The making of a ‘single woman’
I interviewed women who were at least 35 years old; there was no upper limit (the oldest interviewee was 69). A total of 20 women were aged over and 52 were under 50. I chose 35 as the lower limit because these women are likely to have thought about singleness.1 Though I interviewed women who have boy- or girlfriends, I did not include women who cohabit. Cohabitation is increasingly similar to marital relationships. I have, however, included divorced and separated women. Family studies and statistical categories tend to fix people in particular places, whereas people shift in and out of categories. I wanted my study to reflect this.
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