Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Non-conventional relationship choices for the over-sixties
John Button

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T12
Date: 2015-09-27 04:30 PM – 06:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


Relationship alternatives such as polyamory are most often looked at in the context of young people, but there are many reasons why non-monogamy -- however defined -- can also bring freedom and fulfilment to older people too.With life expectancy increasing, more and more people can now expect to enjoy an active and rewarding period of twenty or thirty years after retirement, a time when their children have become independent adults and money has usually become less of a concern. There are other aspects of maturity too, time to consider what sort of relationship network is most appropriate, how best to balance independence and the need for stimulating company, the role of intimacy and sexual fulfilment.The divorce rate for over-sixties is higher than ever before as people recognise that relationships which may have 'worked' for many years no longer match their needs, and the growing number of single older people can lead to loneliness and to underused resources when one person occupies more space than they can usefully use.This presentation explores the relationship, intimacy and community choices for older people, and looks at how non-conventional arrangements can often have personal, social, medical and community benefits. Several examples of successful solutions demonstrate how older people's relationship and intimacy needs can be fulfilled when non-conventional options are explored. This is a practical rather than a theoretical exploration, based on several decades of first-hand experience of communal and non-monogamous relating, and drawing on the few empirically-based studies made in this emerging field.