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Singlehood, Pairing and Cohabitation Michael Itagaki Sociology 275, Marriage and Family.

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Presentation on theme: "Singlehood, Pairing and Cohabitation Michael Itagaki Sociology 275, Marriage and Family."— Presentation transcript:

1 Singlehood, Pairing and Cohabitation Michael Itagaki Sociology 275, Marriage and Family

2 Marriage Marketplace Process that involves bargaining, exchange and love.  Physical attractiveness’ importance early  Halo effect  In dating game, people prefer attractive people

3 Marriage Marketplace Process that involves bargaining, exchange and love.  People tend to choose “equals” in terms of:  Looks, intelligence, education, etc…  Men more likely than women to care about partners’ appearance

4 Marital Exchange The traditional exchange is related to traditional gender roles:  Men offer status, economic resources, and protection.  Women offer nurturing, childbearing, and physical attractiveness.

5 Marriage Squeeze Gender imbalance reflected in the ratio of available unmarried women to men. There are more unmarried women than men  But ages 15 to 39, there are more unmarried men Marriage Gradient  Tendency for women to marry men of higher status

6 Ratio of Unmarried Men to Unmarried Women, 2002

7 Field of Eligibles Consists of those of whom our culture approves as potential partners. Endogamy  Marriage within a particular group. Exogamy  Marriage outside a particular group.

8 Field of Eligibles Homogamy  Tendency to choose a mate whose characteristics are similar to ours.  Most important elements are race, religion, age, socioeconomic status  Residential propinquity Heterogamy  Tendency to choose a mate whose characteristics are different from ours.

9 Field of Eligibles Hypergamy  Marrying above one’s socioeconomic level  Trend for women Hypogamy  Marrying below one’s socioeconomic level.  Trend for men

10 Other Theories Complimentary Needs Theory  “Opposites attract”—People seek spouses whose needs are different. Parental Image Theory  Seek partners similar to our opposite-sex parent.

11 Stimulus-value-role Theory The stimulus stage = attraction The value stage = weighing partners’ values The role stage = analyze partner’s potential

12 Development of Romantic Relationships Seeing, Meeting, Dating Dating terminology and practices  What are slang terms given for dating today?

13 Development of Romantic Relationships Seeing, Meeting, Dating Seeing  Closed fields  Open fields

14 Development of Romantic Relationships Seeing, Meeting, Dating Meeting  Men more likely to initiate a meeting directly  Women more likely wait for an introduction  Changing methods: Online, personal ads, etc…  Obstacles for homosexuals

15 Development of Romantic Relationships Seeing, Meeting, Dating Dating  Both men and women agree men should initiate first dates

16 Development of Romantic Relationships Problems Associated with Dating  Divergent gender-roles  Common problems for women  Common problems for men  “Involvements” outside dating relationships

17 Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Be sure you want to break up.  Speed bump or road block? Acknowledge that your partner will be hurt  Acceptance or avoidance? Put finality to the relationship  Cushioning the blow or prolonging the agony? Don’t change your mind  Does heartache equal a bad decision?

18 Breaking Up Is Hard to Do If Your Partner Breaks up With You:  The pain is natural and temporary  You are worthwhile, whether you are with a partner or not  Keep a sense of humor

19 Singlehood According to the 2000 Census:  24% of the U.S. population (18 and up) had never married.  Over 68 million adult Americans (18 or older) are unmarried (divorced or never married).  More than 80 million if include widows, widowers.

20 Factors in Rising Number of Single Adults Delayed marriage  The longer one postpones marriage, the greater the likelihood of never marrying.

21 % of Never-Married Women and Men, 1970–2000 MaleFemale Age – – – – –

22 Factors in Rising Number of Single Adults Delayed marriage  The longer one postpones marriage, the greater the likelihood of never marrying. Expanded lifestyle and employment options for women.  Increased enrollment of women in college Increased rates of divorce and decreased likelihood of remarriage.

23 Factors in Rising Number of Single Adults More liberal social and sexual standards. Uneven ratio of unmarried men to unmarried women.

24 Pushes and Pulls Toward Marriage PushesPulls

25 Pushes and Pulls Toward Marriage PushesPulls Cultural norms Loneliness Social stigma of singlehood Media images

26 Pushes and Pulls Toward Marriage PushesPulls Cultural norms Loneliness Social stigma of singlehood Media images Love and emotional security Desire for children Economic security Social status “grown-up”

27 Pushes and Pulls Toward Singlehood PushesPulls

28 Pushes and Pulls Toward Singlehood PushesPulls Problems in marriage Stagnant relationship with spouse Feelings of isolation with spouse Sexual problems

29 Pushes and Pulls Toward Singlehood PushesPulls Problems in marriage Stagnant relationship with spouse Feelings of isolation with spouse Sexual problems Freedom to grow Self-sufficiency Expanded friendships Sexual exploration

30 Four Types of Singles Ambivalents  Voluntarily single  Consider singleness temporary. Wishfuls  Involuntarily and temporarily single  Seeking marital partners but have been unsuccessful.

31 Four Types of Singles Resolveds  Permanently single  Priests, nuns, or “permanently” single parents Regretfuls  Prefer to marry but are resigned to their “fate.”

32 Singles: Myths And Realities Singles are dependent on their parents. Singles are self-centered.  Singles value friends more than marrieds.

33 Singles: Myths And Realities Singles have more money. Singles are happier.  Singles believe they are happier than marrieds  Marrieds believe that they are happier than singles. Singles view singlehood as a lifetime alternative.

34 Characteristics of Singlehood Singles don’t easily fit into married society Singles have more time Singles have more fun Singles are lonely

35 Reasons to Cohabit Temporary casual convenience Affectionate dating or going together. Economic advantage or necessity. Trial marriage. Respite from being single. Temporary alternative to marriage. Permanent alternative to marriage.

36 Cohabitation: 1960 to 2001

37 Social Impact of Cohabitation Cohabitation delays the age of marriage Cohabiting relationships generally don’t last more than two years Cohabiting couples more likely to divorce than those who do not live together before marriage.

38 Legal Rights and Benefits Only For Married Couples Automatically make medical decisions if your partner is injured or incapacitated. Automatically inherit your partner’s property if he or she dies without a will. Enter hospitals, jails, and other places restricted to “immediate family”. Obtain health and dental insurance, bereavement leave, and other employment benefits.

39 Gay and Lesbian Cohabitation Between 600,000 and 1.5 million gay men and lesbians cohabit. Whereas heterosexual cohabiting couples tend to adopt a traditional marriage model, lesbians and gay men utilize a “best friend” model that promotes equality in roles and power.


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