on November 10, 2003
Heard and enjoyed the taped version of MARS AND VENUS STARING
OVER by John Gray . . . the subtitle says it all: "A Practical Guide
for Finding Love Again After a Painful Breakup, Divorce or the Loss of
a Loved One."
If anybody finds himself or herself in any of those categories, then
rush out to get this book (or the tapes) . . . you'll find a lot of
The first third is general information . . . Gray then presents material
relevant to women first, men second . . . I found the latter section
particularly valuable for what it had to say to me.
Among the ideas that I got from listening:
* The three steps for healing a broken bone are: getting help, resetting
the bone, and them giving it time to heal by protecting the bone in
a cast. In a similar way, the three steps for healing the heart are:
Step One: Getting help
Step Two: Grieving the loss
Step Three: Becoming whole before getting involved again
* [the four healing emotions]
Healing Emotion 1: Anger
Feeling then releasing anger reconnects us to our passion for love and life.
Healing Emotion 2: Sadness
Feeling and then releasing sadness opens our hearts to fell the sweetness
of love once again
Healing Emotion 3: Fear
Feeling and then releasing fear provides the ability to discern what we need
and can depend on now.
Healing Emotion 4: Sorrow
Feeling and then releasing sorrow provides the ability to discern what is
* Another way to process the four healing emotions is simply to ask
yourself these four questions. Often men find this an easier approach
in the beginning. By answering these questions, our healing emotions
automatically begin to come up. While answering these questions,
give yourself permission to feel anger, sadness, fear, sorrow, and any
other similar feelings.
1. What happened?
2. What didn't happen?
3. What could happen?
4. What can't happen?
If you wish to explore a little deeper, there are a few more questions you can
ask and answer.
What happened that you didn't want to happen?
What is happening that you don't want to happen?
What has happened that you do not like?
What didn't happen that you wanted to happen?
What is not happening that you want to happen?
What should have happened?
What could happen that you don't want to happen?
What is important to you?
What could happen that you want to happen?
What can't happen that you want to happen?
What can't happen that you wish could have happened?
What can happen that you want to happen?
By asking these four questions or practicing the three parts of the feeling
better exercise, you will be better prepared to heal the waves of feeling
that come from your loss. With this technique, you will be able to remember
your partner without having to get stuck in painful feelings. With this insight
and ability, you are free to stay in touch with your feelings and complete
the healing process.
on October 21, 2002
Many books about divorce get as far as "this is a trauma" and "don't hurt the kids," and maybe give you the standard "positive thinking" advice -
but this book goes into emotional machinery, and how to really grow and not just cope.
There is much more to this book than a quick blurb can suggest, but one main point is: There are four negative emotions which need to be recognized in dealing with a major loss. These are fear, anger, sadness, and sorrow (grieving for hopes that are now impossible). It is easy to get stuck in one or two of these four, but the one of these we are not aware of is likely to be the hidden hook which is holding us back.
He also has a great many practical observations about ways rebounding men and women injure ourselves and others - the first one is that men tend to get involved too soon, and women too late.
This is a pop-psychology/self-help book, but don't underrate it - it's got enough to say (at least for divorced people) that I've reread it three times in the last month.
on June 29, 2001
This book was very helpful for me when I went through a terrible period. I recommend it to anyone who is either going through a break up or a loss. It really helps to get in touch with all of your emotions - especially anger (which is sometimes very difficult to reach) - and get through the situation. I think I would have stumbled along aimlessly much longer had it not been for this book. I was able to let go of so much guilt, anger and sorrow. That was several years ago, and now the entire incident is behind me. If you need some help getting through something painful, please read this book - also get some professional help if you can - but definitely read this book.
on November 2, 2000
The most painful and sad time of my life was when I was going through my divorce. Even though it was my decision to end the marriage, my heart literally ached and for months I cried everyday. I wondered, "why am I so sad and upset, this was my decision"...Mars and Venus Starting Over validated my feelings immediately. I learned that my sadness was part of the grieving I needed to go through. John Gray describes beautifully how your mind/head tells you one thing (I am doing the right thing by leaving), but your heart is still in another place. He explains how your head wants your heart to catch up to where your mind is...that's not possible. I learned how to allow myself to feel the pain, sadness, anger and then move on. John Grey also explains the loss of your love support...not only did I miss my husband, but I missed the "safety net" of the love I had every day when I came home. With that suddenly gone I was left with some very raw, painful emotions.
