Dating the Second Time Around

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Dating the Second Time Around: Finding Love That Lasts By Dr. Gian Gonzaga, book reviewHere is a scary thought for you: the divorce rate for first time marriages in the UK is currently at 42%. It gets worse. If you are lucky enough to get married for a second time, you stand a 60% chance of ending up divorced. Try it for a third time and the rate climbs again to a massive 70%. To say that there are thus a large number of people fresh out of long-term relationships looking for love again is probably putting it mildly. Noticing this growing market, online dating service eHarmony (  has brought out a book based on the principles of “relationship science” that they use for matchmaking called, “Dating The Second Time Around: Finding Love That Lasts”. Yes, I laughed a bit at the thought that people could be paired up successfully by something as unromantic as scientific analysis too, but they claim to be responsible for 542 people getting married every day in the US alone, so I guess there must be something in it.

For my own part, I am in a 13 year relationship, married for the last two, and am certainly not looking to change that. You might think that this would therefore make me a poor choice of reviewer for this book, but if (heaven forbid) anything did happen to my marriage, I would be exactly the sort of person this book is aimed at – someone who  would feel completely lost to be single again and utterly clueless about how to rectify the situation. I never felt I knew much about dating to start with, so the thought of dating with the different social rules a 15 year hiatus brings (and not to mention the rules of the new world of dating online) would leave me terrified. Imagine yourself in that position for a moment; a practical, straightforward guide that would hold your hand through the process could be just what is needed.

“This is a decent value and very practical book that I’m sure would be helpful to anyone looking to date again…”

Dating The Second Time Around tries to be that guide. Written in straightforward, clear language and edited by Dr Gian Gonzaga, eHarmony’s director of research, it encourages you to think firstly about yourself before you embark on looking for your new relationship. Have you got over your last partner properly yet? What went wrong in previous relationships and how might you avoid the same thing happening in future? What do you want from your new relationship? Only once you have worked through these sections of the book are you taken to advice on looking for a new partner and how to act on first dates. I especially liked that a chapter is devoted to the special problems of second-timers, such as partners being settled already and having children from previous relationships. The advice is interspersed with fact boxes and case studies of other couples as an encouragement to the reader. Naturally, given the book is written on behalf of an online dating agency, online dating is given prominence and an entirely positive presentation, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get something out of the book if you want to date by other means, however; the advice on relationships and first dates in general is sound however you met your date. Should you wish to take the plunge into the world of dating online, however, the book currently comes with an offer of a 20% discount off a 6 month subscription to eHarmony, which is pretty good value when you consider it only costs £6.99 to start with.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book for me was reading the section on compatibility – this is the scientific bit that eHarmony use to match potential partners who are likely to get on with each other. A lot of it makes perfect sense and I can see the rationale behind it. Having said that, based on this approach I doubt my husband and I would ever have been matchmade by this system as we would probably be considered too different in too many core areas for our relationship to ever work. Yet it does. Perhaps this should be another sign of encouragement to those looking to find someone new: if you really do like someone, compromises and negotiations can be made without resentment and it can work. Or maybe we are just weird!

In terms of downsides, I noticed a couple of typos – which were a bit distracting but nothing that would affect the coherence of the text – and I found the constant promotion of online dating to a bit much (they do protest too much, methinks) although as I stated earlier this was to be expected given who the authors are. These points aside, this is a decent value and very practical book that I’m sure would be helpful to anyone looking to date again after the end of a long relationship. As they say, “good relationships can make you happier, more successful, and can even make you live longer”, so a way to help more of us have them is to be encouraged I think.

Dating The Second Time Around: Finding Love That Lasts
by Dr Gian Gonzaga
Published by Hamlyn (2010), paperback, 224pp
With thanks to eHarmony for providing this review copy.

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Dating The Second Time Around
by Dr Gian Gonzaga

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Written by collingwood21

Collingwood21 is a 32 year old university administrator and ex-pat northerner living down south. Married. Over-educated. Loves books, history, archaeology and writing.

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