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How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women

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"What happened to the passion we started with? Why aren't we as close as we used to be?" PROBLEM: If you are a woman who is unfulfilled in your marriage...if you feel unheard or overburdened...if you quietly live in a state of slow-burn resentment... PROBLEM: If you are a man unhappy that your partner seems so unhappy with you...if you feel bewildered, unappreciated, or bet "What happened to the passion we started with? Why aren't we as close as we used to be?" PROBLEM: If you are a woman who is unfulfilled in your marriage...if you feel unheard or overburdened...if you quietly live in a state of slow-burn resentment... PROBLEM: If you are a man unhappy that your partner seems so unhappy with you...if you feel bewildered, unappreciated, or betrayed... This book offers a solution Bestselling author and nationally renowned therapist Terrence Real unearths the causes of communication blocks between men and women in this groundbreaking work. Relationships are in trouble; the demand for intimacy today must be met with new skills, and Real -- drawing on his pioneering work on male depression -- gives both men and women those skills, empowering women and connecting men, radically reversing the attitudes and emotional stumbling blocks of the patriarchal culture in which we were raised. Filled with powerful stories of the couples Real treats, no other relationship book is as straight talking or compelling in its innovative approach to healing wounds and reconnecting partners with a new strength and understanding.


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"What happened to the passion we started with? Why aren't we as close as we used to be?" PROBLEM: If you are a woman who is unfulfilled in your marriage...if you feel unheard or overburdened...if you quietly live in a state of slow-burn resentment... PROBLEM: If you are a man unhappy that your partner seems so unhappy with you...if you feel bewildered, unappreciated, or bet "What happened to the passion we started with? Why aren't we as close as we used to be?" PROBLEM: If you are a woman who is unfulfilled in your marriage...if you feel unheard or overburdened...if you quietly live in a state of slow-burn resentment... PROBLEM: If you are a man unhappy that your partner seems so unhappy with you...if you feel bewildered, unappreciated, or betrayed... This book offers a solution Bestselling author and nationally renowned therapist Terrence Real unearths the causes of communication blocks between men and women in this groundbreaking work. Relationships are in trouble; the demand for intimacy today must be met with new skills, and Real -- drawing on his pioneering work on male depression -- gives both men and women those skills, empowering women and connecting men, radically reversing the attitudes and emotional stumbling blocks of the patriarchal culture in which we were raised. Filled with powerful stories of the couples Real treats, no other relationship book is as straight talking or compelling in its innovative approach to healing wounds and reconnecting partners with a new strength and understanding.

30 review for How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Britt

    I'm not married, but I don't think you should wait til you're married to learn this stuff. This holds some really great tools no matter your relationship status. I recommend this for just about anyone, but I think people who are struggling in their marriage will benefit most from this book and it's contents. I'm not married, but I don't think you should wait til you're married to learn this stuff. This holds some really great tools no matter your relationship status. I recommend this for just about anyone, but I think people who are struggling in their marriage will benefit most from this book and it's contents.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I had to read this book for my Couples Counseling class but I found it surprisingly readable. An interesting take on how the women's movement has empowered women to demand more support and intimacy, but has neglected to teach men how to do this. I had to read this book for my Couples Counseling class but I found it surprisingly readable. An interesting take on how the women's movement has empowered women to demand more support and intimacy, but has neglected to teach men how to do this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kely

    I only wished I had this book when I was married. Although the book is a bit slow at the beginning, the strategies to open communication between partners given in the last chapters of the book are invaluable. If I ever enter into another long-term relationship I will read this book again in hopes I can communicate with my partner in better and more productive ways. If you're married, you should read it. If you've become disconnected from your spouse or partner, you should read it. If you're goin I only wished I had this book when I was married. Although the book is a bit slow at the beginning, the strategies to open communication between partners given in the last chapters of the book are invaluable. If I ever enter into another long-term relationship I will read this book again in hopes I can communicate with my partner in better and more productive ways. If you're married, you should read it. If you've become disconnected from your spouse or partner, you should read it. If you're going into a relationship, you should read. Wait, everyone should read it! Men and women alike...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charles Dean

    Again, Terrence Real has me thinking hard about myself, my marriages, and the marriages of the people in my church. Fascinating.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    As I read this book, my mind returned over and over to wondering if I could have read and absorbed the discussions in this book when I was younger, whether I would have been receptive enough to the messages and ideas to have approached my 20s and early 30s with more wisdom, more clarity. Inevitably, I sense I would not have been, even if I had picked up such a book in the first place. Even coming from where I am now in my life, this book sat around for weeks until I finally started flipping thro As I read this book, my mind returned over and over to wondering if I could have read and absorbed the discussions in this book when I was younger, whether I would have been receptive enough to the messages and ideas to have approached my 20s and early 30s with more wisdom, more clarity. Inevitably, I sense I would not have been, even if I had picked up such a book in the first place. Even coming from where I am now in my life, this book sat around for weeks until I finally started flipping through it, then devoured it in days. I see myself in almost every page, in my own attitudes toward emotion and weakness and strength, in my still deeply held subconscious derision of all things coded feminine, in my own struggle to be conscious of what I am feeling and where that feeling comes from. It is impossible to write a review on the mobile app at the moment, so I will have to return when I can see more than a single line of text at a time....

