Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love” as Want to Read:
We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,392 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by HarperOne (first published 1945)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about We, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about We

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,392 ratings  ·  102 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love
Jiyoung Park
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book made me re-think about what love, relationships and companionship mean. He mentioned 'stirring the oatmeal' as a metaphor of human love, and it is absolutely true.

Here's my favourite part of the book :

“Many years ago a wise friend gave me a name for human love. She called it ‘stirring-the-oatmeal” love… Stirring oatmeal is a humble act—not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, t
Holly Troup
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In this re-telling of the myth of Tristan and Iseult, Robert A. Johnson uses Jungian psychology to re-define what love should and can be.
Johnson traces the evolution of romantic love from its Cather/troubador origins in the twelfth century to modern times.
In medieval times, passionate love, in its ecstasy and suffering, was a means for transformation. The passion of love spiritualized the elect in anticipation of the ultimate transformation: Death.
In contrast, through the influ
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-changers, life
Explains the roots of our modern notion of romantic love and why it's incompatible with everyday life. A bit unpleasant at first, but it offers the way out of the cycle of melodrama I've been living for the past 10-15 years. I call that a happy ending!

In summary, distinguish between the sacred and the ordinary. Have an inner life where you explore and respect the sacred and your own soul, rather than expecting another person to embody that for you. Keep your human relationships humble and down-
Aug 31, 2009 rated it liked it
As I tried to rate this book just now, I hovered over the stars that read "It was okay" and "I liked it," back and forth, for a while. It was okay. And I liked it. I didn't like it nearly as much as I liked Robert Johnson's similarly titled books, He and She. We follows the same structure as the other two books, using a myth to help illustrate a psychological structure. In this case, he attempts to illuminate romantic love through the story of Tristan and Iseulde but he warns us female readers right at ...more
Ricche Khosasi
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jungian, psychology
at least this is what eastern people does, but some of the eastern may break true the true rule and more to the western culture.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Book largely based on transactional analysis, using Tristan and Isolde as a foundation for analysis of delusional concept of love.

I recommend this book to every person as I do all Johnson's books - He, She, Inner Work, Ecstasy, Transformation, and Owning Your Own Shadow. Johnson is a fine writer and great Jungian analyst.
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
I didn't really enjoy this book. Filled with a lot of stuff I didn't really understand and very little practical knowledge of which I didn't already know. I did enjoy the last chapter though.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary. Read this. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a serious relationship, dating casually, or entirely disinterested in any sort of “romantic” entanglement; all human relationships can benefit from the information presented in We. Johnson provides a Jungian analysis of romantic love and its place in man’s psyche. I feel the following quotes summarize its message:

“It is difficult for us to see the difference—the vast difference—between relating to a human person and usi
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this for its classroom value -- for both my Myth & Courtly Love classes. And it was useful and interesting. But I'm not a fan of Jung, so that bit got a bit old.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the interplay of male/female jungian archetypes in relationships
It's a wonder the human race has survived at all. We certainly do like to torment each other ...
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it

"We often hear a man and woman trying to "settle things" by arguing, criticizing each other, talking logic, poking holes in each other's arguments, splitting hairs. Then they wonder why all the spontaneous feeling of love and warmth has gone out of their marriage or their time together! These kinds of negotiations are always "sword" activity; people are talking sword talk.
The sword can not build relationships: it can't settle anything, it can't bind together. It can only rip
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think this book could have been summed up in a much more concise way using about a third of the paper.

"Many years ago a wise friend gave me a name for human love. She called it 'stirring-thr-oatmeal' love. She was right: Within this phrase, if we will humble ourselves enough to look, it is the very essence of what human love is, and it shows us the principal differences between human love and romance.
Stirring oatmeal is an humble act--not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatednes
Amy Goalen
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by my therapist and it was so incredibly eye opening. It gives a whole new perspective of what romantic love is and what we have come to believe that it is. It applies jungian principles to how we expect to play out the myths of fairy tales in our current love relationships. It also gives some real indicators of why so many marriages and relationships fail in our society. There is so much information to absorb in this 200 page book that I really want to read it a ...more
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
It gives a great perspective as to how we humans experience love. It also gives a good explanation of what is the difference between romatic love and, true and mature love. It talks about expectations, desires, passion, commitment, fears, etc. It helped me to understand why my love parners acted the way they did in our relationships, as well as why I kept fighting for those unfruitful relationships. ¡Trully interesting!
Jake Maguire
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This book was given to me by a friend, and I really found it interesting. Robert A. Johnson is a world renown Jungian analyst and psychologist, and his writing is clear, concise, and beautifully articulated. If you find romantic love, or just love in general, a topic of interest or exploration then I highly recommend reading this.
Jesse Winslow
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
When I first picked up this book I thought "Great. It's another one of those books where they try to symbolize every bit of a story. I continued to feel that way until about the middle of the book when I was hit in the face with some pointed remarks regarding romantic love, it's illusions, and the secrets to a long-term relationship. I ended up loving the book. Highly recommended.
Amy Wilder
Nov 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I stumbled on this on my parent's bookshelves right around the same time I was starting to feel like falling in love was what life was all about. Johnson, a Jungian psychologist, uses mythology to explain psychological truths. For a analytical kid like me, perfect light reading.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful and eye-opening perspective on certain attitudes we have towards romantic love! Great, stereotype - bashing and freeing at the same time to love "humanly". One minus though - why, oh why is there so little about females and their perceptions on romance????
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book exposes and exemplifies dysfunctional love using a timeless and famous medieval love story. In turn, it helps you to understand true healthy love. I strongly recommend this book to all enthusiasts seeking for an explanation of Love.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
Still the only self-helpish book I've ever read that actually changed my life and my view of relationships. We are using readings from this for our wedding.
Mick Dods
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend. This should be a subject at school.
Greg Talbot
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I am weary, and my deads profit me nothing; my lady is far off and I shall never see her again. Or why for two years has she made no sign, or why has she sent no messenger to find me as I wandered?...I in my turn, shall I never forget she who forgers me? Will I never find someone to heal of my unhappiness?"

