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Twelve - Discussion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2022

Torbjörn Bildtgård
Affiliation:
Stockholms universitet Institutionen för socialt arbete
Peter Öberg
Affiliation:
Högskolan i Gävle, Sweden
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Summary

In this book we have investigated the issue of repartnering in later life. Throughout the book we have investigated the connection between individual attitudes to, and expectations and experiences of, new intimate relationships in later life, and situated historical change on a macro level and structural conditions on an existential level. We have used the Swedish case as our main example but have also conducted a comprehensive review of international research and compared our findings with research and data from other Western countries.

In Chapters two to four we investigated the structural preconditions of late-life intimacy in contemporary Western societies. We presented some influential theories on the changing life course and the transformation of intimacy in late modernity that suggest possible changes to the landscape of late-life intimacy. And we argued that the Swedish case constitutes one possible scenario for the future of late-life repartnering in Western countries more generally. We also discussed the limits of historical change against the certainty of death as an existential horizon. We continued by illustrating the changing landscape of late-life intimacy empirically using census data from a handful of European countries and the US. These data showed the impact of the prolonged healthy lifespan and new technologies on late-life intimacy. These data also illustrated the increasing incidence and prevalence of divorce in the older population, creating what we call a ‘society of divorcees’, which constitutes a central condition for an increase in repartnering in later life. We also presented evidence of an increasing acceptance for new ways of living together, such as non-marital cohabitation and LAT, and argued that union form in older people's relationships is explained by historical change in the form of the year that the relationship was initiated, and by individual change in the form of the age at which the relationship was initiated.

In Chapters five to ten we continued the exploration by showing how these transformations at the macro level are reflected in older Swedes’ individual attitudes, expectations and experiences of latelife intimacy. We investigated how the transformation of intimacy was visible in individual relationship careers. We showed how ‘the one and only lifelong marriage’ is no longer the self-evident model for describing older people's relationship biographies – many older people have complex relationship careers that include divorces and serial relationships in different union forms.

Type
Chapter
Information
Intimacy and Ageing
New Relationships in Later Life
, pp. 171 - 180
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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  • Discussion
  • Torbjörn Bildtgård, Stockholms universitet Institutionen för socialt arbete, Peter Öberg, Högskolan i Gävle, Sweden
  • Book: Intimacy and Ageing
  • Online publication: 05 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447326519.013
Available formats
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  • Discussion
  • Torbjörn Bildtgård, Stockholms universitet Institutionen för socialt arbete, Peter Öberg, Högskolan i Gävle, Sweden
  • Book: Intimacy and Ageing
  • Online publication: 05 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447326519.013
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Discussion
  • Torbjörn Bildtgård, Stockholms universitet Institutionen för socialt arbete, Peter Öberg, Högskolan i Gävle, Sweden
  • Book: Intimacy and Ageing
  • Online publication: 05 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447326519.013
Available formats
×