Top Ten Tuesday: Helpful Nonfiction Books About Relationships

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


Rose petals being shot through the air in the shape of a few different hearts. This is happening in a desert area. Happy early Valentine’s Day to everyone to celebrates it!

I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I do have a short list of helpful nonfiction books about creating better relationships, whether they’re with friends, romantic partners, family members, or other people you know.

Yes, some of the information in some of them is specifically written for certain types of relationships like a romance or dealing with a pushy mother-in-law, but the principles in them can be applied to many other situations as well.

Some of these books were written for specific groups like Christians or people who are polyamorous. I encourage you to check them all out even if those specific labels don’t apply to you. Just like with the different types of relationships, there are far more similarities between these groups than you might originally think. We’re all human, after all!

I mean, every relationship should include things like clear communication, setting boundaries, compromising, kindly handling conflict, and giving/receiving emotional support no matter who you are, how you identify, or whether the person you’d like to get along with better is your spouse, best friend, mother-in-law, or coworker.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman book cover. Image on cover shows a couple embracing on a beach as the sun sets behind them.

1. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

What I Like About It: Not everyone values the same methods of showing affection. I think there’s something to be said for figuring out what makes people feel appreciated and doing those things as much as you can.


Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud book cover. Image on cover shows a red pencil drawing a line on a plain white sheet of paper.

2. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud

What I Like About It: Setting boundaries can be tricky for me sometimes, but it’s important for every type of relationship. This book is filled with examples of how to figure out what you can offer someone and how to say no to the rest. It was also cool to see what specific phrases they recommended for people who have trouble saying no.


The Polyamory Breakup Book: Causes, Prevention, and Survival by Kathy Labriola, Dossie Easton book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of a gold leaf on a blue plant.

3. The Polyamory Breakup Book: Causes, Prevention, and Survival by Kathy Labriola, Dossie Easton

What I Like About It: I believe that we should all be methodical about who we invite into our inner circles and move slowly when dating, making new friends, or even deciding where we’d like to work (if possible).  This book goes beyond picking out red flags for more obvious things like abuse and encourages the audience to figure out exactly what we want out of all of our relationships and who we are (and aren’t) compatible with.

You can prevent a lot of heartache if you move slowly in the beginning of any sort of relationship and pay close attention to how you are (or aren’t) matching up with your potential romantic parter or friend.

I also loved what it had to say about gracefully ending relationships that aren’t working for whatever reason. There’s no need to demonize anyone if you find that you’re not actually compatible with them. Some relationships simply weren’t meant to last, and that’s okay.


Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine book cover. Image on cover shows two magnets being drawn to each other.

4. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine

What I Like About It: While attachment styles can be changed with time and hard work, they are part of figuring out compatibility for many different types of relationships and learning how to communicate better.

For example, I tend to have a bit of an anxious attachment style, so I know that people with avoidant attachment styles are not a good fit for me at all. (Although I do wish them the best!)


Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman book cover. There is no image on this cover. It’s just blue and red background.


5. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

What I Like About It: Emotional intelligence matters in every sort of relationship we have as human beings. There are ways to approach difficult subjects that can make it much easier to discuss and hopefully resolve. A harsh phrasing of the same sentiment might lead to nothing but an argument that goes nowhere.

Which books would all of you add to this list?


Filed under Blog Hops

72 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Helpful Nonfiction Books About Relationships

  1. Five Love Languages is a book lots of people have told me was very helpful for them.

  2. What a great and helpful Top Ten Tuesday post! I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day as it is a commercial made up “Holiday”, but I love romance! And working on your relationships should be a day-to-day thing, not once a year.

  3. I really like the topic you picked for this freebie! It’s really unique. I’ve heard of The 5 Love Languages, but I haven’t picked it up, and The Polyamory Breakup Book sounds interesting. 🙂

  4. One of the book bloggers I follow raved about Attached and she highly recommended it and I admit, it has piqued my interest. I forgot about it until now but on the TBR it goes! Great list 🙂

  5. the Storyenthusiast

    Ooh, what an interesting and helpful choice of topic! I’ve read the Five Love Languages book but the others look intriguing too.

  6. Great topic! I’ve heard good things about the 5 languages’ books!

  7. Super interesting list and idea for this TTT!

  8. I’ve heard a lot of talk over the years about The 5 Love Languages. I still haven’t read it. I guess I should!

  9. Non-fiction is not my cup of tea unfortunately. Happy reading!

    My TTT:

  10. Oh, this is a great list! I haven’t looked much into relationship books after a bad relationship with one many years back — an ex used very edited snippets from Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus to justify his cheating and emotionally abusive behavior — and I’ve been wary of relationship books since. However, these sound like very helpful books.

    My TTT:

    • I’m so sorry that happened to you, Nicole.

      Yeah, relationship books can definitely be used for bad means by terrible people.

      I hope you find useful stuff in these books if you read them, but no pressure if you can’t or would prefer not to.

      • Thanks, it was a long time ago and I’m in a much better place now. I just find it weird how there’s still random little things that come up now and then, and I realize where they originated.

        These seem like much better suited to what I need from a relationship book, honestly. I’ve heard of the 5 Love Languages before, so I might pick that one up as a starting point.

  11. Great topic! I’ve heard a lot about The 5 Love Languages, definitely need to check it out.

  12. This is the most unique prompt I’ve seen today. I’m not polyamorous myself, but I know someone who is. I think the Polyamory Breakup Book might help me understand them more. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  13. Emotional intelligence (the Working With E.I. book) helped me soooooooooo much when I was young. Also “Women Who Love too Much” and Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. Good post!!!!

  14. I’ve heard a lot about The 5 Languages of Love, but I’ve never read it. Your post makes me want to check it out. Emotional Intelligence is another book I would like to read. I think I’ve forgotten how to set boundaries. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today.

  15. I’ve always wanted to read The Five Languages. It sounds so helpful. My TTT

  16. Great idea for a post! Boundaries and saying no are things I struggle with.

  17. This is an interesting take on the theme! I hope you found these useful.

  18. I hear about the Five Love Languages book all the time just here and there. But I’ve never read it or wanted to. Who knows! Maybe someday. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland, Lydia.

  19. I find stuff like the love languages really interesting, would love to read more about that!

  20. Very unique topic for this week. Thanks for the recs!

  21. Thank you for sharing these wonderful resources! I read 5 Love Languages years ago!

  22. Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies

    This is such an interesting topic and list of books! The Attachment book seems like it could be really rewarding to read, and I should probably make a point of reading the love languages book too. We can always benefit from learning something new, right?

  23. This is a great list on an important topic. I have found Terrence Real’s books really helpful for relationship issues (starting with I Don’t Want To Talk About It). Happy TTT!

  24. Relationships, whether romantic, familial, friendship or work colleagues all need the partners to work with one another. I have seen many of these books around, and used on similar to Boundaries (but I can’t remember the title) when struggling with work, a young family and trying to maintain friendships. A great twist on the theme and wonderful post, Lydia.

  25. Great list – Boundaries is on my TBR.

  26. Love your topic choice! Thank you for thr suggestions!

  27. This is a great spin on the TTT topic this week. I’ve only read THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES. I found it really eye-opening and it has definitely helped me be a better wife and mother.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  28. Love your topic! Attached and Emotional Intelligence sound very interesting.

  29. Kay

    Great idea for the topic! I feel like The 5 Love Languages is a classic, it is so often recommended.

  30. This is a great list, and what a good idea for the theme! 🙂

  31. Love your take on this week’s theme. The book about boundaries seems like it would be especially helpful.

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