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Men Who Can't Love: How to Recognize a Commitment Phobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart

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This is the classic relationship book that started them all, now available in paperback. It informs women of the warning signs of commitmentphobia, and explains how to avoid heartbreak.


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This is the classic relationship book that started them all, now available in paperback. It informs women of the warning signs of commitmentphobia, and explains how to avoid heartbreak.

30 review for Men Who Can't Love: How to Recognize a Commitment Phobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol Waters

    Read the book on an airplane, ended the relationship when I got off, saved my life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tripleguess

    After reading this, I want to bring back tar-and-feathering. Or at least duels. I bet any commitmentphobic would think twice about destroying some poor woman's life if he thought he might face actual, immediate consequences for his unbelievably unfair and selfish behavior. I know someone's gonna leave a snarky comment (which I won't read) that women deserve at least part of the blame for being so needy, yada yada -- listen, even if that were so, that doesn't make this caddish male behavior okay, After reading this, I want to bring back tar-and-feathering. Or at least duels. I bet any commitmentphobic would think twice about destroying some poor woman's life if he thought he might face actual, immediate consequences for his unbelievably unfair and selfish behavior. I know someone's gonna leave a snarky comment (which I won't read) that women deserve at least part of the blame for being so needy, yada yada -- listen, even if that were so, that doesn't make this caddish male behavior okay, and since the MAN is the initiator in most of these cases, and he is also usually a consummate LIAR, the most their victims can be blamed for is 1) believing them -- naive perhaps, but not a crime and 2) not caring for themselves first -- the very thing society generally does NOT encourage women to do. Practicing "The Rules," while not a guarantee, would lessen the chance of serious damage. In fact, this book has its own set of "Rules to protect yourself from this stuff" in the back. Interesting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Again with the relationship books... Usually I don't bother to post reviews of these types of books. But here we go. This book offers some insight into why some men are unable to commit. It also gives clues as to how you might be able to tell if the man you are dating is commitment-phobic. The authors give lots of examples of men who were commitment-phobic and how this affected their relationships with women. I read this book hoping that it would give me some suggestions about how I could get my p Again with the relationship books... Usually I don't bother to post reviews of these types of books. But here we go. This book offers some insight into why some men are unable to commit. It also gives clues as to how you might be able to tell if the man you are dating is commitment-phobic. The authors give lots of examples of men who were commitment-phobic and how this affected their relationships with women. I read this book hoping that it would give me some suggestions about how I could get my particular commitment-phobic man to commit. Unfortunately, commitment-phobia is not that easily dealt with, and obviously a person isn't going to change unless they want to, as this book points out. One thing that was an eye-opener for me in my particular situation is learning that a commitment-phobic is also unable to commit to saying "no" to a relationship. This is probably why some commitment-phobic relationships go on for far too long. The most important thing I think women can take away from this book is that the man's inability to have a relationship has nothing to do with the woman, and everything to do with his own personal issues with commitment. This has been a comfort to me, just knowing that it's not me and that there is really nothing I can do to change him. Just let it go and move on!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abby McClure

    This is a must read for the sanity of all women! It goes over why men are commitmentphobic and it really helped me understand the commitmentphobic man. I will never fully understand why or how men can shut on and off their ‘love switch’, but it at least gave me some relief from the tough times. Every woman will meet one of these men sometime in their life and we all need to know how to deal with them and let go! This book will give you some tools you can use to help yourself move away from and i This is a must read for the sanity of all women! It goes over why men are commitmentphobic and it really helped me understand the commitmentphobic man. I will never fully understand why or how men can shut on and off their ‘love switch’, but it at least gave me some relief from the tough times. Every woman will meet one of these men sometime in their life and we all need to know how to deal with them and let go! This book will give you some tools you can use to help yourself move away from and identify commitmentphobic men.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    Quite possibly the most in-depth book I have ever read regarding the male mind and all that goes on inside it. The best part about this book is that it never points the finger of blame at either side of an argument, but rather has you look at it completely from the other persons angle.

