The role of children and stepchildren in divorced or widowed parents’ decision-making about cohabitation after repartnering: a qualitative study

Jenny Gierveld, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Eva-Maria Merz, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Longevity and higher divorce rates trends have led to a growing number of older adults who repartner after a breakup or the death of a spouse. Many older adults are successful in finding a new partner; some remarry, others cohabit, and some start Living-Apart-Together (LAT) relationships. The current study intends to shed light on the decision-making process of repartnered parents to remarry and/or share a household with the new partner. In particular, the role of children and aspects of the intergenerational bond with children are taken into account. To examine the mechanisms behind certain choices, we use qualitative data collected in an in-depth study on repartnering that devotes special attention to changes in relationships with children and other kin. In this qualitative approach, interviews have been conducted with 52 divorced or widowed respondents involved in a new romantic partnership and either living together or living apart together.

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Presented in Session 1: Cohabitation on both sides of the Atlantic