Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-gszfc Total loading time: 0.34 Render date: 2022-07-01T05:20:36.661Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2014

TORBJÖRN BILDTGÅRD*
Affiliation:
Social Work, Stockholm University, Sweden.
PETER ÖBERG
Affiliation:
Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Sweden.
*
Address for correspondence: Torbjörn Bildtgård, Social Work, Stockholm University, Sveavägen 160–162, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden. E-mail: torbjorn.bildtgard@socarb.su.se

Abstract

Although mobility in and out of intimate relationships has become more common in later life, it has been a neglected issue in social gerontology. In this article, we ask what characterises the formation of new intimate relationships in later life, and whether there are any specific conditions that separate these from relationships in earlier stages of the lifecourse. On the basis of qualitative interviews with 28 persons aged 63–91 who have established a new intimate heterosexual relationship after the age of 60 or who are dating singles, we argue that time constitutes such a central structuring condition. We discuss and theorise two aspects of time – post-(re)productive free time and remaining time – which have an important formative power on new late-in-life relationships. We argue that together these aspects form a central existential structure of ageing in many Western societies – the paradoxical condition of having lots of available free time but little time left in life – which, besides influencing new late-in-life relationships, might also be relevant to other aspects of and choices in later life.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Adam, B. 2004. Time. Polity, Cambridge.Google ScholarPubMed
Alasuutari, P. 1995. Researching Culture – Qualitative Method and Cultural Studies. Sage, London.Google Scholar
Apitzsch, U. and Inowlocki, L. 2000. Biographical analysis: a ‘German’ school. In Chamberlayne, P., Bornat, J. and Wengraf, T. (eds), The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science: Comparative Issues and Examples. Routledge, London, 5370.Google Scholar
Baars, J. 2013. Critical turns of aging, narrative and time. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 7, 2, 143–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baars, J. and Visser, H. 2007. Aging and Time: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Baywood Publications, Amityville, New York.Google Scholar
Bengtsson, V. 2006. Theorizing and social gerontology. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 1, 1, 59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berggren, H. and Trägårdh, L. 2006. Är svensken människa?: gemenskap och oberoende i det moderna Sverige. Norstedt, Stockholm.Google Scholar
Bildtgård, T. 2000. The sexuality of elderly people on film: visual limitations. Journal of Aging and Identity, 5, 3, 169–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Borell, K. 2001. Åldrande och nya intimitetsformer [Aging and new forms of intimacy]. Gerontologia, 15, 2, 147–56.Google Scholar
Borell, K. and Ghazanfareeon Karlsson, S. 2000. Aeldre par – Hvert sit hjem [Older Couples – Separate Homes]. Gerontologi og samfund, 6, 4, 85–7.Google Scholar
Brown, S. L., Bulanda, J. R. and Lee, G. R. 2005. The significance of nonmarital cohabitation: marital status and mental health benefits among middle-aged and older adults. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 60B, 1, S21–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, S. L., Bulanda, J. R. and Lee, G. R. 2012. Transitions into and out of cohabitation in later life. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74, 4, 774–93.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brown, S. L., Lee, G. R. and Bulanda, J. R. 2006. Cohabitation among older adults: a national portrait. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61B, 2, S71–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, S. L. and Lin, I. F. 2012. The gray divorce revolution: rising divorce among middle-aged and older adults, 1990–2010. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67B, 6, 731–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bulanda, J. R. 2011. Gender, marital power, and marital quality in later life. Journal of Women & Aging, 23, 1, 322.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bulcroft, R. A. and Bulcroft, K. A. 1991. The nature and functions of dating in later life. Research on Aging, 13, 2, 244–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Butler, R. N. and Lewis, M. I. 2002. The New Love and Sex After 60. Ballantine Books, New York.Google Scholar
Carr, D. 2004. The desire to date and remarry among older widows and widowers. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 4, 1051–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Charmaz, K. 2006. Constructing Grounded Theory. Sage, London.Google Scholar
Chevan, A. 1996. As cheaply as one: cohabitation in the older population. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 3, 656–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Connidis, I. A. 2001. Family Ties & Aging. Sage, Thousand Oaks, California.Google Scholar
