BOOKS FOR ORANGE COUPLES
Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, by Helen Fisher, provides an in-depth analysis of the upper right-hand chemical processes in our bodies and brains that are experienced when we feel attracted, fall in love, commit ourselves, or get left by a partner. As an anthropologist, she identifies our deep-seated desire to have our Primary Fantasy met (to experience chemistry and to fall in love) as hardwired into our brains through millions of years of evolution. Through brain scans and chemical analysis she was able to link the states of sexual lust, infatuation, romance, commitment, and heartbreak to specific hormones and brain activities. Even though (or because) it grossly reduces love to
the upper right-hand quadrant, it is a perfect, fascinating, and contemporary companion to all other relationship books.
Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love & Fulfilling Relationships, by Greg Baer, addresses orange and below that is
engaging in what he calls “imitation love” of getting (demanding what makes us happy—or else) and protecting (emotional wounds) versus “real love” or “unconditional love.” His rational right-hand approach suggests making our partner happy by swallowing any kind of behavior by him or her without having expectations, emotionally reacting, blaming, fixing, or criticizing—unless a promise is broken (pages 54-55). According to Baer, we will attract a partner who sees, accepts, and loves us for who we are if we are truthful about ourselves without protecting our childhood wounds. In
an interesting section about choice (pages 37-40) he outlines that we can either live with our relationship and like it, live with it and hate it, or leave it (for example if our partner is physically abusive—see page 233). As the title suggests, Baer often talks about “The Truth” and therefore gets frequently stuck in “performative contradictions,” as he assumes that happiness is derived from doing (behavior) instead of being, and does not recognize vertical development or the interior (unconscious, healing, and growth). However, the book is certainly useful for angry people (a major
theme) who suffer and cause suffering to others by living in constant opposition to life and their partner.
Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix, addresses unconscious childhood wounds that either lead to what he calls “unconscious marriages” that are codependent and full of power struggles or a “conscious marriage” in which the couple learns to heal and grow by (1) closing the exits (dedicating themselves to healing and growth instead of leaving), (2) creating a zone of safety, (3) engaging in pleasurable activities (creating intimacy), (4) increasing knowledge of themselves and their partner through better communication (active listening, mirroring, validation, and empathy), 485 and (5) containing rage. His BLUE/ORANGE approach covers all four quadrants by drawing from a number of disciplines, including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, but ignores vertical development. Out of his own experiences in a failed marriage and his work with thousands of singles and couples, he and his current wife developed Imago Couples Therapy which is outlined in 10 steps and 16 exercises in Part III of the book. Hendrix’s classic book (not to be confused with pop psychology
authors Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks’s 25+ books, and academic researchers Clyde and Susan Handrick’s work—see Bibliography below) is profound and practical, with many stories and examples. The advice and exercises are helpful for modern and postmodern couples who truly want to enter the challenging path of mutual healing and growth inside their partnership, instead of choosing the easy way out through divorce.
The New Rules Of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work, by Terrence Real, is yet another book that recognizes how the
liberation of modern women at the end of the twentieth century challenged men who want to be in a partnership not to only be successful protectors and providers, but also to be emotionally available (pages 6-9). It provides “a new set of rules that can help men become more responsible and more emotionally available while helping women become less resentful and more effective.” Real defines intimacy as “a process of connection [receiving and transmitting] in the five areas of human experience: intellectual, emotional, physical [social], sexual, and spiritual” (pages 21-24)
which essentially covers the four quadrants. He advises men to take an inventory in these five areas and to start practicing their intimacy skills (pages 2532). Chapter two focuses on five losing strategies that prevent intimacy: (1) needing to be right, (2) controlling your partner, (3) unbridled self-expression, (4) retaliation, and (5) withdrawal. By learning to stop projecting their childhood related CNI’s (Core Negative Images) onto their partner, couples can break the vicious cycle of losing strategies by addressing psychological boundary violations such as yelling and screaming, name-calling, shaming or humiliating, telling what the other should do, breaking agreements/contracts, lying, and manipulating—if need be through individual psychotherapy (page 104). Developing good boundaries (staying protected AND connected) and healthy self-esteem (your intrinsic worth and value as a human being) become the foundation for the level of intimacy that the reader hopes to generate (pages 120-157). The failure
to do so is illustrated by a grid on page 147 (resembling the four unhealthy feminine/masculine polarities) with grandiosity ascending), shame (descending), boundaryless (communion), and walled-off (agency) as their coordinates. The ability to balance and harmonize the four polarities in a healthy way leads to the five winning strategies of (1) shifting from complaint to request, (2) speaking out with love, (3) responding with generosity, (4) empowering each other, and (5) cherishing [what you have] that are outlined in detail and with practices on pages 163-279. The New Rules Of Marriage will work best for ORANGE couples with a willingness to rescue and improve their partnership by learning how to (1) identify their wants and needs, (2) listen well and respond generously, (3) set limits and stand up for themselves, (4) know when to back off, (5) know when to get help, (6) know when to embrace what they have with appreciation and gratitude, (7) share themselves and receive their partner, and (8) actively cherish
each other (page 18) by becoming more emotionally available.
Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, by David Schnarch, has become a classic of the genre, integrating for the first time sex therapy (body) and couples counseling (mind). Starting out with the question “If sex is a natural function, why are some people not responding or not willing to respond?” (page 41), he found the answer in misconceptions about sexual behavior and emotional blocks which prevent deeper intimacy between couples, to which his answer is—you guessed it—ongoing healing and personal development.
According to Schnarch, this healing and development can be accomplished by focusing on the present without unearthing childhood wounds. Hence, the book is about resilience rather than damage, health rather than old wounds, and human potential rather than trauma (page 43). In a process he calls “differentiation” (pages 53-74), which balances and harmonizes individuality (agency) and togetherness (communion)—or to be simultaneously a whole and a part—he establishes the importance of self-validated (versus other-validated) emotional intimacy through sharing of feelings and thoughts independent of our partner’s “validation” (pages 106-111), which leads to a more satisfying sex life and fulfilling marriage. At
the end of part one of the book we learn that “the brain/heart is our largest sex organ” (page 134) that generates sexual desire, and about its role in experiencing erections, sexual joy, and orgasm.
Part two of Passionate Marriage focuses on practical strategies for emotional and sexual connection, with chapters on hugging till relaxed, kissing and love making with open eyes, eyes-open orgasm, the mental dimensions of sexual experience (such as staying present in your body or with your partner during sex), and finally “fucking, doing, and being done”—a chapter on uninhibited wet sex.Part three of the book is titled “Observations on the Process,” with chapters on the dilemma of choice between agency and communion, 486 holding on to yourself during conflict (self-mastery, self-control, learning about yourself, confronting yourself, self-validated intimacy, taking care of yourself—page 324), couples in the crucible of growth (balancing growth and stability—page 355), and the last chapter on sex, love, and death in which—surprise—he discovers Wilber’s book Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality . From it he picks the four drives of a holon (and ignores everything
else) which resemble his model of differentiation and “explains” hy couples who continuously differentiate and integrate grow in consciousness towards more spiritual and Integral awareness and hence Integral Relationships. WOW!
In his conclusion, Schnarch outlines that partners who share underlying values (level of consciousness) can change their behavior without losing their individual identity. This allows them to want for their partner what he or she wants, instead of changing each other to get their own way. Even though this lengthy 432-page book looks at relationships from a left-hand perspective and only differentiates between pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional stages, it may be the most Integral relationship book and speaks to sex-positive and radical growth-oriented ORANGE and above couples.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, by Sue Johnson (hardcover edition) is a new bestseller and concludes that “A sense of secure [emotional] connection between romantic partners is key in positive loving relationships and a huge source of strength for the individuals in those relationships” (page 22). Inspired by the findings of British psychiatrist John Bowlby, Johnson developed Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT), which has a simple message: “Forget about learning how to argue better, analyze your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection” (page 7). Her therapy—which claims a 70-75 % success rate (page 7) for her self-selecting clients—is based on three components that encourage emotional connection: (1) Accessibility: Can I reach you? (2) Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally? (3) Engagement: Do I know you will value me and stay close? (pages 49-50). These components are exemplified in “Seven Transformative Conversations” (pages 63-203) that are titled (1) Recognizing the Demon Dialogs, (2) Finding the Raw Spots, (3) Revisiting a Rocky Moment, (4) Hold Me Tight, (5) Forgiving Injuries, (6) Bonding Through Sex andTouch, and (7) Keeping Your Love Alive. The process is similar to non-violent communication, which teaches owning and sharing of feelings, and asking partners to meet emotional needs for connection. Unlike Passionate Marriage (which suggests using relationship-conflict for healing and personal growth by balancing and harmonizing healthy agency and communion), and How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It (which advises couples to break the fear/shame cycle by taking responsibility for their own feelings and behavior), Hold Me Tight advocates for undifferentiated dependence (communion) and requires reciprocity to work. Written from a feminine perspective of need for emotional safety (page
22) and fear if it is lost (page 30), Hold Me Tight claims that “healthy dependence is the essence of romantic love” (page 253) and that men, in addition to being providers and protectors, need to learn that to “cuddle and connect emotionally is vital for a healthy love relationship” (page 255).
