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One - Introduction

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

This book is about late-life intimate relationships in cross-gender couples. Intimate relationships are among the most important relationships in our lives. They correspond to our longing to feel loved and appreciated, support our sense of self, give us a sense of belonging, and satisfy our physical desires. In other words they correspond to our deepest emotional, psychological and physical needs as human beings. Although these needs are arguably ageless, a widely held idea is that intimacy is associated with the earlier part of the life course, while later life is associated with the loss of intimate relationships and the decline of interest, expectations and physical abilities. This book will challenge this and other normative conceptions and stereotypes of late-life intimacy.

Stereotypes regarding older people's intimate relationships contribute to maintaining knowledge gaps with regard to late-life intimacy with consequences for ageing policy and practice, but also knowledge gaps in the wider fields of gerontology, family studies and sexology. Using international research, comparative international data and our own Swedish studies, this book will address these knowledge gaps by presenting a comprehensive overview of older people's attitudes, expectations and experiences of late-life repartnering.

Setting the scene

Consider the following two cohabiting persons who met late in life: Cohabiting Carl is a 70-year-old man with a complex relationship career and several biological and step-children from different marriages. Raised by liberal parents, he had his sexual debut at the age of 15 and had a number of intimate relationships before he met his first wife-tobe at the age of 23. Soon after meeting they moved in together and only after she got pregnant did they marry. The marriage, established in the 1960s (‘for love and friendship’), was not sexually exclusive, and other partners were accepted. After ten years Carl divorced. He then moved to Great Britain where he met his second wife, two years later. He describes the marriage as an emotional roller-coaster that ended in divorce 15 years later. Immediately thereafter he moved to an Asian country, where he met his third wife, whom he again divorced ten years later. After returning to Sweden he actively searched for a new intimate partner in online dating forums and dated a few women.

Type
Chapter
Information
Intimacy and Ageing
New Relationships in Later Life
, pp. 1 - 12
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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  • Introduction
  • 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/10.46692/9781447326519.002
Available formats
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Save book to Dropbox

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 Dropbox.

  • Introduction
  • 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/10.46692/9781447326519.002
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.

  • Introduction
  • 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/10.46692/9781447326519.002
Available formats
×