Mars and Venus Starting Over: A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again after a Painful Breakup, Divorce, or the Loss of a Loved One

Mars and Venus Starting Over: A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again after a Painful Breakup, Divorce, or the Loss of a Loved One

by John Gray


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Mars and Venus Starting Over: A Practical Guide for Finding Love Again after a Painful Breakup, Divorce, or the Loss of a Loved One by John Gray

Is it possible to find love again after a breakup, death, or divorce?

The end of a relationship can sometimes feel like the end of the world. Devastation, loneliness, and bitterness are some emotions that exist due to a breakup, divorce, or the loss of a loved one. But with the help of this compassionate guide, Dr. John Gray expresses that you will survive and tells you how to find love again.

While the process of healing is similar with both sexes, there are distinct differences between the ways men and women heal their bruised hearts. In Mars and Venus Starting Over, Dr. Gray offers gender-specific advice on how to:

  • Deal with pain
  • Find forgiveness
  • Discover the strength to let go
  • Rebuild confidence
  • Rise to the challenge of finding fulfillment again

Filled with gentle guidance, healing practices, and compassionate wisdom, Mars and Venus Starting Over will help men and women explore the meaning of loss, find their way through the healing process, and discover the secret to moving on.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060930271
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Series: N0n0n0000 Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 148,674
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

John Gray, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading relationship experts, and an authority on improving communication styles for couples, companies, and communities. His many books have sold more than fifty million copies in fifty different languages worldwide. John lives with his wife and children in northern California.


San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Houston, Texas


B.A., M.A., Maharishi European Research University; Ph.D., Columbia Pacific University, 1982

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

When single again, men and women face different challenges. Just as we think,feel, and communicate differently, we also respond differently to the loss of love. During a crisis of the heart, a woman's instinctive and automaticreactions are not the same as a man's. Her issues are different as well as her mistakes. What is good for her is not necessarily good for him. Ina variety of ways, their needs are worlds apart. It is as if men were from Mars and women were from Venus.

Although we cope differently, both men and women can experience equallyagonizing feelings. Starting over after a divorce, a painful breakup, or the death of a loved one can be the most challenging experience of a lifetime.For most people devastated by the loss of love, it is beyond anything wecould have expected, predicted, or imagined.

Starting over after a divorce, a painful breakup, or the death of a loved one can be the most challenging experience of a lifetime.

Our hearts ache as they cry out in loneliness and confusion. We are stunned by our helplessness. We fight inside with our inability to change what has happened. We become distraught as we sink into the depths of despair and hopelessness. We feel lost and abandoned in a sea of emptiness and darkness.Time slows down and the passing of each moment seems like eternity.

After a loss, we fight inside ourselves with our inability to change whathas happened.

It is a struggle simply to fill each empty moment and get through the day.At times the bittersweet pain of loss is replaced by a dull numbness, but then something reminds us of our loss, and once again we long to feel and love again. Never before have weexperienced our need for love and connection so agonizingly. As we are forced to face and feel the raw pain in our hearts,we realize our lives will never again be the same.

Eventually, when the healing process is complete, we fully let go. In ourminds and hearts, we surrender and accept that we can't change what has happened. Being single again, we start to rebuild our lives. Once more,we begin to reach out to give and receive love. Although we could not have imagined it, our lives come back to a sense of normalcy. After the darkness of despair, the warm, comforting, and soothing sunshine of love reveals itself once again. Although this happy ending is possible, it is not guaranteed.

Understanding the Healing Process

To heal a broken heart, we must be able to complete the healing process.This requires new insight and understanding, but most people are not awareof what is necessary. We are not taught how to heal a broken heart in school,nor is it something with which we have a lot of practice. Being in the dark and vulnerable, we either blindly follow the advice of friends and family,or we simply follow our own instincts. We make decisions and choices that may sound reasonable but quite often are counterproductive. Though we findtemporary relief, in the long run we do not nurture or complete the healing process.

We are not taught how to heal a broken heart in school.

After the loss of love, some people do thrive again. Many are not so successful.After spiraling down to the depths of despair, they never make it out tothe other side. To various degrees and in different ways, they continueto suffer their loss. Aware of the pain of losing love, they hold back fromfully opening their hearts again.

