In the extensive literature on couples and intimacy, little has been written about knowing and not knowing as people experience and understand them. Based on intensive interviews with thirty-seven adults, this book shows that knowing and not knowing are central to couple relationships. They are entangled in love, sexual attraction, trust, commitment, caring, empathy, decision making, conflict, and many other aspects of couple life. Often the entanglement is paradoxical. For example, many interviewees revealed that they hungered to be known and yet kept secrets from their partner. Many described working hard at knowing their partner well, and yet there were also things about their partner and their partner's past that they wanted not to know. This book's qualitative, phenomenological approach builds on and adds to the largely quantitative social psychological, communications and family field literature to offer a new and accessible insight into the experience of intimacy.
• Demonstrates that much can be gained in the study of close relationships by using a qualitative, phenomenological approach • Documents the wide ranges of processes people may use to know someone else and the strategies they may use to avoid being known in certain ways • Contributes to the literature on gender differences and struggles in the area of knowing and not knowing
1. Knowing and not knowing are central to intimacy; 2. How couples build knowledge of one another; 3. How well do you know each other? About 90%; 4. Concerns about the other's potential reaction to something not yet revealed; 5. What people cannot or would rather not know; 6. Processes in being a judicious nondiscloser; 7. Discovery of lies and secrets; 8. Gender differences in intimate knowing; 9. Family of origin; 10. Is it good to know and be known extremely well?; 11. Phenomenology of knowing and being known.
'Rosenblatt and Wieling have produced the consummate book on how couples' processes of learning about and knowing one another, and revealing or not revealing knowledge affect their relationship. The book involves an extraordinary interweaving of conceptual ideas and respondents' narratives about the intimate details of their lives. In their insightful analyses of the too-little-explored terrain of phenomena such as knowing, understanding, having secrets, disclosing or not disclosing, the authors have provided a work that should be of vital importance to practitioners and scholars alike interested in the intellectual and emotional glue that holds together close relationships.' John Harvey, University of Iowa