Loving Men More, Needing Men Less

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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140242232
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/15/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Reading Group Guide

Loving Men More, Needing Men Less

A New Approach to Love

Enough about men! It's about women! The days of negotiating, translating, and mediating are over. After more than a decade of fixating on "needs" and arbitrating the terms of their "love" relationships, women are embarking on a new era. Dr. Judith Sills asserts that, "women are finally powerful enough to love without losing themselves in the process," and as a result, they are reclaiming emotional strength, and working towards more gratifying relationships.

Making Changes

In Loving Men More, Needing Men Less, Dr. Sills charts the course of the emotional passage that's underway. She states that love, the ever elusive "chip of enlightenment," is finally within reach. Women—married or single, searching for love or yearning to rediscover it—are beginning to reach a point of balance between loving and needing men. This subtle yet pervasive shift is a transformation in spirit, and by employing the tools of refocusing, reframing, and responding, women will begin to bring themselves closer to love. Loving him more and needing him less is an easy concept to misunderstand since "love" and "need" are buzzwords from the last thirty years of struggle. However, Dr. Sills explains:

  • Needing a man less does not mean having fewer needs. It means looking beyond men to satisfy those needs.
  • Loving a man more means sympathizing with what he wants or needs but not that you always have to give it to him.
  • Opening up to love a man more is not meant as a gift to him but as a reward for yourself.


Combining her training and experience as a clinical psychologist with practical advice, Dr. Sills outlines the path that will take women to a higher ground. She asserts, "Needing less and loving more is the newly balanced emotional center towards which women are heading."

Has Dr. Sills really launched a new women's movement towards achieving fulfilling love? Is change on the horizon? Loving Men More, Needing Men Less is sure to spark debate among women.


Dr. Judith Sills, is a clinical psychologist in private practice since 1975. She earned her Ph.D. at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City, where she was a three-year National Science Foundation Fellow, and later became director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services at Pacific Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco.

A contributing editor to Family Circle magazine and a widely known expert on relationships, family issues, and general psychology, Dr. Sills has written three other books, the number one national bestseller Excess Baggage: Getting Out of Your Own Way (1993), A Fine Romance: The Passage of Courtship from Meeting to Marriage (1987), How to Stop Looking for Someone Perfect and Find Someone to Love (1984), and numerous articles for national magazines such as Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan, and New Woman. Her work has been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and U.S. News and World Report, among other publications, and she has made frequent television and radio appearances on programs such as "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Sally Jessy Raphael," and "NBC Nightly News."

Dr. Sills lives and works in Philadelphia where she shares a home with her husband and daughter. She is currently the host of her own radio talk show on WPHAT in Philadelphia.

An interview with Judith Sills

Getting Wise About Love

In Loving Men More, Needing Men Less, you identify a new women's movement that you describe as a new resolution, distinguishing it from the past feminist revolution. Explain this concept.

The new resolution is a natural evolution of the past women's movement. The women's movement accomplished many things, but it was never meant to be the end point of development. Traditionally, women were expected to sacrifice their own needs for the sake of love. The feminist revolution established that women's needs count; that we are entitled to a fair deal and that we're willing to fight for our needs even at the expense of love. Finally, we're able to use the power we've gained to go after one of our central needs, which is love.

What do you mean by women "loving men more and needing them less"?

Loving men more is about giving yourself permission to risk love, to be biased in your lover's direction, to stretch towards tolerance when anger and frustration are so much easier. Needing men less means two things. It means not needing him to be everything he should be in order to love him. And it means getting more of what you want—more emotional security, more financial security, more excitement—for yourself, rather than through him.

Isn't this a step backwards for women?

No, not at all. Although, if we are still caught in all of our fear and frustrations with love, it's easy to hear it that way. The fact is, women are finally strong enough to demonstrate that softness does not have to be equated with weakness, that acceptance is not submission, and that valuing attachment is different from craving dependency. Love is never a step backwards, it's where we are going.

Please explain refocusing, reframing, and responding differently as strategies in helping women need less and love more.

Refocusing shifts a woman's attention away from how a man makes her feel about herself to how she feels about herself. Reframing allows a woman to be less offended by certain negative actions by viewing the situation from another point of view. We often feel what we feel because we think what we think. Responding differently allows a woman to focus on her response instead of his demand.

How important is it to choose the right person?

We each have much more influence over our experience of love than we allow ourselves to recognize. Look, this is a shift of emphasis. It's not a question of either or. Of course your choice influences how satisfied you are with the relationship. But you have more influence than you might think. You can look at the same man through so many lenses, interpret what you see in so many different ways. That means you can be biased. Why not be biased in the direction that will make you happiest?

Is your relationship with your husband different than it was 15 years ago, 10 years ago, before you wrote the book?

Definitely! Over the years I've had many marriages to the same man. I think we all do.

Do men need to follow the same principles that women do?

If you mean does loving more and needing less apply to men? Absolutely! However, the path to resolution is different. Women tend to cherish the goal of achieving love despite the enormous price they've paid for it. Men, on the other hand, are far more uncomfortable coming to terms with deep, spiritual love. They have no problem understanding early romantic love because that is perfectly suited to the male view of himself as a chivalrous prince. However, the self-exposed, stripped of your honor, we're just two human beings depth of love requires a stretch for men.


"Judith Sills has shown me how to look at myself first to improve my relationships, with advice that is always on-target and personal but delivered with a sense of humor. She 'talks' to me the way my best friend or sister would...if they had her expertise."

—Maureen from Kansas City

"Reading Loving Men More, Needing Men Less made me wonder why I had forgotten the basics which Dr. Sills pointed out so clearly...that people make mistakes, that not everything is so personal, that we don't have to take out our past disappointments on our new relationships. Dr. Sills was very reassuring and reawakened an attitude I had lost. Sometimes when you're out there looking to move forward, there doesn't seem to be a place to step...that is when a book like this becomes really valuable."

—Julia from Seattle


  1. Dr. Sills is the first to elucidate the change in women's love relationships with men—that they can love them more and need them less. This evolution has been quietly taking place in women's homes as well as in the media. How have you seen this development in mass culture? Has it affected your own relationships?
  2. In what ways do you think that the feminist movement has contributed to this new paradigm of love?
  3. Dr. Sills illustrates many problems that women have with their mates: the man who refuses to find a job, the boyfriend who can't communicate, or the husband who distances himself from any fatherly or household responsibilities. Which of Dr. Sills's recommendations might you use to improve a troubled relationship?
  4. Many times we hide our real selves or make changes in our appearance or habits to please a man. When are changes to please a lover justified and when do women go too far?
  5. Have you ever attempted to make over your mate? Did it cause tension? Which of Dr. Sills's strategies could you have used to solve the problem?
  6. Dr. Sills says there is a point where compromise is a lowering of standards and acceptance costs integrity. Discuss your own limits. How do you draw the line in determining when tolerance and forgiveness will no longer work?
  7. In what way can the principles that Dr. Sills teaches us be applied to other areas of our lives?
  8. Dr. Sills says, "Needing him less means having some money of your own. If you have no other way to get it except through him, you need him too much." Is she being radical or realistic?
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