Author Anna Pasternak and Andrew Wallas, a psychotherapist and relationship ‘guru’ are a real life married couple. Despite only being together for around three years, they clearly believe they have a relationship that will last ’till death us do part’ and they have some answers as they have now teamed up to write a book – about how to say together.
Call off the Search is described as ‘an explosive and life-changing book,’ which ‘identifies truth and honesty as the most important means of having a successful relationship…’
As someone who has been married for almost 30 years to my husband and as a real-life journalist who has interviewed thousands of people about their personal relationships, I’m not a fan of relationship books, psychotherapy or any other form of self analysis.
Mostly because I believe relationships are so different that there is no right way or wrong way to behave. Some people will leave a relationship when they hit the first hurdle – unfortunately others will stay in a marriage when they really should have left long ago. Also some people will be happy to have one relationship in their life whereas others might have a series.
Therefore, as each couple is so unique, and you are not like anyone else, I don’t think any book or a therapist will give you much insight into yourself or your relationship.
Also if I were to give any advice to remain happily married – which I think I am fairly well qualified to give in the circumstances! – it would be respect one another’s space (he likes Horizon and sci-fi whereas I love Come Dine with Me, although we occasionally watch a film together) and don’t spend time arguing about things that don’t matter (or learn to make up jolly fast and move on!) That said, don’t be afraid either to have a really good row. And keep your independence – I have my business, he has his and we never get involved with each other’s work…
However, we do always go on holidays together, we do listen to one another’s point of view and we show how we care in lots of little ways – for example, he brings me a cuppa every single morning to wake me up and I always make him a coffee after dinner! We are also always there for one another.
However, end of January is when most relationships fall apart. Christmas is over, January blues have set in and people start calling their divorce lawyers. And if you would like to read an unusual relationship book then in this one Anna and Andrew put their own relationship under the spotlight, with the underlying question being explored – why do relationships fail?
According to them, they fail because couples aren’t honest with one another and don’t tell the truth.
Experts agree that January is when the most enquiries about separation and divorce are made – so much so that it is dubbed ‘Divorce Month’ by many in the legal sector.
This year the government have pledged a further £10 million towards legal aid for mediation. Says Family Justice Minister Lord McNally: ‘Going through a divorce or separation can be an emotionally draining and stressful time for everyone involved, especially for children’.
The statistics make stark reading:
· Over 4/5ths of the population know someone close to them who has been divorced;
· There are more than 200 times more divorces today than 100 years ago
· The biggest reason for splitting up is ‘falling out of love’ at 27% – greater than one of the partners having an affair (25%);
· 80% of marriages hit a black spot at some point.
Anna, 45, and Andrew have put together a new book that traces their own volatile relationship in high definition close up. They claim it is ‘jaw-droppingly brutal, laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly honest. It also has exercises and tips on how to avoid the common mistakes we all make in relationships and offers clean cut, no-nonsense advice on how to break the cycle of moods, sulks, rage, power struggles and arguments that we all have, and break through to a new level of truth, honesty and real intimacy that we all crave within a loving relationship.’
Andrew and Anna believe sitting down and telling your other half ‘the truth’ is the best way forward. I am not sure if they are still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship – they apparently only got together in 2010 and married in 2011 – but I would beg to differ – there’s no point in hurting your partner by saying something cruel but ‘truthful’. Actually in marriage some things are actually best left unsaid – and couples should appreciate you won’t ever agree on some issues. You might feel differently too about one another one day to the next or year to the next…!
There are also some things my husband and I will never see eye to eye about. We don’t thrash out our differences or try to convince the other to change their opinion – instead we just respect our views are different.
However, Andrew, a trained and practising psychotherapist for 25 years says: ‘Most people fail in relationships because they are not honest enough with each other.
‘What we advocate is that couples should just tell the truth. Be honest with themselves and be absolutely honest with their partner.’
Andrew – dubbed by Tatler as one of the top therapists working in the UK – is evangelical about truth-telling. ‘It’s astonishing – some couples seem happier to see their relationship end than to actually sit down and tell the truth to one another.’
The self-help business has generated around £60 million in Britain alone in the last 5 years according to a report by the Leisure Database Company.
Nevertheless, the couple are adamant that this is not a typical self help book: ‘We are not preaching from the pulpit. We are just reporting as best we can – the casualties and the breakthroughs from the frontline of true love. It is painful, messy, bonkers enlightening and inspiring – all at the same time.’
They discuss with candour and agonising honesty taboo subjects such as Hatred, Revenge, Sexual Jealousy, Shattered Dreams and Shame and try to answer the key question: With 7 billion people on the planet – all searching for the same thing – why do so few of us find true intimacy and partnership?
In this press release they don’t give the answer to this question so I can’t tell you why this is (if that statistic is actually true?) but I am sure in their book, Call off the Search, they will give their opinion…
Let’s hope they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary as my husband and I have done – when perhaps they might write an update…
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let us know your views below…