Late-life repartnering is a phenomenon developing as life-expectancy increases, creating complex stepfamilies constructed in old age. Adult children and parents’ well-being could be influenced by adult children’s experiences of one parent’s late-life repartnering after the death of the other parent. Our aim is to explore how these two life events intertwine in the lives of adult children heuristically using existential phenomenology. Semistructured qualitative interviews with 27 adult children were chosen from a larger study on the meaning of late-life repartnering from an intergenerational family perspective. Criterion sampling included adult children of a widowed parent who repartnered at or above the official retirement age in Israel. Two themes emerged—(1) loyalty conflict: (a) visible and/or hidden, (b) hypothetical thoughts and feelings about the deceased parent in the context of the parent’s new partner and (2) comparison between the deceased parent and parent’s new partner. Findings are discussed using the existential figure−ground concept illustrating the two life events intertwining.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research reported in this article was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF; Grant No. 1583/11).
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.
- death and dying
- family issues
- intergenerational relationships
- qualitative research method
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)