Book Review: The Selfish Romantic by Michelle Elman

Sometimes, as a counsellor, a book ends up in my hands and I want, desperately, to throw it across the room. Not because it’s boring or badly edited, but because I wish I’d written it myself. And this is the case with The Selfish Romantic by Michelle Elman.

It may be a sign of the times, but the message during my teen and twenties was; Find a man, at any cost. I think back now, on books like The Rules and wonder why no one ever called out the authors for their misogynistic attitudes. It seems wrong, and dangerous, to tell women to alter themselves for the pursuit of love (get a nose job, lose weight, act mysterious -all Rules advice). Ultimately the overarching idea was always, you are not enough without a partner.

So, like a storm breaking after a heatwave The Selfish Romantic sets out its stall. You are enough. No, you are more than enough – just as you are . Get to know yourself, spend time alone, and when you’re ready make dating fun and do it on your terms.

The only thing that mildly frustrates me about this book is the title. The author and I differ on the semantics of the word selfish. In this instance, it doesn’t mean acting with no thought for others, but simply setting some boundaries and remembering that your self-worth goes first.

But, society says who’d want to date me?

All well and good you might think. Especially for those who are young, slender and gorgeous. But, If you’re not society’s desirable norm then dating can be far from enjoyable.

The author Michelle Elman, has got your back and is full of empathy and lived experience, here. As a woman who’s mixed race, lives with a long-term condition, and larger than a size 10 she has also felt like she doesn’t measure up to society’s unattainable beauty standards. But guess what? The belief that no one will find you attractive is nonsense. And mostly pedalled by companies who stand to make £££ from ensuring you feel bad about yourself. There are many people out there who will find you very attractive, and be delighted to date you.

Elman writes, “What if you walked into a bar and actually assumed the people who you find attractive would also find you attractive? What would happen if you didn’t limit yourself by seeing yourself as a bunch of labels, and instead saw yourself as a person who brought a lot to the table romantically.”

So if you’ve had bad dating experiences in the past, if you’ve ever betrayed your values or compromised your standards to try and engage someone who’s not interested (that’s most of us) then this is the book you need. It will give you a fresh and positive view on dating, and make you want to get your best dress on and go out into a world that’s lucky to have you. And if you want to keep your self-esteem high, while internet dating then take a look here.

If you’ve read the Selfish Romantic, and want to share your experience of the book or dating as a whole, then I’d love to hear it. Simply comment below.

Leave a Comment