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Horney, K. (1928). The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:318-331.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:318-331

The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal

Karen Horney

For some time past I have asked myself with growing astonishment why there has as yet been no thorough analytical exposition of the problems of marriage, although assuredly every single analyst would have a great deal to say on the subject, and although both practical and theoretical considerations are necessitating some attack on these problems: practical considerations, because every day we are confronted with matrimonial conflicts; theoretical, because there is hardly another situation in life which is so intimately and so obviously related to the Oedipus situation as is marriage.

Perhaps (I said to myself) the whole question touches us too nearly to form an attractive object of scientific curiosity and ambition. But it is also possible that it is not the problems but the conflicts which touch us too closely, lie too close to some of the deepest roots of our most intimate personal experience. And there is another difficulty: marriage is a social institution, and our approach to its problems from the psychological standpoint is necessarily hampered; at the same time their practical importance obliges us at least to try to understand what is their psychological basis.


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