I thought I hated my husband for lying, cheating and deceiving me. But through this book I realized I needed to feel those emotions in order to heal properly. I've emotionally forgiven my husband as a way to heal myself. I know I'm better off alone. I know I will find love again. Thank you John Gray!
on July 28, 2002
What's refreshing about this book is that it does more than just say "Don't call him!" or "Hang out with your girlfriends more." It focuses on your emotions and how you can heal them so you can move on eventually and find love again. It actually validates your feelings of anger, sadness, and loneliness and even calls them "healing emotions," necessary for healing your broken heart and moving on. Instead of telling you to completely forget about your former partner and not think about him/her all the time, he ENCOURAGES you to think about the good times and what you did as a couple. Gray goes into every emotion with great detail, and gives you plenty of exercises to bring them out so they can be healed. And as a woman, it's refreshing to read a breakup book that doesn't "male bash." It doesn't go on about why men can't commit, blah, blah, blah. Since it's for both men and women, it gives both sides of the story (and surprisingly--or not--we both go through pretty much the same thing!) . And it never says "there is no possibility you'll ever be with this person again, so get over it", but it does state you need to heal from the breakup first before considering getting back together with your former mate. This book will immensely change your life and the way you think about relationships. Most of all, it will help you get through a very painful part of your life...with your sanity intact!
on June 13, 2001
Life would be so much easier if everyone had a John Gray looking over their shoulder! As a counsellor, I have unending respect for Gray's expertise and success, As a reader, I find his books are a learning experience based on fact and mind-absorbing, leaving much food for thought.
Based on my studies in psychology as well as one who did, in fact, start over many years ago, I can honestly say the information this author delivers may well be a lifeline in a turbulent sea of emotion. Considering the high divorce rate, the overwhelming number of relationships ending with the slamming of the door, and the vast number of individuals who experience the death of a partner, Gray's book gives hope and inspires.
Grey's advice on focusing on love rather than loss is a first critical step. Denial is not a wonderful thing; acceptance is. With the closing of each door, the opportunity to open another follows. Accept the relationship for however beautiful it was, or wasn't, and move on. Take strength and knowledge from what you have learned and the time you shared together (no matter how long or short,)and use what you have learned to grow.
Gray also looks at the differences between a man's reaction and a woman's reaction to starting over. Often, it is difficult for both men and women to trust again, or to simply pur the energy into starting over. By clinging to the past, you could be missing out on a life of happiness. When marriages end (legal or common-law) men often deal with this by attempting to recapture lost youth (depending on age) or by playing the carefree, no-strings-attached guy. Woman, on the other hand, often have a mental list of so many traits they do, or do not, want any future man to have (if indeed they ever want one at all, at this point) that they eliminate 99% of the men on Earth! Much of the frustration stems from our youthful days, of falling in love with an "image" of what we THINK a man or woman should be. Alas, in the real world, there are no perfect people; we all have imperfections and possess both strengths and weaknesses. Nothing in this life lasts forever, and life does not come with a guarantee we will always be happy.
Gray's principles can also be applied to those who have lost a partner to death, many are afraid that no matter who they find in the future, they will never measure up to what they had. It is unfair to yourself, to deny yourself happiness in the future. Rest assured, your departed partner would want you to choose happiness over sorrow.
