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Lehrman, P.R. (1939). Psychopathological Aspects of Emotional Divorce. Psychoanal. Rev., 26(1):1-10.

(1939). Psychoanalytic Review, 26(1):1-10

Original Articles

Psychopathological Aspects of Emotional Divorce

Philip R. Lehrman, M.D.

Divorce, as codified by law and refined by religious doctrine, is the preferred remedy in marriage difficulties. However, in some women, the emotional disturbance which actuates the dissolution of a long standing marriage is not abated by this procedure. The psychic forces which are engendered by the interplay of current external factors and internal deprivations are not exhausted by having an external conflict supersede an internal conflict.

It is common observation (7) that the cause pleaded is seldom an index to the motives which caused the suit to be brought and this is explained by the character of the law rather than by the state of mind of the parties involved. The grounds alleged, which are admittedly a cloak rather than a revelation, and upon which, in general, divorces are granted, are desertion, adultery, cruelty, imprisonment, habitual drunkenness, and neglect to provide. These causes, which have been endorsed by law, indicate the pleas which have the approval of the social judgment of the respective communities in modern times.

The accepted explanation for the fact that in two-thirds of the divorce suits in this country the wife is the plaintiff (6), has been made on the basis of expediency, or masculine chivalry. This paper, which deals with the psychopathological aspects of emotional divorce in woman, points to her unconscious need to obtain something other than the decree.

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