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The new feeling rules of emotion work in heterosexual couple relationships

McQueen, Fiona



This article suggests that new feeling rules of intimacy within heterosexual couple relationships are widely recognised and reflect the contention that an androgynisation of the value of emotion is taking place (Illouz, 2008) whereby men are expected to disclose emotion and provide emotional support to female partners. Simultaneously the new feeling rules are recognised to be difficult to follow for men due to the highly gendered nature of emotion work in heterosexual relationships suggesting talk of emotion has changed while practice has not. Drawing on interview data collected in the UK (13 male and 15 female) it is suggested that the new feeling rules can be broken down into three distinct areas associated with the highly desirable status of being a 'good partner': (a) being 'emotionally skilled', (b) disclosing emotion and (c) performing relational emotion work. This analysis enables a critical appreciation of how inequalities of emotion work can be reproduced as part of the pursuit of having a 'good relationship', mainly unquestioningly, and sets out a new way of looking at the relationship between emotion work, gender and equality.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2022
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 23, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2023
Print ISSN 2631-6897
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 85-99
Keywords emotion work; feeling rules; couples; relationships; equality
Public URL


The New Feeling Rules Of Emotion Work In Heterosexual Couple Relationships (289 Kb)

Copyright Statement
"This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Emotions and Society. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [citation to be added] is available online at: [URL to be added]"

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