«Jeg føler meg som en utvidet organisme» – unge voksnes opplevelse av parforholdet som mulighet og begrensning
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The period before young adult couples choose to commit is prolonged compared to a few decades ago. By applying Grounded Theory, this qualitative study explores how young adults experience contemporary romantic relationships. We interviewed 10 Norwegian students from ages 20 to 29 years. The most central finding was the informants’ experiences of becoming something more in the relationship with the partner. This self-expansion seemed to build upon two main processes: (1) Building joint identity refers to the experience that mutually exposing one’s own vulnerability enhances joint identity. Becoming adults together also promotes joint identity and illuminates how couples provide care for each other, and expands the self through facilitating joint identity. The use of internal humour is also emphasized and may be more important for the establishment of romantic relations than previously recognized. (2) Doubting the shared identity emphasize how a new transitional phase can raise questions about one’s own choices in a period where “I” is prioritized before “we”, and where the couples avoid to discuss commitment. Altogether, the findings highlight new aspects and connections between established theories, which may provide a better understanding of the present dilemmas young couple experience. Increased insight about commitment processes among young adults may have clinical relevance and implications for further theory development.