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Goldner, V. (2006). “Let's Do It Again”: Further Reflections on Eros and Attachment. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(6):619-637.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(6):619-637

“Let's Do It Again”: Further Reflections on Eros and Attachment

Virginia Goldner

Stephen Mitchell (1997) wrote that “Psychoanalysis and the Degradation of Romance,” the paper on which the book Can Love Last was based, provoked the most feedback, both intellectual and personal, of anything he had ever written. These reverberations have continued, unabated by his passing. One of the many responses to his work in this area took the form of a 3-week International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) online symposium (March 2003), which also addressed a paper of mine, “Attachment and Eros: Opposed or Synergistic?” (Goldner, 2004) that proposed an alternative thesis about the fate of romantic love over the long term.

Many on the IARPP colloquium took the position that although Mitchell and I used different intellectual strategies, our relational solution to the (apparent) opposition between attachment and eros was reductive because it occluded a full reckoning with the one-person aspects of sexuality. By contrast, my position argued that Mitchell's work was reductive because he gave short shrift to the two-person aspects of romantic intimacy (especially to the importance of the third). Those primarily concerned with sexuality argued that Mitchell under estimated the foundational irreconcilability between eros and attachment, but my concern with relationality lead me to argue that he over estimated this antagonism, and I ultimately proposed a means to deconstruct this opposition altogether

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