New York Times Bestselling author and Rolling Stone writer, Neil Strauss just released his new book “The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships” this week. After cheating on someone he loved, Neil did a lot of soul searching, confronted the lifestyle he was living and decided to make a change for the better, which he disclosed in this book.
Neil Strauss was kind enough to join me for an interview yesterday to discuss his new book “The Truth”, whether or not it’s possible to be faithful to one person, the secret to a great relationship and happiness, and how a notorious player can change his or her ways.
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about your book “The Truth” and what inspired you to write it?
Neil Strauss: “I guess what inspired me to write it was the complete failure and disfunction of all my relationships, they all didn’t work. I got into a relationship with someone awesome, I cheated on her, really, really hurt her, really broke her heart. I destroyed the future that I hoped to have with her and really started soul searching about if I’m a nice guy (I didn’t think I was before that) why would I do that to somebody? Why would I hurt them? Why would I break trust, my own values, my commitment to someone? What kind of person does that and why do they do that? When that person is you, you really realize something is wrong and you need to figure it out.”
Candace Rose: What was that process like for you?
Neil Strauss: “‘I’ve written a bunch of books, maybe the shortest was three months, and the longest was maybe two years; this one took me five years because the questions are so hard and a lot of them are about really seeing and understanding ourselves. That was probably the longest, most brutal journey I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t think that I’d get to the other side of it.”
Candace Rose: Do you think that it’s natural to be faithful to one person for life?
Neil Strauss: “I think they’re the wrong questions, and those are the questions I used to ask. Can I commit to this person? Can I really be with one person for the rest of my life, no romance or sex with anyone else? If you ask that question, it makes it too hard. You need to ask yourself can I make the decision to be faithful to this person just right now (again if this is the rules of your relationship because not every relationship is monogamous). If you live in the right now with your partner, the rest will take care of itself.”
Candace Rose: What do you think the key to better relationships and greater happiness is?
Neil Strauss: “There are so many keys, but I would say this big shift in thinking is that whatever problems are in a relationship, whatever problems you’re having, they have nothing to do with the other person or even the relationship. They’re only about you and the way you relate to that person. A small caveat, which is obviously if you’re in a situation where there’s emotional or physical abuse, you can relate by leaving and never speaking to them again. You have the choice, you can’t change somebody else, but you can change and work on yourself and the way you see things.”
Candace Rose: What draws us to the partners that we choose?
Neil Strauss: “It’s funny, early in the book there’s a line ‘When it’s love at first sight, run in the other direction.’ The idea behind that is and it’s kind of a little glib, but the real point is, often we’re attracted by our wounds. We’re attracted often by our childhood experiences and looking for a little templates. Our first experiences of love are with mom or with dad and they set certain templates in place and we then go look to not just get that replicated or to get the opposite of it. Or most often to get someone who is kind of like mom or kind of like dad and to get what they never gave us from this person to heal that childhood wound. There’s a lot of deep unconscious stuff going on in our choices and once you become conscious of that stuff, your whole relationships start to change.”
Candace Rose: Is it possible for a notorious player to change his ways or her ways?
Neil Strauss: “I think it is possible, but you’re not going to be the one to change them, so if someone is listening and they like to date someone and reform them or change them, you’re the problem. You have to accept someone as they are. Of course they can change if they make the choice and the decision to change and not just that, but do the actual work to change. People always say they want to change, but they don’t make that change, so they get under the hood of their heart or their brain and start fixing what’s broken.”
Candace Rose: What’s the first step one needs to take to actually make that change?
Neil Strauss: “The first step is self awareness. The first step is really realizing what are the patterns that are dysfunctional in my life that I’m just playing out is just self awareness and really understanding ‘Okay, am I resenting my partner because they did something?’ Where does that resentment come from? Is this even true? What are my core issues?
The second step I would say would be humility. If you want to change, some way of thinking is just not working so you have to let go of what you know and be really, really humble about stuff.
The third step is there’s all these incredible therapeutic/psychological processes out there beyond talk therapy that really separate you from your wounds and get you outside yourself so you can really grow and mature and become hopefully an authentic person you can be.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you Neil. Where can we go for more information and to purchase your book “The Truth?”
Neil Strauss: “Online and in stores.”