Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Do self-help books help ailing romantic relationships

An average man will go to the shops and buy an item three times more expensive than it should be because he needs it.

A woman, on the other hand, will buy something she has absolutely no use for simply because it has been significantly marked down. Indeed men are from mars and women are from Venus, so the saying goes.

There has recently been an influx of ex (mans) planations to these differences in the form of self help books that have in the past decade bombarded bookstores across the world. These books are easy to spot from a mile away because of titles like, ‘He is not that into you’, ‘Why men Love Bitches’ and, latest, ‘Think like a man and act like a lady.’

As like any best sellers, these books make their way to the box office and the authors smile all the way to the bank as the film renditions of the books do just as well in the cinema.

In a bid to understand the opposite sex, women are often fixated on the analogies and philosophies of these books and try to apply them to their relationships as if they are the gospel truth. A counsellor in a local women’s shelter, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity explained that she had dealt with many instances where women through the aide of the self help manuals had ruined their relationships instead of fixing them as intended.

“There is no generic formula to maintaining a successful relationship, primarily because people’s attitudes, expectations, behaviour and intimacy needs differ,” explained the counsellor.

With subtitles like, ‘How to become a better girlfriend,’ and ‘reeling him in, now that he is hooked,’ many women have been left shattered by the not so positive results.

Mavis Hetherington, an international relationship expert, cited in her latest paper titled, ‘For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered,’ women have perpetual tendencies of blaming themselves when relationships fall apart. Hetherington further explains that it would be easier and quicker for many people to find life partners if they were not constantly seeking solutions or remedies to mend ailing relationships.

“One needs to know that a relationship can either work or not,” states Hetherington.

‘Lebo’, a 28-year-old bank teller, explains that for her the self help relationship books have helped her become a better person in the sense that they aided her in realising her worth and that her happiness was not dependent on her partner. Her male counterpart, ‘Karabo’, like most, men seemed to be oblivious to the self help book craze and claimed that its either he liked a girl or he didn’t and no self help book was going to alter his feelings.

Sometimes maybe leaving things to chance and letting destiny and fate take their course is a route worth considering but it also does not hurt to give them a nudge in the right direction.

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