What Draws Late-Life Repartners to Each Other and Keeps Them Together? An Intergenerational Stepfamily Perspective

Chaya Koren, Sharon Lipman-Schiby, Carey Wexler Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Partner selection is intriguing at any life stage including later in life. Late life repartnering is a phenomenon emerging with the increase in life expectancy. Motivations include friendship, intimacy, loneliness, and having fun. Understanding partner selection and maintenance among those who repartner late in life is yet to be explored and could assist older adults with finding a suitable partner and help their offspring understand it. Our aim is to examine what draws late-life repartners to each other and keeps them together, from an intergenerational stepfamily perspective by including three generations; both members of the couple, an adult child on each side, and at least one grandchild. Nineteen stepfamilies (107 participants) participated, using criterion sampling of functionally independent persons who had repartnered at retirement age or older and who had offspring from a lifelong marriage that ended in widowhood or divorce. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis and dyadic interview analysis adapted to multigenerational stepfamilies were employed. Themes identified include a shared history/background, parallel experiences with offspring, and repartnering as healing. Findings are discussed using a life course approach. Implications for theory and practice with complex stepfamilies constructed due to late life repartnering are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-289
Number of pages19
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • intergenerational relationships
  • late life repartnering
  • old age
  • partner selection
  • qualitative methods
  • remarriage
  • stepfamilies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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