Ageing International

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 11–26

Intimacy and autonomy, gender and ageing: Living apart together


DOI: 10.1007/s12126-002-1012-2

Cite this article as:
Karlsson, S.G. & Borell, K. Ageing Int. (2002) 27: 11. doi:10.1007/s12126-002-1012-2


To an increasing extent the ‘young old’ in Sweden are actors in the process of the differentiation of family forms. A distinctive contribution is the establishment of lasting intimate relationships that do not include a shared home, that is, an alternative to marriage and unmarried cohabitation usually covered by the concept of Living Apart Together (LAT-relationships). Living Apart Together can offer older divorcees, widows, and widowers a fulfilling intimate relationship but at the same time ensure the individual a significant degree of autonomy. The study shows that this is of particular importance to women, and that older women play a vital role in establishing and upholding LAT-relationships. By preserving her own household a woman may avoid the asymmetrical distribution of household labor and unequal demands of caring for a partner that she may have experienced in a previous marriage.

Copyright information

© Springer 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkMid-Sweden UniversityÖstersundSweden