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New partnerships in their sixties: renewed possibilities?

Chloé Dauphinais

Research Framework: Based upon my master research in sociology, this article focuses on the experiences of people who have formed new partnerships in their sixties and more specifically the chosen conjugal arrangements adopted.

Objectives: These conjugal experiences are explored in order to deepen our understanding of conjugality by taken into account their temporality. Interest was given to the trajectories of these couples as well as to the dimension of pooling and cohabitation in relation to the different arrangements of daily life.

Methodology: The analyses are derived from ten individual life stories and comprehensive interviews. They were conducted with people whose partnerships were formed between the age of 60 and 68 years old.

Results: Forming a new relationship later in life appeared to these partners as a favourable period for a fulfilling love life, freed from several pressures associated with adulthood. The baggage of past experiences can act as emotional, relational, and material resources in these relationships. They are marked by the sharing and necessarily imply a management of daily life, which requires the partners to find the “right distance” (between management and personal time, as well as conjugal space).

Conclusions: Being in a partnership always involves sharing, regardless of the type of conjugality. The balance between fusion and autonomy has the potential to be articulated in

different living and relationship arrangements especially in later life.

Contribution: These results show the importance of taking into account the ages of life in the study of conjugality and how life trajectories influence conjugal choices, including those related to cohabitation.