This collection of essays represents a follow-up to the editors'
1994 publication, The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication. In
the preface to that collection of essays, they argued that "To
fully understand how people function effectively requires us to
consider how individuals cope with social interaction that is
difficult, problematic, challenging, distressing, and disruptive."
In this companion volume, the focus expands from social interaction
to close relationships. Aside from the inherent need to investigate
the bad as well as the good of interpersonal relationships, the
editors and their colleagues simply find the dark side metaphor to
be intellectually arousing. It stimulates investigation of
important yet often neglected phenomena, and it especially
encourages consideration of the hidden and forbidden, and the
paradoxical and ironic elements of human relating.
This volume assembles the cutting-edge work of first rate scholars
from the ranks of communication, psychology, sociology, and cognate
disciplines. As in the previous text, the subject matter and
stylistic approaches are diverse, reflecting the broad and
interdisciplinary domain that is the dark side of human affairs.
The selection of topics is somewhat selective, reflecting only a
sample of emerging scholarship in the interdisciplinary study of
These internationally recognized scholars examine various topics
related to the dark side, including fatal attractions, jealousy and
envy, misunderstanding, gossip, conflict, codependence, sexual
coercion, stalking, relationship termination, unrequited love, and
mental health problems in relationships. Some chapters present
original data and models, whereas others reconfigure the way in
which the understandings of relationships can be better understood.
In addition, the bookend chapters examine the ideology, nature, and
problems of dark side scholarship. Collectively, the scholarly
journeys made in this volume are intended to illustrate the
complexities--both moral and functional--involved in close
relationship processes. The intent is neither to valorize nor
demonize the darker aspects of close relationships, but rather to
emphasize their importance to the day-to-day "doing" of
relationships. Only by accepting such processes as integral to
relationships can their role be fully understood.
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