  6. 4 out of 5

    A

    If I could give this book 5,000 stars I would. I've since talked to a lot of women who told me that this book helped them save their sanity after dating a guy who shattered their heart with flaky, distant or sometimes even abusive behavior that made no sense. How can he go from ardent, adoring lover to Missing In Action in what seems like five minutes real time just when things seem great? Further, how can he be so low as to pick you apart as if blaming you, adding insult to injury? This book wi If I could give this book 5,000 stars I would. I've since talked to a lot of women who told me that this book helped them save their sanity after dating a guy who shattered their heart with flaky, distant or sometimes even abusive behavior that made no sense. How can he go from ardent, adoring lover to Missing In Action in what seems like five minutes real time just when things seem great? Further, how can he be so low as to pick you apart as if blaming you, adding insult to injury? This book will tell you what's going on. It's NOT YOU. These guys MUST be avoided, because they will utterly destroy you emotionally. So I recommend this book to all women. This book should be the new Bible. Read in tandem with He's Scared, She's Scared. Both are excellent. The authors both have degrees in psych, so this is not "He's Just Not That Into You" ignorant bullshit written by television producers to make a dollar.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    The title of the book screams "cheesy and awful and terrible." The publishing date screams "Totally irrelevant." But ignore all that, and you will find the perfect survivor's guide for anyone who has been in a relationship with a commitmentphobe. The book shows that there are many ways for a man to be a commitmentphobe; it doesn't always mean not committing to marriage, sometimes it's as simple as not returning a call after an amazing first date. I read this book after trying to determine why a The title of the book screams "cheesy and awful and terrible." The publishing date screams "Totally irrelevant." But ignore all that, and you will find the perfect survivor's guide for anyone who has been in a relationship with a commitmentphobe. The book shows that there are many ways for a man to be a commitmentphobe; it doesn't always mean not committing to marriage, sometimes it's as simple as not returning a call after an amazing first date. I read this book after trying to determine why a guy would --at his own suggestion -- introduce me to his parents, only to dump me in a few week's time. It was absolutely instrumental in helping me realize that while I certainly held some of the blame, the guy clearly had some issues. It made me get my self-esteem back far sooner than any other book could.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sherilyn

    You’re probably like Sherilyn? What? But let me explain 😂 this was free on audible and sometimes when I fall asleep I like to listen to one of the free books or podcasts they have on audible just to sleep so I clicked on this one cause the title made me like ‘yea my friends would say that’ but I ended up listening to it and actually enjoyed it 😂 a lot of these stories were insane to hear and I’ve seen my friends been in these type of situations so it was interesting to see a book all about it an You’re probably like Sherilyn? What? But let me explain 😂 this was free on audible and sometimes when I fall asleep I like to listen to one of the free books or podcasts they have on audible just to sleep so I clicked on this one cause the title made me like ‘yea my friends would say that’ but I ended up listening to it and actually enjoyed it 😂 a lot of these stories were insane to hear and I’ve seen my friends been in these type of situations so it was interesting to see a book all about it and I ended up listening to the whole thing so I was like ‘let me just add this to my goodreads, why not?’ But yea I was not expecting myself to actually listen to it. It wasn’t that bad

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book scared me. How could it not, when it brings to light the fact that there are so many broken people out there who could ending up hurting you. It's an older book, and it doesn't take social media and online dating into account, so I couldn't stop thinking how much scarier it would have been if it was written in the present time. I personally found Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood more helpful in this topic, but this book is still a worthwhile read for women who keep falling for This book scared me. How could it not, when it brings to light the fact that there are so many broken people out there who could ending up hurting you. It's an older book, and it doesn't take social media and online dating into account, so I couldn't stop thinking how much scarier it would have been if it was written in the present time. I personally found Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood more helpful in this topic, but this book is still a worthwhile read for women who keep falling for men who can't love.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aloha

