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9780345418203: Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage
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Introduction
 
When, I was asked recently, did I begin working on the subject of marriage? The answer to that question is that my intensive interviews with couples began in the summer of 1980. Less officially, though, there is a sense in which my exploration of intimate relationships got under way when the cat disappeared.
 
That happened much earlier, in the 1960s, when our three daughters were very young and my husband, an economist, was teaching at Stanford University. We lived on the campus and had a tiger-striped kitten with pure white paws which looked like mittens; “Mittens” was the name we had given him.
 
Our closest friends, during this era of our lives, were the D.’s. They were roughly the same age as we, just moving past the twenties and into their early thirties. I customarily spent a good deal of time with the wife, Anne, and had opened myself up to the relationship completely. She was a part-time social worker, who taught at a school for autistic children. On Wednesday afternoons, I took care of her seven-year-old daughter for her. So, aside from other visits, there was always that predictable time together, either when Anne came to pick up her child or to drop her off.
 
Our two husbands, who were colleagues on the Stanford faculty, were as close to each other as Anne and I were. The friendship had, in fact, originated with the men. Although the two of them related to each other differently than we—they enjoyed getting into long, heated, abstract discussions—they were also, especially for males, unusually disclosing and personal with one another.
 
In short, the relationship between our two families seemed to work at every level and in every permutation—between the varying adult twosomes, between the four girls of the junior generation, and between each child and any of the respective parents. We had misunderstandings and tensions from time to time, to be sure, but we functioned as a quasi-extended family; problems could and did arise, but our attachment to the D.’s was never in question. Going out, in the evening, meant going out somewhere with Anne and Larry, and we did so as often as we could manage it. We went to small restaurants in San Francisco, to the movies, to occasional nightclubs and to afternoon baseball games. As families, we went on hikes, picnics, excursions to the beach at Santa Cruz, and sometimes camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
 
It was on our return from one such trip, to Yosemite National Park, that we discovered that in our absence Mittens had wandered away.
 
I had actually begun getting anxious about the cat on our way home—I wasn’t sure why. We had, before leaving for five days in the mountains, made the usual arrangements for his care. Our neighbor’s daughter, a reliable twelve-year-old, was to come in daily and to feed him; she was also to change his litter box. Mittens was, as always, allowed to stay outside in our large enclosed garden during the daytime; this arrangement had never led to any problems in the past. But as we wended our way homeward, I began worrying about the possibility of his having strayed off and met with some sort of accident.
 
This was ridiculous, I told myself, for he never wandered far from the back patio—not even when the gate of the stockade fence was left open. I felt, nevertheless, extraordinarily uneasy.
 
Perhaps it had to do with a crazy feeling I’d had, while up in the mountains, that something was different about the D.’s. On the journey back, too, we’d taken a long detour through the old towns of the California gold rush country; I’d been a passenger in Anne and Larry’s jeep for a while. I’d felt somewhat confused, while riding with them, felt that something I couldn’t understand was taking place.
 
Something was wrong—or was I imagining it, this difference in the air? I sensed something strained and unnatural about Anne—her wide blue eyes were glassy and blank—or was it Larry who was behaving strangely? Was a fight going on between them? I had seen them when they were overtly angry at each other; neither one seemed angry at the moment. But the atmosphere was subtly toxic ... or was it my imagination?
 
“Something is wrong” I said to Herb when the personnel in the different vehicles (there were four families on that trip) had reunited us in our own station wagon again. The D.’s jeep was moving around and past us, at that moment, and I nodded my head in their direction.
 
“What’s wrong, Mommy?” a voice piped up from the back seat.
 
“Nothing,” I said, signaling to my husband that we would discuss it later on, when the children’s attention had turned elsewhere. But when we were able to talk privately, Herb assured me that he had noticed nothing odd or amiss about the D.’s. He believed that I was imagining problems where no problems necessarily existed.
 
I let myself accept this explanation, even though there had been something different about them—about Anne, in particular, who’d been there in body but utterly absent. It was, though, in the wake of this brief discussion (conducted sotto voce) that I began getting so alarmed about the cat.
 
As we approached Palo Alto, I remember, my sense of foreboding—about something’s having happened to Mittens—was experienced as an almost physical, intensely anxious discomfort. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car and into the house to prove to myself that I’d been mistaken! But my fears, on this occasion, had been prophetic: Our pet was not there to greet us, and we could not find him anywhere. He was nowhere in the house or in the garden; his food, uneaten, was drying in his blue and white dish.
 
Our young neighbor, contrite, told us the cat had vanished from the garden a day earlier and had not returned at feeding time. She’d searched the entire area, but been unable to find him. No one, she reported, had seen him—or at least noticed him—and she had no clue to his present whereabouts. She was clearly very upset, and we had to set about reassuring her.
 
It was not her fault, we told her; Mittens had merely wandered away and was very likely to wander back to us eventually. In the meanwhile, we ourselves would take over the search. Reasonable words, reasonably spoken; and yet, even as we stood on the front lawn talking to her, I felt a sense of queasiness, a sense of awful grief. I could not understand where that feeling emanated from—a missing pet is, after all, low on the list when one thinks of life’s potential tragedies. I was, nevertheless, deeply—seemingly irrationally—upset.
 
Later on, when the children were in bed, I talked about this with my husband, who was able to offer me an explanation that I’d been unable to offer myself. He reminded me of a story that I’d once told to him, in the early days of our relationship, but then had apparently forgotten. It had to do with an incident that had occurred on the day of my own parents’ separation, a separation which led to their eventual divorce.
 