It is therefore best suited for orange couples who transition into green and want to rescue their marriage, and women who are in relationship with emotionally needy green men. People in second-tier will most likely find the attachment- and need-driven approach to be unbalanced and counterproductive to their healing and growth, while it is unlikely that amber and below will be able to master the required “interior” emotional work.
BOOKS FOR ORANGE SINGLE WOMEN
Is He Mr. Right?: Everything You Need to Know Before You Commit by Mira Kirshenbaum (hardcover edition) is the typical book for attractive and affluent single orange women who seek the elusive good-looking, successful, and entertaining “hot guy” who also makes them feel secure by being able to control his negative emotions (anger) and commits himself exclusively to give her his time and money (see cover with the man on his knees holding a diamond ring and pages 74-95, “Hot Guy/Safe Guy Ping Pong” ).
As we know there is a big discrepancy in our modern society between the many attractive and successful orange women who look for such men, and the few available bachelors who fit both, the “Hot” and “Safe” criteria. Since there is no shortage of so called duds (loser men—pages 95-108) who compete for attractive orange women, Is He Mr. Right focuses on getting rid of the ones who don’t fit both criteria as quickly as possible.
According to Kirshenbaum, the criterion for Mr. Right is NOT compatibility, but how he feels in five dimensions of what she calls chemistry (pages 11-38); (1) comfortable and close, (2) safe, (3) fun to be with, (4) sexually attractive, (5) respectable by being smart, powerful, and successful—and respectful of her ambition and accomplishments. If any of these areas do not feel 100% right, dump the dud and move on (pages 61-72 “Can You Dump The Duds” )—otherwise he is a keeper and everything else will work itself out (pages 132-135 “Chemistry trumps lifestyle differences” ). If this strategy does not work for a woman, it may be that she is not ready for a partnership because of unresolved issues from past relationships (pages 139-152), lack of self love (pages 153-159), inability to deal with his emotional baggage and financial obligations (pages 160-166), her insecurity (pages 167-181), and/or negative family and peer pressures (pages 182-186).
The final part of the book focuses on “stages” (states) of relationships and what to do: (1) on a first date, interview him about how he spends his time, how he feels about women, how he likes his job, if he has roommates, how his previous relationships ended, how available he is, and any other questions that are important to her (pages 194-195), (2) not to fall in love before it is clear that there is chemistry and that he is hot AND safe —otherwise dump the dud (page 213), (3) not to make a commitment during the love struck-phase, (4) only to have sex when it feels right for her,
not to confuse “horniness” with love, and to see great sex as an important microcosm of the relationship, (5) not to try to work on the relationship if things get worse after the six-month love-struck phase and to say good-bye to the guy (page 235), (6) not to negotiate with him once she is ready to break up and move on (page 246), (7) how to get him on his knees, to offer her a ring, and to drag him to the altar (pages 247-252), and last but not least (8) how to say good bye to Mr. Maybe (page 253). This genre of books (of which there are many—e.g., Barbara DeAnglis’ Are You the One
for Me , Dr. Phil McGraw’s Love Smart: Find the One You Want—Fix the One You Got, or Dale Koppel’s book below) works well for highly attractive career women who are relationship- and sex-positive. They are also a good read for “loser men” who get constantly rejected by attractive women and don’t understand why.
