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Marital Separation in Contemporary Ireland

Women’s Experiences

Lucy Hyland

This book is based on detailed interviews with a group of Irish women who have experienced marital separation. It links the women’s accounts with literature on the values and beliefs about marriage, women and family which were prevalent when they were growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The book chronicles their young adult years, the early stages of their marriages and the events and processes which led to their separations. It explores the women’s emotional reactions at the time of separating, the types of support which they found beneficial and the personal, social and financial consequences of having separated.
Although the book is written from a sociological perspective, the combination of theory and practical insights make it accessible to a wide variety of readers. It aims to generate discussion and deepen understanding of an area into which there has been minimal research in Ireland and which poses a range of important questions for future researchers, practitioners and policy-makers.
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Chapter 5: Experiences during Marriage: Relational and Emotional Aspects


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Experiences during Marriage: Relational and Emotional Aspects

There are numerous areas of overlap between the two chapters on the women’s experiences during marriage. The practical aspects of marriage already discussed have clearly got emotional and relational consequences. This chapter includes some socio-psychological literature (Duck, 1998: Aronson et al., 2003) on the phases and typical behaviours that occur in the breakdown of relationships. Data are presented on the overall quality of the women’s relationships with their spouses, the nature of sexual relations, methods of resolving conflict, significant turning points in marriages, awareness of the gradual deterioration of relationships and attendance at marriage counselling.

Phases of Dissolving Personal Relationships

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