Volume 37 - Article 2 | Pages 13–24  

Editorial for Special Collection on New Relationships from a Comparative Perspective

By Anne-Rigt Poortman, Belinda Hewitt

This article is part of the Special Collection 19 "New Relationships from a Comparative Perspective"


Background: This special collection is the result of a collaboration between a group of family scholars from Europe and the United States. It initially developed from the observation that in many Western countries new types of couple relationships have emerged alongside marriage (i.e., cohabitation and living-apart-together [LAT] relationships). Although the trend seems universal, it is likely that the prevalence of different relationship types, and their outcomes in particular, vary across countries. Countries differ in how they institutionalize and confer meaning on new relationship types. Such differences may have important implications for how couples behave and organize their daily lives, in turn affecting the well-being of family members. The articles in this special collection aim to understand the organization and relationship outcomes ofcohabitation, marriage, and LAT relationships across countries.

Contribution: Although there has been an upsurge in cross-national research on new relationship types, most studies focus on cohabitation and less so on LAT relationships. In addition, most studies examine how new relationship types differ from marriage in demographic aspects (e.g., childbearing, union stability) or in terms of family members’ well-being. Little cross-national evidence exists about differences with regard to how couples negotiate and give form to their relationship in their daily lives, or about dimensions that go beyond the relationship itself, such as people’s relationships with their larger family. This special collection contributes to the existing body of knowledge by studying new relationships from a comparative perspective, looking at LAT relationships as well as cohabitation, and examining how couples differ from each other on relationship dimensions that have been relatively understudied.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Joint lifestyles and the risk of union dissolution: Differences between marriage and cohabitation
Volume 39 - Article 15

The timing of parenthood and its effect on social contact and support
Volume 36 - Article 62

Why do intimate partners live apart? Evidence on LAT relationships across Europe
Volume 32 - Article 8

Disagreements among cohabiting and married couples in 22 European countries
Volume 31 - Article 10

Do coresidence and intentions make a difference? Relationship satisfaction in married, cohabiting, and living apart together couples in four countries
Volume 31 - Article 3

Income pooling strategies among cohabiting and married couples: A comparative perspective
Volume 30 - Article 55

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