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Charles, M. (2002). Monogamy and its Discontents: On Winning the Oedipal War. Am. J. Psychoanal., 62(2):119-143.

(2002). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 62(2):119-143

Monogamy and its Discontents: On Winning the Oedipal War

Marilyn Charles, Ph.D.

This paper explores how idealized notions of “the beloved” constrain views of love and impede efforts to build satisfying relationships. The author begins by looking at psychoanalytic depictions of love. The effect of culture on beliefs about love is considered, exploring how cultural prescriptions, ideology, and group pressure (including psychoanalytic depictions of mature love) constrain and define views and values. Case vignettes and an example from literature illustrate ways in which cultural prescriptions obfuscate individual needs and impede self-definition, thereby interfering with real intimacy and satisfaction in love relationships.

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