TheTruth: An Uncomfortable Conversation About Relationships By: Neil Strauss (Book Review)

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A Man’s Dilemma

“What we do not know controls us” -Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss’s first dive into the dynamics of attraction and dating was with his book The Game. In it, he shares his personal narrative of how to attract women with a perfect routine. These laws and social scripts helped Neil to completely transform himself from a shy sensitive nice-guy into a guy that is irresistible to women. If that book taught men how to get a girlfriend, then “Truth” teaches you how to keep one.

The most common issue that people like Neil and I come across in our journey to grow and attract women is that once we get what we want, ironically it is never enough. Once we are able to attract these once “unattainable” dream girls, we no longer want them. Maybe it’s just human nature. Once we reach the peak of one mountain, we see another higher peak that as unyielding and querulous men, we must strive for. We obtain this “power” (value) that we never had before and we end up brandishing it like some aggressive Excalibur that simultaneously attracts and stabs the person right in the heart. We end up pushing away that one thing we desired most (Deserving/Unselfish Love).

I went through this with multiple partners and so did Neil. He succumbed to the same mental rationalizations and confirmation biases about relationships and sex that I am still struggling to accept this very day. I will show you a clear dichotomy between the old Neil’s false thoughts, feelings and actions towards love and the new Healthy Neil that believes, “Love is when two hearts build a safe emotional and spiritual home that will stand strong no matter how much anyone changes in the inside or outside. It demands one thing. That each person be their true self.” -Neil Strauss

neil-strauss-before-and-after

Questions and Facts From Old Neil

“Relationships are like dividing rods that point out peoples weaknesses” -Neil Strauss

  • Is Monogamy possible?
  • If we are not biologically built to be with one person sexually for the rest of our life, then why should we?
  • The divorce rate is at 50%
  • 90% of married couples have a decrease in happiness after their first child.
  • A reported 38% of married couples claim to be “happy”.

This Neil used sex as a painkiller for uncomfortable emotions. This Neil found the love of his life and threw her away. This woman loved him unconditionally and he ended up cheating. Not only did he cheat, but he cheat with one of her best friends. After this utter betrayal came the resulting shame, guilt, confusion, questions and despair that so many men are confronted with after cheating. This is what set him out on a journey to sex addiction treatment, swingers clubs, open relationships, love communes and being kicked out of an orgy for eating popcorn…..yea. He needed to figure this dilemma out or he would end up alone forever.

Why Did Old Neil Think He Cheated?

“Lying is controlling someones reality”

One of his close friends in Sex Addiction therapy explained why he cheated like this. When your wife is tired of understanding you, you cheat. When she holds so much resentment towards you that it poisons your soul, you cheat. When she is nicer to telemarketers than you, you cheat. When the only time she is passionate is when she’s criticizing you, you cheat. You start to look for someone who appreciates your presence. Having an affair fills you up when the marriage empties you.

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His close friend and mentor Rick told Old Neil that the kind of people that can’t control behavior even when it is damaging to themselves are addicts. When things get hard, you start to find things wrong with the person you are with. You probably never experienced true love in a healthy monogamous relationship in fear that if you do, you will find out that you are not enough for the person you are with. So you use sex as a drug to fill the hole of empty self-esteem. Deep down you feel unlovable so you try to fill that hole by conquering new women. This paradigm gets reinforced every time your relationships fail.

This passage hit close to home and made me think if my desire to “become better” would ever be relinquished. Let’s look at “Old Neil’s view towards intimacy and love.

The Old Neil’s View of Love

“In the dance of infatuation we see others not as they are, but as a projections of who we want them to be. And we impose on them all the imaginary criteria we think will fill the voids of are hearts”

He saw Love as a demand. Like a padded cell that would take away his freedom. His whole life he saw love as control, so he fought against it in exchange for his freedom. He was smothered by his mother, so he ran from any sign of that occurring in future women. He developed an avoidant style of attachment. Monogamy didn’t work for Old Neil because he felt that is was an obligation. If he chose to love, then it would be different. Making monogamy a conscious CHOICE is what most people do because they need someone to fill them up. They are co-dependent and need others to make them happy. In order to alleviate this problem you have to learn to be alone. This allows you to ADD value to the relationship, as opposed to taking it.

In this journey he found his “True Self”

 

New Neil’s Reasons for Cheating

“The secret to fidelity is knowing that the grass is crazier on the other side”

1. He didn’t communicate or keep Boundaries. He acted out in fear of engulfment/enmeshment.
2. He didn’t share his sexual preferences or ask for hers. He acted out Unfulfilled sexual desires
3. He blamed her for not allowing him to Fuck other people. He acted out a personal denial of responsibility for his behavior.
4. His low Self-Esteem and feelings worthlessness caused him to act out for acceptance.
5. He had a false paradigm about human nature. He acted out because he believed he was no different than any other mammal and consequences don’t matter

New Neil’s Love Guide

“Intimacy is like a fire. The more you add to it, the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the less you want to throw water on it. Intimacy is about sharing your reality and knowing you’re safe.” -Neil Strauss

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1. Compassion and love are always the correct responses to a situation

2. If at least one partner is in the functional adult mindset then all arguments can be avoided.

3. Recognize when you are backsliding into an old and childish behavior. Tell yourself truth of situation

4. Accept what is. “I will accept it”

5. Instead of saying I’m never gonna cheat again say I’m not gonna do that thing that makes me feel weak and shameful about myself

6. Can’t have a relationship with someone hoping they’ll change you have to accept them as they are. If they change then that’s a bonus

7. Communicate clear Boundaries of thoughts feelings and bx.

8. Ask self throughout the day “What needs do I need to take care of this moment?” Ask for help if you need to. That is the road to happiness

9. No one can make you feel anything and you can’t make anyone feel a certain way so don’t take resonsibiltiy for partners feelings. When they are upset ares them if they want you to listen. Give space or whatever

10. Love honor and affirm self. If you are healthy then your thoughts and actions will be too

11. Breathe and be in the moment

Love is nature’s psychotherapy

Favorite Quotes

“Loneliness is holding in a joke cause you have nobody to share it with.”

“Monogamy is like choosing to live in a single town…why does love have to limit us? Only fear is restrictive. Love is expansive. Fear of enmeshment compels us to avoid commitment and fear of abandonment compels us to be possessive. What kind of relationship can evolve if those wounds are healed?”

“Sex is easy to find. True and unselfish love is hard”

“Unspoken expectations are premeditated resentment”

“Guilt is what you do with your dick. Shame is being a dick”

“Success of relationship shouldn’t be determined by length but by depth”

“Every tribe species or time period can support their way as the correct way of the relationship paradigm. There is not ONE way to love. As long as it’s made by the whole person and not the hole in the person”

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