cover image Love Cycles: Mastering the Five Essential Stages of Love

Love Cycles: Mastering the Five Essential Stages of Love

Linda Carroll. New World Library, $14.95 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-60868-300-0

In this dynamic guide to developing healthy relationships, Carroll, a couple’s therapist, elaborates on the development of relationships by examining a common, fundamental problem among them—humans want to form connections but also maintain their independence. As a relationship grows, each partner journeys through the five cycles of love: the merge, when each partner is wholly obsessed with the wonder and delight of the new relationship; doubt and denial, when the rational mind attempts to point out flaws with the other partner while the heart still clings to the unrealistic perfect relationship; disillusionment, in which conflicts have grown; decision, when the partners are forced to come to terms with the realities of their not-perfect partners and make a decision about the future; and wholehearted loving, in which the two partners have decided to work hard on the relationship and embrace all its joys and difficulties. Carroll’s interpretation is highly relatable: it is at once a relationship book as well as a sort of self-help. Readers looking to experience a rewarding relationship will also come away with a better sense of self. (Sept.)