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Excerpted from Creating Love by John Bradshaw. Copyright 1992 by John Bradshaw. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"I remember thinking how unhappy and lonely such and such a couple used to look. Endurance seemed to be what it was all about."

John Bradshaw, Creating Love, Part 3

Lady G told me what had become by then a familiar story. They were college sweethearts. He was the star football player, and she was a cheerleader and the most popular girl. After they married, the nightmare began for her. Within six years she had four children. She raised them mostly alone, as he traveled most of the time. His company provided him a liberal expense account. He partied and entertained his clients, wining and dining them at the most expensive places.

Lady G was given an allowance, as she called it. Whenever she spent any money on herself, her husband railed at her for sending him to the poorhouse.

When he was not traveling, her husband demanded sex daily. Lady G had rarely had an orgasm. She said she enjoyed the sense of closeness she felt when they were making love. However, she claimed that he had not actually kissed her in twenty years.

Their kids were grown when she saw me, and she was terribly lonely. She spent most of her time playing tennis, going to luncheons with her friends, doing volunteer hospital work, and preparing her husband's meals. He was seldom home; when he wasn't working, he spent most of his time at the company country club.

One day, in an unguarded moment, she said that she really detested her husband. She said if he were a beggar dying of thirst, she wouldn't give him a drink of water. "Why do you stay with him?" I asked. "Because I love him," she replied.

How could this be love? I thought to myself. I thought of some of the people I knew who had been married a long time. I remembered how members of my family used to point to these long marriages as examples of what marital love was all about. I remember thinking how unhappy and lonely such and such a couple used to look. Endurance seemed to be what it was all about. True love means endurance. Lady G was miserable, frustrated, and totally unfulfilled. Surprisingly, so was her husband, although he came to only two counseling sessions. "We have never had a divorce in our family," he stated, "and I do not intend to be the first. Besides," he told me, "in spite of all her annoying foibles and idiosyncrasies, I love her."

The delight and promises of their college days had ended with two strangers bonded together by the terrors of aloneness. Again we ask, what happened?


Our bafflement about love stems from behaviors rooted in what I will call mystification. I first heard this term used by the pioneering psychiatrist Ronald Laing.

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