Patterns in the telling: single women's intimate relationships with men.
Sociological Research Online, 11(3)
This article explores some ways in which women not living with an intimate partner talk about their relationships with men. Data are considered in relation to social theorising on the changing nature of intimate relationships. The analysis makes use of traditions in narrative analysis and critical discursive psychology to identify some patterns in the telling, including common cultural resources that are drawn on by speakers. Patterned ways of portraying relationships identified in the data discussed here include a self-blame approach in describing extreme behaviour from the man concerned, and a repudiation of any intention of commitment through talk of the positive features of relationships with unavailable men. A further way of talking introduces a 'new realism' in which relationships are depicted as right for a time but dispensable when their time is up. The analysis suggests that concepts of individualisation and impermanence in relationships provide new cultural resources that women can draw on in providing a self-narrative. The data demonstrate the detailed rhetorical work involved in producing a positive account of the self as a single woman.
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