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Alternative Relationship

Forms

Reeshma Haji
October 10, 2007
Outline
Singlehood
Same-Sex Marriages
Break
Cohabitation
Interethnic & Interfaith Relationships


Singlehood
Discussion: Stereotypes of single men and
single women
New York Times Article: Americans Love
Marriage. But Why?
By John Cloud (February 8, 2007)

Singlehood
Singlehood and life satisfaction
Issue with broad definition of single
Problem: single = not married (vs. never
married)
When divorcees and widows taken out of
singles, little difference in life satisfaction
No benefit of unhappy relationships

Singlehood
Importance of strong social networks
We propose that people who are single
particularly women who have always been
single- fare better than ideology would
predict because they do have positive,
enduring, and important interpersonal
relationships
(DePaulo & Morris, 2005, p. 57)
Singlehood
Ideology of Marriage and Family
DePaulo & Morris (2005)
Glamorizes marriage and holds the sexual
partnership as the only important peer
relationship
Presumes superior worth of those with sexual
partners
Assumes everyone wants to marry
Singlism
Thought experiment
Singlehood
See www.belladepaulo.com for more info
Childfree (Single?) Women
American women who choose to be childfree
tend to be White, well-educated, and have non-
traditional beliefs about gender roles

These women give high ratings of satisfaction
with their choice, and do not differ from mothers
in their reports of subjective well-being

Single Mothers
Some women choose single motherhood, but
many have become single mothers through
divorce, abandonment or widowhood

More likely than other families to live in poverty

Forced choice between working to provide
resources for children and spending time with
them

Same-Sex Marriage
Review of legal history
Netherlands (April, 2001)
Belgium (January, 2003)
Ontario, Canada (July, 2003)
MB, NS, QC, SK, NL, YT (2004)
MT, U.S.A. (2005)
NB, Canada (2005)
What happened in Massachusetts?


Same-Sex Marriage
Why? (Herek, 2006)
Same-sex and heterosexual relationships have
the same psychosocial dimensions (e.g.,
emotional attachment, satisfaction)
Parents sexual orientation is unrelated to
providing a nurturing home
Marriage offers social, psychological, and
health benefits
Cohabitation
Cohabitation living together without
being legally married
Common law marriage after a certain
number of years, can be treated as legally
married

Cohabitation
Why is it increasing?
Increased acceptance of nonmarital sex
Higher education and presence in the
workforce make marriage less necessary for
womens economic survival
Increased anonymity associated with living in
large cities (fewer restrictions on behaviour)
Fear of marriage due to divorce stats
Cohabitation
Discuss in small groups (10 mins)
1) Do many of your friends cohabit? What
kinds of problems do they experience? What
kinds of advantages to they report?
2) Who seems more committed to the
cohabitation in heterosexual relationships
(the man or the woman)?
3) Who benefits more from the cohabitation in
heterosexual relationships (the man or the
woman)?
Cohabitation
Types
Short-lived sexual relationships (flings)
Practical (saving money)
Trial marriage
Permanent alternative to marriage
Fear of repeating marriage mistake
(divorcees)

Cohabitation
Canadian Data (Bourdais & Lapierre-
Adamcyk, 2004)
Most prominent in QC, where often a basis
for starting a family
Other Cdn provinces, childless prelude to
marriage (p. 929)
Cohabitation
Considerations for Couples Contemplating
Living Together

Nonmarital Births
32%
37%
41%
46%
64%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
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% of Births to unmarried women
Lipps, 2005
Interethnic Relationships
Heterogamy vs. Homogamy?
Interethnic daters seem to be similar in:
Age
Education
Attractiveness
Influential factors
Social network diversity
Availability of ingroup mates
Own group status (minority vs. majority)
Education

Interethnic Relationships
Interfaith Relationships
Canadian Census Data
1 in 5 Cdn unions
Interfaith unions within same broad religious
group more common (e.g., Catholics &
Protestants)

Promoting Acceptance of
Intergroup Relationships
Discussion
Findings from interfaith dating research
(Lalonde & Haji, 2006)