Book Review: Stop Overthinking Your Relationship

Book cover: Stop Overthinking Your Relationship by Alicia Muñoz

Stop Overthinking Your Relationship by Alicia Muñoz addresses ruminative thinking patterns that can damage relationships.

The author describes rumination as a pattern of passive rather than active thinking, and she describes different kinds of rumination cycles such as blame or control-based rumination. These each relate to a shortage of “some important psychological nutrient.”

There was a bit of pseudoscience talk to do with thoughts and energy. I tracked down a reference that the author cited, and it was so poor quality that I was pretty surprised someone with a graduate degree would be citing it. If there are three exclamation marks in the title (“Scientific Study on the Particle Nature of Thoughts – Do Thoughts Matter and Mass!!!”), that’s never a good sign. The author also described a “relationship field” in terms of energy and vibrations and such things. The woo woo element struck me as unnecessary for discussing things like boundaries and attachment styles, but I’m sure that framing interrelatedness that way will be helpful for some readers.

The book focuses on a process the author calls SLOW (Seeing, Labelling, Opening, and Welcoming), and there is a chapter devoted to each step in that process. Seeing is about being aware of what’s going on inside of you. Labelling involves writing down your thoughts and labelling the associated rumination cycle type, triggers, and attachment fears. The book differentiates between thoughts that are facts and pseudofacts (i.e. opinions, judgments, assumptions, or expectations). I’m used to the acceptance and commitment therapy idea that thoughts are not facts, full stop, so the thoughts=facts thing threw me off a bit.

The Opening step is about anchoring in the present and exploring what’s underlying ruminative thoughts, and the Welcome step is about being vulnerable and allowing your emotions.

Another thing that threw me off a bit was talking about “palliative care” in the context of relationships. The author was using palliative in the sense of the Google definition “relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition.” However, “palliative care” is “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients… who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness” (World Health Organization). Having worked in health care, that’s what comes to mind for me, although linking a relationship and a terminal illness probably isn’t what the author was after.

Some of the chapters were a little on the long side for me, although that’s mostly because my concentration isn’t very good, so that probably doesn’t apply more generally. The case examples that were presented didn’t feel particularly natural to me, but then again, I’ve been single for a good long while, so what do I know? I didn’t feel connected with what the author was saying, and I’m not entirely sure how much of that is the book not really accomplishing what it set out to do and how much is the author and me just looking at the world differently. Perhaps it’s some of both, but I’m leaning more heavily towards the latter. The author has three previous books with very high ratings on Amazon, so clearly her approach works well for a lot of people.

Stop Overthinking Your Relationship is available on Amazon (affiliate link).

I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

You can find my other reviews on the MH@H book review index or on Goodreads.

23 thoughts on “Book Review: Stop Overthinking Your Relationship”

  1. I probably have a relationship underthinking problem more so than a relationship overthinking problem, myself. I can see where things like SLOW could be useful. But that weird citation and the use of “palliative care” in this context seems odd. I really thought palliative care was understood very differently!

  2. I am also an over thinker. But like you – I struggle with the “palliative” comment. I had a husband who died from cancer in a palliative care home. Thinking of relationships in that sense would be a huge problem for me.
    Likely it deter me reading any further.
    I know it’s my own biases, but also my reality. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  3. Thank you for the post. For once I had a hard time relating to the content this author proposes. My husband and I have been together over 20 years and we have found some things that work – a sense of humor for looking at this crazy world upside down and laughing, strong boundaries (my health issues are mine to handle and his are his to handle), a shared understanding of what good parenting means, a solid approach to finances in the family, a shared belief in God, and an ability to fight well. We sometimes will cover the same ground in our disagreements but usually if not always the differences are aired and are brief. Then we are back to normal. There is nothing “paranormal” or “pseudoscientific” about our ability to get along. Just some basic rules that we have learned to live by…… I wish the same for anyone reading along….. Also, please and thank you’s go a long way I have found. Saying you’re sorry or being thankful does not cost a red cent and yet it makes the other person feel seen and cared for. Hope this simple recipe is helpful.

  4. she describes different kinds of rumination cycles such as blame or control-based rumination. These each relate to a shortage of “some important psychological nutrient.”
    ___
    Ooh interesting bit, I’m very curious about that.

    The rest though? I’ll stick to Gottman Couples Therapy stuff.

  5. Psychological nutrient, I like that. It’s cheesy, but I like it. You do need water the grass and keep it fertile, metaphorically speaking, in relationship. As for palliative care, that would have totally thrown me, too. I’ve never heard of the term being applied outside of the healthcare definition, ever. So would she mean, for instance, going on date nights and pretending to be happy with each other, without getting to the crux of the issue that you’re resentful of your partner for spending more time with a colleague than with you? I’d definitely say a different phrase should be used in such an instance. Neat write-up as always, Ashley!

    xx

    1. It made me wonder if the author has somehow managed to never be exposed to the medical concept of palliative care (which seems like it would require living under a rock), because that’s definitely not the way she was using it. But presumably her editor wouldn’t also manage to be living under that same rock, so I’m really not sure how that didn’t get picked up somewhere along the way.

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