The authors devoted two years to interviewing a variety of people about ""primary relationships--husband-and-wife type living arrangements,"" and the result is a ""just plain telling stories"" approach Ã la Studs Terkel. Unlike Terkel, however, they seem to have concentrated on the Northeast, and particularly on New York City. There is a half-hearted attempt to categorize the stories, whose courses invariably overlap the five artificially imposed bounds (""Entering,"" ""Enjoying,"" ""Suffering,"" ""Leaving,"" and ""Working It Out""). There are the offbeat stories--a Jewish couple who spent two years hiding from the Nazis and living on 1000 calories per week; a rock-and-roll star whose relationship with his wife was far more tepid than his lifestyle; a drug addict who married ""because I had nothing else to do"" and then lost her husband to a prison sentence eight days later. In a more commonplace vein, there's Leo the Brooklyn delicatessen owner, who doesn't believe women should be smarter than men. Most tell their stories with some candor and more insight than they apparently possessed during the heat of the relationship. But, as the authors note, the book is ""not so much for answers as a place where people could come to compare notes,"" and as such its appeal has probably been drained by syndicated columns for the lovelorn.