The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Online Dating, by Dale Koppel is an inspiring book for orange career women and men who seek an affluent“fuck buddy” or “friend with benefits” (the author’s words’ pages 89 and 95). It provides very useful tips for a rational and efficient right-hand approach to proactive Internet dating. Its central message is: Don’t sit around and grieve after a breakup, life is too short (the author posted her profile 12 days after her husband of 25 years left her). Get into shape (she is very slender/sexy and had cosmetic surgery), make dating your
second job, take great pictures, make a list of what you want, write a witty profile (consider lying about your age, marital status, drinking habits, and location—pages 24-25), cast a wide net, actively contact all men that look even remotely interesting, quickly eliminate the losers (her favorite wordis “Next!”), learn from your mistakes, meet as soon as possible for a short interview, play the numbers game as efficiently as possible, and stay open to possibilities. The book is well written, contains many pragmatic tips for Internet dating, is succinct, comes to the point, and has some fun little stories. It is recommended for driven single orange women and men, and also serves all men who want to identify women like her before paying for dates, wasting their time, and being humiliated.
BOOKS FOR ORANGE SINGLE WOMEN AND MEN
Relationship Roulette: Improve Your Odds at Lasting Love by Carol Diamond (hardcover edition) traces “unhealthy” partner choices back to unconscious childhood memories that created a lack of love that later attract adults to a partner with a mutually compatible pathology (chapters 1 and 2). Once smitten, these couples struggle with creating healthy closeness (balancing agency and communion) because they either fear to become engulfed or abandoned (pages 21-23). Page 24 provides a list of early indicators for emotionally unavailable individuals that can’t commit to becoming interdependent. In order to “undo the damage” (page 33), singles are asked if they are fully available to do the healing work and create the necessary space in their life to overcome their ambivalence towards being in a healthy partnership. If the answer is yes, then chapter four provides some basic dating advice, before the author touches on the definition of the word “love” in a historical context in chapter 5, covering the Greek notions of eros, agape, philia, and storge, 487 as well as the opinions of Freud, Jung, and Adler about romance. The following chapters focus on partners that are wrong for each other (page 63) with examples of various (dysfunctional) relationships and living-arrangements that they form.
Chapter 9 covers communication problems between the sexes, followed by some basic advice on how to overcome them (reflective listening, validation, honesty, responding (instead of reacting), showing respect, avoiding projections (called transference and displacement), making “I” statements, negotiation and compromise, and, last but not least, non-verbal behaviors). The final chapter 11 outlines an action plan with examples to (1) recognize your relationship patterns, (2) dentify the changes you want to make, (3) set your goals, (4) develop a plan of action, and (5)
implement your plan. This short and easy to read book focuses on unconscious conditioning in the interior quadrants and provides many stories of dysfunctional couples to illustrate its left-hand approach to finding lasting love.
A BOOK FOR ORANGE SINGLE MEN
Stumbling Naked In the Dark: Overcoming Mistakes That Men Make with Women, by Bradley Fenton, is a short book that promises men more sexual success by learning how to be more confident and how to break out of the adversarial game-like patterns that are often created when they approach women in an aggressive way that feels pushy. Instead of using the self-centered red PUA’s techniques (see above) of deception and persuasion, Fenton suggests changing the old behavior patterns of men (who do anything to get sex) and women (who protect themselves from being hurt) that make dating difficult (pages 8-10) by trading the win-lose game for a more assertive, direct, and honest approach. By recognizing the evolutionary condition of women to choose successful providers as mates (pages 21-23), he teaches men to lead by following women’s cues.
Concept one is to develop an “I can take it or leave it” or “selectively indifferent” attitude, the middle path between being a jerk who does not give a shit about her and the desperate neediness of an insecure man (pages 24-47). Concept two covers building trust by making her feel comfortable through skillful conversation techniques that focus on her needs instead of his sexual desires, and by applying NLP techniques such as mirroring of
her body language and communication style (pages 48-60). Concept three involves opening a conversation with a “No” agreement, which puts you at ease to accept her rejection and gets her to say yes more often by putting her in control of her choices (pages 61-66). Concept four teaches how to ask good questions and to listen actively (pages 67-97). Concept five advises to ask her at the end of a first date how interested she is in you on a scale from 1 (not interested) to 10 (very interested and wants to see you again). If the answer is between 7 and 9, he suggests to ask what it
would take to get you to a 10, and to assume that she is ready for physical contact such as kissing—which will lead to sex if you express your desire AND that you want to respect her pace (and you are ready whenever she is). The final concept addresses the removal of roadblocks to success such as fear of approaching women and striking up a natural conversation, negative self-images, need for approval, and sexual neediness. This is a useful little guidebook for men who seek basic advice on how to be more successful with orange women by applying techniques that focus on the lower quadrants.