A Powerful Statement By Arguing That Emotional Attachments May Be The Most Important Factor Impacting Relationships

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Karpel Text: Karpel (1994) makes a powerful statement by arguing that emotional attachments may be the most important factor impacting couple relationships. He considers the concept so important that he opens with the idea, drawing a connection between the early mother-child relationship and later couple relationships. In my own experience of marriage (10 years in my first marriage, and nearly 28 years in my current marriage), I would concur that our childhood attachment history has a tremendous impact on who we become and how we act out our intimate adult lives. The heart of Karpel’s (1994) argument lies in the concept of “good enough.” Adults who have “good enough” mother-child relationships, will also be more likely to form healthy couple relationships. But if one partner’s need for security was not met in childhood, that partner may have an unhealthy need for attachment as an adult (e.g. clinging). This can play out in countless ways in a relationship. As if relationships were not already complicated enough, Karpel (1994) layers on the influence of culture, gender, and historical setting. For a marriage to succeed (at least in the west), there has to be some sense of balance achieved across these domains, or what Karpel terms fairness. And while the idea of fairness does not have to be the same for all couples, it does need to make sense to the partners in each unique relationship. Relationships which do not operate on a sense of fairness will have a much more
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