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51 Ariz. St. L.J. 1369 (2019)
"Don't Force My Hand": Gender and Social Class Variation in Relationship Negotiation

handle is hein.journals/arzjl51 and id is 1401 raw text is: 

Don't Force My Hand: Gender and Social
Class Variation in Relationship Negotiation

Amanda Jayne Miller* & Sharon Sassier**

   Do the relationship processes leading to cohabitation and subsequent
outcomes contribute to growing social class disparities in family behaviors?
Our paper explores the role played by gender and class in relationship
progression, from dating, to cohabiting, to talk of marriage and proposing.
Data are from in-depth interviews with 122 service-class and middle-class
cohabiting individuals (sixty-one couples). We find that men initiate dating
andproposals far more often than do women, though gender equality is more
evident in who raises the topic of cohabiting, andwomen are more likely than
men to initiate discussions of marriage. Middle-class women express greater
agency in forwarding relationships than their service-class counterparts, as
they f equently raise the topic of marriage and establish the general pacing
and time frame of relationship progression. Middle-class men's greater
receptivity to marriage also contributes to the diverging outcomes
experienced by middle-class and service-class cohabitors.

   In the United States, cohabitation is now common across the social-class
spectrum.' Young Americans increasingly defer marriage, though not
intimate unions; the majority have cohabited with a romantic partner by their
late twenties.2 Although the likelihood of cohabitation remains greater among
those with lower levels of education, growing proportions of the college
educated have lived with a romantic partner.3 Social class disparities have

   *   Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Director of Faculty
Development at the University of Indianapolis.
   **  Professor, Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University.
   1.  See Sheela Kennedy & Larry Buinpass, Cohabitation and Children's Living
Arrangements: New Estimatesfrom the United States, 19 DEMOGRAPHIC RES. 1663, 1664 (2008).
   2.  See Paula Y. Goodwin et al., Marriage and Cohabitation in the United States: A
Statistical Portrait Based on Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth, VITAL &
HEALTH STAT., Feb. 2010, at 1; see also Wendy D. Manning et al., Two Decades of Stability and
Change in Age at First Union Formation, 76 J. MARRIAGE & FAM. 247, 257-58 (2014).
   3.  See Manning et al., supra note 2, at 255.

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