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terry Sloan

    Wow! This book breaks down relationships and the work they require into small pieces that I, as a therapist and a wife, can implement instantly into my relationship and the relationships of my clients. Excellent!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bfunkiee

    patriarchy- pushing men to the masculine and women to the feminine and what a mess that will make of ur life and everybody is suffering from it in one way or another. Most important book iv ever read. Also passive dependancy disorder! commonest disorder amongst society, and much more! Best book to mature the soul and help balance the masculine and feminine in you by naming its pieces and disfunction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    Wanna know more about relationships and how to close the intimacy gap between men and women? I highly recommend a perusal...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    I loved this book. Can see that different people reading this would get different messages. My partner read it with me and we both saw good and helpful insights - but not always the same ones!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Will Moritz

    Really enjoyed this book, was put on to it after reading The Will To Change. Girls tend to be more aware than boys about the ways in which they are oppressed. Boys learn to keep their feelings in, and, rather than rebelling against this censorship, they choose to deny it. To not complain. To silence it. To numb themselves to their emotional needs. They follow a "stoic code". Research has shown that boys show a measurable decrease in expressiveness and connection by the ages of 3, 4, and 5. By the Really enjoyed this book, was put on to it after reading The Will To Change. Girls tend to be more aware than boys about the ways in which they are oppressed. Boys learn to keep their feelings in, and, rather than rebelling against this censorship, they choose to deny it. To not complain. To silence it. To numb themselves to their emotional needs. They follow a "stoic code". Research has shown that boys show a measurable decrease in expressiveness and connection by the ages of 3, 4, and 5. By the time they reach kindergarten, they are less willing to express emotion or show vulnerability. Women are not asked to beat off wild animals, and men are not asked to be wrangle with their feelings. While there is a strong and thriving community of support around emancipating women, there is less of a movement behind pushing men to open up. Don't cry. Don't be vulnerable. Don't show weakness. Ultimately, don't show that you are . --WOOOF. I fear that these ideas are deep in me, to the point that it's difficult to care about things, people...you stop showing other people raw feelings, and even worse, you stop showing yourself your own feelings. And you grow numb. You don't even know what you're missing. A frog in boiling water. Patriarchy doesn't just manifest between women and men. It happens in a man's mind: the tough, strong masculine side actively despises the feeling, emotional feminine side. The censorship happens in our own skulls. The hurt boy inside hurting men, the sweet vulnerable self wrapped in the armor of denial, walled off behind business work drink or rage, the hidden feminine behind the bluff masculine. That is the truth of the masculine that must remain unspoken...because women and children fear triggering grandiosity or shame in their men. Disassociation troubles women: of knowing, but not knowing. King something, and refusing to acknowledge it. Repressing truth. I liked his point about the fair tail that we should be even handed in our compassion for men and women. The truth is that the playing field is totally uneven, which makes uneven treatment more just. As he says, if a couple comes in, and the woman seems more hurt, he lets her speak first. And if the man seems more hurt, he still lets the woman speak first. "...two decent people, trapped inside a dying relationship. So go love's small murders: tiny everyday escalations of injury, reacted to by disconnection, causing more injury, until you fast-forward to a couple whose initial passion has become so encrusted with disappointment that they barely function as a couple any longer." There are two parts of a relationship: the parts you get, and the parts you don't get. Being in a relationship is both about cherishing the things you get, and accepting, grieving the things you don't get. You own your choice. I wouldn't say I feel more passionately, but that I feel more willing to open up. To open your heart, not to an idealized lover, but to this flawed man, woman. "Perception battle": a contest about reality. They are a huge waste of energy. Where the two are competing with their versions of the truth. His advice? Both people are allowed to be nasty at times. But take turns. Don't be nasty at the same time. "Objective reality has no place in interpersonal relationships." Our capacity to stay in deep connection on our capacity to bare solitude in the relationship. Only after giving up "the truth" can we learn to speak our truth. Loving passionately means being able to protect yourself but also to deliver yourself into someones hands, vulnerable and shivering, open to being left, hurt. The 5 skills he says couples should develop: Relational-esteem: cherish the relationship, despite it's glaring imperfections. Walks hand in hand with "cherish yourself, despite your glaring imperfections". Esteem. Learning to speak relationaly: "The way to keep passion alive is by telling the truth."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    In many ways, this is a very long advertisement. Terrence Real has developed a revolutionary therapy for couples based on the theory that the common methods are outdated due to changes in society. He makes a reasoned, strong argument, and offers several specific cases in which he's obtained positive results. So it's an advertisement in that you are tempted to hunt him down to have a few therapy sessions with him. There are times when he rather drones on about patriarchy, and I wanted to fall asl In many ways, this is a very long advertisement. Terrence Real has developed a revolutionary therapy for couples based on the theory that the common methods are outdated due to changes in society. He makes a reasoned, strong argument, and offers several specific cases in which he's obtained positive results. So it's an advertisement in that you are tempted to hunt him down to have a few therapy sessions with him. There are times when he rather drones on about patriarchy, and I wanted to fall asleep, but the examples kept me engaged. Usually when I read a book like this, I like trying out some of the methods they suggest to see if they work for me, but in this case, because it was mostly about couples working together on their issues, and my husband was not reading along with me, those things fell flat. Still, I would think that if a couple was having issues, reading this together might help, if only to encourage attending couples therapy. For therapists, this would be an excellent introduction to consider using Real's methods in their own practice. I imagine it is quite effective.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam Johnson

