Ageing International

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 11–26 | Cite as

Intimacy and autonomy, gender and ageing: Living apart together

Article

Abstract

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkMid-Sweden UniversityÖstersundSweden

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