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Livingston, J.A. (1996). Love And Illusion.. Psychoanal Q., 65:548-560.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:548-560

Love And Illusion.

Judith A. Livingston, Ph.D.

The interplay between idealization and disillusionment in the evolution of romantic love is examined. Idealization refers to the reawakening of conscious and unconscious fantasies that lovers project onto each other. Disillusionment refers to a change in perception that occurs when projections are not sustained. The optimal balance between idealization and disillusionment facilitates the deepening of intimacy in a process similar to the one Kohut describes in the development of self structure. Conversely, a great imbalance between idealization and disillusionment can lead to heartache. Works by Freud, Kernberg, and Kohut are discussed.

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