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Intimacy and Solitude: Balancing Closeness and Independence
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Intimacy and Solitude: Balancing Closeness and Independence

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  185 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Why do I go from one relationship to another without finding what I yearn for? Why am I restless or critical with those I love - and uneasy with my own company when I'm alone? Is it possible to be close to someone else - and still be myself? Being alone. Relating to others. Both have the potential for immense personal satisfaction. Both can seem painfully elusive to balanc...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1991)
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While the entirety of the book wasn't what I was looking for, the parts I found most interesting were helpful in identifying some person issues I had. Though dense, it's not particularly difficult to follow. A solid read overall on the topics.
This book is a great look into how the early development of the self can affect your ability to experience intimacy or solitude. For those with too little self can muddle their identity within the relationship creating a we-self. People who experience muddled relationships are afraid of loneliness so they experience love with fear which interferes with intimacy. Vulnerability is needed in order to experience intimacy which can not be possible with fear. Of course to much of a good thing is also...more
Charlane Brady
I read the book in 1994 after a life-changing event and this book helped me understand intimacy.

Dowrick provides insight into relationships - with self, parents, partners and the public - and she had me evaluating my life without even realizing it. Which was nice. I realized I held the key.

The chapters flow well and are perfectly in sync.

"Without a reliable sense of self, relationships may feel dangerous: you could easily be overwhelmed, entrapped or even lost. Without a reliable sense of sel...more
Feb 25, 2014 Alisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
If this is the only book you read this year you will have made an excellent choice.
Erin Kelley
I'm better for having read this. It's a dense, slow read partly because of the effort required to process all the provocative ideas. Worth it, though, if you're in an introspective phase and ready to grow. It has academic and psychoanalytic elements alongside a personal and highly accessible writing style. It illuminated a better way of knowing and honoring boundaries and vulnerabilities in my relationships with others and with myself. I made a lot of marks on it's pages, noting the many wise pa...more
Lily Pilly
No matter how many times I read this book, I get something different out of it at each time as a therapist and a person. This is why I love Stephanie Dowrick.
Dec 18, 2007 Summer is currently reading it
This one is going slowly. what a facinating area of study and the author is coming up with some intriguing evedince, but she's writing as though it's a school paper - a really long one at that and I find that I have to re-read paragraphs to understand it's full meaning. I'm also not that fond of her personal story which although is the reason for her research, it's not necessary to the concept of the book.
I came across this book right before I went away for 2 weeks solo retreat. She is a brilliant writer a book that explores the importance of the balance of solitude and intimacy in life and how important it is to be comfortable with solitude and getting to know and love self to be successful in intimacy.
I am now reading another of hers. Highly recommend this author.
Yvonne Cowell
excellant book ., learning about self and other through decisions made in life. looking for someone to fill the gaps when it is yourself that has the potential. solitude so valued and yet borders on loneliness , and the search for an intellectual life filled with love .and warmth ,humour and connection with someone. i know more about myself now.
Kristine (fezabel)
I was given this book as a Christmas gift the year I divorced my husband of 10 years. It's a difficult book to read, simply because it raises so many different issues that should be examined and thought about before moving on. Ms. Dowrick has written several excellent books and I'm very happy to have started with this one. Highly recommended.

I really enjoyed reading this book. She writes very well and objectively.

I found it interesting to read the experiences of other people and have an idea of their views on the subject.

Gives you food for thought, both in relation to yourselves and other people you know,including your own family members.
Jen Fumarolo
This is like Psych 101. Very informative if a bit clinical in presentation. But the overall theme is an important one: You have to love yourself before you can truly love another. Sub-theme: All our issues go back to childhood. Sorry moms and dads, but no pressure. Good luck to us all!
A very good book on relationships, about the continuous conflict between being alone and being with others, and also about having a healthy relationship with oneself. As the author shows, our relationship with ourselves is automatically reflected in our relationship with others.
I hate self-help books about as much as I hate hummers; this, however, is a beautiful and passionately argued book about staying connected to who you are and what you want - all as a means to create a more peaceful, loving world.
Acacia Bernstein
Jan 08, 2008 Acacia Bernstein rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn more about human nature
Recommended to Acacia by: Found it in a book store one lonley night
I know it sounds cheezy, but this book was awesome. It really is a very easy read, but helps you look at your self, and other people to realize how you can strengthen yourself and help other people do the same.
Caroline Gordon
This did take me some time to get through but was well worth the effort. I never realised the importance of solitude in your life and how introspection helps you relate to others better. A life changing book.
Anna Claire
600 words exploring intimacy and solitude. Basically until one is okay with self, one is no good relating to others. Interesting, well researched, the writer could have been more objective.
One of those times when an author phrases ideas in the exact way you need to hear in order to begin to grow and heal. For me the book provided a pivotal point in my world view.
I read this years ago, have now lost it and am re-buying it as it has more importance now. I am also reading simultaneously Anam Cara and the Road Less Trevelled
I am almost finished. There were parts I loved about this book and parts I found really dry. It has taken me ages to get through it.
An excellent book, good consolation in lonely times. Dowrick is very sensible.
i am in constant need of both. it is confusing. this book validated me.
oh, me hurts.
oh, me will heal.
oh, it will be too much work.
Karen Clarke
Life changing, makes you think.
This is another dog-eared book that I return to often; particularly when I am feeling alone or feel that my relationships are feeling superficial. Check out this poem from the book, by Michael Leunig - "Sitting on the Fence"

'Come sit down beside me,' - I said to myself, - And although it doesn't make sense, - I held my own hand - As a small sign of trust - And together I sat on the fence.
Sophia Heng
Sophia Heng marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2014
Joanna Marie
Joanna Marie marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2014
Robin P.
Robin P. marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2014
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“How we feel about our own self, how well or little we know our own self, whether we feel alive inside, largely determine the quality of the time we spend alone, as well as the quality of the relationships we have with other people.” 13 likes
“Sound crazy? It may well be, but it is precisely in relationships of intimacy that your craziness (and mine) will be hardest to conceal. p.215” 8 likes
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