Romantic love is often an elusive, fragile, and tenuous state, difficult to maintain across time. The rates of divorce, re-divorce, relationship violence, and abuse today attest to the face we are failing at romantic love. And for teen-aged and adult children of divorce, romantic love can be especially elusive. Because they have roadmap for a satisfying, stable romatic relationship derived from their own parents, they are confused by what love is and tend to make poor partner choices. Borrowing heavily from popular culture for unrealistic standards regarding love, they become disillusioned when their all-too-ordinary lovers don't measure up. Especially vulnerable to the problems their parents had, they tend to overreact in a similar negative fashion and are all too ready to consider divorce when unhappiness strikes. In attempting to halt intergenerational transmission of divorce, Psychologist Piorkowski points to how we can recognize that American popular culture presents an overly-sexualized, explosive, and superficial version of love that can't last. With this book, adult children of divorce can begin to see how they have been affected by familial experiences, and develop a new, realistic map to find more fulfilling and enduring romantic relastionships. Piorkowski, in an extensive review of literature, also looks at cultural factors and how they impact romantic love and marriage. In contrast to American popular culture's shallow rendition of romantic love, many cultures elsewhere in the world emphasize compatibility, religion, and family allegiance. As a result, says the author, such marriages appear more stable than American unions built upon the shifting sands of emotion.
GERALDINE K. PIORKOWSKI is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she has also served as Interim Dean of Students and Director of the Counseling Center. She has been in private practice for 40 years, including individual and couples therapy. She has been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, Vogue, Chicago Sun Times, Boston Globe, and USA Today.