Others, who appear to have let go, sometimes really haven't. They believe they have successfully moved on, but have done so at the cost of closingthe door to their hearts. To avoid feeling their pain, they have moved on too quickly. As a result they have numbed their ability to fully feel. Without realizing it or recognizing how they did it, they have closed up. They carry on in their lives unable to feel the love in their hearts. Their ability to grow in love and happiness is stunted.

Becoming single again is definitely a crisis. Like any crisis, it is a timeof danger and a time of opportunity. The opportunity is the possibility of healing and strengthening your heart and mind so that you will move onhealthy and whole. The danger is that you do not complete the healing process. Time alone does not heal all wounds. How we cope with the loss of love determines the rest of our lives.

How the Heart Heals

To ensure that we complete the healing process, it is important that we understand the basics of how the heart heals. This process is most easily understood and visualized by considering how a broken bone heals. An emotionalwound is abstract, but a broken bone is very tangible and concrete. Recognizing the various steps in healing a broken bone can assist us in acknowledgingand respecting the needs of our broken heart.

When a bone breaks, our body already contains the natural healing powerto correct the problem. It hurts, but eventually the pain goes away. As long as we don't interfere, the body heals itself automatically, in a predictable time period. When this automatic healing process is allowed and nurtured,the bone will actually grow back stronger than before. In a similar way,if you are able to nurture the healing of a broken heart, it also will grow back stronger. The pain and despair will pass, and you will find love andjoy again.

When a broken heart heals it actually grows back stronger.

When a bone is broken, it must be reset and then be protected in a castto allow the body's automatic and natural healing processes to occur. Ifthe bone is not reset straight, then it will grow back crooked. If it isnot given enough time to rest, protected in a cast, it will remain weak.Likewise, if the protective cast is never taken off, the bone will neverfully become strong again. Similar warnings apply to the process of healinga broken heart.

Mars and Venus Starting Over. Copyright © by John Gray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

  • Emotional Lag Time
  • Grieving the Loss of Love
  • Getting Unstuck
  • Good Endings Make Good Beginnings
  • The Feeling Better Exercise
  • Finding Forgiveness
  • Saying Good-bye with Love
  • The 90-10 Principle
  • Processing Our Hot Spots
  • 101 Ways to Heal Our Hearts
  • Starting Over
  • Date Around, but Don't Sleep Around
  • Glorifying Our Past
  • Overromanticizing
  • Focusing on the Negative
  • Who Needs a Man?
  • Women Who Do Too Much
  • Fear of Intimacy
  • My Children Need Me
  • All or Nothing
  • Starting Over on Mars
  • Sex on the Rebound
  • Work, Money, and Love
  • Positive Addictions
  • We Don't Have to Stop Loving
  • Soul Mates Are Not Perfect
  • Can't Live With Them and Can't Live Without Them
  • Holding Back
  • Bigger Is Better
  • Self-Destructive Tendencies


On July 21, 1998, on AOL was pleased to welcome John Gray to our Authors@aol series. John Gray is the author of MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, among numerous other titles on the topic of gender relations and relationship guidance. He has conducted seminars on the subject for 26 years. His new book is MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER.

JainBN: Mr. Gray, thrilled you're here to discuss MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER this evening! I'm sure most of our spaceships are double-parked and in dire need of your help!

John Gray: Thank you; it's a pleasure!

JainBN: The audience is revved, so we'll get started.

Question: Your work is awesome, but I'm disappointed that you don't seem against sex before marriage. For those of us in search of romance and wanting to save that for marriage (third time), what do you suggest? Seems men want to try on the shoe before purchasing, and I can't blame them....

John Gray: Thank you. I can't blame them either, being one of those guys. However, I support people with those values. In my book, MARS AND VENUS ON A DATE, I do suggest ways that women can tell a man that they want to wait to have sex in such a way that he doesn't take offense. Here's an example: "I want you to know that I am very attracted to you," or "I find you very attractive and I'm flattered, but I prefer to wait." It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing situation. The various stages of sex -- first base, second base, third base -- can all be enjoyed if you wish to wait. Unfortunately, our society still is in the darkness about the naturalness of masturbation. When men feel more comfortable with releasing their natural sexual urges on their own, or with their partner's assistance, then it's easier to wait.

