Socio-Economic and Intimate Experiences of the South African Coloured Middle Class Community

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Loreal MAGRO, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
A Closer Look at Couple Well-Being: The Link Between Socio-Economic Positionality and Relationship Success for Coloured People

A healthy relationship is synonymous with resiliency and longevity thus couple well-being plays a significant role in relationship sustainability and success. Intimate experiences in cohabiting spaces shape the emotional and cognitive wellness of couples and of individuals in relationships, which in turn influences their living situations. The research demonstrated the relationship dynamics and intimate experiences of 20 couples, exploring the impact that socio-economic positionality had on their personal well-being and the maintenance of their relationships. A qualitative methodology was utilised to accumulate this data from 10 women and 10 men in intimate cohabiting relationships. The data collected from these semi-structured, in-depth interviews were then analysed using thematic content analysis.

The study focused on Coloured women and men in heterosexual relationships who were unmarried and cohabiting in a Black middle class context. The objective was to investigate how many of these women and men reported successful relationship maintenance regardless of negative factors such as conflict and gender inequalities within the cohabiting setting. The research also aimed to gain an understanding of the ideologies that these couples had about factors that contributed towards relationship issues, socio-economic positionality being one of them.

The results provided insight into the lives of these couples, in order to establish how conflict and negative experiences can affect couple well-being and relationship success. Living situations based on socio-economic positionality influenced intimate and gendered experiences immensely. Finally, a list of relationship-sustaining factors was presented in the study as an intervention strategy to help promote couple wellness; these served as contributions towards the process of 'relationship healing' not only for the couples in the study, but for all couples alike.