About the Book
Linda Carroll's Love Cycles will teach you how to rediscover love, fun, and passion in your most intimate partnership, no matter how challenging your relationship has become. It is a book that is relevant and applicable to people of all ages, gender identifications, social backgrounds, and personal histories.
Full disclosure: This is not the usual kind of self-help book. Instead, Love Cycles is an original and coherent theory about the cycle of romantic relationships, providing a guide for how to effectively navigate this cycle—whether you are gay or straight, single, divorced, coupled, married, or contemplating engagement.
Love Cycles will help you to understand where you are in the circle of a relationship and provide strategies and clarity on how stay happy and committed, even in difficult times. Our road map will take you from The Merge, through Doubt and Denial, Disillusionment, and Decision to the joy of Wholehearted Love.
Love Cycles unlocks the secrets of attraction, showing why we don't always choose the person who is best for us, why even the most solid-seeming couples don't always make it, and how unlikely-seeming couples sometimes are truly meant for each other.
Love Cycles is for people who want a healthy, rewarding, committed relationship—now and in the future.
Click to Read an Excerpt
This book provides a road map to the mysterious, difficult, and wondrous journey of wholehearted love. It offers a framework for following love’s path, combining insight into the latest research on the physiology an psychology of love with practical techniques for managing conflicts and developing greater intimacy. Love Cycles presents a model that is easy to grasp, drawn from my counseling work with couples and individuals since 1980 and the many teachers and modalities of training I have been fortunate enough to have worked with. I also draw from my lifelong study and love of the wisdom found in ancient mythology, poetry, songs, folklore, and spiritual traditions.
I hope this book will offer you a deep understanding of a relationship’s inevitable conflicts, a reflective space in which to examine your own choices, and a guide to strengthening your connection with your partner. Finally, I hope that this book will serve as a reminder that intimate relationships are, most of all, an “inside job.”
One of the grounding principles of Love Cycles is that love is not merely an emotion but a practice, a daily ritual we undertake. To love truly, deeply, and well is to accept that love is hard work and requires commitment to every step of the journey. Practicing love involves a set of skills — skills we will explore in depth in these pages. It also involves a commitment to play, to enjoy, and to spend time together in connection. Finally, the stages of love do not end at wholehearted loving but rather with an acceptance that the stages form a spiral; different ages and stages continue t bring new gifts and fresh challenges. Over time, we become more flexible and willing to accept the natural impermanence of relationship seasons.
To begin this journey, we must work against two ingrained ideas about committed relationships — convictions that are passed along by our culture’s narratives about love. The first idea is that “love is all you need.” If we look long and hard, this narrative tells us, we will find that one “right” person who can connect deeply with us, end our loneliness, and meet our every need. Once we find this soul mate, we will be forever enmeshed in the bubble of a shared psychic home, our anxieties and isolation melting away under love’s perpetual glow. The second, opposing idea is that long-term love is an impossible dream. When we look at the appalling divorce statistics, remember our parents’ and/or friends’ disastrous marriages, and reflect on some of the disappointing relationships in our own pasts, we may want to run away from love shrieking. This instinct to protect ourselves often leads to serial monogamy, uncommitted hookups, and sworn singlehood.
Yet despite our doubts and fears, we return again and again to the riches that love offers. We’ve all heard stories about people on their deathbeds who dismissed as trifling the money, power, and other worldly treasures they’d amassed, acknowledging that all that had truly mattered was how well they had loved. In our own lives, most of us have experienced the joy that comes form weathering stormy times in an important relationship and coming through it with a capacity to love that is stronger than ever. We want to love as powerfully and fully as possible. This quest — what I call the five stages of love — is a vital human adventure whose promise calls to each of us.
Praise for Love Cycles
“A rare and exceptional book that offers a wise and hopeful map of the geography of love. It will help you navigate the highs and lows of romance and sexual love, the quiet pleasures of friendship, and the abiding comfort of care.”
— Sam Keen,
philosopher and author of
Fire in the Belly and Hymns to an Unknown God
“Wise and immediately helpful, Linda Carroll deeply understands the challenges and potential of each cycle, and will help you normalize, survive, and master this journey.”
— Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D
author of After the Affair
and How Can I Forgive You?
“Linda Carroll’s book is impossible to read without seeing yourself in its pages. How can she be speaking directly to me—and yet she is—and everyone will feel that way. That’s because this extremely talented therapist knows what makes us tick, and can point out the inevitable stages of love that we need to navigate and master. You cannot help but be awed at the clarity and power of her observations on beginning, maintaining, and repairing profound relationships. We all need this book, to read once for perspective, and then to keep reading for guidance. This is a real contribution: accessible and meaningful from start to finish.”
—Pepper Schwartz Ph.D,
author of nineteen books on sex and relationships
and Ambassador for love and intimacy for AARP
“Linda Carroll has achieved it—a truly commonsense manual on growing relationships while growing ourselves. Love Cycles is a “must read” for all, no matter where you are in your cycle of loving. Kudos to Carroll for a valuable contribution to a discipline long in need of a ‘real’ model.”
Motivational speaker and author of
Becoming a Genuine Leader and Facing Shame