Lori Gottlieb Wants You to Change Your Story

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Lori Gottlieb is one hell of a writer.

She published her childhood diaries as a book.

She’s written for the New York Times, The Atlantic and NPR.

You may know her from writing “Marry Him: the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” in which I coached her throughout the writing of the book.

You may know her from this book review I wrote or this podcast I did with her.

What you might not know:

She dated my roommate.

She wrote a few TV scripts with me.

She introduced me to my first book agent.

Our sons share the same first name.

If you enjoy what you read here, it is well worth your time due to its accessibility, great storytelling, insights and deep humanity.

She wrote one of the bestselling books of 2019, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed,” which I devoured in a week.

Today, I just wanted to share Lori’s recent TED talk with you, and encourage you to read her book. If you enjoy what you read here, it is well worth your time due to its accessibility, great storytelling, insights and deep humanity.

Those of you who’ve read it, your thoughts are greatly appreciated. Enjoy.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Lurking

    Awesome. I read Evan’s intro but skimmed the video quickly. I read her Marry Him! book twelve years ago. It got all sorts of outraged reviews, because it hit a nerve, and she knew it would. Sometimes doing right by yourself can be incredibly lonely. Her generation was the first to really grapple with the absolute dread of settling, women before that pretty much just did it automatically and gratefully. At that time in her life, her book repeated themes of aloneness, fears and dread. Sure looks & sounds like she is way past all those emotions! And, she never did settle. For high quality women, it’s virtually impossible to do. She’s got a sophisticated set of interpersonal smarts, plus she’s fearless and beautiful. I personally think she is past needing a man. Or at least, one that she needs to settle for permanently. I mean, I just don’t meet men that impress me as much. If Evan’s help can find her an actual equal, great. If not, ok. With her astute sense of feelings and self insight, she is intriguing. I can imagine it would be tough for her to find her match. The ‘Dear Therapist’ advice is exceptional. Larger than life writer gals can just rock the single girl thing for long periods of time- Helen Gurley Brown, Candace Bushnell, Elizabeth Wurtzel (RIP xxoo) and Lori.

    1. 1.1
      Emily, to

      Lurking,
      “Larger than life writer gals can just rock the single girl thing for long periods of time- Helen Gurley Brown, Candace Bushnell, Elizabeth Wurtzel (RIP xxoo) and Lori.”
      Elizabeth Wurtzel actually got married and I believe was married when she passed away. He was younger. Bless her heart. 🙂

      1. 1.1.1
        Lurking

        Helen was married also, @ 38, which she considered a statistical miracle of the time ha ha. Elizabeth and Candace both married much younger men. The Cougar thing is the ideal. Although at some point the young men want their own families and kids, but it can last a while would be fun. Shrug.

        1. Emily, to

          Lurking,
          “The Cougar thing is the ideal. Although at some point the young men want their own families and kids, but it can last a while would be fun.”
          I wholeheartedly support that ideal. To be fair, I think both middle-aged men and women often marry younger partners because they don’t have kids. It makes it easier. And not everyone wants kids. According to a new article about the nuclear family in The Atlantic: “We’re likely living through the most rapid change in family structure in human history. The causes are economic, cultural, and institutional all at once.” Fasten your seat belts. 🙂

    2. 1.2
      jo

      Lurking, your comment is inspirational! I agree that Lori doesn’t need a man, but she may want one. More and more, that’s why people get into relationships: not because of need, but because of want. I think that’s a good thing.

      When her Atlantic article came out years ago, some of my friends got very angry about it. At the time I was young and clueless, but even then, I remember not feeling angry, but noticing that almost ALL the reasons she gave for settling in marriage were to have someone to co-parent kids (in her examples, her son). I remember thinking that her whole reasoning was different from other women’s if we didn’t have kids, and wondered two things:

      1. Isn’t that ‘using’ the man, to settle just so that he can look after your child, and unfair to him? It felt as though she was putting the cart before the horse. I would think a relationship is primarily about the couple, not about using one’s partner for the sake of a ‘higher’ goal: kids.
      2. For women (and men) who don’t want kids, does her advice to settle not apply then?

      All these years later, the questions still hold. It boils down to your point and mine, that this upcoming age of women – especially those who don’t want kids – have so many more options and the luxury of having relationships not because we need them, but because we want them. I know many (such as Sparkling Emerald on here, and my friends IRL) who get married because they want exactly that, with no goal of (more) children. And others whose lives are so full and busy that marriage would rock the boat (but who knows, maybe in a good way). In any case, Lori’s past work seems less relevant today, but her current TED talk is funny and thought-provoking. I hope she is more at peace in life now.

      1. 1.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        To the best of my knowledge, Lori still would like to get married. And “Marry Him” remains HIGHLY relevant, regardless of whether you’re having your own biological kids. The book is essentially my entire Love U philosophy, written by my friend, on how to choose wisely and what you should and should not compromise on.

      2. 1.2.2
        Karl R

        jo asked:
        “Isn’t that ‘using’ the man, to settle just so that he can look after your child, and unfair to him?”

        First, I think Lori’s whole philosophy would be easier to understand if you substituted the word “compromise” for the word “settle.”

        Second, if one wants a partner who will be a co-parent to their child, it’s best to find someone who shares that goal. (And that might be an area where compromising would be unwise.) If both individuals want to raise a child with the assistance of a co-parent, then each partner is helping the other to achieve that goal.

        jo said:
        “I would think a relationship is primarily about the couple, not about using one’s partner for the sake of a ‘higher’ goal”

        The idea of “using” someone implies that one person receives all of the benefit, or a disproportionate amount of the benefit. So if there’s a benefit that you want to receive from a relationship, make certain your partner is receiving a comparable benefit.

        jo asked:
        “For women (and men) who don’t want kids, does her advice to settle not apply then?”

        Her advice applies, but the degree to which one might compromise could change.

        If I refused to compromise on my partner, I would still be single. So my compromise, in that case, would be giving up all of the benefits I get from being in a relationship with my wife.

        Therefore, one of the ways to minimize the amount you compromise is to be happily single. I was happy being single, and I wasn’t going to settle for a relationship that wasn’t an improvement over being single. My wife was also happy being single, so she wasn’t going to settle for a mediocre relationship either.

        People who are miserable being single are the ones who end up settling for truly lousy relationships. They often know that their relationship is miserable, but it’s slightly less miserable than being alone.

  2. 2
    Vanessa

    I am a huge admirer of Lori. I listened to the audiobook of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” and I’m in the middle of reading “Marry Him”. The way she looks at the world and explains emotions, values, and motivations is quite intriguing to me. I read her column every week. It also makes me think about personal problems in a different way. Thank you for sharing her TED talk, I didn’t know it was out there!

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