New partner, new living arrangements? The process of repartnering after separation

By Arnaud Régnier-Loilier, Beatrice van Hoorn Alkema

Conjugality in France has seen a number of changes over recent decades. First, we are witnessing diversified forms of unions beyond the ‘standard’ norm of marriage, such as cohabitation outside marriage, PACS (civil union), and non-cohabiting relationships. Second, intimate relationship trajectories are increasingly marked by discontinuity, with separations and repartnering occurring more frequently. Based on these observations, this article explores the present diversification and discontinuity by looking at the link between past conjugal history and the form taken by the subsequent union, i.e. whether cohabiting or not. Most studies on repartnering approach the subject solely through the prism of living together while overlooking non-cohabiting relationships as a separate form of union, thus shedding no light on the repartnering process, which may take varying amounts of time that depend on the characteristics of the previous union. Using data from the EPIC survey on individual and conjugal trajectories (Étude des parcours individuels et conjugaux, INED–INSEE 2013–2014), we trace the conjugal histories of the respondents by distinguishing between periods of non-cohabitation and cohabitation. Using survival functions and duration models, certain impediments to moving in together are identified—some of which are particularly prominent for women, such as the presence of dependent children, having been married, and having experienced a highly conflictive separation. Increased age at the time of repartnering also reduces the probability of living together.

  • EPIC
  • couple
  • living apart together
  • non-cohabiting couple
  • repartnering
  • separation
  • cohabitation
  • conjugal history
  • France
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