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How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  3,592 ratings  ·  243 reviews
"Most people think of love as a feeling," says David Richo, "but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present." In this book, Richo offers a fresh perspective on love and relationships—one that focuses not on finding an ideal mate, but on becoming a more loving and realistic person. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, How to Be an Adult in Relationsh ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published June 18th 2002 by Shambhala
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 ·  3,592 ratings  ·  243 reviews


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Laura
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book, but it's one to take some time with. Richo's writing is eloquent and right-on, but it can also be a bit dense at times. This is the kind of book to have going at the same time that you're reading other things. It's good to come back to when you're feeling calm, soft, and able to focus. The practices at the end of each chapter are excellent, and they require a lot of deep internal work. I think that if you did all of the practices in this book and really took it slowly, ...more
malic
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Every radical queer i know should read this book, and everyone else too. The ways we act in relationships (in romance, friendship, house shares, community, etc) need to be as strong as our political analyses.


The Five Keys to Mindful Loving:
Attention
Acceptance
Appreciation
Affection
Allowing

What gets in the way:
Fear
Desire for our demands/expectations to be met on our terms
Judgment
Control
Illusion

David Richo is feminist-identified and GLBT-friendly, but he lacks a radical queer politic. Sometimes he
...more
Eh?Eh!
Nov 09, 2013 added it
Shelves: babble-added
I typically eschew books like these, the self help/improvement category. But this one was offered when I was down and unable to fend it off. Sorry, Emma! I know I've always refused them from you, the few times you'd gently proffered them, using various excuses but basically boiling down to the fact that I find myself unable to retain what I read from them because I find them eyerolling. And boring. Maybe it was okay this time because I've aged and my taste has changed, like how eggs and potatoes ...more
Erin
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personalgrowth
I have a good, no, GREAT relationship with my parents, who make it very clear to me everyday how much they love me. We never discussed what love looked like; I just always knew that they loved me and what it felt like to be loved, but I was utterly unable to put that into words.

I started reading this as I thought I was falling in love with someone, and realized that I really truly was in love with him. Our relationship matched exactly what Richo talks about in this book. It didn't work out betwe
...more
Cintain 昆遊龍
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I hate this book.

There, I said it. Now that this is out of the way, let me also say that this is a good book, and that I do recommend it, will probably recommend it to patients and friends, and I will eventually (and hopefully) get back to it and do some of the practices in it, when I am in a relationship again. So, why do I hate it?

It is naïve and presumptuous; it assumes and espouses values and philosophies I disagree with (notably Buddhism and monogamy), the editorial work is moderately slopp
...more
Cara
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
There were many times at uni where I had to write long essays. I remember being really excited about some of the topics, as I'd have some brilliant points to make, but then I'd look at the word limit and think 'there's no way I can pad these points out that far'. So, I'd draw on my ability to write copious amounts of crap and I would search through books from all genres to find random quotes that I could use. I'll also admit (given the world of goodreads is so private) to letting my ego get the ...more
Sarah
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
The trouble with reading a book called "How to Be an Adult in Relationships" is that people will ask you what you're reading and you have to tell them. That said, there were a lot of great messages, tools, and ideas in this book, the best (for me) being the description of "the five As", the keys to healthy relationships (friendly, romantic, any relationship): acceptance, affection, attention, appreciation, and allowing the other person in your relationship to be him/herself. ...more
Miss Kim
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Do not be fooled by the title, this is not your typical self-help book. Each chapter has valuable nuggets of information on how to love yourself, which then evolves into how to love others. I appreciated the lack of cliches seen in most relationship books. This is not about men versus women, but rather, mindful recognition and appreciation for the people you love.
Janet
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life about 10 years ago so I'm re-reading it again as a reminder. Still tops my list of must reads for anyone who wants to learn how to be "an adult in relationships!!" Should be required reading for all! ...more
Summer
Jan 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Cheesy? Yes. The examples of 'adult' dialogue between couples in this book are laughably ridiculous and unrealistic. That said, I do think this book helped me.

In particular, there's a shortish section on the differences in how to love and be loved by extroverts vs. introverts that helped put a lot of my relationship's issues in perspective for me. It basically perfectly described the difference between my boyfriend and I in a way that helped me realize that a lot of the things he does that make
...more
Suzie
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Couldn't get through it. I'm not a fan of self-made gurus who like to hear themselves speak. Insipid, long-winded, and lacking any kind of evidence or logical thought (and this is coming from someone who very often "thinks" with her heart, and puts intuition before logic). I kept hearing myself saying "GET TO THE POINT!" Sorry, but I think there are so many better relationship books out there. Anything by the Arbinger Institute will blow this "book" out of the water. ...more
Jae
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
I could only make it through half of this before someone else wanted it from the library. Maybe I'm not quite ready to be an adult in relationships. ...more
Nickjames
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's deep and beautiful. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning how to give and receive love more fully. Not a lot "how to," but some great information about the different ways we express love and know your learning edge in relationship. Plus, I love the break-up chapter as it defines the grief we all go through at the end of a relationship and the foundation we need to start over again. ...more
Caitlin
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
While there are some aspects of this book that are potentially useful, overall this book is Freudian psychoanalytic malarkey. Richo doesn't properly cite sources and he reinforces gender stereotypes with old models of what men and women are like. A book written by someone who is a Certified Family Life Educator would be far more useful. He also is associated with the Esalen Institute, which is not known for legitimate research. ...more
Sandie
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was truly torn on how many stars to give. I would say that this book would be essential reading for anyone who's in or wants to be in a relationship, as there are a lot of gems in it. Unfortunately, to get to them, you have to be willing to slog through an inordinate amount of excess rhetoric. Where was the editor on this book??

