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Keywords:

  • ego ideal;
  • love relations;
  • marital conflicts;
  • masochism;
  • narcissism;
  • object relations;
  • oedipal structure;
  • triangulation

This paper is a meditation on the potential and problems of establishing and maintaining loving and passionate relationships, drawn from a lifetime of struggling with these issues in the course of doing analysis. It describes interferences with the capacity for mature sexual love as reflecting various psychopathological conditions. These limitations include a variety of psychological restrictions determined most frequently by masochistic, narcissistic and paranoid personality features. Clinical case material illustrates both mature and disturbed capability for love relations.