This book would not exist without the eighty-two people who agreed to sit with me and share the details of their lives and intimate relationships. They invited me into their homes, introduced me to their families, and talked to me about their lives. Occasionally they even fed me dinner. Their generosity and candor move me still. I especially owe profound thanks to the four couples who allowed me to “sit in” on their lives for five weeks. They showed unfailing patience and trust in me that there was something sociological about all of this. I am sincerely grateful.
This project began as a dissertation at Temple University. In the beginning stages of that process I was fortunate to be mentored by Julia Ericksen, who pushed me to develop my own focus and interests and ask the questions that I wanted to ask. Her intellectual guidance and friendship have been invaluable; her confidence and generosity mean more to me than she could know. At a critical stage in the development of this project, France Winddance Twine provided crucial support. She challenged me to take my own ideas seriously; this was a tremendous gift. I was sometimes guided and propelled forward by an outstanding committee, including Julia Ericksen, Michelle Byng, Kim Goyette, Sonja Peterson-Lewis, and France Winddance Twine. My graduate school peers helped me finish with my sanity intact. I am indebted to Janice Johnson Dias, Wendy Sedlak, Vincent Louis, Nicole Gossett-Cousin, Danielle Farrie, Frances Barlas, Tami Nopper, Maggie Ussery, and Mary Stricker. I also want to thank Allie Armstrong, Jessica Savage, and Rasheeda Phillips for their excellent transcriptions and Damien Frierson for assisting me with some of the early interviews.
For the past several years, I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful colleagues at Dickinson College. Thank you to Dan Schubert, Susan