    A superb book, and together with Your Brain on Sex forms a powerful narrative for just how important getting better at relationship really is for people. Wounds from childhood are inevitable, and these two books describe how relationships that are aware, alive and attuned can help resolve these wounds. As a man reading this book I found it unflinchingly real, particularly where Terry gets Real (sorry, couldn't help myself) and makes it clear that he typically DOES take sides in relationship coun A superb book, and together with Your Brain on Sex forms a powerful narrative for just how important getting better at relationship really is for people. Wounds from childhood are inevitable, and these two books describe how relationships that are aware, alive and attuned can help resolve these wounds. As a man reading this book I found it unflinchingly real, particularly where Terry gets Real (sorry, couldn't help myself) and makes it clear that he typically DOES take sides in relationship counselling, and it's usually the female's side because women have typically a better sense of the truth of a relationship. Having fought long and hard to get partners to "just see my perspective for once", this was confronting. It's an immensely important book for anybody to read, whether inside a relationship or not. Unless you're planning to never be in a relationship, or would rather live out the same old broken relationship dynamic just with different people, in which case move right along.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kbroe

    Real provides a road map to intimate relationships against the backdrop of patriarchal values. Throughout the text he focuses on a typical dynamic that emerges between the sexes as a consequence of being raised on traditional gender roles. Using his own experience and experiences of couples he had provided with therapy, Real draws the pitfalls that commonly plague marriages and intimate relationships. My own greatest take away from this text was not the tables Real provided describing healthy/un Real provides a road map to intimate relationships against the backdrop of patriarchal values. Throughout the text he focuses on a typical dynamic that emerges between the sexes as a consequence of being raised on traditional gender roles. Using his own experience and experiences of couples he had provided with therapy, Real draws the pitfalls that commonly plague marriages and intimate relationships. My own greatest take away from this text was not the tables Real provided describing healthy/unhealthy behaviors across 5 categories of self-regulation and relational-regulation, but the counter intuitive directions suggested to repair the relationship with oneself and one’s relationships with others.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marie Celano

    “Women are unhappy in their marriages because they want men to be more related than most men know how to be. And men are unhappy in their marriages because their women seem so unhappy with them.” This quote really resonates with me regarding working with women and couples in therapy. There often seems to be a frustration on the woman’s part that their husbands are not better connected and relinquishing on the mans part trying because it’s never enough. In this book Terrence Real teaches couples h “Women are unhappy in their marriages because they want men to be more related than most men know how to be. And men are unhappy in their marriages because their women seem so unhappy with them.” This quote really resonates with me regarding working with women and couples in therapy. There often seems to be a frustration on the woman’s part that their husbands are not better connected and relinquishing on the mans part trying because it’s never enough. In this book Terrence Real teaches couples how to change this typical way of interacting by encouraging men to be more vulnerable and women to be more direct about what they need and will tolerate.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason Polk

