Author Jeb Kinnison applies attachment theory to relationships in order to advise the reader on how to find personality types that suit them well in a loving partnership.
The subtitle of BAD BOYFRIENDS is “Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. or Ms. Wrong And Make You A Better Partner”, which essentially sums up the book. Kinnison divides potential romantic partners into personality types: secure people, who are comfortable with a normal level of attachment to another person, anxious-preoccupied people, who seek constant reassurance of their partner’s commitment to them, dismissive-avoidant people, who believe they do not need relationships and seek to keep others at arms’ length, and fearful-avoidant people, who desire commitment but believe they will not get it, and so keep others at arms’ length to avoid disappointment. He offers advice on how to recognize and avoid difficult personality types, in particular the most dangerous and likely to become abusive, and how to counteract one’s own more difficult and damaging relationship tendencies.
Kinnison rightly attacks society’s emphasis on the hormonal/sexual state of being “in love” as a foundation for a long-term relationship or marriage, and encourages readers to seek a deeper, more intelligent connection between lovers and/or spouses. He shows, with empathy and perceptiveness, how different personality types are likely to interact, and what can be done in some cases to mitigate the negative effects of different insecurities and problems. His discussion of how to recognize and avoid a psychopath and/or an abusive mate is clear, precise, and firm. And the reader who takes nothing else away from the book should at least note his repeated advice to avoid anyone who has lots of exes, all of whom he or she describes as crazy or evil.
Kinnison does occasionally tend to oversimplify, as one must when categorizing personality types. The author also tends to put most of the blame for personality issues on bad parenting rather than on genetics or non-parental environmental influences, which is debatable but true to the attachment-theory perspective. The title’s gender-specificity might discourage straight men and lesbians from picking up the book, when in fact its advice is pretty gender-neutral. These minor problems, however, do not substantially interfere with the actual advice, which is generally sound.
BAD BOYFRIENDS offers some sensible and intelligent advice for those looking for a romantic relationship, or wondering why all their relationships seem to go sour.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader