Couple relationships in low-fertility settings

Linda J. Waite, Juyeon Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter addressed the state of coupled relationships in the low fertility countries that have been affected by changes in the family such as increasing levels of cohabitation and relationship dissolution. Evidence on sexuality in these countries suggests that child-free time due to small numbers of children does not always mean more focus on the quality of the relationship between marital or cohabitating partners. Our research on marital and cohabitating couples in the U.S. shows that at older ages, many couples remain sexually active, and most are quite satisfied with sexual relationships. At the same time, only about a third of the partners among older couples are entirely happy with the amount of support they get from their spouse and feel that their partners are not very critical or demanding. The other third perceive some ambivalent feeling toward their spouse or partners because they receive good amount of support as well as demands. The rest perceive some negative in their relationship, either because they feel that their spouse is not supportive, or they feel that their spouse is critical or demanding or both. These couples do fewer things together, including having less sex. The results suggest different ways to protect marital quality among those with ambivalent and indifferent feeling toward their husbands and wives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLow Fertility Regimes and Demographic and Societal Change
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319640617
ISBN (Print)9783319640594
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


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