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(1977). Psychoanalytic Review. LXIII, 1976: The Extramarital Affair: A Psychoanalytic View. Herbert Strean. Pp. 101-113.. Psychoanal Q., 46:715-716.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Review. LXIII, 1976: The Extramarital Affair: A Psychoanalytic View. Herbert Strean. Pp. 101-113.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:715-716

Psychoanalytic Review. LXIII, 1976: The Extramarital Affair: A Psychoanalytic View. Herbert Strean. Pp. 101-113.

Strean delineates and demonstrates with clinical case material four dynamic

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constellations which may underlie extramarital affairs. In the first, the spouse's importance as a parent figure causes sexual relations to be experienced as incestuous, and the extramarital affair provides an apparently nonincestuous object choice. The extramarital relationship, however, also fails when the partner begins to take on parental aspects and becomes a prohibited object. In the second case, a primitive superego-ego conflict is externalized by finding an extramarital object to defy the spouse and often arranging for the spouse to discover the infidelity. The conflict is then between the spouse (externalized superego) and the patient. The third type of extramarital affair allows the expression of bisexual conflicts. A patient who, in his marriage, takes a dominant or masculine role, can in an affair take the opposite role. Strean notes that these patients, despite many complaints about spouses, cling to their marriages because of the need for two partners in order to express the bisexual conflict. The fourth type involves symbiosis as the dynamic force. The patient resents his dependence on his spouse (parent) and uses an affair to declare independence. Current social values provide an atmosphere for the acting out of these conflicts. These affairs, however, are unstable and fail to resolve the conflicts. The relevant developmental stages are pregenital and, in object relations, preoedipal.

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Article Citation

(1977). Psychoanalytic Review. LXIII, 1976. Psychoanal. Q., 46:715-716

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