    All women should read this before going into the dating scene. The short: Don’t rush into things. See who he is. If he really wants a relationship with you, let him prove that he does. There is nothing you can do to change him. Work on yourself. If he loves you, he will want you as you are. If he doesn’t want to be with you as you are, let him go. You don’t need to be super woman or super anything. A man who truly loves you and wants to be with you will do the chase and accept you as you are. It All women should read this before going into the dating scene. The short: Don’t rush into things. See who he is. If he really wants a relationship with you, let him prove that he does. There is nothing you can do to change him. Work on yourself. If he loves you, he will want you as you are. If he doesn’t want to be with you as you are, let him go. You don’t need to be super woman or super anything. A man who truly loves you and wants to be with you will do the chase and accept you as you are. It was who you are that attracted him in the first place. Many women, including me, have made the mistake of conforming themselves to please the man. It did not work. Either he wants to be with you or he does not. Men are simple if you look past the smoke and mirrors.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carisa Holmes

    Unlike other books in this genre, this thoughtfully written piece is far from dry and clinical. The poignant and personal stories hit home and the practical advice helps women to steer clear of commitment-phobic men. This book can also help women to heal the pain within themselves that attracts these men in the first place.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I thought I was over him, but I guess not... I devoured this book. I read it so fast. And I wish I had read it much, much sooner. It explains everything. The first half to 2/3 of this book are horror stories from women about their relationships with commitmentphobic men. I was particularly mortified by the story of Karen, a theater producer, and David, the unemployed-by-choice married man. Good grief, what a disaster! Karen should have fired her therapist for advising her to get involved with some I thought I was over him, but I guess not... I devoured this book. I read it so fast. And I wish I had read it much, much sooner. It explains everything. The first half to 2/3 of this book are horror stories from women about their relationships with commitmentphobic men. I was particularly mortified by the story of Karen, a theater producer, and David, the unemployed-by-choice married man. Good grief, what a disaster! Karen should have fired her therapist for advising her to get involved with someone who was not only married, but a walking catastrophe. What the hell kind of responsible therapist advises someone to jump into an extremely complicated and morally wrong situation? But as hard as these stories were to read, they were educational. The concept of "curtain calls" was so enlightening! Now I understand why this asshole keeps trying to contact me once every 6 months or so. I just didn't get it before. This book is an absolute must-read for every woman who has been involved with a damaged, deficient man. It will definitely leave you feeling better and give you tips for what to do in the future so that you don't get involved in another no-win situationship. "...you must remember that his problem is not your problem. His relationships fail because of his inner turmoil -- not because you are a bad partner." (page 294) I've spent several years reading tons of relationship books trying to figure out what went wrong with this one particular guy. Seriously, I could probably sit for a Ph.D. in psychology after all of the dating/relationship books that I've read in the past 3.5 years. This is THE best book I've read that explains what I was feeling while I was involved with a total asswipe. It also explains his point of view and how there was absolutely nothing that I could have done differently to ensure a better outcome. This might just be the last book on relationships that I read -- I might be able to finally let this topic go now. Stop beating yourself up and go read this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    O.M. Grey

    I read this after He's Scared, She's Scared, which is actually the sequel to this book. Still, it is invaluable in beginning to understand the mindset of the commitmentphobe and just how much his presence can destroy your life. Please, please read it BEFORE you meet one. http://omgrey.wordpress.com/2012/04/0... I read this after He's Scared, She's Scared, which is actually the sequel to this book. Still, it is invaluable in beginning to understand the mindset of the commitmentphobe and just how much his presence can destroy your life. Please, please read it BEFORE you meet one. http://omgrey.wordpress.com/2012/04/0...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    In spite of its dramatic title, "Men who can't love" is a serious study about commitment phobia and relation anxiety. Personally, this book helped me go through a crucial moment in my life by giving me tools to recognize that my partner at that time was indeed a commitmentphobic and put an end to that relationship. It wasn't easy, but the book was a comforting guide. I totally recommend it. In spite of its dramatic title, "Men who can't love" is a serious study about commitment phobia and relation anxiety. Personally, this book helped me go through a crucial moment in my life by giving me tools to recognize that my partner at that time was indeed a commitmentphobic and put an end to that relationship. It wasn't easy, but the book was a comforting guide. I totally recommend it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Atieh