I was twelve years old at the time, and the furniture was being moved out of the house. But for me the most terrible part of what was happening was that our cat had gotten his neck caught in the outdoor coal grate. He had hurt himself so badly that the two men from the animal shelter, called to his rescue, had had to carry him off with them.
 
“Oh, yes,” I said to Herb, recognizing that for me that cat had been the symbol of the intact family. The loss of the cat was connected, in my own mind, with the family life that was being taken away.
 
At the age of twelve one is in part an adult, but also to some large degree a child—still able to give credence to magical ideas and notions. I suppose, looking back, that I probably maintained the belief that if our pet were to return, so would my world’s stability. Or perhaps my preoccupation with the loss of the cat—so intense that the breakup of my parents’ relationship seemed almost incidental—was due to my finding it easier to confront and mourn the loss of the family pet than to mourn the intolerable loss, which was the ending of my parents’ marriage.
 
In the case of the D.’s, history proceeded to repeat itself. For, a few days after our return from that camping trip on which I’d experienced the D.’s as “different,” my husband appeared at home—unexpectedly, in the middle of the afternoon—with the warning that he had some bad news he had to tell me. The children were, at that moment, listening to records on their toy phonograph. He and I went outside, to the far end of the garden, and sat down across from each other at a picnic table under a blooming wisteria vine. Anne had, he said without preamble, told Larry that she wanted a divorce.
 
She had, it appeared, been having an affair for most of this past year; now she was leaving her husband for her lover. He—the other man—wanted to marry her and had already walked out on his own spouse. I sat there, openmouthed. I was doing my utmost to assimilate this barrage of new information, but found it enormously hard to concentrate.
 
Other matters commanded my attention, such as the perfumed smell of wisteria blossoms and the sight of a lazily droning bee scouting for a likely source of nectar. Also, there were the distant voices coming from the record player; the children were listening to a fairy tale. The only thought that crossed my mind, which felt emptied of ideas, was of the cat, who was still missing. “Will he ever come back again?” I wondered ... and then realized, at once, that it was not the cat that really concerned me.
 
It was at that moment, I believe, that my work on marriage actually began.
 
Présentation de l'éditeur :
“Anyone involved in, embarking on, or yearning for, an intimate relationship should buy, borrow or steal Intimate Partners.”
–New Woman

What goes on in our intimate attachments? What patterns of relationships do couples tend to follow, and why? The bonds we create affect every aspect of our lives, and yet our grasp of them is limited by our emotional reactions and learned responses. Now, in Intimate Partners, bestselling author Maggie Scarf gives us the classic book on marriage–on how love relationships are formed and how they change over the course of the marital cycle. Here you’ll discover

• how to understand one’s inherited emotional history–and how fits with a partner’s
• the fascinating ways in which power and control, and intimacy and autonomy exert strong effects upon the kind of partnership two people create
• surprising observations on the role of sex and the impact of children on marriage
• why change can be experienced as a form of betrayal–and how to ensure that a relationship matures with, and is not impeded by, each individual’s growth
• simple exercises that couples can do to resolve tensions and change the nature of the world they share

• verbal and physical techniques to cope with sexual difficulties and enliven a couple’s connection during sex
• straightforward methods for how to engage in healthy–not dysfunctional–quarrels

Intimate Partners is a book that changes not only how we view love relationships, but also how we live them.

“Every marriage contains a story, and it begins long before the wedding, Maggie Scarf tells us in her ambitious, thought-provoking . . . ultimately compelling study. . . . Read it and feel consoled.”
–USA Today

“Listen to Maggie Scarf . . . and you’ll come away thinking that yes, marriage can be tough, living long-term with another person is one of the greatest challenges there is, but it’s well worth the effort.”
–Chicago Tribune

“Provocative . . . Scarf writes lucidly and convincingly.”
–The Washington Post Book World

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Softcover. Etat : New. Reprint. Anyone involved in, embarking on, or yearning for, an intimate relationship should buy, borrow or steal Intimate Partners.-New WomanWhat goes on in our intimate attachments? What patterns of relationships do couples tend to follow, and why? The bonds we create affect every aspect of our lives, and yet our grasp of them is limited by our emotional reactions and learned responses. Now, in Intimate Partners, bestselling author Maggie Scarf gives us the classic book on marriage-on how love relationships are formed and how they change over the course of the marital cycle. Here youll discover how to understand ones inherited emotional history-and how fits with a partners the fascinating ways in which power and control, and intimacy and autonomy exert strong effects upon the kind of partnership two people create surprising observations on the role of sex and the impact of children on marriage why change can be experienced as a form of betrayal-and how to ensure that a relationship matures with, and is not impeded by, each individuals growth simple exercises that couples can do to resolve tensions and change the nature of the world they share verbal and physical techniques to cope with sexual difficulties and enliven a couples connection during sex straightforward methods for how to engage in healthy-not dysfunctional-quarrelsIntimate Partners is a book that changes not only how we view love relationships, but also how we live them.Every marriage contains a story, and it begins long before the wedding, Maggie Scarf tells us in her ambitious, thought-provoking . . . ultimately compelling study. . . . Read it and feel consoled.-USA TodayListen to Maggie Scarf . . . and youll come away thinking that yes, marriage can be tough, living long-term with another person is one of the greatest challenges there is, but its well worth the effort.-Chicago TribuneProvocative . . . Scarf writes lucidly and convincingly.-The Washington Post Book World. N° de réf. du vendeur DADAX0345418204

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