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‘I wanted a happy ever after life’: love, romance and disappointment in heterosexual single mothers’ intimacy scripts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

This chapter discusses conceptions of romantic love in relation to disappointment, which Illouz (Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007; Why Love Hurts. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012) identifies as a key feature of contemporary love and dating practices. Narrative research identified layers of complexity within single mothers’ choice-making around intimacy. Participants experienced disappointment that ideal romantic relationships envisaged as part of ‘intimacy scripts’—or blueprints for intimate lives—had not come to fruition. Culturally endorsed intimacy scripts were overlaid with commercialised narratives of romance (Illouz, Why Love Hurts. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012). Bound up with material aspirations, these functioned as a form of ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant, Cruel Optimism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), promising fulfilment but failing to deliver either normative family life, gender equality, meaningful relationships or ideal romantic ‘happy endings’. Everyday lived realities rather entailed prioritising material survival, safety and provision of care for dependents.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRomantic Relationships in a Time of ‘Cold Intimacies'
EditorsJulia Carter, Lorena Arocha
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-29256-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-29255-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Publication series

Name Studies in Family and Intimate Life
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 20946966