Love Is a Story: A New Theory of Relationships

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In this groundbreaking work, Robert Sternberg opens the book of love and shows you how to discover your own story—and how to read your relationships in a whole new light.
What draws us so strongly to some people and repels us from others? What makes some relationships work so smoothly and others burst into flames? Sternberg gives us new answers to these questions by showing that the kind of relationship we create depends on the kind of love stories we carry inside us. Drawing on extensive research and fascinating examples of real couples, Sternberg identifies 26 types of love story—including the fantasy story, the business story, the collector story, the horror story, and many others—each with its distinctive advantages and pitfalls, and many of which are clashingly incompatible. These are the largely unconscious preconceptions that guide our romantic choices, and it is only by becoming aware of the kind of story we have about love that we gain the freedom to create more fulfilling and lasting relationships. As long as we remain oblivious to the role our stories play, we are likely to repeat the same mistakes again and again. But the enlivening good news this book brings us is that though our stories drive us, we can revise them and learn to choose partners whose stories are more compatible with our own.
Quizzes in each chapter help you to see which stories you identify with most strongly and which apply to your partner. Are you a traveler, a gardener, a teacher, or something else entirely? Love is a Story shows you how to find out.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Love is a Story comes to us from one of America's most insightful and clear-headed thinkers on the perplexing subject of love. I've long been a fan of Robert Sternberg, whose theories of relationships have proven enormously useful in my own work." — Dr. Judith Sills, author of the bestselling Excess Baggage, and Loving Men More, Needing Men Less
Library Journal
Why are people romantically attracted to certain individuals and not to others? Why do some love relationships last and others fail? Fascinated with these and similar questions, Sternberg psychology and education, Yale conducted extensive research with couples and developed a novel interpretation of relationships. According to Sternberg, each person usually unconsciously sees him- or herself as the protagonist in a love story. Friction arises when partners hold differing stories. Sternberg has identified 25 romantic themes or stories applicable to short- and long-term relationships, ranging from the fantasy fairy tale "happy ever after" to the business partnership. For each story, case studies are given, dynamics explained, and the benefits and disadvantages of the story discussed. Also included are statements from an inventory developed to identify story themes. Sternberg holds that relationships can be improved by becoming aware of our stories, understanding the role they play in our lives, and revising our stories to meet our needs. Recommended for popular psychology collections.Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195131024
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Sternberg, Ph.D., is IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University. He is the coauthor of Satisfaction in Close Relationships, the author of Successful Intelligence, Thinking Styles and many other books and articles. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

I The Stories We Tell
Love as a Story 3
Our Multiple Stories of Love 13
Story Elements 21
Some Kinds of Stories 26
Where Do Stories Come From, and Where Can They Go? 31
II Love Stories
Asymmetrical Stories 49
The Teacher-Student Story 49
The Sacrifice Story 55
The Government Story 60
The Police Story 68
The Pornography Story 75
The Horror Story 82
Object Stories 90
Person as Object 90
The Science-Fiction Story 90
The Collection Story 96
The Art Story 102
Relationship as Object 108
The House and Home Story 109
The Recovery Story 115
The Religion Story 121
The Game Story 127
Coordination Stories 135
The Travel Story 135
The Sewing and Knitting Story 141
The Garden Story 147
The Business Story 152
The Addiction Story 157
Narrative Stories 165
The Fantasy Story 165
The History Story 171
The Science Story 179
The Cookbook Story 185
Genre Stories 193
The War Story 193
The Theater Story 198
The Humor Story 204
The Mystery Story 209
III Implications
Testing the Story View 219
What Is Love? 225
Notes 231
Index 237
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