Speaking of love : a discourse analysis of single women's and men's talk about hetero-sexual relationships in their fourth decade : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, New Zealand
In Eurocentric countries unprecedented numbers of heterosexual men and women in their fourth decade now live without partners. Indications are that most would prefer to be in relationships, although not necessarily with children. Yet complex dilemmas face this population as they struggle to achieve goals of relationship while self protecting against failure, desperation and loss. The growing divide between mature single men and women is explicated through analysis of the gendered deployment of mutually exclusive discursive resources. After painful experiences of fictional constructions of romantic love, women favour the communicative assumptions and practice offered by the discourse of intimacy while men prefer self sufficiency enabled by individualism.