Question: How do men feel when women make the first move and ask a man out on a date?

John Gray: Some men love it. However, if a man doesn't make the first move, you can be less certain that he will pursue the relationship. Ideally, flirting is a way a woman can clearly let a man know that if he's interested in her, she will not reject him or his interest. In regard to my new book, MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER, I suggest that while a woman is taking time to heal her feelings of loss, that she continue dating without getting too seriously involved. Often, after a relationship ends, women pull back from dating. They become more picky. A man has to pass many more tests before she will go out. Rather than raise her standards, I suggest to temporarily stop looking for a marriage partner or even a partner she would want to have sex with. Instead just go out with nice, interesting men. There are literally thousands of people that I've met whom I could enjoy a date with but I would not want to marry. Please, don't postpone finding a date by waiting for Mr. Right. He generally shows up when you least expect it and more often after a series of positive dating experiences.

Question: John, I'm a big fan, and I was wondering, what do you suggest in a relationship that gets strained over long periods of time where we are forced to be apart because of business?

John Gray: For a relationship to grow, physical contact can be just as important as connecting in the mind and heart. Women particularly need cuddling, affection, and attention. In a similar way, men particularly need sexual contact. One good suggestion is writing letters or email and then also telephone sex or over the Internet. This can be lots of fun. Both partners must be comfortable touching and pleasuring themselves as they imagine their partner touching them. While these measures help, nothing can replace actual physical presence and touch.

Question: Hi. Me and hubby were separated for 18 months and got back together but feel that we will not make it. Do you have any advice on what I can do to help this marriage continue to go good, and do couples that separate and come back stay together or end up splitting up?

John Gray: It is very common for couples who separate to come back and make a relationship work. But not always. I suggest taking one day to attend a Mars and Venus workshop. Information on getting this assistance and support can be found at or, or simply call 1-888-MARSVENUS. In my new book, MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER, I explore in great detail a series of easy exercises to heal unresolved hurt, blame, and resentment. These exercises would be ideal to assist you or your partner in removing the blocks to once again opening your hearts.

Question: At the age when women are reaching their sexual prime, men's libidos are starting to attenuate. How does a monogamous couple of roughly the same age resolve this dilemma?

John Gray: Thank you for pointing out this common problem. Good communication around sex and extra support by the woman to awaken and sustain a man's sexual interest is very important. Up to 40, a man's sexual arousal is a given. For most married men over 40, they mistakenly believe that they've lost interest or at least lost much of their interest in having sex. This is actually not true. A man's physiology naturally changes. A shift takes place where he is no longer automatically in the mood whenever opportunity presents itself. He misinterprets this change as lack of interest. What he doesn't know is that with a little foreplay, a little oral sex, suddenly he is in the mood. An important training for men before and over 40 is to practice masturbating in the shower occasionally each week. This has a twofold purpose. Even if he's getting regular sex, it frees him from being completely dependent on his partner's mood for him to enjoy sexual release. Many men have lost sexual interest over the years because they don't freely masturbate and release their sexual tension at times when their partner doesn't seem interested or in the mood. It is particularly important over 40, because it helps a man to discover and experience that he could be feeling very uninterested in sex and then with a little hand motion and stimulation he can easily arouse himself, give pleasure to himself, and experience once again the delight of having an orgasm. This repeated experience gives him confidence that even though he doesn't feel in the mood for sex, part of him is willing, ready, and eager after just a little stimulation. This old saying, "Use it or lose it," applies directly to our sexual feelings. There are many examples and suggestions in my book, MARS AND VENUS IN THE BEDROOM, for men who want to awaken and sustain their partner's sexual fulfillment as well as techniques and approaches for women to initiate and awaken their partner's sexual feelings. One such technique, if she is wanting more sex than he does, is for her to regularly masturbate so that she doesn't feel sexually frustrated or become sexually demanding. She can tell her husband something like this: "I'm really in the mood, but if you're not, that's okay, I'll just take care of my needs. I just want you to know that while I'm pleasuring myself, if at any time you want to join in, you're welcome. If not, that's fine, too." This nondemanding invitation has helped many, many couples rekindle their sexual connection. Another reason it works is because as women approach orgasm, their body produces arousing pheromones which have a dramatic effect in awakening and arousing a man's sexual desire.

