Catalin Negru's Reviews > La Fidélité et le couple

La Fidélité et le couple by Gérard Leleu
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Sep 11, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: psychology

Target audience: Common people, anyone interested in improving his/her relationship with their partners or save their marriages.

About the author: According to Wikipedia, Gérard Leleu is a French doctor and sexologist, writer and lecturer. Author of numerous books on the couple and pleasure, it is known for his bestseller: Traité des caresses (the Treaty hugs), sold in over one million copies. After he was anesthetist in neurosurgery in various hospitals and clinics, he became a psychotherapist and sexologist at the age of 45, specializing in couple therapy. Ever since, he has participated in lectures, debates, discussions and he organized conferences on the subject of love and communication within the couple.

Structure of the book: The book has 280 pages in French, divided in an introduction, 10 chapters (with sub-chapters) and a conclusion. IMPORTANT: I do not know if there is an English translation.

Overview: Two aspects, in one way or another, consciously or unconsciously, heavily influence our adult life and our life as a couple in particular: on the one hand, there are the animal instincts and impulses which defines us as a species, and on the other hand there are the childhood experiences. Our partners are, more or less, a reflection of our mothers and fathers. The situation now is even more complex given the fact that the world is changing fast and the balance of power between men and women changed a lot in the last 200 years in the Western world. Yet, some old dangerous prejudices and customs have survived within families, being passed from generation to generation, and these can affect negatively the relation of a modern couple.
Infidelity is not a cause or a moral disease; it is an effect or a symptom. No one is infidel or simply becomes an infidel. There is a process or an event which determined infidelity because people, naturally, are predisposed toward being monogamous.
The main message of this book is that we have to learn to maintain a fine balance between our needs, of any kind, and our partner’s needs. In every one of us there are fantasies, desires, instincts, frustrations, intimacy issues, fears, insecurities or impulses that, if they manifest too much, endanger the harmony of the couple. These things can also be amplified in time, due to the lack of communication between partners or the stress at work, or suddenly, due to a negative event. So, when the fine inner balance breaks, then the risk of infidelity appears. And infidelity can further lead to divorce or the end of the couple.
The author also speaks about the balance between self-love and the love for the other. While Christianity says that self-love is dangerous and the love for the other is the best way to achieve and maintain harmony, both in a couple and in the society, in contrast, Leleu says that true harmony can come only if there is a reasonable amount of self-love. People must be confident in themselves and in their own forces. Furthermore, true love is not one and the same with the feeling or state of being in love, when the couple suffers from spiritual blindness. The state of being in love fades after several months and the partners inevitably return to their normal behavior and habits. True love begins only after this magic period; if there is not true love, the couple will fail.
Through the multitude of examples the author covers a wide range of possible situations that can lead to infidelity. Infidelity has stages of development and people must recognize the causes early and make the necessary changes in order to prevent it from manifesting. But, if infidelity still manifested, the couple is not hopeless. There are always solutions – and the book describes some of them – to save the couple or the marriage, but everything requires sacrifice, patience and love.

Quote: Infidelity reveals the existence of certain problems within the couple and in both partners. There is never a single responsible. Every partner must analyze himself and ask himself: “What are exactly the other’s dissatisfaction?”… [my translation].

Strong points: Well written, a very good tone, a very good and simple language and a very pragmatic approach. Despite the fact that the subjects treated in this book are difficult from a psychological point of view, I do not think there is anyone who is not able to understand what the author is trying to transmit; or anyone who did not identify himself with at least one of the multitude of examples or situations given in the book. I believe that this book really has the potential to change people’s lives and I also think that, in order to have a serious positive effect, it must be read very carefully or more than once.

Weak points: The author lost me when he started about spirituality and the role (influence) of the divine in the relation of the couple. If I remember well that was in chapter 2. I felt like he deviates from the subject, as if he derailed from the safe and clear track of psychology and biology towards the dangerous track of mysticism. Nevertheless, it was only a couple of pages and I ignored that.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 11, 2016 – Shelved
September 11, 2016 – Shelved as: psychology
September 14, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read

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