When Love Dies

The Process of Marital Disaffection

Karen Kayser

October 29, 1993
ISBN 9780898620863
Price: $45.00
191 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

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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.