AVOID THE JERKS AND FIND “THE ONE” WHO'S RIGHT FOR YOU
"An insightful and creative contribution to managing the complexity of choosing a life partner. I heartily recommend it."
–Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want and Keeping the Love You Find
"Don't be part of the 'where-was-this-book-when-I-needed-it?' crowd. It's not too late–read it now!"
–Pat Love, Ed.D., author of The Truth About Love and Hot Monogamy
Based on years of research on marital and premarital happiness, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk (previously published in hardcover as How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk) will help you break destructive dating patterns that have kept you from finding the love you deserve: Ask the right questions to inspire meaningful, revealing conversations with your partner Judge character based on compatibility, relationships skills, friends, and patterns from family and previous relationships Resolve your own emotional baggage so you're ready for a healthy relationship
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (February 27, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071548424
- ISBN-13: 978-0071548427
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Excellent for self analysis and relationship analysis
Given that a choice of a marriage partner is one of the most important influences on a person’s quality of life, you would think that people would want to know all there is to know about making that choice. So, what’s wrong with just falling in love and getting married?
According to Van Epp, people are at their best before they get married–and how happy you are when you are dating is the ceiling for how happy you can be in marriage. Don’t expect it to get better.
The relationships between each individual and their parents strongly influence a couple’s relationship after the wedding. This new way of relating within the relationship kicks in after the marriage begins–when the role is no longer lovers and best friends, but husband and wife. So, you are marrying the person who relates to their parents in a certain way, and that way strongly influences the way that person will relate to you. Van Epp shows how one can explore this before marriage and possibly change the dynamic.
Although the book is titled so that you would think that it is about not marrying a jerk, it is and it isn’t. There is a part that says people have a code of what is right and wrong and an enforcer of that code within them. Some people may have an enforcer that is inactive or hardly involved. Some people may have a code that is unacceptable. Some people may have a great code of ethics and standard of behavior, but never make themselves follow it. I suspect that those who have a bad code of acceptable behavior or a bad enforcer of a good code would be considered jerks.
This book great for substantive analysis of yourself and your relationship and addressing important things before marriage and going into marriage with reasonable expectations. Being in love doesn’t change the fact that the families you and your partner are different and have different world views. The family of origin strongly affects us and our partner, and the expression of that comes out more clearly after you say “I do”. If you come from a family that is frugal and I come from a family that spends money freely, our coming together may give each of us a different view of the other; you may think I am wasteful and I think you are stingy. Add some more family attitude differences that each of us has absorbed, and in marriage what happens if it is not addressed satisfactorily? What if in my family we were open and affectionate and in my partner’s family people were closed and withdrawing? During courtship we will naturally both behave as we think healthy people should behave to continue to attract each other. Van Epp wants us to explore our own and our partner’s family history because, as Van Epp suggests, your partner is the second edition of their parents. So that would make us the second edition of our parents as well.
So this book is not just about “jerks”; it is also about issues that should be understood and addressed before contemplating marriage with someone.
Don’t get engaged before three months because it takes three months for important patterns to emerge. Until you see patterns you are just guessing–and patterns take time.
Van Epp believes that we should do things in this order: Know Trust, Rely, Commit, and Touch. He wants us to never trust a person more than we know them, never rely on them more than we trust them, never be more committed to them than we are able to rely on them and never advance physical intimacy further than our level of commitment makes appropriate.
There is a lot of intelligence in this book and great conceptual tools for analyzing yourself and your relationship. I own scores of books on relationships and I think this is the best book of its type for both the depth and breadth it covers.
Great advice for singles–and married people, too
Many books provide a list of “10 foolproof steps” at the one extreme (simplistic) or an exhausting checklist at the other. Van Epp takes a different approach. He identifies six general techniques you can use to identify a jerk before you make the mistake of marrying this person. He also provides a tool, called the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM), which has proven itself over many years of application. In fact, the RAM forms the central concept behind applying the six techniques.
One of the problems with self-help books for singles seeking a mate is you have to remain objective to be able to apply the tools, tips, and techniques suggested in the book. Once a relationship is underway, doing that is difficult or impossible. We either filter out negative information and later think, “I shoulda seen that coming” or we ruin the relationship by constantly judging and appraising the other person.
Epps takes these issues head on. First, the RAM allows you to pace the progression of a relationship. Without going into much detail, I’ll just say Epps makes a compelling case for the sequence of know, trust, rely, commit, touch that the RAM is based on. And rather than leave us with a simplistic model, he explores its application for all stages of a dating relationship.
Second, Epps provides several case histories on the rose-colored glasses problem that occurs when we proceed too rapidly with our feelings. He identifies why this happens, and provides specific guidelines on how to handle it. I like this much better than the standard approach, which assumes this won’t happen if only you will keep your wits about you and stay objective. Most of the self-help dating books fall short of being useful, simply because they don’t address reality–in particular, this problem.
