“A godsend to anyone searching for, but struggling to find, true love in their lives.” —Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion
"Empowering and compassionate, and its lessons are universal." —Publishers Weekly
Real love starts with you. In order to attract a life partner and build a healthy intimate relationship, you must first become a good partner to yourself. This book offers twenty invaluable lessons that will help you explore and commit to your own emotional and psychological well-being so you can be ready, resilient, and confident in love.
Many of us enter into romantic relationships full of expectation and hope, only to be sorely disappointed by the realization that the partner we’ve selected is a flawed human being with their own neuroses, history, and desires. Most relationships end because one or both people haven’t done the internal work necessary to develop self-awareness and take responsibility for their own experiences. We’ve all heard “You can’t love anyone unless you love yourself,” but amid life’s distractions and the myth of perfect, romantic love, how exactly do you do that?
In Loving Bravely, psychologist, professor and relationship expert Alexandra H. Solomon introduces the idea of relational self-awareness, encouraging you to explore your personal history to gain an understanding of your own relational patterns, as well as your strengths and weaknesses in relationships. By doing so, you’ll learn what relationships actually require, beyond the fairytale notions of romance. And by maintaining a steady but gentle focus on yourself, you’ll build the best possible foundation for making a loving connection.
By understanding your past relationship experiences, cultivating a strong sense of self-awareness, and determining what it is you really want in a romantic partner—you’ll be ready to find the healthy, lasting love your heart desires.
Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD, is staff clinical psychologist, member of the teaching faculty in the marriage and family therapy graduate program, and clinical assistant professor of psychology at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. In addition to her clinical work with couples and individuals, Solomon teaches graduate and undergraduate students. One of her courses is Northwestern University’s internationally renowned “Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101,” which combines traditional and experiential learning to educate students about key relational issues like intimacy, sex, conflict, acceptance, and forgiveness. Solomon’s work has been widely cited, and her articles on love and marriage have appeared in The Handbook of Clinical Psychology, The Handbook of Couple Therapy, Family Process, Psychotherapy Networker, and other top publications in psychology. Her work also appears in O Magazine and The Huffington Post, and she is a frequent interviewee and contributor for the Oprah Winfrey Network, Yahoo! Health, The Atlantic, CBS Early Show, NPR, Psychology Today, and WGN Morning News. She is a sought-after speaker for corporate, collegiate, and professional audiences on topics related to modern love. Solomon lives in Highland Park, IL, with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Brian and Courtney.
Sign up for monthly articles and relationship advice from Alexandra at www.bit.do/lovingbravely, and learn more about her work at www.dralexandrasolomon.com.
Foreword writer, Mona D. Fishbane, PhD, is director of couple therapy training at the Chicago Center for Family Health, and a clinical psychologist in private practice. She is an AAMFT-approved supervisor, a member of the advisory board for the journal Family Process, and a long-term AFTA member, where she has served on the board. Fishbane lectures nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles on couples therapy and neurobiology, as well as on intergenerational relationships. She has been the recipient of honors and fellowships, most recently a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Fishbane’s book, Loving with the Brain in Mind, is part of the Norton Series on interpersonal neurobiology. Find out more at www.monafishbane.com.