    While reading this book, several times I had the thought, I love Terry Real’s work. What is refreshing is how he breaks down the cultural underpinnings of our modern-day relational problems. From how men and women are raised, to how our cultural love stories have created a perverse image of love that is rooted in patriarchy. In this book you can see Terry begin to formalize his modality for couple therapy, which is now called RLT. As a couple therapist, I loved this book. As someone who wants to While reading this book, several times I had the thought, I love Terry Real’s work. What is refreshing is how he breaks down the cultural underpinnings of our modern-day relational problems. From how men and women are raised, to how our cultural love stories have created a perverse image of love that is rooted in patriarchy. In this book you can see Terry begin to formalize his modality for couple therapy, which is now called RLT. As a couple therapist, I loved this book. As someone who wants to keep a strong marriage, I loved this book. Also, what is inviting about his work is how he shares his own difficulties with his marriage and his own “relational recovery.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Wow, this is a must read for any therapist, future therapist, or any person in a relationship. I love that he acknowledges the damage that patriarchy has done to not just women, but also men, and how we can and should adjust to this important shift taking place in modern society. Recognizing the damage inflicted because of the subtle or overt messages we have all received being raised in such a system is essential to making the correct steps to repair and heal our relationships with others an ou Wow, this is a must read for any therapist, future therapist, or any person in a relationship. I love that he acknowledges the damage that patriarchy has done to not just women, but also men, and how we can and should adjust to this important shift taking place in modern society. Recognizing the damage inflicted because of the subtle or overt messages we have all received being raised in such a system is essential to making the correct steps to repair and heal our relationships with others an ourselves. I rented this audio book from the library but will be purchasing a hard copy because it will be continually referenced for years to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan Ringrose

    Men don't like to be vulnerable and don't know how to be tender. If a relationship is important enough to them, sometimes you can get them to suffer through being vulnerable and learning tenderness to save the relationship. That's what I got out of the book. It's probably a fine book, but I was looking for something with more tell and less show. Men don't like to be vulnerable and don't know how to be tender. If a relationship is important enough to them, sometimes you can get them to suffer through being vulnerable and learning tenderness to save the relationship. That's what I got out of the book. It's probably a fine book, but I was looking for something with more tell and less show.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Almost Perfect Deep insights that are needed in this culture, and on this planet, at this time. Terrence Real understands women and understands men. A rare skill! This book is a must for all couples who suffer and who want to heal.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zsófia

    I loved it! I think it's not an understatement if I say this is one of the best books I have ever read. Books like this should be mandatory in high school or universities at least. It was hard to put it down, and I can't wait to read more from Terry. I loved it! I think it's not an understatement if I say this is one of the best books I have ever read. Books like this should be mandatory in high school or universities at least. It was hard to put it down, and I can't wait to read more from Terry.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Meadow

    Not a bad book by any means but I think what he says here is better stated by others, and some of the conversations and dynamics feel dated which actually makes me optimistic given that this was written less than last 20 years ago.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andi

    Useful relationship advice. Good beginning & ending, middle seemed a bit like beating a dead horse. Overall, though, I think the advice will help me in life, so it was valuable reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Hixon

    The detrimental effects of psychological partriarchy on both sexes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian

    When something makes you cry by just reading about it, you know, you are not lost for the world, but you have to take that compassion and do good things with it...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    His ideas are bang on, though I find the format a little frustrating, I lose the ideas amidst the stories. Over all though a good introduction to Terry's ideas. His ideas are bang on, though I find the format a little frustrating, I lose the ideas amidst the stories. Over all though a good introduction to Terry's ideas.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Louwagie

