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A wise, radical and optimistic approach to the stresses of marriage and midlife from a leading clinical psychologist.

The years of mid-life can be a struggle. Children grow up, jobs change and the things that used to make us happy don’t necessarily work anymore. Long-term relationships, in particular, can lose their shine.

In The Rough Patch Daphne de Marneffe shows us a way through these potentially difficult years to a life lived with integrity, vitality and love. She offers us seasoned wisdom on the psychological, emotional and relational capacities we need in order to overcome our problems as individuals and as couples. Every reader will find himself or herself in these pages.

Blending research, interviews and clinical experience, de Marneffe covers the key problems that challenge us in midlife with wit and warmth. ‘The rough patch, for all its pain and bewilderment, presents an opportunity – to know ourselves, to expand our scope, to grow, and to grow up.’


In this beautifully reasoned, highly personal, and very generous book of advice and analysis, Daphne de Marneffe proposes that the rough patch that occurs in most midlife relationships should be cherished. For those who can endure it, it can generate a new reciprocity, deepening the very intimacies it threatened to break. De Marneffe writes with poetry, wit, and compassion about the necessity of struggle in the quest for true love. Anyone in any relationship at any stage of life could stand to learn from the wisdom in these pages.

Andrew Solomon

I’m now at an age when many people I know are grappling with impending marital breakdown. Bravo then for this personable, wise, radical and optimistic approach to the often seismic stresses of marriage and midlife, by a leading clinical psychologist who uses fascinating case studies to illuminate her advice about how to deal with the significant challenges which often arise in relationships once we’re in our forties and fifties


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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    February 15, 2018

    Harvill Secker

    320 pages

    RRP $39.99

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