When a marriage is still young, the prospect of "falling out of love" seems an unlikely possibility. However, for some spouses the loving feelings experienced early on can diminish to the point where marital disaffection--an emotional estrangement--sets in. The breakdown of the emotional bond does not usually occur abruptly, but more often evolves over months and even years of growing dissatisfaction with the relationship. What actually happens, then, between the beginning of a marriage--full of love, hope, and caring--and the point where alienation and indifference set in?
When Love Dies is based on two rich sources of information gathered by the author. Karen Kayser first analyzes in-depth and revealing interviews with 49 spouses who recount their feelings, thoughts, and actions as they fell out of love with their partners. Chapters trace the slow dissolution of love and its impact on a marriage, from the onset of marital disaffection to its final stages. Kayser then incorporates data from a random sample survey, comparing troubled spouses with non-disaffected spouses and exploring the relationships among marital disaffection, psychological well-being, commitment, attribution, and gender.
When Love Dies examines the concept of matrimony from broad theories of marriage as a social institution to the most specific nuances of spousal interaction. Kayser shows that by studying the dynamics that produce disaffection, partners are able to focus on ways to better understand what is needed to maintain love in marriage. Identifying the phases of disaffection, including significant turning points, can alert spouses and clinicians that it is time to confront problems of alienation. Clinical recommendations for repairing marriages are offered for each phase of the disaffection process. The book also provides a scale of marital disaffection that is of practical use to clinicians and researchers.
Combining meticulous research, revealing interviews, and insightful analysis, When Love Dies is a valuable text for instructors of courses on marriage and the family, and essential reading for all clinicians who work with couples.
"Had this compact volume merely described the experiential circumstances of husbands and wives in the throes of losing their love for their partners, it would have been stunning research monograph. But it is much more. When Love Dies is chock full of ideas about how, when and why basic interpersonal processes occur at various stages of falling in love. When do equity concerns kick in? Why is there a pattern of change in attributing blame for problems in a marriage? What does having or not having a mutual relationship mean? How do subtle power dynamics get enacted in husband-wife everyday interaction? These and other questions emerge in two ways. First, in systematic but accessible quantitative analyses of 50 highly disaffected spouses; and secondly, in the many excerpts from these spouses' own words, which bring to dramatic life the sad stories of marital commitment coming apart. To top it off, Professor Kayser offers sensible and provocative suggestions for both remedial and preventative interventions. Not often in the study of close relationships do we encounter a volume such as this, rich in insight and detail for the researcher, the practitioner, and the informed reader puzzled by why so many husbands and wives find that their love for their partner has withered." --Joseph Veroff, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Research Scientist, Survey Research Center, The University of Michigan "Thanks for the chance to see Kayser's book in advance of publication. I enjoyed reading it and I see it as a much needed and timely balancing of the sickly sweet positive views of relationships that are found too often in the literature and elsewhere. The first thing that struck me about the book was its breadth of coverage of research from several different disciplines as well as its amusing selection of proverbs and popular literature about marriage. It is also a very thorough book. The author offers a sensitive account of the disintegration of marriages and incorporates some telling accounts from people who have been through the experience. The book should be read by students of marriage, researchers, and members of the helping professions as well as politicians and lay persons who seek to learn what can go wrong with marriage." --Steve Duck, The University of Iowa .."..Suitable for both students and professionals, as well as the more sophisticated lay reader....The book finishes with a quite useful review of the techniques that might be used by therapists to try to restore love in a disaffected marriage....It is well written and easy to read and contains useful summaries in both table and prose format. In addition, the formats for both the interview and the questionnaire study are included in the Appendix, making replication or clinical use of the measure possible." --Patricia Noller in Contemporary Psychology ""When Love Dies" offers timely and meaningful insights about the many steps that often lead to losing one's emotional attachment to a spouse. Conversely, it provides clues that might prove helpful in mitigating such a process." --"Clinical Sociology" "Kayser, a clinician and social work educator, has made a significant contribution to the professional literature." --"Religion in the Social Services" "This book is an interesting examination of how spouses fall in and out of love." --"Christian Sociological Society Newsletter" ""When Love Dies" is a useful description of the process of falling out of love. Divorcing couples, court mental health professionals, and family law attorneys will all find valuable information about the process of marital disaffection..." --"Family and Conciliation Court Review" "Family therapists, marriage counselors, and researchers will find this book illuminating and interesting." --"The Psychotherapy Letter" "Specific phases of disaffection and their symptoms are identified, as are clinical interventions and preventive measures. Kayser employed various social and psychological theories to examine the social spectrum of marital relations. The work is well documented....For all levels of readers and both public and academic libraries." --"Choice" "Is a book which can be helpful in making an assessment of the state of the marriage, and some determination about an appropriate intervention strategy....The book is a good tool for helping the clergy-counselor assess the date of the marriage, make some preliminary decisions about intervention strategy, and some determination about the prognosis for success. Finally, the book helps the clergydecide whether he or she wants to spend the time, emotional energy, and has the skills required to try to intervene in a disaffected marriage." --"Pastoral Psychology "