Cover image for The seven stories of love : and how to choose your happy ending
The seven stories of love : and how to choose your happy ending
Millman, Marcia.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 238 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ801 .M5698 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this groundbreaking work, Marcia Millman reveals that women's romantic relationships are enacted through seven basic love stories. Based on her popular course The Sociology of Love at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a decade's worth of research, more than one hundred interviews, and examples from movies, novels, and memoirs, Millman identifies the seven love scenarios as reenactments of early experiences and efforts to change past defeats into victories. She also shows how the success or failure of each is determined by unconscious choices. Explaining the hidden needs and emotions that come into play in these love stories, Millman creates a tool for relationship guidance that women and men can use to reach the fall potential of any partnership.

Over time, most of us play out a repertoire of these seven romantic plots, but we always return to our primary love story. By learning to recognize our own pattern of love, we can understand its hidden meanings and source and avoid potential heartache. Women and men who are otherwise strong and perceptive frequently get into the wrong relationships because they don't understand the love stories they are enacting. Shattering the popular myth that most romantic problems are caused by pervasive low self-esteem or miscommunication, this essential book can help anyone succeed in finding a satisfying, lasting relationship.

Using examples from timeless and popular romantic movies such as Casablanca, Fatal Attraction, Pretty woman, and Dirty Dancing, and novels such as Charlotte Bront#65533;'s Jane Eyre, Melissa Banks's The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Scott Spencer's Endless Love, and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Millman clarifies the difficulties that can arise in these love stories and explains how they can be remedied.

Discovering which story we are reenacting helps us to avoid potential pitfalls and allows us to make choices that bring greater happiness. Love and relationships, in their many manifestations, can be elusive even to those in the midst of them. This book is a first step on the road to romantic fulfillment.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

A USC professor who teaches the popular Sociology of Romantic Love course, Millman (Such a Pretty Face: Being Fat in America) offers a clear-sighted and illuminating view of why romantic relationships play out as they do. She contends that all partnerships fall under one (or sometimes a combination) of seven stories: "First Love," "Pygmalion," "Obsessive Love," "The Downstairs Woman and the Upstairs Man," "Sacrifice," "Rescue" or "Postponement and Avoidance." Drawing on personal testimonies, films (from old Bette Davis classics to Pretty Woman) and popular fiction (from Jane Austen to recent bestsellers), she illustrates the timeless and universal themes of these seven dynamics. Unlike many authors in the relationship genre, Millman sees personal needs and desires born of childhood experiences not as pathologies but as clues to self-understanding and potential fulfillment. She explores in great depth how each story can manifest in constructive or destructive ways and provide temporary or long-lasting satisfaction. Whether the partners in a Pygmalionesque relationship find a way to equalize their roles or one partner's rescue of another leads to healthy self-recovery depends, Millman suggests, on the participants' awareness of the dynamic and on exercising "choice and control" to counterbalance each story's destructive possibilities. She also supplies useful advice on how to identify each partner's view of the narrative that drives the relationship, since conflicting stories can spell relationship doom. Nonjudgmental and optimistic, Millman labels specific dynamics between people, not the people themselves or their genders. Readers will find her perspective uniquely helpful. (Mar. 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved