IThe authors identified and examined relationship trajectories among low-income parents, with particular attention to fathers and mothers who never marry but maintain potential for greater commitment. Through analyses of life history interviews with a diverse sample of 71 fathers in the Midwest, we used a life course framework to examine the process of relationship suspension. Findings indicated that partner support was critical in overcoming environmental and family barriers to long-term relationships. By delinking partnering from parenting, unmarried mothers and fathers found a basis for prolonged interaction, apart from intimacy. Relationships persisted because of daily investments during many years of waiting to formalize relationships. Implications for research on relationship trajectories among low-income families and for policy and programs are discussed. (Author abstract modified)
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Together but Not "Together" : Trajectories of Relationship Suspension for Low-Income Unmarried Parents.