Relationships of any kind are ongoing works in progress—between family, friends, and colleagues, there’s almost always room for growth and improvement.
Our more intimate relationships, however, can be especially challenging. The person you fell so hard for might sometimes be the one who frustrates you the most.
But luckily for us, love isn’t anything new. Many experts have dedicated their lives to studying the best strategies for maintaining happy, healthy relationships, which is why there are so many relationship books on the market.
We’ve compiled a list of 12 of the best relationship books that are loaded with insight for both singles and couples.
Books for Singles
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean there isn’t a great relationship book out there for you.
Whether you’re on the mend from a recent heartache or simply trying to improve your relationship with yourself, these books can help you prepare for the next great phase of your life.
1. Getting Past Your Breakup by Susan J. Elliott
To make room for something new and beautiful, you need a clean break from what hurts. Susan J. Elliott’s guide will show you how to confront the pain of a breakup or divorce so you can finally move on and get your heart ready a new beginning.
Elliott teaches the rules of complete disengagement (cutting off all contact with your ex), the secret to working through grief and breaking the pattern of failed relationships, and what to do when you can’t seem to stop thinking about your ex.
2. Data: A Love Story by Amy Webb
Right as she was about to cancel her online dating subscription, Amy Webb was struck by an epiphany: the problem wasn’t that her standards were too high, but that she wasn’t evaluating the right data. She immediately got to work listing the essential traits she sought in a partner, from personality traits to musical taste.
Then, using the same data strategy that made her company the top in its field, Webb studied the key words that were “digital man magnets” and brought dozens of the right men her way, eventually leading her to her future husband.
Online dating skeptics will find renewed hope in Webb’s clear, logical strategy for making the most of dating sites and using them to attract the right suitors.
3. How to Be Alone by Lane Moore
Whether you’re fresh from a breakup or still waiting to find the right person, learning how to be alone is an essential skill that anyone can benefit from.
As host of the popular comedy show Tinder Live, Lane Moore knows a thing or two about triumphs and failures in the world of modern dating. Her hilariously honest and utterly relatable guide to being alone is a must-read for singles and anyone struggling to know more about themselves in the context of a relationship.
4. It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken by Greg Behrendt
The author of the wildly popular He’s Just Not That Into You is back to teach you how to “turn your breakup into a breakover.” Behrendt points out that following the end of any relationship, the most important thing to remember is that some things just can’t and shouldn’t be fixed.
This complete guide to getting over a breakup covers everything from how to throw yourself a kick-ass pity party to reframing reality and seeing your relationship for what it really was. Make a clean break so you can get back in the game and feel better than ever.
Books for New Relationships
Most new relationships are full of fun and giddy excitement. But at some point, you’ll encounter your first road bump or struggle to understand something about your new honey.
These reads will help guide you through those early phases so you can focus on growing as a couple.
5. Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
In Attached, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Amir Levine and psychologist Rachel S.F. Heller reveal how an understanding of attachment theory can help you find and sustain love.
According to attachment theory, there are three types of people in relationships: the anxious, avoidant, and secure. Attached will help you determine which attachment styles you and your partner follow so you can develop a stronger, more fulfilling connection.
6. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
In The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman teaches readers how they can keep their relationships fresh and strong amid the demands, conflicts, and boredom of everyday life.
Take the “Couple’s Personal Profile Assessment” to discover which love language you and your partner speak, and learn how showing and receiving love can help you experience deeper levels of intimacy. Whether your relationship is going strong or experiencing some turbulence, everyone can learn something from Dr. Chapman’s love advice.
7. If Women are From Venus, Men are From Planet Penis by Dr. Luv
In this “man awareness manual,” Dr. Luv explores what’s really going on inside the minds and hearts of “regular men” so that couples can finally get on the same page when it comes to sex, love, and romance.
Dr. Luv, a self-professed Romantic, Loving Man (RLM) in training, offers clear, simple advice that will help turn an unromantic man into a Prince Charming. Though aimed at women, male readers would also certainly benefit from Dr. Luv’s wise words.
8. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone
It’s much easier to avoid difficult conversations and sweep certain issues under the rug, rather than confronting them head-on. But this won’t do your relationship any favors in the long run.
Difficult Conversations will show you how to approach those tough conversations with not only your partner, but also friends, colleagues, and anyone else who plays an important role in your life. Learn how to become a better listener, start a conversation without defensiveness, stay balanced, and move from emotion to productive problem solving.
Books for Long-Term Healthy Relationships
Maybe you’ve been married or committed for a while now—but you still need to do some regular maintenance to keep your relationship running smoothly.
These books will show you how to keep the flame alive as you develop healthy habits for a long-lasting partnership.
9. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Fans of Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love will remember that Gilbert found love in Indonesia with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship. After resettling in the U.S., the two swore eternal fidelity but agreed that they would never be legally married.
However, when the United States government detained Felipe at a border crossing, the couple was faced with a choice between matrimony or Felipe being forever banned from the U.S.
While it’s full of Gilbert’s trademark wit, humor, and personal stories, this is also a fascinating read on the institution of marriage, its history, and what it all really means.
10. Getting Over Mad by Judy Ford
If you’re past the honeymoon phase, chances are some occasional spats are in the forecast for you and your significant other. Learn how you can manage anger and negative feelings before tantrums and trivial disputes turn into bigger problems.
Getting Over Mad is a handy guide for preventing anger and managing stress, frustration, and everyday annoyances, but it’s particularly relevant for couples. Ford provides inspiration and suggestions for making positive changes from within, so you can start building a stronger and happier relationship.
11. The Smart Couple Quote Book by Jayson Gaddis
Jayson Gaddis knows that once the honeymoon phase is over, maintaining a loving relationship can be hard, and even painful. In this relationship book, Gaddis outlines the key tools and methods for communicating that actually work, so your relationship can get stronger with time instead of growing stale.
The Smart Couple Quote Book promises that by using these tools, you’ll be able to prevent pointless fights, grow stronger through conflict, and even have better sex.
12. Mindful Relationship Habits by S.J. Scott
Falling in love is easy, but staying in love takes work. Between your day-to-day duties that include work, your finances, chores, and children, your relationship is probably taking a backseat. Even if all seems fine on the surface, you’ve likely been neglecting some of the habits you developed when you were first trying to woo your partner.
The solution, according to S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport, is to build mindful relationship habits. This means being intentional in all of your choices and interactions with your partner, and becoming more proactive in responding to each other’s needs. Through 25 mindful practices, you can learn how to communicate better and build a more loving, empathic, and conscious relationship.
The Best Relationship Books
Your relationship doesn’t need to be broken in order for you to benefit from some solid pointers.
Whether you’re single, fully committed, or somewhere in between, there’s a relationship book out there that can help you grow and invite more love into your life.
Do you have any advice for a strong relationship? Share it with us in the comments below!