Ambivalence and Living Apart Together in Later Life : A Critical Research Proposal


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Publication Details

Author list: Ghazanfareeon Karlsson, Sofie

Publication year: 2017

Start page: 1404

End page: 1418

Number of pages: 15

ISSN: 0022-2445

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12417

View additional information: View in Web of Science


Most unattached older persons who would like an intimate partnership do not want to remarry or be in a marriage-like relationship. A growing trend is to live apart together (LAT) in an ongoing intimate relationship that does not include a common home. We address the debate about whether LAT constitutes a new form of intimate relationship in a critical assessment of research on LAT relationships that applies ambivalence and concepts from the life course perspective. We conclude that among older but not younger adults, LAT relationships are generally a stable alternative to living with a partner, negotiated in the context of current social institutions and arrangements. We propose research questions that address later life living apart together as an innovative alternative intimate relationship. We encourage comparative work on the unique challenges of later life living apart together, their implications for other family ties, and their connection to social and cultural arrangements.


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