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Marital Separation in Contemporary Ireland

Women’s Experiences

Lucy Hyland

This book is based on detailed interviews with a group of Irish women who have experienced marital separation. It links the women’s accounts with literature on the values and beliefs about marriage, women and family which were prevalent when they were growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The book chronicles their young adult years, the early stages of their marriages and the events and processes which led to their separations. It explores the women’s emotional reactions at the time of separating, the types of support which they found beneficial and the personal, social and financial consequences of having separated.
Although the book is written from a sociological perspective, the combination of theory and practical insights make it accessible to a wide variety of readers. It aims to generate discussion and deepen understanding of an area into which there has been minimal research in Ireland and which poses a range of important questions for future researchers, practitioners and policy-makers.
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Chapter 9: Identity and Resilience Post-Separation

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CHAPTER 9

Identity and Resilience Post-Separation

The construction of individual identity develops through relationships with others. When a relationship breaks down, particularly a marital relationship, a major shift in identity may take place. The challenges of constructing a new identity and the pain of having to part with a familiar identity as part of a couple and as part of an intact family emerged as key issues in the interviews. This chapter will discuss literature on identity and women’s identity options in Ireland. It will present and discuss the women’s comments on the changes in identity that occurred as a result of separation.

Identity

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