Point of View

Point of View

Getting Past You and Me: Cultivating the “Us” in Intimate Relationship

By Ryan Howes

March/April 2022

We live in a world of conflicting messages, and many of them come from our own profession.

We’re told to prioritize ourselves above all else, but that true intimacy involves putting others first; to maintain firm boundaries, but that true happiness involves being vulnerable; to value self-sufficiency, but that relationships are the ultimate source of grounding.

So, when confronted with the sometimes contradictory drives for self-expression and nurturing relationships, where should we channel our efforts? We’re certainly not the first profession to wrestle with this dilemma, as the battle between pursuing individual and collaborative interests has been the fodder for philosophical debates since time immemorial.

Terry Real, couples therapist, founder of Relational Life Therapy (RLT), and author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (a bestseller for over 20 years), chose to delve into the heart of the issue with his new book, Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship. In it, he challenges couples to move beyond either/or thinking and into an egalitarian relationship that encourages both personal and relational growth, as difficult as that may seem.

As Bruce Springsteen writes in the book’s forward: “Terry’s writing is loving and kind, clever and strong, and he’s written a beautiful and important book, particularly for the moment we are in.”

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