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Best Relationship Books: The 20 BEST Books on Love and Lust

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.

Looking for the best relationship books of all time?

You're in the right place!

Here's what you'll find on this page...

Looking for the best relationship books ever written?

You’re in the right place!

Here’s what you’ll find on this page…

Love Is Hard

I still remember walking into the kitchen, aged 14, and announcing to my mum that I was pretty sure that nobody would ever love me. I was disconsolate. No matter what she said, I knew the truth. I was destined to go through life alone.

Silly, right? 😅

And yet this moment of crushing insecurity was probably the least alone I’ve ever been.

Because we’ve all been there with 14-year-old Arthur, haven’t we?

We all know what it feels like to wonder if we’ll ever find what the whole world is looking for; if we’ll ever truly penetrate the secret machinations of love.

It’s a complicated subject. And it doesn’t help that we only have one word to describe a HUGE range and depth of attachments.

You’re Not Alone!

But the good news is, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Because if there’s one passion I never realised would so impact the way I think, feel and go about lust, love and relationships it’s been my life-long love-affair with books.

From fiction to nonfiction to poetry, from the sad to the wise to the scintillating there is almost no part of the wonderful world of love and partnership that hasn’t been beautifully captured in writing.

This reading list focusses on the best practical, nonfiction in that canon.

So here they are, the 16 best relationships books that everyone should read.

I hope you enjoy them, I hope they inspire you and (if you haven’t found them already) I hope the best friend and partner out there looking for you has the good fortune of finding you soon.

And until next time, be awesome, love yourself and go well. 🙌

(P.s., You might also like these book recommendations on the best books on emotional intelligence, communication and sex.)

The 20 Best Relationship Books Ever Written

Why these best relationship books and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timelessly relevant (first publication date).

This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best relationship books ever published as decided by book lovers just like you. (Note: To maximise diversity, I only include the top ranking book from any series in a list.)

And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other best relationship books that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.

Until then, enjoy this ultimate list of the 20 best relationship books of all time...

Books 1-5: The Top 5 Best Relationship Books of All Time

The top 5 best relationship books of all time are...

Best Relationship Books: The 5 Love Languages
1. The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman (FREE Summary)
The Secret to Love that Lasts
The 5 Love Languages is a concise, actionable and time-tested guide to letting others know they are loved and feeling loved and appreciated in return - by best-selling author, pastor and marriage counsellor, Gary Chapman.
Published 1990 // 232 pages // Rated 4.3 over 374,000 reviews on Goodreads
Best Relationship Books: The Language of Letting Go
2. The Language of Letting Go - Melody Beattie
Daily Meditations on Codependency
A restorative collection of daily meditations for those who struggle to let go of their codependent tendencies — by self-help author and codependent, addiction, and recovery expert Melody Beattie. This book provides rejuvenating inspiration and motivation that reminds us to own our responsibility of self-care — perhaps one of the most important components of breaking codependency.
Published 1990 // 408 pages // Rated 4.3 over 7,600 reviews on Goodreads
Best Relationship Books: Boundaries
3. Boundaries - Henry Cloud
When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Boundaries is a landmark book that has helped over 4 million people understand boundaries, where they are lacking in setting them, and how to confidently establish them. — by New York Times bestselling American Christian self-help author Dr. Henry Cloud. If you’re exhausted from doing everything for everyone and need help breaking the loop, this book is for you.
Published 1992 // 314 pages // Rated 4.2 over 66,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Relationship Books: The Mastery of Love
4. The Mastery of Love - Miguel Ruiz (FREE Summary)
A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
The Mastery of Love is a beautiful, poetic and easy-to-read self-help book that illuminates the false and unnecessarily dramatic lives we lead, filled with fear and self-rejection, and how to wake up to our own inner power so that we can learn to love others and ourselves — by Toltec Nagual and best selling author, Don Miguel Ruiz.
Published 1999 // 240 pages // Rated 4.3 over 46,300 reviews on Goodreads
Best Relationship Books: The Symposium
5. The Symposium - Plato
Published -385 // 131 pages // Rated 4.1 over 55,900 reviews on Goodreads

Books 6-20: The Best Relationship Books to Read Next

Here are the next best relationship books from my database...

6. Codependent No More - Melody Beattie (FREE Summary)
How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Published 1986 // 276 pages // Rated 4.1 over 35,400 reviews on Goodreads
7. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work - John M. Gottman
A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
Published 1999 // 271 pages // Rated 4.2 over 24,700 reviews on Goodreads
8. Beyond Codependency - Melody Beattie
And Getting Better All the Time
Published 1989 // 276 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,200 reviews on Goodreads
9. The Art of Loving - Erich Fromm
Published 1956 // 192 pages // Rated 4.0 over 68,600 reviews on Goodreads
10. Guide to Getting It On! - Paul Joannides
Published 1996 // 854 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,600 reviews on Goodreads
11. Love and Respect - Emerson Eggerichs
The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
Published 2004 // 336 pages // Rated 4.2 over 52,600 reviews on Goodreads
12. Healing the Shame that Binds You - John Bradshaw
Published 1988 // 336 pages // Rated 4.0 over 10,300 reviews on Goodreads
13. Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps - Melody Beattie
New Stories
Published 1990 // 224 pages // Rated 4.3 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
14. The Five Love Languages Mens Edition - Gary Chapman
How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
Published 2004 // 202 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,700 reviews on Goodreads
15. The Heart of the 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
Published 2008 // 80 pages // Rated 4.3 over 4,500 reviews on Goodreads
16. Models - Mark Manson
Attract Women Through Honesty
Published 2011 // 246 pages // Rated 4.4 over 9,400 reviews on Goodreads
17. The Five Love Languages for Singles - Gary Chapman
Published 2001 // 256 pages // Rated 4.1 over 10,800 reviews on Goodreads
18. Women Who Love Too Much - Robin Norwood
When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change
Published 1985 // 336 pages // Rated 4.0 over 16,800 reviews on Goodreads
19. Woman - Natalie Angier
An Intimate Geography
Published 1999 // 464 pages // Rated 4.1 over 4,300 reviews on Goodreads
20. Mating in Captivity - Esther Perel
Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
Published 2006 // 272 pages // Rated 4.1 over 25,600 reviews on Goodreads

More Book Recommendations

Enjoyed this list of the best relationship books of all time?

You'll also like TAoL's other book recommendations...

More Best Books of All Time (by Type)

These are some lists of overall best books to read...

More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)

These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...

More Best Fiction Books (by Genre)

These are some lists of best fiction books to read...

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.

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