Intimacy and Ageing

New Relationships in Later Life

Torbjörn Bildtgård and Peter Öberg

Intimacy and Ageing

Torbjörn Bildtgård and Peter Öberg

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

224 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $110.00 ISBN: 9781447326496 Published September 2017 For sale in North and South America only
As people live longer around the world, remaining healthy into old age, the phenomenon of new intimate relationships in later life is rapidly growing. This book, part of the Ageing in a Global Context series, looks closely at how these relationships have developed within the current cohort of elderly, with particular attention to the ways in which new relationships at older ages are simultaneously rooted in older cultures of intimacy and partake in changes in social relations and behavior that have emerged more recently. What do new intimate relationships offer older men and women, and what do they expect or hope for from them?
Contents
List of figures and tables
Acknowledgements
Series editors’ preface
 
One Introduction
Setting the scene
Outline of the book
 
Two Intimacy and ageing in late modernity
The changing landscape of later life
The transformation of intimacy
Intimacy and cultural context
The importance of life phase: a developmental perspective
Conclusion
 
Three The changing landscape of intimacy in later life
The impact of the prolonged lifespan for envisioning new intimate futures
A culture of divorce
From ‘society of widows’ to ‘society of divorcees’
The grey divorce revolution
The gendered structure of the partner market
Changing venues for dating in later life
Conclusion
 
Four From marriage to alternative union forms
A smorgasbord of union forms
Are older people carriers of the ideals of marriage culture?
Are older people following the ideals of their times?
Are some union forms more adapted to later life?
A question of age, period or cohort?
Cohort
Historical time
Life phase
Conclusion
 
Five A life of relationships
Relationship careers among older Swedes
Consequences of prior relationship dissolutions for late-life intimacy
Gendered experiences: continuity and change in repartnering
Conclusion
 
Six Attitudes towards new romantic relationships
Attitudes to what?
Whose attitudes?
The Swedish case
Conclusion
 
Seven Initiation and development of new romantic relationships
Unveiling negotiation and change in new late-life relationships
Relationship ideals in singlehood: Single Sally
From singlehood to LAT and beyond: LAT Lisa and Lars
From singlehood to cohabitation and beyond: Cohabiting Carl and Caroline
From singlehood to marriage and beyond: Married Mike and Martha
Conclusion
 
Eight A new partner as a resource for social support
The gains of repartnering
Companionate support
Emotional support
Practical support
Conclusion
 
Nine Consequences for social network and support structures
The impact of life transitions on linked lives
Integration of social and filial networks
The partner as a key to autonomy
Restructuring the chain of interdependent lives
A hierarchy of dependencies
The social support network
Conclusion
 
Ten Sex in an ideology
From an ideology of marriage to an ideology of love
The ideal of consummate relationship
Sex in new late-life relationships
Conclusion
 
Eleven Time as a structuring condition for the new intimate relationships in later life
An existential theory of time
Post-(re)productive free time
Remaining time
Conclusion
 
Twelve Discussion
Historical change
Phase of life
The Swedish case
 
Methodological appendix
The qualitative interview study
The quantitative questionnaire
 
References
Notes
Index
 
Review Quotes
Paul Simpson, Edge Hill University
"At last, an account of aging intimacy that blows away stereotypes to engage with the complexities. A must-read for academics and those working with older people."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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