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Book Review: I Love You But I Don’t Trust You

Author Mira Kirshenbaum

I Love You But I Don’t Trust You is national bestselling author, Mira Kirshenbaum’s, 11th book about healing relationships. I had the privilege of working with Mira when she was part of my medical expert team at Revolution Health, so I welcomed the chance to review her latest work. Although I had to endure some curious looks from my fiancé (who wondered why I was reading a book with that title), Mira’s writing sparked some interesting discussions between us and reinforced our own trust in each other.

When I first read the title of the book, I assumed that it would be focused on what to do when your partner has an affair. I was surprised to discover that I was utterly wrong. In fact, relational trust deficits can be caused by anything from broken promises, to misrepresenting financial situations, to lording one’s power over another. I Love You But I Don’t Trust You opened my eyes to all the subtle ways that trust can be eroded, and at the same time offered “actionable” advice for shoring up relationships.

Mira’s writing is particularly engaging because she illustrates her ideas with poignant, real-life examples. For every breach of trust under discussion, she offers a case study. Sometimes the couples she describes make outrageous gaffs, and the emotional train wreck that ensues is both terrifying and riveting. Example after example of poor judgment, bad behavior, and selfish acts could potentially be depressing, if it weren’t for the good news that follows. Many of these couples were able to resolve their conflicts and restore trust against all odds. Illustrating how that happens is part of the reason why Mira’s book is a page-turner.

Beyond advice for couples, I Love You But I Don’t Trust You is actually quite relevant for anyone who has been deeply wronged. Mira describes how she herself was able to offer true forgiveness to a former Nazi soldier who had participated (indirectly) in putting her own parents in a concentration camp. She describes a life-changing moment when she was traveling in Europe as a young woman, and she became very ill and fainted at the train station. A German couple took her to their home and nursed her back to health. Mira learned to trust the “untrustable” and became convinced through this experience that no relationship was beyond help. She devoted the rest of her life to relationship counseling, and her passion fosters hope in each of her books.

Some things you will learn from I Love You But I Don’t Trust You:

*All the ways that mistrust can enter a relationship

*Is your relationship worth saving?

*The typical response to broken trust, and the way to minimize collateral damage

*Suggested timeline for change and trust repair

*How to restore trust by working through 6 key questions

The only downside to Mira’s book is that it is based upon, as far as I can tell, the informed experience of only one therapist. Mira does not refer to the academic literature to support her theses or suggestions, nor does she appear to rely upon outside sources for additional insight. Mira speaks from her gut – she has a brilliant way of positioning arguments, and helping people to approach each other in ways that are minimally inflammatory in what is otherwise an emotional mine field. Beyond that, I can’t say if Mira’s approach to conflict resolution is optimal. My instinct says it’s as fine a methodology as any I’ve seen, but from an evidence-based perspective, there isn’t necessarily a lot of data behind it (just had to add that caveat for my science-loving friends).

Nonetheless, in my opinion, I Love You But I Don’t Trust You would be an excellent workbook for people in couples’ therapy. In fact, the Appendix lists suggested topics and questions for discussion groups, so I’m sure that Mira was thinking the same thing when she wrote it.

But most importantly, I think that reading the book in advance of any trust violations in your relationship, could be the best course of action. Simply learning about all the damage that one impulsive decision can cause to a lover and/or family could make you less likely to make that decision! I Love You But I Don’t Trust You might best be used as a preventive health measure for your relationship(s). I’m sure it has strengthened me against trust violations in my future.

**You can order the book on Amazon.com here **

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