Third, Epps addresses the other extreme. I’ve been a victim of negative assumption, myself. I’ve said something from which the woman has mistakenly assumed something negative that just isn’t true. Epps gives a very good example in a case history that perfectly illustrates how this can happen and how off base the conclusions can be. Epps doesn’t say whether men or women are more prone to this kind of assuming.
Will this book assure you of finding the perfect mate? No, and the author doesn’t say it will. Will it help you avoid wasting time in a relationship you shouldn’t be in? Yes. And it will also help you avoid carrying that relationship to a level it should not go to.
Here’s another thought on this book. It isn’t something the author decided to do on a whim, and then cranked out so he could sell books at his seminars. It took form over many years. In fact, if not for his wife’s prodding (in a non-jerk manner, of course), he might still be working on it.
If you’re single, this book can help you prevent grief and heartache. If you’re married and having problems, it can help you get back on track.
A final note. Form is important, as it dictates readability. Unfortunately, this book has plenty of grammar gaffes, misused words, and composition errors. So sometimes, the reader has to work at understanding what the author means. In some cases, the author’s actual words state something entirely different from what the context would indicate. Still, this book is worth the occasional struggle through such gaffes. I hope a properly edited future edition is in the works. The wisdom, insight, and practical advice in this book are too important to be lost due to these problems.
Take the risk out of your marital choice!
I’m only half way through this book and I feel compelled to give a positive review for this book. Perhaps I will post another review upon completing it.
You can never be too careful in your premarital preprations. Van Epp gives you the roadmap of what you should look for and how you should proceed down that path.
I recommend this book to every single person who hopes to establish a life-long relationship. It will only serve to help you make a very wise choice.
I plan on recommending this book to all my single friends!
How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk
Best book I’ve read on relationships
The author introduces a RAM model which shows the sequence of steps you take which will lead to commitment. You have to do A before you do B. For example, you have to know someone before you trust someone. You have to trust someone before you get physical with someone, etc… When people are anxious for intimacy, they tend to skip over this and create a pseudo-intimacy which leads to a broken heart.
My favorite chapter is the one that deals with a person’s conscience. The author warns that you cannot be someone else’s conscience for them. You cannot be the angel on their shoulder that whispers to them to do the right thing. It’s much better to pick someone with a healthy and consistent conscience in the first place so you don’t have to worry about them mistreating you when they’re out of your sight. My mom did this with my dad, always trying to keep him in line like he was her son. It didn’t work. It lead to mutual disrespect and eventual divorce.
This is best book I’ve read on relationships and one of my favorite go-to books when I’m trying to decide if I’m moving the relationship too fast. Highly recommended.
One of the best books on dating the right person
Epp suggests that we don’t get too involved too soon. He does this on a couple of different levels. Suggesting that 3 months is far too soon to make any serious kind of decision when it comes to where to go in a relationship meaning marriage, moving in together, or any other life changing decision. Within three months both parties are still on good behavior and not showing their true self. Within a year you will see patterns emerge, and by the end of two years the tone has been set for the relationship, and you will know how you two work together.
Another aspect of the relationship and moving too fast was his breakdown of trust, intimacy, and commitment. He clearly states not too move to far into one of these three areas, and leave the other two behind. This creates a warped relationship, and this will leave to many problems. If relationships become too intimate too quickly this may leave one partner thinking they have a serious commitment of the other person, and they do not have a serious commitment at all.
Another one of my favorite chapters of the book has to deal with how someone treats others; this could mean the waitress, their mother, their best friend. When you read advice sites everyone says this, but no one explains why this works. People tend to behave in certain patterns. Arguments, happy moments, we all tend to behave in certain ways. For example perhaps someone needs to sulk a bit before they will engage in an argument, or perhaps name calling is the norm for them. The person involved will have tough moments with you, and he will behave at his best and his worst with you. You need to be able to handle this person’s worst moments.
This information is in just a few of the book’s chapters. As you can see the book is packed with advice that is practical. Many dating advice books are often a couple of trite sayings here and there, and thrown together in a book. John Van Epp far exceeds dating book expectations and gives a book that you can pick up and read many times, gaining a new perspective.
Great for those that have had a bad relationship or just looking for a relationship
Common Sense Built On Research
Don’t Let the Title Mislead You
It is a wonderful and enlightening book
I’ve read about a dozen relationship books, including books by Terry Read and Susan Page, and this book does stand out as one of those with the most practical advice. I can sense that this book really took ten years to work on, as the advice in it is not just a list of to-do but showed that a great mind, lots of research and practical understanding has produced the knowledge that is being shared here.
I got the book and I know that the knowledge I got from it is something which I could not have discovered on my own.