The Relationship Blog

Books about Relationships – “We’d Have a Great Relationship if it Weren’t For You”

The first book I wrote was “We’d Have a Great Relationship if it Weren’t For You” and this was stimulated by the tremendous emphasis that was going on at the time about the gender differences. The main person behind this being John Gray, the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”. I was bothered by that book, since I felt it was putting too much emphasis on our differences. That book didn’t explain to me why couples are really together. It was the standard idea that they are different so they complement each other. But, that didn’t cut it for me. I didn’t feel as though that was enough, and it made me begin to explore why I feel couples are together.

I changed the question from, “How are couples different?” to ask the question “How is a couple the same?” That was the birth of my theory: any couple that you see together, who have an interest in one another, and share energy with one another, are the same. They are not together by accident. It’s the sameness which I refer to as having the same capacity for intimacy. They may not look like they are both equally intimate but my theory is that they wouldn’t be together if that was the case. It’s not an accident that they are together.

What I mean by the sameness is that they are at the same level of fear development. They are open to the same amount of fear as the other. Again, individual partners will look like they’re capable of much more but I don’t buy it. If you’re with a partner that can only handle fear at a 3, then you wouldn’t be with him if you truly had a greater capacity for fear. You would find him boring and you would have no interest in him. So I really hold very strongly that if you’re together then you’re the same and because of that you match.

I encourage all my couples to go beneath their differences and start looking for the sameness. The idea being that we have similar fears, manifesting in similar struggles once we strip away stylistic differences. Now, you may express it somewhat differently but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that there are a lot more similarities than you’re acknowledging. The more you can really see the sameness then you can allow the equality of the relationship and have an intimate relationship. If you hold instead onto the differences that tends to pre-occupy relationships, then the intimacy is going to be limited.

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

For more information on books about relationships, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at

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