Marriage: The Anger of Absence

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," goes a classic one-liner, "of someone else." By necessity, the U.S. armed services often separate men from their wives for a year or more. Several recent psychiatric studies indicate that for most of the marriages, absence can make a wife's heart grow gloomy, resentful, alcoholic, hypochondriacal or even suicidal well before thoughts of adultery or divorce set in. Far from making "December June," as Tennyson once put it, reunion often leads to fights or sexual frigidity.

The implications for civilian life are just beginning to be explored,...

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