    Unfortunately, I broke my rule without realizing it: I listened to this on audio, and it was abridged. Still, I don't think I enjoyed it enough to want to read/listen to the full book (but I may have been biased because I found the author's voice a little annoying). The book is based around the idea that relationships between men and women fall apart because patriarchy conditions us in complimentary, but harmful, ways. Women are conditioned not to rock the boat, so they rarely speak up about thei Unfortunately, I broke my rule without realizing it: I listened to this on audio, and it was abridged. Still, I don't think I enjoyed it enough to want to read/listen to the full book (but I may have been biased because I found the author's voice a little annoying). The book is based around the idea that relationships between men and women fall apart because patriarchy conditions us in complimentary, but harmful, ways. Women are conditioned not to rock the boat, so they rarely speak up about their needs in relationships, whereas men have been conditioned not to be "dependent," so they hide their vulnerability and pull away. If neither party is able to "bridge the gap," the distance continues to grow more vast. As a relational therapist, Terrence Real brings more complexity to each relationship than this, but that's at the crux of it. And although I basically agree with the premise, I didn't always agree with his approach (that no matter what, usually it's the man who needs to change his behavior). And while I thought this book would be hopeful -- it is about "reconnecting" after all -- I just found it to be depressing as I had to listen to case-study after case-study of dissolving or troubled marriages. I had to remind myself that this was a small sampling of people whose relationships were troubled enough to land them in therapy in the first place, but it still doesn't make getting married look like a good venue for bringing contentment to your life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    This is a good book for the uninitiated in self-help or counseling or psychology or whichever genre, exactly, this book belongs to. Its author's challenges to feminism are refreshing and novel. But ultimately, this book was written to sell copies. It does, though, have the standard hallmarks of what babyboomers crave: the appearance of knowledge. It cites e.e. cummings and Friedrich Nietzsche and a host of other poets and philosophers. It doesn't tell you to go out and read the works from which t This is a good book for the uninitiated in self-help or counseling or psychology or whichever genre, exactly, this book belongs to. Its author's challenges to feminism are refreshing and novel. But ultimately, this book was written to sell copies. It does, though, have the standard hallmarks of what babyboomers crave: the appearance of knowledge. It cites e.e. cummings and Friedrich Nietzsche and a host of other poets and philosophers. It doesn't tell you to go out and read the works from which the citations come, of course; it just lets you know that the greatest minds in history are on the author's side, and that by agreeing with him, really, you'll bring them over to your side, too. Some of the suggestions for how persons may communicate are decent. Most of the therapy accounts are interesting. Everything that is placed in quotations by the author does, unsurprisingly, induce cringes. Or as Terrence Real might put it: What I call "cringe-inducement devices." Ultimately, this book tries hard and does its best. No, it won't be cited alongside the authors it cites, but that was never its goal to begin with.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bholdsworth7

    Having a recent relationship fail motivated me to read this book. Equally as applicable to men and women, he relates a variety of disfunction's stemming from a patriarchal society and upbringing. He describes key components of finding your voice, core communication skills, the level of hard work it takes, cycles within the relationship, and new skills to understand and keep your relationship alive. I only wish I read it with my former partner. Like all self help book, you have to take the parts Having a recent relationship fail motivated me to read this book. Equally as applicable to men and women, he relates a variety of disfunction's stemming from a patriarchal society and upbringing. He describes key components of finding your voice, core communication skills, the level of hard work it takes, cycles within the relationship, and new skills to understand and keep your relationship alive. I only wish I read it with my former partner. Like all self help book, you have to take the parts that resonate with you and leave the rest. The ideas and presentation are great and it helped me see what happened and why.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This was a good book but I did have some issues with it. The writing is good and the theory is good (I think Real's patriarchy framework in marriage therapy is awesome) but I feel that he spent too much time dissecting his own theory and not enough time implementing application to how the theory plays out in relationships. This is done much better in "The New Rules of Marriage" (same author). Also, in many of his transcripts with clients, he didn't edit out some foul language...which I would hav This was a good book but I did have some issues with it. The writing is good and the theory is good (I think Real's patriarchy framework in marriage therapy is awesome) but I feel that he spent too much time dissecting his own theory and not enough time implementing application to how the theory plays out in relationships. This is done much better in "The New Rules of Marriage" (same author). Also, in many of his transcripts with clients, he didn't edit out some foul language...which I would have appreciated. Incidentally, he did edit most of it out in his client transcripts in "The New Rules..."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rene

    I start a lot of self-help books, but many don't pan out. This one was fantastic though. I originally got it from the library, but once I read about halfway through, I bought my own copy so I could mark the parts I thought were important. The book is now thoroughly marked, and even though I just finished it, I'm going to keep it out for reference. It's helped me to understand quite a bit about relationships between men and women. Terry's writing was informative, easy to read and engaging. I only I start a lot of self-help books, but many don't pan out. This one was fantastic though. I originally got it from the library, but once I read about halfway through, I bought my own copy so I could mark the parts I thought were important. The book is now thoroughly marked, and even though I just finished it, I'm going to keep it out for reference. It's helped me to understand quite a bit about relationships between men and women. Terry's writing was informative, easy to read and engaging. I only wish he would have had more concrete examples.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexandrea

    I was not sure what to expect from this book, but I liked it. With a husband who is reluctant to read "self help" books, I was surprised that he gladly read it. It is one of the easier to read relationship books I have read in a long time. It mainly let me understand men better - which was great because my husband says I don't understand men, but he won't explain them to me so I had to find the information somewhere! I liked it enough that I am going to hunt down his other books. I was not sure what to expect from this book, but I liked it. With a husband who is reluctant to read "self help" books, I was surprised that he gladly read it. It is one of the easier to read relationship books I have read in a long time. It mainly let me understand men better - which was great because my husband says I don't understand men, but he won't explain them to me so I had to find the information somewhere! I liked it enough that I am going to hunt down his other books.

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