006
My pre-marital counselor suggested I read this. I had difficulty establishing intimate relationships and had been used to keeping my relationships shallow. This may work with co-workers and friends, but when marrying someone, it is very essential to develop a real emotional connection with your mate. This is something I couldn't fake. After reading this book, I began to change the way I looked at all relationships and have been made comfortable letting my guard down and allowing people I love to get to know me at a deeper level. This is a great read. Read slowly, so that you can absorb!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 1999
This book was loaned to me by a counselor who I had worked with on my way out of an abusive marriage. Longing for a connection with someone who was not abusive, I couldn't understand the distancing that was taking place until I read this book. I also gained valuable insight into why my intense efforts to coerce cooperation from my 3 year old were, in fact, a result of trying to reduce the anger of his abusive father - a triangle I had imposed. The information can be a good tool to help sort out relationships that haven't gone smoothly.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2000
In searching for the true me, I came upon these books through reccommendation of a friend, who happens to be a councelor. I had read them again and again, finding new things out about myself each time. The subject matter, at times, was very difficult to read, due to the feelings it stirred from within me. Confronting real truths is a hard thing to do. However, the healing began with understanding "the dance". I would have never thought of it as a dance, because, looking back, I can not recall learning the steps to the dance, for I lived it everyday. We all become victums of what we live. The hope is in the future of who we can choose to become. We can change our pasts into brighter futures, and the books that Harriet Lerner has written will help anyone to do this. Not just women. I feel that I never really felt the beat before, maybe it is because I was "deaf" from past hurts. This will offer a new beginning and open your eyes, ears, and heart. I have lent all three of my books to others...Anger, Intimacy, and Deception, and non of them have ever been returned to me, for those people have passed them on to others as a helping tool as well. Some day I want to get these books again to keep in my own library. However, those who have read them, I wish you the best, and hope it helps you out as much as it has helped me. Thank you Ms. Lerner. What a difference you have made in my life. May new readers find comfort in finding and accepting the "Real Truth". It's worth the time and pain. Most of all you are worth it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2005
This is a book that does provide some good insight into the 'distancer' and the 'pursuer' that the author discusses in relationships, that being, the one that wants more closeness, and the one that wants more space. On that the book is helpful so that you can better understand the dynamics of a relationship. If you like studying relationships in general, this is a good book to read. If you are looking to make significant positive changes in your life and in your relationship, I suggest getting this book along with "Stop Being the String Along" by Barbara Rose. I feel that both books provide valuable, even life changing insight.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 1999
The title is very deceiving...it's not just for women, in that it has helped me see my marriage in a new light. Guys, if your spouse/significant other is unhappy with your marriage, or vice-versa, read this book. Just ignore the gender-specific and feminist ideals that Ms. Lerner sometimes includes. It is an excellent book that deserves high praise.
34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2001
Having heard a lot of positive things about this book, this author, and her series, I had high expectations when I began reading The Dance of Intimacy. What disappointed me was that the book is a series of case studies, with little practical advise. I expected information on the dynamics of intimate relationships; what makes them work, what causes problems in them, and how to know if the only thing left for you to do is terminate that relationship. While there were a few interesting stories in the book, I did not find what I was looking for. Instead, I highly recommend Steven Carter and Julia Sokol's He's Scared She's Scared for a more comprehensive look at people who have difficulty with intimate relationsihps and commitment.