With so many dating books out there, it seems there’s a guide for just about everyone. Here’s a look at five of this year’s offerings. By the time you make your way through this relationship gauntlet, you’ll be equipped to find a date this Valentine’s Day—and perhaps find love by the next!
Women always claim men are so hard to understand—but could that be because we’re reading into them the complexity we see in ourselves? Jeff Mac thinks so. In Manslations, the stand-up comic offers something of a you’re-too-smart-for-your-own-good (that’s us, ladies!) handbook to understanding men. With Mac as your guide, it’s suddenly easy to interpret what the man in your life is saying. Do his words and actions contradict each other? There’s truth in the old axiom, Mac says: “listen” to the actions and you’ll find mixed signals aren’t so mixed after all. Unsure whether he likes you? Again, Mac breaks it down: if he’s getting physical and keeping you around even when he’s not, you’re golden. Mac is like your best well-meaning but often blunt guy friend—one who’s happily involved and therefore willing to share insight into relationships. Ladies, we’re wrong when we assume men are hard to understand, and that’s perhaps the most useful manslation of all.
Get over it
Patti Novak won’t spoon-feed you. Get Over Yourself!, written with Laura Zigman, is filled with advice on how to move from being dateless to committed, but Novak, the star of A&E’s 2007 series “Confessions of a Matchmaker,” is just the guide—you’re the active participant. The book’s worksheets and quizzes show women ready to dig in and do the hard work of getting ready for love how to process their own desires and needs, and think about why they are where they are. That’s not always easy, especially when Novak tells you that it is you, after all! It sounds harsh, but she guides you through common self-protective behaviors to help you recognize actions that are holding you back and then heal the hurt beneath them. As you work through the past to change your future, the pressure you place on each date will diminish—and success will come.
Back in the dating pool
What do you do when, after years of marriage or a committed relationship, you find yourself single again? It’s been years (perhaps decades) since you left the 20-something’s singles scene—how has it changed? How have you?
In Getting Naked Again, Judith Sills, Ph.D., who appears frequently on the “Today” show, serves as the newly single woman’s tour guide to the now-unfamiliar world of dating. This isn’t your daughter’s book, she says, and dating is no longer as clear-cut a process as it is for your daughter. Her goals are likely easy to define: she’s dating to find love, marriage and children. But you’ve already had all of those things. What’s your goal? Your relationships with single men, married friends, your children and even yourself may have changed when you found yourself alone. But with Sills on your side, you can learn how to make the most of being single again.
You can hurry love
If you were ready to find love, like, yesterday, pick up How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in 90 Minutes or Less. Love is an emotional progression, not a time-sensitive development, Nicholas Boothman argues, and he’s going to tell you how to find it in 90 minutes or less. As a former fashion photographer, Boothman developed a knack for presenting people in their best light, and he’ll help you capitalize on love at first sight. After all, it’s how he fell in love with his wife of more than 30 years. Throughout the book he breaks down preparation and action into practical steps. You’ll quickly discover whether someone is your “matched opposite,” a person who shares your values but has a personality different enough to keep life interesting and fun.
Take Boothman’s ideas into account next time you meet someone with whom you have chemistry, and you may well fall in love within an hour and a half. Now staying in love? That’s another book—and a lifetime commitment!
Carla Jean Whitley lives, writes and dates in Birmingham, Alabama.