Our first indication that this book needs some fat trimmed is on the cover. Its utterly condescending main title "How to Be an Adult in Relationships" is not actually
...more
Shooting
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book saved my relationship! At least for now : )
Seriously, if you don't want to grow up, don't read this book. If you do want to expand, read it, but only if your partner will too. Warning: if you read this book and your partner doesn't, your relationship may implode!

The book is a bit too wordy at times, and tends to go on at bit too much, but the message is brilliant. The author also writes from a mindfulness (Buddhist) perspective so there is a lot of spirituality mixed in, which I liked
...more
Eddie Hsu
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I should preface this by saying that I lost interest around 60% into the book.

Richo's argument that relationship dyanmics are a function of the 5 As (Acceptance, Allowing, Affection, Appreciation, Attention) are analogous to many of the other frameworks laid out in other books on mindfulness. This book ends up being long-winded, overly dense, and peppered with unnecessary quotes seemingly to make the author sound smart. Richo bases much of the book's arguments on shaky ground, relying on spiritu
...more
Joseph Hlebica
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book wholeheartedly enough. Was recommended to me by my last partner, and we are both putting it to use in preparation for future relationships, as well as in our efforts to be friends now that our own is over. This is different to other self-help/relationship books in that it is based in the premises of Buddhist mindfulness, and it addresses all aspects of relating in personal relationships, not just love/intimacy. This is a book for the ages. Full of hard-hitting self an ...more
Macaulay Mauro
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
life changing for me, a book i’ll always come back to. was so hard not to highlight every mind blowing point on every page
Shante
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is geared towards people in committed relationships; I am not. Oddly enough I felt it speaking directly to me. I found much of the practices at the end of each chapter useful in healing the lifelong relationship with myself. I would suggest reading this book with a journal. (Actually, the author mentions journaling frequently.) The text forces you to be brutally honest with yourself about how you conduct yourself in relationships, while also following up with compassion. With a theme o ...more
Stephen Kelley
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! A huge range of topics well tied together with a simple, understandable, unifying theme.
ryan wilkey
Nov 14, 2022 marked it as to-read
i’m here because mayim bialik told me so. picking up a copy as soon as i can. :)
Oana-Catalina
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
While it might seem a quite complicated approach on our well known lives, with a lot of technicalities and deep analysis of what we are and what we should see in others, this book actually describes a loving profile within a psychological perspective and within what a person is and what kind of love she or he is capable of, regarded from a very own human potential.
It's interesting how it explains the deep connection with our life as children, with our past experiences and with what is that adds
...more
Erica
Oct 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Take home message I got from this book: relish challenges and problems in relationships because they'll help you, and the relationship, grow. A nice sentiment considering it's natural to want to avoid difficult issues. Sorta like how diving right into a wave has less impact than letting it crash against you. Still the book succumbs to the lovey-doveniness common in some of these spiritual self-help books. The language they advise using with a partner to grow communication is so far removed from ...more
Kory
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'd probably give this book 2.5 stars if that was possible. I could relate to many things discussed in this book and found the process of reading it worthwhile. However, I wasn't ever eager to hunker down and read 100 pages in one sitting. I can probably chalk that up to the nature of the book and the intention of the author to have readers chew on the material a bit and not rush through it. Additionally, the responses/feelings that it elicited in me factored into my aversion to it at times (i.e ...more
Tessa
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a really neat book so far. He reflects on the process of psychological maturity in adulthood and its challenges to meet personal growth. Great for all, singles too! Yes, yes! (not just for intimate relationships, but all relationships)
T-mere
I can never get enough of David Richo... my books are so scribbled and dog-eared/underlined/highlighted... whew! Such a wise and humbling individual-- need more of the like practicing in the therapeutic circles!
Jeff
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
A vaguely Buddhist approach (mindfulness, lovingkindness) to creating a fair, open, communicative adult relationship.

Not badly written, very methodical, good advice, but lost interest about half way through.
ღஜ♥ Kim ♥ღஜ
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is SUCH a great book. Not simply for those in a relationship, but for life in general. This book taught me so much. About myself. Why I do the things I do and how I ended up where I am today simply due to the life choices I have made.
Jessie Conrad
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As far as self-help books go, this is one of the most mature books I've ever read. Another one I refer to again and again. ...more
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David Richo, PhD, is a therapist and author who leads popular workshops on personal and spiritual growth.

He received his BA in psychology from Saint John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1962, his MA in counseling psychology from Fairfield University in 1969, and his PhD in clinical psychology from Sierra University in 1984. Since 1976, Richo has been a licensed marriage, family, and chi
...more

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“Self-actualization is not a sudden happening or even the permanent result of long effort. The eleventh-century Tibetan Buddhist poet-saint Milarupa suggested: "Do not expect full realization; simply practice every day of your life." A healthy person is not perfect but perfectible, not a done deal but a work in progress. Staying healthy takes discipline, work, and patience, which is why our life is a journey and perforce a heroic one.” 39 likes
“At every stage of life, our inner self requires the nurturance of loving people attuned to our feelings and responsive to our needs who can foster our inner resources of personal power, lovability, and serenity. Those who love us understand us and are available to us with an attention, appreciation, acceptance, and affection we can feel. They make room for us to be who we are.” 23 likes
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