“Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood


“Women Who Love Too Much” is an often reprinted book for women, which was initially published over 25 years ago. The author is a therapist who specializes in the problem of “loving too much” and who used to have this problem herself.

Who is this book for? For those stuck in bad relationships who keep having drama in their love lives. Most women with this problem come from what Norwood, somewhat harshly, calls “dysfunctional families”. I think that this label is quite unfortunate as no one wants to think about their family in this way. What the author really means by the term is “unhealthy”. The problem doesn’t only appear in families with domestic and substance abuse present. It’s enough that a mother is jealous of her daughter, overly controlling or harsh and critical for it to be a problem to a child’s emotional development. Similarly, when a father is emotionally or physically absent or always striving to be “funny” but actually coming off as cruel it’s also unhealthy for a developing ego.
All of the above, separately or combined, program a child to start believing that it isn’t worth of love, that’s there’s something internally wrong with it and it needs to sacrifice to be loved as no one will love it for what it is. Needless to say such a child as a result thinks very little of itself.

Norwood explains how such early developed traits live on as  a child becomes a woman. She describes numerous examples from her practice to show how these females behave as adults, reproducing the patterns of their childhood in adult love life. To some of them the reader will be able to relate to other not really, but it’s good to read the whole book to understand the phenomenon fully. In short, women who love too much would do anything for a man just to be loved. The men they choose give them the same treatment they received in childhood – they need to perform to be loved.
Such women aren’t interested in people who are nurturing and accepting. They consider them boring. Instead they use sex and their looks as a tool to get a “bad” guy as they don’t feel there’s anything more in them that could be appreciated. They desperately strive to be in a relationship and to avoid rejection but in reality are terrified of true intimacy.

The book is full of interesting thoughts. It explains that true love isn’t about being hurt and great make-up sex (which comes as a surprise to many) but rather about the companionship and the feeling of safety. It shows how culture teaches us to consider bad relationships as “true love” and misread strong attraction as a sign of a meaningful bond. It also discusses the overly present sexism which makes us believe that woman should sacrifice and tolerate whatever her man does in order to get him and keep him.

My only problem with a book is that it may help a person self-diagnose and look for help elsewhere but it gives little actual guidance on how one can get sorted. “Women Who Love Too Much” isn’t really a self-help book as it’s advertised on the cover.
It also reminds me of a book formerly reviewed by #englishrosiee “Why Men Love Bitches” but the latter is much more superficial. It explains to you how to behave without getting stuck in certain scenarios but doesn’t look into reasons of why you’re interested to get into bad relationship at the first place. “Women Who Love Too Much” is much better as it looks at the issues behind the behaviours rather than at the behaviours themselves.

Who would I recommend this book to? To anyone who feels they may have an issue with men. It’s difficult to admit these things to yourself and even more challenging to actually address them. I can just tell you from my own experience that they won’t disappear on their own and you’ll never find the right man to help you feel loved and fulfilled. You have to start loving yourself and admit your self worth before you can accept someone’s love and love them back. This book may be your first step on the way to do so.

Now it’s time for your opinion, Dear Rinsers! Do you struggle in your love life? Did you used to struggle but eventually managed to sort yourself out? Tell us your story.


    • Yes, it’s a very unfortunate pattern to be in as it’s so deeply grounded in your psychological make up. I guess it puts a lot of responsibility on parents to understand how easily they can skew their children and make it difficult for them to be happy adults later in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the post and you are right in this as in other situations we are often unaware of our drivers and we might be programmed by things in our past to unconsciously think we do not deserve to be loved. Then we perpetuate behaviour that reinforces that. It’s true not just in relationships but in other aspects of life too. Also men can have similar issues too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words. Yes, unfortunately our subconscious believes to vast extent define the lives we lead. Discovering them and proving them to be untrue is very difficult but necessary for healing. The author mentioned that guys have similar issues but a general reply of men is to take it out rather than take it in. Women get depressed, sacrifice and beat themselves up, while men with similar psychological issues are more likely to be aggressive and trying to prove themselves by the number of women they have. I must say the read was very interesting because it was so comprehensive. There were all sorts of stories mentioned and it was clearly explained what behaviors of parents in childhood caused what in the adult lives. Do you maybe have any books to recommend on the topic?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry for the delay life gets in the way sometimes!
    My absolute favourite book is The Soul Mate experience by Mali Apple and Joe Dunning.
    Whilst it’s about getting the best possible relationship with a partner. It gets you to consider your beliefs, looks at hidden beliefs and how they can impact on life in general. Looks at ways to work on your life in ways that can improve happiness.
    My book that got me really thinking about sexuality was written by a man ….but I really rate it for women who don’t understand their sexual needs and maybe ignore them. Especially the maybe elusive o! Secrets of the Sexual lyrics Irresistible Woman by Graham Masterton. He’s written several others as well. But this deals with self exploration something I think is really important.
    The Betrayal Bond by Patrick J Carney made me think about what we accept in relationships and why.

    Liked by 1 person

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