Davidson, K. 2001. Late life widowhood, selfishness and new partnership choices: a gendered perspective. Ageing & Society, 21, 3, 279317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davidson, K. 2002. Gender differences in new partnership choices and constraints for older widows and widowers. Ageing International, 27, 4, 4360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Jong Gierveld, J. 2003. Social networks and social well being of older men and women living alone. In Arber, S., Davidson, K. and Ginn, J. (eds), Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships. Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK, 95110.Google Scholar
de Jong Gierveld, J. 2004 a. Remarriage, unmarried cohabitation, living apart together: partner relationships following bereavement or divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 1, 236–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Jong Gierveld, J. 2004 b. The dilemma of repartnering: considerations of older men and women entering new intimate relationships late in life. In Davidson, K. and Fennel, G. (eds), Intimacy in Later Life. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 85104.Google Scholar
Denzin, N. K. 1989 a. Interpretive Biography. Sage, Newbury Park, California.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Denzin, N. K. 1989 b. The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
Elder, G. 1981. History and the life course. In Bertaux, D. (ed.), Biography and Society: The Life History Approach in the Social Sciences. Sage, London, 77115.Google Scholar
Ellis, A. and Velten, E. C. 1998. Optimal Aging: Get Over Getting Older. Open Court, Chicago.Google Scholar
Ferrarotti, F. 2003. On the Science of Uncertainty: The Biographical Method in Social Research. Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland.Google Scholar
Ghazanfareeon Karlsson, S. 2006. Tillsammans men var för sig: Om särboenderelationer mellan äldre kvinnor och män i Sverige [Together but still apart: elderly women and men living apart together in Sweden]. Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.Google Scholar
Ghazanfareeon Karlsson, S. and Borell, K. 2002. Intimacy and autonomy, gender and ageing: living apart together. Ageing International, 27, 4, 1126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ghazanfareeon Karlsson, S. and Borell, K. 2005. A home of their own. Women's boundary work in LAT-relationships. Journal of Aging Studies, 19, 1, 7384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.Google Scholar
Giddens, A. 1992. The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies. Polity Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Gilford, R. 1986. Marriages in later life. Journal of the American Society on Aging, 10, 4, 1620.Google Scholar
Glaser, B. G. and Strauss, A. L. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Aldine, Chicago.Google Scholar
Gordon, S. and Shimberg, E. F. 2004. Another Chance for Love: Finding a Partner Later in Life. Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
Hagestad, G. O. and Neugarten, B. L. 1985. Age and the life course. In Binstock, R. and Shanas, E. (eds), Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 3561.Google Scholar
Heidegger, M., Macquarrie, J. and Robinson, E. 2008. Being and Time. Harper Perennial/Modern Thought, New York.Google Scholar
Heikkinen, R.-L. 2000. Ageing in an autobiographical context. Ageing & Society, 20, 4, 467–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heikkinen, R. L. 2004. The experience of ageing and advanced old age: a ten-year follow-up. Ageing & Society, 24, 4, 567–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hurd Clarke, L. 2005. Remarriage in later life: older women's negotiation of power, resources and domestic labor. Journal of Women & Aging, 17, 4, 2141.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jönsson, H. 1998. Känsla har ingen ålder. Om sex och ungdomlighet i pensionärsnoveller [Emotions are age-less: sex and youthfulness in retirement novels]. Aldring & Eldre – Gerontologisk Magasin, 15, 1, 20–5.Google Scholar
Klevmarken, A. 2010. Vem arbetar efter 65 års ålder?: en statistisk analys [Who Works After 65? A Statistical Analysis]. Fritzes, Stockholm.Google Scholar
Koren, C. 2011. Continuity and discontinuity: the case of second couplehood in old age. Gerontologist, 51, 5, 687–98.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kulik, L. 2002. Marital equality and the quality of long-term marriage in later life. Ageing & Society, 22, 4, 459–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laslett, P. 1989. A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of the Third Age. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.Google Scholar
Levin, I. and Trost, J. 1999. Living apart together. Community, Work and Family, 2, 3, 279–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McFadden, S. H. and Atchley, R. C. 2001. Aging and the Meaning of Time: A Multidisciplinary Exploration. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
Mehta, K. K. 2002. Perceptions of remarriage by widowed people in Singapore. Aging International, 27, 4, 93107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Montenegro, X. P. 2003. Lifestyles, Dating and Romance: A Study of Midlife Singles. AARP, Washington DC.Google Scholar
