"But to what extent are intimate relationships truly private? Consider these examples:
"Late at night, a couple in your apartment building have a series of loud, physical confrontations--leaving you and your neighbors feeling unsafe and taking the police away from handling other crimes.
"Throughout the school year, a few of your child's classmates are upset over their parents' arguments and imminent divorces; these children distract the teacher, disrupt the class, and reduce the quality of their education.
"A dorm mate of yours, despondent because he is unable to find a steady girlfriend, gets drunk, drives through town, and accidentally kills a pedestrian.
"Because of a nasty divorce, a coworker is less effective at work, fails to give you the information you need to do your job until the last minute, and fores you and your colleagues to pick up the slack.
"Or, more optimistically, your happy neighbors might live longer and be less of a burden on the health care system; or they might raise children who finish their schooling rather than drop out and engage in petty crimes; or they might generate a higher income and thus pay more taxes than they would if they were divorced, thus contributing to the greater good.
"Added up over countless children, countless relationships, and and countless transitions between relationships, effects such as these accumulate, helping us to see that intimate relationships are inextricably woven into the fabric--and welfare--of our society."
"Intimate relationships, in short, are fundamental to who we are as humans and pervasive in their effects on us and those around us. no one lives a life untouched by intimacy."