A breakup, divorce, or loss of a loved one isn't just the end of your relationship with that person. It's a continuation of every feeling of abandonment you've ever suffered. It's the loss of a system of approval you'd come to depend on. The struggle, as Gray points out in Starting Over, isn't just to find a new partner, but to get over those feelings of abandonment or loss or anger or whatever else gets dredged up by the end of a relationship.
Perhaps the book's most crucial chapter posits that the best way to get over the loss of love is to focus on the "love" more than the "loss." That may seem impossible, especially if the bum took off with your best friend, your life savings, and your Lyle Lovett CDs, but Gray didn't get to be a household name because the advice in his Venus and Mars books doesn't work. Remembering only the bad parts, Gray says, leaves you with an important part of your emotional being closed to new business.
As for the Venus and Mars stuff, that comes in the second half of the book, when Gray looks at how men and women start new relationships from different points of view, with different priorities (a man might want to have fun with no strings attached; a woman might carry with her a lengthy list of requirements for her next partner, a list that excludes virtually all available men).
If you've never read Gray's work before, you have to be prepared to check your cynicism at the door. This is earnest stuff, but it's also based on decades of experience counseling clients. He's not one of those photogenic, nine-times-divorced shrinklets who's telling you how to conduct your relationships without any real clue of what makes love last. This is the real package: nothing glib, nothing quick and easy, nothing you could've figured out from a "Love Is..." cartoon. [via]