    It is a life saver! A good dose of harsh reality which explains a lot of what you feel when you are in a relationship with a commitment-phobic person. I think every woman that is looking for his future partner should read this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    One of the classics in what could be called the popular science of relationships, from 1987. They coined the term "commitmentphobia," of which the symptoms are suspiciously similar to the now oh so popular diagnosis of the men we date: Narcissism. An easy read, like gossiping. One of the classics in what could be called the popular science of relationships, from 1987. They coined the term "commitmentphobia," of which the symptoms are suspiciously similar to the now oh so popular diagnosis of the men we date: Narcissism. An easy read, like gossiping.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Deann

    Very enlightening! I will look at romantic relationships differently going forward. I feel smarter from reading this book, maybe it should be a text book of sorts. If you've ever been in a relationship where you wondered what happened to make it end, where did you go wrong? You tried everything you could and the relationship still failed because you could never please him/ her? This book is probably for you Very enlightening! I will look at romantic relationships differently going forward. I feel smarter from reading this book, maybe it should be a text book of sorts. If you've ever been in a relationship where you wondered what happened to make it end, where did you go wrong? You tried everything you could and the relationship still failed because you could never please him/ her? This book is probably for you

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Read this book after I ended a relationship with someone who had a commitmentphobic breakdown while we were on a date. Thought this was a really great read and it was easy to read and offered some good advice. Make sure to read the afterword, which offered some insightful advice for the women who are involved with guys like this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    It is actually an excellent book I read quite a many years ago but still relevant. It did indeed coin the term "committment phobia". Beyond that though, there are some really insightful aspects of this book that anyone could benefit from reading even if not involved in an unhealthy relationship. It is actually an excellent book I read quite a many years ago but still relevant. It did indeed coin the term "committment phobia". Beyond that though, there are some really insightful aspects of this book that anyone could benefit from reading even if not involved in an unhealthy relationship.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Drinkncoffee

    I found this book to be very narrow minded. Even though the author tries to get the perspective of the "victim" and the man in both turns, it is almost comical in it's need to sterotype men in general. I didn't even finish the book and that is quite rare for me. I found this book to be very narrow minded. Even though the author tries to get the perspective of the "victim" and the man in both turns, it is almost comical in it's need to sterotype men in general. I didn't even finish the book and that is quite rare for me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Standing

    This book was incredibly insightful after a gut-wrenching breakup that I didn't understand. It made so much sense to me after-the-fact; of course everything is clearer in retrospect :) I definitely recommend this book! This book was incredibly insightful after a gut-wrenching breakup that I didn't understand. It made so much sense to me after-the-fact; of course everything is clearer in retrospect :) I definitely recommend this book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenika

    Some interesting insights and advice on dating commitment phobic men. Sadly you have to weed through a lot of sexist language, ideas, and thoughts to get it. (Only the afterward explores the idea that women can have commitment issues as well).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Will Moritz

