Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life by Thomas Jordan Ph.D

Book Blurb:

After 30 years of clinical research and treatment of patients with unhealthy love lives, Dr. Thomas Jordan has recognized that most people aren’t actually in control of their own love lives. Why? Because most people don’t know how to identify and change what they’ve learned from the love relationships in their lives. In Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life, you will learn how to make real—and lasting—improvements in your love life.Starting with the family into which we’re born, we learn from all the love relationships in our lives, especially the unhealthy ones. Learn to Love will show you how these experiences help to form a psychological blueprint that controls the love life experiences we have as adults. If what you learned about love relationships was healthy, you’ll replicate this and have a meaningful and satisfying love life. But if what you learned was unhealthy, chances are you’ll continue to make the same love life mistakes over and over again. Learn to Love will show you how to unlearn this unhealthy learning and form the love relationships you’ve always wanted to have. The simple formula presented within the pages of this book has helped many of my patients begin taking control of their own love lives, as well as helping me improve my own love life. Learn to Love will help you learn how to take control of your love life. 

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


“I hate to start off with a dirty word, but the opposite of defensiveness is vulnerability” (pg. 67). 

I opened this book and immediately did not want to like it. So I put it down, then picked it back up, and still decided I didn’t like it (but bear with me!). Dr. Jordan uses the first third of the book to talk about everything that’s commonly wrong with love relationships. Which, in hindsight, I should have expected, given the subtitle of the book is Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life. The content isn’t what slowed me down, though: the grammar is atrocious. I really hate saying that because I genuinely believe that if you can understand what someone is trying to say, their grammar doesn’t really matter, and that everyone comes from different backgrounds with different writing styles, so grammarians really should be more inclusive. However, the typos, comma splices, and jarring mix of middle-grade and high academia lexicons made the book difficult to read at times. The entire first half of the book took me forever to read because I kept having to reread sentences and paragraphs that just didn’t make sense. 

The second half really redeemed itself, though! I don’t know if the grammar got better or I just got used to Dr. Jordan’s style, but I breezed through it and found myself absolutely fascinated. The book is divided in three major parts that all flow together: first, you learn how we learn about love and how we relate in love; then we learn about the common relationship problems that settle in our unconscious minds; and finally, we learn how to dig up those issues and correct them into healthy behaviors. 

The organization makes sense — we can’t fix something about ourselves that we don’t even know about — and Dr. Jordan provided numerous examples of how poor relationship experiences form poor habits. I do wish he provided some less extreme examples (let this serve as a warning for brief mentions of abuse and sex!). It seemed like most of them involved abuse or levels of neglect or dependency from parents that might have warranted a visit from child protective services. Though these things, unfortunately, do happen often, I was blessed enough to not have gone through them, and I’m sure other readers are in the same boat. What sort of unhealthy habits do good-but-not-perfect parents or romantic partners pass on?

Truthfully, I haven’t been in many romantic relationships, but thankfully Dr. Jordan expanded love relationships to include other types of love, mainly that of parents and children. I like that he taught his readers how parents tend to teach their children about love. Even someone like me, who’s sadly inexperienced in the realm of relationships, can read this book and be able to both improve my relationships with family and even friends and prepare myself for future romantic relationships. 

I really got the absolute most out of the third part of the book, the “Unlearning Method.” In this section, he listed out the ten most common unhealthy experiences he’s seen in his patients, and he provided succinct definitions and examples to remind readers of what they look like. He also provided a lot of checklists and worksheets that readers can fill out to help them become conscious of their unhealthy experiences and habits and that help them replace those habits with new and good ones. As I mentioned above, even people without a lot of romantic experience can use this book to prepare them for future relationships. I also think it just provides really good practices for self-reflection and personal growth. 

If this book started at section III, it would earn back at least one star. But the distracting grammar and verbiage at the beginning makes me give this book three stars. 

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