Moore, A. and Stratton, D. 2004. The ‘current woman’ in an older widower's life. In Davidson, K. and Fennell, G. (eds), Intimacy in Later Life. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 121–42.Google Scholar
Moorman, S. M., Booth, A. and Fingerman, K. L. 2006. Women's romantic relationships after widowhood. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 9, 1281–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moustgaard, H. and Martikainen, P. 2009. Nonmarital cohabitation among older Finnish men and women: socioeconomic characteristics and forms of union dissolution. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64B, 4, 507–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neugarten, B. L. 1969. Continuities and discontinuities of psychological issues into adult life. Human Development, 12, 2, 121–30.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Öberg, P. 1997. Livet som berättelse. Om biografi och åldrande [Life as Narrative. On Biography and Ageing]. Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.Google Scholar
Öberg, P. 2000. Att åldras i ett estetiserande konsumtionssamhälle – en studie av kroppsbild [Ageing in an aestheticised society – study about body image]. Gerontologiska skrifter, 8, 731.Google Scholar
Öberg, P. 2013. Livslopp i förändring [The changing lifecourse]. In Andersson, L. (ed.), Socialgerontologi [Social Gerontology]. Studentlitteratur, Lund, Sweden, 5174.Google Scholar
Patton, M. Q. 2002. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (Third Ed.). Sage, London.Google Scholar
Peters, A. and Liefbroer, A. C. 1997. Beyond marital status: partner history and well-being in old age. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 3, 687–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Plummer, K. 2001. Documents of Life 2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism. Sage, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, W. S. 1951. The logical structure of analytic induction. American Sociological Review, 16, 6, 812–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roos, J.-P. 2005. Context, authenticity, referentiality, reflexivity: back to basics in autobiography. In Miller, R. L. (ed.), Biographical Research Methods. Sage, London, 163–72.Google Scholar
Sill, J. S. 1980. Disengagement reconsidered: awareness of finitude. The Gerontologist, 20, 4, 457–62.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Statistics Sweden. 2000–2001. Skattat antal personer 20–84 år efter åldersklass, samlevnadsform, familjetyp och kön [Estimated Number of Individuals 20-84 Years by Age Group, Family Type and Gender]. Undersökningar om levnadsförhållanden [Studies on Living Conditions]. Statistics Sweden, Stockholm.Google Scholar
Stevens, N. 2004. Re-engaging: new partnerships in late life widowhood. In Davidson, K. and Fennel, G. (eds), Intimacy in Later Life. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 4764.Google Scholar
Stinnett, N., Mittelstet Carter, L. and Montgomery, J. E. 1972. Older persons' perceptions of their marriages. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 34, 4, 665–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. 1994. Grounded theory methodology. In Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, 273–85.Google Scholar
Talbott, M. M. 1998. Older widows' attitudes towards men and remarriage. Journal of Aging Studies, 12, 4, 429–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
The National Board of Health and Welfare. 2004. Framtidens anhörigomsorg [The Future of Informal Care]. The National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm.Google Scholar
van den Hoonaard, D. K. 2004. Attitudes of older widows and widowers in New Brunswick, Canada, towards new partnerships. In Davidson, K. and Fennel, G. (eds), Intimacy in Later Life. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 105–19.Google Scholar
Vares, T. 2009. Reading the ‘sexy oldie’: gender, age(ing) and embodiment. Sexualities, 12, 4, 503–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walker, R. B. and Luszcz, M. A. 2009. The health and relationship dynamics of late-life couples: a systematic review of the literature. Ageing & Society, 29, 3, 455–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watson, W. K. and Stelle, C. 2011. Dating for older women: experiences and meanings of dating in later life. Journal of Women & Aging, 23, 3, 263–75.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wengraf, T. 2000. Uncovering the general from within the particular: from contingencies to typologies in the understanding of cases. In Chamberlayne, P., Bornat, J. and Wengraf, T. (eds), The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science: Comparative Issues and Examples. Routledge, London, 140–64.Google Scholar
Znaniecki, F. [1934] 1969. On Humanistic Sociology: Selected Papers. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
15
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

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

Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *