STRATAGEMS, SPOILS, AND A SERPENT'S TOOTH: ON THE DELIGHTS AND DILEMMAS OF PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Steve Duck University of Iowa
In contrast to the clinical research that warms considerably to emotions such as anxiety, anger, depression, hostility, and aggression, researchers in personal relationships have proved remarkably nice and optimistic. For instance, of the 58 articles published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships for 1991-1992, 34 deal with support, intimacy, love, romance, coping, maintenance of relationships, facilitation of relationships, and competence (one title even contains the words "optimism about love"). Of the remainder, 12 deal with the positive role of relationships as a moderator of various stresses, and only 7 look at rejection, dissolution of relationships, loneliness, and other negative aspects of relating (the remaining papers deal with scale development, etc.).
The impression that personal relationships researchers are somewhat overbalanced in focusing on the positive is reinforced by the fact that only certain sorts of unpleasantness in relationships are studied much (especially loneliness, conflict, and insecure attachment). The full range of difficultiesfrom the commonly experienced turmoils of everyday life to outright betrayal considered in this chapter -- has been given almost no theoretical attention either as a part of relating as a whole or even in their own right as fun things to study, at least when they happen to someone else. While pop psychologists are churning out books on people who love too much or who never grow up in relationships, academic relationship writers are writing about Close Relationships ( Kelley et al., 1983), Intimate Relationships ( Brehm, 1992), or Meaningful Relationships ( Duck, in press). Those who study close relation-