    This one got to me, especially because it didn't offer much to help an avoidant. It's written mainly as a guide for 1980's (much talk of answering machines and secretaries) women on how to spot the signs of an avoidant man. It made me feel somewhat condemned as a guy worth avoiding :( "He establishes a definite schedule on when and how he has time for you, on his terms, and always seems to have other demands that must be met first." "He treats most of your requests as if they are the demands and s This one got to me, especially because it didn't offer much to help an avoidant. It's written mainly as a guide for 1980's (much talk of answering machines and secretaries) women on how to spot the signs of an avoidant man. It made me feel somewhat condemned as a guy worth avoiding :( "He establishes a definite schedule on when and how he has time for you, on his terms, and always seems to have other demands that must be met first." "He treats most of your requests as if they are the demands and seems to resent being counted on" > Reminds me of how my ideal day is one where I don't have to take care of anybody else's schedule. "Ross doesn't like the idea of having a permanent commitment to anybody, and says that the only way he could handle marriage is if he thinks of it as temporary." "Too frightened to love. If you are involved with a commitmentphobic, the first thing you have to know is that is that it is what he is feeling, not what you are doing, that is filling him with terror and confusion. It is what he is thinking, not what you are saying, that is driving a wedge into the relationship, and that it is his convoluted outlook that his making him flee." "This man can forget that he cares about you. He can forget how much he enjoys himself with you. He may even forget about terrific sex. He may want to consider your feelings, but his discomfort and confusion are too great." "Whenever a woman thinks to highly of me, I feel trapped by her expectations of me, the expectation of always having to be there, and then I want to get away from those feelings." "On holidays, he's the one who always insists on the big traditional family day. Then, after he's got us all assembled, he goes into the other room by himself, closes the door, and reads the paper. He wants to know that we are there for him, if he wants us, but he gets nervous if we are around him very much." "You are not his therapist, you are not his mother. It's not your job to work it out of him. Erase from your head all romance novel fantasies that he will eventually come to his senses." OUCH.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    I read this out of curiosity given my status as a psychotherapist in training. Here are my short thoughts: - written in the 80s, so expect dated language and heteronormativity - as some users mentioned, can be super repetitive - I found some of the stories within the book unbelievable to the point of absurdity - overall, however, I see the merit in the book and how it applies to individuals struggling in the dating realm

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Dudley

    Found this book very insightful as I emerged from devastation at the hands of one of these people. Their absolute terror and lack of regard for the other person was the main thing that struck me, although it made me wonder if 'committment-phobe' is a kind way of saying 'covert narcissist' as the pattern similarities, words used and behaviour, appear identical to me. Self-absorbed and a serious lack of empathy for anyone apart from themselves. Found this book very insightful as I emerged from devastation at the hands of one of these people. Their absolute terror and lack of regard for the other person was the main thing that struck me, although it made me wonder if 'committment-phobe' is a kind way of saying 'covert narcissist' as the pattern similarities, words used and behaviour, appear identical to me. Self-absorbed and a serious lack of empathy for anyone apart from themselves.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Celeste Marie

    Move away from toxic men This book helps people from engaging in toxic relationships that leave them devastated by illustrating real-life situations and helpful tips. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself from situations that cause grave harm to your overall health and well-being.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carlos A

    Good read. Pop psychology for sure. Sells psychotherapy hard. Most people can’t afford treatment, and many therapists are incompetent. With that said, there were many insights throughout the book, which reads fluidly. I learned a lot about the types of men I get involved with (I’m gay, 48 y/o). And about my own problematic behaviors.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    This was an awful book to read while years ago I was being abused. I hope in future more books will acknowledge within them what rules cannot apply to abusive relationships. I attribute the many relationship-saving or advice books I read at the time to further gaslighting me into thinking my relationship was normal.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Misleading title aside.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Y

    The assessments and prescriptions are bold; it feels like 80% of the book is written as direct address; but despite the corny title and purely qualitative approach, it resonates. I only wish they went into more detail about the root of the behavior or type, but I guess I'll just have to continue on in my reading journey to uncover that. P.S. why did an entire paragraph repeat itself twenty pages apart..... The assessments and prescriptions are bold; it feels like 80% of the book is written as direct address; but despite the corny title and purely qualitative approach, it resonates. I only wish they went into more detail about the root of the behavior or type, but I guess I'll just have to continue on in my reading journey to uncover that. P.S. why did an entire paragraph repeat itself twenty pages apart.....

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