It may be too late for us. Our models for relationships are imbued with fantasy, unrealistic expectations and our hopes are unsatiated. We cast aside a breathing partner for the next fling that tak"I
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018

Table of Contents
A Note on the Sources and Translation of the Myth
A Note for Women
On Myths

1. Blanchefleur
2. The Child of Sadness
3. Islands of Consciousness, Seas of God
4. The Sword and the Harp

5. Approaching the Wine
6. The Wine of Herbs
7. Iseult the Fair
8. The Love Potion in History
9. Guile and Force

Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well crafted exploration and explanation of Western views on romantic love and how it has become detrimental to the evolution of men and women. Author shows us the history through the detailed analysis of myth, deconstructs the romantic love notions Westerners hold and pits it against the innate needs of the anima and animus and finally offers a better solution, that while it seems to be common sense is also abundantly elusive in our world.
Highlighter recommended.
Bob Griffin
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
An understanding of romanic love... failures and possibilities. The definition of soul is valuable in itself. "Soul is a separate part of us... that points toward God." This seems to be something the contemporary atheist have not understood. A good read anytime.
Calvin Romance
Great perspective on Love

This book was very educational with dense historical themes to communicate the point. This book requires patience because the allegorical commentary is a bit lengthy. If you can take your time with it, it may be life changing for you.
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although I was put off at first by the author's occasionally maddeningly superior tone and his vague, sometimes other-worldly style, I liked this book in the end. I think he makes some very good points about romantic love, and it was interesting to study the psychology of it.
John S.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any sensitive man or woman
Recommended to John by: a lady of mystical leaning
Top-rate emotionally touching study and explanation of the source of romantic love in western culture.
The re-telling of the medieval myth of Tristan and Iseult, which is part of this work, is beautifully done.
Derek W.  Wade
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-this-book
Excellent insight into mans shadow feminine self (anima) and woman's shadow masculine self (animus) and how we project them onto each other. Explained via the classic story of Tristan and Isolde, no less.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers interested in Jungian Psychology, symbols and dreams
Recommended to Sheri by: Nick
A great lesson, through fables and myths, of how 'romantic love' has overtaken 'human love' in the Western Psyche. This book offers insight into how this happened, and starting on a path towards separating the 2.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships Healing the Wound of the Heart by Welwood, John ( Author ) ON May-03-2007, Paperback
  • Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride: A Psychological Study (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 12)
  • The Feminine in Fairy Tales
  • Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy (Reality of the Psyche)
  • The Psychology of Romantic Love
  • Undefended Love
  • The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 32)
  • Gods in Everyman
  • A Little Book on the Human Shadow
  • Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung's Psychology
  • Invisible Partners
  • The Grail Legend
  • Re-Visioning Psychology
  • Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 79)
  • Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature (New Consciousness Reader)
See similar books…
Robert A. Johnson is a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst in private practice in San Diego, California. He has studied at the Jung Institute in Switzerland and at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India.
“Animus is the soul in woman just as anima is the soul in man. Animus usually personifies himself as a masculine force and appears in women’s dreams as a masculine figure. Women relate to their animus side differently than men relate to anima, but there is one thing that men and women have in common: Romantic love always consists in the projection of the soul-image. When a woman falls in love it is animus that she sees projected onto the mortal man before her. When a man drinks of the love potion, it is anima, his soul, that he sees superimposed on a woman.” 4 likes
“Özverinin kanunu şudur: Eğer bir erkek yanlış düzeyde sahip olduğu şeyden vazgeçerse, bu ona doğru düzeyde iade edilir.” 1 likes
More quotes…