“What a wonderful exploration into the language of intimacy, relationships, and love! In this deeply insightful book, you will be exposed to the key ingredients of an intimate relationship: self-love, self-worth, and self-awareness. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in engaging in life and love in an empowered way!” —Shefali Tsabary, PhD, New York Times bestselling author and psychologist
“As modern dating increasingly gets reduced to a narrow set of online search algorithms, Alexandra H. Solomon wisely implores readers to turn off the noise, tune into our authentic selves, and cultivate a deeper sense of relational self-awareness. Loving Bravely will show you how to go beyond merely swiping left or right, scrolling up and down, and instead live and love in ways that are true to your unique, multidimensional self.” —Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT, New York Times bestselling author of She Comes First
“Alexandra H. Solomon has written the best book ever about creating, developing, and nurturing relationships. Loving Bravely is very special and unique among books on relationships. First, it is anchored in the scientific knowledge about relationships, yet is engaging and interesting. Second, it speaks to the issues of the twenty-first century for young and mid-life people in relationships. And, it centers primarily on what individuals can do themselves to nurture relationships. This is the manual for any person who wants to nurture and preserve a satisfying relationship.” —Jay Lebow, PhD, ABPP, clinical professor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and editor of Family Process
“Alexandra H. Solomon has written a clear-eyed, practical guidebook on nothing less than how to love. Loving Bravely covers everything from how to shift beyond your own reactivity to how to offer an effective apology. Years of clinical experience shine through a book I’d recommend to anyone interested in loving well.” —Terry Real, founder of the Relational Life Institute in Massachusetts, and author of The New Rules of Marriage
“This is a powerful book that beautifully lays out the path to having a healthier love relationship with others, by first having a healthier love relationship with yourself. Written in an engaging manner and full of practical exercises, this book is a godsend to anyone searching for, but struggling to find, true love in their lives.” —Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor in the department of educational psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, and author of Self-Compassion
“We all want to be in love or fall in love. But as Alexandra H. Solomon so persuasively argues, most of us spend more time learning to drive than learning to love. Clear-eyed and compassionate, Solomon provides step-by-step guidance on how to gain the skills needed to make a relationship—even a good one—deeper, more satisfying, and more intimate. Loving Bravely should be required reading for anyone involved in an intimate relationship and compulsory for anyone yearning to have one. As Solomon asks, are you willing to invest in love?” —Elsa Walsh, author of the best-selling Divided Lives, and former staff writer for The New Yorker and The Washington Post
“Alexandra H. Solomon’s Loving Bravely is a terrific guidebook for anyone contemplating or engaged in an intimate relationship. This book brings together Solomon’s experience over the last twenty years studying couples, treating couples, immersing herself in couples therapy literature, and lastly, being coupled. First as a graduate student, and then a psychologist and professor at Northwestern University; as a therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University; and as a wife, Solomon has lived and breathed close relationships. No one knows this terrain better from both the inside and the outside. The wisdom in this book focuses on the concept of ‘know thyself first, fix thyself first, face thyself first.’ Loving over the long haul means developing the courage to face yourself and your partner with honesty, integrity, and compassion. Loving Bravely provides the keys to becoming a better partner and a better person, not the keys to fixing or changing your partner. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be a better lover in the truest and deepest sense.” —Bill Pinsof, PhD, LMFT, ABPP, founder, chief executive, and clinical professor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 1986-2016; and president of Pinsof Family Systems
“Alexandra H. Solomon delivers a beautifully relatable, encouraging, and practical book that walks the reader through the steps toward brave, intimate love. Her style creates safety and warmth from start to finish as she asks the readers to lean into vulnerability and connect with themselves in order to connect more deeply with others. Loving Bravely is a must-read for anyone interested in creating fulfilling and satisfying love while also transforming their relationships!” —Vienna Pharaon, LMFT, founder of Mindful Marriage and Family Therapy in New York, NY, and relationship expert for Motherly
"Psychologist Solomon, a clinical professor in the department of psychology at Northwestern University, directs readers down the road of self-discovery, positing that relational self-awareness is the key to intimate relationships. Divided into four parts—self-reflection, self-awareness, self-expression, and self-expansion—the book is modeled after an undergraduate course Solomon teaches called 'Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101.' She doesn't preach that love is perfect—'core issues will get stirred up again and again in intimate relationships'—but guides readers with 20 lessons accompanied by sets of exercises through which they learn to explore and create healthy boundaries, listen to their gut instincts, and forgive themselves and others. The tone of the book is empowering and compassionate, and its lessons are universal." —Publishers Weekly