Love is a Story

Love is a Story : A New Theory of Relationships

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In this work, Robert Sternberg opens the book of love and shows you how to discover your own story - and how to read your relationships in a new light. What draws us so strongly to some people and repels us from others? What makes some relationships work so smoothly and others burst into flames? Sternberg provides answers to these questions by showing that the kind of relationship we create depends on the kind of love stories we carry inside us. Drawing on extensive research and fascinating examples of real couples, Sternberg identifies 26 types of love story - including the fantasy story, the business story, the collector story, the horror story, and many others - each with its distinctive advantages and pitfalls, and many of which are clashingly incompatible. The author argues that these are the largely unconscious preconceptions that guide our romantic choices and that it is only by becoming aware of the kind of story we have about love that we gain the freedom to create more fulfilling and lasting relationships. As long as we remain oblivious to the role our stories play, we are likely to repeat the same mistakes again and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195106423
  • 9780195106428

Table of contents

Part I: Introduction; 1. Love as a Story; 2. Our Multiple Stories of Love; 3. Story Elements; 5. Where Do Stories Come from and Where Do They Go?; 6. Stories We're Supposed to Tell: The Cultural Matrix; Part II: Love Stories; Art; Business; Collection; Cookbook; Fantasy; Game; Garden; Government; History; Horror, House and Home; Humorous; Mystery; Police; Pornography; Recovery; Religion; Science; Science Fiction; Sewing and Knitting; Teacher and Student; Theater-Script; Travel; Part III: Implications; 7. Testing the Story View; 8. What Is Love?show more

About Robert J. Sternberg

Robert J. Sternberg, Ph.D., is IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University. He is the coauthor of Satisfaction in Close Relationships, the author of Successful Intelligence, Thinking Styles and many other books and articles. He lives in Hamden, more

Review Text

A study of how the partners in a couple create, and work to sustain, a particular narrative motif that largely defines the nature of their romance and according to which they play certain roles. Sternberg (Psychology and Education/Yale; SuccessfulIntelligence, 1996, etc.) notes how important internalized narratives are in providing guidelines for the way we live: "Once we have a story, we can interpret almost any events as confirming it, elaborating on the story as we see fit." At the same time, a particular narrative "keeps being written throughout each person's life" and "even after a relationship ends, we may rewrite the story several times." The heart of this book is an exploration of 26 narratives that shape couples' lives and that involve everything from power imbalances ("the teacher-student story") to fear ("the horror story"), from a certain amount of estrangement ("the science fiction story") to mutual tending and nurturing. ("the garden story"). For all 26, Sternberg methodically describes the nature of the story, provides some"diagnosis" ("lines" or worldviews that accompany it), offers two case studies, and probes each narrative's strengths and weaknesses in terms of the prospects for a relationship's survival. If his book has a weakness, it is that it's a little too schematic; there is not enough here about couples tom between multiple narratives or how couples do, and might, respond when once mutually satisfying stories turn dull or otherwise sour. Nor is there material on how race, ethnicity, and sexual preference influence couple stories. (Are there distinctive stories that gay and lesbian couples have? All of Sternberg's case stories come from heterosexual ones.) These omissions aside, this is a terrifically interesting and enjoyable book, one that will probably be read by married and unmarried couples, singles, and the counselors who work with them. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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99 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 30% (30)
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3 29% (29)
2 6% (6)
1 4% (4)
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