The Commitment Dialogues: How to Talk Your Way Through the Tough Times and Build a Stronger Relationship

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9780071441551: The Commitment Dialogues: How to Talk Your Way Through the Tough Times and Build a Stronger Relationship

A breakthrough guide to healing troubled relationships

Why do couples break up? In The Commitment Dialogues, bestselling author Matthew McKay dissects a range of typical dialogues gone wrong in order to illustrate how fear sabotages relationships. He introduces readers to 10 couples struggling with specific issues.

As their dialogues unfold, each couple's core problems are revealed. Dr. McKay then shows how his techniques can help heal fractured relationships and get couples working as a team to resolve conflicts over money, children, monogamy, commitment, and more.

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From the Back Cover:

Conflicts over money, sex, children, time, and where and how to live are common among couples struggling with commitment. But these issues are almost always stand-ins for deeply buried fears that have been triggered by the relationship. In this absorbing and insightful book, clinical psychologist and bestselling self-help author Matthew McKay, Ph.D., offers a unique, interactive approach to helping couples improve communication and recognize and work through the four primary fears that tend to sabotage long-term commitment:

  • Fear of Engulfment: Will I Still Exist if I Merge with You?
  • Fear of Abandonment: Is There a Magic Glue to Make You Stay?
  • Fear of Shame: You Won't Love Me Anymore if You See the Real Me
  • Fear of Emptiness: If I Keep Moving, I Won't Have to Look Inside

Based on real-life sessions from his own practice, Dr. McKay allows you to eavesdrop on other couples' therapy, see their conflicts develop from both points of view, learn where and why their discussions get ugly, and witness their struggles while they journey toward insight. Through their stories, you will learn:

  • How each of the four fears works to undermine long-term love
  • How couples can identify and overcome their fears
  • How to look beneath surface conflicts
  • How to move beyond fear to understanding, clarity, and commitment

In addition, each chapter is followed by exercises and assessments designed to promote insight into your own or your partner's fears, with guidelines for overcoming them. All successful relationships require a degree of give-and-take, learning and acceptance, goodwill, insight, and the ability to change and grow amid life's upheavals. At the core of these is effective communication. The Commitment Dialogues proves that it is possible to discuss even the most difficult subjects in a way that will positively affect your relationship.

"The reluctance of one partner to commit to a long-term relationship is usually complex. The Commitment Dialogues brings the most common underlying issues to the surface with astonishing clarity, offering transformative insights! This is a valuable contribution to the commitment problem and a must-read for any couple facing this problem."
--Susan Page, author of If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?

Overcome the fears that sabotage commitment and gain the love you truly desire

Why do so many people, despite the desire to love and be loved, have so much trouble crossing the chasm between dating and long-term commitment? Drawing from more than twenty-five years of experience as a clinical psychologist, bestselling self-help author Dr. Matthew McKay has learned that four primary fears, usually deeply rooted in childhood, are to blame. And from his countless couples therapy sessions, he has found that there is in fact a way to expose, confront, and overcome these fears.

In The Commitment Dialogues Dr. McKay shares some of the most fascinating and informative dialogues between couples from his own practice. By sitting in the therapist's chair yourself and listening in to these revealing conversations, you will gain invaluable insight into how to save your own relationship from the fears that sabotage so many. Learn how to:

  • Pinpoint where and why discussions turn sour--and get them back on track
  • Recognize the four fears that undermine long-term love and talk more effectively about them
  • Work together as a couple to clarify your hopes, desires, and needs in the present--and for the future

Most of all, this remarkable book will help you and your partner develop the communication skills, compassion, and insight to free yourselves from fear--and move on to the committed, loving relationship you've always wanted.

About the Author:

Matthew McKay, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with more than twenty-five years experience helping people change their lives. He is the coauthor of twenty-two psychology/self-help books, several of which have become standard works of reference for therapists and their patients all over the world. In addition to his private practice, Dr. McKay is also clinical director of Haight Ashbury Psychological Services in San Francisco. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two children.

Barbara Quick is the author of four books, including Still Friends: Living Happily Ever After . . . Even if Your Marriage Falls Apart and Northern Edge: A Novel, which won the Discover prize in 1990. Her reviews, essays, and articles have appeared in major publications such as the New York Times Book Review, Newsweek, Ms., the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Quick lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her twelve-year-old son, Julian.

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