Question: How much stock do you put in the notion that women seek men who resemble their fathers, whether they wish to or not?

John Gray: As adults we tend to seek out opportunities to heal unresolved issues of our past. Quite often, women have unresolved issues with their fathers and, as a result, are automatically attracted to and drawn to men with similar attributes, characteristics, or even problems. When an adult relationship doesn't work out and we are in that process of starting over, this is an ideal time to heal the heart of any unresolved issues from the past. If we take time to honestly honor and look at our feelings of loss, quite automatically the unresolved hurt or losses in our past come up to be healed as well. Through this process of healing our hearts and starting over, we are free from the tendency to repeat our past, we are free to experience a soul attraction to a special person who balances and compliments who we are, to support us in our journey in this world. This kind of soul mate partner is different from being attracted to or compulsively drawn to someone who will assist us in reliving or reexperiencing some of our past unresolved issues. Certainly, a soul mate may have qualities similar to our parents. But not always.

JainBN: John, thanks so much for an enlightening hour. I can't imagine there's one person here who didn't get something out of this discussion. Many, many thanks.

John Gray: Thank you! It's been a real pleasure!

JainBN: Please come again.

John Gray: I will. I love AOL!

JainBN: So do we! Goodnight and be well.

John Gray: Goodnight everyone!

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Mars and Venus Starting Over 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a book that will encourage you utmost to overcome the trauma faced by a true lover over the loss of relationship with the beloved.This pain is something inexplicable as it is best felt none other than the victim.One should read it to feel that it is better to forget someone who is not the right person for my love ,otherwise he wont have left me.....and it is right to wait eagerly for someone who can honestly respect my feelingas, my emotions, my values and love me as I am.True love is something that grows day by day and the bold and honest person should wait and search for someome as he/she is. So be enthusiastic for the brighter days to come in your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It really helped me deal with not only the loss of my father but also the end of a 7 year romance. I think with anything it's all about our preception. How we read into it. I really liked reading that it was 'normal how I was feeling'. Normal was the last emotion I was feeling! I suggest this book to others struggling all the time. That and the Bible :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went through a very traumatic break up with a long time relationship and 'starting over' helped me tremedously.John Gray understands women and how an end to a relationship can affect our self esteem and self worth and leave us feeling used and hurt in a different way from men.I gave my whole heart and 'starting over' proved to me you can get your heart back and prepare to give it to the right man next time around. Gray understands how women give their whole heart and how in doing so you can receive such pain and anguish and never want to see another man again,but Gray got me through my lack of trust so I can find a man next time willing to respect me and love me.
Hdeuce5 More than 1 year ago
This was an AMAZING book that helped me start over. I could not put this down, and I took quite a few notes on Love Letters and understanding more about me and I am not the only one that feels the way I do and did! Also, understanding how a man works and how communication is SO important. Couples this is a must read as well as single men and women.
SidraMahmood More than 1 year ago
The book is WONDERFUL!!! It was recommended to me after a terrible breakup by a friend who happens to be a therapist and I must say it helped me immensely. Which is why I bought it from Barnes and Noble for a friend who is going through a breakup because I wanted to share the healing power of the book with him too. However, I was TERRIBLY disappointed by Barnes and Noble's service. I had ordered a gift wrap with the book along with a personal note for him. His book arrived WITHOUT a gift wrap and the note INCLUDING the receipt. I was so disappointed primarily because I had canceled my Amazon order for the same book because it seemed that Barnes and Noble had better gift wraps. Well...never go for all that glitters since it's certainly not gold. 
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe that even a few words or paragrghs of this book has made more sense to me than what some people have told me since my it for nothing else but inspiration and to prove to yourself that what you are feeling is natutal and
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the book I would recomend it to any one who has been in this stuation or is stillgoing thru it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After getting dumped by boyfriend, I'd been thru' trauma of losing an 8-year-long relationship. Finding this book by chance 3 months later, I was given by John every strength and wisdom to heal my broken heart. Hearing his recommendation, I've been under counselling therapy. I really thank John for his great work! Even though you've never been in such a pain, do read this book as 'we are not taught to heal a broken heart in school.' It's good enough for you to get prepared for it, or even better, to give productive advice to your friends when they face this challenge and need you.