Personally, and as a counsellor, if I was asked to recommend a book on starting over that is straight forward and written in plain, simple English everyone can understand, this would definitely be at the top of the list. I simply cannot say enough good words about "Mars and Venus Starting Over" or the author, John Grey; all his books are absolutely priceless. If your relationship is coming to an end, or has already ended, and regardless of gender or age, I highly recommend this valuable, insightful book. It will not only help you to better understand yourself, but will give you a clearer understanding of others.
on September 16, 2000
I picked up this book at the airport with the thought of just reading "something". Later, I realized this book healed a past wound I didn't even know I still had. This is a very good book for anyone! I married my husband twice. The first time we did, it was my husband's third marriage and my first. I had no idea why he acted so critical of his ex-wives (and women) and he ended up getting so angry wanting out of the relationship ... (so I let him). A year later we married again, and struggled and are now good friends but not together. Now, after reading this book I understand where my ex-husband was at when we meet. Understanding how men "rebound" was very helpful for me. How when they lose a woman's love ... they often jump too quickly into a relationship (which my husband did) And when things did get better for him, suddenly his independance. And being like most women I tended to blame myself. After reading this book, it helped me to finally get "over" that guilt ... and to lovingly and understandly forgive myself and my husband. I truly want to Thank John Gray for writing this book! If you read this book not as a recipe book but as a book to help heal you ... you too will find peace with yourself and your spouse and be able to truly "move on".
on October 30, 1999
I loved the book, but I can't help but wonder, can it REALLY be that wholesome mentally to wander so much back into time? Opening up old wounds may be beneficial to some, but to others, who wouldn't be reading the book were it not for some difficulty emotionally, I think it could be downright dangerous. I managed to dredge up some old pains, and I recognized the connection between the old and the new, however, I believe that the book would have led me to my conclusions without the trip down Memory Lane. If you are reading this book because there is great pain in your life over the loss of a love, I wouldn't recommend all the sad memory exercises without the help of a professional therapist. Depending on the outcome of your journey back into time, you could end up believing that you have suffered nothing BUT pain all your life and it isn't any better now. A depressing place to be, at best. Without the back in time excursions, the book is beautiful. It touched my heart and spoke to my soul. The advice given is heartfelt, sincere, and makes perfect sense. John Gray truly has a window into the human psyche, and writes about it fluently and with great expertise. I recommend this book only for the mentally stable, or with the help of a trained professional.
on May 1, 1999
I have so far only listened to the Audio Tape Version of the Book, MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER. As Usual, Dr. Gray does NOT use "psycho-babble", but rather REAL LIFE issues in lauguage that the lay person can easily understand. My Divorce is almost final, and I would HIGHLY recommend this Audio Series to ANYONE who is just beginning the process of a Divorce, (or really at ANY stage in the process). I am eagerly awaiting the Pocket Sized book of the same title. This book, with the full text, instead of the condensed text of the 3 hour audio tape version, will contain in it, I am quite sure, even MORE good, useful and helpful information about the subject/Process of Divorce and learning to not only start one's Love Life over again, but to learn to Love again without fear of the same thing happening again and to Live a normal life, Love again a member of the opposite sex, helping one to re-marry, if one so chooses, and not repeat the mistakes made in the previous Marriage (in My case, my first Marriage). If you have never read ANY of Dr. Gray's material before, I fully expect that you will be very pleasantly surprised with the content of this Book.
on August 4, 1998
The Mars/Venus guru reveals that it is normal for a male to express/show emotions or even "keep them inside." Although never married, break ups of long term romances leave me hurting. Like the books indicates, most friends act sympathic for a couple of weeks then want you to get on with your life. In fact, when my long term girl friend broke up with me, then we reconciled with an engagement committment, I made the mistake of telling her I placed a personal (it couldn't be cancelled). I told her I did not go out with anyone; half the time I didn't answer the phone. I was still in love with her. But I was lonely. My fiance was upset; she thought it said I really didn't love her. But, like Gray said, it was a knee jerk reaction to deflect some of the pain and try to survive. Since I have traditional morals, no intimacy was involved. I also empathized with Gray's going to where his dad was killed and acknowledging that his brother killed himself because he was too! "sensitive" for this world. I wish women would understand that men hurt too. Actually, when they do understand that the male isn't a jerk and hurts, she can't deal with it most of the time.... that makes her feel guilty. So how can either gender keep hurting each other? Gray always gives the ingredients to establishing and maintaining good relationships, but the culture of the 90s have so many fearful of another hurt. "Starting Over" is so strong, I could only read it in one or two chapter stages. After reading them, I would have dreams and old memories were awakened. I still haven't worked through the baggage from being dumped as too "nice." But at least I've placed a few new personal ads.