Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Can the Love of a Good Woman Change George Clooney?

If you be wise, if you be smart...

Nationally syndicated columnist Betsy Hart, author of the provocative new book "From the Hart", set tongues wagging on the network interview circuit this week with her politically incorrect advice to women: make a vow not to sleep with men like George Clooney who are confirmed bachelors.  She warns women to not settle for live in boyfriends when they really want a husband. Hart said in an interview that "women are afraid to ask for marriage and commitment. That's the stuff that we as women are wired to want, and yet our culture says we can't ask for that, that we shouldn't expect that in a relationship." Hart says that women are giving their live-in boyfriends "the benefits of a sense of having a wife without having the commitment of marriage."

Our advice is a little less blunt. Each individual woman first needs to decide what they want: a short term fling or a long term mature relationship which may lead to marriage.  Women need to realize that they are in control. If you decide that you really want at this point in your life is a long term mature relationship, there is no need to rush into a romance. Taking your time weeds out the sociopaths who seem exciting and fun at first blush.  Get to know your potential partner's  interests and values in an atmosphere that isn't pressurized to artificially lead to further commitment. Immerse yourself as much as possible with his friends and family, as they are a mirror of what he is really like when he isn't trying to impress you. Most importantly, maintain your spiritual relationship with yourself instead of losing yourself in the dopamine high of infatuation. Unless your work on your issues you may recreate them with your partner. Finally, set boundaries that keep you safe and comfortable, and enjoy the adventure.

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Ms. Hart is spot on when she writes than men don't change. In this culture men have been taught to be chameleons for love, and many just go underground with their true feelings, values and goals. Unfortunately after the Honeymoon fades, the real self slowly starts seeping out and eventually dominates the relationship. And when a man is honest like George Clooney and says he doesn't want to ever get married again or have children and you do, take his word for it. Don't consider it a challenge to change his mind. If you want more than a few fond memories and a crushed corsage, move on before he breaks your heart.

Ms. Hart makes a valuable observation that "loving a man is hard because he is different, he wants different things and he's wired differently." She advises that a woman should not make her husband her "best girlfriend', but develop a network of female friends to provide necessary emotional support and feedback from a  distinctly feminine viewpoint. That is wise advice indeed, and men should likewise not isolate from other men. Expecting one person to meet all your emotional needs is unfair to that person.

Ms Hart's book is available in Kindle format at

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.


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